MESMERIC : SVA Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography 2019 Class Exhibition

 The Dragon Dream / Film by Sophie Cheung
Showing a pivotal moment from her 10-minute narrative film, The Dragon Dream, and a series of monologues, Sophie Cheung explores the mental-health consequences of the great academic pressure placed on young people in Asian societies.

Inventing the Dog / Photographs by Stephanie Zimmer 
A celebration and typological study of the wide variety of purebred dogs. Bio-engineered over hundreds or even thousands of years to serve a specific purpose for humans, dogs come in a remarkable range of sizes, shapes and personalities. The project’s photographs examine both this variety and the specific physical issues associated with selective breeding.

 Bathhouse / Photographs by Jaichang Sim
A documentary study of the Korean bathhouse and its societal importance, featuring intimate portraits of customers and self-portraits of the photographer, Jaichang Sim, at a bathhouse owned by his father.

Mutations / Image by Huai Yi Tsai
Huai Yi Tsai’s images, prints and handmade book from his series “Mutations” are based on sculptures he has created from found garbage to critique people’s lack of awareness of the pollution caused by their disposal of consumable items.

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The School of Visual Arts presents “Mesmeric” an exhibition of thesis work by the Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography The Class of 2019 / Curated by NYC gallerist and SVA faculty member Debra Klomp Ching.

Curated by Debra Klomp Ching
Oct 12 – Nov 2, 2019
SVA Gramercy Gallery
209 E. 23rd Street, NYC

Wed, Oct 23, 2019
6:00 – 8:00pm

"Mesmeric is, fittingly, an exhibition with work by 11 talented photographers and artists who maintained an intense focus on their thesis projects and their ideas, often blocking out other voices and distractions around them. They were in it! The exhibition showcases the class of 2019’s commitment to the continuous improvement, imagination and experimentation needed to produce transfixing bodies of photographic work.” – MPS Digital Photography Chair Tom P. Ashe

Also exhibiting: Yangzi Huang’s photographs in “Indirect Object” transform and elevate common objects using perspective and lighting to create visuals that are reminiscent of 1920s avant-garde still-life photography.

In “Contour,” Luiza Ladeira Lavorato celebrates the female form by bringing new photographic strategies to the classical black-and-white nude. The project is in part a reaction to the debasing of the female figure and the way this has desensitized our culture to the nude’s natural beauty.

Overloaded” is a series of abstract images that capture Qikun Li’s emotional struggles. His goal in this project is to capture these feelings in what are, essentially, psychological landscapes.

The Five Elements” by Kam Lin is a group of fashion photographs inspired by the “Five Elements” of metal, wood, water, fire and earth in traditional Chinese culture. The Five Elements theory explains the interaction and relationship between all things.

Xuanang Tian’s project “[me, you]” is a series of still-lifes containing fragments of mirrors and Mylar that incorporate viewers’ reflection into the image, symbolizing the many personal and social boundaries that restrict us.

The images in Ruojia Wo’s “Color After a Fashion” take the aesthetic of fashion photography into a different realm using a muted palette and a style derived from architectural and landscape photography.

The Chinese Zodiac” by Zhou Zhou explores this important cultural concept by depicting its twelve animal signs through photographic collages that combine styled models with traditional Chinese objects and symbols.

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I'm fortunate to teach a summer course, Book and Brand, in this department! The students concentrate on creating their printed book or portfolio, and design and produce terrific branding and marketing materials. It's exciting to see their completed photographic series in this upcoming exhibition. – EA

The Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography, chaired by Tom P. Ashe, is an intensive one-year graduate degree program that addresses the digital-image capture, workflow, exhibition printing, sound, video and visual storytelling skills required of professional photographers and photo educators in the vanguard of commercial, fine art, portrait and fashion photography practices. Within the year, students are prepared to excel at producing conceptually compelling and technically outstanding images, and are ideally positioned to pursue gallery representation, editorial or commercial work, as well as high-end digital retouching and consulting careers. 

The SVA Gramercy Gallery, located at 209 East 23rd Street, New York City, is open Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 7:00pm, and Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm. The gallery is accessible by wheelchair.


ARNOLD NEWMAN PRIZE WINNER: Louie Palu FINALISTS: Jess T. Dugan, Cheryle St. Onge, and Bryan Thomas

 Arctic Passage
 Photograph © Louie Palu, 2019 Winner

 Arctic Passage
 Photograph © Louie Palu, 2019 Winner

 Arctic Passage
 Photograph © Louie Palu, 2019 Winner

 Arctic Passage
 Photograph © Louie Palu, 2019 Winner

This year's winner of the 2019 Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture is Louie Palu for work that demonstrates a compelling new vision in photographic portraiture. His project, Arctic Passage, is a series of photographs from the Arctic and an installation composed of large format portraits frozen in ice blocks. Since 2015 Palu has been working on a long-term photography project related to climate change, which documents the changing lives around Inuit communities in the high Arctic. The project also explores the evolving situation related to the geopolitics of the Polar region and the growing militarization of the Arctic as countries look to capitalize on the melting ice revealing natural resources.

"Two years ago I began experimenting with freezing these photographs in ice blocks, then putting them outdoors to melt. The concept came out of a book on the Franklin voyage, which was a British Naval expedition in the 1800’s. Franklin’s two Arctic exploration ships were crushed by the ice and the crews perished succumbing to the Arctic’s severe weather. Their camera was never found and I imagined the photographs frozen and lost somewhere in the ice."

"The Arctic is about imagination, because most of us can’t go there we can only imagine it. In some ways we must use imagination combined with science to understand how climate change will affect us. The Arctic is the region in the world where the planet is warming the most rapidly. I felt the need to push the boundaries of traditional portraiture to not only looking and at encountering another person through photography, but experiencing what they are seeing, which is ice disappearing as a part of their identity. I wanted to take the work beyond the image, pixels and paper prints."

"In 2019, I submitted a proposal to the SXSW Festival’s Art Installation Program with this concept and it was selected. I installed the work outside in front of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin and made several discoveries. First, the ice block portraits took several unique forms and changed while they melted including forming frost, spider web cracks and water running down (from melting) the faces of some of the portraits. They all eventually fell over due to melting, and the only way I can put this in words is destroyed themselves by shattering on the ground. Attendance to the installation was high and what I found interesting was everyone took photos of the slowly transforming, what some called “ice portraits” and shared it on their social media tagging it related to climate change. The result was viewers documented the changing portraits as the ice melted which made their photographs inclusive to the installation and conversation around people affected by climate change."

"Ice defines the Arctic and is as much a part of the identity of the people from there as it is a part of the environment they live in. Fusing ice and images of the people there and how their very identity is slowly vanishing is what I want people to experience. The portfolio submitted is a combination of my photographs and examples of some frozen in ice. Work in this project has been supported by the Harry Ransom Center, Joan Morgenstern, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, National Geographic & Pulitzer Center." – Louie Palu

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Three Finalist's were also selected: Jess T. Dugan, "Every Breath We Drew"; Cheryle St. Onge, “Calling the Birds Home"; and Bryan Thomas, “Sunrise/Sunset".

The 2019 Jurors were: Paula Tognarelli, Director of the Griffin Museum of Photography • Elizabeth Avedon, Independent Curator, PhotoBook + Exhibition Designer • Jessica Dimson, Deputy Photo Editor, The New York Times

The $20,000. award was funded by the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation and administered by Maine Media Workshops + College. Thank you to all who submitted their incredible work!

 2019 Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions
  in Photographic Portraiture
Winner and Finalists Exhibition
October 1-20, 2019
Reception: October 10, 2019

Calling The Birds Home
  Photograph © Cheryle St. Onge 

Photograph ©  Bryan Thomas

Every Breath We Drew 
 Photograph © Jess T. Dugan 
Courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago