Edition 7 of 20 currently available


UPDATE: The Minnesota Historical Society (August 2019), the Leepa Rattner Museum of Art (June 2019), The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (April 2018), The Museum of Fine Arts, St Petersburg (Sept 2018), and the Griffin Museum of Photography (Nov 2018) have acquired the COLLECTOR'S EDITION of The Unchosen Ones for their permanent collection.

The Unchosen Ones artist book and COLLECTOR'S EDITION

The Unchosen Ones takes place on the sidelines of Minnesota county fair animal contests. These county fairs lead up to the Minnesota State Fair, one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world. The project consists of over 65 portraits made at 10 Minnesota county fairs in 2016. The photographs showcase the subject facing the camera, allowing the viewer to decide what connects and distinguishes these subjects. With a serial and systematic approach, the human condition is exposed in real-time.

The Artist Book Edition includes essays by independent curator Alison Nordström, PhD and Joe Scapanski, Minnesota State Fair Board of Managers. Designed by Matthew Steaffens. Publisher: Author. 2018. Softcover, unbound. 12.5 x 15.5 inches (31.6 x 39.4 cm). 76 pages, 65 color illustrations. Printed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. First Edition, 200 copies. Retail price: US $50.


  • SIGNED Limited Edition, archival inkjet PRINT on archival paper (11 x 14 inches) from a choice of two images (1/10)

  • 20 numbered copies + 4APs

  • Clothbound, embossed clamshell box created in collaboration with Keith Taylor

  • Custom “The Unchosen Ones" rosette ribbon, inscribed by artist

  • Hand-signed book, “The Unchosen Ones"

  • Includes all Artist Book Edition details

  • Made in Minnesota, USA

$925 per set for copies 6 - 10 (second tier pricing). Third tier pricing goes into effect edition 11- 15. Pricing to increase as edition sells out.




Custom purple ribbon, inscribed by artist on the back, and may be removed for viewing from the print folio.



Included in the COLLECTOR'S EDITION is custom print folio containing a signed, limited-edition print (11 x 14 inches) from a choice of two images (edition 10+2AP). 

Images to choose from include: "Ken the Judge, West Otter Tail County Fair" (left) and "Josh the Judge, Isanti County Fair" (right).

"Ken the Judge, West Otter Tail County Fair" ( left ) and "Josh the Judge, Isanti County Fair" ( right ).

"Ken the Judge, West Otter Tail County Fair" (left) and "Josh the Judge, Isanti County Fair" (right).



This critically-acclaimed series of work has been exhibited and published internationally. Honors include:

  • First Place, CENTER Curator’s Choice Award juried by Corey Keller, Curator of Photography, SF Museum of Modern Art, 2017

  • Critical Mass “Top 50”, Photolucida, Portland, OR, 2018

  • Second Place, 2017 International Juried Exhibition, juried by Philip Brookman, Consulting Curator, National Galley of Art, Washington, DC

  • Silver Medal, The Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography Exhibition 160, London, England, 2017

  • Finalist, Renaissance Photography Prize 2017, London, England

  • Honorable Mention Photography, Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, juried by Areca Roe, St Paul, MN, 2018

  • First Place Photography, Arts in Harmony International Juried Art Show, Blaine, MN, 2018

  • Award of Excellence, Communication Arts 2018 Photo Annual, 2018

  • "Great State of Minnesota Award" by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, 2018

  • Second Place, 6th Open Call, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Juror Aline Smithson, 2019

  • First Place, San Francisco Bay International Photography Competition and Exhibition, juried by Elizabeth Avedon, Julie Grahame, Ann M. Jastrab, and David Garnick, 2019

  • Honorable Mention, 56th Annual Juried Competition Exhibition, Masur Museum of Art, Juror Catherine Futter, 2019


These curatorial traditions form the backbone of photographic art. I am proud to be apart of these exhibitions:

  • Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017, National Portrait Gallery, London, England.

  • The FENCE: A Public Photography Exhibition Series, United Photo Industries in Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; Santa Fe, NM; Durham, NC; Denver, CO, 2017

  • Americana, juried by Darren Ching, Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO, 2017

  • Rokko Photographic Garden, curated by Takeki Sugiyama, exhibited in Kobe, Japan, 2018

  • Allegany National Photographic Exhibition, juried by Karen Irvine (Chief Curator and Deputy Director; Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago), Cumberland, MD, 2018

  • Yixian International Photography Festival, curated by Guo Jing, Anhui, China, 2018

  • First Annual Photobook Juried Exhibition, juried by Mary Virginia Swanson, Alice Whiteside, and Dave Wofford, 2018

  • 56th Annual Juried Competition Exhibition, juried by Catherine Futter (Director of Curatorial Affairs, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art), 2019

  • States of Becoming, Ninth Annual International Juried Exhibition juried by Carrie Dedon, (Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Seattle Art Museum), 2019

  • Photowork 2019: 32nd Annual National Juried Photography Exhibition juried by James A. Ganz (Senior Curator of Photography, J. Paul Getty Museum), 2019

  • 6th Open Call juried by Aline Smithson, Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Providence, RI, 2019

  • Triangulate, curated by Nathan Beard, Eivind Natvig, and Kirk Ke Wang, Lofoten International Photo Festival, 2019

  • Arts North, juried by Curt Pederson, The American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 2019

  • 56th Annual Juried Competition Exhibition, juried by Catherine Futter (Director of Curatorial Affairs, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art), Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA

  • San Francisco Bay International Photography Exhibition, juried by Elizabeth Avedon, Julie Grahame, Ann M. Jastrab, and David Garnick, ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA, 2019

  • Brand 47 Annual National Juried Exhibition of Works on Paper, juried by Alma Ruiz, Brand Library and Art Center, Glendale, CA, 2019

In addition, the work has been featured in National Geographic, the BBC, PBS, PDN, and the Royal Photographic Society Journal.

"The Unchosen Ones" was awarded the  Communication Arts  Photo Annual 2018 Award of Excellence.

"The Unchosen Ones" was awarded the Communication Arts Photo Annual 2018 Award of Excellence.


COLLECTOR'S EDITION: "The Unchosen Ones"
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"The Unchosen Ones" artist book (signed)
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Essay Excerpt by Alison Nordström, PhD:

The Unchosen Ones demonstrates the value and impact of a focused and clearly conceptualized photographic project, operating, as it does, within a narrow range of time, formal considerations, and photographic tropes.


The Unchosen Ones stands, to be sure, as a document of these subjects, and of specific hot summer afternoons in Minnesota; I have no doubt that a hundred years from now viewers of these photographs will marvel at their truth, and greedily consume every fact and detail. This is what documentary photography is intended to do, but the best documentary, as this work is, transcends the specificity of time and place. In the language of actuality, Kern has preserved decisive moments in photography that are also universal human moments. Youth is fleeting. Disappointment is inevitable. Love endures. We carry on. 

– Excerpt from the essay, Why Photograph Animals, by Alison Nordström, PhD, independent scholar, curator, and writer