2016 Year in Review and Recent 2017 Happenings

Hello friends and Happy Summer! I began writing this edition of my newsletter in January and am just completing it now thanks to an eventful first half of the year surrounding my educational work in photography. I am happy to finally get to share this newsletter and hope that the summer is being good to you.

The following is a recap of the many creative endeavors I was fortunate to take part in during 2016. Additionally, there is some news about what has been happening in my photo-life so far in 2017 including my first international exhibit, a new academic endeavor, and a call for collaborators in my current work-in-progress…


Exhibitions

I had some opportunities to exhibit my work in 2016. The year started with an Adjunct Faculty Exhibit in the Raizes Gallery at Lesley University College of Art and Design. I was also invited to display a selection of my Meditations on Being a Phoenix photographs in the annual  [Photo]gogues exhibition which opened in conjunction with the 2016 Flash Forward Photography Festival in Boston. The exhibit was on display at the Griffin Museum of Photography’s Lafayette City Center Passageway Gallery.

My final exhibition of the year was Lemniscate of Diffusion, curated by Libby Rowe at  A Smith Gallery in Johnson, TX. This exhibition featured artists from Diffusion Magazine’s recent publication Lemniscate and was on display in conjunction with FOTOSEPTIEMBRE.

To kick off 2017 I was part of two exhibitions. My first international exhibit, Alternative Photography an invitational exhibit at The Far Eastern Museum of Fine Art in Khabarovsk, Russia opened in February and was curated by my former student and fellow photographer Anna Yeroshenko. The show was met with great reviews and is slated to travel to multiple locations throughout Russia in the coming year.

I also had a great time being part of the 300+ artists who came together in solidarity for the Nasty Women Art Exhibit at the Institute Library in New Haven, CT. All proceeds from this event benefitted Planned Parenthood.


Publication and Awards

Phoenix #1 from Meditations on Being a Phoenix

Approaching Walden Professional Development Seminar

Last year I was accepted into the Approaching Walden Professional Development Seminar through The Walden Woods Project which took place last July. I joined 35 other educators from across the country who wished to include the philosophies of Thoreau and a sense of place into their teaching practice. It was a thrill to discover some new inspirations in the words and teachings of Thoreau to use towards my personal work and academic course development.

Critical Mass and Don’t Take Pictures Photo of the Day
Last summer I had the honor of being selected as a Critical Mass Finalist. Critical Mass is a wonderful program that gives the opportunity for all participating photographers to have access to career building opportunities. Having my work in front of a large jury has led to some exciting new opportunities including having my image Phoenix #1 from my series Meditations on Being a Phoenix featured as Photo of the Day on Don’t Take Pictures.

 

Handcrafted Photography: In the Artists’ Words Video
I was invited to be a part of the video “Handcrafted Photography: In the Artists’ Words” by Blue Mitchell, the photographer and mastermind behind One Twelve Publishing and Plates to Pixels Gallery. This video includes short interviews with artists: Diana Bloomfield, Claude Peschel Dutombe, James Wiggerand and myself while offering a glimpse into the working methods and inspirations of these photographers.

Lemniscate of Diffusion | Volume VIII 2016
It was an honor to have been invited as one of the featured artists in One Twelve Publishing‘s 8th edition of Diffusion Magazine titled Lemniscate. The print version of the magazine has since sold out but you can still order a digital version where you can read my feature interview and enjoy the work and words of several other wonderful photographers. Digital version available for order here.

#ArtTalksBack
#ArtTalksBack was a series of posts I made on Twitter and Facebook between November 14th and January 21st. Each daily post featured an artwork that the artist made in reaction to a social, cultural or political issue. Many of the works were responsible for raising awareness and influencing policies surrounding these issues. The idea was born out of a discussion with some of my students following the recent US Presidential election. We talked about the power of art and our responsibility as artists. We discussed the great potential art has to expand perspectives, combat ignorance and inspire empathy. We talked about how elected officials are not the only ones who get to shape things and how our actions through the creation of artwork can also add shape to this world.

The posts can be viewed on Twitter and Facebook and can be easily found through the #ArtTalksBack hashtag.

Art can be a force in shaping the world too.


Teaching

Silver gelatin collaged over wet plate with encaustic wax and oil stick by workshop participant Constance Lowell

In 2016 I continued teaching weekend photography workshops at Photosynthesis. My Encaustic Play Day workshop made a return and we also offered a new workshop on portfolio development and professional practices where I had the pleasure of reviewing portfolios and discussing the making and marketing of photographic bodies of work.  The workshops at Photosynthesis are currently on hiatus while they settle into their new location in East Hartford but I look forward to the return of the workshops in this new space in the future.

In 2016 into 2017 I continued teaching as a college photography instructor throughout CT and at Lesley University College of Art and Design in Cambridge, MA. Additionally, I have been hired in a temporary capacity as a Photography Curriculum Developer at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, CT. Tunxis has a wonderful photography program, facilities, and faculty. I have taught there as an adjunct instructor for 18 years and am excited that I now get to use what I have learned during that time to help expand on what we offer as a program.


Call For Contributors

I am beginning a new photographic project that deals with women and their personal relationship with sex. I am looking for models/contributors for this new work. If you or someone you know might be interested in contributing please contact me at jessomers@snet.net