An Online Exhibition by the Fall 2020 Advanced Photography Class
During the Fall 2020 semester, students in ART 423/523: Advanced Photography Seminar have been working on individual bodies of work that engage with interdisciplinary practices, including installation, large-format prints through digital and analog photography, video, and bookmaking. These artists have worked to translate the work from an in-person to an online exhibition. The exhibition addresses a multitude of ideas motivated by personal interests and questions. Each student's final project represents a deep-dive into their creative practice both through engagement and reworking of their visual work, reflecting on their practice, and writing about their project throughout the semester.
The works by Joanna Hurless and Nigel Hilgert engage with video games as spaces where one can escape reality or explore their inner fears. Both artists question the gap between "reality" and our digital selves through appropriated imagery, the use of photoshop, and reflecting on virtual experiences. Katie Patton's work investigates a phenomenon faced by many entering the workforce, that she'll likely have to leave her hometown to seek employment. Through Photoshop, she carefully constructs an ideal vision of home, one that seamlessly combines the comfort of the small town that she grew up in with the urban landscape of her future. Like Patton, Kristopher Keller's work also reflects on his past and envisions the future. Keller imagines looking into a mirror to see a younger version of himself. Inspired by Abraham Maslow's theory of psychological development, Keller's series contemplates self-actualization in fulfillment of his potential. Hannah Urquhart's work rescripts patriarchal stories and aims to show how we should celebrate powerful women. Both Jordan Beishir and Paul Lacefield's work explore personal experiences. In her photographic book, Beishir shares an intimate view of her grandparent's life shortly after her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. In his video titled PTSD, Lacefield performs military rituals that highlight a collision of his identities as a soldier and a civilian. Rosalind Williams' work investigates abandoned African American cemeteries in the St. Louis region. Through the lumen printing process, Williams' contemplates spirituality and aims to honor the dead while provoking questions about race, ritual, and history.
This online exhibition will remain available for the next year.
Bio: Jordan Beishir was born in St. Louis, Missouri and works in Southern Illinois. She will obtain her Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in December 2020. From a young age she was always spunky and artistic. Themes in Jordan’s art include family and personal health conditions which she explores through portraiture. Jordan owns her own photography business where she shoots portraits for high school seniors, graduations, families, and couples. Jordan really enjoys taking a more modern approach to taking portraits of individuals and families. She allows them to move freely, while she snaps photos of their authentic true smiles. She hardly ever poses the customers and if she does it is to get them started off on a good foot and to become comfortable in front of the camera. Jordan started this more modern approach to portraits when she noticed how uncomfortable clients looked in their images. She wanted the images to come off more laid back and as if you can get a sense of the subject's personality through the photograph itself.
Project Statement: This body of work titled Looking Forward to Tomorrow is a collaboration between myself and my grandparents. I created this work during a time that my family is dealing with the recent news of my grandmother’s diagnosis with stage four colon cancer. I explore their daily activities and watch them as they grapple with life’s hardships over the span of two months. I asked them to write about their day or fond memories that they have. The handwritten notes that accompany the photographs are expressive of their personality and provide further insight to the things that they think about day-to-day. I then put the images and notes into a linear book format with a canvas covering to give a homier and soft feeling, inviting the viewer in to the book. As the viewer flips through the book and reads each note, the viewer can see the progression my grandparents make with their vulnerability and willingness to be open as the days go on.
Bio: Joanna Hurless is a St. Louis based photographer, and currently a student in the BFA Photography program at SIUE. She spent her first two years of college studying Music Technology, before deciding to switch to Fine Arts. Combining both her love of music and photography, she began doing concert photography. Her work has since developed into more than just concert photography, and has become more conceptual over time. The question of Photographic Truth has become a common theme throughout her work, with composites and digital manipulation of an image altering the reality of the photograph. Her work has been featured in numerous collaborative exhibitions, and she has also received the 2020 Orville Joyner Photography/Digital Arts Award in the Department of Art and Design at SIUE.
Cyberscape Project Statement: I am exploring the idea of becoming so immersed in a video game that it would be possible to be transported inside a virtual world. I use myself as a subject because this series is personal to me. As the series evolved, the work became more about the process. The backgrounds of the images are screenshots from a number of different video games. I photographed the scenes on a monitor and then inserted myself into these screenshots using Photoshop. Going through different games and finding locations within the games that I wanted to “shoot” felt like an adventure itself. It also felt no different than taking photographs in real life – where specific locations are scouted and searched for, in almost the same way that I searched for specific locations in a game that are visually interesting. Except in virtual reality, there are places that would never exist in reality, or places that a real person could never reach, so the possibilities are endless. In reality, you are much more limited to where you can go and what you can photograph. Exploring these games and taking photographs provide a moment of total immersion for me, and the process is a part of the adventure.
Bio: Kris has spent only a short time in the current artistic format of photography. However, at a very young age, he built things such as origami, Legos, drawing in multiple formats, and worked as a high school videographer. Kris graduated from Lewis and Clark community college with an Associates of Science degree in Business. He is currently studying for his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. He was drawn into photography in his last year of college because he was searching for a medium to further express his creative abilities. Kris is a native of the Midwest and resides in Alton, Illinois, with his parents and siblings. His talents have given him recognition in early years in drama, where he helped build props for plays. He is a member of Thespians and looks forward to further photography opportunities.
Project Statement: Photography gives me a voice once quieted. Unlocking the door to my creativity gives me permission to explore my past and the possibilities for the future. I take the camera with its ability for self-expression and stage different past or imagined future periods in my life in the photographic series titled, Reflecting on My Stages of Life. The series features multiple stages of my life like childhood, adolescence, and multiple periods as an adult, with the use of props, clothing, and colored hair. I use myself as the subject because the photos are actual reflections of my own life, chosen for comfort due to the early nature in my artistic career. Looking at the reflections and the props brings memories to mind that may have been forgotten until the glimpse in the mirror. I choose the content for the familiarity and change. Mirrors give us a sense of mystery or the un-known possibilities on the next glimpse, do we change or only the perception? The camera and mirror allow me to reflect and grow with different angles of the lens. I no longer feel threatened by my insecurities. Photography gives me permission to be myself and honor who I am. The world can be cruel, but photography has made it more acceptable for me to be authentic.
Bio: Katie Patton is a Graphic Design student and Photographer based in Edwardsville, IL. She is currently enrolled at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) majoring in Graphic Design. Her specialty is computer aided art, using programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Lightroom. Patton’s inspiration tends to stem from her previous life experiences growing up in a small farm town in central Illinois. While she is very passionate about graphic design, she also has a very strong interest in photography which aids her in design. She is currently a part of the Graphic Design BFA Program at SIUE.
Project Statement: My Series Not Far From Home, began with the desire to express my journey of life through the places I’ve been and the places I am going. I revisit my hometown to take photographs of significant places in my life. I also photographed some places I would like to end up after college or even a lot later in life. I then merged the photographs through Photoshop to add visual complexity and also make it more engaging for others. When I merge rural places with urban places, the stark contrast between the two creates a narrative that encapsulates my personality. As someone who grew up in “small-town middle-of-nowhere”, I always thought I wanted to get out and go somewhere big. But as I age, I realize that a lot of my personality was shaped by that small town. No matter where I go or what I do, it can’t be forgotten. It is who I am. All of this is significant because I know that when I do eventually leave, it will probably be forever. While I know I will be happier elsewhere, I will still be torn apart that I am leaving the place I grew up. It feels like I am trying to decide between my past and my future. Logically, there is no contest. I choose my future. So, if you find there is a loneliness to these images, that is something that is embedded deep within me that I cannot show in person and can only be expressed through these images.
Bio: Hannah Urquhart is a photographer currently living in Edwardsville, IL. She is an undergraduate student at the Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and is studying photography and studio art. She has worked in digital colored prints and black and white film. She is drawn to concepts involving feminism and the importance that women have in society. Her work is inspired by her love of mythology, history, and specifically women in history.
Project Statement: Women of Power is a series of portraits portraying powerful women in history and in fiction. The women being represented in these portraits are all women that have been labeled evil or having a lack of morals. In this series I focus on the power that these women hold rather then their initial evil acts. I demonstrate their power by using intense poses, camera angles, location and costuming. The women depicted are all from before the 19th century, but they are dressed in modern day clothing. The costuming choices I made were a way to connect these historical figures to contemporary women who are still ridiculed for being powerful. I think about women in politics and in business who are constantly being contradicted and degraded. I also think about young girls who get made fun of for being competitive and ambitious. I am tired of the negativity surrounding powerful women and this series is a direct result of that.
Bio: Nigel Hilgert is an artist based in Alton, Illinois and is studying photography and creative writing at SIUE. His primary mediums are photography and mixed media. Hilgert often explores themes of experimental horror and emptiness. Other themes often featured in his works are creating art that will be unsettling for viewers. He enjoys testing the limits of fear in artwork and seeing how truly scary art can be. However, Hilgert likes for the horror in his work to be less up front and more unsuspected. He hopes that one day he will create an art piece that could be regarded as the greatest form of horror. He has sold artwork at the Phantasmagoria Jacoby Art Shows and had photos featured in Warm Soda Magazine.
Project Statement: My Horror Panegyric is a collection of photographs based off of horror video games created by the company Puppet Combo. For the photographs, I wish to explore similar themes to that of horror video games. I plan to achieve this by provoking the viewer. Having the photographs as a linear narrative forces the viewer to actively travel deeper into the series. Similar to how a player is in charge of a game, the viewer has more control over their fear. My idea behind these photographs is to create scenes involving killers featured in some of the games. I chose these games specifically so that each series of photos will have different, but still creepy, feelings.
Bio: Paul Lacefield is an interdisciplinary artist based in Edwardsville, IL. His personal history from childhood traumas and his time served in United States Marine Corps is the catalyst for his work, primarily in photography, video, drawing, and three-dimensional form. His reoccurring themes are focused on questioning detrimental coping mechanisms originating from trauma, the post-rehabilitation transitioning from military service to civilian culture, and confronting personal vulnerabilities for both his healing and to familiarize the viewer with PTSD. Paul is currently a BFA candidate in Photography at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Project Statement: After finishing my enlistment with the United States Marine Corps, I was left with a mental scar on my conscious. An embedded painful feeling that affected my interpersonal skills, my self-esteem, and my progress towards current goals. I experienced the difficulties of communicating my distress to people in my life, originating from fear of informing others about my personal triggers. This is a common characteristic amongst individuals who have experienced trauma and are often fearful of being stigmatized or identified as weak, and likely to refuse to seek help. A traumatized individual displaying such characteristics may endure many difficulties in integrating back into civilian life which will impact the rest of the US population. In my project titled “PTSD”, I use video and performative gestures as the catalyst to question our humanity’s response when encountering a veteran with PTSD. My exploration revolves around the communication between an individual and a person who served in the military. My performance encourages people to be aware of individuals who are grappling with the effects of stress and trauma from various past experiences and to encourage empathy.
Bio: Born in St. Louis and raised in East St. Louis, IL Rosalind “Roz” Williams is a mixed media artist with an emphasis on narrative photography; which began with a 35mm camera purchase and a six-week “How to use Your Camera “class at a local high school. The experience created a desire to learn everything about photography. This led to classes in photography and other fine arts at St. Louis Community College. After retirement, Roz went onto receiving a degree in Fine Art Photography at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and volunteering with Project Read in Belleville IL, where she now lives. Searching to find what happened to a black cemetery that was moved to expand a highway led her to her current project. Today she is a graduate student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville using photography to document African American burial sites in St. Louis, with the desire to continue her research and assist others in discovering and documenting African American History. Williams was the recipient of the Louis Fields Memorial Scholarship from the Midwest Society for Photographic Education.
Project Statement: The lumens represent my look at the spiritual side of death. I take the objects that surround a grave, mementos, flowers, and dirt. I expose darkroom paper to these elements and fix the paper to create a semi-permanent image. These abstract images have been combined into one large panel. A viewer can impose their own beliefs on this large abstract image. These various techniques are dependent on the materials used, the weather conditions, and my physical body as I attempt to create this work. This process is ongoing.