Monday, October 27, 2014

Thomas Gardiner

Thomas Gardiner graduated from Yale with an MFA in Photography in 2012. He earned his BFA from The Cooper Union, during which time he began working with a 4x5 camera to document the small communities he grew up in around Western Canada. During his studies at Yale he switched to 8x10, and began documenting working-class cities in the Northeast around New Haven. In his first year he was awarded Yale’s Schickle-Collingwood Prize and in his final year both the Leeds-Marwell Photography Scholarship and the Tierney Fellowship. He currently lives in Vancouver.

Untitled, USA

I grew up in the isolated, hinterland regions of Western Canada. Economic life in these working class communities revolved primarily around resource extraction industries such as oil, potash, uranium, and farming. Far from large cities and the cultural centers of the world, I desperately wanted to leave the small towns of Saskatchewan. When I did eventually leave, I found photography. Returning home after several years living in Vancouver and then New York, I saw the people and places I left behind in a totally different light. Through the camera, Saskatchewan seemed like a place from another era, yet at the same time it felt more familiar than ever before. Now living in the US, I find myself searching the towns and cities of this new country for the places I knew in Canada. 

When I photograph, the most important thing I look for is a kind of visual complexity in a space. I tend to find and return to urban communities where industry or manufacturing once thrived, ending up in back alleys, empty parking lots, behind strip malls, and in neighborhoods lost in the seams of the interstate freeway system—economically neglected places that reflect the nation’s disinvestment in its working people. Many of these environments— like the towns where I grew up— seem frozen or forgotten in time. Yet beyond any simple nostalgic attraction to these places, a contemporary theme is located somewhere within the challenging relationship of a visibly aging infrastructure in America versus the overwhelming crises of the modern world we live in today. Despite the apparent frozenness of these neglected spaces, time is still moving forward. 

Though there is certainly a documentary impulse throughout my work, even more important to me are the possibilities for the deliberate creation of a scene. The 8x10 view camera I use is traditionally regarded as a tool for exquisite detail, harnessed for its mimetic ability, for its higher descriptive fidelity. Yet my interest is in rendering those things generally less-easily seen: human desire and the interior dramas within individual lives. By using an 8x10 camera, I want the meditative attention to detail, but also I want the energy of the decisive moment, as is most commonly associated with smaller, faster, lighter cameras. My goal is always to attempt to overcome these limitations of the larger, slower 8x10 camera, and I feel it’s when I come close to this goal that the images are most satisfying to me. The result is a photograph with a unique kind of drama that is both fixed and transient. 

Once a person has agreed to let me photograph him or her, I feel we have become co-agents in a kind of script. The individuals I meet have a concrete relationship to the environment where my camera is placed. My contribution to the script, however, comes from murky memories—psychological, visual, social, and more— of my own past. The people I photograph are in this way cast into those memory scenes, yet simultaneously their actions and decisions infuse the scene with new meaning. The photograph becomes a kind of dialogue, the end result often being a departure from what either photographer or subject imagined. For me, photography is a complete sensory experience. Despite these attempts to describe my photographic process, I firmly believe that attempts to spell out in words a photograph’s meaning are destined to reduce its power. While this isn't to say that writing can’t aid in interpretation, there will always be something lost in translation. That is why I want viewers to consider these images without captions or theoretical viewpoints. And so the only title can be: Untitled, USA.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jennifer Georgescu

Jennifer Georgescu's work describes instinctual aspects of humanity correlating to and differing from societal structuring. With a background in painting and photographic arts, she utilizes medium format film photography, installation, and digital technology. Her projects analyze dualisms in language, relationships, mythologies and control. "I often search for the balance that exists in between these dichotomies. This is how I view humanity; always teetering on the line between fiction and reality, domination and submissiveness, self and other."

After obtaining a BFA from Watkins College of Art and Design in 2008, Georgescu was awarded a year long residency at Vanderbilt University’s "Gallery F." She has received numerous awards from Artist Portfolio Magazine, the Camera Obscura Journal of Literature and Photography and the Julia Margaret Cameron Award. Her works have recently been exhibited in the Masur Museum of Art, the Detroit Museum of New Art, and PhotoCenter NW.

Project Statement: Star Gazers

I wish I could believe that something was out there waiting for me in the cosmos. I find the thought of forever incapacitating. Then I think of the alternative; of being nothing ever again. We all have a self proclaimed importance that renders our being obsolete, impossible. This is part of what makes us human. We hold the idea of our importance despite our insignificance and mortality.

I long for a time, somewhere in the past, when it was thought that all information was just out of reach and all we had to do was find it. I feel that in present time, the more information we know, the more we realize that we’ll never know it all. We now have a vastly expanding wealth of information at our fingertips, yet we are no closer to “knowing” the most important answers.

The most wonderful idea I can think of, the thing that truly comforts me, is the possibility of time being warped beyond our current perception. I find comfort in the idea of parallel universes; where little holes allow for one world to briefly experience the next. When you make a decision in one world, an alternate decision would be made in the next, and so on. This idea has always allowed me to think that when I am gone in one world, I may continue in the next.

Star Gazers addresses the things that are hard to think about (i.e. death, mortality, insignificance) through imagination and narrative easy to be confronted with. Fiction and awe weave together antique imagery, scientific imaging, and medium format film photography to tell a farfetched tale that is factually possible. This is a story where worlds can communicate, where past and present can connect, and the cosmos contain meaning.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kristin Bedford

Kristin Bedford is a photographer who focuses on long-term visual studies of where we live – the streets we walk down, the places we worship in, the homes we create, and the spaces between them all. Her subjects have included religious movements, street culture in numerous urban centers, and the modern day legacy of historic African American communities.

Bedford holds a B.A. in Religion from George Washington University, with an emphasis on American Religious Traditions, and an M.F.A. in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. Her photographs are part of the permanent collection at the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University. She has had solo exhibitions at the Daylight Project Space, and the Allen Building Gallery at Duke University.

Born and raised in Washington, DC, Bedford currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, and is working on photography projects on the West Coast and in the South. She also teaches 35mm and large format film photography at art centers around the country.

Ashley Kauschinger: What started your interest in the “The International Peace Mission Movement” and how did you gain access to their community?

Kristin Bedford: As an undergraduate studying American Religious Traditions I came across the book Black Gods of the Metropolis: Negro Religious Cults of the Urban North. Written by the cultural anthropologist Arthur Huff Fauset in 1940, the book surveyed five non-traditional African American religious traditions in Philadelphia. I was struck by Fauset’s respectful approach to researching fringe religious movements that were usually stereotyped and dismissed.

Over the years Fauset’s book has always been in the back of my mind. In the summer of 2013, I set out to photograph the modern day legacy of these five groups in Philadelphia. After a few weeks of hitting the pavement I found each of the groups and began photographing them all. In the largest chapter of the book, Fauset features Father Divine and the International Peace Mission Movement. Father Divine, known to his followers as God, had tens of thousands of devotees in the 1930s. It was when I met the modern day followers that my project took on a new and unexpected direction.

Fauset met the followers of Father Divine at their church headquarters on Broad Street in Philadelphia. My journey began when I knocked on this same church door. The sign out front said there would be a service that afternoon but the church was locked. An elderly man came to the door and told me to go to Father Divine’s estate to find the followers and to attend a “holy communion banquet.” I made the trip to the estate, known as Woodmont, and was warmly greeted by the followers. They invited me to come to their Sunday banquet, which is the followers’ sacred meal where they reflect on and listen to the words of Father Divine.

To the outside world Father Divine died in 1965, but for his followers he “lay his body down” and is still with them as he always has been. Now in their seventies, eighties, and nineties, eighteen of the remaining celibate followers live with Mother Divine at Woodmont. The movement is diminishing in numbers, and the followers are looking for ways to maintain Father Divine’s legacy. During the Sunday banquet, the followers suggested that I introduce myself, so I told them about my Fauset photography project. After the banquet ended, the followers asked me if I could help them create an on-site photo archive. They have over eighty years of the movement’s photographs at Father Divine’s estate.

The scope of this undertaking was daunting, but I could not pass up the opportunity to see and organize the photographic history of such a prolific religious movement. Ten days later I moved into Woodmont to help create the Father Divine photo archive.

Each day that I spent at Woodmont I was struck by the visual richness of the community’s life and rituals. A week into working on their photo archive, I asked if it would be okay if I took photos of the followers during my stay. With their permission, I began photographing the Woodmont community. The one stipulation was that I could never photograph Mother Divine, as she is sacred for them. I agreed to honor their request, and spent five weeks working with their archival photos, and concurrently creating my own body of work.

AK: What was your process of photographing? Do you intervene? Do you have a plan?

My process is to turn myself over to the unknown and let my photos tell me what the story is. I immerse myself in a situation and try to be as present and focused as I possibly can. It is from this place that I make photographs. The only things I can control are my intentions and my craft. The story the photos tell is something that is slowly revealed over time, and I must wait to see what it is.

While living at Woodmont I sat quietly until moments appeared when I could take a photo. I wanted the rhythm of the followers’ daily rituals to guide me. I came to know when it was appropriate to be present with a camera, and the followers would let me know when I could photograph them. Most photography of the movement has been focused on Father and Mother Divine. My interest lay in portraying the people who sustain the movement. It is the enduring faith of the followers that I felt drawn to photographing.

The portraits in this series are often shot from a very close distance. I work with a fixed lens, which conveys both my proximity to the subject, and the level of trust that is present. I want to be physically close to see the smaller signs and nuances of a situation. Photographing faith is a challenge and if there is any chance I might capture glimmers of it, I need to be patient and near.

AK: How do you think about editing your work?

I edit photographs based on intuition. I choose photos that speak to me, and I abandon any sort of logical thinking about what images make more sense than others. After my initial group of photos has been chosen, I then return to see what themes are emerging from them. At that point I begin to see how the story will weave together.

The theme that stood out in this series was of the quiet moments and daily rituals of the followers. Their small actions reveal their steadfast connection to Father Divine. I chose photos that I hope will offer glimpses of their mysterious and constant faith. With the lack of new followers, their movement is likely in its final chapter. I was given the privilege of seeing their traditions before they fade away. With these photos I want to convey the beauty and the tension of the path they are on.

AK: Did you have any preconceived notions about this group of individuals before you became shooting? Has your prospective changed at all since you have taken an in depth look?

KB: During the many banquets I attended during my time at Woodmont, the followers would play recordings of Father Divine’s talks while they ate. I was always intrigued when Father Divine used photography as a way to explain faith. Father Divine preached that followers should “focus their lens” on his vision of peaceful living and racial equality. If a follower was able to embody these beliefs, they would create “The Perfect Picture.”

I chose to name this series after Father Divine’s concept of “The Perfect Picture.” The prescription to embody world peace is an overwhelming idea to me. I saw that the followers were not approaching Father Divine’s vision of perfection with bold moves. They were realizing his truth in constant, small gestures.

Before I met the followers of Father Divine, my only knowledge of the movement was based on Fauset’s research. I had few preconceived notions of who they were. Fauset treated them with respect and objectivity, and I entered my relationship with the movement in the same spirit. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to see and hear their stories firsthand. If I had brought stereotypes to our relationship, I fear I would have missed the small gestures. I imagine I would have missed getting to see their manifestation of “The Perfect Picture.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

Frank Hamrick

 I have been an admirer of Frank Hamrick's photography and book arts for some time, and was inspired when I saw his work in person at the exhibition, Pathways, that just closed at the McMaster Gallery at the University of South Carolina. Below find a few insights Frank shared about his work and process.

Frank Hamrick is an associate professor at Louisiana Tech University. His work mixes photography, storytelling, handmade books and found objects. Frank received his BFA from The University of Georgia and his MFA from New Mexico State University. NPR has written about Frank’s handmade books and in 2012 Oxford American Magazine listed Frank as one of the 100 Superstars of Southern Art. His work is housed in collections including the Georgia Museum of Art and The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.

Ashley Kauschinger: What role does the personal play in your work?

Frank Hamrick:
I have made satisfying work of strangers and places I’ve visited, but most of my work is tied to my connection to places I have lived and people who are close to me. Photographer Christine Shank once said the most personal work is the most universal. I find that to be true as long as the work leaves an entry point for viewers to relate to the content.

AK: How did you get involved with alternative processes, and what are your thoughts about its uses in contemporary photography?

Digital photography has made things more accessible to people but also leaves many feeling removed from the process. These hands on, alternative methods being practiced can be seen as a reaction to the proliferation of digital processes, but there are also a lot of analog/digital hybrid processes being developed.

My bookmaking is a good example of blending analog and digital methods.

A few years ago one of my graduate students had been unsuccessfully trying to learn how to make tintypes. I did not know how to guide him. My solution was to start learning the process over winter break and then return to school and show him.

I usually challenge myself with learning something new each year, whether it is how to expose an image onto a leaf using its chlorophyll or how to create and document a camera obscura. Then I share that information to my students and peers.

AK: You are an accomplished book artist. Do your books inform your photographic work? Or do they communicate what can’t be said through photography alone?

People like my images on the wall but my photographs tend to resonate better with viewers when they are sequenced and presented as books, something the viewer can hold and turn its pages, rather than standing across the room looking at it on the wall in a “do not touch” situation.

If you were to think of a photograph in the same way you consider a single song, then an artists’ book is similar to an entire album of music complete with cover art and liner notes. The artists’ book allows me to combine imagery and text and incorporate materials, like handmade paper, and processes, such as staining and letterpress printing, to create unique or limited works of art.

AK: What is your editing process? How does it differ when you are sequencing a book vs. an exhibition?

When making a book I prefer to choose a photographic series that I feel is finished or at least there is a completed chapter in the series. I do not want to create a photography book of new work and then a week later make a new photograph that I wish was in that book. I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the possible connections that can be made between the images on the left and right spreads in the book. I also consider the overall arch of the story the images convey in the book. My books tend to have a small selection of images. Past books have ranged between 6 – 24 images depending on the project. It is not unusual for good images to be left out of a book because it did not fit in the sequence and story told by that particular book.

Exhibitions tend to be more open. I do think about the sequence in a show like I do in a book. But I take more risks, often showing new images or ones I am curious to see how people respond. Often my exhibitions include photographs that do not make their way into my books because over time they are replaced by new, stronger images.

AK: You are also an Associate Professor at Louisiana Tech University. How do you find balance between teaching, your artist practice, and life?

It is challenging to balance being a professor, a working artist and having any sort of personal life. Teaching has changed so much in the past ten years. Students expect their professors and course material to be accessible 24/7 now that we have e-mail and online class resources like Moodle/Blackboard. There are many more tasks attached to teaching now compared to when I first started.

As far as making artwork, I photograph my garden along with my family and friends as a way to balance making artwork and maintaining relationships and activities that matter to me. I blend trips to see family and friends with visiting curators and teaching workshops.

Photographer and Educator, Eliot Dudik, said something to the effect that artists do not get to stop for weekends and holidays. He is right if you want to get anything accomplished.

When I was a teenager, one of my mentors said, “You’re fucking up if you’re watching television.” I apply the philosophy to my life, asking myself, “How does this contribute towards my goals?”

Monday, September 29, 2014

Highlights from: Slow Exposures

Install Image by Ann George

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the photography event Slow Exposures in Pike County, Georgia. It was a weekend packed with nontraditional photography events, like pop-up exhibitions, soirees with three legged dogs, and late night cabin critiques. After an exciting (and tiring!) weekend, I highly suggest heading to this event next year, and entering the annual juried exhibition.

Here are a few highlights:

Install Image by Ann George

"The Posse" Pop-up Exhibition 
Time, Place, and Eternity: Flannery O’Connor and the Craft of Photography
Anne Berry, Ann George, Bryce Lankard, S. Gayle Stevens, and Lori Vrba

Exhibition Statement from the artists:

The writer [photographer] operates at a particular crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His problem is to find that location” (59):  A photographer need only substitute nouns: photographer for writer and photograph for story, to understand how Flannery O’Connor’s thoughts on the craft of writing apply to the art of photography. This year, which marks the fifty-year anniversary of her death, five southern photographers pay tribute to Flannery O’Connor by creating a pop-up exhibit in the barn at Split Oak Farm in Zebulon, GA as part of Slow Exposures, A Juried Exhibition Celebrating Photography of the Rural South. This exhibit follows the Posse’s 2013 pop up, Hay Now, which New York curator John Bennette called “the most brilliant installation ever to come down 109:” In his words, “My breath was swept away. I said, ‘hallelujah, something wonderful has come to this town.” Time, Place, and Eternity explores five aspects in Flannery O’Connor’s writings that relate to the craft of photography: Grace, Mystery, Manners, Gesture, and Habit. We are opening the exhibit at SlowExposures, and our goal is for it to travel to other venues throughout the coming year.

Eliot Dudik 
On This Land I See Heroes and Saints
Curated by John A. Bennette

Exhibition Statement from Slow Exposures: 

"This unique exhibition combines related bodies of work by Elliot Dudik: Broken Land and Still Lives. Mr. Bennette was inspired by Mr.Dudik’s images and ideas as well as The Good Lord Bird: A Novel by James McBride, winner of the 2013 National Book Award. It is an inspired and imaginative retelling of the events around abolitionist John Brown’s cause from the perspective of 12 year-old Henry Shackleford, a Kansas slave Brown mistakes for a girl. Henry, living in disguise joins the band of abolitionists and bears witness to meetings with Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, as well as the raid on Harpers Ferry.

Mr. Dudik’s work is timely, or maybe timeless, as it deals with a subject that has plagued man for generations: War. At the time of the Civil War, photography was coming into its own. The elements of War: battles, casualties, the land and the pre-battle keepsakes became one of the first subjects of importance recorded with this new technology.As a direct result of the Civil War, America was reborn at the beginning of the 20th century—it was to be The American Century when the nation rose from the ashes of war.

Broken Land is a meditation on key battle sites that will evoke conversations. Dudik’s thought processes are revealed through his artist statement, “These photographs are an attempt to preserve American History, not relish it, but to recognize its cyclical nature and derail that seemingly inevitable tendency for repetition.”

Still Lives is a photo essay of Civil War re-enactors, people from all walks of life coming together, for many reasons, to preserve history to the best of their abilities. This photo essay is an ongoing series of portraits, which have stories to tell and memories to give, that places the viewer at the critical moment on the battlefields."

McNair Evans
Confessions for a Son
Winner of the Conlan Prize for First Place in Slow Exposures 2013

Project Statement from the artist: 

There was no man that my father admired more than his father, and no one his father admired more than the man who raised him. With tenderness of heart and warm humor my father met everyone as his equal.

Upon his death in November 2000, I was exposed to our family business’s insolvency. Dad faced a series of devastating fires, bad crops, perpetual over- extension and high-interest loans. Five generations of familial and financial stability fractured. While the economic effects were immediately obvious, the emotional implications lingered beneath the surface for nine years.

In 2010 I returned home to photograph the lasting psychological landscape of Dad’s legacy. Retracing my father’s life, I used photography to comprehend its events. Visiting the farms where we hunted, his college dorm rooms, and his oldest friends, I photographed his family members and businesses while researching his character and actions. I could not equate these.

Initially confused and angry, I grew to know him as a teenager, college student, co-worker, life-long friend, and father who lovingly withheld business realities. I witnessed shortcomings and successes and found empathy with a man who faced so much in his life. His sacrifices cost the ultimate price, and accepting that some questions may never be answered, I grew to love him again.

Confessions for a Son juxtaposes these photographs with those taken by my father roughly 40 years ago. Photographs from family archives and experimental practices join to explore this complex relationship between father and son. These works share my emotions after his death, my search to learn more abut him in recent years, and the journey of acceptance and forgiveness.

These pictures are my way of saying its OK. Everything that happened is done and it’s OK. They are my way of taking ownership of everything that I felt, and all the anger and all the shame, and saying, “Yes, I felt that, and it’s OK to feel that, and I still love you.”

Aline Smithson and Alex Dilworth discussing second place winner, Aaron Blum at the juror talk

Photography of the Rural South

Exhibition Statement from Slow Exposures:

"Every photographer has had the experience of seeing an image and passing it by. We did not stop the car, turn around, go back….interrupt that conversation… take the photograph that was there right in front of our eyes. Many such “I wish I had taken the time” moments dot our shared lives as photographers. And whether we live in the rural south, or visit and pass thru the southern countryside, we all see the evidence of a disappearing rural lifestyle, architecture and way of life that has historically existed in small southern towns, homes and lives for decades.

Slow Exposures began and continues to be a unifying platform to challenge photographers to not only stop, turn the car around and take photographs of this south that is fading away – sometimes gently, sometimes harshly – but to also actively seek out and preserve thru photography, the South today.

Photographs tell stories. Photographs document a window into our present – which becomes the future generations past – and as time capsules, are priceless gifts to ourselves.

SlowExposures honors this mission and I am proud to continue to support this photographic tradition." --Gary Gruby

Monday, September 22, 2014

Rebecca Drolen

Ear Hair

Rebecca Drolen received her MFA in Photography from Indiana University in 2009. She joined the art department at Belmont University in Nashville, TN in the Fall of 2013, before which she served as a Faculty Fellow at the University of Georgia and as an assistant professor at Michigan State University. Drolen’s photographic work explores constructed narratives, using the element of truth that a photograph carries to imagine and validate impossible scenes. Her work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions on a national and international level, notably, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Texas Tech University, and the Theory of Clouds Gallery in Kobe, Japan. Drolen has had work published in several art magazines and has a piece held in the permanent collection at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.


Ashley Kauschinger: How did you series, Hair Pieces, begin? What started your interest in how we socially view hair, and the beauty standards associated with it?

Rebecca Drolen: For very many years, I have been a person who is recognizable by my long and somewhat wild hair. My series, Hair Pieces, began with a bit of self-reflection and essentially laughing at myself as I wondered why or how I wrap up so much of my sense of identity in my looks, specifically my hair.

The first image was made when I found a braided ponytail that I had cut off years earlier with intention of donating. For whatever reason, I thought…I can use this! I fashioned the braid into a necktie, put on a short wig, and made the first image of the series, Hair Tie. The image is one part liberating and two parts manic. I loved the notion of telling an ambiguous story with only the figure and their interaction with hair as the contents of the frame.

The Wet Look

AK: After creating this work, what do you think it is that makes hair beautiful and grotesque? Has your perception of your own hair changed?

RD: I entered making this work with a sense of fascination that hair is both beautiful and repulsive in our culture. The fragile influence of context is its only distinction. We see long hair on a woman as a symbol of beauty and femininity, but as soon as the hair is cut or removed the body, we think of it as unsanitary and strange. Likewise, we seem to never have enough hair in the places we want it, and too much hair in the places that we don’t want it to be!

As an artist, I keep coming back to ideas of a common human struggle as a main point of inspiration. Making this work helped me realize how it truly is a futile act to shave hair on one part of the body (knowing it will return all too quickly) while wishing hair in another place would grow faster. I am going to keep doing these rituals of hair removal and growth even though I know they are an endless and useless struggle – that sense of irony and dark humor is both inspiring and entertaining as I make work.


AK: Take us through your photographic process. How do you begin thinking about bringing an image together? How do you think about the construction of an image? What is a day of shooting like for you?

The start of making individual images for this project happened in a lot of different ways. Sometimes I would begin with a phrase that I wanted to illustrate, sometimes I would find an object or prop that I knew I could transform in purpose, and other times I would tinker and struggle through means of illustrating how a view of a certain kind of hair could be forced to walk the line between beautiful and strange.

Simplicity was my one rule in terms of frame construction and design. I wanted the photographs to be illustrative of an idea, but not documentary in nature. The blank spaces and limited depth of foreground to background space allowed the images to feel like the subject offered is something akin to a specimen to be studied.

Each of the images have been shot in my home. I tried to start with as blank a space as is possible and then only add the few necessary elements to tell the story. I made the work while I was mostly alone and became a bit compulsive about arranging and re-arranging items in the frame. The images were all constructed in front of the camera, as opposed to later in post-processing, which means I got to buy a huge amount of synthetic hair!


AK: Can you discuss a bit about the jewelry pieces and what they signify in the series?

The jewelry pieces that are a part of the series offer a tip of the hat to one of the main elements of historic inspiration for the project: Victorian Mourning Jewelry. After the death of her husband, Queen Victoria spent the remaining decades of her life in public mourning in the late 19th century. Her celebrity and influence over culture at the time meant that it became fashionable to mourn, thus an industry of mourning formed. One very popular product/service of that emerged at the time was jewelry pieces made from the hair of a deceased loved one. The hair was intricately woven in to bracelets, lockets, and other ornate casings. While our current culture may get squeamish or find it morbid to wear the hair of the departed, at the time it was an incredibly sentimental and loving gesture.

There is something about the archival, lasting quality of hair as well as its link to memory that is mirrored in how we treasure and store photographs of loved ones. This link was one part of the compulsion to make my jewelry objects of hair mixed with images. I was also interested in twisting the sentimentality of the Victorian pieces and instead mourn the loss of the hair itself. Commemorated and given a sense of nostalgia within my jewelry pieces is hair that may have otherwise been undesirable – toe hair, eyebrow tweezings, etc. Instead of the hair being discarded, it is elevated to a state of beloved memory.


AK: What advice do you have for fine art photographers navigating the world? What has been your process of finding funding, time, and jobs after you graduated?

You have to be consumed with the will to make work and willing to put in a lot of hours to do so. There are countless distractions and no right answers or direct paths toward success. It seems incredibly important to show up, work hard, meet other people who are making art, create community, and take a lot of risks. It can be overwhelming to observe how many talented Photographers are making work right now, but there is always room for unique voices and compelling new images. The most important element in staying motivated is to remain sincere as you find the content that you care about and are willing to take some authority to speak about in your art-making. Other than that, whether it is jobs, exhibition opportunities, or reaching out to new artist friends, I try to put myself out there as much as possible, manage my disappointment with failures, and let the successful moments fuel me forward!

Hair Cut