Friday, December 28, 2007

mobile blogging

I'm on the train back from NYC. I just saw the new photography exhibit @ moma. My previous mentor, Tanyth Berkeley was in the show. I had seen her work at bellwither gallery last summer. The gallery show had a mix of very small 4x6 prints up to the large scale work shown at moma. The mix of large and small wa interesting to see together but I am drawn to her life-sized portraits. It is amazing how powerful they are when the scale of the viewer and the subject are the same. Watching the viewers interact with them became most unique when I saw a woman pose for a portrait with one of Tanyth's muses.I am thinking of people who are photographed with cardboard cutouts of famous people. These portraits at moma have now slipped into the tourist landscape of been there seen that. I'm curious to see how Tanyth feels about that. (Photo added later... if only I could do THAT from my phone)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Off the face of the Earth & Back

Yes, my wedding caused me to fall off of the face of the earth. I have now returned. There. I've done it. I was afraid to write a new post because the longer time between postings the more profound I thought the post needed to me. We'll I'm getting over it. I'm married. It was wonderful - truly beyond words. And now - I am working 40+ hours a week on school work to make-up for my time off. We'll see how it goes!
- Katie Ring

Thursday, October 4, 2007

ipod, progress & commitment

Wedding in 22 days... sanity level surprisingly 3 (on a scale of just fine to bridezilla)

I felt at though I was the only 25 year old Bostonian without an ipod. Well no longer. Luckily my sister bought a new mac, got a free ipod, and passed her old one along to me. How did I live without this beautiful little box before? Storing my music is great... but I didn't know it would sync with iCal to organize my life for me! As soon as verizon no longer owns my soul (Feb 22nd) then I'm switching and getting myself an iphone.

Today I did mange to accomplish more than my wonderful discovery of the ipod (just 5 years later than all of my friends). I have been sending messages to my facebook friends and 2 have written back. My photo project "the people I used to know" may get off the ground after all! I also did some more photographs at the Ring's home. Meaning I am continuing my homes project as well. How committed of me! ;)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"People I used to know"

I'm starting a portrait photography project called "People I used to know." We have a natural curiosity about those they've known in their lives. Now all we have to do is turn to the virtual world to learn about people from our past. I can find out where my old friends work, live, and even see recent photos of them! In fact there are many people that I am now virtual friends with. The most interesting thing is that many of my facebook/myspace "friends" are not people I would have considered friends when I knew them. We were acquaintances at best. So what are we so interested in each others lives that we "re-connect" now? Or is it a popularity contest is virtually display who has the most friends? I can't decide. Thought I've collected these friends I haven't sent them messages, just added them to my list (or they added me). I find our curiosity paired with technology to have created an amazing virtual network. I want to explore this in my work. I am going to change the dynamic by actually contacting these people I used to know.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

2 months later...

I haven't written in my blog in almost 2 months. This somehow reminds me of writing in a diary when I was in middle school. I would pick out the prettiest book, and find a nice pink pen to give it that extra "Katie" touch. Excited, I would write in it every day, or at least every few days. I was going to have the best diary ever. Maybe I'd even get to be one of those people who grew up and published their diaries! The ideas would start whirling around in my head. Then all the sudden the diary was at the bottom of a pile of things forgotten.

I tend to do this. It's not as if I never realized the tendency before, but no one has even pointed this out to me in such a matter-of-fact way. When I met with my mentor, Sandra, she said one thing that has continued to stick out in my mind. Something to the effect of "You have a idea and then start thinking of all the possibilities and soon it expands into something much bigger than it needs to be." This is so true. It's amazing that a woman I've met with just twice can see me so clearly. I DO do this! The problem is once the original thing has turned into the inflated idea with 500 possibilities then it becomes too daunting and impossible to continue. Often I abandon it all together.

So (also 2 months after meeting with my mentor) I am going to apply this self-realization to my everyday life. One step at a time. Walk before you run. Take a minute to breathe first. The thing that I do need to consider is that while I know this quality of mine can become negative it is this same aspect of my personality that has allowed me to do some of the things I have done. Start a wedding photography business right out of college, travel to India, begin planning a wedding and start work on my masters all in the same month...

Days until the wedding: 31
Days until my next paper is due: 5
Day I'm back from my honeymoon and need to re-focus: 11/5/07
Dates of upcoming wedding jobs: 12/1/07 & 12/31/07
Day of my next MFA residency: 1/5/08

Stop there - no more deadlines - even my lists start to inflate to more than I can handle. I have plans to write at least something in my blog again soon. See you tomorrow or next month - could be either!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

New colors

Welcome to the new Pink and Orange look. :)

I went camping this weekend. It was nice to not have to work. I also made some "arty" photos of myself and my friends.

I am thinking of taking this "look" and using it to photograph families. Maybe for a project I had in mind "the people that live there now." Portraits of people who now live in places that were once my home.

I would like to do these in a suburban house setting of a family. It would need to be a creative bunch willing to work with me - and it's obviously very posed. Kids with an ability to hold still would be nice... am I asking for too much now? I'm trying to decide the best way to find these models. I might start with people I know. Also maybe craigslist? Families of friends?

Also I met with a photographer I used to intern for on Friday, Jeff Stevensen. ( We talked about what I was doing now and he said "you may not realize it, but being a working photographer after graduating is a major success itself. So many get discouraged and go into something else." This was helpful insight to keep things in perspective for myself.
I tend to focus on what else I could be doing and hot to be MORE successful. He also things that my focus as a portrait photographer is perfect to work in the commercial market because it's one of the few things that clients will always need - current photographs a specific people. And you can't just "use stock." Something I hadn't really thought of - but a good point. We also talked about my marketing & branding (right now just focused on wedding photography). It's nice to hear what things other people are doing, and are not doing. All in all it seems as though, according to Jeff anyway, I'm on the right track. This is a good thing. Especially coming from working commercial photographer! I'm not sure what my career plan will be - but I do thing that commercial work will be a part of it. Maybe teaching as well. Art would be nice too - but seems like such a difficult way to make a living. Right now I'm just going to keep shooting Art and Weddings and hope the puzzle pieces fall into place and I continue to "make a living" with my camera.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Another reason to love Maine...

I forgot to list one of my favorite things about Maine - the photo workshops!

Brooke & I went there today so she could meet with her mentor. I visited a friend from college who is working there for the summer, John Barduhn. I also ran into Liz Schrenk, who is also in my program @ AIB. I also saw some friends from last summer that I didn't know were back. I had a great time just sitting at the lunch table talking to people. It's amazing how much you learn just sitting there & talking. For example I HATED aperture (the program) because it locks your photos up in the vault and I find that annoying. However - if I move the vault to a big external drive then I can use it without having it annoy me & take up all the hard drive space on my laptop. Simple fix suggested in a 2 minute chat on the program.

I also went to visit Tim Whelan's Bookstore.

(207) 236-4795

25 Main St
Rockport, ME 04856

If you find yourself in Rockport you MUST go! I bought a Harvey Stein book and Tim says "Isn't Harvey teaching here this summer?" And yes, of course he is! And yes, of course I'd like to take his workshop! Looks like I'm signing up again. After last summer how did I think I could stay away?

Other notes from Tim:
• Photographic Historical Society of New England (meetings & yearly photo show & sale Oct 6 & 7.)
• Look @ Vicky Goldberg's book: Light Matters

I'm moving back to MAINE!

Ok, so I'm not really moving back to Maine - but after one beautiful summer day up here I would like to. I just want to take pictures - ALL THE TIME - when I'm here. Point and case - look at the view out of my friend Brooke's window!

Also, I photographed a couple who decided to elope in Maine yesterday. Not only was the sunset more beautiful than any light I could have chosen myself - but they also looked like models! I almost feel like I should have been paying them. ;) It was just the two of them, myself & another witness & their officiant "the captain". Being way out on a rock overlooking the ocean, and all by ourselves, I felt a greater creative freedom than I ever have before at a wedding. I've been told (in school) to start making "my pictures" at weddings - but this time I really feel like they were all my pictures. Hopefully these photos will convince brides and grooms to always let me do a sunset portrait!

See more of Melissa & Mike on flickr:

Monday, July 30, 2007

2nd Residency Reaction

As asked for:

Overall - What do I need to do? Continue to figure out "who I am" as I make these huge personal changes I need to keep of with how I am changing as a photographer & artist. I need to push harder in my work. I make "good" photographs but I want to do something GREAT. Now is the time to really look at myself and my work. I need to take these observations and use them to make work that is not only personally fulfilling and "thesis worthy." To do this I need to be more of an active participant in my work rather than they stereotyped "voyeur" photographer. I need to build relationships with my subjects and direct them to make MY photographs. I also need to be thinking about how I present my work and how/which venues I would like it to be shown to the world.

My Observations about my own work:
• Fascination w/history – images of what has been
• My Fairgrounds photos were thought to be of the ‘fringes of society’
• I shoot things that are very AMERICAN with a history, fairs, racetracks, veterans…

Crits (other’s observations):

Deb Davidson
liked my 1st residency pairings
Sees heroic acts & celebrations of little heroes
Exchange between myself & subjects
Is there a narrative? Add text?
What is the end product? Think about it while I’m working.
Have a vision
Engage more with my subjects they still look hesitant
Bring different tools into my space (ladder, lay on the floor)
Create narrative (fiction or non-fiction)
Be a director

Sees a potential for exploitation
Bring more than sentiment (not removed but acknowledged)
Kissing couple engagement shot - is it art because they aren’t ‘models’
Show the truth even if it’s ugly
Who are the photos for

I need to narrow my focus
Marginalized people?
Veterans – too narrow
Generations / non-generational
Power Issues… I have the camera

Social Portraiture: Any photographer who shoots people they don’t know
Transfer power/authorship of photographer to the subject
See a show @ lightwork (Syracuse, NY) about returning Iraq vets

Fix artist statement – reference work
Focal length & composition similar
Am I out of my comfort zone?
“Bring me images that make me sick”

Likes my impulses to find subculture but I should push harder in these spaces
It’s legitimate to not know what I’m looking for
Research NY Times magazine photographers
Use props (ladder, fans)
Practice with my friends/family

Other comments
Derby shots – subject is ignoring me, not directed
Make conscious framing choices – sharpen instincts
Shooting from above looks like judging
Experiment with-in portraiture
Super close
Elements of story
My story vs. their story (show them portraits)
Write about power relationships
My “looking up” photo is successful because people can relate to it
When do these moments people relate to occur? activities

Grad Presentations - What works:

Introduction is well defined
Interpretations of work are well defended
Conclusion that ties in all aspects of presentation
Tie in some personal history/stories
Anticipate questions and answer them in your talk
There needs to be a “theme” of the work
Talk about your process & evolution
Know where you fit in the art world (contemporary artists)
Know where you are going! (What’s next is a common question)
Show enough evidence of books/research
Relevant to you/home
Be Brave, persuasive, & firm
Phrases like “my work is concerned with…”

Learned from other People’s Crits:
Straight photo, it’s been done
Take risks
Let your freak flag fly
Find something that has “legs” (you can keep working on)
Identify your rules… know what/when to break them
Grad school/Art is a game – know how to crit/review
Read more about your subject

The Plan:
Work on several different potentially “thesis worthy” projects
Be aware of the issues in each project
Do things that are different
Look at every portrait artist I can
Do things I’ve never thought of before
Look at advertisements & pull out what I like

• Visit galleries, shows, and lectures.
- (I already attended the Joyce Tenneson Lecture at the Griffin Museum of Photography)
- Go up to the Maine Photographic workshops – even if just for their lectures
- Visit NYC (past mentor Tanyth Berkley's show at MOMA)
- Boston-area shows, Museums
- Portland, ME Galleries (Juror from BYC show)
- Lightwork Gallery, Syracuse, NY
- Trash the dress wedding photo art project

• Research Photographers & other Artists
- Netflix (I started watching the DVD series contacts)
- Itinerant Photographers/Painters
- 19th century French painting
Bellini family
Ideas of patronage
- Photographers
Tina Barney
Katy Grannan
Lauren Greenfield
Philip Lorca Dicorcia
NY Times Magazine
Globe Magazine
Dawood Bay
Judy Gelles
Hary Callaham
Jim Goldberg
Eugene Smith
Eli Reed
David Wells
Joelle Jensein
Juile Blackman
Jessica Bruan
Kelli Connell
Michael Lewis
Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange (rural portraiture)

- Reading List:
*Camera Lucida, Reflections on Photography. Barthes, Roland
*The Moment of Seeing. Comer, Stephanie.
*The Photograph as Contemporary Art. Cotton, Charlotte.
The contest of Meaning. Bolton, Richard
Witness in Our Time, Light, Ken.
*Why People Photograph. Adams, Robert
Light Matters, Vicky Goldberg
The Object Stares Back, James Elkins
*The Familial Gaze, Marianne Hirsch
Towards a Philosophy of Photography. Vizen Elisser
*Looking at Photographs. John Szarkowski
The Photography Reader. Liz Wells
*On Photography, Susan Sontag
*Artist Statements, Show crits, Book intros…
The Lost Photographs of Edward Manet
Photo Play. Jenny Lynn
The Portrait Now essays. Sandy Marine & Sarah Howgate
The Creative Habit. Twila Tharp
Singular Images, Sophie Honarth
The History of Modern Art, H.H. Arnason

Art forum
Art in America
Art calendar
Contact sheets
Globe magazine
NY Sunday Times

• Shoot! Continued & new projects
- Old Orchard Beach Photos: rides & beach
- State Fair Photographs
- Soldier’s Home Project
- Younger Vets – Those about to leave… those left behind
- Bingo Hall photographs. Perhaps ask some people from my local Bingo hall if I can photograph them in their homes or with family
- “The people who live there now” Project (portraits of people who now live in places I once lived)
- Anthony (my fiancé) cubicle dwellers behind the scenes
- McMansions projects, family portraits
- My grandfather
- Demolition derby

• Thought Papers
Write about issues prevalent in my work and bits of possible thesis topics.
- Social Portraiture
- Family & Aging
- Itinerant Photographers/Painters
- Ideas from my readings
- Straight Photography vs. Artist using medium of Photography, where did the break happen & where do I fall?

• Get Married 10.27.2007
How does this affect deadlines & time management
Name, Website, Contact Info Changes

Monday, July 23, 2007

The past week and a half...

Wednesday (7/11) I went to Bingo in Medford (where I live) to check it out. I actually played with some friends (Kaleen didn't really want her picture taken) and the regulars (mostly senior citizens). It is held at the VFW (see above). I plan on going again with a mini-portfolio in hopes that I can find myself some portrait models.

Thursday (7/12) I heard Joyce Tenneson speak at the Griffin Museum of Photography.
Something I continue to notice about famous photographers is that they seem amazingly self-confindent. I wonder if this confidence has always been there or if it is due to their fame. Joyce also said that the only reason her young assistants aren't where she is - is because they give up too easily. So it seems you also need a drive like electricity flowing through your veins to get yourself there. She also spoke about how she learns from her subjects - like how she conquered her fear of growing older by connecting with the amazing women of "Wise Women." I think that is a very interesting photographer-subject dynamic and it started me thinking about my own work. Do I learn from my subjects? I am definatly working out my own fears of old age with my work at the Soldier's home. Yet at this point in my life that has meant dealing with the death of my grandmother and my grandfather's altizhemers rather than any fear of my own aging.

Speaking of the Soldier's Home I have continued to help them with their photography club. Here are some recent photographs I've made of the residents.

Another thing Joyce said that was particularly interesting to me was that she thinks all young women artists do self portraits. It's "part of the journey." The strange thing was that I had recently been thinking about self portraiture and had made one just a few nights before.

(me up at 2AM obsessed with re-reading residency notes and deciding where to take my work)

Speaking of I need to get a "residency reaction" emailed to Sunanda, my adviser, time to do that. I'll post it when I'm done.

One last note about the past 2 weeks is that I met with my new mentor and she is awesome! I am working with Sandra Stark.

I think she will be a good combination of challenging/pushing me, and praising my work when it is deserved. She also has great photographer suggestions for me - many of these artists were already on my "list" so I feel like she's placing me in the context I want to be in. Lots more on working with Sandra soon!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Boston Young Contemporaries Show

I am gallery sitting today at the Boston Young Contemporaries Show (BYC). Since it is an entirely student run they have asked for volunteers from the selected artists to sit at the desk to keep the gallery open to the public every day.

If you haven't already come see the show before it comes down in a week!
808 Gallery, 808 Commonweath Ave, Boston, MA. At the corner on the Boston side of the BU bridge.

Other BYC artists I like:
Adams, Alexis
Baclawski, Clint
Cana, Johnathan
Chetrit, Talia
Dacey, Kevin
Doan, Brian
Faubert, Kathleen
Good Melissa
Largay, Paige
Lovera, Amy
Miller, Darren
Ollie Wagner and Erin Ives
Philbrick, Kate
Poole, David
Rozovsky, Irina
Schurbert, Erik
Unterman, Elizabeth
Wareck, Cheryl

Monday, July 9, 2007

Week off - inspiration now?

After the residency, as many faculty and students suggested, I took a week off from artwork. It was still not a vacation. I had weddings to edit/post, albums to design, and of course a wedding to shoot on the busiest wedding day of the decade 07.07.07. (see above) At least I was out in the beautiful weather.

Tonight I decided to take advice from Jan Avgikos and look at some photographers from the NY Times magazine for possible mentors and general inspiration. Here are links to the full articles for photos from some awesome photographers:

Tierney Gearon
Jeff Riedel
Jeff Minton
Jennifer Karady
Sarah Stolfa
Stephanie Sinclair
Paul D'Amato &
Jamie Rose (fellow orangewoman - Go SU!)

Katy Grannan
Amy Arbus
Gillian Lamb
Danielle Levitt
Jennifer Karady

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Blog, New Post, New Life...

I'm not sure how I feel about blogs but it's the "thing to do" at school so why not. Here goes:

One year ago my life was completely different. I had been living with roommates in Somerville and was spending the summer in Maine between apartments. I was shooting weddings and assisting commercial photographers in the Boston area. I had applied to 2 MFA programs but was rejected. I was driving back and fourth from Maine to Boston to visit my boyfriend, Anthony. I wanted SOME change. I decided to take weeks at Maine Photographic Workshops - to find my photo self- and apply to be a photographer for Operation Smile - to travel the world and photograph.

One week at the workshops turned into three. I applied to grad school with a new portfolio. The Art Institute of Boston accepted me into their MFA program. I moved in with Anthony. I suffered the sudden loss of my Grandmother. Operation Smile sent me on a month-long trip to India. For Christmas Anthony & I got engaged. January 4th I started my first residency for graduate school. Six months of wedding planning, coursework, and running my wedding & portrait photography business followed.

Today, 7/3/07
115 days until I marry Anthony and become Katie Ring
My 2nd residency for grad school ended 2 days ago

I begin a blog, and reflect on my life - how did so much happen in one year? All of the changes have been positive, except of course the loss of my Grandmother (and I can't go there now). I have changed from recent college grad to MFA candidate; dating to engaged to be married. I feel the change happening. I was Katie Suczynski - kid just out of college. Now in limbo I am almost Katie Ring - married woman with thoughts of her husband, career, and children. I am dealing with the vast changes in my personal and artistic/career identities. It's a strange place to be in right now but with 115 days until marriage and 1.5 years until my MFA I know wonderful things are waiting for me I just need to figure out the journey. On a lighter note, after typing that line Journey's "Don't stop believing" is now stuck in my head.