Tag Archives: documentary

Hometown Project

Holy shit, it has been a long time…

There have been some obstacles this summer, that have affected the fluidity of my workflow. Long story short, I lost total access to the computer I was using. I now rely on the ones at the COD lab. However, due to my work schedule, its not always convenient to get over here. I am so accustomed to doing all my editing and posting at night.

It is time to get back into it.

As some of you may know, I got accepted to a mentor program with the Young Photographers Alliance. It has kept me quite busy this summer. The theme this year is “Hometown,” so perfectly suited for my documentary approach to my work. What does “Hometown” mean to me exactly?

Diners, bars, cafes, women, coffee, vegetarianism.

For this body of work, I chose to highlight what I know most. Women In Service. I am in the process of completing a series of environmental portraits of women who work in the service industry, and staying true to my vegetarian lifestyle, I have chosen to target establishments that offer a vegetarian menu. I am also looking for women who possess an original and authentic energy. The initial inspiration came from and assignment for my photo composition class, I had to emulate an artist; I chose Tom Waits. I chose the song, Invitation to the Blues specifically due to the fact it is about a female server in a diner. I placed myself in the position of the narrator, and photographed how I envisioned the woman Waits’ was singing about.

This is a subject that is very close to me, for waiting tables has helped support my work for many years. Its time to pay homage to women who wait tables to put themselves through college, who like me, wait tables to support their art, who bartend cause it allows them to take a vacation without a college degree, who make your coffee and assist in getting your day going, who help cure your hangover, who listen you your stories, who tell you their own.  The list could go on and on. Women in service are special, and they stand apart from the rest of the job world. I know this from experience, the rewards of being a good server or bartender are many, and only a good one knows what they are. We all have our favorite bartenders, servers, and baristas. They make our coffee the best, our cocktails just the way we like them, and they have our food order memorized… Like I said, women in service are special.

In the end, my team and I are creating a PR event in the community that we shot the images.

This has been an excellent experience, in terms of marketing myself and my work, and everyone has been super great in allowing me to come into their establishments and shoot. Here is a sneak peak of what I’ve been up to this summer.

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The Nato Protests



Make Music

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Show Your Support for COD Faculty!!!!!

The College of Dupage is one of the best educations you can get on a community college dollar. The photo lab has been like a second home to me for years. Being able to utilize the space there has helped propel my work faster and much more efficiently, than if I was relying on my own dollar and space to create and develop my work. The faculty that I have come to know and love so much in the photo department, have helped me improve my skills and knowledge of my craft, I owe a lot of what I know to them (you know who you are) I am publicly thanking you now. But my thanks goes beyond the photo department, every teacher I have ever had has taught me something, I had and have strong relationships with almost all of them.

Some time ago, I was sad to learn that the COD faculty have been without a contract for some time, and I was even more sad to find out that the administration wants to cut the full-time faculty, who have a lab component as part of their curriculum in half, during that lab time. The administration is under the assumption that lab is not lecture, and therefore less deserving of the full salary an english or math teacher would receive. As a student who rely’s a lot on that lab time, and the teacher assistance that comes with it, this upsets me quite a bit. If it were not for those teachers taking the time during those lab hours to work with me one on one, I would know half of what I know about photography. Is it true I taught myself a lot, well yes, but that’s only half, if that, of what I know.

Let me break down the domino effect; if full-time staff only made half of their salary during lab hours they would have to take on more classes to make up the difference, therefore having less time to interact with students one on one. Then there would be less classes available for adjunct (part-time) faculty, so thats means potentially less classes offered but most certainly less instructor variation. But wait… there’s more… (as Jeff Curto would say)

The administration is using the COD website as an outlet, and is slandering the faculty. They have been publicly and privately asked to take the comments off of the website, but regretfully voted against it at this months board meeting.

Quote from the COD website: “College of DuPage does not believe the demands on an instructor overseeing an activity class, such as a drawing studio lab, are equal to the demands on an instructor teaching traditional lecture courses. “

Quote from Joe Collins, COD’s Executive Vice President, when talking about “studio classes”: “There’s no prep, no outside grading — other than he finally grades whatever the drawing is that they do”

It is truly an outrage, and I take these comments very personally, as someone who rely’s on those labs to learn.

So, in response, the faculty scheduled a rally on April 19th before this months board meeting. They had quite a lot of student support. However, apparently we as students can’t think for ourselves, because according to the Board Chairman, David Carlin, the faculty is coercing, threatening, and manipulating us for support. He went as far to say that our grades were being threatened. He also stated that by organizing a rally, and spreading the truth about the slander against the faculty is somehow manipulation? What happened to taking a stand against wrong doing? People have the right to congregate and protest what they don’t believe in. I was livid, how dare he insult our intelligence like that? As if we are incapable of thinking for ourselves, and treating us as if we are cattle being lead to slaughter. We pay the tuition, we help make all these new renovations possible. We are much more important to the College of DuPage than the board is making us out to be, and perhaps willing to admit.

I am so furious, I am preparing a speech for next months meeting. I was born and raised in Glen Ellyn, I am also a student. Mr. Carlin wants a community opinion, he is going to get it.

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Body Snatchers

Hello old friends,

It’s amazing how time can just slip through your fingers if you turn your back on it. I have been so consumed with school and preparing for my show, yes I said show, I have been putting my blog by the wayside.

My show is next month in Wicker Park, May 12th to be exact. Some really talented artists  and myself are coming together to share how we all see the human form. although I am the only photographer present, all the work being presented is worth seeing. I currently working with Salt Prints, which is one of the oldest photographic processes around. It goes back farther than wet plate. It is truly a joy to work in a darkroom again, it is something I had no idea that I missed so much, until we became reacquainted. I plan to continue making salt prints for sometime, I really enjoy this process. Reconnecting with the fine art side of photography has allowed my documentary work to breathe a little. It’s like beginning to see what wasn’t there before once you look away for five minutes. Everything seems new and fresh, like getting back to blogging…

I hope to see all of you at my show!

Poster design by Roger Chavez and Courtney Penzato

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