Tag Archives: Art Institute Of Boston At Lesley University

Filter Photo Festival Week: Samantha VanDeman

This week, I am sharing a few of photographers that I met at the Filter Photo Festival in Chicago….

It was a pleasure to see Samantha VanDeman’s terrific series, Forgotten Hotels in person. I’ve seen a number of images in exhibitions and online over the year, but to see the nuance of color and the extent of the series made the work more meaningful.  Samantha received a BFA from Columbia College Chicago and earned a MFA in photography from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University in 2009. It was during her time at the low residency program at AIB, that she was able to have independent studies with artists such as Anne Wilson, Mayumi Lake, Jeanne Dunning, and Laura Letinsky.

Samantha already has a long exhibition resume including work seen at  Review Santa Fe, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO; Newspace Center for Photography, Portland, OR; Emory Visual Arts Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Smash Box Studios, Culver City, CA; Denver International Airport, Denver, CO; Finch and Ada, NY; New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, New Orleans, LA; Las Manos Gallery, Chicago, IL; Gallery 263, Cambridge, MA; Midwest center for Photography, Wichita, KS; Gallery 808, Boston, MA; Change Artist Space, San Francisco.  In 2012, Samantha was selected as a finalist for Photolucida’s Critical Mass. And most recently, she received first place in The International Photography Awards for architectural interiors. Samantha has been published in Shots Magazine and The International Photography Annual.

Forgotten Hotels 
This photographic series is of abandoned hotels that are on the verge of being demolished. Each hotel has sat vacant for ten -thirty years, with several failed attempts to bring them back to life. With plans of demolition, each structure awaits an uncertain future. In my work, I’m drawn to places that are isolated and have been forgotten about by society. I use my camera to examine these areas that often go unnoticed. Through the use of light, I try to capture the beauty the once existed in these magnificent environments. By photographing these structures, I attempt to provide a visual record of what might be lost forever.

Bruce Myren

Bruce Myren is one of those lucky individuals whose terrific Kickstarter project has been fully funded, and he still has a month still to go…but Bruce still needs funds to fully complete a fascinating body of work that looks at the Fortieth Parallel across the United States. It allows us to travel across the country in a straight line, and experience the landscape through Bruce’s exquisite lens. This is a significant documentation of our country and I hope you consider backing his efforts.

The idea for “The Fortieth Parallel” came to me while I was living in
Boulder, Colorado in the 1990s. My friend Eric and I were sitting on top
of Flagstaff Mountain gazing at the plains. I noticed that a road,
Baseline Road, went east in a straight line towards the horizon. Eric
explained that that particular road marked the 40th degree of north
latitude and was the baseline for the surveying the Kansas and Nebraska
Territory. At that moment, I knew I had a project: I was going to
document the 40th parallel across the whole country, creating a new
survey along this historic line.

Bruce lives in Cambridge, MA and holds a BFA in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MFA from the University of Connecticut, Storrs.  He is deeply committed to education and is the current Chair of the Northeast Region of the Society for Photographic Education, as well as a Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, Adjunct Faculty at the Art institute of Boston at Lesley University, and a Visiting Lecturer of Art at Amherst College.  He had exhibited and been published widely.

Images from The Fortieth Parallel
 N 40° 00’ 00” W 74° 03’ 32” Normandy Beach, New Jersey, 1998

My work
investigates issues of place and space and boundaries and borders through the
exploration and employment of various locative systems.  I am most interested in how macro
systems relate to micro experiences of land and landscape.  My recent series include an
investigation of the Fortieth Parallel of latitude; a study of the poet Robert
Francis’s one-person house in the woods of Amherst, Massachusetts; and a piece
that documents the view from every place I have lived to where I live now.
 N 40° 00’ 00” W 77° 00’ 00” East Berlin, Pennsylvania, 2006

I am fascinated
with location-based systems and my work engages the nature of how humans
measure the world.  I often use or
create rules to govern the location or approach in order to make a series of
This method
stems from my interest in maps and mapping, historical photographic surveys,
and conceptually-based art practices. 
It is through these influences that I started to see and make pictures:
by measuring, coordinating, and locating myself within the world.
 Currently my work has been progressing from more universally
recognized ideas of place towards more personal re-presentations.  

 N 40° 00’ 00” W 78° 00’ 00” Harrisonville, Pennsylvania, 2006
The Fortieth Parallel is a panoramic examination of precise yet arbitrary places found along this important parallel of latitude across the American landscape.  Since 1998, I have been photographing the 40th degree of latitude across the United States at every whole of degree of longitude using a GPS.  At each confluence, there is approximately a 20 square foot area in which I can compose a view.  

 N 40° 00’ 00” W 79° 00’ 00” Somerset, Pennsylvania, 2006

This important baseline was used in surveying state boundaries and creating townships and homesteads, and was a key marker in particular for the settlement the West.  I am interested in the relationship between the 19th century’s understanding and construction of landscape, location, and place and our 21st conceptions.  There are 50 confluences on land, with 2 at landfall on each coast.  To date, I have been to 32 of the 52 sites; in the June 2012, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the finishing of the project.

N 40° 00’ 00” W 81° 00’ 00” Belmont, Ohio, 1999

N 40° 00’ 00” W 83° 00’ 00” Columbus, Ohio, 1999

N 40° 00’ 00” W 95° 00’ 00” Fillmore, Missouri, 2007

N 40° 00’ 00” W 97° 00’ 00” Hollenberg, Kansas, 2007

N 40° 00’ 00” W 98° 00’ 00” Webber, Kansas, 2007

 N 40° 00’ 00” W 102° 00’ 00” Saint Francis, Kansas, 2008
 N 40° 00’ 00” W 103° 00’ 00” Otis, Colorado, 2008

 N 40° 00’ 00” W 104° 00’ 00” Hoyt, Colorado, 2008

 N 40° 00’ 00” W 105° 00’ 00” Broomfield, Colorado, 2008

 N 40° 00’ 00” W 108° 00’ 00” Meeker, Colorado, 2000

N 40° 00’ 00” W 124° 00’ 00” Whitehorn, California, 2012