Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Photography

Project Advisor 1

An-My Lê

Project Advisor 2

Stephen Shore

Abstract/Artist's Statement

“When I was at Bard, Stephen Shore had these t-shirts printed that he was really proud of that said “Bard Photography: No Excuse for Creativity”. That was the environment that I found myself in.”

- Shannon Ebner, class of 1993

The t-shirts that Shannon Ebner mentions were certainly a self-deprecating joke, but they reflected on the traditional nature of the teaching of photography at Bard College that is still palpable today. During the past four years, I have often felt a sense of disconnection from the worlds of contemporary art or commercial photography. In fact, the way we are taught the medium here seems only relevant to a very particular niche of art photography. Bard Photography teaches you some strict rules of seeing, and convinces you to incorporate them as a constant of your image making. I have subconsciously embraced those precepts and they have supervised my understanding of space. This is why, for this project, I decided to make the rules the subject of the pictures and not just the invisible tools of their making.

The photographs are arranged in an order that seeks to reproduce my gradual learning and understanding of the rules before I start very slowly rejecting them. The work contains many references to Stephen Shore, not only to his own photographs, but also to his book The Nature of Photographs that sums up his theory of teaching the medium. Between the homage, the pastiche, and the dismissal, my pictures are unsure of their relationship to Stephen Shore, although none of them would have looked the way it does without his influence. I mostly used the view camera because it is so detached from the photographer’s body that it can only be seen as an instrument and not an extension of the arm. It is an independent entity, on which each of my formal decisions has an obvious and immediate consequence on the way the camera sees. A few pictures were taken using a medium format camera. Every photograph showed here is the more or less successful result of a spontaneous visual investigation.

Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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