APC Opening Reception

Here are some highlights from the Advanced Photo Critique Group Show that opened Monday night at the Anna Leonowens gallery! We had an amazing turnout over the course of the evening, the reception was open from 5:30-7:00 with a pretty full house the entire night – we were all thrilled to say the least. It was really neat for my family to get the chance to see my work in a more professional setting – Nate’s dad, sister, and brother in law were there as well as my mom and my two sisters. Nate has been so supportive this entire past semester, with all of the issues I’ve been struggling with – I’m sure he’s glad the term is over! He took all these wonderful photos as well – I have to say, I married the most wonderful man….

The Show Must Go On

2011 is shaping up to be a very busy year indeed! In the past two weeks I have begun the illusive final semester of my NSCAD University undergrad, dealt with the retail world of post-Christmas gift returns at RW&CO, and am finishing the final preparations for the APC gallery opening on the 17th.

I am showing five out of the ten images from a body of work I completed here. My work, titled “Remnant” attempts to draw a correlation between objecthood, the photograph, and the referent -a latex relief that documents the surface of the body. The created object duplicates the surface of my skin and explores temporarility and challenges boundaries between realism and the copy.

The liquid latex is painted onto the surface of my skin and documents different sections of my form, such as my belly button that is on my invitation. Once dried and pulled away there remains imprinted on the reverse side a trace of myself, an object that like the human body begins it’s immediate decomposition. If left to the elements, these objects would in fact decompose at the same rate as an oak leaf. I have attempted to demonstrate this relationship as well, between photographs as memory and photographs as objects. By taking these objects and turning them into photographs I have preserved a memory, a trace of my form that will under the right set of circumstances remain long after my corpse. In Camera Lucida Roland Barthes summarizes the position of the photograph within the context of death and temporality- “For the photograph’s immobility is somehow the result of a perverse confusion between two concepts: the Real and the Live: by attesting that the object has been real, the photograph surreptitiously induces belief that it is alive, because of that delusion which makes us attribute to Reality an absolute superior, somehow eternal value; but by shifting this reality to the past (‘this-has-been’), the photograph suggests that it is already dead.” So then every photograph is already a reminder of death, but intrinsically it also preserves life.

The form the latex has documented and the camera has captured is already changing both as my skin and as the latex object. The surface becomes marred and deteriorates, while the photograph freezes something that was and is no longer. The power of the photograph is what sucked me in during first year, and is why I continue to use it as my primary medium to explore themes of temporality, memory, and more recently nostalgia. In my artist statement I said “Throughout my religious upbringing I consistently felt as though I was living a facade, continuously changing my thoughts, my ideas, and my identity. Remnant is a continued exploration of the temporal vessel while focusing on a different self representation – the objecthood of my body and the photograph.” In the more fitting and well composed words of Roland Barthes “What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially” (Camera Lucida). If only I could phrase my ideas so eloquently…

And so I start PHOT 4500 – Advanced Photo Critique part II, a class twice the size of the previous with a decidedly male presence that did not exist in our group of eight women. It is going to be one freaking amazing term! In less exciting news, my other two classes are both histories to fulfill the requirements for my minor in art historical studies. One is AHIS 1900 – 19th Century Art History that I have been putting off the past four years and the other AHIS 3455 – Advanced Topics: History of Collections which will be an interesting examination of how the worlds more notable museums have acquired their artifacts (colonization).

I am very much anticipating my alumni ring, which I need to order soon so I can wear it in my graduation portraits. Here’s what NSCAD has to say about this little beauty: “The NSCAD alumni ring celebrates a lifelong connection to your academic and creative achievements.” (blah blah blah) “Designed by Karen Konzuk, BFA 97, this stainless steel band subtly incorporates the official NSCAD colour with a side incision of purple powder-coated finish. Inside the band is an engraved Latin inscription of NSCAD’s informal school motto.”

The motto by the way is “nolo facere insipida” after John Baldessari’s lithography I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art which used to hang in the foyer of the Duke Street campus until it was recently moved “to protect it”. Last I heard this was the presidents office…hmmm. I will post images upon it’s possession…the ring that is 😉


I’ve spent the last week working like crazy to get this final project finished for advance photo critique. It’s my nine credit course, so it’s really going to affect my GPA if I get a low mark. It’s also the class I’ve been failing…eep… so the pressure was on to have a solid final body of work!

I’ve constructed a series of “skin graphs” by painting white liquid latex on sections of my skin, then taking detailed photographs of the scars and lines of my skin. It takes hours to cure and is still extremely delicate unless you build up many many layers. In order to not have it curl up and stick together, it needs to be brushed with glycerin, which is horrible for harsh highlights, especially under the lighting conditions I need in order to expose the shadows to bring out every detail of my skin pattern. I tried a few different things, but so far corn starch has worked the best. It’s ultra fine and smooth, so even though it does fill in some minor details, for the most part the intricity is amazing!

I’ve waited until basically the last minute to shoot the skin samples (and I keep re-doing them) because the D700 still isn’t in yet. Today was our last class before our final crit and Susan let us take the class to work in the studio. I booked one of the epson printers and finished printing all my images on luster Epson pro paper.

I can’t afford to frame all my prints for our last class, but for the show in the spring I’ll need to finish them up. Prints look much much more finished in a frame, but even if I could afford them…I have no wheres to store them in our storage-less apartment. Irregardless, it feels so good to have another class behind me! One step closer to Christmas break and French Macarons mmm mmm

Business Cards

Business Card – Matte Reverse made through Vista Print Canada, an online site that lets you upload your own premium business cards, one side glossy, the other side matte. I was a little disappointed in the color balancing on the image and vividness of the cards in general, but thats what I get for not taking the time to run some proofs, overall it is satisfying to have something to pass around the city with my info on it.  So begins the commercial/portrait portion of my career as a photographer…I haven’t had the time to complete a lot of commercial work yet (as you can tell) and the website isn’t quite finished, but it’s a start and is going to become my Christmas break project – second to trying my hand at French Macaron baking and design 😉

Nikon D700

The Nikon D700 – full frame, superb noise control in extremely low lighting conditions, high ISO performance, as many as 8 fps (with the battery grip), and increased AF performance in low light…could I ask for anything more? Well maybe the D3, but at this point in my university career I’ll take what I can afford.

This past week has been a bit of a let down for me. To begin with I got progressively sicker as the week came to an end, missing a much needed 8.5 hour shift at RW&CO yesterday, while sleeping away Remembrance Day afternoon, yesterday afternoon having at the back of my mind the semester close, with a 5,000 word research paper for Postcolonialism, a presentation of all my research in less then two weeks, a 2,000 word research paper for 18th c., and a massive photo project for APC 4000. The latter I have chosen to represent my corpse with liquid latex, a difficult and tedious medium that requires a lot of assistance (and patience). Oh, and at the beginning of the week I dropped my camera, which was fine, but my flash snapped off the hot shoe leaving me with two tiny pieces of broken black plastic and a flash (still in perfect condition otherwise) completely un-usable.

The bright side of all of this? I almost have enough money to buy the Nikon D700! Hopefully by Monday afternoon I’ll be holding the beauty in my hands, and just in time to shoot my final project as well as finish up the MacGillivray Law corporate session at the New Glasgow branch. Also on my agenda is to maybe pick out a new lens, something with a very wide aperture and good for close ups and portraits. Hmmmm. Here’s to a better week!


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It is beginning to be a tradition – family pictures on Thanksgiving weekend. It is somewhat frustrating to be the photographer and the subject (focusing, set-up, auto timer) This year my brother Ben had to work until 6. I knew trying to light a shoot in the evening with the ISO and horrible light possibilities of my little D60 I needed a lot of extra help. I signed the dynalight kit out from school and two soft boxes, but forgot one crucial element: the flash adapter. I thought my camera was advanced enough to have capabilities for adding an external light source – I was wrong! By the time we had driven 2.5 hours to Amherst and set the entire kit up, ready to shoot and realized I missed the “key” to the whole system. *sigh. Our turkey was cooked and waiting, pumpkin pie cooling on the stove and the sun had already sunk below the hill so I quickly improvised by setting the camera to bulb setting and metered the light from the soft-boxes, getting Grammy to basically activate shutter and flash simultaneously, fraction of seconds apart. I don’t think she appreciated it very much, and it took a lot of tries for her to get the hang of it, and to get images with no motion blur (even though everyone was very good about being absolutely still) but we did! We spent so much time getting a family shot we barely set up anything different…but it worked out! Here are some of the results…

Pat & Sarah’s Wedding Album

Pat & Sarah’s album arrived this week, and is looking fabulous! The pages are printed photo paper mounted to sturdy matte board and bound with leather on the spine and back cover with a photo wrap for the front cover. The album is 8″x10″, has 42 lay-flat pages and is color balanced perfectly! I was very impressed by the quality of the album and it’s nice to know I have the extra ‘finishing touch’ to offer potential clients.

I printed off some labels for ‘Lou Photography’, and am hoping to get some business cards printed up in the next few weeks. The website is almost ready to be published, and I’ve been steadily working away at my huge final assignment & presentation of Fried’s “Barthes Punctum” from his book “Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before” for advanced photo critique, some lengthy research for my Postcolonialism senior seminar class and a research paper proposal for 18th c. Art History. Unfortunately this semester does not have a lot of “visual interest” that I can post.

I worked my second RW&CO shift today, and had some really interesting and pleasant customers that made me think retail at Christmas might not be as bad as I’ve been anticipating! I’m spending the evening finishing up the ‘hometown’ thank-you cards to take back to Amherst tomorrow where Nate and I are headed to gorge our bellies on mom’s delicious turkey feast.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Branding Myself

One of the hardest parts of becoming an photographic artist, or in any medium, is learning how to brand, market, and promote yourself. Whether it is for your artistic practice or for your “job” as a commercial photographer earning income, choosing the right name is only the beginning! Once you get into developing ‘yourself’ as a commercial ‘brand’ if you like there are so many other things to consider!

I’ve been working on this website now for months, trying to work out the kinks – choosing the right photo’s, backgrounds, and fonts. The choices never end! Sometimes it feels like I am just going in circles. I created this site with Wix, its actually a free web design program that (very easily!) lets you personalize existing flash templates or create your own from scratch. I did a bit of both within pages and mini pages, now its just letting myself finish it enough to publish! If I can ever get to that point I will upgrade my site so I can add my domain name, and start handing out business cards.

Graduation is looming and with the art market being so narrow, I am starting to very carefully consider other options. This is my starting point, and it will be fun to see how it progresses from here!

09.08.10 The Beginning of the End

In Great Need of a Manicure

Sprinkles of Misty Rain

Resurfacing the exterior of NSCAD!

Stuck behind the lazy 52 for ten minutes

My last NSCAD agenda - but the best design yet!

I woke up this morning under a dirty blanket in a cardboard box to groups of scary looking people (blond dudes with military buzz cuts and water repellent black track suits) who wanted to kill me. I started to run away from them (duh) up and down a mountain covered in cactus’s and tall ferny trees, hiding in change rooms of retail stores that far to closely resembled Urban Outfitters, and through a lot of heavy rain and wind. I lied down in wet mud under a very splintery porch deck, and was running, running, running. I think then sun had rose and set three or four times – then I really woke up and realized my fingers had hit the alarm off instead of snooze. Oh dear. When my bus was 8 minutes late and it was 15 degrees and raining I thought I was in for a real treat of a day, but it didn’t turn out so badly.

I got 750ml of iced coffee and an egg-o-reno from Sam’s tucked away in my belly fifteen minutes into my 8 hour class, and I thought this is going to be ok. To my relief we had a short four hour class! We even had a 1/2 break in the middle! I ran down to the NSCAD Supply Store for my favorite items I splurge on every semester: black Moleskine journals for each class, and a #02 Sakura Micron pen 🙂

It was dreary and misty all day, but Beth came over tonight for supper and some much needed girl time 🙂 We started preliminary layouts for her wedding album design, which is going to look so amazing when we finish it!

The first day of my last year has begun….