Author Archive

By Audrey Gottlieb, PRC Workshop Assistant

Photograph by Rania Matar

“A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound…” This quote by French poet Charles Baudelaire (1859) was one intricate thread of the conversation opened by Rania Matar in her recent two-day workshop at the PRC. Her eight (nine including myself) students had the good fortune to meet Rania and share a dialogue about photography that came straight from the heart.

Starting with a slide projection of famous and not so famous paintings, Rania introduced the class to subjects who posed for the great masters such as Vermeer and Rembrandt. She pointed out the importance of observing available light pouring in from a window, of learning to see shadow, skin tones, body language and mood. She interspersed photographs made by the late August Sander, Irving Penn and Diane Arbus, as well as those of contemporary photographers Tina Barney, Lydia Panas and David Hilliard. Between the first and second classes, Rania sent us emails listing the other 20 plus photographers’ works she had shown us, as well as a list of poignant quotations about portraits that she had used in her presentation. There had been a lot of material to cover in the vast territory of portraiture photography, so these suggestions to familiarize ourselves with additional images were welcome and useful. Rania provided piles of beautiful photo books to reinforce her teaching us how to see through different creative approaches.

The second class was devoted to looking at and critique-ing the “homework” assignments brought in by the students. Everyone contributed to this exercise. The critiques were gentle, constructive, interactive and expertly guided by Rania. We looked at photographs of children, families, couples, Alaskan fishermen and new Bostonian immigrants. Students talked about how and why they were motivated to follow the subjects they did. The old saying that puts forth “A picture is worth a thousand words” was supported by the fact that story-telling is vital to any personal project. There was a fabulous repartee and camaraderie among the group.

The icing on the cake was at the end of the workshop when Rania showed us her extensive portfolio of beautiful prints from past and current projects.

Rania’s rhetorical yet practical question – “What makes a good portrait?” – was answered time and again in so many ways over the course of our instruction, leaving the class begging for more and for a follow-up class next spring.

Comments No Comments »

When I was younger I frequently found myself peering down the unlit staircase that led to the basement in my childhood home. My dad had set up his own darkroom down there, and the smell of chemicals emerging from the depths of this off-limits world always caught my attention. In the following years my dad sold or gave away most of his darkroom equipment, unfortunately, and it wasn’t until my junior year of college that my interest in photography was born.

What sparked this sudden interest, well, I still can’t say for sure. I grew up playing sports but have always had an artistic side; maybe photography was just the means by which my creative self could be revealed. I graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a double major in Environmental Policy and Economics, but since I took my first picture three years ago, photography has grown on me every single day. As I try to figure out what I want to do with my post-grad life over the next few months, I at least know that I want photography to be a part of it. This summer at the PRC I am greatly looking forward to learning more about the photography industry and get a better understanding about how things work behind the scenes.

While I enjoy shooting in digital format – and in the past few months, film as well – one of the ongoing bodies of work for which I have an affinity is more of an alternative process. I had an old Canon Rebel converted to cut visible light and capture only infrared (IR) light. I am captivated by how immensely different landscapes become in the absence of visible light. Almost all vegetation reflects IR, so during sunny days plant life is rendered a soft, dreamy white. Additionally, similar surfaces typically reflect IR light equally, causing normal variations in color to appear almost uniform.

My interest in infrared photography is just as much physiological as it is aesthetic. Despite the natural wonders that the human brain in capable of, it is only trained to be able to see things a certain way. Light enters through our eyes upside-down and a series of impulses from the brain flips the image and defines color and shape, creating what we know as “sight.” While we are not technically capable of seeing infrared light, I feel like photographing in IR gives a new meaning to the term “vision.” It allows us to see the unseen and unlock a hidden dimension that we previously perceived to be pure imagination. For me, infrared photography represents a fresh way of looking at the world, and it is something that I am continually looking to explore further.

Comments No Comments »

Zach Hoffman, Associate Curator/PRC Spring 2013 Intern

Unconventional Inventions: Innovative, Unusual, and Alternative Approaches to Photography, previously on display at Endicott College’s Carol Grillo Gallery in the Walter J Manninen Center for the Arts as a Photographic Resource Center satellite exhibit, showcases artists working outside the mainstream who integrate creativity with ingenuity to push the boundaries of the photographic medium. After almost four months of dedication and hard work as the Associate Curator, I am pleased to share with you the struggles and successes I encountered as I worked to make this “unconventional” exhibition a reality.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 1 Comment »

Fast Camera:

An App That Lives Up to Its Name

 

by Zach Hoffman

Right now, more and more camera and photography related apps are flooding the online market. There are hundreds of apps all telling you that they can radically change the way you take pictures with your phone, but none seem to do more than put a new face over the default camera. Fast Camera, on the other hand, not only changes the interface of the camera, but also alters the way the camera captures images to speed up the process without sacrificing quality. Most apps are designed to streamline the image capture process and generally replace technical controls with “cool” filters and aesthetic facades. As an academically trained photographer, this app provides me with the technical control I am used to in an interactive, touch sensitive experience.

Basically this app allows you to capture quickly and easily several images and review them later. With the default camera on your phone, images can only be captured as fast as you can push the button. With Fast Camera, you have full control of not only the speed at which the images are taken but you can also set and lock exposure, focus, and white balance settings with a simple touch.

When you first open the app, the capture mode is set to auto by default. This means as soon as you open the app, Fast Camera instantly starts capturing images. This feature can be a little agitating if you are not expecting it but once you understand the settings and their functions, this app really begins to shine. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments 1 Comment »

By Zach Hoffman, Spring 2013 PRC Intern

On display at the Koppelman Gallery at Tufts University until April 21, Night Hunter by Stacey Steers takes the viewer into the dark and hopeless environment of Victorian life. By blending hand-made video, 3-D sculpture, and collages, she not only deepens the impact of the video but also creates several new access points into the work giving the viewer room to explore the conceptual and technical aspects.

When I entered the space the first thing I noticed was the dark and despondent dollhouse. Each room of the house was well crafted and displayed a typical Victorian style lost in a psychedelic nightmare. Integrated into each room, solid-state video screens played out select clips from the video playing on the far wall. After viewing each room I became more and more interested in the video and was able to place what I saw on the screen into the setting of the house. The dialog between the two made the experience even more pertinent, as I was able to understand the work conceptually and to place the character in a physical realm.

http://hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu/images/2012steers1v2.jpg

Stacey Steers, Night Hunter House, 2012, mixed media, music and sound by Larry Polansky. Image from Hood Museum of Art.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

Living in small towns all my life, my exposure to galleries and arts administration was limited. After receiving my BFA in Photography from Montana State University, I made the long trek east to continue my education in the Photo MFA program at the Art Institute of Boston. Through AIB, I found this amazing internship with the PRC and it has opened my eyes to a new world of photography and art.

From the beginning, I have been eager to learn all the aspects of working at a nonprofit photographic resource center. The internship started in the fall with a rush working on the annual PRC Auction. From online galleries, social networking, artist correspondence, and installation, I was able to experience all the anxieties and thrills of organizing such a massive event. Even more rewarding than setting up was being able to see the huge variety of work from a countless number of talented photographers.

Once the dust and debris from the auction began to settle, the rest of the semester seemed to fly by. I continued to stay busy working on an array of different projects, each one pushing me towards a more complete view of the PRC. As the semester began to wind down, my enthusiasm to learn increased. To satisfy my thirst for understanding, I agreed to stay on for a second semester.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

As a young girl, I spent my weekends in my grandfather’s darkroom.  Both a professor of photography and amateur photographer, my grandfather instilled in me the basic knowledge of camera and darkroom processes.  In high school, I competed in a number of state and regional art competitions.  The positive responses I received for my photographs, and the loving support from my family encouraged me to pursue a degree in photography.

In 2012, I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography and art history from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.  My most successful body of work, Noise, explores the urban landscape in response to societies surreal alienation and my search for connection within it.  These images speak at once to the present and the past.  Taken with a small format camera and high-speed film, the enlarged grain enhances the contemporary experience, as I perceive it, distorted and indifferent.

In the summer of 2011, I completed a curatorial internship at the Danforth Museum of Art.  While at the Danforth, I worked primarily on the preparation of the New England Photography Biennial.  That same year, I curated my first student photography exhibition at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.  From these experiences I realized my passion lay in arts administration and exhibition studies with a concentration in photography.  I hope my internship at the PRC will provide me with knowledge of each career path and keep me actively involved in the photographic community.

You can view more of my work on my website: www.mariahazoti.com

Comments No Comments »

By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

When it comes to imagination, there are no limits to how far our minds can take us. I recently had the exciting opportunity to observe an exhibit by Lynn Goldsmith at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester. This body of work, entitled The Looking Glass, highlights the psychological relationship between what we see and what we imagine while exploring the issue of identity.   Taking on the role of various make believe characters, Goldsmith places herself in her images to represent her numerous fictional identities. A new adventure awaits the viewer as they jump from one photograph to the next. In other exhibits by contemporary photographers, I have found there to be a lack of imagination and creativity. Goldsmith, however has broken this barrier, exposing what lies in the deepest and most private corners of her imagination. But in portraying numerous fictional characters, is Goldsmith attempting to represent what is in her own head, or perhaps what lies deep in the minds of us all? We all have dreams, fantasies, and worlds that we travel to when reality becomes too much to bear. Is it possible that we can identify with any of Goldsmith’s multiple figures of her imagination?

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

This review of The Space in Between was written during the exhibition’s run at the PRC Gallery (November 15, 2012 – January 19, 2013). The show has now moved to a second venue at the Atlantic Wharf Gallery  downtown as a PRC satellite exhibit. We invite you to visit The Space in Between to experience its new configuration this spring. This satellite exhibition will be on view from January 28 – March 22, 2013. The Atlantic Wharf Gallery at 290 Congress St. is open every day from 7 am – 10 pm.

 

By Jessica Ladd, PRC Fall 2012 Intern

When we think of places like shops and houses, we expect there will also be people to fill them. So what happens when three different photographers decide to challenge this idea? In the most recent exhibit on display at the Photographic Resource Center, photographers Stefanie Klavens, Lynn Saville, and Daniel Feldman showcase work that explores the idea of empty spaces where humans are present without being physically pictured. Through the use of architecturally-focused photography, they have depicted manmade locations that would normally be buzzing with people, but are captured completely empty. Yet, the viewer can sense a human presence just out of reach. Where did everybody go? Why is this location void of the usual hustle and bustle of everyday life?

In her body of work entitled How We Live, Stefanie Klavens has selected spots that would normally be filled with people, but strangely, are completely barren and desolate.These locations range from a bar in Reno to an elegant restaurant and even an abandoned apartment that seem to have been caught in a post-apocalyptic state. Weren’t places like these built so that people could come together and socialize?  Where is the usual crowd? Upon closer inspection, signs of a human presence beings to emerge. Holiday decorations line the walls of an empty bar, while white graffiti stands out against the brick wall of an abandoned building. Vibrant yellow sunflowers and pink Gerber daisies give life to a seemingly empty flower store while cars surround a hotel pool without any swimmers. While these images lack any human beings, they serve as a clear representation of how we as a society live. In a way, they serve as portraits exhibiting the unique lifestyles of people in this day and age. In her artist statement, Klavens states that these “intimate, frozen moments become pieces in a jigsaw puzzle that reflects our culture and how we choose to go about our lives.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »

By Stefanie Klavens, PRC Workshop Assistant

On December 1, a group of 13 eager photographers descended on the PRC for a two day Location Lighting Workshop™ taught by Rick Friedman. Tables were set up, pictures flew off the walls, and in short order, the PRC Gallery was transformed into a classroom and shooting space. The workshop began with an in-depth slide presentation of Rick’s work, where he walked us through the step-by-step details of how he created his shots and approached each assignment. What inspired me the most was his ability to walk into a job, and with very little prep time, come up with both great concepts and lighting that looks so sophisticated you would never know it was done on the fly with lightweight, compact Speedlites. Rick’s energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and it definitely set the tone for the entire weekend.

After the slides, Rick and his long-time assistant, Keiko Hiromi, brought out cases of equipment and the hands-on aspect of the workshop began. What happens when you turn loose a bunch of inquisitive shooters on a table full of gear? Let’s just say it was a little like trying to herd cats. We split up into groups of two and three and began working with our flash units mounted on our cameras. We experimented with bouncing flash into reflectors and nearby walls and a variety of light modifiers and diffusers, such as FlashBenders, hand-held and camera mounted bounce cards, pots and pans. (OK, so maybe I exaggerate a little…) No more “deer caught in the headlights” shots—under Rick’s guidance, on-camera flash became a tool to create soft, flattering light.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments No Comments »