Adhat Campos – Alumnus GS 12 – Mexico
What have you been doing since graduating from the General Studies Program?
Besides being a teaching assistant, I immediately started working on photo gigs from Craigslist and the ICP alumni opportunities list to survive. I also met a couple of music photographers at ICP who introduced me to the music scene. I started assisting them at concerts and photo shoots. I also looked for a portrait studio because I was curious about how that business works, and because my final project at ICP was portraiture. So I started assisting at Seliger Studios, and that helped me understand how light can really work to your benefit: it’s your prime material, and its look and style reinforces your conceptual statement. I just started feeling really curious about light, how it works (monetarily, conceptually, psychologically, physically), and how it affects other art disciplines.
Before coming to ICP, I had been working as a still photographer in cinema, and now I’m looking to go back to films and re-establishing connections in the cinematographic world.
What impact has the experience of going through the ICP program had on you?
Besides leaving my house and my anxiety behind? I think these are the first two years of my life when I really just focused on me. It allowed me to see photography with a psychological perspective, and that´s what is most interesting to me about this discipline. The fact that you can show your traumas and desires in two-dimensional form gives you a clue to knowing yourself (and the other lunatics in the room). I got inspired by some of the people that I got to know through ICP: their work and their way of thinking was almost the same as their way of living. It showed me the possibility of the change that can happen when you get out of your family pollution (even if you have the best family ever).
Is there anything that has surprised you subsequent to graduation?
Your life can change with just one email: a few sentences and a little spread of emotions, decently edited in a PDF. Now I understand too what it means when artists try to protect their art photography from assignments. I can see the importance of the blueprint of a conceptual project and how it can have a real impact on a human mind. I couldn´t see it before because I didn´t have an art background and it took me a while to understand this new way of thinking.
What would you say to people contemplating applying to the program?
Everything that you believe about photography, everything that you think that you want it to be, will be slaughtered, and you will have to build it again (like in a good revolution). I remember one day, Darin Mickey said in the color darkroom, “we are very lucky, guys, we are very lucky to be here on a Monday at 10 in the morning, and we are just talking about photography. Not everyone can do that.” The fact that you can show your work every day, and see and hear different opinions about other projects, makes you think twice about what are you doing. It helps give you be more deliberate in establishing a connection, feeling and trying to figure out the best way to tell that special story that you are living.