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Holmes, T. Apesos 1.17.

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Investigation
Margaret L. Holmes AIB MFA Residency Summary Jan 2012

The comments during critiques for this initial residency varied and ranged from viewing my work as intellectual studies to raising questions about the use of narrative in my photos. I heard over and over again the need to place your work in contemporary photography when talking to gallery owners. It is as if I was dropped down into this mad house of curiosity and investigation without an acknowledged past photographic history, which in a way was what happened. Among the many comments and questions asked of me were some directed at placing my work and interests. These questions parallel the questions that Ive spent months asking myself Why do you want to go to AIB/Lesley and what do you hope to get out of it? Some people perhaps were incredulous, some were genuinely interested in the answers, others trying to find a way to begin comments, still others were not sure what it was I was trying to say- to put it nicely (the blacker part of me thinking they couldnt see any value in my work and were trying to perceive how I got into making this). Although I was the only one to present any reference to artists/photographers (some early photographers and one current) in the initial 5 minute introductory talk, I was constantly criticized for lacking reference to contemporary photographers. It is one thing to just begin a program that doesnt delineate specifically whats expected in a five minute talk and artist statements then another to fault you for not being able to drop names or references immediately or be able to do the gallery speak at any time. I think those are good and necessary things but not all of us are endowed with the ability to constantly put on the game face and talk the talk without

Holmes, T. Apesos 1.17.12

preparation. This is not to say I dont endorse having the ability but there are some of us who struggle with the spoken language and immediate recall. Obviously Ill have to work harder on this and be better prepared. It was an onslaught of ideas, opinions, and information during the first residency. I was told by other students that it would be easier moving forward in that you become more able to handle the informational deluge of day after day crits and seminars. It was a very exciting and invigorating number of days in spite of the overload but I would have to agree that it threatened to swallow me at times. Comments ranged from: Seeing my images as film stills Full of energy Full of texture Alive with color Very painterly Juxtaposing of layered images Too busy Finding the need to revisit the images for further reading Intriguing Compelling Repelling No concept Too much concept Directness of presentation No clarity Ability to read images within images Implied narrative within sequence of photos Question of narrative within single photo Application of realistic photos
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Holmes, T. Apesos 1.17.12

Suggestions for direction of work: Still life Pare down to essential of meaning Photo diary Avoid seduction of surface visual images Investigate contemporary photographers Shoot B&W photography Shoot muted color photography Present as projection Present as a series of single images and forget layering Use methods to investigate more sculptural imagery

In trying to evaluate the information Ive been given I have to sift through myriad comments to the kernels of value. As a photographer I have taken up to almost 9,000 digital images just in the last 4 years not counting those photos Ive made during this same time from negative film or pinhole cameras or the numerous photos taken from prior years that I have already archived. I work in many different styles from street photography, photo diary, stock photography, to creating formal artistic studies. Taking photos of anything that catches my eye (architectural detail, people on the street, or beautiful landscapes) to something that sparks an intellectual interest (social questions group dynamics, American Dream, to panhandlers). Ive consciously made the decision in the last year to not take so many photographs as they require downloading,

Holmes, T. Apesos 1.17.12

labeling, and archiving - all needing time. I now use an initial mental edit and self-imposed daily limit of shots to make those I take more important. I realize in clarifying the copious amount of intellectual responses that I am very drawn to the essence of things that I see. I want to incorporate the use of other substances for substrates, textures, and perhaps the use of projected media (this is a great idea but may not be done this semester) to explore some parts of expressionism and surrealism to experiment with abstraction of the concrete image. Many graduate and other students along with faculty said that this is the time to experiment and go wild. I am striking out on a path that will continue to find a way to express my interior vision and investigate the world around me while using the comments Ive heard. I still plan to become more adept at alternate processes which I want to incorporate into my work. I continue to be intrigued by social dynamics, dreams, values, memories, and the way we see. Photography allows us to be viewers on many levels while continuing to explore the intellectual concepts of mediated life. I want explore that use of framing, seeing, and reducing images to their essence. Growth does not always follow a steady linear pattern. I have no idea if any or all of these ideas will result in a substantive body of work for the final semester but I hope to utilize this semester to create work that investigates anything that sounds interesting.

Find my blog at: photoartmholmes.blogspot.com