nailing it

The MFAs got to hang a small works-in-progress show in the University gallery this past week.  

Ceramic work in the foreground by Dustin Auerbach.

You should appreciate this timelapse a lot, because the first time I ever had to hang any of my own photographs (which was only actually five years ago), I ended the day sitting on the floor, crying, surrounded by bent nails and three different types of hammers.

Exhibitions was not my forte. I've gotten a lot better, obviously, and also sworn to never hang salon-style again, no matter how much the work would benefit.

I hung three 11x17 pigment prints in plain white frames (my go-to when someone, like my advisor, makes me use them at all) and called it a day. I knew my work would contrast pretty harshly with what my peers would be showing, and I didn't want to call any more attention to that than I had to. I did, however, make some very specific choices about titles, which I don't usually do and have been exploring more lately.

Because the show title was very generic, and our statements were hung separately from the work, I wanted to be very purposeful about naming the photos. I'm not a big fan of overly verbose or descriptive titles, and haven't used them at all in the past. 


From left to right: When We Thought It Was Cancer (I Wish It Was Cancer), May 2013; I Don't Live In This House Any More/ Does Anyone Live In This House Any More?, une 2015; After Physical Therapyctober 2015.

My art history professor/committee member said they made her cry so I guess they're good titles.  

"can you be on a plane to barrow tomorrow at 6 am?"

I got asked this question last November, and I answered "sure, why not?". 

I got to meet some incredible people, ate fantastic Inupiaq dishes, and hang out with Edna MacLean for 24 hours.

Edna is something of an Alaskan treasure. She's a professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, hanging previously taught in the Alaska Native Languages program. This past September, UAF Press published Edna's North Slope Inupiaq-English dictionary- a lexicon that took Edna and dozens of Inupiaq elders nearly 40 years to complete.

Aurora Magazine, UAF's alumni & friends publication, was strapped for photographer options when they called me up asking if I wanted to spend a day in Barrow, so I don't know how much of it was faith and how much of it was desperation, but I jumped at the chance. Barrow is the northernmost incorporated community in North America, with around 4,500 people occupying a narrow strip of Alaska's Arctic Slope coast at the confluence of the Bering and Chukchi Seas.

Read the rest of the feature on Edna, and see the rest of my photos (including the cover!) in the Spring 2015 issue of Aurora.