Tag Archives: Harvard University

Jess T. Dugan, Erica and Krista

Jess T. Dugan, Erica and Krista

Jess T. Dugan

Erica and Krista,
, 2012
From the Every Breath We Drew series
Website – JessDugan.com

Jess T. Dugan is a portrait photographer whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. She earned a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an ALM in Museum Studies from Harvard University. Jess’ photographs are regularly exhibited nationwide and are in the permanent collections of the Harvard Art Museum, The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. She is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston, MA and the Schneider Gallery in Chicago, IL.

David Maisel, Terminal Mirage 2

David Maisel, Terminal Mirage 2

David Maisel

Terminal Mirage 2,
vicinity of the Great Salt Lake, Utah, 2003
From the Terminal Mirage series
Website – DavidMaisel.com

David Maisel was born in New York City in 1961. He received his BA from Princeton University, and his MFA from California College of the Arts, in addition to study at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. Maisel was a Scholar in Residence at the Getty Research Institute in 2007 and an Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in 2008. Maisel’s photographs, multi-media projects, and public installations have been exhibited internationally, and are included in many public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Yale University Art Gallery; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. His work has been the subject of four monographs: The Lake Project (Nazraeli Press, 2004), Oblivion (Nazraeli Press, 2006), Library of Dust (Chronicle Books, 2008), and History's Shadow (Nazraeli Press, 2011). His newest book, Black Maps: American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime, will be available in Fall 2012. He lives and works in the San Francisco area.

Jess T. Dugan, Dallas

Jess T. Dugan, Dallas

Jess T. Dugan

Dallas,
, 2012
From the Every Breath We Drew series
Website – JessDugan.com

Jess T. Dugan is a portrait photographer whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. She earned a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an ALM in Museum Studies from Harvard University. Jess’ photographs are regularly exhibited nationwide and are in the permanent collections of the Harvard Art Museum, The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. She is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston, MA and the Schneider Gallery in Chicago, IL.

Success Stories: Candace Gaudiani

I first met Candace Gaudiani at the Fotofest reviews in Houston about six years ago.  She is a striking woman–elegant, self-possessed and smart.  Candace was sharing work from her series, Between Destinations, about her many train travels across the United States.  Since then, I have had the pleasure of seeing Candace at other photography events over the years, and traveled with her in China at the Lishui Photography Festival last fall, where she exhibited her wonderful train work.  I am thrilled to share that Candace now has a monograph of Between Destinations, published by Kehrer Verlag, which includes an extensive essay by Alison Nordström and an interview with Jane Reed and is available through photo-eye and Amazon.

Candace is currently on a book tour and will soon be pulling into Boston on May 30th for a book signing at the Panoptican Gallery, in conjunction with a group show, Planes Trains and Automobiles which runs through July 9th.

Opening in New York City on June 22nd at Photoville, Candace will be exhibiting photographs from 4 train trips.  Viewers will be able to experience her work in a more monumental scale as the exhibition is housed in a shipping container.  She will continue her lectures and book signing into 2013 and her schedule can be found here.

Candace was born in Boston and grew up in Wisconsin and Maine. She holds a B.A., cum laude, in English Literature, and an MBA from Harvard University. Gaudiani studied fine art and portraiture at University of California, Berkeley, and print-making with the print maker for the late Eugene Smith. She lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.  She has exhibited widely in the U.S. and Europe and her work is held in numerous collections




LENSCRATCH INTERVIEW


What drew you to photography? 

As a child in small town Wisconsin, I drew pictures and storyboards
and spent time alone looking at the world through my bedroom windows. By the
time I was in second grade, my father got me a Yashica camera to match his
Rollei (he was a scientist and amateur photographer). Early on, I learned to be
an observer, to look and see, living in a neighborhood without other children,
and also enjoyed riding for hours on my bike through swampland and countryside.
Being behind the camera was a perfect vantage point for me to see the world.


How long have you been working on this project and how many train trips have
you taken?
  

 When I took up photography seriously again
seventeen years ago – to see what I could do with it before the lights
went out, I told other people’s stories as they told and showed them to
me. My first two series explored the secretive world of body builders and then
the intimate conversations of ordinary people. Seven years ago, I was drawn to
tell my own story directly. My familiar ground involved journey and travel, as
I had been through all forty eight states by the time I was twelve years old,
with my family mostly by car, but some by train. I had traveled extensively as
an adult, too. To see those familiar memories with new eyes, I started
retracing the routes I had been on much earlier, in an
America from the 1950’s. My
journey evolved, as I initially explored photographing from cars (running off
the road several times, negotiating the steering wheel and the camera) and from
planes. None of that produced what I hoped for. So, I boarded trains and, over
the course of those seven years, discovered new ways of seeing and produced
four distinct series. In that evolution, I reinterpreted pictures through train
windows in black and white and in color, in sizes ranging from intimate cards
to larger than life windows on the world. In each case, the nature of the
object impacts how the viewer sees and interacts to the story. In most cases, I
do not include place names or text, as I want the viewer to populate the
pictures with his or her own story and memories and to accompany me on a new
journey. And I realize that as I change my art, my art changes me.
I have
been on over 20
extensive or cross
country train trips and many car and plane trips.


While you are a passenger, are you continually engaged in what’s out the
window, or do you shoot selectively?
   

When I began, I photographed what
caught my eye, out the passenger window, up track and down track, rather
passively. On my recent rips, I work very hard, covering two stories of the
train, shooting out different windows from varying vantage points, packing a 25
pound backpack and working two cameras. I always work alone, as I want to focus
on what I am seeing out the exit door/dining car/observation car/passenger
seat/hallway windows. It is intense and exciting – what discoveries
lie around the bend? Before trips in recent years, I
preplan, with an eye to filling in what might be missing from my series to date
and to capturing new vistas. For instance, I look at the map of the rail route
and compare it to timetable and geography. At what time will I be at point X?
Will the sun be to my west or east? Will that glare prevent me from shooting
out an east window? What side of the train will the train’s shadow be on?
What will the weather be? –
if it is sunny, the
mood will be one way, if rainy, another. And so on.


What has been your favorite train trip?  
I think my favorite train trips are my very first one and
the most recent one! Each one has covered many states and presented its own
discoveries. I will say there is something special about waking up in the
middle of the night in the desert and seeing more stars than I ever could have
imagined and going back to sleep with the rocking of the train slipping quietly
through the night.


After completing this project, would you still consider train travel?
 

Always! I like the concept of being
free on the train, yet yielding up to where it is going. A train is always
between destinations, and so are we all in life.

Tell us how the book came about? 

About
six years into this project, I met at several photography portfolio reviews the
acquisition manager of Kehrer Verlag, a highly respected small art publishing
house in Germany.
As my work progressed and the four series developed, Kehrer expressed an
interest in publishing all of my train pictures, both black and white and color.
That happened in April, 2011. I thought I had one to two years to complete the
book, but the acquisitions manager emailed me three weeks later and asked
“How about publishing in January 2012? And, by the way, we need
specifications, a title, and cover art in three weeks for our catalogue”.
Of course, I said Of Course! Those three weeks were among my most intense
creative efforts. The whole experience with Kehrer was positive. I went to Germany
to be pre press and on press, with guide prints for every image in the book
– all of which were crucial to the outcome for the book. And it is
beautiful, even better than I hoped.


What can you share with emerging photographers about getting their work out
into the world?
 


Always make time to do work. Be clear and present and see clearly and well when you work. Build from what you are familiar with but see it with new eyes. Always follow what you are drawn to – you will have something of yourself in whatever photo you make, and it will be stronger. Every portrait or photograph is a self-portrait. Move beyond sharing with family and friends to put your work in front of industry experts through portfolio reviews and local colleagues. Mess around. Always do something that scares you. Just when you think you cannot continue a particular photo shoot, hang in there, because that is when the best photos are made. Talk with industry consultants when you feel you are ready for a next step but don’t know how to get there.


What event took your work to the next level?  
 I think there were different events at different stages
and different people. In my book, my Acknowledgments section honors many who
made a difference to me over time. But what in general took my work to the next
level?
Seeing with new eyes, setting aside my accustomed ways
of looking at things, and getting advice from wise colleagues and friends.


What’s next?  

Well, it’s too
early to talk about it, but it might include circling back and supplementing my
earlier series on body builders, titled “Do I Measure Up?…” I remain passionate about storytelling and
photography and issues of impermanence, intimacy, place, and memory.


And finally, what would be your perfect day? 

After checking email, I would take a walk with my dog in
the California
hills, come back and quietly look at and edit new work. I would plan an
upcoming trip. Mostly alone, but a connection with friends,
too.

Jess T. Dugan, Landen

Jess T. Dugan, Landen

Jess T. Dugan

Landen,
Boston, 2011
Website – JessDugan.com

Jess T. Dugan is a portrait photographer whose work explores issues of gender, sexuality, identity, and community. She earned a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an ALM in Museum Studies from Harvard University. Jess’s photographs are regularly exhibited nationwide and are in the permanent collections of the Harvard Art Museums, the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, and the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. She is represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston, MA and the Schneider Gallery in Chicago, 
IL.

Matthew Baum, Untitled

Matthew Baum, Untitled

Matthew Baum

Untitled,
New York, 2011
From the Eighteen series
Website – MatthewBaum.com

Matthew Baum is an artist and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Brown University in 1995 with a degree in American History and later studied architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Matthew earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2007. As a graduate student, he was a co-founder and director of the VisuaLife photo education program, working with underprivileged high school students in New York City. He currently teaches photography at the School of Visual Arts and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Candace Gaudiani

Caifornia photographer Candace Gaudiani knows something about travel. Born in Boston, she grew up in Wisconsin and Maine, holds both a BA in English Literature and an MBA from Harvard University, and now lives in Menlo Park, California. For a number of years, Candace has been continuing her lifetime of movement while sitting on a train, interpreting our country through a pane of glass. Her work is evocative and sensory, where the viewer can feel the whoosh and the click clack of the rails and imagine the experience of watching the ever changing landscape on parade. Candace has four terrific bodies of work from her train travels: West, Forty Eight States, Frontier States, and Forty Eight States II; select images from all of the series appear below not in any order. Be sure to visit her site to see the complete bodies of work and installation photographs.

Candace has a long roster of exhibitions, solo and group, and her work is held in many collections. A new monograph, Between Destinations, with an essay by Alison Nordström, published by Kehrer Verlag, is due to be released March 2012. In the meantime, Candace will be bringing this work to the Lishui Photo Festival in China in November, and in November 2012, her work will be shown at the Huntington Museum of American Art and is included in the nationally traveling George Eastman House exhibition, TRACKS: Photographs from the Collection through 2013..

Candace’s “large-scale color photographs, all taken from the vantage of a train window, theatrically capture and transform the rural geography of the United States. The window (along with its scratches, distortions and grime of travel) serves as a portal to a little-visited view of the nation. With the inclusion of curtains from the dining car these windows not only offer a view to the outside; they help set and alter the scene. Her interest in the history of rural America, sense of memory and the timelessness of the natural landscape all play important roles in her dreamlike photography. ”


Success Stories: John Chervinsky

Exploring the work of John Chervinsky is intriguing and very inspiring as his photographs are a reflection of a thinker and doer. The more I researched John, the more impressed I became by not only his exquisite work, but the level of professionalism and thought he brings to the production, marketing, and execution of his images. As John opens an exhibition of An Experiment in Perspective at the Wallspace Gallery in Santa Barbara, running from May 31st through July 3, 2011, I would, indeed, call John a Success Story.

A self-taught photographer, John brings a host of visual, intellectual, and scientific tools to his work. He is an engineer working in the field of applied physics at Harvard’s Rowland Institute for Science, originally founded by Polaroid’s Edwin H. Land. John spent eighteen years running a particle accelerator at Harvard University and has collaborated with Museums, using accelerator technology in the analysis of art. His work has been celebrated in a number of solo and group shows, and held in significant museum collections across the country.

John has an interesting new body of work, Studio Physics, that is still in production. Examples follow in the interview below.

In 2001, three significant events moved John to retreat to his studio and begin taking his work to another level — his wife became seriously ill, the World Trade Center was attacked, and his friend and fellow photographer Guy Pollard died unexpectedly. This focused time allowed him to find solace in a world that seemed out of control, and create a body of work that is “ an attempt to find metaphors within the laws of nature that can be universally applied to every day life. Conceptually, the work deals with the divide between rational or scientific explanations of existence and man’s need to explain the world around him with various systems of belief. “

His photographic experiment began when he tried to answer the question: “Could one draw a circle in a square corner of a room and still have the circle look round in a photograph?” To create his photographs, John builds vertical and horizontal chalkboard surfaces, then points a view camera at the 90-degree angle formed by their intersection. With chalk he creates markings drawn in projection so it appears, from the viewpoint of the camera, that the markings are floating in space or on the surface of the photograph.

John’s chalk markings—arrows, diagrams, scientific formulae—are juxtaposed with real objects, giving the photographed image an effect that is at once visually unsettling and intellectually provocative.

Lenses and cameras are the tools of the trade for a working photographer, but it is the field of optics, as it relates to human vision, that can carry with it multivalent symbolic possibilities for the artist. It can stand as a testament to our expansion of human knowledge and perception. It can also symbolize aspects of our weaknesses, thus leading to a greater understanding of the human condition. Are we prone to the same limitations as our trusty camera on a tripod, held to the earth, seeing the universe from a fixed and single point?

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming show at Wallspace Gallery. I appreciate that you are challenging our visual and spiritual limitations with this series. Did you have any new revelations while creating it, or are you exploring territory that is already familiar to you?

Thanks Aline! I feel very fortunate to be at Wall Space amongst some very great artists, and I love working with Crista Dix.

When I first dragged chalkboards into my studio, I knew that I wanted to play tricks with perspective, but that’s all I had in mind. It was mostly unfamiliar territory. I exercise so much control in other aspects of my work, that it would make me unhappy if I controlled the direction too forcefully. I like that period in the course of a project, when the work itself is reflecting something back for me to take hold of. When I first started, I didn’t think the images would have objects at all – only abstract chalk markings. I tried that for a while and it looked terrible. Eventually, I became satisfied with the relationship between object and line and realized that I could then play with symbols and communicate something to viewers.

The biggest revelation with the project, was that it seemed that I could present a fairly ambiguous framework of symbols, and a significant subset of viewers responded to it – and not only that, they did a good job of decoding it. I enjoyed hearing from people who were paying attention to the fact that the tic-tac-toe game in one of my images was an unwinable one; or that those with a scientific background understood the connection between water and the planet Mars.

Is there an image from An Experiment in Perspective that is most meaningful to you?

There is one that features two photographs of my mother; one taken in her 20’s and one taken by me in her 80’s. She is inserted into a mechanics diagram with a physics equation. The image that I created is first and foremost, an expression of my worry about my mother. I also had hoped that the image would serve as a commentary involving the ability of humans to bisect our world along emotional lines and rational lines, simultaneously.

I am very impressed with how you packaged this project as a traveling exhibition (see site for more details). I think we can all learn a lesson from not only your exhibition proposal, but also your approach to showing work. How did this come about?

My very first solo exhibition was here in Massachusetts at the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2005. I hand framed all 23 pieces in the show. Several months later, I attended my very first portfolio review (Photolucida) and made a connection with Mary Virginia Swanson. It was her idea to market the framed pieces as a traveling show. She pointed me to a traveling exhibition organized by the George Eastman House and I wanted to do something similar. I grew up in a very self-reliant household. My father built the house that I grew up in with his own two hands. It was only natural to me, to build the crate. It was a surprising amount of work to complete, but it has been very worthwhile for me. I have to warn that the approach is not for everyone as there are many considerations: storage issues, the intricacies and cost of shipping artwork via motor freight, insurance, etcetera. Like anything else, do your research.

Your amazing print quality is often remarked upon. Are you approaching print making in a unique way or tips you can pass on?

Thanks for that. I don’t know whether my approach is unique but I’m happy to share all. I did come to digital printing with extensive darkroom experience, so it was helpful to know in advance what a good print looks like. I did think that a major weakness of digital printing on matt paper (my choice, for printing images of blackboards) was that the blacks were kind of anemic – and so I spent some time finding an ink and paper combination that produced the deepest blacks that I could get. I found an inexpensive X-rite densitometer on eBay, so that I could make actual measurements. I then figured out a process to have precise calibration for any ink/paper/printer combination. Beyond that, it’s just taking care of basics: starting off with a properly exposed negative, scanning at the highest bit depth possible, avoid having blocked shadows and blown out highlights. For post-process editing, I do rely heavily on the history brush, to finesse my dodging and burning.

You have a fascinating new body of work, Studio Physics. Can you tell us how the new work came about and more about it?

I spent some time thinking about Chris McCaw’s photographs and how he not only created very compelling and beautiful images, pushed his materials to the burning point, actually – but he works at timescales involving hours. It is a time interval that is used in photography, but it is sort of unusual. There are others who work in timescales over years and decades, either studies of people (Nicholas Nixon’s The Brown Sisters, for example) or many who take “then and now” approaches of city shots. I started thinking about a time interval that no one seemed to care about and started thinking about creative ways to exploit that in a still life.

I was already interested in perspective issues with chalk drawing, when I ran into a photographer at Fotofest named Rick Ashley. He used Chinese artists to make straight reproductions of a few of his photographs. There are many commercial painting studios in China that will paint a reproduction of an image that one can send in an email. They can paint a picture of your husband or wife, or they can forge a Van Gogh – you simply have to pay them to do it. It was then, that the idea hit me to use oil painting for my specific purposes.

The idea is to extend the image capture interval from the standard click of the shutter to a period lasting weeks: I shoot a straight still-life, crop the resultant image. I then email a jpeg of the cropped section to China and have them make it into a painting. Meanwhile, my studio setup sits there, but change to it is occurring, the apples begin to rot, the flowers die and the mold advances. Eventually they send the completed painting back to me in the mail. I insert it into the still life, and re-photograph.

Then I just starting having fun! Is the light changing over time? Does the painting fit back into the still life perfectly or can I change its position in space for creative purposes? Does the pull of gravity change an object’s position? I’m hoping to capitalize on, in a very straightforward way, the preoccupation of the physicist: time light space and gravity, and look at them with photography.

How has creating work that takes “not seconds, but weeks” changed your perceptions about making photographs?

Well, only a small subset of objects change noticeably, over weeks – mostly living things, or recently living things. I don’t want the work to be just about decay, however. As in real life, we have growth and decay.

This is a collaborative project–will you ever let your collaborators in on the final product?

Yes, but I’m not in a hurry to tell them. If they find me, so be it. Meanwhile, I’m actually enjoying the challenges of communicating with them. It’s all been very formal, but with broken English and peppered with plenty of exclamation points:

“Thanks for your letter! We are appreciated about your business chance!”

I’ve been trying to get conversational with them to try to find out how many people work at a given facility, what their lives are like, the weather – but those inquiries mostly get ignored. There have been technical challenges associated with the collaboration too – sometimes they’ll change the size of a painting or reorganize the placement of objects, not always in favorable ways. In fact, rarely so.

What advice can you give emerging photographers, especially on presentation, on networking, on consistently producing excellent work?

Well, unless you pay attention to all three aspects, you will only exist at the hobbyist level. At some point in our lives, we have to consider what might happen to our work after we’re gone. You are not Henry Darger. You will not have someone find your work in a shack only to share it with the world. This is not a bleak assessment: more, it is a call to be good not just at one thing, but several.

What opportunity took your career to the next level?

It was not one thing, there are no big breaks, or they are very rare.

Has social networking changed how you promote and market your work?

Yes, and it has made marketing even more perplexing. There are those of my contemporaries that choose to ignore social media entirely, but I believe it is to their own peril. It’s basically too big to ignore: adapt or die. There is power in numbers, however – and if you can crack the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm, you might be able to organize a meaningful strategy.

Do you ever have periods of self-doubt and feel creatively unmotivated?

Yes, but I use that time for technical hacks that might lead somewhere interesting. Recently I learned how to take x-rays in one of our labs. I spent quite a bit of time learning and reading about technique, but I have not yet been able to create a body of work that was compelling enough to share with others. I think it’s important to keep busy and during dry spells. You never know when a simmering pot may boil over.

And finally, what would be your perfect day?

It would involve swimming across Walden Pond with my wife, playing Frisbee with my dog, running up the spiral staircases at the Rowland Institute, shooting “a keeper” in my studio, listening to good music, listening to bad music, fish on the grill, a pint of fine ale, another pint of fine ale. I have lots of perfect days – my needs are simple.