“The Unchosen Ones” takes place on the sidelines of county fair animal contests in Minnesota in 2016. These county fairs lead up to the Minnesota State Fair, one of the largest and best attended expositions in the world.One is not born a winner or loser, but a chooser. That is the theme I explore in this series.As we look at the animals, they look back, allowing us to think about how we choose winners and the repercussions for those not chosen.This project consists of over 60 portraits made at ten Minnesota county fairs in 2016. The photographs showcase the subjects facing the camera, allowing the viewer to decide what connects and distinguishes these subjects.
R. J. Kern is a photographer whose work explores animal portraiture as it relates to ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place. R. J. is the recipient of a 2016 Artist Initiative Grant awarded by the Minnesota State Arts Board. His work is represented by Gallery 360 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Ecce Gallery in Fargo, North Dakota.