Center for Creative Photography acquires COLLECTOR'S EDITION

The Center for Creative Photography (CCP) at the University of Arizona recently acquired a copy of the COLLECTOR'S EDITION of "The Sheep and the Goats" (ed 33/50)  for their permanent collection. The CCP is home to Ansel Adam's archive along with two of my mentors, Stuart Klipper and Wayne Gudmundson. I recently attended Mary Virginia Swanson's 2018 Masterclass and had a wonderful time (learn more on her blog here). During the workshop we met with Rebecca Senf, Chief Curator at CCP, and Terry Etherton and Daphne Srinivasan at the Etherton Gallery. These connections helped to facilitate the acquisition and I am extremely appreciative for their efforts.  


New Acquisition by the Plains Art Museum

I am excited to announce the Plains Art Museum has acquired the COLLECTOR'S EDITION: "The Sheep and the Goats" for the museum collection. I am excited that the public will now be able to enjoy the work, especially the kids where were featured in the book and in the National Geographic magazine! This creative collaboration feature the work of Karen Aakre who assisted with the one the rarest forms of Norwegian skinnfell wood block printing on the inside of the wool felt envelope, as well as the spun wool and mohair yarn and relics. You can learn more about Karen's effort in this wonderful video by WCCO-CBS >>


Book signing at Classic Photographs LA Art Fair

Join me for a book signing at the Classic Photographs Los Angeles Art Fair, February 3, 2018 from noon - 1 p.m. in the Klompching Gallery booth (G3, #30), located at the Bergamot Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA. I will have several COLLECTOR'S EDITIONS of "The Sheep and the Goats" with me (currently, 17/50 remaining). See you there!


Now represented by Klompching Gallery in NY

Ringing in 2018 with some news: I'm excited and honored to announce representation by the Klompching Gallery in New York. Debra Klomp Ching and Darren Ching run a extraordinary gallery in Brooklyn and feature a roster of talented artists showcasing some of the best examples of contemporary photography. I'm delighted to work with them!


My work will be featured in the Klompching booth at Classic Photographs LA February 2-4, 2018.

I will be signing books and offering the COLLECTOR'S EDITION in the booth on February 3 from noon - 1 p.m.



David Walker shares my journey in the January 2018 issue of PDN in his article, "R. J. Kern Segues from Weddings to Fine Art." He highlights the importance of mentors such as David Hobby, Joe McNally, Stuart Klipper, David Bram, and Martine Fougeron. Thank you, Mr. Walker!

CLICK HERE to read the article online >>

 Featured in Photo District News, January 2018. Featured photographs include "Attack of the Clones" created in Germany and "Mr. Hofsos" created in Iceland.

Featured in Photo District News, January 2018. Featured photographs include "Attack of the Clones" created in Germany and "Mr. Hofsos" created in Iceland.

Santa Fe New Mexican feature


He writes, "First-place recipient of the Curator’s Choice Award, U.S. photographer R.J. Kern, offers a glimpse into a small subset of society in his series The Unchosen Ones, featuring the children and young adults from farming families who participate in animal contests at Minnesota county fairs, showing off their prized sheep and goats. Kern’s subjects are not the winners at these fairs. They are the losers, whose animals, which have names like Annabell, Hootie, and Doolittle, won no ribbons. In this context, the images seem to take on a deeper resonance, perhaps reflecting the dwindling lifeways of small, family-owned farms in the age of industrial agriculture, a way of life where strong bonds between children and animals may still be of some value. Although a few of Kern’s subjects appear disheartened, there is a sense of pride that comes through several portraits, which transcend categories such as “winner” and “loser.” Kern’s photographs reflect the subjects’ essential characters, deeming them all worthy of attention."

National Portrait Gallery catalogue

The folks at the National Portrait Gallery Publications did a great job designing and printing Taylor Wessig catalogue, or as we say it in the US, "catalog!" Excited to make the trip across the pond to London and see the show with my brother in February 2018!

 "Anna and Helen, Blue Earth County Fair, Minnesota, 2016" published in the National Portrait Gallery catalogue.  

"Anna and Helen, Blue Earth County Fair, Minnesota, 2016" published in the National Portrait Gallery catalogue.  

CENTER Choice Award Winner, Curator’s Choice (FIRST PLACE)

I’m honored and humbled to have been chosen as the recipient of CENTER’s Curator’s Choice Award (First Place) juried by Corey Keller, Curator of Photography, SF Museum of Modern Art for my fine-art project, The Unchosen Ones. I’d like to thank the juror, Corey Kelly, and the Executive Director of CENTER, Laura Pressley, and the staff at CENTER for their support of the arts. Over 500 artists submitted work for consideration, many of which “didn’t win,” but deserve equal acknowledgement.


Corey Kelly’s juror statement reads (full text here):

I chose R.J. Kern as the first place winner, a series of posed portraits of children and their non-prize-winning goats. The question of what it means to be a victor certainly had new resonance this year, but for me the issues of winning or losing were far less pressing than the sensitivity of the portraits, both of the children and of the animals (two subjects notoriously difficult to photograph) and most essentially of their relationship to one another. The simple conceit of a uniform backdrop called attention to the act of photographing and also highlighted the differences in scale, attitude, and pose among the sitters, both human and hircine. I found the project beautifully seen and surprisingly tender.

RPS Journal and Silver Award

I received my Oct 2017 issue of the Royal Photographic Society Journal (Oct 2017) today featuring my work along with a embossed certificate and medal (a real silver medal!!!). The RPS Journal has been published since 1853 and is the oldest continuously published photographic periodical in the world... such a rich tradition. Thank you jurors and the folks at RPS!


Renaissance Photography Prize 2017 (Finalist)

The Unchosen Ones project is a Finalist in the Renaissance Photography Prize 2017, juried by Clare Grafik, Dewi Lewis, Fiona Rogers, Fiona Shields, Gem Fletcher, Marloes Krijnen, Melissa DeWitt, and Simon Roberts and will be exhibited at the Getty Images Gallery, London, England then will travel in 2018 to the following venues:

January 27 – March 10, 2018 Aberystwyth Arts Centre,
April 28 – June 9, 2018. The Civic, Barnsley,

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IPE Silver Award from the Royal Photographic Society

I’m honored my work from the series "The Unchosen Ones" garnered a Silver Award from the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) International Photography Exhibition, now touring around the UK. I thank RPS for their support!

Four award winners were been selected from thousands of entries from across the world by the panel: Karin Bareman, Curatorial Project Manager for Autograph ABP;Zelda Cheatle curator, editor, lecturer and consultant in photography; Ingrid Pollard, photographer, media artist and researcher; and photographers and former IPE exhibitors Abbie Trayler-Smith and Sian Davey .

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Held since 1854, the RPS hosts the longest running exhibition of its kind. Pictured is the exhibition at The Old Truman Brewery, London as part of Photoblock, a collection of exhibitions celebrating the best in contemporary and traditional photography.

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The award-winning images will also be exhibited in a group show at theprintspace gallery, London, in 2018.