Tag Archives: Southern Illinois University

Bruce Morton

Some say that you can’t go home again, but I think you can go home, but you don’t always find “home” when you get there.  When photographer Bruce Morton returned to his home town of Bowen, IL after three decades, he was struck by what was missing.  A landscape that was once filled with farms and agriculture and activity has returned to untended pastures, housing a few storage structures and not much else. His stark black and white images set the mood for loss and memory in his series, Lost Homes.

Image for Lost Homes

Bruce was born in west central Illinois and received
his BS in Science from Southern Illinois University and an MFA in photography
from Arizona State University.  Bruce lived in Arizona for most of his
career, working as a desert landscape designer–a profession that connects him
deeply with the land.  He is now working as a fine art photographer and living in Illinois.

Lost Homes: These photographs are from a series I call
“Lost Homes”.  I was
raised in the rural farm area of far west central Illinois where there were
farm homes almost every half mile. 
These homes raised families for decades.  I left my home town to go to college and did not return for
over thirty years.  Upon my return
I noticed how many of these farm home sites stood vacant but yet there still
seemed to be an aura of refusal to give up. 

Many of the sites are still used for storage purposes but several are only represented by a single tree or lane.  Some still have foundations or basements left behind and the trees that surround them have a distinctive character as if they were monuments.  Maybe they are.  I have been photographing these sites for a few years under various weather conditions hoping to catch that spirit which still seems to exist. 

Public Assembly: The Photographs of Mike Sinclair

For this week’s issue, we combed countless archives in search of the perfect photograph to accompany a history of the American Dream, the subject of the cover story by Jon Meacham. In the end, we turned to photographer Mike Sinclair, who’s been rigorously documenting America’s heartland near his home in Kansas City, Mo. When asked about his photos, he modestly says, “I never really set out to photograph the American Dream or western culture. These are not projects. The edits come out of thinking about themes. I like going through my work and then figuring it out.”

For more than 30 years, Sinclair has documented places where people gather, like state fairs, sporting events and parks. “I grew up in the heyday of LIFE and photojournalism. I realized early on that I was better at visual things,” he tells TIME.

Sinclair decided to pursue journalism at the University of Missouri, but after one year, he realized that it wasn’t a great fit. “I came under the spell of Winogrand and Friedlander and found them more interesting as a budding photojournalist. I eventually went to Southern Illinois University, where they had an undergraduate program in fine art photography. Once I got there, I was in heaven—it combined my interest in the fine arts and photography.”

“I just like everything about taking photos and going to these events. It’s a great counterpoint to photographing modern architecture,” says Sinclair, who does the job professionally to make a living between his documentary projects. All of his images reflect the rigor of an architectural photographer with the straightforward style of masters like Walker Evans, Joel Sternfeld and Stephen Shore.

“I switched to architecture because I thought after 30 or 40 years I’d have some kind of record of this time and what happened,” he explains.

Sinclair’s understated and introverted approach to documenting an event feels easygoing, placing viewers in the shoes of a local rather than an outsider. He photographs on trips he plans and usually goes with his family. “I kind of plant the camera in front of people and spend time with them,” he says. In all his images, he almost feels invisible.

Sinclair has no real plans for his work except to keep making it. In the beginning, he says, “I first shared the work to the owner of the Dolphin Gallery in Kansas City and was encouraged by him to show it [elsewhere]. Eventually, through them, my work found its way into collections around the country.” These collections include The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, also in Kansas City.

Sinclair disagrees when people label him as a certain type of photographer. “I don’t think of myself as a Midwestern photographer. I think the same sort of things happen everywhere I’ve been.” His image of the Fourth of July (featured above) speaks to his claim—it feels like it could represent almost anywhere in America.

“Part of what I’m interested in is this idea of public space and the preciousness of it. It’s something that we all need,” he says.

Mike Sinclair is a photographer based in Kansas City, Missouri. His current exhibition ‘Public Assembly’ is on view at Jen Bekman Projects in New York City until June 24. 

Stephen Chalmers, Baby with tractor at Sunset (vandalized Cerney/Sun Kim sculpture)

Stephen Chalmers, Baby with tractor at Sunset (vandalized Cerney/Sun Kim sculpture)

Stephen Chalmers

Baby with tractor at Sunset (vandalized Cerney/Sun Kim sculpture),
Phoenix, 2009
From the Transience series
Website – StephenChalmers.com

Stephen Chalmers has worked as a Lead Treatment Counselor to severely emotionally disturbed children, worked as an Emergency Medical Technician, and taught gang children photography – informing his projects which deal with issues of loss. He has also been a contributor to five books, and has been in group and solo exhibitions throughout the U.S. and also in Australia, Ireland, British Columbia, Thailand, England, South Africa, and China. Chalmers earned his MFA in Cinema and Photography from Southern Illinois University, served as the Northwest Regional Chair for the Society for Photographic Education for two terms, was professor in the state of Washington for eight years and is currently a professor of Photography at Youngstown State University in Ohio. His work is in several collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Light Work, Polaroid, and the Getty Research Institute.

Gift of Gift Of: Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon

Gift of Gift of (featured in yesterday’s post), recently purchased an image from Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon for the the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston collection. Dominic and Mark combined visual forces to create a body of work, Anti-local. Their synergies and sensibilities create an insightful dialogue about home, space, connections, and lifestyles.

This image was selected by Gift of Gift of:

Mark Schoon is an artist and educator living in Elmhurst, Queens, NY. He grew up in the central plains of Illinois and has lived in China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Texas. He holds a BA in television production form Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an MFA in photography from Ohio University. Mark currently teaches photography at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ, Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, CT, and Hostos Community College in the Bronx. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States.

Dominic Lippillo earned an MFA in Photography from Ohio University in 2009. In 2010 he received an Artist Grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission for his project Fifteen Homes. Selections from his collaborative project Anti-local are included in the online supplement accompanying Bruce Warren’s textbook Photography: The Concise Guide (2nd Edition, March 2011). His work has been shown nationally and internationally. Dominic is an Assistant Professor of Art at Mississippi State University.

Anti-local will be shown as a solo show at SRO Photo Gallery at Texas Tech University from Sept 26 – October 23. Dominic will be speaking about his series Under a Calm Surface at the upcoming South Central Regional Society for Photographic Education Conference at the end of September.

In a collaborative effort, two photographers living 1,114 miles apart approach their homes as the sites for exploration of domesticity. Through the use of the diptych format, two images come together to form a dialogue about proximity, locality, and space versus place.

Beginning independently, one photographer creates an image of his home and sends it to the other. The recipient in turn responds to the image with a second, paying attention to subtle details such as light, color, and texture to find similarities and differences in his home. In doing so the hope is to create a conversation pertaining to the definition, use and perception of place.

The images are printed on the same piece of paper at the intimate scale of four by four inches to allow for a close inspection. Through this process, the language of photography creates a dialogue between the two differently depicted environments.

As we question the depiction of domesticity individually, through the juxtaposition of the two images we are examining how photographs can create a new meaning as they engage one another.

Gift of Gift Of: Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon

Gift of Gift of (featured in yesterday’s post), recently purchased an image from Dominic Lippillo and Mark Schoon for the the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston collection. Dominic and Mark combined visual forces to create a body of work, Anti-local. Their synergies and sensibilities create an insightful dialogue about home, space, connections, and lifestyles.

This image was selected by Gift of Gift of:

Mark Schoon is an artist and educator living in Elmhurst, Queens, NY. He grew up in the central plains of Illinois and has lived in China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Texas. He holds a BA in television production form Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and an MFA in photography from Ohio University. Mark currently teaches photography at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ, Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, CT, and Hostos Community College in the Bronx. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States.

Dominic Lippillo earned an MFA in Photography from Ohio University in 2009. In 2010 he received an Artist Grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission for his project Fifteen Homes. Selections from his collaborative project Anti-local are included in the online supplement accompanying Bruce Warren’s textbook Photography: The Concise Guide (2nd Edition, March 2011). His work has been shown nationally and internationally. Dominic is an Assistant Professor of Art at Mississippi State University.

Anti-local will be shown as a solo show at SRO Photo Gallery at Texas Tech University from Sept 26 – October 23. Dominic will be speaking about his series Under a Calm Surface at the upcoming South Central Regional Society for Photographic Education Conference at the end of September.

In a collaborative effort, two photographers living 1,114 miles apart approach their homes as the sites for exploration of domesticity. Through the use of the diptych format, two images come together to form a dialogue about proximity, locality, and space versus place.

Beginning independently, one photographer creates an image of his home and sends it to the other. The recipient in turn responds to the image with a second, paying attention to subtle details such as light, color, and texture to find similarities and differences in his home. In doing so the hope is to create a conversation pertaining to the definition, use and perception of place.

The images are printed on the same piece of paper at the intimate scale of four by four inches to allow for a close inspection. Through this process, the language of photography creates a dialogue between the two differently depicted environments.

As we question the depiction of domesticity individually, through the juxtaposition of the two images we are examining how photographs can create a new meaning as they engage one another.