2017 Winners - Nancy Floyd
The purpose of the Aperture Portfolio Prize is to identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition. When choosing the first-prize winner and runners-up, Aperture’s editorial and curatorial staff look for innovative bodies of work that haven’t been widely seen in major publications or exhibition venues.
For more information about the Aperture Portfolio Prize, please visit aperture.org/portfolio-prize.
“As time passes, births, deaths, celebrations, and bad days come and go; all the while, the American experience evolves,” writes Nancy Floyd of her thirty years of self-portraits (over 2,500 images), archived in her series Weathering Time. If Floyd’s self-portraits are selfies, it is not as we recognize the term today. Begun before the realm of social media and camera phones, these photographs show the signs of progression in technology, fashion, and Floyd herself with nuanced simplicity. Familial figures appear and disappear, while Floyd—who is visual evidence of change and the evolving American experience—remains a constant variable.
For all that Floyd shows of herself, it is the absences that resonate the most. Every day that she fails to take a self-portrait, she advances the roll—creating black frames. Displayed in contact-sheet form, as in The Month Dad Died, the series pulls away from her day-to-day life and focuses on universal life experiences. People move, parents pass away, and we all grow old eventually.
This is literally Floyd’s life’s work, and the immutable photographs hardly give way to the ever-changing world that remains so indifferent to her. In the first photograph of the triptych Jimmy ca. 1960/1968/2008, she stands with her family, while the second reveals a young man alone with a gun; the final image shows Floyd standing in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial alone, presumably honoring Jimmy. This series serves as a deeply personal tribute to memory while at the same time providing a public archive of life between 1982 and present day. The haircuts and shoes may be different, but the struggles against oppression, for representation, and against time endure.
About Nancy Floyd:
Nancy Floyd (b. 1956, Monticello, Minnesota) has been an exhibiting artist for over thirty years. She has received numerous grants and awards including a 2016 CUE Art Foundation Fellowship, a 2015 Society for Photographic Education Future Focus Project Support Grant, and a 2014 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Award. Temple University Press published her first book, She’s Got a Gun, in 2008. Floyd’s work has been exhibited in numerous venues including Solomon Projects, Atlanta; Flux Projects, Atlanta; the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center; White Columns, New York; and the California Museum of Photography, Riverside. Since 2009, her work has been part of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art archive, Brooklyn Museum. In 2017 Floyd will have solo exhibitions of her current project, Weathering Time, at Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, and the CUE Art Foundation gallery in New York City. Floyd holds an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. She lives in Atlanta and serves as professor of photography in the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University.