Archive for the “PRC News” Category

by Barbara Ayotte

Benedict Fernandez

Benedict Fernandez at his Almanac Gallery in Hoboken, NJ. Photograph by Elliott Ruga

On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon this spring, PRC Executive Director Glenn Ruga, his brother Elliott, and I visited the Almanac Gallery on Garden Street in Hoboken, NJ, owned by Benedict “Ben” Fernandez and his wife, Siiri.  Originally Ben’s parents’ home, the small gallery feels more like a museum, marking significant milestones in documentary photography. Ben is most known for his “protest” photography, particularly his famous and intimate portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr. (A portfolio of this work will be sold at the upcoming PRC event “Treasures from the PRC Vault” on May 7.)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Photograph by Benedict Fernandez

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Photograph by Benedict Fernandez. One of 12 images included in Countdown to Eternity portfolio.

Ben was seated on a couch in a small, sparse room dominated by a wall of posters marking the first photography expos at Arles that Ben helped to organize, the ICP lectures of The Concerned Photographer series featuring the icons of twentieth century photography including Cornell Capa and Ben, and posters of rallies with Martin Luther King, Jr.  Photos of Ben with Lisette Model, Richard Avedon, Susan Meiselas and Capa dotted the other walls, near shelves of boxed prints and portfolios.

Minutes after we walked in, Siiri was ready to reminisce about the amazing influence and breadth of Ben’s career, of which Ben prefers to call “photo-anthropology” as opposed to photojournalism. Siiri started by taking out his famous Martin Luther King, Jr. portfolio “Countdown to Eternity,” commissioned by Kodak. The exhibition based on this portfolio has been shown in 18 cities and is still traveling. We didn’t know that there was also a second portfolio, commissioned by Leica. Only five copies of the Leica version were created and are valued at $25,000. The Kodak version sold at the George Eastman House Auction for between $5.000 and 7,000. (Ben and Siiri could not remember the exact price.)

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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.

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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

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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.

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After a summer abroad in Italy studying Venetian Renaissance art, I am extremely eager to return to the PRC for another internship this fall. My experience abroad and photography practice this summer in Rome, Verona, Venice, Padua, Bologna, Florence, Monte Grappa, Milan, Cinque Terre, and Bassano made me excited to continue interning.

Balcony in Venice

After contemplating for a long time about what exactly I wanted to tackle in the fall semester, I couldn’t find an internship that better meets my interests. I wanted a hands-on experience where I was not running to get coffee but participating in daily activities, given important responsibilities, and asked my opinion. Because I interned at the PRC in the spring, the staff invited me back for a new position working almost exclusively with Program & Exhibition Manager Erin Wederbrook Yuskaitis. This year, I will focus on the PRC 2012 Benefit Auction and various upcoming shows.

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I am a recent graduate of Endicott College with an interest in studio art and museum education.  I received a BFA with a concentration in studio art in May 2012. For my senior thesis, I explored the link between creative arts therapy and mental illness. Because I have suffered from depression and anxiety in the past, I wanted others to be able to share in my thoughts and emotions during that difficult period of my life, as well as provide a voice for others who suffer like me.

I also take a keen interest in historical and vintage photography, especially portraiture. Black and white moments captured in time tell such captivating stories of other generations that often seem foreign to many of us. When I look at the faded gray and sepia expressions on the faces of those from another era, I find myself wondering, “What was going on in their minds when this photo was taken? What did they do next? What stories did they have to tell?”

I am also greatly interested in fashion photography from the early to mid 2oth century. Photographer Richard Avedon, who captures the timeless beauty of women from the 1940s and ‘50s, is someone I greatly admire. Through his work, Avedon dispels the stereotype that women are fragile and delicate. His ability to capture both their external and internal strength is a quality that I find very powerful. He encourages the viewer to look beyond the designer clothing, hair, and makeup and into the model’s true self. Even though I am captivated by the styles and trends exhibited in Avedon’s photographs, I feel that his greatest success lies in his portrayal of women who are often underestimated and misunderstood.

In the future, I plan to attend graduate school for museum studies and/or museum education. My ultimate goal is to work in a museum with historical significance, such as the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. or the Museum of Natural History in New York City. While interning at the PRC, I hope to gain knowledge and experience that will help me succeed professionally in the future. I hope to learn more about photography through the resources that the PRC has to offer, including the 2012 Benefit Auction, the Aaron Siskind Library, nights and workshops at the PRC, and by interacting with new people and gaining more insight into photography. My goal is to learn more about exhibiting art and the different ways that people can express themselves.

 

Richard Avedon, “Dovima and Sacha, Café des Deux Magots, Paris,” August 1955

 

Richard Avedon, “Dovima with Elephants, Cirque d’hiver, Paris,” August 1955

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When I was twelve, my father brought home an old Macintosh computer from work and instructed me to destroy it. Eager to discover its inner workings, I took to the computer with a hammer and an aggressive curiosity. Later I positioned and posed the dismembered computer parts into sculptural pieces of art to photograph. This was my first experience of destruction as a form of creation. I learned I was able to radically change the meaning and purpose of an already complete object through concept and creativity. Through art I became able to control my world by putting things together in new and interesting ways. Since then I have grown and evolved as an artist and continue to search out new and meaningful ways to express myself.

Today I am still focused on the idea of technology and our relationships with it and how it affects our relationships with each other. The society I have been raised in is more connected than any other culture in history. People can instantly share ideas and emotions with me and it has changed the way I live and communicate. It is an amazing time to be alive. So much good can come from our cultural advancements, but like most things good there is a darker side to technology. I am excited yet fearful of the future and it is this fear that motivates me to continue exploration into the unknown.

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For as long as I can remember, I have been captivated by leaves. Their venations, forms, and tonalities inspired a faithfulness to capture what I see as the beautiful and distinctive material of everyday life. My photography documents those simple yet profound truths I find in nature as they take shape before my eyes. I see the natural world as not merely the backdrop to life, but emblematic of life itself; a vital element at the core of our living world that exceeds our own existence. In my photographic odes to nature I explore the detailed, the painterly, and the spiritual, examining the tensions therein between sensitivity and strength. For me, photographing is a poetic burst of inner feelings, an attempt to create something that honors the connection between nature and self.

I am interested in all aspects of photography and curatorship. I hope to become an art director someday, and I feel this internship will give me valuable insight into a photographic institution. As a photographer I was so excited to stumble upon the PRC, an intimate haven in which to explore new ideas in photography as network of communication that enhances our world with beauty, dialog, and invention.

Hilary Falcon is a photographer studying photojournalism at Boston University. Her work is an exploration of the connections between the natural world and the self. Attempting to honor nature’s authenticity, Falcon strives to document the paradoxes of everyday life that are mirrored in nature. Much of her work examines the tensions between sensitivity and strength, the qualities of color, and the delicate, detailed core of the living world.

You can follow her recent work at http://hilaryfalcon.blogspot.com/

and view her photojournalistic portfolio at http://people.bu.edu/hafalcon

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Not an artist but an art enthusiast, Meredith Hoobler is the new PRC intern for the spring 2012 semester. An art history major and business minor at Boston University, she is new to the arts industry and ready to absorb all of the knowledge with which the PRC can provide her. Also a volunteer at the Museum of Fine Arts, she is ready to switch gears to a small, non-profit organization focusing on one main medium.  Interested in arts administration as well as the artistic side of the industry, she is hoping to gain valuable knowledge of running a smaller organization.

The PRC interested her because of the overlapping positions of each of the staff members—everyone contributes and works with each other to get the necessary preparations done for exhibitions, membership, and all other workings of the non-profit. She is excited to learn about all the facets that make up this organization.

Meredith enjoys fashion photography, particularly how the images can capture the movement of the garment while emphasizing the stillness of the moment in which the photographs were taken. She is also inspired by any photography that challenges the viewers to delve deeper past the surface meaning. The photographs that confuse, offend, and challenge the viewers are the ones that leave a strong, lasting impression.

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On January 21, 2012, the PRC Board of Directors approved by unanimous vote a new mission statement for the organization. The new statement affirms our commitment to our members and the photographic community with updated language that is shorter and more focused on our core work. The new statement is:

The Photographic Resource Center (PRC) is a vital forum for the exploration, interpretation, and celebration of new work, ideas, and methods in photography. We inspire our members and the broader community with thought-provoking exhibits, educational programs, and resources that support the advancement of the photographic arts.

We look forward to your comments!

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