Photographer John Chervinsky
, whose work explored the concept of time, passed away in December of 2015, following a typically resolute battle with pancreatic cancer. The modesty and unassuming character John conveyed in life belies the extent to which he will be missed, not only by his family and friends, but also by the entire photographic community of which he was so proud to be a part.
The John Chervinsky Emerging Photographer Scholarship was announced in June 2016 to recognize, encourage and reward photographers with the potential to create a body of work and sustain solo exhibitions. Awarded annually, the Scholarship provides recipients with a monetary award, an exhibition of their work at the Griffin Museum of Photography, and a volume from John's personal library of photography books. The Scholarship seeks to provide a watershed moment in the professional lives of emerging photographers, providing them with the support and encouragement necessary to develop, articulate and grow their own vision for photography.
The fifth year in 2020, 100 photographers submitted applications to be considered for the scholarship. After much thought and consideration, the judges, who are past recipients of the scholarship, (Michelle Rogers-Pritzl
, Jennifer Georgescu
and Rachel Fein-Smolinski
chose Tavon Taylor
as the fifth recipient of the John Chervinsky Emerging Photographer Scholarship.
The jurors wanted to also acknowledge their shortlist as well:
We propose the opportunity to have a longer short-list so that we have a larger group of emerging artists who receive the encouragement of being short-listed for the award. As we discovered a larger pool of individuals who deserve to be finalists and have equally impressive work. We thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for more emerging artists to add this accolade to their CV's and receive the acknowledgement that their work deserves.
Alayna N. Pernell
The judges said, Tavon Taylor shows an already robust practice as a recent MFA recipient with a collection of rich, cinematic imagery. He presents a powerful voice that communicates the complexities and intimacies of the artists experience as a queer Black artist. A look at the larger bodies of work solidified the world that he has built where tenderness and vulnerability reign supreme. Kinship, intimacy, and community runs through this work and Taylor both stitches together and unties these concepts with each shared interaction between photographer and subject.
Tavon Taylor submitted The last Rose of Summer for consideration for the scholarship. Taylor says of the body of work:
The Last Rose of Summer was Inspired much by the injustice shown within the media in 2020. Over the last few months, I've focused on creating images of the people closest to me. I've started with single portraits of my loved ones, then I grew curious about photographs before my time. I came across a photo album stored deep within my childhood home. Full of ceremonies, the city, all the people I didn't know, and all the stories untold, the richness spilled through each image. This compelled me to dive more into my own family's history. Through stories from my elders and found images, I'm navigating ways to dissect my own family dynamics.
Tavon Taylor's Statement of Purpose:
Within the last few months, I've started my photo and video-based project, The Last Rose of Summer. In this body of work, I am discovering my family's history within the DC and Maryland areas. So far, I've done interviews, filed archived images, make images of my loved ones, photographed our surroundings, and more. There's so much that I'm thinking about and planning for the blossoming of this project. I'm excited to get to know more about my ancestry. I would love to be able to properly document the richness and depth that branches back far before myself. Through discovering and sharing my own lineage, I hope to create inspiring imagery celebrating the lives and legacy of those who've once walked this earth. In this process of discovering moments that have come before me, I am discovering myself. The last rose of summer gives me the chance to proudly and boldly take control of my own narrative as a queer black man navigating in today's social climate. In this process, I am celebrating the people in my family that I love and those that we've lost. In sharing these stories, with a larger audience, I hope to inspire people to value those closest to them.
A call for new submissions will occur on September 1, 2021.