L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' FIRST PLACE: JO ANN CHAUS 'Slip' (Click on image for larger view)
(Click on image for larger view)

Review by curator Laurie Freitag:
"Slip' by Jo Ann Chaus didn't immediately jump out at me but something called to me and I came back to the image. There was something disturbing about the image and being that this process of choosing is so subjective I let it flow over me.

The longer I looked at the image the more I saw. There is sadness in this self-portrait...and defeat. The disturbing part is what seems like a concession of defeat. Perhaps a giving-up.

The slip has fallen off of the subject's shoulder and it's as if that action is fine with the subject. The face is expressionless, perhaps a mask for what is really happening inside. 

The subject seems androgynous. There is an uncertainty of gender and I became further interested in the story.

The side view implies a breast with the suntan lines highlighting the covered area. Is this subject transgender? Is this subject trapped in a body that doesn't fit them? Are there struggle issues of conforming with standards of accepted forms of female beauty? There is alot going on here. The hat with feathers going every which way; a metaphor for doing the right thing, appearing the right way?

What about the pink trees in the background? In the subject's bird-like hat, what tree do they fly to? The subject stands; isolated, separate from the tree. There is lonliness though birds of a feather flock together. The choice to be separate from the flock, turning sideways, perhaps no one will notice?

A fascinating image Jo Ann!

I found that the more I viewed this image the more I wanted to know. The title 'Slip' seems to say a lot metaphorically as well as literally. I can easily create my own story in looking at the image. Can you tell me a little bit about the story you wanted to tell?"

Jo Ann Chaus says, "
This image, Slip,  is from a larger body of work, predominantly self portraits, where I assume the role of either a version of myself or a persona I've conjured up when I stepped into the costume and setting.  I am expressing an unsettled state this woman's found herself in,  either before or after an event.  It is unclear, purposely; it is open to interpretation. 
Am I talking about a woman as an object of desire? The incongruent feelings she has about  where she's found herself with where she thought she'd be, or like to be?  
The masks we put on to step out into public spaces?  Melancholy?  These are universal, gender fluid, human issues.  
We are all vulnerable to them if we dare to be open and honest about the darker places we visit over time."

Freitag asks, "I'm always interested in the
power of an image & the life it takes on. Conceiving it is one thing but what happens after it's done. Once you have breathed life into it, did it  bring up feelings that
you hadn't planned on?"

Chaus says, "Yes, most definitely. Making a self portrait, untethered is a very interesting experience.  You don't know what you're getting straight away.  Some of the images I make frighten me, as I am summoning up some dark places and expressions; I am often surprised  at the intensity of the expression, but happy with it just the same."

Additional review by curator Douglas Stockdale: "Regarding the photograph by Jo Ann Chaus; An intriguing portrait that raises more than enough questions; why the down-turned mouth and sad appearing expression? As a self-portrait, what condition is she trying to inform us of? Is this photograph meant to provide visual clues as to a specific personal narrative? The forward gaze of the subject appears stoic and intense. Why a festive appearing formal hat with veil worn in contradiction to subject's casual worn and semi-concealing clothing appearance? 

The combination of these conflicting elements creates a challenging photograph to understand, which draws the viewer in to want to know more.

Best regards,
Douglas Stockdale


Jo Ann Chaus says, "In this body of work I stand before the camera as a female character inspired by personal and collective memories; in each scene, the subject seems to be in some state of conflict. The props and garments belonged to women I have known, or might have known, creating a metaphorical bridge between them and me, past and present.

The performances give me license to express the struggles, the searching and the heaviness that comes with being an adult, a wife, a mother, a woman.  Assembling the costumes and the "act" of dressing  up connects to the child within, unburdened, with complete freedom to play, imagine and create."

Jo Ann is from and based in the New York area, with a background in the fashion industry and a passion for making color images that are layered, provocative, ambiguous and psychological in nature. She has self published her first monograph, Sweetie & Hansom, a seven year project about the relationship  within and between her family of origin, the sudden death of her younger brother who suffered with addiction, the effect of the loss on the family, and the confessions of secrets long suppressed. 

Her follow up body largely of work of self portraits, soon to be published
as The Other Side of Hazel, looks at her relationship with herself, the girl/child/adult, wife, mother and woman.  She is an alumni of two one-year programs at ICP, 2013 and 2017.


Acceptance and attendance at two juried portfolio reviews, Center Santa Fe, 2016 and CLICK!, 2018.
Jurors Choice at SXSE portfolio call for entry.
Nine images in the Personal Project at the Darkroom Gallery, Burlington VT.
Lucie 2017 Honorable Mention, catalog/book category.