Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Fall

With a new condo, writing my thesis, and a full wedding season I've been busy to say the least; I seem to thrive in chaos. However, I have to remind myself to take a few moments to enjoy friends & nature. Jenny's daughter has no problem stopping to smell the roses... or leaves.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scarlett Johansson Portrait by Brea Souders

When itunes emailed me that Scarlett Johansson had made an album my curiosity made me click the link. What I found was not expected - instead of listening to the music I found myself searching for the name of the photographer. I love the lighting - and am thrilled to find out it's natural light! Read more about this shoot in the Photo Shelter Interview:

Turns out this is Brea's first editorial project. The other photographs on his website are fine art personal projects.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Facebook Portrait Project - revised artist statement

For my generation, friend has become a verb. Of my college-bound and college-educated peers 75% have a Facebook account. Many of us use the internet, email, and text messages more than the phone. Following suit, I contact my portraiture subjects through facebook. I post my photographs to a facebook group called the “Facebook Portrait Project.” These photos are tagged so they appear on subjects’ profiles with any of their other photos on facebook. I don’t pretend to be objective, or to provide a diverse sample of people. I tell the stories of my friends, friends of friends, and even distant acquaintances. We ask for attention from the world by creating an online profile or blog. Each portrait I take is a reply to that call to be noticed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

New wedding Portraits...

New wedding Portraits...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Green Shopping

I finally remembered to bring in my little shopping basket so I didn't have to use plastic bags. Yes, I am so proud of myself that I took a photo to share. :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Honorable Mention...

Honorable Mention... a few more photos people really liked:

(See the top 6 voted for below)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

And the votes are in...

These are the top 6 favorites for "The Facebook Portrait Project." Anyone else care to cast a vote? (Top to bottom: John, Andrea D., Cindy, Andrea L., Chris, Jenny )

View more of this project in flickr:
My Favs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katie223/sets/72157604813313817/
Facebook Project: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katie223/sets/72157603822472642/

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Artist Statement

When did friend become a verb? Personal relationships are undergoing redefinition in our society. “The Facebook Portrait Project” is a color portrait series where I use Facebook to connect with my subjects. The project is circular; after I shoot the photograph is posted on the facebook site in the group "Facebook Portrait Project." My subjects (and others who want to participate) join this group within facebook. Everyone I photograph as a facebook profile and is somehow connected to me: some I see in my everyday life, others are friends of friends', and a few I haven’t spoken to since High School. I am exploring my generation and how the internet affects our relationships.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Long time no post

Well I've been lazy with my blog lately. I was going to type "Who's out there reading this anyway? Leave me a comment!" but then I realized I've been neglecting my blog so long that I missed Liz's comment! Thanks Liz!

I've now photographed over 40 people for the facebook portrait project! I am thrilled with this progress. I've also made some new facebook friends in the process. Some of the portraits I'm thrilled with... others I may want to try a re-shoot. However it's been a great project - thanks to everyone who's helped!

I've also been going to a LOT of galleries.

• The World as a Stage @ ICA
Art can happen anywhere. Exploration of role & collaboration of audience
• View of the American West @ Panoptican
Old west photographs, shocking at only $275 framed
• Signs of Social Change @ Panoptican
• Imgages of War @ Robert Klein
• Photo-realism @ Pepper Gallery
• Running Through the Wind @ Griffin Museum of Photography
• The Portrait Collages @ Griffin Museum of Photography
• Presumed Innocence: Photographic Perspectives of Children @ DECORDOVA MUSEUM

Syracyse, NY:
• Syracuse University MFA 2008 @ SUArt Galleries
BLAKE FITCH, Expectations of Adolescence @ Light Work
Educating Artists: Photography Programs in Review @ Light Work

New York, NY:
• Lillian Brassman @ Staley Wise Gallery
• Fumio Tanai @ Sous Les Etoiles
• Chuck Close, Justine Kurland & Ryan McGinness @ Danziger Projects
• City Portraits @ Deborah Bell
• Sherry Karver & E. E. Smith@ Kim Foster Gallery
• Thomas Holton @ Sasha Wolf
• Martine Fougeron @ Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art
• Muzi Quawson @ Yossi Milo Gallery
• Martine Fougeron @ Peter Hay Halpert
• Jasper Johns: Gray @ MET
• Gustave Courbet @ MET
• Poussin and Nature: Arcadian Visions @ MET
• Lee Friedlander: A Ramble in Olmsted Parks @ MET

Ralph Gibson @ PRC Boston
Tina Barney @ PRC

And yes, even a play about photography:
The Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island, presents Some Things Are Private. A play about photographer Sally Mann

Saturday, February 9, 2008

2 birds 1 stone

I've been looking for something to watch on TV while I run on the elliptical. The answer is MTV (6-10am they still show videos). Why is this multitasking? Because the music helps me get a better workout and the videos give me some interesting ideas for portraits.
I think I've been a little too worried about making art-y portraits so I am letting the need for a concept hold me back. Time to just go out and shoot, shoot, shoot.

And by the way blackberry + mobile blogging = awesome!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Touchy-feely Art

I was thinking about how personal art is. In the past I have posted about my own exploration of self-identity through my photography. It seems to me that the more personally aware artists are about their work the more they can progress. Sometimes it seems to make them more successful. While the mysterious artist who doesn't address their motivation can be intriguing, I'd argue that it's much more powerful to hear an artist's true motivation behind their work.

I never posted about Stephen Wilkes' talk that I attended at the Griffin Museum of Photography. I've hear him speak about his Ellis Island photography when I was at Syracuse and now again at the Griffin. In speaking about his work - he has you believing in ghosts. I am very skeptical when it comes to the supernatural, but the stories he tells about his experiences seem too honest to be anything but true to his experience. He has a sense of the place that is truly as if it is speaking to him. I remember that he had said (at Syracuse) that he felt people had been interrogated in a particular room. In researching his book he found this was true - but when he previously spoke about it these thoughts were only based on his feeling about the place. I found this amazing. I loved his honest, touchy-feely, gallery talk. I am learning how important it is to be truly connected to your work and to be able to speak about it. I'm sure success is possible without this - but when an artist can speak so well abut their work... people want to listen!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Residency Reaction

My residency reaction can be summed up as this - I came up with a great concept but overall the photos I produced were not strong enough to create the body of work. Now that I have a framework and idea I need to make more compelling images. Previous semesters I've had a few really strong images but they lacked a concept; now it's time to pull it all together!

My ideas about how to proceed this semester are derived from notes of my critiques from the residency. Facebook will be the structure for selecting subjects as well as a way to learn about each subject before photographing them. I will use the information provided on their profiles to pre-compose elements of the photograph and give direction for the location, wardrobe and any props for my shoot.

I will shoot one portrait a week and go into each shoot with a conceptualized image in mind. I will ask my subjects to be models, caricatures of themselves. I will not be afraid to type-cast them. What I mean by this is that I will look at profile photographs on facebook. What are some of the types? The insane Sports fan, party guy/girl (out at bars), people with their Pets, Travel /Vacation Photos, Outdoor enthusiast, The bride, The new Baby, People who have other people in their photos, The girl in mirror trying to look sexy, The Muscle guy, Unemployed, Perpetual Student, nerdy guy… to name a few. I will be tackling issues of modern relationships, technology, voyeurism and personal identity in this work. I should develop ways of working that are successful. Using different lighting situations, lenses, camera angles, and other shooting styles I will develop a connection from photo to photo that will create a cohesive project.

I will further my artistic education through suggested readings and artists as well as museum/gallery visits and artist talks. I will post images online to keep my mentor and adviser updated between meetings; and to receive feedback form them as well as my classmates. I will research social networking as I begin to form the basis for my thesis paper. Finally I will explore ways to present the final images. My initial thoughts are that the photographs will be between 13”x19” and 20”x30”.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Survivor of 3 Residencies

Yes, I am now a Survivor of 3 Residencies. Phew. I took a mini-vacation to Maine to let my thoughts marinate before trying to process everything. While I was there I saw Lola Alvarez Bravo. From the Portland Museum of Art:

"Lola Alvarez Bravo (1903-1993) is widely recognized as Mexico's first woman photographer. A pioneering figure in the rise of modernist photography in Mexico, she was a profound humanist who used the camera to chronicle the people and places of her beloved country over a remarkable six-decade career. The exhibition will feature 55 vintage photographs spanning Alvarez Bravo's entire career. It is the first major representation of her work in over a decade, including several rarely seen and unpublished photographs."

Lola was a gallery owner and gave Frida Kahlo her first show, which she had to attend from her carried in bed due to failing health. It was from an interest in the portraits she made of Frida that Lola's photographs came back into the public eye. Her portraits capture the subject's presence. She made some collaged photographs that can be see in the exhibition but I can't find online anywhere! They are in a aperture book that I will have to get my hands on. Some of the collages show people surrounded, and almost drowning in technology. Even though these photographs were created in the 50's I think this feeling of overwhelming technology is still very current.

Last night I went to a panel discussion at the PRC "Finding the New Creative: Convergences in Fine Art and Commercial Photography"

Panelists were:
John Goodman, editorial and fine art photographer (www.goodmanphoto.com);
Adam Larson, award winning designer and Founder/Creative Director of Adam&Co. a studio specializing in creative direction, illustration, and design (www.adamncompany.com);
Joe Berkeley , Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director at Hill
Holliday, a full capability, multi city, communications agency (www.hhcc.com);
Kathryn Tyrrel, Photographer Representative at Stockland Martel, one of America's premiere photo agencies, (www.stocklandmartel.com);
Gary Leopold, President and CEO at ISM, Boston's premiere marketing agency for travel and leisure companies, will moderate the panel (www.ismboston.com).

I particularly identified with this panel discussion as I am a photographer trying to have a hand in both fine art and commercial photography. I was also interested to learn that I had a shared alma mater with two of the panelists: Adam Larson & Kathryn Tyrrel, Go Syracuse! I came away with one thought standing out - that many successful photographers are make their photographs, in their style, and then try to find commercial work that needs their specific creative vision. This affirms my decision to go back to school to earn my MFA. However the looming question that was never really answered is... how do you get to be famous photographer who gets hired for their vision? Keep shooting, work on your art/vision. You can send cards to agencies but they usually have a photographer (they've worked with before) in mind for campaigns they've pitched.

Advice given:

• Be a master of something

• It doesn't matter where you are (location-wise) as long as you're right for the job

• Your personal work will lead to the next project

• Do something that really means something to you... then get it out there

• Have your own style, representatives and ultimately clients look for: photographers that they like (personality), inspire them, fit the concept, have a unique vision & the ability to create on demand.

• Hiring a photographer is like buying a brand

One of the most inspirational quotes of the night was when John Goodman was talking about creating portraits. He said that he needs to "get into people's heads... otherwise I'm just shooting their skin." No matter what path I choose, Fine Art, Commercial, or wedding photography, this is essential to making a good portrait; to making a portrait that comes from the photographer. I am looking to pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I am good at making photographs that please the client-subject (brides & grooms) and sometimes those are my pictures too. This semester I'm going to just make my pictures & see where it takes me.

(Residency summary to follow shortly)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Semester Summary

I left the last residency with a feeling of urgency to narrow the focus of my work to bring it closer to a possible thesis project. The work I brought to that residency was thought of, by some, as my photographing people “on the fringes of society.” While I greatly admire and respect this type of photography and the photographers who have worked in this genre, such as Diane Arbus, I felt deeply that it was not the kind of photographer that I was. I tried to make the argument for a theme of Americana but I was unable to articulate my vision. I knew I had to change my work, maybe make it more personal; but I wasn’t sure how to do that. So, rather than let photo-block take over, I began this semester continuing my projects. I will be bringing some of this continued work to the next residency.

• Old Orchard Beach
• Lobster Festival
• Demolition Derby
• Soldier’s Home

The beach and fair photographs were mostly portraits done in a snapshot style. I was attracted to these colorful locations filled with interesting characters. However I couldn’t find a deeper meaning or reason for making this kind of work.

My derby portraits were slowed down and more purposeful portraits. They are more successful as photographs than the ones I made a fairs. The subject always knew I was photographing them (unlike fairs) and I engaged them long enough to make several photographs. This slowed down more connected approach is evident in the photographs. Still I wasn’t sure why I was making portrait of these people. There wasn’t a personal connection for me.

The most personal photographs were the Soldier’s home portraits. However instead of telling a story about these service men and women I was there dealing with my own fears and emotions. These photographs are about my coping with my own grandparents aging. Since the residents of the soldier’s home became almost surrogate grandparents to me I couldn’t reconcile with myself their place in my artwork. I still volunteer and photograph at the Soldier’s home but it isn’t the project I want to pursue for my thesis.

Thinking about this work only confirmed my need to make personal photographs. From this came 4 new projects.

• Self-portraits
• Portraits of my Grandparents
• Other People’s spaces: interiors of my parents and in-laws homes
• People I used to know: portraits of “friends” on facebook/myspace

My marriage in October had me thinking about my changing identity. Who was I? Who am I now? Where am I going? What does it mean to be me? The self-portraits were and obvious start but a good way to begin making personal photographs. I moved on to photographing in my parents’, in-laws’, and grandparent’s homes.
Some of the self-portraits also occurred in mirrors in these homes. The home says a lot about the people who live there. I find similarities in the homes of my friends to my home. In contrast, the homes of my parents and my in-laws couldn’t be more different. I made portraits of my grandparents while I was photographing their homes. My goal was to come up with more than one project idea that down the road could turn into a thesis project. This work has that possibility for me.

The project I am most excited about is called “People I used to know.” The premise of which is: We live in a society where more than ever we are in constant connection. Between cell phones, email, cell phones that have email and cameras, social networking websites, google... one can always be reached. Old friends can be found, and new ones made. One could do all of this without leaving home! It is human nature to desire contact and companionship with other people. How does the internet affect our relationships and our ability to reconnect to people we used to know?

I am contacting people who are friends with me through a social networking site such as facebook or myspace. (Friends are made by one person initiating and the other accepting a friendship request) Many of the people that are on my “friends” lists are people I haven’t spoken to since High School. I asking to photograph people I haven’t had contact with (outside of facebook/myspace) for at least 5 years.

My process is to send them a message through the social networking website. I give them information about my project and ask if they would sit for a portrait. I’ve had an amazingly positive response! Many people are willing to participate and I am already planning to travel to New York City and Washington D.C. to photograph in addition to the people I’ve found near the Boston area. I spend as much time talking and catching up with my subjects as I do photographing. This talking and relationship building makes a wonderful environment for making a portrait. The work has a connection to current technology and social issues. I am equally attracted to the process of catching up with people I used to know. A great conversation creates wonderful energy and both myself and my subjects feed off of this. As one of my subjects, Matt Frades, said to me: “the attraction of re-connecting to people you went to High School with is that you realize, once you are out in the world, how much you really do have in common with people from your hometown.” This is the project I plan to proceed with and craft into my thesis project.

Flickr link to more of the semester's work: