Tag Archives: Bachelors Degree

Dennis DeHart

I recently reviewed portfolios of photographic educators at the SPE National Conference in San Francisco. This week I am featuring some of the terrific work I got a chance to see….

I first saw this image of Dennis DeHart’s when it was celebrated as part of the Gift of Gift of 2011 selection. It’s a wonderful evocative portrait, contemporary and yet, feels from another era. I was thrilled to see Dennis’ entire portfolio of his series, At Play, the SPE portfolio reviews.

Dennis was born in Hood River, OR and grew up in Seattle, WA. Dennis holds a M.F.A. in Photography from The University of New Mexico and a Bachelors degree from The Evergreen State College. Dennis is currently an Assistant Professor and area coordinator of Photography with Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Dennis’ work has been exhibited in group and solo shows in the United States, Spain, Turkey, China, New Zealand, The Netherlands, and Lithuania. Dennis has received grants and awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts, and The Beaumont Newhall / Van Deren Coke Fellowship.

At Play: Nietzsche wrote “maturity consists in having found once again the seriousness one has as a child at play.” Twenty years after reading this, the quote seems even more apt as I observe and participate with play in my own children’s life. The series places the context of nature at the forefront of consciousness, while framing nature play as integral to childhood development and education. Family and community are central to At Play. I draw inspiration from personal and cultural myths, family stories, homes, travels, and the backyard. All the photographs were taken in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho) USA.

Manjari Sharma

Looking at few of the portfolios that received Honorable Mentions for the Santa Fe Prize offered by Center and jurored by Maggie Blanchard of Twin Palms Publishing….

Congratulations are certainly in order to Manjari Sharma for this achievement, but also for her new baby, Siya! She sent me materials for this post just days after giving birth, so I am very grateful. Manjari was born and raised in Mumbai, India and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Before moving to the U.S. in 2001, Manjari worked for The Times of India as a freelance photojournalist. Manjari holds a bachelors degree in Visual Communication from S.N.D.T University, Mumbai and a BFA in Photography from Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has been in exhibitions and published worldwide.

Her project, The Shower Series, garnered much attention, many exhibitions, and commissions.

Recently, Manjari produced a successful Kickstarter campaign for her Darshan project. It was this series that received an honorable mention for the Santa Fe Prize.

Darshan 2011 Ganesha from Manjari Sharma on Vimeo.

DARSHAN: Darshan is a Sanskrit word that means vision or view and is most commonly used in the context of Hindu worship. It can also be defined as an apparition, or a glimpse. One may seek and receive the darshan of a deity and upon sight that Darshan may invoke an immediate connection between that deity and the devotee. A Darshan can ultimately be described as an experience purposed on helping one focus and call out to his or her sense of spirituality.

I grew up in a Hindu home to parents who were quite religious. Visiting countless temples was a common practice to us. I moved from India to the U.S.A to pursue a degree in fine art photography. This move precipitated an enormous cultural shift and the frequency with which I visited Hindu temples was gradually replaced with frequent trips to museums and art galleries. To me, the museum, where creativity in all mediums was placed on a pedestal, heavily mirrored the experience of a Hindu temple. Hopes and aspirations drove countless people to the Museum where they would line up and wait to experience a darshan of an artist’s works. Most Hindus have seen painting and sculpture used to illustrate deities, but rarely photography. The idea of the museum as a temple and the lack of photographic depiction in Hindu mythology is what compelled the birth of this series.

Darshan aims to photographically recreate classical images of Hindu Gods. The experience of viewing pieces of art is an essential part of the art. Hence the final Darshan presentation 
will be a massive print installation complete with incense, lamps and invocations. This project hopes to invite viewers into a museum one day, to have a Darshan of my work aimed at resembling the experience of a Hindu temple.

Critical Mass: Sebastian Liste

Looking at portfolios from Critical Mass 2011…

Sebastian Liste was born in Spain, raised in Barcelona and is now based in Brazil. He received a Bachelors degree in Sociology at the UNED, and a Masters in the Arts in Photojournalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. In 2010, Sebastian won the Ian Parry Scholarship for his long term project “Urban Quilombo” about the extreme living conditions that dozens of families face who have set up home in an abandoned chocolate factory in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. At the same time he was given a place on the Emerging Talent page of the Reportage by Getty Images, and since then became a Featured Contributor in Reportage by Getty Images in October 2011.

Urban Quilombo: This project is a testimony of a place that no longer exists.

Eight years ago sixty families occupied the “Galpao da Araujo Barreto”, an abandoned chocolate factory in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Prior to establishing in this place, these families lived throughout the dangerous streets of the city. They came together to seize this deserted factory, which lay in ruins, and they transformed it into a home.

Since 2009, I have been documenting Barreto. This vast sub culture within the greater city became one extended family. They created a microcosm in which the problems of drugs, prostitution and violence tackled with the support of the community. Barreto was a place where the exchange of ideas, goods and services created a bond of identity that allowed the survival of its members in a society that marginalizes them. Thus, community life is a form of struggle and resistance. Resistance to a society that considered they as a dysfunctional organ. I came to Barreto to explore how communities formed within fragmented societies as a mechanism of survival. During the years, I have witnessed almost everything that one can live: love, despair, betrayal, lust, passion, unity, friendships, empathy, conflicts, forgiveness and a sense of family.

In March 2011 the government evicted these families from the factory, as one of the many attempts to clean up the visible poverty of the center of Brazilian cities. This is mainly due to the upcoming international events to be held in Brazil in the next years, like the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. By the time, these families relocated, there were around 130 families living in Barreto, an area approximately the size of a football field.

This community was a metaphor for a place where the tragic decomposition of human life combines perfectly with the magic realism of Latin America.

Beyond Yale: Another View of New Haven

In her work, Elaine Stocki is a bit of a shape shifter. It’s hard to know by looking at the images, for example, if they come from a man or a woman. The perspective of the photographer is raceless, classless – even ageless. Stocki believes that this vagueness is central to her work: she endeavors to explore people without regard to their identities and in mixed groups. She prefers strangers to whom she can develop an intimacy from scratch.

“I like working with groups of people – groups of bodies because there’s an unexpected element to it,” she says, adding that she favors those who aren’t self-conscious doing odd things for the camera in public places. “And I don’t photograph people who I don’t like personally.”

Her vision has paid off this year in the form of a Grange Prize nomination—the prestigious Canadian public-voted major art award with a $50,000 prize—for her graduate school thesis project, Balcony. Stocki was one of four finalists, two of whom are mid-career artists. She’s still young and just a couple of years out of Yale’s MFA program. But her seemingly effortless complex compositions and intimate character studies have been earning her critical acclaim since her undergraduate days.

Growing up in Winnipeg, Man., Stocki was often photographed by her father, who was the designated family photographer and favored medium-format images taken with a Hasselblad. But it wasn’t until she was halfway through a Bachelors’ degree in chemistry at the University of Manitoba that she realized how much she needed an artistic outlet. Soon after, she settled on photography.

Armed with an undergraduate degree in photography, Stocki moved from her hometown to New Haven, Conn. But New Haven was more confusing than she anticipated.

“I felt like a fish out of water, even though my work was supported,” she says of her time at school in the disjointed city, which couples a modest local economy and a bit of urban decay with the wealthy bubble of the Yale campus. “I think for grad students with working class backgrounds, it’s a bit surreal to be thrown into this world of extreme privilege and to be told that you belong to this community. It didn’t feel true.”

In those first few months, Stocki experienced a wide range of emotions, including some anger and frustration over the disconnect between community and school. It was in this period that she met William, a man who was known around campus for occasionally panhandling. Stocki asked William to model for her and the rest is history: the two grew close and Stocki was able to meet his live-in girlfriend, family and friends. Theirs was a two-year relationship built on friendship and on a stunning collection of work.

While the school continued to feel foreign to her, the surrounding town reminded her of Winnipeg: a working class population in a town with a great deal of open and forgotten space. She found it easy to move around the city, using its landscape as her backdrop without worrying about interference. Walking around outside Yale’s reach, she found small areas that caught her eye: porches, a rock wall. She’d bring William or one of her other subjects to that space—alone or in a group—and begin to set up one of the layered scenes for which she is known and admired.

Just don’t make it about her personal identity or the differences between her and her subjects. “For me it’s about creating a dialogue that is inclusive and not focused on race or class,” she says. “These people felt like my community.”

Elaine Stocki is a Brooklyn-based photographer. See more about her series here.

Meredith Melnick is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeredithCM