November 4 – December 20, 2009

curated by Platon

The Nutopia Forum is a safe haven dedicated to nurturing photographic and graphic talent.

A humble, salon-styled group of photo enthusiasts, we meet in New York City on a regular basis with a constantly revolving membership of 20 creatives to discuss, debate and constructively critique each other’s work. Being dedicated to photography in all its forms, we work to break down the standardized barriers and divisions that currently exist between documentary, fashion, portraiture, fine art, and graphic design. We research art, photography and film history and present our findings to each other. We interact with leaders of all creative fields and invite them to share their knowledge with us.

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We dedicate our artistic ambitions to cross-fertilization. We are simply excited by good stuff. Above all, Nutopia has no land, no boundaries, and no passports, only people.

A brief history of the Nutopia Forum:

Platon received his MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art in London, where he was mentored by the late John Hind, creative director of British Vogue. Best known for his bold, graphic portraits of celebrities, he also shoots fashion, portraiture and documentary work for Time Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar, among others. He is a staff photographer at The New Yorker, signing a multi-year contract in 2008. Platon’s work has been exhibited at Milk Gallery and the Leica Gallery in New York, Hamilton’s Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery in London, Spiral Hall in Tokyo, Carla Sozzani Gallery in Milan and Galerie Thierry Marlat in Paris. His first monograph, Platon’s Republic, was published in 2004 by Phaidon Press.

In 2001, a couple of Platon’s assistants asked him to look at their work. They claimed to be lost, confused and consumed by the photography world they so loyally served. What he discovered was actually very inspiring – the work was fresh, immediate and deserved attention. What is more, he found himself intrigued by the process of sharing ideas and collectively channeling creativity. They avidly decided to meet again; a few more photographers came along and the Nutopia Forum grew from there. These days they are much more organized – with current members flying in for regular meetings from afar, a waiting list of 100 aspiring participants, an illustrious line of ‘distinguished guests’ signing on to talk to us, and an online monthly magazine showcasing the most exciting visual matter generated by the Nutopia Forum. There is no place for bully tactics in this educational arena. Creativity only flows when we are supremely confident and inspired. As a group our strength lies in constructive criticism, respectful challenges, artistic sharing, openness and exploration.

To learn more about the Nutopia Forum, please visit

To learn more about Platon, please visit


"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009  Cole Barash

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Heather Courtney

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Grace Doherty

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009  Pari Dukovic

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Glenn Glasser

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Andrew Hetherington

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Simon Howell

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Andreas Laszlo Konrath

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Steven Laxton

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009  Sara Macel

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009  Mike McGregor

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Scott Pasfield

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Cailla Quinn

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Mauricio Quintero

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009  Jami Saunders

"Nutopia", curated by Platon, November 4 - December 20, 2009Jennifer Trausch





Martin Munkacsi

Ode to Munkacsi

November 4 – December 20, 2009

With the passing of Joan Munkacsi in December 2008, our community and the photography world at large lost a dear friend and a passionate supporter of one of the most defining artistic voices of the 20th century.

An internationally recognized expert in vintage jewelry and a highly respected writer who notably served many years as the editor of James Beard’s cook books, Joan left all who were graced to know her bedazzled with her intelligence, humor, and generosity.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock was particularly fortunate to have Joan Munkacsi as a friend. Over the years she served as a member of our board of directors, volunteered as copy editor of our publication, PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly, and generously made her father’s work available for our annual benefit auction. In 1992, Joan contributed an eloquent article on her father’s oeuvre entitled The Man Who Loved Women: Martin Munkacsi in issue 54 of PHOTOGRAPHY Quarterly.

It is impossible to say whether or not Martin Munkacsi’s legacy would have remained in relative obscurity had Joan not picked up the mantle. Certainly some passionate outsider may have rekindled our attentions toward such a revolutionary artistic voice, but none would have championed his work with the same level of dedication that Joan gave as she shared her father with the rest of the world.

On July 14, 1963, the legendary Hungarian photographer Martin Munkacsi (b. 1896) died after suffering a heart attack while attending a soccer game at Randall’s Island. His New York City-born daughter, Joan, was suddenly left fatherless and saddled with the stewardship of his photographic legacy at the age of 15.

Once billed as “the highest paid photographer in America”, Munkasci had single-handedly revolutionized the look and feel of fashion photography under the watchful eyes of Carmel Snow and Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar. His approach was exuberant, spontaneous, and full of a zest for life –his models leapt, ran, and turned cartwheels on the beach and even in the rain.

Although he was very successful, Munkacsi had never saved any money (in his later years, Joan recalled her father pawning cameras to buy her birthday presents). The radical changes he introduced to photography, which had gone on to influence the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Avedon, had by the late 1950’s become standard practice. The once-illustrious Munkacsi suffered a string of misfortunes – a third divorce, his failing health – which forced him to cut back on assignments. At the time of his death, his work was virtually forgotten and his legacy was in shambles after years of neglect.

Over her lifetime, Joan worked diligently to cement her father’s place within the photographic canon by writing about his work and partnering with Howard Greenberg Gallery, which has represented Martin Munkacsi since organizing an exhibition of his work in 1984. In 1992, she helped the Aperture Foundation publish a definitive monograph of his work, and in 2007, she assisted the International Center of Photography in mounting a major retrospective in New York City entitled Think While You Shoot (a Munkacsi catch-phrase). In the year before her passing, Joan also helped to obtain a long-lost cache of over 4,000 fragile glass plate negatives that had been missing since her father’s death in 1963.

CPW’s exhibition of over two dozen modern prints of Munkacsi’s work reflect upon his major influences (fashion, street photography, his deep love for athleticism, the outdoors, and women), and features key points in his professional photographic career. Munkacsi worked for such publications as Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, the precursor to Life magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, and he was an enormous player in revolutionizing the aesthetics of fashion photography and magazine art direction. His signature approach is evident in his very first assignment for Harper’s, in which Lucille Brokaw runs towards him on the beach, as a “typical American girl in action, with her cape billowing out behind her” (Martin Munkacsi: An Aperture Monograph, p.47)

Richard Avedon said that Munkacsi “bought a taste for happiness and honesty and a love of women to what was, before him, a joyless, lying art. He was the first. He did it first, and today the world of what is called fashion is peopled with Munkacsi’s babies, his heirs.”

Yet if these photographs celebrate the work of a maverick and a visionary of his field, they necessarily pay tribute to his most indefatigable and ardent supporter, Joan Munkacsi. She was the primary force in championing her father’s remarkable contributions to the field and ensuring that his legacy was not forgotten. As such, this exhibition celebrates and remembers Joan Munkacsi, a dear friend and passionate advocate, who embodied the exuberance and joie de vivre evident in so much of her father’s vision in herself.

Special thanks to the Howard Greenberg Gallery, Lester Nafzger, and Bob Wagner for their help and support in making this exhibition possible.


Installation View of "Woodstock Generation" August 8 - October 25, 2009

Dennis Stock

Woodstcok Generation

August 8 – October 25, 2009

Woodstock Generation chronicles a chapter in American history; a time when the quest for new social systems drove young hippies into the most remote regions of the United States, forging a new way of life in the form of communes.

Faced with the alienation they felt within a changing American culture and the conventions of their former generation, and filled with a utopian ideal and an anarchistic temperament, these young rebels created intentional communities on the fringes of society.

Dennis Stock spent the entire year of 1969 visiting alternative communities in Colorado, New Mexico, and California. These communities ranged from the hip to the political to the spiritual; from the transient camp to the large and self-sufficient rural community, many of which took on names as if they were cities: New Buffalo and Lorien in New Mexico and Wheeler’s Free and Drop City, California. Each commune was different: a collection of individuals living together with some shared passion or practical function such as music, art, environmental concerns, political concerns, sexual liberation, the practice of Eastern religions, draft resistance, or fear of the apocalypse.

The photographs of “Woodstock Generation” portray a simpler life, closer to the Earth: the members of one commune clear the dry soils of the desert highlands dressed in only loin cloths while a young woman in an urban community bakes bread barefoot, and on a commune elsewhere, young lovers ride a horse in the nude. Stock remarks, “All my hippy pictures are about a search for a better life. I had a predisposition toward what they were trying to accomplish”.

Though the hippies were negatively portrayed in the news media of the 1960s and 1970s and at times blamed for the deterioration of American society, the ideals of the hippy commune were quintessentially American: a pioneering outlook which fits into the country’s heritage dating back as far as the Pilgrims. Dennis Stock playfully demonstrates this neo-Americanism in his Portrait of Couple in Gothic Style, 1969, his reinterpretation of the iconic Grant Wood painting American Gothic.

Dennis Stock can be considered somewhat of a nomad, spending his life photographing a wide range of subjects from movie stars to musicians, bikers, and hippies. All of his subjects shared a non-conformist approach to life which interested and inspired him: “I like being on the road. The photography I like, and the worlds I like are based on discovery… The photographers I admire most are the curious ones.”

Born in New York City in 1928, Dennis Stock’s photography evokes the spirit of America. In 1947 he became an apprentice to Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili after he won first prize in Life’s “Young Photographers” contest. As a result, in 1951 Robert Capa invited Stock to join Magnum Photos, the most world renowned of photographic cooperatives whose mission is to chronicle the world and interpret its peoples, events, issues and personalities. Capa encouraged Stock to move to Hollywood to shoot production stills on movie sets. There he created some of his most iconic photos of celebrities including James Dean, with whom Stock formed a close friendship.

From 1957 to 1960 Stock made lively portraits of jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Sidney Bechet, Gene Krupa and Duke Ellington for his book Jazz Street. In 1968 Stock took a leave of absence from Magnum to create Visual Objectives, a film production company, and shot several documentaries. In the late 1960s and early 70s he documented the hippy movements of California and the American West and the subcultures of bikers, travelers, and motor-home owners along the country’s interstate highways. Today Stock concentrates on tulips: “Each of us needs to have a reverence for life. The object of our reverence should be life itself. In terms of photography, tulips are my perfect subjects.”

Dennis Stock has taught numerous workshops and exhibited his work widely in France, Germany, Italy, the United States and Japan.

He has worked as a writer, director and producer for television and film, and published numerous books of his work including: Portrait of a Young Man, James Dean, 1956; Jazz Street, 1960; The Happy Year, 1963; California Trip, 1970; The Alternative, 1970; Edge of Life, 1972; Brother Sun, 1974; The Circle of Season, 1974; America Seen, 1980; San Francesco d’Assisi, 1981; Provence Memories, 1988; Made in USA, 1995; James Dean: Per sempre giovane, 2005. His photographs have been acquired by many major museum collections including The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Dennis Stock resided in Woodstock, New York and Sarasota, Florida. He was married to the author Susan Richards. Dennis passed away on January 11, 2010. “Woodstock Generation” marked the last exhibition of his work that he worked on during his life time.

A River Runs Through Me

curated by Ariel Shanberg

August 8 – September 20, 2009

In conjunction with New York’s Quadracentennial celebrations of the European discovery of what is now known as the Hudson River, the Center for Photography at Woodstock is pleased to present A River Runs Through Me, an exhibition of work by four artists whose photographic explorations celebrate rivers as a source of inspiration and intersection with personal, historical, cultural, and religious significance. Collectively, their works captures the tremendous influence these natural watercourses have on our lives.

Throughout history, rivers have provided the lifeblood to countless societies and cultures, as well as for commerce and as a source of artistic inspiration. In today’s world of global networks, interstate highways, the internet, and more, such rooted connections to what were once the defining element of a civilization (e.g. the Nile River in Egypt, the Euphrates River of the Middles East, the Thames in London, or Paris’ River Seine) are now lost if not severely disconnected. As often is its role, Art continuously offers us the portal to reconnect us to that from which our daily lives are severed. With their individual explorations, the artists featured in A River Runs through Me rekindle a sense of connection and influence as they draw inspiration from, document the nature of, and define the lasting effect rivers hold on us.

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Barbara Bosworth‘s (Stow, MA) work has long focused on her personal connection to the landscape. Featured in this exhibition are images from two bodies of work including The Bitterroot River series (1995-97) and work from her most recent residency at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont a place that was once her childhood home and now is now part of the national park. In her series The Bitterroot River, made along Montana’s Bitterroot River in the years following the death of a loved one, Bosworth employs the river’s elusive surface and constant state of flux as a meditative offering on our temporality while also embracing a more affirmative outlook in the river’s surroundings. Arranged in grid, the resulting installation offers a powerful visual narrative. Accompanying Bosworth’s work from the Bitterroot River series is a new multi-image landscape depicting one of the rivers that flows near by her childhood home. The enveloping sense of the culminating 40″x 90″ work retains the sense of wonderment and personal connection to nature.

In her series The Spoon River Anthology Albany NY native photographer Christa Parravani‘s (Sunderland, MA) brings the words of Edgar Lee Masters’ same titled collection of 244 poems written in the voice of the deceased residents of a fictional town describing the situations that led to their demise; to life. Set within evocative and lush settings of the MacDowell and Yaddo Art Colonies, each image, imbued with a tinge of mystery and melancholy posits the characters much like ghosts anchored to the setting of their mortal life. To Parravani, the individual is a product of his or her environment, and thereby belongs, embossed for eternity, within it. In their final presentation the each character’s poem is placed alongside the framed photograph collaborate to give voice to these fictional individuals who appear to be born out of and bound to their river setting.

Included in this exhibition are works from two series by Elijah Gowin (Kansas City, MO). The majority of images featured belong to Gowin’s series Watering and bring forth references to the religious importance rivers hold and water’s figurative and actual ability to offer a wiping of the past, and offer a sense of spiritual and physical renewal. With Christianity’s Baptismal tradition as a backdrop to this exploration, Gowin’s images lie within an ambiguous in-between state, like their subject matter, frozen within a state of transformation. Alongside works from the Watering series are images from his series Of Floating & Falling which echo the previous body of works’ religious themes with visual explorations of faith and doubt.

Though the Mississippi River never actually appears in the selection of images featured in this exhibition, by Alec Soth (Minneapolis, MN), the River’s presence reverberates through images of landscapes and individuals who live along its banks in his series Sleeping by the Mississippi. Known to the Algonkian Indians as the “Father of all Waters” the Mississippi River with its tremendous literary influence (perhaps most notably in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn) bares many identities along its course. Traveling along its path which covers ten States, Soth’s subjects appear posed before his 8×10 camera professing their dreams as well revealing as their tethered realities. Like the river whose constant stream can both transport us to our promised destination and pull us down to its haunting depths. Soth, who sees photography as closely akin to poetry, offers us through his images, a poetic journey along the Mississippi one that is both languid and jostling, seductive and haunting.

– Ariel Shanberg, 2009

Ariel Shanberg is the Executive Director at the Center for Photography at Woodstock.


"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Barbara Bosworth

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Elijah Gowin

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009Christa Parravani

"A River Runs Through Me", curated by Ariel Shanberg, August 8 - September 20, 2009  Alec Soth


Photography Now 2009

juried by Charlotte Cotton

June 13 – July 26, 2009

The open submission process garnered a lively and diverse range of points of view about what, right now, constitutes photographic practice.

The scope of the photographs was a timely reminder to me that photographers continue to address the rapidly changing notion of photography – both by rephrasing the language and processes of analog photography and also by rendering artistic ideas with the new default techniques that digital photography offers us. The final choice of eight photographers hinged on my belief that they each showed a creative sentience for the enduring capacities of photography within a changing technological climate and a time when the gallery wall rather than the magazine page is the focus of much of the most innovative photography today.

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Lacey Terrell, Yijun Liao, and Betsy Seder each find their own routes through the much trammeled terrain of ‘constructed’ photography. In her offSET series, Lacey Terrell uses her role as a Still Photographer on film sets to find pungent, ‘off-camera’, compositions. She subverts the constructed scenes which are geared towards the vantage point of the film camera by focusing to the side of or in opposition to the conventional view. Terrell merges the fiction of the film sets with the unscripted reality of what her camera finds. That heady mix of photographic fact and constructed fiction is also present in Yijun Liao’s Stills from Unseen Films. In this series of one-off ‘scenes’ each image depicts a figure in an interior from films that exist only in Liao’s imagination. Liao composes her photographs and her subjects into pronounced yet ambiguous scenarios. She transfers the exploration for the narrative of the unseen film from her imagination to ours.

Betsy Seder’s series Time and Space Died Yesterday is inspired by Antonioni’s dystopic 1962 film L’Eclisse and the imposing architecture of the mid-twentieth Century Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini’s Fascistic Italian city, EUR. Seder eloquently rephrases the monochrome language of Antonioni’s film to create sparse and unsettling visions of EUR. In her choice to photograph the least Italianate architecture of the city, Seder opens up the narrative of the work beyond its specific locale to the universal use of architecture within dictatorships and political regimes of the 20th century.

Clint Baclawski’s free-standing lightboxes are, similar to Seder’s imposing black-and-white photographs, a refreshing injection of drama and physicality into architectural photography. Baclawski’s antenna for the moment when a space and the choreography of its inhabitants fuse into a spectacle is sharp. Coupled with the final resolution of his select images into their sculptural form, Baclawski draws out the material spectacle of photography.

Alex Aristei’s diaristic, off-kilter framing of lived moments is both very much within a current vein of contemporary art photography as-well-as an homage to the enduring potential of photography. His style of photography is one that I call ‘waiting for pictures to happen’ – a vocabulary of pictures that are all culled from the permission that a camera gives to look photographically at the world around us. The cumulative effect of a mosaic of Aristei’s photographs is a reminder of the potent visual charge that the medium gives to day to day experiences.

Shane Lavalette and Stacey Tyrell have both created bodies of work that locate a small community within their distinct landscapes. Stacey Tyrell’s gentle photographs of the people and places on the island of Nevis in the West Indies subtly narrates the emotions of a migrant’s return to ‘home’ and the mixed emotions of longing and displacement. In Shane Lavalette’s portrayal of the landscape and inhabitants of a national park in County Clare in Ireland, Lavalette thoughtfully and plainly brings together the beauty and contemporary politics of this rural area. Both photographers update and re-work the language of documentary photography in substantial ways and, in so doing, remind us how photography continues to commemorate the visual legacy of history upon the earth and its communities.

Toshihiro Yashiro’s strange, vibrant photographs were the strongest fusion of photography and performance that I saw in this year’s submissions. His KAITENKAI series (the title blends the Japanese words for revolving and revolution) documents his performances in public and domestic spaces where objects and human participants’ rotate on fixed points and their circular movements captured with long exposures. Yashiro, resplendent in his clown-meets-superhero costumes, appears as the ring master of the KAITENKAI Live! performances. While the history of photography documenting artists’ performances is playfully being referenced in Yashiro’s work, I have literally never seen photographs quite like these. As with all the photographs selected for Photography Now 2009, they are resonant with photography’s past but make their own departure.

– Charlotte Cotton, 2009


Charlotte Cotton is Curator and Head of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Previously, she was Head of Programming at The Photographers’ Gallery in London and Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1992 to 2004) and Head of Programming at the Photographers’ Gallery in London (2004-5). She has curated many exhibitions of historical and contemporary photography including, “Imperfect Beauty: The Making of Contemporary Fashion Photographs” (2000), “Out of Japan” (2002), “Stepping In and Out: Contemporary Documentary Photography” (2003) and “Guy Bourdin” (2003). Charlotte is the author and editor of publications such as Imperfect Beauty (2000), Then Things Went Quiet (2003), Guy Bourdin (2003) and The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2005). Currently she is preparing for two touring exhibitions for LACMA for 2009 – “Heavy Light: Recent Photography” and “Video from Japan and New Topographics”.


   Alex Aristei

Clint Baclawski

Shane Lavalette

Yijun Liao

Betsy Seder

Lacey Terrell

Stacy Tyrell

Toshihiro Yashiro


Myra Greene

Character Recognition

JUNE 13 – JULY 26, 2009

Confronted with an up swell of bigotry both personal and public (the rhetoric surrounding Katrina) I was forced to ask myself, what do people see when they look at me.

Am I nothing but black? Is that skin tone enough to describe my nature and expectation in life? Do my strong teeth make me a strong worker? Does my character resonate louder than my skin tone? Using a process linked to the times of ethnographic classification, I repeatedly explore my ethnic features.

Always fascinated by historical processes, I wanted to learn how to make wet-plate Collodion. This process, which is coated onto black glass was popular from the 1850s through the 1880s creates a singular unique image. The glass is first coated with a thin layer of Collodion, and then sensitized in a silver bath. While still wet, the glass is exposed using a large format camera. The plate is then developed and then fixed. When I applied this old process to my interest in the black body and self, the imagery described my body in a way never imagined.

Tainted with the visual history of American slavery, these images point directly to the features of race. Thick lips and nose, and darken skinned; these contemporary studies link the view to a complicated historical past. While the process of wet plate codes the body in this work, the body is able to speak back. Through small facial gestures the body reacts and rejects to these modes and ways of classification.

Throughout much of her work, Myra Greene melds such processes as photography, printmaking, sound, as well as digital production work in order to exploring issues about the body, memory, and the absorption of culture and the ever shifting identity of African Americans.

Greene’s work has been exhibited widely including recent solo shows at such venues as Harnett Gallery, Rochester, NY; Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, Jersey City, NJ; and Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD as well as group shows at Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Umbrella Arts Gallery, New York, NY; El Taller Boricua Gallery, Bronx, NY; and The Art Institute of Colorado, Denver, CO among many others.

She has received many awards throughout her career and most recently was awarded the Illinois Arts Council Photography Fellowship in 2009. Greene has been an Artist in Residence at Light Work in Syracuse in 2004 and the Center of Photography at Woodstock in 2003. Her work has been featured in the pages of such publications as The International Review of African American Art, Prompt Magazine, Nueva Luz, Exposure, and CPW’s publication PQ.

Myra Greene received her MFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico in 2002 and her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis, MI. She currently lives and works in Chicago, IL, where she is an Assistant Professor in the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago.


Regional Collegiate Invitational Exhibition

April 11 – May 24, 2009

An invitational exhibition featuring up and coming image makers from the regions’ photography programs including Bard College, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Albany, College of St. Rose, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Marist College, Vassar and Hartwick Colleges.

Nestled in New York State’s Hudson Valley and Capital District regions are some of the nation’s most engaging Universities and Colleges where the next exciting generation of image-makers are learning their craft and honing their skills. This spring, the Center for Photography at Woodstock is excited to celebrate the tremendous mentorship of the region’s photography programs and the emerging voices they are nurturing. PICS 2009 highlights twelve artists from eight schools, who have been nominated by their heads of their respective photography programs.

For this, our inaugural PICS exhibition, CPW invited the photography departments of Bard College, The College of St. Rose, Hartwick College, Marist College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, and Vassar College to nominate one exceptional student from each of their undergraduate programs and, where applicable, one student from their graduate program. Each photography department nominated its strongest voices to represent their program.

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Chris Austin attends the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Penelope Umbrico has nominated Chris to participate in the PICS 2009 exhibition. Ms. Umbrico says of his work, “His use of the camera as both tool for recording and as a site of interest, creates dynamic inversions that result in photographs that challenge our perceptions of photographic cause and effect. In these photographs, process, exploration, subject matter, and documentation collapse into singular form and become material evidence of a kind of re-calibration of all things photographic.” Stephen Shore, of Bard College, has nominated Kate Stone, an undergraduate senior, remarking “Kate’s work is conceptually inventive, highly ambitious, and wonderfully executed.”

Jennifer Flagg is an undergraduate senior at The College of Saint Rose who has been nominated by Tom Santelli. Tom Santelli feels that Jennifer’s current work “…explores those sometimes recognizable subtleties and nuances that often inhabit our everyday lives. Those quiet yet significant moments serve to define not only who we are, but also our connection to others and the world around us.”

Included in the exhibit from Hartwick College is undergraduate senior Emily Gilbert. Nominator Katharine Kreisher praises Emily’s work: “Emily Gilbert is a gifted image-maker and high energy multi-tasker whose photography shows pictures of food that are ‘larger than life.’ These exuberant photographs are also self portraits charged with personal associations. ”

Dan McCormack, of Marist College, has nominated undergraduate photography student Grady Kline. About Grady’s work exhibited in PICS, Dan McCormack says, “I think Grady has had the most fun with this camera (his Polaroid Land 250) because it was not working when he got the camera. His images made with this camera are simple snapshots of friends but the task of getting the camera to work was epic.”

PICS includes the work of two Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students: Blair Neal, a graduate student and Natt Phenjati, an undergraduate sophomore. The two were nominated by Pauline Oliveros and Kathleen Ruiz, respectively. Kathleen Ruiz says of Natt, “Natt is originally from Thailand and his work in photography and digital media reflects his sensitivity to the trans-national and universal human condition, whether it be on a journey with young teens, compelling portraits, landscapes, or street photography from Thailand.”

Ray Felix is a graduate student at SUNY Albany. He was nominated by Daniel Goodwin who has remarked, “I have always been impressed by his ability to reinvent his work from project to project- each time with equal intensity and passion- making such a juggling act appear simple, natural, even graceful.” Also from SUNY Albany, undergraduate photography student Leigh LaBrake has been nominated by Phyllis Galembo, “Leigh has been extremely committed to photography and has produced an in-depth project on the culture of snowboarding.”

SUNY New Paltz photography faculty members Francois Deschamps and Ann Lovett have nominated undergraduate Eileen Carpenter and graduate student Patty Tyrol for PICS 2009. Francois has told CPW, “Eileen Carpenter’s beautifully crafted digital prints evoke a melancholy sense of relationships and situations which is extremely deep for such a young photographer.” Of Tyrol, he says, “Patty Tyrol’s blue print photograms deal with issues of home in an elegant and expansive way which pushes the medium of ‘writing with light.’ She sits at the cusp of printmaking and photography, honoring both media.”

Joining the exhibition from Vassar College is undergraduate student Mary Catherine Halfpenny. Her nominator Judy Linn has told CPW, “Halfpenny is an accomplished painter. She brings to photography her astute visual intelligence.” “(Her photographs) are quite bold and tackle preconceived concepts of what is appropriate photographic subject matter.”
The emerging student photographers featured in PICS, represent the exciting work and diverse range of inquiries coming from our region’s photography programs. Together, their talent creates an engaging view of the future of the photographic arts.

Chris Austin

Eileen Carpenter

Ray Felix

Jennifer Flagg

Emily Gilbert

Mary Catherine Halfpenny

Grady Kline

Leigh LaBraike

Blair Neal

Natt Phenjati

  Kate Stone

Patty Tyrol

Installation view of "Anthology of Trends", April 11 - May 24, 2009

Tarrah Krajnak & Wilka Roig

Anthology of Trends

April 11 – May 24, 2009

(untitled #) is our  first collaborative project.

It began as a response to a critique of our independent work given by an influential artist/critic/curator based in NYC. During separate studio visits we each received the same response: “As with most women who turn the camera on themselves, the work is overburdened with emotion.” This critique sent us on a search for our place as artists and individuals within the art world and within photographic history. What was originally a visual investigation became “(untitled #)“.

“(untitled # )” is composed of several interrelated series: “Hysteria Collection”, “Pose Archive”, “Anthology of Trends”, “Personal Catalogue”, “Studies of Light and Form”, “Cast of Characters”, “Referential Index”, and “Aftermath”. Each segment of this project is a layer that further uncovers its meaning. The project is rooted in the language of the archive and the dialectic of performance. We enact and record a deconstructive visual analysis, shifting our scrutiny from art institution to artist to art object to audience. Through our performances we offer a perspective from each of these positions as well as the opportunity to reconsider them. We expose the rhetoric underlying representational strategies and question their relationship to history and contemporary culture. We invite the viewer to assess, not merely consume, the motifs recurring in contemporary art, its framework, and its presentation.

In “Hysteria Collection” we look back to the beginnings of the representation of women, to the constructed documentation of the sick Victorian woman.  This simulated hysterical condition and the constructed image of the sickly woman was devised to prove an invented feminine affliction. We perform the hysterical body drawn from its historical context and place it in a contemporary context to resurface the historical reference as well as uncover the formulas that yield the recurring contemporary images of women.

In “Anthology of Trends” we perform the contemporary trends we find in the representation of women by other women, and we exchange roles as photographer and model.  We present each trend in diptychs, with each of us being model in turn to prevent the viewer from consuming the image at face value. This doubling creates a literal double-take and encourages the viewer to think twice about the conditions and the context in which the woman’s body is positioned and presented beyond the traditional aesthetics of light and form.

In “Light and Form”, inspired by technical trends and camera user manuals of the 1970’s and 1980’s, we consider trends of photographic technique that have been used throughout photographic history as justification for, or distraction from, the objectified representation of women by men. In donning the unitard, we seek to neutralize the female form as a point of sexual desire. Employing Photoshop, we mimic the visual styling of images from this period including soft focus, hand coloring, airbrush, and the application of Vaseline around the edges.

As “collaborative / women / minority” artists, we continuously explore the sameness and difference within the construct of identity, and the role and meaning of signifiers. We work with self-portraiture addressing issues of gender, body, and representation within various sociological contexts, engaged in the process of photography as performance. We investigate the role and identity of the artist, and that of photography, within the socio-cultural context and the art world.

Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru.  Adopted by Czech-American parents, she grew up in Ohio. In 2004, Tarrah received an MFA in Photography from the University of Notre Dame, and she is now based in Winooski, Vermont, where she teaches Photography in the Art Department at the University of Vermont, Burlington. Wilka Roig was born and raised in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. She moved to Ithaca, New York in 1995 and received her MFA in Photography from Cornell University in 2005. Wilka still lives in Ithaca, where she teaches Photography in the Department of Art at Cornell University.

Collaboratively, they have exhibited nationally at such venues as The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; San Francisco Camerawork; the Pingyao International Photography Festival, China; and at the galleries at Johnson State College in VT, the University of Toledo in OH, Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK.  In 2008, they were recipients of artists grants from the Vermont Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Cornell Council for the Arts. Tarrah and Wilka were artists-in residence at CPW in 2008.

Phillip Toledano

America the Giftshop

January 24 – March 29, 2009

If American foreign policy had a gift shop, what would it sell?

AMERICA THE GIFT SHOP is an installation project that reflects the current foreign policy in the fun-house mirror of American commerce.

My palette is the vernacular of retail tourism. The more familiar it is, the better host it becomes for the idea. Once the sugar coating of the ordinary dissolves, we are left with the grim truth about where we’ve been as a nation.
We buy souvenirs at the end of a trip, to remind ourselves of the experience.

What do we have to remind us of the events of the last eight years?

We have all seen a disfigurement of the things that made America more than a country, but an idea. Even now, in our joy at the prospect of new and hopeful beginning, we need to remember the past. It’s the only way this little experiment in democracy will evolve.

– Phillip Toledano, 2009

Phillip Toledano’s work has been exhibited in New York, Europe, and Asia including solo shows at Colette and Annina Nosei Gallery in NYC and group shows at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, California; the Photobiennale of Thessaloniki, Greece; and Miami Art Space. Two monographs of his work have been published: Bankrupt: Photographs of Recently Vacated Offices (Twin Palms, 2005) and Phone Sex (Twin Palms, 2008). A third, Days with My Father, will be published in 2009. Toledano’s photography has appeared on the pages of such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Interview, Vanity Fair, Le Monde, The London Times, Details, GQ and Esquire. Born and raised in London, Toledano is the son of a French-Moroccan mother and an American Father. He is a graduate of Tufts University in Massachusetts. He currently lives and works in NYC.