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 It is the first major representation of her work in over a decade, including several rarely seen and unpublished photographs."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 (;
Adam Larson, award winning designer and Founder/Creative Director of Adam&Co. a studio specializing in creative direction, illustration, and design (;
Joe Berkeley , Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director at Hill
Holliday, a full capability, multi city, communications agency (;
Kathryn Tyrrel, Photographer Representative at Stockland Martel, one of America's premiere photo agencies, (;
Gary Leopold, President and CEO at ISM, Boston's premiere marketing agency for travel and leisure companies, will moderate the panel (

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)

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