Posts Tagged “Stephanie Robb”

By Stephanie Robb, PRC Intern, Fall 2011

Flipping through my old family albums last month, I saw the picture of my little sister on her first day home after she was adopted, the horrific things my mother made me do to my hair in the ‘80s: an awful perm, a mullet (yes, a mullet) during my First Communion, and orange Pippi Longstocking braids (okay, that one was my choice). Also, there was a sweet family photo taken during my grandmother’s last trip to our house in Toronto at Christmastime 1980. Each of these photographs is framed in a white border, the year and the people in it labeled in my mother’s scrawl. Each one of these prints was shaken, flapping back and forth in the air, the white edge held tightly between the fingers of an excited photographer, a child, me. For each one of those special moments, at least two of us stood around the photo ogling as it developed before our eyes. It wasn’t like watching the pot – the pictures emerged quickly, and it was awesome.

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By Stephanie Robb, PRC Intern, Fall 2011

I’m not thrilled about the speed at which technology is evolving. Just when I figure out how to use one device, a newer version comes out and quickly renders my work unreadable. I have considered getting a website for my photography – and people frequently ask if I have one. Last time I attempted building a website, I got overwhelmed with computer language and put my website on the back burner. The pace of technology may be frustrating, but I can’t afford to fall behind. When the opportunity arose to attend a website workshop specifically designed for photographers, I decided it’s time to face the challenge, elbow out my uncertainties, and geek-out.

Glenn Ruga, Director of the PRC and presenter of the Websites for Photographers workshop on December 3, showed about fifteen photography professionals and enthusiasts how to understand the many different ways to create an easy-to-maintain website without paying someone else to do it. He showed us that we can pay, but with just a little bit of “geeking-out” we’ll be on the right track for doing it ourselves.

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By Stephanie Robb, PRC Intern, Fall 2011

The task of creating a memorable and comprehensive portfolio that depicts our strengths and abilities is challenging and a little daunting. Larry Volk and Danielle Currier, authors of the new book, No Plastic Sleeves: The Complete Guide for Photographers and Designers, and presenters at the PRC workshop on November 12, showed us a new way to approach this project. They suggest we stick with our artistic impulses and be creative. Go figure – experts explaining to artists they need to be creative. It sounds preposterous, but ultimately, we are faced with the undeniable truth: conservative presentations always prove to be less memorable, less marketable. Perhaps we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, we do.

Volk and Currier emphasize the importance of remembering the potential customer/curator perspective. Another cloth-bound book neatly composed and devoid of personal voice can easily go unnoticed on a busy desk, forgotten among stacks of other books, also full of excellent photography. The workshop included a presentation with many examples of portfolios that stand out and make a statement even before they are open.

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Paul Ickovic. Kafka’s Grave & Other Stories: Photographs. New York: Okapi Editions, 1986. Print.

BOOK REVIEW by Stephanie Robb, PRC Intern, Fall 2011

“Go down to the library, select a book, any book,” Julie gestures a wide arc, “and write a review for our blog.” She is smiling when she says this. “Great, okay!” I reply, enthusiastic about the opportunity. Moments later, I stand in the middle of the library wondering how on earth I can choose just one book. If you’ve been to the PRC library, you’ll understand my dilemma. The collection is widely varied and every single book is full of pictures—and I love picture books. Having said that, I am also a devoted lover of stories and I have developed a passion for words.

I decide to begin my search with titles. If the words on the spine of the book catch my attention, I carefully pull it from the shelf and decide if the contents capture my imagination in the way a good storyteller can. After glancing through several books and tearing myself away from several more, a familiar name catches my eye. Ever since Renée Zellweger said his name while pushing a vacuum wearing Granny underwear in Bridget Jones’ Diary, and much more frequently in the last year, the name Kafka has nagged at me. It is a familiar name, one I ought to know, whose work I have somehow managed not to have read yet. In the last few months, I have heard his name mentioned more and more regularly. I’ve always been a person prone to find meaning in numbers and repetitions. “What does all this have to do with photography?” You might be asking.

One particular book, tucked on a shelf that is difficult to access, reads Kafka’s Grave and Other Stories / Ickovic, printed in black on a cloth spine. I think it is out of place and, therefore, most enticing. I press my finger on the top corner, tip the book so I can pull it out. It’s much wider than I expected. At this point in my library assignment, I am speaking aloud to myself, “Oh, it’s wider than I expected!” I thumb through and read the forward by David Mamet, which lures me in further. His words are concise and they speak to my life experience in our increasingly globalized society. He writes:

“…I have always felt like an outsider; and I am sure that the suspicion that I perceive is the suspicion that I provoke by my great longing to belong. I would like to live a life free of constant self-examination—a life which may be ruled by the processes of guilt, remorse, hope, and anxiety, but one in which those processes themselves are not foremost in the mind. I would like to belong to a world dedicated to creating, preserving, achieving, or simply getting by. But the world of the outsider, in which I have chosen to live, and in which I have trained myself to live, is based on none of those things. It is based on observation….”

I have decided. This is the one. So begins my adventure into the photography of Paul Ickovic.

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