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.