Whether working with fashion or portraiture Jason Mahshie describes himself as a collaborator with his subjects. Using the waist level viewfinder of a Rolleiflex, Mahshie works to communicate the special relationship between himself and his subject. The portfolio of black and white portraits from the New York State Fair, begun in 1986, are gentle introductions to various fair vendors who have set aside their sales pitch to share a minute off guard. Mahshie always makes eye contact with the people he photographs and the respectful distance he gives leaves room enough to contemplate our own extemporaneous attitudes and defenses about social values and outward appearances. In his portraits Mahshie finds the rare moment when tenderness and heroism surface at the same time.
Mahshie is a freelance photographer, his new personal work explores the 'unique reality of the pinhole camera', and his award will go towards that pursuit.
Gina Murtagh (c)1990