art 21

I just discovered dvd’s of art 21 at my public library for the first three seasons of the show. I started watching season one tonight, and the first section looks at artists concerned with place. Sally Mann is one of the artist’s in this section. If the section is concerned with place, why did they open her sequence with her son talking about what kind of mother she was (lacking)? Granted, she may be most well-known for her photographs of her children, and it is certainly interesting to hear their experiences in front of her lens, but the discussion was meant to be focused on the element of place in work. Not her motherhood.

I can’t help but think that it’s because a mother must, above all else, be a Good Mother. She must be selfless and passive and kind and nurturing and she must never ever place her own needs — for self-expression or anything else — above her children’s. A father can be an artist, and his fatherhood — whether a critique of his quality of fathering or an analysis of his experience — is barely a topic of conversation. But a mother artist must first be a perfect mother before she makes art.

I will be interested to see if the series covers any other artist parents and how the subject is treated. And whether it is treated differently for mothers than for fathers.

Beyond the Single Image

I’m teaching another workshop this fall: Beyond the Single Image. I suppose it’s more of a course, really, since it goes over 12 weeks. I confess I did find teaching the June workshop exhausting with a full-time job and nursing toddler, and it was exhausting for my husband. At the time I decided I wouldn’t teach another. But when I reflected on the value of being able to design my own workshop and teach it, I just couldn’t resist. Also, I just really, really enjoyed myself. It feels so good to share something you’ve spent years studying passionately with other interested people. And so, this fall, I’m going to teach again.

From the blurb:

These days, almost anyone can make one great photo. The technical aspect of making a photo is not complicated. The real skill lies in making a collection of powerful images that is greater than the sum of its parts. Working on a personal project also helps you gain insight into what motivates you photographically, discover the photographs that only you can make and avoid wasting your time on the photographs that everyone makes.

In this intensive class over 12 weeks, you will work on a photographic project with the goal of having a complete body of work at the end. You will learn about different ways of working, as well as starting, ending and editing (as in selecting and sequencing, not post-processing) a photography project.

It will kick off with a full-day session that includes a lecture, viewing a portfolio of your 10 best images, and defining or assigning your project. Then we’ll have three group critique sessions, one every two weeks to give you time to shoot new work, and then a dedicated session on editing. We’ll wrap up the class with a slide show of your projects and a big celebration. Throughout the entire 12 weeks, Kate will be available for email and phone conversations to help you through periods of self-doubt and uncertainty, which are a natural part of the process.

The more you put into this class, the more you’ll get out of it. You will be expected to come to each critique with new work (even if it’s just a few images or an experience). Plan to spend at least two to five hours between classes connecting with your subjects, shooting, reading and reflecting.

If you’re in the area, please consider joining us. I’m super excited about this course. It’s labelled as an intermediate course but I’m sure advanced photographers could benefit from the structure and community to develop a project. There’s an early bird discount for just two more days and, depending on enrollment, a scholarship may be offered. More details are here.