OCAD Photo Alums make a Scene
OCAD Photo Alums make a Scene
Register NOW for this upcoming event featuring our own Farihah Shah
Special Student Price PhotoEd.ca
Get a preview with Rita Godlevskis, Director of PhotoEd by joining us in Directed Studio at Noon, October 17, Room 650, 100 McCaul
with added guests: InFocus curator Alexis Marie Chute from Edmonton discussing their national Call for Submission
followed by Scott Morgan, Photographer talking about his commercial practice and creative branding.
Specifically open to Recent OCADU Photo Grads, this is an amazing opportunity.
Apply NOW! The deadline is approaching fast – Tuesday, September 4.
This opportunity will provide access to Gallery 44 production facilities, equipment rentals and programming for one (1) year starting October 2018, for five (5) OCADU recent graduates, to support their upcoming exhibitions and professional opportunities. Recipients will also receive studio credits valued at $500, and opportunities to participate in G44 member’s exhibitions, workshops and events.
Here is the link: Gallery 44 Production Membership Career Launcher
Here is a PDF version: g44-career-launcher-2018-call
Good Afternoon – I was speaking to one of your colleagues and he had mentioned to email you directly with the my request. Could you kindly post the following info to your Photography Students Blog / Board:
Sutherland Models, one of Canada’s leading model agencies is looking to expand their roster of Fashion Photographer’s for upcoming creative tests for their models.
If you are looking to work with some of the industry’s top models please, contact me for a meeting:
Creative Director / Agent
Sutherland Models Inc.
90 Sumach Street, # 403
Toronto, ON, M5A 4R4
When I first had Meera as an instructor at OCAD U, she was teaching a “Reconsidering Documentary Photography” course in my third year. I was looking for direction within my own artistic practice, which is rooted in documentary practices, and I needed a course that would – for lack of a better phrase – kick my butt. This course quite literally changed my view of documentary practices, ethics, aesthetics and foundations. As anyone who has had Meera as an instructor would know, she will push you into spaces you couldn’t conceive of. She won’t let you off the hook, and in the end you will end up with work that you didn’t know you could create.
In this series of Faculty Spotlights, we chat with Meera Margaret Singh about her practice and her approach to being an artist, an educator and how those two collide.
How would you describe your art practice?
My lens-based art practice (photography and video) has always revolved around a negotiation and exploration of intimacy and displacement. This has predominantly been examined through individuals and their landcape, be that physical or psychological. I often construct and examine various relationships between body and environment, while further exploring the suspended space that exists between the real and the fabricated, the historical and the contemporary.
As a mixed-race Canadian of South-Asian descent, I am negotiating identity as shifting and malleable through both my daily life and my artistic practice. I have created numerous works that attempt to reconcile ideas of ‘home’ in both space and body by exploring ideas of displacement; often as physical or gestural manifestations that serve as metaphors for cultural displacement.
Of key importance to me while presenting my work is creating an intimate, minimalist and accessible space; one that is not as didactic as it is an invitation for diverse viewers to question what is happening in each work and to allow the space for them to insert their own experience.
What is your favourite course or theme/topic to teach?
I really love teaching studio/seminar courses that allow for discussion about photography and representation, power dynamics at play in the relationships between subject/photographer, the complexities of the gaze, and feminism/intersectionality and its relationship to the lens. Courses like “Reconsidering Documentary Photography”, “Contemporary Issues”, “Current Practice” are wonderful for allowing for these discussions. I’ve been teaching INTAC (International Art Collaboration) with Peter Sramek for 4 years now and I adore teaching this class, as it takes a specific student to be interested in collaborative work and cross-cultural experience. It’s a very special space for learning. I am also teaching Colour Photography this semester which is so rewarding, as I get to share and witness the magic of the colour darkroom with students who are using it for the first time.
How does teaching arts affect how you approach your own art practice?
Being in a teaching environment where people are dedicated to sharing their diverse perspectives and experiences as expressed through their art definitely inspires both my teaching and my art practice. The classroom is a unique space where everyone makes themselves vulnerable in some capacity: professors and students alike. I always feel it’s a very privileged space to occupy: one where a group of individuals can discuss intention and output, particularly when most other disciplines focus solely on output. This dialogue and expression of intention is really profound for me. While actively listening to students describe their intentions, I am constantly checking in with myself about my own.
My work is also deeply connected to my interest in human experience and various levels of intimacy. I work closely with people/communities in my practice. This isn’t dissimilar to the classroom: creating safe and generative spaces for art to connect diverse individuals or communities.
What do you think is valuable about having a fine arts focused education?
I came to Fine Art in a very unplanned way after completing a degree in Anthropology. I actually aspired to be an archaeologist. When I was introduced to photography, I never imagined the need for more schooling. While I did learn a lot of technique independently, I quickly realized that I needed a community around me to grow: for critique, community, support and critical dialogue. Once I made the decision to return to school, my professors really encouraged the need for using art (and, specifically, photography) as a means of transforming and communicating one’s experience and ideas. I can’t speak for everyone (because a formal fine arts education is not for everyone), but I can say that a fine arts education improved my problem solving skills, assisted me in editing my words and ideas to clarify meaning, granted me permission to dig deeper and further inside of myself. It introduced me to mentors I am forever grateful for. It provided me with a stronger sense of community and a space to figure out where I fit in in terms of theoretical/critical/historical/contemporary photographic frameworks. It also granted me the structure I truly rely upon to create my work.
Meera Margaret Singh is a visual artist based in Toronto, Canada. She holds a BA in Anthropology, a BFA in Photography from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in Canada and an MFA from Concordia University, Montreal in Canada. Singh has been the recipient of numerous residencies and awards, most notably several Canada Council for the Arts production/creation grants, an Ontario Arts Council mid-career grant, and a Toronto Arts Council visual arts grant. She has been a selected artist at the Banff Centre for the Arts; artist-in-residence at The Art Gallery of Ontario; artist-in-residence at 1Shanti Rd in Bangalore, India; artist-in-residence at JACA Residency, Brazil; selected artist in an international residency with German photographer Thomas Struth at the Atlantic Centre for the Arts, Florida; scholarship winner and participant in the Magnum Workshop with photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti; visiting artist/instructor at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India; McCain Artist-in-Residence at the OCAD University, Toronto. She has exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions throughout Canada and internationally. She is currently an Assistant Professor at OCAD University.
Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams
Morgan is a photo alumni and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative non-institutional spaces. She is the Art Co-ordinator for The RUDE Collective, and has done workshops on photography basics, intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.
Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University. This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Syd Patterson, a photography student in Directed Studio.
In this series Syd and Morgan discuss work ethic, portraits and vulnerability, and photographing your community.
Who or what are your main photographic inspirations?
Whatever I’m curious about, anything genuine that interests me I suppose… Photography seems to have given me a means to explore different aspects of life around me; everything that I’m into practicing creatively all seems to be related in one way or another.
What subject matter do you tend to spend the most time working on?
People mostly. Generally I do portraits or document some kind of interaction with the body, sometimes I try to convey the intimacy of our connection to place and display the subtleties of body’s relationship to space and time.
You work a lot with 35mm, what do you think are the values of working with 35mm analog vs digital?
It’s really just a preference I think but in the cases when I shoot 35mm I find that you have to be more precautious about what you shoot, or at least be more certain when you take a picture because you’re more aware of how many shots it limits you to.
What body of work are you working on right now?
A collection of zines I hope to have ready for GradEx alongside a series of select prints. Lately my work has been revolving around aspects of community and physical collaborative efforts like building something or being proud of where you’re from.
Your portraits are vulnerable and convey the obvious trust these folks have with you. How do you develop this kind of trust with people you are photographing to make them comfortable?
I’m not much of a talker and I really appreciate being able to listen, visually photographs can say a lot of different things. I’ve come to learn that I’m happiest with the photographs I take that are the most genuine, whatever that means. I like to think that authenticity is something you can translate without words so I search for that in my subject matter and wait until I can seize an opportunity to capture a moment worthwhile.
What drew you to photographing skateboarders and skateboard culture?
The energy for sure. It takes a lot out of you but it also gives you a lot back. It’s very meticulous but also very gratifying.
How do you think your art practice has evolved or changed over your years at OCAD?
Going to school taught me that I need to have a work ethic at what you want to be good at, so I suppose that I learned to keep practicing.
Does research have an influence in how you produce your work and your art process?
Lots of “field research”.
How do you think the critique process in Directed Studio has helped the way you view your work and process?
Contextually it helped me understand where I want to go with photography, I view it as a labour of love more than anything else and critique allows you to hone in on your talents.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in photography?
Don’t be afraid to fuck up, get back up when you fall down and keep trying until you get something right…then repeat that process again and again.
at OCAD’s Graduate Exhibition from May 3rd – May 6th
Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.
Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams
About the writer: Morgan is a photo alumni and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative non-institutional spaces. She is the Art Co-ordinator for The RUDE Collective, and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.
For the Complete Program: https://ryersonimagecentre.ca/symposium/photography-the-black-box-of-history/
For a text version of this event, visit http://bit.ly/2oreGdO. Please contact us if we can make any accommodations to ensure your inclusion in this event.
Copyright © Ryerson Image Centre. All rights reserved.
Image: Michael Mitchell, Black Square: Alberta Badlands, Brooks, 1979, chromogenic print. Courtesy of the artist
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