Posts Tagged “PRC interns”

By Kaleigh Rusgrove, PRC Intern

Kaleigh Rusgrove, “Siren” from the series “Make Believe,” 2013

My photographic journey began at thirteen when I started taking pictures for fun with a small Olympus point and shoot I found lying around my house. Looking for a place to show these snapshots of flowers and my converse sneakers, I turned to quickly growing social media sites, in which I found a digital home for these random and often pointless shots I was accumulating.

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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.

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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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