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we like small things v.5

juried by Jan Christian Bernabe

Filter Photo is pleased to present we like small things v.5, our annual small works exhibition, juried by Jan Christian Bernabe

Juror's Statement

Many who submitted photographs placed the pandemic as the top reason that shook them to find outlets for creative expression; it made them think of life's fleetingness, or it helped them see the promises of documenting life around them using photography. If not the pandemic, other questions, and experiences, however mundane or weighty, influenced people’s photographic practices. Before my review, the idea of looking at many photographs inspired by different styles, techniques, and visions daunted while also excited me. Judging work is highly subjective—and daunting! But I felt excited because this exhibition suggests that photography continues to be as relevant and profound as it was when those early photography pioneers in the 19th century ushered in global modernity (for better or worse). Whether photographers use digital technologies for image making or continue to develop their work using age-old techniques (or all the above), photography is not dead, contrary to the sentiments of many analog purists. And, photography is art, contrary to the feelings of many “fine art” collectors.

For this edition of "we like small things," I have selected photographs that left me smiling, wondering about photographic processes, philosophizing to myself about the ontology of photography, or wanting to escape into the fantastical environments pictured inside the frames. The short of it is: the images left me wanting to see more from the photographs that I selected. Only after I chose a certain number had I realized that certain genres or subject matter were left out of my final selections. Their lack of representation does not mean that, for example, documentary, landscape, or portrait photography are any less important or relevant than the kind of images I selected. The lack of representation of certain genres of photographs might stand as a call for those who practice inside these photographic genres to innovate or experiment. I encourage photographers to strive to produce images that are less predictable and less referential to other photographers in the canon. I also encourage photographers to strive to leave their photographic mark, to create images that are distinctly theirs.

Featured Artists

Jane Fulton Alt

Laurel Anderson

Jennifer Bacon

Alice Becker

Amber  Bernard

Milan Bobysud

Todd Bradley

Dillon Bryant

Kaliisa Conlon

Eli Craven


Anastasia Davis

Mary Defer

Tielin Ding

Kyle Dong

Ursula Ferrara

Richard Greene

Kylee Isom

Hillary Johnson

Nadine Levin

Kevin Lyle

Jeff Rothstein

Steve Saunders

Sara Silks

John Unwin

Kelda Van Patten

Inaara Vishnani

Veronica Woodward

Ivan  Yu

About the Juror

Jan Christian Bernabe is the Gallery Director and Founder of FLXST Contemporary and Fracas Gallery. FLXST Contemporary is a contemporary art space and incubator in the South Loop (specifically the Motor Row district) focused chiefly on contemporary emerging diasporic and immigrant artists, artists of color, and LGBTQ-identified artists. Opened in December 2022 in Pilsen, Fracas Gallery shows artists and photographers who create work that disrupts and advances the possibilities of their chosen medium(s). Jan is also an educator, scholar, curator, arts & culture critic, and writer.

On View: September 9th – October 22nd, 2022

Location: Filter Space | 1821 W Hubbard St, Suite 207

This exhibition was partially sponsored by The Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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