I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology‘s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences in 2001. I originally was enrolled in their Fine Arts program, but quickly changed that after my ‘Matriculation’. My photography credits from the previous school didn’t put me in with enough credits to start RIT as a Junior so I did a summer school where in one quarter we covered a full year of Photography courses. This is where I met Craig Robinson and James Walker (who to this day continue to inspire me). We referred to it as Photo Boot Camp. It was NO JOKE. The course was so intense it took two Professors splitting the ten weeks into five each. They were the Good Cop/Bad Cop… and it didn’t take long to figure out who was who. The famous assignment was “20-20″. We didn’t know when it was coming, but knew it would. It was legendary and there was no way to prepare. The assignment: Shoot 20 rolls of film (35mm black & white), develop said 20 rolls of film, make 20 different prints, and 20 contact sheets (one of each roll to prove you did it) in less than 24 hours.
That was how it all started, a year in 10 weeks. I changed my Major to Advertising Photography because I wanted to master the technical, among other things. Although once in the program I never made sense to any of them. My final two classes before graduating were: Advertising and Design Photography, and Digital Photography. That was the only digital class I ever took, and cameras were nothing like they are today. Each of those two class had a final project: create a series of 5 photographs that tell a story. In the end I did a series of 16 and used them for both classes. It was the first time in school I stopped trying to follow the “rules” of my program. I took a lesson from James and went for what felt right. Breaking all the rules. During the projects there were progress meetings with each Professor to explain the project, show any work in progress, get feedback, help, direction, etc. These meetings never went well for me. I got along with each Prof great, but I could never explain in words(or writing) what I was doing. Finally I said ‘trust me’ it’s going to work and I know what I’m doing (kinda). On the final day I had 16 Iris Prints on Japanese Watercolor Paper. The prints are 20×15, and 20×16 (for the 4×5′s). I showed all 16 to each class for my final critique. I was proud of my work. It was everything I was at the time. Both professors agreed it was great. I got an A from one, and a B from the other who wrote “I would have given you an A, you deserve an A but You work in a vacuum. You will have to learn how to communicate your craft.” Funny thing is I never saw his comments until a few years later. After I read them I laughed. I never even thought to check my grade from that project because I assumed they were A’s and it was my last two classes. I still graduated with Honors and I still struggle to communicate my craft:)
Shortly after graduating, I found a gallery that wanted to show my work. Awesome! I had to write an Artist Statement. Not awesome! I did the best I could and wrote my truth while photographing the series. Again breaking the rules because it’s not a traditional artist statement. All the abstracts were photographed with a digital camera. The people were photographed on color film with my 4×5 Crown Graphic. Noting was manipulated after the fact… all in camera everything. At the time I was living in a warehouse slowly being converted to live/work spaces. All the photographs were taken in the basement of that warehouse. The only thing I brought was my camera, people, lights, and myself… the rest were found objects.
I have not looked at this series in about Seven years (or more). They are still beautifully framed, and wrapped in protective paper. I’m not sure what I will ever do with them, but I still love them. I’ve been playing with some new projects and in looking back I realize how much of me has been lost ‘trying to figure things out’ for a long time. It feels great to see that some of what I’m doing now, is exactly what I wanted to do all along. I know there has been silence on the blog, but in the silence I’ve been creating:)
it’s a random thing that comes and goes
as well as the curiosities that provoke it…
photography, art, life
interested in confined spaces, where if walls
could talk they would pour out years of
wisdom found in the mishaps of life…
darkroom, abandoned spaces, warehouse
in letting my mind reel through projections
of the past I feel the need to see what is not
obvious or apparent to my eyes…
abstract, optical illusion, focal point
a visual confusion that echoes though my
mind with fantasy over-running reality…
creativity, a dream, tranquility
i continue to explore abandoned spaces
filled with lost objects unable to reveal
their past existence…
the unknown, balance, truths.