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Inside Out: Procrastination + Process

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Since my last post I've been busy ... (procrastinating!) updating my website, and making an animation showing my process.

But imagine the video clip as an endless loop. (You can view it as a gif here.) The animation was made with an infrared hunting trail camera, that is making an image every 10 seconds or so. It's my family out photographing at night. The resulting photographs I made that night are on the top of the page. What a funny dance we do for a picture.

Also, something strange and serendipitous happened. In my last entry, I wrote about Scott Lapham and Miguel Rosario at AS220's youth photo program, and as I was about to publish the entry, Scott Lapham emailed me (at that exact second) asking if I'd come in as a guest critic for their class. We hadn't really chatted for about a year, and I had just been thinking about him- blogging about him, and there he was! I was so glad to be able to do that, really refreshing to see the students' work, Scott's own pictures, and to hear about the projects they've all been up to. Exciting stuff!

Seeing Scott Lapham's new grouping of photographs of people who make their living around the sea in New England, made me think of an artist that I've only recently been acquainted with (better late than never!!) Chris Killip. He is a true and tested humanist, and I love his work. Watch:

I thought it might be interesting (?!!!) to talk about my experience in graduate school. I'm working toward an MFA, which will hopefully be conferred upon me in some 12 weeks. I'm at the Rhode Island School of Design, which is a very strange (awesome) thing for me. It's undoutably a privilege. The photography MFA program is a small and solid group of folks. I was recently asked by Reframing Photography (an interesting book + webstie project) to talk about my favorite things about grad school and I listed them as such:
4. The high level of expectation puts the pressure on in the best way.
3. Our mentors (faculty) are present, engaged, and committed to us.
2. My peers are so so brilliant.
1. My studio has three windows.

nice studios for mfa peeps, thanks risd!

There are probably also 4 (or more) downsides, and I'd be happy to share those, but maybe it's another post or a private conversation. My goals for coming to school have shifted. At first, I felt that the degree was simply a way into a world I had no access to prior (academia, teaching, etc.). Now that I'm nearly done, I'm realizing that the more important reason (for me) being in this program is to commit myself to my work in a serious way. Anything else that happens alongside is sort of frosting. So mostly it's the realization and commitment to invest (money + time + energy + thought) in myself as an artist.

Keith Yahrling, Santos, Modesto, California, archival inkjet print, 2012

About my peers being brilliant, I wanted to share their work with you. Sometimes I search through grad school websites to get a sense of what type of work is being made right now. Photography is currently in a really interesting spot. I don't think RISD keeps their site as up to date as other schools, so I feel this is a worthwhile share, specifically my immediate peers, all in our final year:
Kevin Barton is an artist/archivist at work on a collection he purchased by a mid-century photographer, Norman. Through Norman, Barton creates a new story of the quirky or overlooked.
Sophie Barbasch is a master of the vignette on "curiosity and upheaval." Recent video and text-based works assemble Craigslist entries into a variety of splintered stories.
Rob MacInnis has been creating experiential moments, less still photograph, more immersive realtime (or video), full body installation.
Keith Yahrling is a photographer of the American landscape, following in the tradition of some of the medium's greatest, and making them proud.
Ji Yeo, from South Korea, is fearless, and makes psychological portraiture investigating cultural feminine paradigms.

It feels weird to put my colleagues into one unfairly little sentence, so please explore them if you're curious, and definitely keep your eyes on these guys.

My goal was to blog once a week, at a week a part, but I dropped the ball a little bit. I will be sure to post again sooner, because I have a lot more photography stuff to share. I really enjoyed the feedback I received on my last post, including a thoughtful and generous comment from Sara Riel, an incredible person and artist from Iceland, who makes remarkable work that you very may well have seen on the side of a massive building somewhere, or as the album art of your favorite record.

Ok, 'til next time!

 

 

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Scott Alario is February's artist in residence on Big Red & Shiny's blog series, Inside Out.

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