Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your holiday festivities were wonderful!
This post is a little late coming. I meant to write about the conference...ummm...right after it took place. Unfortunately, life does not always agree with what you plan on doing.
The picture above was taken on one of my strolls around Providence, Rhode Island, which is where the conference took place. Every time I get to visit this city I say that I could move there in a heartbeat. It is just the right mix of New England and city life that meshes great with me.
The conference events took place at RISD. I had not been there since I curated at the Sol Koffler 4 years ago--which I think got a name change. In any case, the school is a great place to host a stimulating discussion on "The Experimental in Photography". Yes, broad subject indeed...but the panels, speakers, and presenters were very well curated to compliment this topic. Lots of praises went to the Northeast's newest Chair Bruce Myren, for his amazing organization of this event.
I missed the keynote, Spencer Finch, because of traffic coming in from Woodstock. But, I heard it was an energetic and enlightening talk--great way to start things off. I am sad I was not able to see it.
A few highlights from the talks include:
Sharon Harper (Cambridge, MA), Moon Studies and Star Scratches, No. 9, June 4 – 30, 2005, Clearmont, Wyoming, 15, 30, 20, 8, 5, 1, 5, 2, 1 minute exposures; 15, 8, 10, 14 second exposures, Digital C-print from 4x5 transparency, 50 x 40 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Roepke, Cologne
- Sharon Harper (Harvard University), "Photographing the Invisible"
A wonderful testament to the experimental is represented in Sharon's lengthy exposures exploring the night sky. Often taken over a period of several months, her images challenge photography to capture process, time, and memory.
Meegan Gould (Brunswick, Maine), Image from the Blackboard series
- Meggan Gould (Bowdoin College), "Site-seeing"
I related to Meggan's work the most at this conference. The image above is from the "blackboard series", which is on-going photographic studies of the spaces in which these boards reside. Who does not have a secret love for blackboards? She has recently started a series, which in a similar gaze, photographs personal computers....revealing what an individual's "screen" looks like. Both series are full of personality. She presented quite a few more projects--all with the same energy and excitement...please check out her website to see her complete works.
Joe Deal, Sunset Beach, CA, 1978. Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery.
- Jan Howard (RISD Museum)," Joe Deal's West & West: Re-imagining the Great Plains"
Joe Deal's untimely death this past year has left many people to reflect back on his work and consider its importance to the history of landscape photography. Jan Howard curated Joe's most recent work at RISD and spoke wonderfully about those particular projects. Having taught at RISD, there was a great number of people in the audience who knew him personally. It was quite a lovely experience to hear about their connection to him and how he influenced them in the most grandiose ways. NY Times did a piece on him after his passing which you can read here.
Overall this was a well-run and interesting conference and I am so happy that I was able to attend. The benefits of going to SPE events is enormous--for someone in academia or not. The community that SPE supports is centered around the idea of loving and supporting the photographic arts and continuing its exploration through education. That is a kind of mission I can relate to.