by Patrick James Errington
Featured Photographer: Jerriod Avant
When it comes to judging photography, I often find myself considering it similarly to the way in which I consider short poetry. It’s as much about suggesting as it is about showing. All fine art, I suppose, can be seen this way. Each painting, photograph, sculpture, poem, is a sort of connect-the-dots exercise in narrative and meaning-making.
It is obvious from his photographs that Jerriod Avant is a poet (he is a current MFA student in poetry at NYU). He sees the world as many suggested narratives and each image he captures is an essential moment of that narrative. I suppose that’s what separates good photography from great photography: choosing a moment that is not merely indicative of a narrative, but that is in some way crucial to it.
Avant captures moments of change: the crystalline moment just after rain, the minute of calm after a long busy day. Unlike other fine arts which build moments from hours of work, photography requires waiting, the patience to wander or await that instant that represents so much more.
Of course, it takes more than just finding that moment. And herein lies the craft of photography. Avant composes his shots with the care of a jeweller, arranging the facets to capture the perfect light, color, and tone. The weight in the images is perfectly, delicately, balanced, suggesting movement yet with all the care of still-life (sometimes you almost wonder if his subjects were posed deliberately).
There is, in these images, a beauty that borders nostalgia. These pictures take on the qualities of memory: pristine, yet somehow malleable to the imagination. I just wish my memories were half as stunning as these.
A. H. Jerriod Avant is a native of Longtown, Mississippi. A graduate of Jackson State University, he was selected to participate in Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop in 2012 and 2013 at Brown University in Providence RI. A 2013 Pushcart nominee, his poems have appeared in The Louisville Review, PLUCK!, A Narrow Fellow, The Rumpus, Callaloo, Pinwheel, H_NGM_N and are forthcoming from Lumberyard and Madcap Review. Jerriod is currently an M.F.A. candidate and Writer in the Public Schools Fellow at New York University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.