Faculty member Martine Fougeron GS06 speaks about her residency at the Lycee Francais de New York http://vimeo.com/112501063 Frances Denny GS10 photographed “Confessions of a Beauty Buyer: Catbird” for Harper’s Bazaar http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/makeup-articles/leigh-batnick-plessner-catbird Gaia Squarci PJ12 and Sara Skorgan Teigen GS12 have been selected for the group… Read More
Rita Leistner GS01 has a solo exhibition Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan at the Alliance Francaise Toronto, Ontario, November 26 – December 19 http://www.alliance-francaise.ca/en/cultural/sciences-and-mythologies/looking-for-marshall-mcluhan-in-afghanistan Daphne Chan GS07 has an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for Transparency: The Gender Identity Project https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/transparency-the-gender-identity-project Frances Denny GS10 is in the… Read More
André Viking Andersen – Alumnus GS 14 – Denmark
What have you been doing since graduating from the ICP General Studies in Photography program?
I moved back home to Copenhagen three months ago and have continued working on my projects, while applying for different exhibitions and magazines.
What impact has the experience of going through the ICP program had on you?
A huge impact. I learned a lot technically and practically. Most importantly I came closer to finding my own visual language and became clearer in how I want to use the medium. All the great facilities and resources that ICP and New York have to offer also helped broaden my view on art in general. It’s important to know what’s out there and be aware of the different processes in order to find your own ways. Photography is a universal language yet we each interpret it differently – that’s why I believe being in a community where different nationalities and cultures are mixed together is important for any photographer.
Is there anything that has surprised you subsequent to graduation?
I graduated from a similar one-year program in Copenhagen a year before going to ICP, but yet again it surprises me how much slower and harder a process it is to make work when you’re not in a school and when you need to do other things to financially support yourself. Though I believe that the slow and more thoughtful process can be very helpful and needed sometimes in order to make strong work.
Your series, Closed Eyes, seems to be a place where the human mind intercepts the natural world. Can you talk a little bit about your interest in this subject and how the project has developed since its inception?
I have a hard time being specific since it’s still ongoing, but I’m interested in how certain ideas are shared throughout different mythologies and various belief systems. Symbols and rituals have long been part of human nature as a bridge to access what our senses cannot. In the series I use both studio work and documentary fieldwork as a personal investigation of the supernatural.
We all at some point in our lives believed in things beyond our senses and some of us still do just more or less than we used to and I think that is interesting.
What would you say to people who are thinking about applying to the program?
The decision is really up to the individual to make. If you decide on applying, my advice is that you should be willing to work hard, take full advantage of all the facilities and keep experimenting. Sometimes when I was struggling, it helped me to remember that I was in a school – in the process of learning. I personally learned a lot from speaking about my own and other people’s work. Discussions and critiques can be really inspiring.
As long as you take your work seriously, I wouldn’t be afraid to do what feels right either–if you feel like painting, then paint.
Alex Morel GS95 speaks at Plataforma Panorama, Santiago, Dominican Republic, November 18 https://www.facebook.com/events/350921445068342/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular Faculty member Tricia Rosenkilde is featured in the Mrs Sizzle blog http://www.mrssizzle.com/dog-blog/2014/10/29/platinum Faculty member Martine Fougeron GS06 is profiled in “Selfies d’artistes en herbe” in the LFNY Life blog http://life.lfny.org/2014/11/15/selfies-dartistes-en-herbe/
Faculty member Jean-Christian Bourcart speaks at Strand Books, December 1 http://www.strandbooks.com/event/jean-christian-bourcart-nan-goldin Leonora Hamill GS03 has a video installation Furtherance at the Saint-Eustache Church, Paris, France, opening December 4 http://us9.campaign-archive2.com/?u=988262f70f336e656f1c7641b&id=8bf76f83ec&e=f3f9a03c32 Staff member Qiana Mestrich MFA13 and Michi Jigarjian GS09 MFA12 are in the group show Post… Read More
Fryd Frydendahl GS09 photographed the story “Mo – Come Dance With Me” in Bitchslap Magazine http://bitchslapmag.com/2014/music/mo-come-dance-with-me/#more-34794
Alex Morel GS95 has a solo show En La Casa de Rumi at Plataforma Panorama, Santiago, Dominican Republic, November 13 – December 13 https://www.facebook.com/events/373467272801039/?pnref=story
For this edition of Staff Q&A, we interviewed Leah Shirley. Although Leah is moving on from her position as the International Student Advisor soon, she has contributed immensely to the Education Office as well as the GS program. Leah, like many of the staff members, is a working artist. After ICP, she will be focusing on her own art projects, and she hopes to remain engaged in the ICP community.
Leah Shirley – ICP Staff
Tell us a little bit about your work.
They are made in the color darkroom exclusively. I started it when I was in undergrad for my thesis at Columbia College in Chicago, where I got a BFA in photography. Columbia has a very vigorous program, very technical in that they really stress students going through all the basics and almost emphasizing technique over content, but not all the time. So I had spent multiple years in this program, working with the camera. Because it’s very technical, it could be very assignment-based, and I got to a point where I was pretty frustrated with the act of taking pictures with a camera. I wanted to do something really immediate, not in the sense of that it would be easy or fast, but in the sense of I would be as close to the work as possible—I didn’t want to go through the mechanism.
Luckily Columbia has—as ICP does, a color darkroom, so I went in there which is a place I kind of mythologized myself—it’s a very special place. I wasn’t using negatives, so I only brought the paper, and I was only accompanied by the items in my bag. I decided to strip it down to the basics, so I would start to manipulate the filters, to mix in the color and I started doing very basic photograms. I just wanted lines, so I would get binders and books or paper, dodging tools…whatever, so they started very formal. The older ones have sharper lines, just a formal study of relationships.
As the work progressed and as I got more comfortable in the darkroom, I removed the contact, so I wasn’t laying anything directly onto the paper. The images started to be less like photograms and became something else. I was a lot more interested in the dynamism that could be created between light being expelled from the source and hitting/transferring on to the paper. As the light is exposing the paper, I would interfere with it using my hands or with other objects, to create a really soft shape or line on the paper. Then I moved back and started not exposing the entire paper, working with the negative white space. So this work has always been an investigation in our experience with color in a 2D way.
I’m really fascinated by the ways in which you can push the boundaries of what is a photograph. Because a lot of times, people look at my work, and don’t even know what to make of it, they don’t think it is photography. I tell them: “yeah, it can be a lot of different things, but at the same time, it is, at its core, photography. It is a recording of light.” The series we are talking about is called Lux, the color work that I’ve been doing in the darkroom. I take a lot of inspiration from geological texts, the work is really rooted in the elements. They are being made from light, so I started doing a whole lot of research on geology and heat. It’s about evolution, really.
You are also taking photographs of the cologram prints in nature?
That work was done in Los Angeles. In terms of ways to show the work and installation shots, I’ve never thought okay you put it in a frame, put it on a wall, it’s done and it’ll just make sense. That way of presenting photographs is fine of course, but I wanted to find a way to approach the installation where the pieces are activated by how they are being represented. So by physically putting them in nature, surrounded by rocks, dirt, the earth, I felt like that was a way to have them introduce themselves.
What does your work manifest?
It’s a question I’m still trying to answer personally. I don’t really know, but I can tell you what draws me to make the work. I find a basic attraction to the form elements of line, shape, color, how they all relate to each other and how they can evoke meanings or emotions. It’s a very basic investigation but it’s also something that everybody can relate to. Because we all have experiences, we are all informed by those relationships, we all have our own association to colors, we all have our own association to certain shapes. I think it’s something that’s very relatable. Then again, why do I do it? Every time I go back to the darkroom, I leave with more questions. That’s what keeps me doing it. Not because I feel like I’m solving problems. Every time I go back in there, there are new challenges and new revelations. That’s what keeps me fascinated.
This might be the wrong term or an irrelevant question, but do you see what you do as a dying art?
No, I think that’s a relevant question, a lot of people have asked me that. The manner in which I’m working, all arrows point to it not being around forever. Digital is here to stay, I’m sure. I’m just making the work. There’s not a thought at all in my mind about how I have to do this now because I might not be able to in the future. This is what my body and mind and everything is telling me I have to do now and this is the way to do it. I’m going to get as basic as I can with the paper, the chemicals and the light and I’m gonna go to the color darkroom. All digital prints are trying to be an analog print at the end of the day, or surpass it if they can—it’s a reference point. I couldn’t make the work digitally, it would be totally different work.
Do you feel working at a place like ICP helps you in your own practice?
For sure. I haven’t even been here that long, but just the mere fact of being around people who are making photographic work. It’s not the fact that people are making photography, it’s that this is an institution that was founded around supporting one expressing themselves, and so that is a really conducive element to absorb personally. The fact that a lot of the staff here make their own work is really exciting and fascinating and it’s really special to be a part of that. One of the greatest luxuries of being a student is that you have a built-in community and you have resources at your disposal. So when you’re not a student anymore, one of the hardest struggles is to maintain a sense of community.
Working at an institution that builds that in is completely amazing. And of course, having access to the color darkroom is also huge. New York is lucky, there’s a color darkroom here at ICP and there are two or three other places. It’s sad, either you find color darkrooms at universities or schools (because they can afford it) or in cities like New York or Los Angeles where there’s a high enough demand. Anywhere else, pretty much in the middle of the country, there’s nothing.
Fryd Frydendahl GS09 is featured in the F-Stop Magazine blog http://www.fstopmagazine.com/blog/2014/11/fryd-frydendahl-camera-club-of-new-york/
Qian Ma GS14 is in the group show Open curated by Shane Lavalette at the Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado, December 5 – January 10 http://www.c4fap.org/exhibitions/openwithshane-lavalette/
Yael Ben-Zion GS07 speaks at the Jewish Book Festival, Toronto, November 9 http://jbookfestival.srcentre.info/ ; photo writer, historian and curator George Slade discusses Yael’s book Intermarried on UpNorth Media Center, Traverse City, MI http://www.upnorthmedia.org/watchupnorthtv.asp?sdbfid=7352#.VFrEzszXMDE.facebook
Sofia Cordova GS06 is reviewed in ARC Magazine http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2014/10/sofia-cordova-every-night-i-tell-myself-i-am-the-cosmos-at-the-royal-nonesuch-gallery-in-california/ , in Curiously Direct http://www.curiouslydirect.com/#!Royal-NoneSuch-Gallery-Sofia-Córdova-Every-Night-I-Tell-Myself-I-Am-The-Cosmos/c95u/A96E4869-0743-4A7E-B315-6D536E9CA674 and in the East Bay Express http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/science-fiction-meets-the-caribbean-in-sofandiacutea-candoacuterdovas-exhibition/Content?oid=4097257&utm_source=Art+Mailing+list&utm_campaign=e4e04b6b0e-SC_N_E_W_S_L_E_T_T_E_R10_6_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0abf1e468c-e4e04b6b0e-177546061 ; Sofia has a new book Enciclopedia Infinita/Infinite Encyclopedia Vol. 1. (DeMerritt/Pauwels Editions) http://www.sofiacordova.com/Enciclopedia-Infinita for which there will be a talk and book signing at SFCamerawork, November 21 http://www.sfcamerawork.org/?utm_source=Art+Mailing+list&utm_campaign=e4e04b6b0e-SC_N_E_W_S_L_E_T_T_E_R10_6_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0abf1e468c-e4e04b6b0e-177546061
Faculty member Martine Fougeron GS06 photographed “A Day in the Life of Dominique Ansel” for The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/articles/a-day-in-the-life-of-dominique-ansel-1415033147
Sofia Cordova GS05 is reviewed in Art Practical http://www.artpractical.com/review/every-night-i-tell-myself-i-am-the-cosmos/<
Faculty member Jean-Christian Bourcart speaks at The American Library in Paris, France, November 11 http://www.americanlibraryinparis.org/events-programs/library-events/adult-programs/eventdetail/1468/-/panel-discussion-street-photography.html#.VFqZ5U4ujjQ.twitter
Faculty member Bill Armstrong has a solo show infinity at Forma Galleria, Milan, September 18 – November 18 http://www.formagalleria.com/_com/asp/pageGal.asp?g=ghm&s=-&l=ita ; Bill is in the group show The Noir Effect, at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, through March 1, 2015 http://www.skirball.org/exhibitions/the-noir-effect ; the group show Leitmotif at Hackelbury Fine Art, London, October 16 – December 19 http://www.hackelbury.co.uk/pdf_2014/leitmotif.pdf ; the group show Performance: Contemporary Photography from the Douglas Nielsen Collection at the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, through January 4, 2015 http://www.creativephotography.org/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/performance ; the group show Collectors Eye: the Maloney Collection, at Fotofest, Houston, TX, through November 29 http://2014biennial.fotofest.org/ ; and the group show Modern Alchemy: Experiments in Photography, at the Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY, December 6 – March 15 http://www.heckscher.org/upcoming_exhibitions
Yael Ben-Zion GS07 is featured on 20 Minutos http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/2271026/0/yael-ben-zion/fotografia/matrimonio-mixto/
Faculty member Corinne Botz was interviewed on the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04mgxt4
Mon’s Future the solo exhibition by Fryd Frydendahl GS09, curated by Megumi Tomomitsu GS09 at the Baxter St Space of the Camera Club of New York is one of the selections of the “Top 10 Photo Events and Happenings in New York (Nov 3 – 9) http://www.featureshoot.com/2014/11/fs-recommends/?fb_action_ids=10203982867544715&fb_action_types=og.likes