Over the last two Thursday evenings I have attended the talks given by the current holders of the McKnight Fellowship for Photography.
In the past, the Fellowship exhibition and talk came two years after the Fellowship had been awarded, even though the Fellowship only lasted a year. In the future, the Fellows will exhibit their work and talk about it at the end for the Fellowship year, which is much more appropriate.
This year, the new organizers (mnartists.org) decided to hold two simultaneous shows and talks so that they could catch up. That means that there were eight artists giving their talks this year instead of the usual four. The Walker hosted these talks over the past two Thursdays.
Out of all eight artists, I found Paul Shambroom’s recent work the most intriguing. I was a big fan of his Meetings series from a few years ago. He has always had a political twist to his work, which I think is why I am drawn to it. However, what was of particular interest to me was how he researched his current project (Shrines) and how similar it was to what I had done for Technically Intimate. Paul was searching for pieces of military technology that had been bought and placed in public spaces. These were done mostly as memorials. He was interested in the idea of using a weapon of destruction as a memorial to those who had died in war, as a result of weapons very similar to those that were memorializing them.
Understandably, he did not want to drive all over the country searching for interesting sites to photograph. So he used the vast resource that is the Internet. He would search on Flickr for photos that had been taken of military memorials. He would then use Google Earth to check out the site before he visited. He also used Google Earth to map out all of the locations for possible photos.
What is interesting to me, both with Paul’s research and my own, is that a vast majority of the project is actually research done online, then a small part of the project is the actual shooting, followed by some post production and printing. Without the Internet, my own work would not be possible (because my subject matter would not exist) and Paul’s would have been much more difficult to have made.
The current exhibitions of McKnight Fellows include: Paul Shambroom, Lex Thomson, Carrie Thomson, Monica Haller, Chuck Avery, Amy Eckert, Gina Dabrowski, and Karl Raschke. The exhibits are being held at Midway Contemporary Art and Franklin Art Works and are up until July 24th.