As an intern, art photography major Melissa Walker '99 helped put together a CD-ROM of the Light Work Collection. Like Braun, she believes the contact with a community of photographers is invaluable for developing as an artist. "I was in there constantly through the four years," she says. "It's a great place to do work."|
As Recht points out, Light Work is one of the few state and federally funded organizations nationwide that operates within art photography and educational contexts. "It's an accomplished organization that is one of the hubs for photographic activity," he says. "They've always been very cooperative with us and we have so many different kinds of ties to them. In a sense, we're aimed at the same target."
The Light Work Collection is an extraordinary resource for the department's photographic history, theory, and criticism classes, and the Menschel Gallery is like having a "small photographic museum right on campus," Recht says. "They have some fine shows there. Our students really get the opportunity to see what contemporary artists are doing."
Students also get to meet artists at Menschel openings and through lectures. Not only that, but the Light Work Gallery hosts separate annual shows for seniors in Newhouse illustration photography and photojournalism and VPA art photography programs. "It's always a nice group show of our students' work," Recht says. "It gives them the opportunity to participate in the full activity of planning and installing a show."
Anthony Golden, chair of Newhouse's VIC department, sees the darkrooms as a common ground, where students from the VPA and Newhouse programs and others meet. "Both disciplines essentially use the same kind of equipment and sit next to each other in the darkrooms," he says. "It's important for our students to see the VPA students' work, so they understand art photography and photographic artists."
On the technology front, Golden says Community Darkrooms is an asset when VIC is considering new equipment. "When we were ready to buy a digital color printer, we went over there and talked to them about how they had integrated the one they have into their lab," he says. "It allowed us to find out what they'd learned about it."
Illustration photography major Angel Tucker '99 organized Newhouse's senior show at the Light Work Gallery in March. "The shows are always fun. I've seen past Newhouse shows every year since I was a freshman," she says. "Now it's our turn. Gary (Hesse) is always very helpful, which is good, because I know tons about photography but don't know much about hanging exhibitions. It's a great learning experience."|
During her three years here, MFA art photography student Calla Thompson G'99 found a home at the darkrooms. She used the facilities, served on the board, worked there during summers, and also taught classes. "There are so many different situations you can involve yourself in there," she says. "You meet different people, talk about each other's work, talk about show and exhibition opportunities, and the bulletin boards are full of opportunities that art photographers can take advantage of."