18
Oct

better late than never…

Posted in MFA  by nlecorgne

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being so remiss in posting the past couple of weeks. As you all know life in my small part of the world is unpredictable and wrought with chaos for the time being. I hope to make things up by double posting the next couple of weeks. But then again you know what they say about the best laid plans…

This week I have begun  looking for more photographers who have done work on caring for an aging parent. I’m sure there is a lot of work out there, as this is an issue that is quite prevalent in today’s society. However, your typical google search doesn’t render prolific results, and I am having trouble finding other photographers that are using the camera to look at their own experience with caring for an aging relative.

One thing that I did happen upon was a series of multimedia pieces by photojournalist, Ed Kashi, and his wife, Julie Winokur, who is a filmmaker. They documented their experiences caring for Julie’s father – who had dementia – in their home while raising their two children.

The pieces (“Living with Herbie” and “The Sandwich Generation”) can be found on the VII Photo website, and can be viewed through the following direct links:

Living With Herbie

The Sandwich Generation

I looked at these pieces in comparison to Phil Toledano’s work (www.dayswithmyfather.com) and had a number of thoughts regarding the differences outside of the obvious choices of mediums – “straight” photography vs. multimedia. It is the styles in which they were shot, and my feelings about those styles that interests me most. As a photographer interested in documentary, street and journalistic photography, I am more drawn to the subject matter and styling of Ed Kashi’s primary body of work. While I greatly appreciate Toledano’s work both technically and conceptually I am not moved or inspired in the same way as I am with Kashi’s work, say for a National Geographic article on Arab Christians. However, in the case of the work they both did on the process of caring for a relative with dementia, I was completely taken by the emotional expression of Toledano’s work. Kashi and his wife made an excellent multimedia documentary that stayed true to his journalistic roots. It is informative and gives the viewer a brief, but straightforward, look at the realities of daily life as it is while caring for someone with dementia. Toledano, on the other hand, takes the viewer inside what it feels like to love someone suffering from the disease by way of visual poetry.

My point in contrasting these two approaches is not to say that one is better than the other. Of course, I find it interesting that I prefer Toledano’s perspective on this subject, but Kashi’s main body of work. However, even more intriguing is that I find myself questioning my own definitions regarding the nature of documentary photography.  Somehow the limits as to the whats, wheres, whys and hows of documentary have just expanded, to include a much more conceptual definition of the term. Suddenly my mind no longer requires a strict a linear narrative to call something documentary. Suddenly documentary has reached into the realm of poetry, drawing the viewer into the emotional experience, rather than the literal interpretation of a story.

25
Sep

MFA post 2

Posted in MFA  by nlecorgne

Last week our graduate seminar class went to see the Sally Mann exhibition at Jackson Fine Arts Gallery in Atlanta. I must admit that I have never been a Sally Mann fan. That’s not to say I dislike her work either. I just would not have thought to put her on my list of all-time favorite photographers. However, I found the exhibit at Jackson Fine Arts that features work from her Proud Flesh series, profoundly moving and purposeful. In this series, Mann has chosen to use the wet plate collodion process to create a series of incredibly intimate portraits that look physical and emotional aspects of her husbands struggle with muscular dystrophy.

Although I’m sure that I was personally touched by the images because of my own experiences with deterioration and loss of loved ones. It is the seamless marriage of process and subject, as well as that between personal document and public art that have captured my attention and refused to let it go.

In relating these ideas to my own work I have decided to take on a personal project with a similar theme, but I will be looking at it through the lens of two cameras. The dslr that I am so accustomed to using, and also through the plastic lens of a Holga. In doing research for he project I have been combing sites dedicated to lowfi photography, plastic cameras and holgamoids. What I have noticed is that, while there are a lot of wonderful images being made with plastic cameras, more often than not, the novelty of the image quality seems to supersede a seamless marriage between process (or craft) and subject matter.

With that said here are a couple of holga images that, while not as emotional evocative as the Sally Mann series, are quite successful at marrying the medium and subject. They are by a photographer named John Bridges.

More of his work can be found at: http://johnbridgesphotography.com/

 

19
Sep

Finally… an actual post!

Posted in MFA  by nlecorgne

So I’ve had this blog site set up for a ridiculously long time and never managed to post anything more than “page under construction,” or “welcome to my blog. more coming soon…” I guess for someone who has trouble returning phone calls and regularly answering even the simplest of emails, keeping up with a blog has always seemed a daunting commitment… However, it appears that the time has finally come to take the plunge… With my recent entry into the MFA program at SCAD Atlanta, and the requirement that we keep a written record of our personal musings on the subject of photography through a personal blog, my first official post is finally taking form; and I must admit that I am both excited and a bit apprehensive. That said, I’ll move directly to the subject a hand – photography and my personal musings.

While I began my “artistic life” a visual artist, I have actually spent my professional life as a performer and scholar of music from the Middle East. Over the past several years photography has become a way for me to bridge two worlds – the more public world of music and performance with a more private world of color, light and form. Up to this point my photographic work has centered around music, dance and culture of the Middle East – primarily Arab, Arab-American and American interpretations of the Arab world. For years I have sought to use both music and photography as means to give alternative views of cultures that are so often judged by first impressions, cultural bias and media spins.

However, as I have become increasingly involved in photography as an art form in and of its self, the question “what next?” begins to surface. Subject matter aside, I find myself continually drawn to movement, intense emotion and quality of light. My approach tends to be very intuitive… very spontaneous.  I shoot digital, but have recently begun collecting and restoring vintage cameras in hopes of working with medium format film. I’m drawn to documentary styling and to work that truly strives to make a difference. I’m not afraid of grain, digital noise, fuzzy focus and blur. However, I also love finely crafted, tack sharp, studio narratives, and any art with a unique perspective or quirky twist. At this point what I really want to do is to explore new techniques, hone old skills, and take the time to develop ideas that have been percolating for some time now.

Looking forward to working with all of you!!!!

Nicole