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September 03, 2007


Louisa Solarz

I went to the photo show Duality by Erica Hererra. The concept that the artist explored was the idea of her alter ego. This alter ego is “the buffalo,” a figure that is a representation of the quest to belong and a bridge between Hererra’s mental space. The context she gave stated her struggle growing up in a culturally split household. She is an American but her upbringing in a Mexican household is a large part of her. This is where the inspiration for the show came from: this split she had to face in her life.
As I viewed the series of images, the first thing I realized was that Duality was a perfectly fitting title for the collection for multiple reasons. Firstly, I noticed that some of the images were a bit blurred, creating an effect where the branches of trees were duplicated or the ground was moved in a way that it overlapped itself. Whether or not this was purposeful or the effect of a long exposure, it worked to the artist’s advantage. Secondly, there are two figures in every photograph. These were, again, the artist herself and her alter ego, “the buffalo.” The buffalo’s looming presence brought a fantastical element to the collection of work for me, because it always appeared as a ghostly figure, distinct from all else. The fantasy aspect leads me to the last reason why the title is so fitting. Hererra talked about how she wanted to show her mental space and I could truly feel this in her work. The images themselves were not sharp nor highly contrasted. The subtle grayness paired with the looming figures made me feel like I was watching a dream sequence. Therefore, I could see the split between reality and fantasy and there were elements of both. The forest setting was the perfect choice for this project, because it looked very untouched. There was no evidence of human exploration, technology or time. This allowed it to be the perfect backdrop for either reality or the dream space—the final duality.
Overall, this photography show was a very enjoyable experience for me. The artist statement was essential in understanding the artist’s ideas and I think that it was very gracefully written. I especially liked that Hererra introduced a difficult struggle of her life, but met it with acceptance. I could see that she was facing a personal struggle head on, so the show made me feel empowered for her. I also think that each image was very well executed. It is clear to see that although Hererra has her own technique for enlarging photographs, she is very skilled. Each image was well thought out and worked with the others to complete a full body of work. I would love to see more from her in different styles. Lastly, it was unique to be able to step into another person’s shoes to understand what their life has been like. This is why I feel art is such a fantastic medium for any expression, because it has the ability to invoke emotion and relatability to another human being. Although I cannot fully comprehend the split Hererra has gone through, there are parts of myself that are split as well.

Kyle Zhou

Exhibition Review: Corrections by Zora Murff

Zora Murff works as Tracker for a Juvenile Detention service in Iowa. His job is to record and be in contact with Juveniles who have convicted crimes and been asked to be electronically tracker, do community services, or stay in detention facilities.
The series includes photos of the environment of the detention facility, the belongings of the Juveniles, or the juveniles themselves (blurred face or face not shown). The series looks really impressive since the environment looks like a prison but the clothes and age of the juveniles make it hard to believe that it is a prison.
Photos of the detention facility environment look like they were taken in an abandoned place with a strong sense of loneliness as everything is either old or broken. Many photos from the series look like a combination of a prison and a normal environment from the juveniles' daily life.
The most interesting thing about this series is that every single image has different style and can even be taken out and put in some other photo series, but when combined there's a strong sense of unity that can give audience a detailed description of the lives of these juveniles in detention.

Kyle Zhou

Art Lecture by Professor Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

Professor Matthew presented her series with the theme of "Present speaks to the past". She said that some of the series she did aim to make people "reconsider history". Most of her work achieve such goal through comparison of two sets of images or animations of present images gradually fading in old images (using photoshop). The timing of fading in is perfectly designed so the audience will first be surprised by the change but still have enough time to compare the differences.
The first series presented was "An Indian from India", which present images of Native Americans and Indian in the same background and pose. The series was inspired by her experience as an immigrant from India, as the word "Indian" can also refer to Native Americans and cause confusion. Through the images, the series show some similarity between the two groups other than their names.
One series is named "ReGeneration", which presents family photos of different generations through animations on the same background. Three generations fade in and out within one images, showing not only the changes in family members but also the different history and culture behind each generations.
The next series is called "Open Wound - Stories of Partition". In this series, the event -- Partition of Inida is presented by the memories of people from India and Pakistan. The technique of animations is used once again to present the impact of such historical event. In addition, the subjects in the series also gave quotes regarding their memory about what happened during that period. The series presents both India and Pakistan people, give the audience a chance to "reconsider history" beyond what is documented in books.
To Majority Minority is another series that focus on the immigrants in the U.S. As Professor Matthew points out, the minority group in the U.S. will become the majority in 2050. The multi-culture characteristic of the U.S. is well presented by this series with diverse background subjects.

Sam Molinaro

Sam Molinaro

Artist Lecture: Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

Annnu’s lecture centered around her photography and her experiences formulating each series. All series’ had a theme of indian and american cultural history combined with memory. One series included portraits of indian-american’s paired alongside old photos of native-americans. She compared the traditional “indian” to the contemporary indian to show the confusion and similarities between identities.
Regeneration was another series presented consisting of 3 generations of family photographs stitched together in a time lapse video. It’s presented in a way to mimic phone tablet screens to show the current generation and the power we have now to present 100 years of history so simply.
Another series she presented compared cultural traumas through generations. Emphasizing that every family has a story, and that these stories often are forgotten. Open Wound is a series that commemorated the Partition of India and Pakistan. She met families and connected with them through old family photos. After spending time with them and finding a favorite photo, they reenacted them as a current generation commemorating the last.

Sam Molinaro

Exhibition Review: Duality by Erika Herrera

Erika created a series of black and white 16x20 silver gelatin prints, all with a slightly soft focus and most notably very grey. I later learned that these were pinhole camera photographs which purposefully got flashed to darken all of the whites.These are self-portraits of her coexisting with her alter ego, “the buffalo” which she feels coexists with her at all times. Buffalos are constantly traveling and live a nomadic lifestyle and Erika feels as if her Mexican heritage and American upbringing leave her without a place to call home.
I learned some of these photos were taken in Mexico while others taken in Wisconsin but I would never have known. I think it’s interesting how the settings look the same even though they’re located in two very different places, It felt like a merge between cultures.
In the statement, she describes how the Buffalo has became part of her identity; without it she isn’t complete. Acknowledging this sense of “the other” and embracing it as a strength instead of a weakness is very important in finding self identity and I loved how she represented this in her work.
The exposures in the pinhole camera were long enough where she could exist both as her and the buffalo in the same image. With this long of an exposure the subjects are semi-transparent and bring this very ghostly effect that shows the mystic nature of an alter ego. A being that always exists with you but is never manifested physically, but rather emotionally. These ethereal self portraits bring the emotional to the physical and I love that.

Louisa Solarz

On February 2nd, Professor Annu Palakunnathu Matthew from the University of Rhode Island came to speak about her work. She was born in England, raised in India and now lives in Rhode Island. Before she presented her various projects, she told the audience about what her photographs were about. Professor Matthew does much of her work in order to raise socio-political questions and challenge the viewer’s assumptions. She stated that to do so, she looks inwards and outwards, connecting her own emotion to those of others.
The first project of hers that she presented was entitled “ReGeneration” in which she utilized time lapse photography to display family photographs and how they are changing. She created the time lapse by picturing individual images to create photo animations. In one specific example, she pictured three generations of women. The first image is a posed picture of a young woman standing alone. Before the viewer’s eyes, she turns into an older version of herself and then is accompanied by the addition of a daughter and then a granddaughter. For me, this animation was very powerful, because it represented the movement of time and the changes of culture. It also showed the connection between the women and felt very empowering. Matthew said that at first, she was picturing solely Indian families, but soon expanded the project to Vietnam and Israel as well. She worked closely with families to find significant photos and develop ways to alter them. The finished products were displayed with the use of iPads.
The next project she spoke about was entitled “Open Wound.” Matthew focused on the time in history of the partition of British colonial India. I barely knew anything about the partition before she spoke and was shocked to hear about the violent and horrific period. She worked with those who faced the partition, now in their 80’s and 90’s. Her main goal was to honor the survivors and anyone passed who was affected by the historical event. Similar to her technique with the “ReGeneration” project, Matthew collaborated with the families to find old photos and recreate them. This way, she could give them something to put back into their new photo albums. She went to the homes of Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh families who were willing to open their door to her. The technique was as it was before with the use of photo animations. This time, they were presented in the gallery inside a hollowed-out encyclopedia with the iPad’s inside.
The final project Annu Palakunnathu Matthew presented was entitled “To Majority Minority,” focusing on the love hate relationships much of the country has with immigrants. After 9/11 there were new levels of mistrust and fear in the hearts of American’s towards those who didn’t look like them. In order to deal with this, Matthew wanted to show how and why people came to this country to create more empathy. In the first part of her project, she interviewed immigrant people to learn their stories and created more short animations. These animations were extremely powerful, because they showed the struggles of immigrants that many people might not know about. In fact, much of the times immigrants are the strongest and hardest working people, because they must build a life for themselves against all odds. Still focusing on these people, the second part of the project focused on those affected after the events on 9/11 and judged on their race. Her project used close-up images of eyes and finger prints so that the viewer could not tell the ethnicity of the subject. For me, this makes a grand statement about how we are all human beings, no matter origin, skin tone, etc. When you view an image of a hand or an eye, you can’t tell the race and therefore you cannot judge-- something that happens too often.
At the end of the lecture, Professor Matthew stated that all her work is about herself, but also echoes the stories of those that are like her. The larger themes are very significant to her own personal life and her overall goal is to create an understanding for Americans who look different. I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture and would love to go to one of her shows in the future.

Caitlin Shogren

Saiyna Bashir's lecture was both culturally informative and inspiring for my future projects. The lecture began with a project that she pursued after the Orlando Pulse shooting in collaboration with her editor at the Cap Times and the Muslim community.

Her lecture touched not only on the Muslim community's perspective from the shooting but also how it was viewed in the city's community at large and provided a way to start conversations about the Muslim community in Madison. I found her angle of incorporating the global aspect of the Muslim community by putting photos of her attendance at a summit for the Muslim community. She was very educated about the different types of nationalities that were represented at this summit and how the different style of dress were shown throughout the group. The familiarity she had with the group also allowed us to see a different side of the community, through gender. Learning about how the religion seperated the two genders but allowing her to take a few photos of the men's side was a great way to show the difference between the sects of traditionalism that the different churches incorporated within themselves.

Her other projects and stills with the paper were also interesting to learn about when going through various struggles with corporations, the community in Madison and the political atmosphere that had been at a forefront of her photography experiences within the last few months. When talking about the political rallies that she had attended, it was nerve wracking as a member of the community and with background in the journalism field with how she was respected/disrepected.

Her work on acid burn victims within Pakistan was really different. Her collection was in black and white which I thought relevant to our projects but I wished she had also shown these in color as she had told us about how vibrant and colorful they were originally. I think seeing the different ways to portray them would have been a good representation on how to display the photos and how the editing decision to play the colors down would have been educational and really helpful to those in the room.

Caitlin Shogren

Kevin Miyazaki's Perimeter exhibition in Milwaukee portrayed the vast diversity of Lake Michigan's shoreline along with the portraits of the inhabitants closest to the surrounding shoreline. With one side of the space taken up with the various shorelines, lined precisely on the horizon line, and the other showcasing the "contemporary" portraits, the exhibition is very linear and easy to go through much like a beach environment should be.

The horizons range from beautiful to gloomy, night to high noon. I'm not much for the beach but add a little sand beneath your feet and go outside and you might as well imagine yourself going along the shoreline. I would have loved the photos to be a bit bigger, if the space had allowed, to experience them more. Just to see the details in the wide shots that he took. I think that would have given more emphasis to the people that surrounded the shoreline.

The portraits were gorgeously taken. I love the stark contrast of the people with the black background. The various depth that Miyazaki also displays in the photos helps continue to grab the attention of the viewer. The variance of the portrait helps also show how much detail different people need for the portrait. An example would be a closer face depiction for a coast guard member compared to a family out for a picnic or stroll that requires a larger frame to display them all. I think it was a great way to utilize a different view of portraiture compared to the horizons, where it is consistent throughout. There's also a good range of ages and depictions of the portraits which help show the diversity that he wants to depict in his objective.

Jing Luo

I went to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art for the Wisconsin Triennial 2016. This exhibition started from September 23 and ends on January 8, 2017. “In the 2016 Wisconsin Triennial, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art presents a survey of our state’s of-the-moment art science through selected works by Wisconsin artists.”

The most impressive work to me is the Brave New World (Red Shan Shui) by Xiaohong Zhang, probably mainly because it was done by a Chinese artist. Zhang takes paper cutting, a traditional art of Chinese, and digital technology together in this piece. I can see from Zhang’s work that she uses a lot of photos taken in China, since there are a lots of Chinese characters in them. She collects and collage those photos, and combine them with paper cutting to construct a bigger “picture”. The title of this piece works really well with the context, in my opinion. Various of small pieces of photos together creating a bigger figure is a form of “brand new world.” One thing I do think could be improved is that the choices of photos can be paid more attention to. I found out that there are serval repetitive photos and some of them don’t have much meaning. I like seeing details in art work, so I think this piece can be much more successful with better choices of photos.

Another piece that draw attention to me is The Fascist Hag and a Plowshare Oddity by Chirs Rowley. Rowley is actually my professor for Art 107 last year, and I saw him doing the same series in his studio once, so I have this unique experience of seeing the artist doing his work and seeing the piece he finished at a museum! It’s also quite special to me to see an art work formed by rug-hooking, a late nineteenth-century craft technique. I like the color choice of this piece and the way Rowley design the shape.

Carly Streling

Matika Wilbur Review

What made this lecture so inspiring and interesting was first of all, Matika herself, but also her ability of great storytelling and confidence in speaking. Also, I think the most important aspect of her work is the stories of these Native Americans along with their portraits. Hearing about their lives makes them real to her audience. If she wasn’t telling their stories her photographs would not be nearly as powerful.

During her lecture she barely spoke about her processes of photographing these people other than how she speaks to them first and then asks them where they would like to be photographed. I think this is a great idea and I will most likely take this approach on work in the future. Although, I really wanted to hear more about her photography work. I feel like I didn’t actually go to an artist lecture, but rather a political discussion about modern issues. I truly enjoyed the lecture and hearing about the perspective of all these different groups of Native Americans throughout the nation. Also, listening to Matika discuss the issues surrounding women especially opened my eyes to a completely different perspective and really made me want to fight for these people and their rights.

I think she accomplished spreading her message about applying her Native practices to all parts of life in order to help stop the injustices these people are facing. But what I wanted to hear more about was her work as an artist and not just as an advocate.

Overall, I thought she was a wonderful and moving speaker and she made me want to help her in her fight to help all those who face injustice. She also inspired me to find a topic that I am just as passionate about and use my photography skills to help spread awareness about the topic or issue. Matika truly was an inspiration.

Nada Kiki Arthur

Exhibition Review (2):

Reconfigured Reality, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art hosted an exhibition titled Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection. The purpose of this exhibit is to provide us with a conglomerate of developments since the 1970’s that have helped us to define the meaning of contemporary art using pieces from the museum’s permanent collection as well as from other collections. Though I wasn’t able dedicated as much time as I wanted on each piece there were pieces that particularly stood out to me. For example, a film still from 1979 by Cindy Sherman was of my favorited pieces used in the exhibit. It was a gelatin silver print that came from the museums personal collection. The image is of young woman with bruises around her eyes and on her face. The expression on her face is one of shock but it seems to be that this isn’t something she hasn’t endured before. The bruises seem old but fairly recent. I loved the darkness and mystery of the image. It’s fairly indistinctive. The lack of color in the piece could allude to it being older but I think it’s fairly relatable to women now. I thought it was a great piece to add to the exhibit. For me, it was one of the few that kind of helped me draw a bridge into contemporary art.

Nada Kiki Arthur

Exhibition Review: Facades, Markus Brunetti

From September 2nd until the 31st of December the Chazen Museum will be hosting a body of work by the German artist Markus Brunetti. This body of work is titled Facades. It is composed of at least 15 largely scaled portraits of grand cathedrals based in Europe. Walking into the space, I loved how simple and minimal the exhibit felt. I was not overwhelmed with busyness but Instead I was able to get lost in the beauty of his photographs. The largeness of the room and the images themselves made me feel as though I was there when these images were taken. It was one thing to look at these images from a far than to look at them up close. From far, the images almost didn’t seem like photographs to me. They seemed fabricated and in some way quite animated but the closer and closer I got to them, the more apparent the details in the photos became.

From a far, the first thing you notice are the churches themselves and the large open sky in these images. I believe this added to illusion that these images were edited in some way. I was amazed by how clean and crisp the images were. They seemed almost too perfect. But as you come closer, little details in the architecture of the cathedrals become more and more evident. Stain glass windows from the smallest sections of the images were captured in full detail. The textures of the brick and designs in the very tips of the towers were able to be seen. To me that was the most impressive part of these images. There were no areas in any image where felt that I was not seeing the real thing.

My favorite piece in the entire show was Wells, Cathedral Church of St Andrews. I absolutely lost myself in this piece. It was in this particular image that I felt the 3-dimensional aspect of his images the most. There are parts of the cathedral that are closer to the viewer than other.
Brunetti did a perfect job of illustrating this. This could have been due to the angle at which the camera was at or the presence of slight shadows that can be seen in the corners of where the two particular walls meet. I also feel like the detail in this particular piece of work was astonishing. It seems to be one of the more elaborately adorned cathedrals every single part of was dead on.

This is definitely an exhibit that I will be going to see again. These are places that I would love to see in person and I think Brunetti was successful and making his viewers feel like maybe just for a split second, they were there.

Jing Luo

Artist Talk Review: I watched a documentary called "Ai Weiwei, Without Fear or Favor".

One thing that surprised me is his work Sunflower Seeds. While I thought those sunflower seeds are real sunflower seeds, that I was still curious why would those be called art. In fact, in his Sunflower Seeds, first, he and his team pick a number of real sunflower seeds to make mode. Then they make ceramic copies of those modes. Afterwards, they have to pick those qualified ones and have workers paint all of them by hands. In a word, Ai Weiwei actually hired more than 1600 workers in China and made a total of 100,000,000 seeds, with a total weight of 150 tons. And the whole process of making those seeds took them about 2.5 years. The whole project is actually really unbelievable in my opinion.

Two important principles in his art work are rhythm and repetition. He usually uses the same kind of objects repeatedly to make a whole piece and at the same time make some adjustment to some of them. For example, he chose a limited number of real sunflower seeds to make tons of copies of those in his work Sunflower Seeds. Another examples is his work Grapes, which is a cluster of wooden stools from Qing Dynasty(1644-1911). The wooden stools have nothing special if we put them in separate, but Ai Weiwei put them in a way that seems to have some meaning. And all the old stuffs from hundred years ago being put together looks like a brand new piece, which is very interesting as I see.

Ai Weiwei is influenced by Marcel Duchamp in making art. He tries to make art using materials that are already there, that are always things that we can find in our everyday lives. Grapes is a perfect example, he uses wooden stools from the old times and rearrange them to become his new work.

Collin Miller

Exhibition Review: Reconfigured Reality
The day after it opened, I got the chance to look at Reconfigured Reality, a photo exhibition at the MMoca. It was kind of sad how out of the way the show was but I was pleased with the photographs in the show. There were definitely some pieces that stuck in my mind.
To me, Reconfigured Reality seemed to take the perspective approach of photography. The camera is a tool that can show others the world through the photographers eyes. I got the feeling that many photos were trying to do just that. Some tried to show a topic from a specific point of view. Others depicted realities that only the artist could portray. Some did things I don’t think I fully understand. Regardless, the title of the show goes with the work.
There are two pieces that really stuck out to me. Alec Sloth’s Sleeping By the Mississippi was one of these such pieces. The photograph depicts a night landscape with a gas station in the foreground, a cemetery behind that, and a small mountain in the background. It was very striking to have something like a gas station, with all the connotations it holds, right next to a cemetery. The mountain behind that scene adds a nature aspect to the photo but juxtaposes both previous features as well. A holy mountain, a cemetery, and a gas station make for quite the photograph it seems.
The second piece is the collection of Andy Warhol polaroids. I couldn’t turn the pages because it was in a glass case but I liked the photos that were visible. They, along with the description on the pedestal, portrayed simple and candid photographs of Andy Warhol and those around him. It was interesting to see such a prominent celebrity having a normal dinner with friends and there’s something about a candid polaroid photograph that adds to the human aspect of such a shot.

Collin Miller

Lecture Review: Façades by Markus Brunetti
I got the chance to listen to Markus Brunetti’s lecture on his and his wife’s work Façades. I had seen the exhibition prior to this lecture and was looking forward to the story behind these pieces. Overall, I enjoyed the lecture and got some insight on what it’s like to drop everything and chase your dream.
Markus and his wife dropped their well paying job to follow their artistic vision. They built an RV that doubles as a lab and set off on a journey. The RV didn’t sound cheap but it was a home on wheels and could accommodate for everything the two photographers would need for their expedition. On their trip, they photographed sacred buildings all over Europe. They’ve been shooting for 11 years so far. They plan to travel the Middle East and photograph the sacred buildings there.
The photos themselves are massive and incredibly detailed. Markus described the file sizes being so huge that it pushed the limits of the computers they had. I bet Apple customer service knows them pretty well by now. They would take many, many photographs of a single building and stich the images together to create these immense photos. The photoshopping itself is impressive as sometimes they’d have to deal with trees and other obstructions that are in the way of the building.
Their tale was pretty inspiring and made me feel that running after your artistic vision won’t be so difficult as many think. However, not everyone had such a great job to afford to drop everything and set off on an 11 year road trip. Also, I found it odd that Markus’s wife didn’t get a chance to speak. She made some comments from the audience but I would have wanted to hear her experience too.

Sam Molinaro

Sam Molinaro
Markus Brunetti: Facades

I went to Markus’ talk introducing his series Facades, which are very large composite images of churches and cathedrals from all over Europe. His profession has been a photographers assistant along side working as a freelance artist. He lived and worked in a trailer for years working on his showcase, and taking commissions from companies. He also explained how his upbringing in architecture gave him his interest in churches. He grew up around architecture because of his grandfather who designed churches. Markus explained how his images stood somewhere in-between a photograph and a painting. They are huge, and composed of many smaller images creating immense detail and no depth of field; mimicking a blueprint, and even a painting. He worked to replicate that “ideal view” of the facade, like that of planning architecture. He made sure the scene had neutral light, the space was free of people or activity, and the weather had to be cloudy with no shadows.
He mentioned how the style of a church is always different as a result of cultures and the skills of individual designers and workers, but the function is always the same. Each church is very unique, and they are not in any way “assembly line products”. He emphasized how this series shouldn’t be a church encyclopedia but rather a story of how each region and culture designed their churches differently. He found and decided to photograph each church by visiting with locals in different cities and towns in Europe. He noticed when talking to locals that they live with their churches, they love them.

Rachael Brzycki

This semester I attended Natalie’s show, “Clothing the Gender Gap”. This series was based around self-identifying males or considered male by society in front of a simple black background. I absolutely loved this series for a multiple of reasons. One of these was that the technical aspect was absolutely amazing. The lighting was well executed along with the framing and composition of each photograph. The message behind the show was, however, the thing that intrigued me the most. I thought having identified males dressing in “female” based clothes was a interesting concept. The fact that most males dressing in female clothing, such as crop tops, skirts, leggings, etc are frowned upon by society since it is considered abnormal. Overall, I thought the photography itself was very well executed along with the message Natalie was trying to get across.

Jessi Havens

For my exhibition review I went to see Facades by Markus Burnetti at the Chazen Museum. The gallery space had a very tall ceiling which complimented the large size of the canvas hanging on the walls. On these canvas were photographs of churches and cathedrals around Europe. Photographer Markus Burnetti has been traveling Europe for the past few years documenting the facades and exterior architecture of some of the continent's most visited and photographed landmarks.
There are 12 cathedrals within the gallery and they hang on the walls in intentional patterns. For example, the three cathedrals with pointed towers are hung side by side and the four with more square naves occupy the same wall. From far away Burnetti's photos just seem like well edited images of churches, without the common herds of tourists. However, after staring at one of the photographs for an extended period of time the decorative details of the cathedral's façade begin to pop and appear three-dimensional. The smallest of details such as stone patterning and tiny stain glass windows are still able to be seen in high-definition.
Angular and lens distortion is not present in Burnetti's photos, which makes me wondering if he took numerous photographs of the same church zoomed in and then stitched them all together. The perspective Burnetti provides viewers is not one they could get if they visited the site in person. Instead of being a small figure on the group looking up, the viewer seeing the entire building at eye level. Looking at one of the cathedrals makes one feels a sense of unease because the normal hustle and bustle of the city life around these landmarks have been removed. They stand alone with nothing but sky as their background and context. As a viewer one feels as if they are interacting with this ginormous holy place alone.

Katharine Koller

Exhibition Review: Façades by Markus Brunetti

The exhibition FAÇADES: Photographs by Markus Brunetti is currently on display at the Chazen Museum of Art until the end of the year. Within this series, Brunetti explores the faces of historic cathedrals throughout Europe. The amazing thing is he is able capture the faces of the religious spaces in great detail, allowing the viewer to see every detail of the building that most people admire but never closely view.
When looking around the exhibition space, the photographs are displayed on the four walls, allowing the massive prints to breathe and command attention when looking at a piece individually. However, when first walking into the space, it seems underwhelming. It takes a bit for the viewer to get situated for viewing historic cathedrals, because at first it just seems like massive churches. When you begin to look at the cathedrals individually, the viewer is able to begin and appreciate the beauty of the cathedral, and the little things you wouldn’t normally be able to see. All the cracks in the bricks, the details in the spires that just look like tiny towers from the ground but actually exquisite stone carvings.
The large scale that Brunetti prints allows the viewer to feel like they are viewing the historic religious buildings in the area they were originally taken and located. For example, when looking at the Köln Hohe Domkirche St. Petrus piece, the viewer almost feels as large at the cathedral itself. This piece was my favorite because of the way Brunetti pieced together the façade to highlight the dark features of stone used to build the cathedral and the wear over time.
Brunetti successfully takes viewers on a tour of historic cathedrals throughout Europe by giving viewers full views of the façades one would never be able to see otherwise.

Katharine Koller

Currently at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection is on display in the one of the museums galleries. The focus of this exhibition is to present an overview in the development of photography over time that have began to define contemporary photography.
The collection is curated from pieces within the Museums permanent collection. Some highlight pieces are Family Lemp by Amir Zaki’s, Untitled #6 by Maranda Lichtenstein and Cemetery, Fountain City, WI by Alec Soth.
The collection is also a variety of different mediums within photography. Work ranges from archival pigment prints, to dye coupler prints and even an ambrotype, a positive photography on glass made by a wet plate collodion process.
Reconfigured Reality: Contemporary Photography from the Permanent Collection brings to live the stages through which contemporary photography came to be. From going to simple portraits to moving more abstractly and thinking of photography as an artistic process rather than just a formal process of making a photograph. Each photograph within the collection build the sense that throughout time, the perception of photography throughout the art world, or even the world as a whole, has changed.
The photographs curated for this collection speak to the visual poetry that photography represents and that has been able to come to live within contemporary work.

Rachael Brzycki

For my lecture, I attended Matika Wilbur’s lecture, in which she discussed her photography exploration called Project 562. This project was focused around documenting different people from all 567 federally recognized tribes. Her goal with this project is to preserve the Native American culture.
Wilbur’s talk was focused around achieving social justice for American Indians along with different scenarios and hardships that most have had to face. By discussing various intentions behind her body of work; such as building bridges between the American Indian culture and others, combating stereotypes along with misconceptions that are around American Indian communities and their history, we all realized how important documenting these people and their history is to understand what we must do.
I really loved this talk since it was mostly focused on the message behind her work, instead of the specific pictures themselves. I love that each of the different photographs had a different story. Wilbur did a phenomenal job explaining her messages that she wanted to portray. I thought that her talk was so thought provoking and she made all of her points very clear. The Q&A showed this even more, by having such a thought provoking talk along with overall just being a such knowledgeable person, I would recommend this talk and her work to all of my friends.

Jordana Rubnitz

Artist Talk: Uldus Bakhtiozina
For my artist talk I watched a TedTalk by a Russian photographer named Uldus Bakhtiozina. She talked about her project called Desperate Romantics. This project was meant to mimic the style of the mid 19th century until the end of the 19th century. The concept represented the contemporary and social issues she is surrounded by in Russia.
The first piece Uldus showed was called Rustam. It is a take off John Millais painting Nina Lehmann. The photograph is of a 12 year old boy, wearing tights, a skirt, ballet shoes, and also a Darth Vader mask. This boy is a professional ballet dancer, but keeps it a secret at school because in Russia it is not seen “manly” enough for boys to dance ballet. But this boy has goals and aspirations, but is covered up by this mask because he wants to be just like his “normal” classmates and socially accepted.
The next photograph she showed was metaphoric, based off of the painting Beauty also by John Millais. Nikita is an image of a big man wearing a scarf of Barbie dolls, make up, and other feminine qualities. The message Uldus is trying to convey is that men are not able to show their sensitive in Russia. The man in the image tries to be more aggressive and strong, but in reality Uldus knows him personally and he is a sensitive, romanic man.
Uldus's project is trying to show how Russia is socially constructing these people to cover up who they really are to fit into society. She is a 27 year old women not married and that is frowned upon in Russia. People see her as old and lonely, however she is an intelligent successful photographer.

Jessica Schumaker

Exhibition Review

I went to the exhibit by Julia Levine, her series is titled Nadja in the gallery Drunk Lunch. In this body of work she expolores the complexities of female emotion. In her artist statement she writes: “’Nadja’ explores how identities are performed, and the vulnerabilities they expose in the process”. While I think some of her images were very successful in obtaining this goal; others feel slightly short. One larger critique of this series of work is about the developing and editing processes. Only a few of her images were crisp and completely in focused, but many of the pieces had a grain and pixel quality that was very noticeable. I’m not sure if this was due to problems printing or developing or if was purposeful. If it was purposeful I’m not sure if it aid in her ultimate goal. If anything it was distracting from the actual context. One image of a close up of a woman’s face was my favorite piece in the show, it was crisp and in focus. In addition, it used the rule of thirds and the viewer’s eye traveled along the image nicely. Another piece that was very interesting and would have been my favorite work if it would have been clearer with no added grain. In it, it showed a woman hiding behind a plotted plant with her legs sticking out in a straddle. This image had a dark quality in it by obscuring identity behind the plant, while still the legs in high heels sticking out played a sort of whimsical nature. Overall, it was a well done series of work, and in my opinion would be even better if there was less grain, pixels, and artifacts obscuring the context of the image.

Olivia Cook

Reconfigured Reality is an exhibition that showcases contemporary photography from the 1970s. Within the collection, the photographers use an array of techniques to challenge the out dated concept of the camera as a tool of mere documentation, rather than a creative tool. Many of the photographs used color and lighting to alter and sway perceptions of reality.
One specific image presented an extended arm protruding out from the view of the photographer, holding onto a picture of a boat on the horizon of the ocean. The background was a view of an ocean. The occurrence of a photo within photo is not only ironic, but it challenges the notion of what a photograph should be: purely documentation or an accurate representation of reality. It challenges the idea that photography is purely objective and an accurate portrayal of reality.
Another set of images that stood out to me was a pair of two images using what looked to be the tintype process. The images were of a couple that photographed portraits of one another at their farm. Their main objective was to convey a sense of nostalgia or an old-timey feeling through the alternative process. This example of the use of an alternative process as a creative tool challenges the idea of what photography should be. They have affectively reconfigured reality.
A few of the images were exceptionally large in size, creating a larger-than-life rendering of subjects and scenery- another trend in contemporary photography to alter the way in which the viewer perceives reality. Overall, the collection exhibited an array of modern techniques and ideas; presenting photography as a fine art, rather than historic documentation.

Jessica Schumaker

Lecture Review by Jessica Schumaker

I went to the artist lecture of Markus Brunetti. Brunetti, started this series of work with his wife Betty, capturing sacred buildings in 2005. They are influenced by political and social climates. Their photographs are extremely large detailed photographs of the faces of religious buildings. Markus Brunetti was born in Europe and was raised in a family that has an extensive knowledge of architecture. In 1911 his great grandfather moved from Italy to Germany as a well-established architecture of churches. This business for building and designing churches was passed down to Markus’s father and uncles. Raised in this family they were major advocates of the arts. He had is first dark room at the age of 12. He started his work on computers and photography. His wife, and artistic partner, also has a family lineage in architecture involved in churches. The two of them (with their dog) live in truck. A major component of their artistic process is living in the area that houses the façade. It’s vital for them to come to an understanding of the importance of the building for the community. One reason there is a draw to capturing the churches is that they are not assembly line productions. Brunetti made a point that this individualistic quality is similar in the creation of their image. He uses such high resolution for his images that the viewer is able to see each tile that makes up a mosaic. To capture these details with no scaffolding or drones involves neutral light, space, nothing between him and the façade. He has never had any ‘no’s’ from churches, whether that is parking his truck, or taking pictures, or even bringing him coffee. He attributed this kindness as showing how much the people and the community who live with the churches love when someone else is dedicating time and attention to a building that means so much to the locals. Overall, Markus’ time consuming work is extremely detailed creating a large awe inspiring image.

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