Subscribe to Blog via Email
“April showers bring May flowers.” – Anonymous
“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” – Virginia Woolf
The calendar says it’s spring. This season of new beginnings ushers in that hopeful feeling of light at the end of winter’s tunnel, rather a lot of rain and the annual flood of student photography shows. Each spring, New England’s stellar photography programs hatch their newbies into the waiting world in school thesis shows, area galleries and museums. The 2016 PRC Student Exhibition is closing in a week, so you still have time to get there (http://elinspringphotography.com/blog/photographic-resource-center-2016-student-exhibtion-boston/). On its heels, Flash Forward Festival Boston has just opened its “Undergraduate Photography Now (Part 4)” at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA. Curated by Greer Muldowney and Camilo Ramirez, it features 39 pieces in two galleries through May 1, 2016.
Officially, this is an un-themed show, but viewers can thank the keen curators for injecting a buoyant cohesiveness into the exhibit. There are many treats here, so many that I’m going to show more than I tell to illustrate why you should go see it in person. Let’s start with the tone of the show: a parade of youthful inquisitiveness, pensive and exuberant. That alone should reel you in but, happily, there’s much more to it.
For starters, every kid I ever knew likes to play with food and these young photographers have indulged themselves admirably. Mostly, they have exploited wild, wonderful colors (often with some help from Photoshop), but there are also healthy helpings of irony or symbolism in their work.
Inevitably, there are photographs that address that ageless fascination with our bodies. Experimental is the byword here, too, with students using their own and others’ bodies in fun, allegorical, nostalgic, scary and shocking ways. Strangely absent is imagery of one of the hallmarks of youth: falling in love with the wrong person. Perhaps this is a sign of the inherent difficulty in capturing relationships, let alone a nuanced portrait, and the curators chose accordingly. Nonetheless, the portraits here will grab your attention.
Landscapes and documentary photography are relatively scarce in this show, but the ones selected emphasize strong composition and subtle irony.
Although most of these young photographers have embraced the immediacy and plasticity of digital color capture and printing, I was heartened to see a few assume the mantle of film capture and darkroom gelatin silver printing, the use of “alternative processes” and mixed media work. To a one, these works are deliciously layered, rich with visual sophistication and, often, a delicate allusion to memories.
As declared in Lee Wormald’s elegant and fanciful silver gelatin print (above), “it’s right there”. That is to say, it’s right here, a generous display of the energetic ways in which New England’s current crop of student photographers embrace the world with aplomb, employing playful manipulation while echoing the traditions of photographic practice. This show’s spirited work expresses the types of curiosity, inventiveness and talent that suggest a promising future for photography. Not only that, but these fresh flowers can be picked at reasonable prices and taken home with you.
The public is invited to an artists’ reception on May 1st from 4:00 – 7:00pm. For a full list of selected student contributors and information about the show, go to: http://www.griffinmuseum.org/blog/griffin-gallery/
For information about Flash Forward Festival Boston, go to: http://www.flashforwardfestival.com/exhibitions/
Featured Image: “The Gathered – Elise” (detail) by Melissa D’Acunto, NHIA (courtesy of the artist).