Here at Columbia, Fridays are always reserved for Graduate Seminar. Every Friday, all day long, for the first two years, the first and second year graduate photography students meet with two instructors and look at work.
This semester the duo assigned to do the teaching (there is a different duo each semester) consists of Kelli Connell and Paul D’amato. One thing that Paul and Kelli are trying to do this semester is to bring in a number of outside people to sit through seminar and critique work. This has a nice effect because it lets us have an opinion from a source that is not familiar with seeing our work on a bi-weekly basis. This week Curtis Mann, a former student having success as an artist, came in for the day. He began by telling us a little about his work, what it was like for him while navigating graduate school, and then discussing some larger issues in the art world. Then it was time for the critiquing. He was nice enough to stay through lunch and critique into the afternoon.
It was a nice experience, both because he is unfamiliar with the work that the current graduates are making and because he does not work as a traditional photographer, so he had a different take on some of the work.
I am looking forward to next week when Ari Marcopoulos will be visiting us and joining us for seminar.