photography in reverse: day three

who we were then

Today we were outside of time, I suppose, since it was our first Critique Day. We will do these every Wednesday for the rest of the session, not only to see what everyone has made, but to look at contemporary and historical theory, and to talk about how these techniques and ideas are useful to their own practice back in the future. With a small class like this, we can talk about each student’s work in depth. We have the luxury of time.

For just six students, we have a remarkable range of artists. One student, though young, has been painting consistently since she was 13; another has had a much later start to her career, and so seems younger to the rest of us; one has had a deep and varied career of study, and is eager and hungry; another grew up in the arts, in New York, but had to escape by hopping the rails for a while; one has traveled the world and has almost too many ideas; one has found herself in North Carolina, deep in transition from who she was to who she will be. I suppose I, too, am in some transition, as I’ve found to be the case for every student in these Concentration classes. You go to the mountain to seek something, always.

This first Crit is always planned as a sort of extended introduction, and I will use the things they have done to anchor our understanding of what they will do here. Even if it’s just experiment and play, it’s useful to have their other work as a marker and a guide. I was amazed at all the varied work the students have done, as well as their willingness to take on the small challenges and big ideas of the first two days here, moving back from 2015 to the early days of Digital.

Without a doubt the Mavica cameras were a great hit, and the romance of the small pixellated image really was the wonderful lead-in to the course that I hoped it would be. What amazes me the most, however, is how instantly the class bonded together: they have been making a low-res collaborative horror film with these cameras, running around with costumes and fake blood, their pockets stuffed with floppy disks. Honestly, to see this sort of excitement, brilliance, and play right away, is about the greatest joy any teacher could get. All I did was give a bunch of smart people some new toys…

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