Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I try to be discriminating in regard to which shows or contests I apply to. I pay close attention to the juror, the venue, and any potential prizes involved, especially if those prizes include publication. I look at what artists have entered in previous years and what they are doing now. If I recognize a slew of artists who I respect, I take that as a sign that it's worthwhile. I know on some level that all exposure is good exposure, but sometimes it's not worth all of the cost to have your photo hang on the wall of some anonymous gallery where it won't be seen by many people. Simply the reward of getting into an exhibition isn't always enough of a draw. After paying an entry fee ranging from $30 to $80, or sometimes more, getting accepted into a show is exciting but often brings with it a price tag of several hundred dollars once you account for printing, framing, and shipping costs.
That being said, my stack of pre-screened calls for entry is STILL quite high, and I am faced with the decision of which ones are worth the fee and the energy. I tend to feel like I might be missing a potential opportunity if I don't apply for everything that seems relevant, but I also think that I (and presumably other artists trying to make a name for themselves) can get caught up in all of the exhibiting and promoting. In all of this hustle and bustle, it is not often stated that sometimes it is best to hang low and focus on making your work. Artists can't be focused only on the exhibiting side of things (I sure can't, anyway), and it is nice to be reminded that at the essence of it all, it is about making pictures that are meaningful, which isn't always easy and often requires a great deal of thought, energy, and time.
Don't get me wrong- I have several contests, grants, exhibitions, and residencies on my list of "to apply for"- each one dutifully written on a sticky note and placed on the wall above my desk. But I am also learning to strike a balance between the excitement of promoting my work with the quieter, more internal (though equally exciting) process of making images that I am passionate about.
I'm looking forward to a day in the darkroom today to print some new work.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I could never say enough good things about David's photographs. I first discovered his work while studying with him at MassArt, and his images struck a chord within me and have been an inspiration ever since. His images capture a beautiful sense of humanity and all of its emotions, ranging from desire to longing to sadness to joy. They quietly capture experiences of the everyday, simultaneously expressing a sense of the commonplace with a sense of the profound.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I am honored and delighted that Aline Smithson featured my series A Place so as to Stay on her blog Lenscratch. It is quite a treat to see my work featured on such a wonderful blog.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I'll be sending two images from my newest body of work, A Place so as to Stay, and I'm really looking forward to exhibiting these works full-size and seeing them on the wall. While I am nearly two years into this body of work, I am just beginning to make enlargements and see the images as I intended, in 3 separate 16" x 20" panels. Full size, the images come alive, and I can see all of the details I fell in love with in the first place.
Here's a little bit of the backstory for each image below:
Greg in his Cigar Shop, Little Rock, Arkansas, 2008
Anyhow, back to the photo: last time I was in town, I called Greg and asked if I could make a photograph of him, and he generously agreed. As familiar as I am with this place, I was nervous- the dynamics change when you walk in with a 4" x 5." I should have known, though, that this was exactly the place for me and my wooden Wista. I photographed Greg in his walk-in humidor, halfway smoked cigar in hand, a smile on his face. I normally don't go for smiles, but with Greg it was so genuine I couldn't resist. I fell in love with his patterned shirt, his wonderful grey hair and beard, and his absolute commitment and dedication to being a cigar smoker and the lifestyle that accompanies it. That dedication and embodiment is what this project is all about. After I photographed him, we sat and talked for a long while, creating one of the best memories I have in that little cigar shop. I sent him a copy of the photo (via my dad) and I heard he put it up in the shop. I can't wait to go back and see.
Ted and Virginia, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009
This photo of Ted and Virginia was taken at the Fogg Art Museum in 2009, a year after the building had closed to the public and shortly before the building was vacated by the staff. Ted is the Curator of American Art and Virginia is the Assistant Curator of American Art. In 2008 and 2009, I completed a series of photographs called A Moment Collected: Photographs at the Harvard Art Museum which included portraits of 37 staff members and approximately 50 still life images from throughout the museum. For most of my potraits, I approached people individually and asked to take their picture. Towards the end of the project, Ted approached me and asked if I would take a photograph of him and Virginia in their office, a wonderful little nook full of books up on the third floor, as a way to remember their time and space at the Fogg before the building was renovated.
Books are integral to any curator's work, but Ted is known for his massive collection of books. I decided to take a triptych of them reading, in addition to individual portraits which I used for the series and for my graduate thesis, and loved the way it came out. Though it was originally intended to be a part of the Fogg series, I moved it into A Place so as to Stay because it so perfectly fit the essence I was trying to capture. It was interesting when choosing which panels to include. During the exposure, I photographed both Ted and Virginia reading their book and looking at me. I toyed with having both of them look at me, which felt too posed, and also with having Ted look at me and Virginia looking at her book, which felt too male-dominant, somehow. I eventually chose to have Virginia looking at me (or the viewer) and Ted reading his book, which worked visually but also emotionally, capturing the essence of who I know these people to be.
It is amazing to me how quickly this image has become a memory of the past, with this office no longer existing. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to photograph these amazing people who are both wonderful scholars and interesting characters. It is a reminder that exciting pictures come sometimes when you least expect them to, or out of the spaces and experiences that seem so everyday.
I am looking forward to seeing these two images on the wall in Chicago!
Information about the show from the Schneider Gallery website:
Portrait Group Show
May 14 - July 3, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, May 14
5:00 - 7:30 pm
The Schneider Gallery is pleased to present the work of four young artists, Jowhara AlSaud, Jess T. Dugan, Jennifer Greenburg, and Ursula Sokolowska. These exceptional women photographers all explore the power of the portrait.
The portrait is personal, and when effective, goes beyond depiction- it commands presence, it reveals the quality and character of the sitter. The portraits by AlSaud, Dugan, Greenburg, and Sokolowska allow us the unique pleasure to do more than look but to engage a world that we may otherwise not feel invited into. Each artist captures their subject with such ease and grace that we too feel to have an intimate relation with them. We do not see as a voyeur, rather as friend, confidant, or equal. We are welcomed to comfortably wander, even inhabit the frame.
Saudi Arabian artist Jowhara AlSaud works with purpose. She begins with images of daily life- snapshots of family and friends- and works subtractively, scratching into the emulsion of the negative itself. Through elimination she employs a visual language that reacts directly to the process of censorship.
Jess T. Dugan takes interest in identity and self definition. She explores how activities, collections, and place act as mirror to the self. Dugan both asks and answers the question- how are our passions, interests, and pursuits reflected in the environments we inhabit. A seemingly simple question is handled with sincerity, delight, and insight into the figures and the spaces illuminated.
Jennifer Greenburg explores the subculture of the American Rockabilly in frames that inherently have documentary quality, but work beyond the limits of the genre. The Rockabillies live within the parameters of mid-twentieth century America. Judgment, critique, and skepticism of those living this adopted lifestyle fall away; our engagement with the figures is both personal and direct.
Ursula Sokolowska’s latest work is subtle yet weighty. No removal exists between the viewer and subject. The immediacy and rawness of the individuals depicted allows for an instant contact with the space, charac-ter, and subsequent narrative. If we were not allowed to hide ourselves in shadow our meeting with the figures would almost be abrupt.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
I'm excited to attend the MassArt's Annual Benefit Auction this Saturday. My image, Roxane, is one of the pieces available for purchase. If you're in the area, check it out. There is a great line-up of work available every year, but this year in particular there are works by Triiibe, TT Baum and Michael Grohall, Laura McPhee, David Hilliard, Lalla Essaydi, Ambreen Butt, Claire Beckett, Barbara Bosworth, John Carleton, Tara Donovan, Yoav Horesh, Archy Lasalle, Nick Nixon, Adam Lampton, Alec Soth.... the list goes on and on. As usual, you can find the wonderful sculptures of Stephanie Chubbuck (which I always wish I could buy!) and tons of other great art.
The auction is the school's major fund-raising event of the year. This year, over 300 nationally and internationally renowned artists will participate in the auction, including many of our distinguished alumni, faculty, staff, graduating seniors, and master's degree candidates.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Live Auction will begin at 8:00 p.m. with auctioneer Karen Keane, CEO Skinner, Inc. The Silent Auctions remain open throughout the evening.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
In the 1960s, Diane Arbus (1923-1971) was used widely by publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Nova and The Sunday Times Magazine. Her extensive work for the Anglo-American press is relatively unknown, however, and Pierre Leguillon’s presentation is the first time it has been shown in this way: a printed retrospective in the form of some one hundred original magazine spreads.
The exhibition presents a broad material comprising hundreds of photos that demonstrate her wide variety of subjects and genres: photo journalism, celebrity shots, kids’ fashion and several photo essays. All Arbus’ photos are shown in their original social and political context, in the pages of original magazines. The images are shown as they were intended to be seen, in their intended format and setting and in relation to a text. Interspersed in this rich array of Arbus’ photographic output are various texts and images by other photographers (Walker Evans, Annie Leibovitz, Victor Burgin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Matthieu Laurette, Bill Owens) directly or indirectly referring to a specific part of Arbus’ oeuvre and thus emphasising its strong impact on her contemporary times and the present day.
The retrospective, which was put together by the French artist Pierre Leguillon and is presented as a work of art/exhibition/collection, also encourages us to reflect on these aspects and on the relationship between the original and the copy.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I can't believe it's already time for the second reception of Coupled!