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September 03, 2007


Lai Seipel

Lai Photography Lecture Review

Michael Kienitz’s lecture inspired me to take stock of my own photographic practice. His in-depth knowledge of the structures and the processes that go into the formation of the beauty around him, I believe, was the core reason that he was able to create such great works. The ability to understand the sources of light and how they are formed, such as the moulins which allow light to enter the caves, gives his work the ability to be scientific and artistic. Michael spent 5 years photographing these vanishing and beautiful landscapes. I found it shocking to realize that places like this exist and that fantasy films were even created here. We should be joyous of the moments we have with this beautiful place and accept the fact that nothing is permanent and we can only move forward until the end. Despite the fact that this world is warming and these wondrous places will never be the same. For now, we have proof that they did exist.

Lai Seipel

Lai Photography Exhibition Review

The work of Michael Kienitz in Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty is both poignant and somber. His dedication to preserving the vanishing natural beauty of the Icelandic Glaciers is honorable and I found it inspiring. As the Earth warms we will continue to see more of these natural wonders disappear. With them, the beauty of these places will also change. One great example of this was one of the works which were of a cave that no longer exists. The beautiful vibrant light which he captured can no longer be seen in the same way. There is a tendency to be nostalgic when looking at these images, realizing that nothing will ever be the same. It is true that our earth is warming and scientifically speaking we have passed the point of no return. I believe that it is important to take these works as they are and accept this change. Honor those who wish to preserve the beauty for the future generations and face the change of our world head-on.

Rita Benissan

In the start of the semester, I went to the New Midwest Photography at the James Watrous Gallery in the Overture building. It was great to see such a cohesive exhibition that showcase many works from different photographers from the Midwest. One of my favorite works were from Dave Jordano. He had a series of photos of Detroit abandon houses and building at night. Being from Michigan and seeing these types of building really gave them new life specially in the night time setting.

After the show, I looked into more of his work and how he capturing the forgot neighborhood that people kind of forget about in Detroit. He found a way to highlight the neighbor and the resident that live in these scenery. Another one of my favorites was Andy Adam with his portraiture, looking back now I really enjoyed the and also Clarissa Bonet

It was a really good opportunity for me to attend this opening reception specially at the beginning of the semester, because it gave insight on how different thing people photographer and what stories that they are portraying in their work!

Ciera A Lampshire

Ciera Lampshire Exhibition Review

I went to the Family Pictures exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum, it will be on display until January 20th, 2019. Family Pictures features black photographers and explores the ways they portrayed a range of familial relationships. The exhibition shows more than just photographs, but for this review that is all I am focusing on. Some of the images are more intimate, while others touch on the history of race within the United States. The exhibition was an interesting idea, but I’m not sure I enjoy there being photographs among installations and videos, it seems like a bit much. The photos themselves are very interesting to me, because they are so different from the work I produce. Some seem carefree and candid, while others seem more posed. There was a series of colored photographs that seemed to be from one particular families photo album that I felt very different from the other works. LaToya Ruby Frazier’s Momme and John Edmonds’ Untitled II were my favorite works of the exhibition. They were both so strong and dramatic, and I was just drawn to them over the others. Momme interested me because the composition had a woman half covered by the profile of another woman sitting in front of her, and it just felt like a mother and daughter to me and brought strong emotions of my mother and the love I have for her. Untitled II has this beautiful lighting that creates such a dramatic final image even though it appears that the photo was taken in someone’s kitchen. This photo just makes me think of how sometimes you can feel alone even when you’re with your family.

Overall I found this exhibition to be very interesting, though not entirely cohesive in my own personal opinion. It was also interesting to see so many portraits, since I don’t do that sort of photography. I did enjoy seeing the different values and definitions of family and how each artist portrayed their subjects differently. The exhibition definitely made me think of the history of the United States and my own family and how we value each other, which I feel is the goal of the work.

Ciera Lampshire

Ciera Lampshire Lecture Review

I attended Michael Kienitz’s artist talk tour at the Chazen Art Museum. He currently has a show entitled Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty that will be up at the Chazen until February 3rd, 2019. Seeing his work for the first time was truly amazing. His photos are large prints on aluminum that are free of any frame or glass, and I think printing on the metal was a smart choice because it made the ice look so interesting and beautiful. He said that he keeps his photos as shot, because if he changes them it’s like he is changing the natural habitat of Iceland. I absolutely love that because I also am interested in nature photography and I try to keep my images as true as possible to really show the beauty I found in nature. I feel like me, he is showing how important it is to take care of the Earth, especially in his photo showing how much greenhouse gases effected the natural state of these mountains and ice formations in Iceland. His images of large glacier forms could comment on global warming and how we need to start thinking about future generations and preserve our environment. He stated that for this series he worked with a Sony a7R 11, a mirrorless lens camera, and a drone. He stated that he printed his photographs on aluminum because they would then last for over 300 years, but I also think they add a nice touch to the photos themselves. It’s interesting that he wants his work to last for so long, because I feel there will definitely be a lot of change in Iceland’s scenery between that time. Some people in the group had asked how he is able to stand the cold for so long to capture this series, to which he laughed and stated that the weather is pretty similar to Madison.

I knew I had wanted a drone before attending this talk, but now it is even more so. I have always dreamed about traveling the world and taking stunning photos to show people who have never had the chance to go there, or to show change to those who don’t believe our Earth will one day die, or to show what goes unnoticed to the usual traveler. Attending this talk only made me more ambitious to achieve my dream, and it was a great time learning about how someone else was able to capture the beauty of a faraway land and bring it back for us to see. He seemed like a very genuine person and his photography is beautiful.

Rita Benissan

I was able to attend the artist talk with Michael Kienitz, who was featuring his series Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty at the Chazen Art Museum through September 14- February 3rd, 2018. I was just really amazing about he was able to capture the true beauty of Iceland. Also enjoyed how he said that he doesn’t edit or change to his photos because in a way if he changes it, he is changing the natural habitat that these mountain and glacier shows. To me that shows he is very strategic when it comes to going to Iceland to get the purest colors from scenery. He could also be considered his work to show why it so important to take care of the earth. He even had photo that he took to show how much carbon dioxide and gases effects the natural state of these mountains.

He works with mostly with drone capturing the sceneries in Iceland. He uses a Sony Mirror less camera (a7R 11) that holds up to 1044 mega file. The way he presents his work is on aluminum without any frames and no glass. He uses that way to present his work, because his photographs would last for over 200-300 years. Which was just very interesting to hear. He capturing this ice mountains that has lasted or been around over 150-200 years. A lot of people who attended this talk was older men and women who travel all over the around and take photos. When they question about how are you able to withhold the cold for so long taking this photography, he just laughed and explain the climate is pretty similar to Madison.

It was also cool for him to talk to talk about how people might think his images are dirty specially when it comes to the picture of the volcanos, but it really is the pumice that resistant like a dust form.

Yuqi Lin

Another photography exhibition I visited was Studies in Stone, Ice, and Memory by Peter Blanchard, Terri Messinides, and Steven Ralser at Overture.

The first series of photos I saw were Ralser’s about ice. There were ice holes, ice cracks, gas bubbles under ice level… Everything was about ice. According to his idea, each frozen ice fishing hole is unique. If you look at them carefully, each of them would have different textures and scratches. There are gas bubbles continuously rising from the lake bed, and those bubbles can be frozen in ice and form into different patterns.

Blanchard, on the other hand, put his focus to the natural mountain or scene rather than water (ice). He had several photos taken at Antelope Canyon, with powerful red-brown color compared with Ralser’s work. According to Blanchard, those “stones” were a remarkable record of geological time, as it took them millennia to form and there might be many interesting stories happening during such a long time. Indeed, even though we are unable to see the whole process today, we can imagine and learn from those old existing objects. Afterall, history is always precious knowledge with impressive stories behind those simple objects.

I then went to the other side of the exhibition, where another exhibition was on as well. There was a pretty interesting series of work there. It was about using printer underwater to scan pictures out. Those images looked colorful and abstract.

Charlotte Mabie

”HotSpots” is a photography show on display in the Danziger Gallery in New York which I visited during Thanksgiving break. Liz Nielsen created this collection of photographs using old fashion darkroom techniques that were also used to make photograms. I read her artist statement to get a better idea of how her work was made and was initially surprised to learn that it was actually done without a camera. Rather, Nielson would gather various textured materials and layered them on top of each other to form a composition. Then she would project light and paint over the paper to create unique shapes.
After reading how this was done, I was instantly drawn to this process for many reasons. I enjoy the textures created by the layered materials and how the organic lines and shapes resemble rock forms. I also appreciated the disorder. In a process like this, there’s no way of predicting exactly what you’re going to get. In her artist statement she explains how the best results come just by experimenting with the materials until something works.
Liz Nielson’s photograms consist of vibrant colors and backgrounds that resemble galaxies. I found her work very different then most other photographers I have known. Her use of the photogram process and bright colors create abstract compositions that grab the viewers eye. I was especially drawn to a particular photogram called “Spacestone Arch”. This piece had a dark background that reminded me of looking at the night sky. In the foreground there were various shapes creating an arch. The pink shapes seemed to be glowing off of the page.

Yuqi Lin

I attended the lecture Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty given by Michael Kienitz at the beginning of the semester at Chazen Museum lecture hall. It was the first time I had been to an art lecture with so many people. The lecture hall was extremely overwhelming.

Kienitz introduced us about the location and geographic situation of the places he stayed, talked about what living skills (or just climbing/walking skills in ice mountains) he learned from local guide to take those amazing pictures. He also invited one of his guides to the lecture and he gave a brief talk.

After the lecture, I also went to his exhibition. Those photos are so gorgeous and amazing that not much afterward PS was needed. They looked super natural and comfortable. Kienitz also took a series of aurora photos but I did not see many in his exhibition (if I remember correctly). He showed them in his lecture, which made me further want to visit Iceland. Among the photos in the exhibition, there was one I really love – one with many seals lying on the ice lands on the seaside. It was taken from the sky, using DJI if I remember correctly.

This lecture and exhibition not only showed us the beautiful scenes of Iceland, but more importantly, it made people think – the environmental problem, the global warming problem and so on. Imagining such a beautiful scene may disappear in few decades, how would you feel? I think I would be truly sad and regretful. Therefore, it is important that people learned from such a lecture or exhibition and take action in their daily life together to protect the environment. It is human’s duty to keep these beautiful things and moments but not destroy them.

Charlotte Mabie

Lecture Response
A few days ago I had the opportunity to visit the exhibit at the Chazen, “Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty: Photography by Michael Kienitz”. Not only did I see the photographs on display, I attended a tour with the artist who explained the process behind creating his body of work. Michael Kienitz visited Iceland for the first time over five years ago and became aware of the melting glaciers that were deteriorating at a fast rate. He was extremely interested in studying this further, so he returned to Iceland and spent over five years living in Vatnajokull National Park capturing photographs of the beautiful landscapes and learning about how climate change was destroying them. Vatnajokull National Park is home of the worlds largest glacier, as well as other landscapes including volcanoes, ice caves, waterfalls, canyons, and mountains.
Before understanding the significance of his work, I found the photos very striking. They show beautiful scenes of natural landscapes that most people will never see in person. He mentioned that he doesn’t ever retouch his photographers, and doesn’t edit them to visually enhance them because he want’s them to appear just as they do in real life. He also told us how he used a drone to capture some of these images, but was always careful not to disturb wildlife. What I found to be most impressive about his work after hearing him speak was not just the quality of the photos. It was the way he saw these landscapes and knew that they had to be documented before they were gone. His work resonated with me because of the way they captured a heartbreaking and exquisite phenomenon.

Kenzie Bryant

Show review

Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty

I attended the show Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty, photography by Michael Kienitz at the Chazen Museum. The show focuses on the beautiful natural wonders of Iceland and how it is being affected by the ever-increasing issue of global warming.

From an overall curatorial viewpoint, the show was very well organized and had a great flow throughout the space. I appreciated the inclusion of seating throughout the space because it suggests the viewer to really spend time with the work and not only move around, seeing all different angles but also to go up close as well as step back and rest to take it all in. Kienitz work is full of great colors and insane detail that in order to experience it entirely, the viewer must spend time with the show as well as the individual pieces.

When I first came into the show I had immediate questions of why this place, how did he go about gaining access to an area that must be harshly effected by the global climate and is there a social or environmental goal in presenting these images to the world as most would never be able to see it for themselves? Some of those questions were answered for me in the detailed show description at the entry of the show but I left the show still wondering if there was a way he could use this artistic work to call attention to the fact that indeed these amazing views and natural wonders will soon be gone.

There were a few aspects that I may have liked to be different. First, I would have liked his video to be more prominent. It was set on a small screen, mounted directly following the small hallway, and wasn’t given its own space to breath and be taken in. Had he placed it in the bigger part of the gallery so there could be more space to stand and watch, it may have been more powerful. Also, the video included music which really added to the whole experience when not only viewing the video but the still photos as well. I wish that the music was actually throughout the whole gallery because it would have made the entire experience even more powerful. Also, including the music overall will help drown out some of the noise from kids and large groups and possibly facilitate a quieter atmosphere in order to hear the music.

The photography alone was amazing. Being able to capture the colors as vibrant as they were, the sun and how the warm colors of the sunlight reflected off the ice in some photos was so magical. In some instances I wish some were bigger, such as the seals photos because the abstraction of the image took control a bit but the overall story of the vanishing ice was definitely impactful.

My favorite part of the photos captured is the contrast in color between the ice forms themselves and the coats that the guides wore, reds and oranges against the black and blue nature. This really added to the idea of the vast size and impact that these natural forms hold and the idea of the negative human impact that we have even though in comparison we are so small and insignificant but hold so much harmful power. This show has some amazing power and I recommend all should go and experience it for themselves.


Shelter: Crafting a Safe Home
Lecture by Karla from Porchlight at the Chazen

The lecture starts with a video about homeless and troubled people and their experience living homeless and how they transformed their lives after finding a home with Porchlight. The video featured sad music in the beginning then gradually became more uplifting depending on what the interviewee was describing.

Karla described her story with social work and how she has been helping the homeless for 27 years. When she was in high school she got inspired to help people in need and since then she made it her mission to help the homeless. Another video was shown, and it explains the process of nurturing homeless into productive members of society.

The exhibition featured various mediums of art and artifacts that represent homelessness. Two wood sculptures shaped as houses with lights inside that create a light image were very captivating. There were more sculptures that express horror, a large horizontal painting that portrays destroyed homes, and cloth piece of art with flower knitting.

There were also a few photographs of people sleeping in the streets or public areas. The photos feature high contrasts, sharp details and colors, and dark vignette around the corners. The expressions are sad and content at the same time. It portrays the reality of homeless people and that they’ve become acclimated to their lives.


Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty: Photography by Michael Kienitz

Exhibition at Chazen

The exhibition features more than 20 images. Some are life size, and some are more medium size. According to the photographer, the images all used natural lighting with no heavy editing or modification of color. The images capture scenery of nature such as glaciers, volcanic mountains, caves, skies and watery locations. The artist mentions that he was focusing on the transforming beauty of Iceland and impact of climate change on Iceland’s glaciers.
The photographs are vibrant with blue tones reflecting the nature of icicles and glaciers. Some are more neutral with purple tones or smudges sunlight and bright warm tones. The cave photos have dramatic shadows and details which are all natural. The majority of the photos stay consistent with blue tones. Yet the images don’t seem monotonous or flat. They’re blue images but filled with so much texture and shades of blue. The natural shapes of caves and glaciers create strong shadows dynamic imagery. The photos capture the natural element of water, air and earth making the images different even though they have similar color palettes and were shot at the same location. Overall, the exhibition is mesmerizing to look at especially being large and detailed. The images virtually transport the viewer as if they’re in Iceland.

Fatoumata Ceesay

Lecture review

I recently got the chance to go on a photo tour with Michael Kienitz, photographer of Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty. The tour was held in Chazen Museum, and Kienitz talked about how he came into the five-year-long project and how it’s impacted Iceland as a whole.

Kienitz used his photographic experience to tell a moving story about climate change, and its effect on ice glaciers in the region of Vatnajökull National Park. His photos were taken years ago, and at this point in time, the area in which those photos were taken are vastly different. There is a real threat of these glaciers disappearing, which threatens Iceland’s tourism economy and highlights the dangers of climate change.

Animals no longer have as much food to eat (especially the seals) Kienitz said in his tour. Glaciers are constantly melting, even in the winter. As more melt, there will be less people going to Iceland to contribute to their economy, which will hurt the country.

The photos themselves were so beautiful. Kienitz had aluminum prints, which made the colors vibrant and saturated. WHen asked if he did any photoshop on his photos, he said that he prefered to keep the original colors in the photo so people could see what the image looked like in real life.

Overall, it was an incredibly informative tour and I will definitely be booking my flight to Iceland before they melt.

Mariah Watts

Hi there! There is an upcoming art show tomorrow (Oct. 5) from 6-9 pm on the 6th floor of 316 West Washington Ave. It features local print art and photography! Also, New Midwest Photography is being showcased at the Overture Center until Oct. 28

Susu Schwaber

Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty by Michael Kienitz
Photography Show
Art 576
Susu Schwaber

The first thing you run into when you walk into the exhibit is a pile of maps in a folder to your left. This map shows you exactly where every single one of his photos in this exhibit was taken. There were two main areas that they were taken at and they were both located in tiny peninsulas where water juts into the land.

There is also a video playing with soothing music at the far end of the exhibit. It sets the tone for how Kienitz wanted his viewers to feel. Each photo is printed on a thicker piece of glossy paper and they are displayed in a way where they are around 1 inch away from the wall, almost as if they were just floating in the air. I think he did this so that it would add to the more majestic feeling that you get when you stare at these photos.

What I immediately thought of when I saw his photographs were that they seemed so unreal. These figures that he has captured look so untouched and glossy. The ice have divots in them, but that doesn’t make it look impure at all. It adds shadows and lights every area of the iceberg.

The colors aren’t very vivid in the beginning, but once you walk past a couple, you start to really see the blue shine through. Many of the images seem to have this dark overcast of gloominess over them, but it allows for the shining sun to fly through and create a stark contrast with the gloomy images.

Many of the images also depict him in them compared to the monstrosity of the icebergs. He does this to show how grand nature is compared to him. He also wears an orange jacket which I think he did because orange is the opposite of blue on the color spectrum. He really stands out this way and he does this on purpose just to show how little we are as humans.

One of my favorite photos from the collection was called “Seals Lying on Ice” Nov 29, 2017. I loved this photo because he seemed to capture a moment where all of the seals were perfectly lined up along the coast sleeping. It’s strange how nature just goes through its course and seems to still be able to harmonize its creatures in such a way like this.

There was one photo that didn’t seem to fit the blue theme to his exhibit. The image had the same exact subject in it, but it was purple because it was showing the sunset. This photo was a nice reminder that Iceland is not just all blue, it can have some color too.

Overall, I really enjoyed the exhibit because it shows you a side of nature that you do not get to see everyday. His title, Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty depicts the physical components that are vanishing (such as the ice melting) and the mental components that we do not see everyday. Everyone just forgets about all of these places that we don’t get to see everyday, so it is nice to have a photo collection that allows us to see these beautiful scenes in nature.


I recently went to the 10 Biennial PhotoMidwest Juried Exhibition at the Overture Center. Although I went with little expectations, it was still nothing like what I had expected. The show truly blew me away, especially with how beautiful a lot of the photos were. As I walked through each photo, I was struck with how clear the photos seemed to be. I don’t pretend to know everything about photography, but what I do know is that the prints came out spectacularly. Some of my favorites included Kadinsky’s Lines by Guntis Lauzums, Rooster by Melody Carranza, Marcella by Christopher Priebe and Golden Fog Veil by Jack Long.
Kadinsky’s Lines was just very simple, yet elegant to me. The colors were rich and deep, and the contrast made it all pop. I think I also really liked it because blue and yellow are quite complementary, and so the whole image was calming and easy to look at. I’ve also always been fascinated with architectural photography because it doesn’t seem like something that would make the most beautiful photographs since it holds no emotions, but a photo like this definitely fights against that thought. It’s a beautiful photo that’s composed very well.
At first, I didn’t know what I was looking at entirely when I saw Rooster. I knew it was a bird, but something seemed off with the photo. It was still beautiful, but I felt like I wasn’t getting something. I then realized that there was a dog in the photo. The fact that I couldn’t find the dog at first made me so intrigued with the photo that I stayed there until I did see the dog. That made the photo that much more interesting to me. It was so crisp and the colors were so inviting that I couldn’t help but linger on for a few moments. It is definitely one to remember.
Marcella was by far my favorite photo. The artist made a great choice to make the photo black and white instead of color. While color does have the potential to have rich colors, I think taking the color out really lets the audience focus on the photo itself, and it is a photo that deserves that kind of attention. First off, the photo itself is just so intriguing, and makes me want to know more about the person in the photo. The The presence of dark blacks and bright whites makes it quite whole, and seeing the varying tones of darkness in the skin makes the whole image pop.
Golden Fog Veil was also a confusing one for me. In fact, I’m not sure if I still understand it. I thought it was very cool how the artist was able to capture paint (I think that’s paint) splatter in fog. That is something I would be very interested in learning how to do.
The whole exhibit was filled with photos that made you stay for long periods of time, just so you (or at least I) can learn more about what probably went into making them. It was a wonderful experience.

Conley Clark

“New Midwest Photography” curated by Andy Adams, on display at the James Watrous Gallery inside the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, WI.

The exhibit for “New Midwest Photography” drew me in almost instantly. I responded to set up of the exhibit first. I appreciated how the artists had their own, small exhibit space carved out as if especially for them. It created something of an intimate relationship between the artists and viewer, as opposed to the works of each artist on display in an alternating fashion. I enjoyed walking through each exhibit of artist’s work, being able to get a feel for their body and style of work.

I liked reading Andy’s introduction to the show as well. He talks about how he grew up in Wisconsin, but the state and the people throughout the Midwest, though ostensibly a beautiful landscape, never quite got the appreciation it deserves from photographers and artists. His story of creating FlakPhoto was impressive, and the exhibit “New Midwest Photography” allowed image-makers from Wisconsin and other parts of the Midwest to document their homes and environments, and showcase them as a place of belonging. It highlighted the Midwest as a unique place, something special, and a place many call home.

I was surprised to see so much diversity within the exhibit itself. From black and white portraits to lush, brightly colored stills of streets and architecture. I particularly enjoyed the works of Lindley Warren, from Des Moines, Iowa. I loved her documentary style, and the way her subjects are highly stylized in their positioning within their familiar environments. Taken in the grassy parts of a neighborhood trailer park, two subjects look directly into the lens and it makes for a very compelling image. You can see their past drawn in wrinkles on their faces. And it’s as if they are just as much attached to the land they live on as the grass and trees that surround them.

I really enjoyed this show because of how some of the artists provide a platform for their subjects to be visible, to be noticed. It reminds the viewer, or myself, that the Midwest is full of diversity and creativity. There is exceptionality in something that can easily be cast off as humdrum or boring. And as someone who left for the east coast in search of a graduate school, I found myself missing the warmth the Midwest as a landscape and a people gave me that I couldn’t find elsewhere. It was home.

Susu Schwaber

9/7/18 Photo Lecture
“Between Gravity and What Cheer” by Barry Phipps

Barry’s photos focus mainly on photographs he had taken in Iowa for 5 years. He took this one photo of a car wash sign located about a brick wall. He then wanted to replicate that composition throughout the rest of the series because he enjoyed it so much. So whenever he would look around for images to take photos of, he would think of that position in his mind.

I thought this was an interesting way of curating a series because Barry has a way of creating a collection without it being too obvious. It’s also a good tip for when you aren’t sure of how to start creating your own series of photos.

One of Barry Phipps’ main beliefs is that “something photographed is different than the thing being photographed”. Which means that he is trying to capture that memory in the moment. It will never be the exact same as the memory, but instead, it will act as a reminder.

He also talks a lot about things that don’t seem fleeting but are, like landscapes. So he tries to edit his photos and make them seem kind of dream like with certain lighting. This adds to the reminiscent vibe he is trying to get across in his photographs.

One more thing to take away from this lecture was that he was trying to pay a little homage to Evan Walker’s, “American Photographs”. The very last photo he took looks exactly like the last photo of Walker’s book. Barry Phipps did not do this on purpose, but his intentions were the exact same as Walker’s. It’s like taking a photo back on himself turning into an American.

Going to this lecture has definitely given me a better appreciation of photography. When I first saw Barry’s book cover photograph, I thought it was just a nice photo and nothing else. After I heard his entire talk, I learned to really look at the details and understand the story behind the photo. The reason why there is a blank white spot on the ceiling is because the owner of the gas store was painting around a bird’s nest. Every time I see that photo, I think of that moment Barry shared with us and it makes me smile.

Kiki Arthur

Andrew and Alex Lichtenstein
Marked, Unmarked, Remembered: A Geography of American Memory
This photo series was visual depiction of the sites and times were minorities, particularly African American and Native American people, faced great racism and prejudice. It highlighted landscapes and images of the traumatic experiences that we as a people faced. The intention of the series was kind recreate these scenarios for the audience and allow them to see what exactly was going on at that time. They wanted to give the places meaning. So, while Andrew photos were, in my opinion, distinctive enough, Alex gave the history behind the images. While I believe the intent was a positive one, I did not enjoy this lecture at all. It made me very uncomfortable and highly skeptical. I wanted to know about why they created this series, of what importance was it to them, and why they didn’t think to have some African American or Native American representation with them? It made is seem like they were making a profit off the struggles of other people and it didn’t sit right with me. However, one thing it did teach me to do was to point these things out to my fellow photographers and artist. The impact of your work might now necessarily reflect your intent.

Tehan Ketema

A MMoCA Photo Lecture: The Story Behind Photographer Mary Ladoni

Mary Ladoni is an Iranian photographer and is currently a MFA graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. On Monday April, 30th 2018 Ladoni was an artist lecturer at the MMoCA “Speed Dating” event which brought artists from Madison together to give the community a look into their processes, mediums, and minds. Not only was it packed with ten different artists of different disciplines, there was opportunities for the audience to enter a raffle and win art from each presenting artist.

Ladoni opened up her talk with an entryway into her childhood, describing where she grew up and how she ended up being in Madison, Wisconsin. As a child growing up during the Iraq-Iran war, she found herself at odds with the conflict and political strife. She spoke about the struggle of being a photographer in a country that was not yet able to support her as an artist.

After about 10 years in the work field, she decided to take a chance and apply for her visa to study art in America the way she originally wanted to. Before that, she went back and visited the city she grew up in, which she had felt little connection to as a child, and began on a “journey to self”. There she used those explorative photos as part of her application and after being denied twice for her visa she finally was able to come to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She showed the audience a few of the works she did while on her trip to her hometown and how they have evolved into her time at the university. I found that her portrait shots into the city held a vulnerable, soft, and resilient presence. Ladoni found a way to connect to her childhood through her photography that no one else could have captured, but her; her work felt like her journey was not only a means for her to delve into her roots, but for her hometown to find her again. And with that, they were simply beautiful and successful shots from the composition, to her choice of (or lack of) color, and more. From that discovery work, she also concentrated on youth in school, she connected their stories with portraits of them and the environment they are in. Her recent work researched ways in which text, both in Farsi and its english translations could interact and pursue the intentions of the overall pieces. She inquired stories/thoughts from the youth as means to reflect the communities they come from and highlight them as individuals. Personally, I found this to be an instinctual step in her work to pursue as it mirrored her own pursuit to herself, but now she is using her art to give voice to the youth.

Her art is about “working on concepts which are mainly related to identity, gender, and displacement.” As a first-generation student, I found much to relate to in her work and this innate need to re-discover where she grew up and examine this idea of home. One thing that stuck out to me was in her exploration of self. She came to the realization that she can never separate herself from the political issues of Iran, that her work will always be in conversation with the countries past, current, and future states.

There is always this ongoing conversation in the art world about whether or not it is the artist's responsibility to be a commentator, both with and without their art, on current climates. This begs the question, what is the political responsibility of the artist? As aforementioned, I can relate to Ladoni in this regard as well, being a citizen of two countries that are very contrasted in its bureaucratic affairs on every level and who’s own art digs on the societal and systematic implications on the identity of Blackness from every angle.

Landoni’s lecture proved to be both insightful and thought-provoking. Having interacted with her work a few times before, I am entered into a new vision of her ideas and the products of such. I am very intrigued in witnessing the growth of her art and how/what ways/if it continues to seek this “journey of self.

Tehan Ketema

CAMP: An Art Lofts Photo Show by Sarah Stankey

I attended the photo show of Sarah Stankey at the Art Lofts on February 21st. The show, CAMP, really captured me in its presentation detail and the clean ways that the artist allowed the audience into the work without creating an overflow of information; there was a delicate balance between being present in the space and in the work. Having some familiarity with her work, I think it was beautiful seeing its range and progression in a single room as one portfolio of work for show.
The interaction between human and nature permeated through the room, whether it was for lack thereof or the way that nature interacts with person. I am a fan of the composition of the work and how it is framed in regards to the wooden shadow boxes and how they worked in relationship to each other. As a person who often does not shoot in the thick of nature, I thought there was a great peace and mystery to its use that I loved in conversation with the conceptual aspect of the work.

Cameron Smith

David Guttenfelder

As a part of the Overture Center’s “National Geographic Live” series, photographer and National Geographic fellow David Guttenfelder presented a lecture titled “A Rare Look: North Korea to Cuba.”
With a career spanning over 20 years as a photojournalist and documentary photographer, Guttenfelder’s work includes stationing in various African countries including Ghana and Rwanda, documenting troops for much of the war in Afghanistan, opening the first North Korean bureau for the Associated Press, and documenting the first cruise ship to Cuba when it re-opened to the United States in 2016.
One of the most interesting aspects about his career was that Guttenfelder accidentally created a career for himself. He was given a camera by his grandfather during his teenaged years, allowing him to grow a love for it as a hobby. When he was older, his studies led him to find a passion in African languages, eventually learning Swahili and developing a knowledge and love of the culture in various African countries. When a journalism professor offered the chance for a student to travel to Ghana and translate and document the trip, Guttenfelder got his first taste of documentary photography and cultural immersion, spending his subsequent post-grad years documenting the nation.
Guttenfelder talked a lot about exploring the unexplored places, and often getting chosen for assignments because of his ability and willingness to go places no one else would. He talked of always entering new countries like North Korea and Cuba open to learning about the people and investing in them to be able to create the most authentic images and depictions of the places he traveled. This was important for him because, for many of the countries he visited, not only would he probably be the only American many of the people he met would know, but he had to show people of the United States a real message of what these places were. His ability to do so really showed in his images and I admired his mindset in photographing these places.

Sara Warden

Exhibition Review: This Beautiful World

This exhibition featured many students who have had the opportunity to travel around the United States or world and took pictures and created paintings of their travels. It was an event co-hosted by Souvenirs magazine (a WUD organization) and Babette Travel. All the photographs being displayed were taken by digital or 35mm cameras and printed on printing paper. Most of the photos were beautiful landscapes and they were not tourist spot photos. All the photos looked like they were off the beaten path and took some climbing or hiking to get the photo. The paintings were abstract and very beautiful. They were landscapes, but had people hiding within the lines of the mountains. The location of the gallery was wonderful as well. It was at Yatra Studio, which is located in a train car off of West Washington. It was such a beautiful set up with lights that lit of the photos nicely and had an open bar at the back of the train. The gallery was also a space to form connections, they said. They wanted people meet others while looking at the many pieces of art by students. They also wanted inspire people to travel more and see the world. One thing I would change was the placements of some photos. Some were too high and so it was hard to get a good look at the photo. I realized that it was a smaller space, but it would have been great to have the same perspective on all the photos. Overall, it was a great gallery, with great art, was very inspirational and made me want to travel more.

Quinn Paskus


For my artist talk I attended Alejandro Meitin’s lecture presented by the colloquium, put on by the UW-Madison Art Department. Meitin presented his collaborative project, Casa Rio, which introduced concepts relating to space in motion, a place of encounter, training, and learning of creative practices that embody environmental commitment. Based as an organization in the heart of the Plata Watershed in South America, the goal is to share information and develop actions to protect the environment in that specific area and others surrounding it. Meitin worked as an artist, lawyer, and environmental activist, documenting the projects being worked on through photography and videography in the Plata Watershed. His documentary photography had an artistic style that felt fresh, yet provided the necessary imagery to help make a change. I found his approach to documentation inspiring, as he was able to maintain his artistic integrity while still being able to tell an accurate and just narrative of what was happening in the areas he was located.

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