Penelope Umbrico is a Guggenheim Fellowship Photography recipient this year, along with my teacher Betsy Schneider. I saw this work at the SFMOMA when I went last November and instantly fell in love with it. I was very pleased to see her name on the list of Guggenheim Fellows because its such an honor, and means that you are on the cutting edge of photography.
This work is called 8,313,619 Suns from Flickr (Partial). She created it by searching sunsets on the photograph sharing social website Flickr. She collects the sunsets and makes 4×6 prints from the images, then adds them to the grid. The number in the title represents the total of sunsets she has collected. Since this is an on-going project that number is constantly expanding.
When I saw it in San Francisco, it took up an enormous wall, the cheesy, stereotypical and identically framed sunsets glaring at me from every angle. It was glorious.
Check out her website here, she has a lot of other interesting work!
Cool old movie inspired posters advertising all the biggest exhibitions of the summer! Makes me wish I was traveling more this summer. hm
Check out the site here.
A make-shift video recording of my final, final critique as an undergrad photo art student.
I apologize for how terribly inarticulate I sound during it. I had been dreading the last critique in Matthews Hall Room 224, since the moment I realized it would soon be over. I have had every single photography critique in that worn down room for the past five years. The abused and lovingly punctured corked walls became my safe escape, my sought sanctuary. Terribly nostalgic, I feared the last time my photographs would be pinned up on those walls, when my turn would at last, be over. The conversation would finally come to an end.
And so, when the moment did arrive, words got lost as they often do. The critique overall, is rather anti-climatic and average. The class was an unconventional photo class and the final projects were varied and individually based. Just thought I would share the moment.
I am really interested in Jason Lazarus, a teacher at Columbia College in Chicago. The two series I particularly enjoy explore memory and truth in a new way.
In his series, Orion over Baghdad, Lazarus went through flicker and other photo sharing sites, and shuffled through the photographs of people serving in the U.S. Military over seas. What he deemed important however, was not the images, but rather the titles. He began collecting, collaging, and turning these titles into silver-gelatin photo grams. I think it’s really interesting how the words are the photographs and also how I don’t want to even see the photographs. The would- be grainy, amateur and surely busy compositions, would only weigh down the simple connections and revealing insight the sentences provide.
Check it out.
While your there, look at his series Nirvana, where we collects images and stories of people’s first time hearing the song Nevermind by Nirvana.
”At this point in life I look back and I realize I was and still am just a kid who couldn’t put down a camera.” – My great-uncle Charlie.
Yesterday in class, the great Matt Holmes, showed us this blog. which is informing the world of an unknown photographer, who possibly deserves a spot in the history books, along side some of the most esteemed photographers. A chicago man, bought a storage unit at an auction, that was full of over 90,000 negatives and prints. As he began going through the all the stuff, he soon discovered her name and began piecing together a story that is pretty incredible. I am not going to give away anything else, as I think you should go to the blog and read her story, and look at her photographs.
I think they are really, pretty darn good. As our class scrolled through all the images, we would immediately yell out the famous photographer that made similar images, or had similar subjects. Every photograph referenced another great. Frank! Callahan! Arbus! Lange! Mary Ellen Mark! Goldin! She was making photographs, at the same time as most of these now, respected artists and yet, her photographs were also standing her own ground. It’s exciting to think about, what her life could have been like had she maybe, shown somebody her work. But who knows, maybe there’s still room to write her in, I bet theres just a litttttle space between Robert Frank and Emmet Gowen.
Check out this awesome project that artist Irina Werning is currently taking on…. HERE
I would love to do this with a classic picture of me and my brother..
Check out my class blog to see my latest photo project. here.
“My project could be only to photograph as I felt and desired, to regulate a pleasant form of living, to get up in the morning- free, to feel the trees, the grass, the water, sky or buildings, people- everything that affects us; and to photograph that which I saw and have always felt.”
-Harry Callahan, 1957
Here is the final product of my stranger assignment. My portraiture teacher set only one perimeter, that we make a series of portraits of strangers. There were many different approaches to this request. Some classmates, the more shy ones, photographed strangers from a distance, capturing this “big-brotheresque” zoomed view, of people being photographed when they aren’t aware they are being photographed. One girl asked one friend for a phone number of someone she knew, she contacted that stranger, photographed her, then asked her for a phone number of a new friend. Her project presented a slew of people who are separated, yet so connected, an idea that I am very interested in as well. Other people walked around and approached random people, and attempted to make an honest portrait of someone they just barely knew.
There were many different approaches to getting to the final product, I decided to think about my own consumerism as well as the small connections I have with random strangers each and every day. So each time there was an exchange of commerce for a product as well as when there was a random interaction with an employee, I would take their photograph. I thought this was an interesting territory to enter due to my daily interactions and routines. My father has for a long time poked fun at my mother and me, for our ability to engage with strangers on a consistent basis. For example, the grocery store clerk, who comments on my abundance of fresh veggies, asks me what I am making for dinner, which sparks a quick conversation about a recipe I found from a book my mother sent me from Texas. From one visit this stranger knows just a tiny bit about me and I know just a little bit about them. Factor in, that I generally shop at the same places, it is easy to see how these strange, relationships form between the employee, and me, the consumer. I thought about documenting the dates and amount spent at each place and somehow tying that into each photograph, but as of now, I don’t think I want that information there. I also encountered problems with businesses and people that wouldn’t let me make the photograph, as well as what to do with the instances when I made a purchase from a machine. ( At the movie theater, I purchased my ticket from a kiosk.) I left out these types of images, to keep the conversation a little more focused. Adding this element I think would cast a shadow over the portraits, and make it just about this extinction and replacement.
I used this project to really think about where I am going, what I am purchasing, who I am purchasing that from and thinking about what that all really means. Please as always, let me know what you think!