FIRST PLACE: CHEL DELANEY 'Bound by Uncertainty'
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' FIRST PLACE: CHEL DELANEY 'Bound by Uncertainty'
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Curator Laurie Freitag's review:
"I had asked entrants to show their response to our world opening up with the Covid-19 vaccine with the theme, 'Opening Up'. I had a few guidelines but I left it up to the artists basically.

Chel Delaney's 'Bound by Uncertainty' is an example of interpretation for sure. 

One interpretation of the gentle waves coming ashore on the beach can be seen as the receiving of the good news of the vaccine. The dark rocks on the beach, on the other hand, give way to darker thoughts of what might be ahead. It is true, we don't know what the next tide will bring or the next news about the vaccine. We can count on the ebb and flow of the tides but what will they look like at different locations and different times. The waves will roll in but are they rolling in while a storm is on it's tail? It all depends."

Laurie Freitag asks Chel Delaney, "Do you normally photograph nature to express your emotions? If so, do you think that nature can sway those emotions?"

Chel Delaney says, "Often, it is the other way around: Nature awakens a particular emotion. Frequently, I find that my exchanges with nature through my images reveal an awakening or are reminiscent of a particular emotion or idea. Whether it's a walk in a park or lakeside or a short jaunt I take from the roadside because of something I've seen, I usually let nature take the lead. And, hopefully, my looking captures nature's revelations. But my inherent or latent emotional state may be how I've "pictured" some of the images that I bring home.

Nature's presentations can take me through a gamut of emotional give and take. As in any conversation when one is truly listening and seeing the other, I think nature can be soothing and wondrous as well as declarative, argumentative and persuasive. While many human emotions range from subtle to aggravating shifts from the norm, oftentimes there is no mistaking nature's message when, for example, her waters turn unnatural colors from pollution."

Freitag: "Once your image is complete and you stand back and take it in, do you feel that you receive solace from that image or does it reinforce your fear?"

Delaney: "Once completed, there is a resonance, an understanding between myself and my image. Once an emotion is named, or in this case pictured, it is more understandable and manageable within my psyche. My images relating to the emotional fear of  Covid19 do not necessarily reduce or reinforce my fear. But as the Covid cases climb and as we learned this week that 1 in 500 Americans have died from coronavirus since the first reported infection in the US, the images seem to me to be more metaphorically true, more weighty and more revelatory about the pandemic era in which we are living. It is the escalation of Covid cases, not the image, that reinforces the fear."

Chel Delaney says, "Images and titles in my series "Variant Cycle" are inspired by William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming."

Yeats wrote the poem in the aftermath of the First World War and while his wife recovered from the "flu" just more than a hundred years ago as the 1918-1919 pandemic subsided.

Likewise, my images reflect some of my uneasiness and apprehension during this period of "opening up" and amidst the promise of vaccines to fend off Covid 19.
Afterall, Pfizer said earlier this year its vaccine is only eighty-eight percent effective against the latest variant, Delta. 
So, is this recovery truly real? 

Or, will we end up like deer at the feeder – only to be hunted. Shot dead later by some new variant of the coronavirus. 

As Yeats wrote: "the centre cannot hold." 
The titles of the images are also to be read as a short poem."

Variant Cycle
"Vexxed to nightmare"
bound by uncertainty
the game of corn
may lead to spoils

Chel Delaney is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she studied English Literature. Her photographic-based art practice evolves out of her work as a print reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines.