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Photography Class publishes Field | Work

Field | Work

Field | Work is a collaborative project created over the spring 2022 semester by artists enrolled in Professor Jaclyn Wright's Photography class, Art 3755: Studio as Conceptual Practice. Throughout the semester, in large and small groups, the artists collectively worked on concepts exploring the climate crisis, fast-fashion and a consumer obsessed society, feminine community, connection, ritual, and female empowerment through imagined histories. The artists facilitated on-location photography shoots that included locations such as Red Butte Garden, Memory Grove, Bar X, and Utah Metal Works. Each collaborative group was tasked with developing a concept, location scouting, and assigning various roles to their peers, including camera operations, lighting, wardrobe, and creative directing. Together, these artists explored a wide range of motifs that allowed them to develop individual skills and explore collaborative practices.

Field | Work is available for purchase HERE.

Group 1 - Oh, What Fun!
Cole Laurain, Melissa Lira, Delaney Ludwig, Jude Sabo

Through the collaborative process our group became inspired to create a collection that critiques consumerism while also relating it to the climate change that we are facing. More specifically, the role that fast fashion has in degrading our planet. Due to the consumer driven nature of fast fashion it causes a tremendous amount of clothes and accessories to be discarded to a landfill. To show this from an artistic perspective, we came up with the idea of shooting multiple subjects wearing an absurd amount of fashionable jackets, while also using a background to break the 4th wall. We used a tropical setting as a way to break the 4th wall and to juxtapose our subjects being extremely cold in an area that should realistically be warm all year. This emphasizes the effect that fast fashion has on climate change due to the play on the temperature, as well as the odd amount of clothing in the shoot. We also used artificial lighting in an outdoor setting to further recreate high fashion photography that would be seen in an editorial. Although our images are playful, they highlight the real world problem we are being subjected to by wanting the latest and newest trends.

Group 2 - If Looks Could Kill
Kevin Cody, Blake Gale, Kelly Goff, Ashley Towns

Prohibition (1917 – 1933) was a dynamic time in U.S. history. Organized crime became very powerful and a lot of business was conducted in back rooms and speakeasys. This is the time period and backdrop of this shoot. The location, BarX, located in downtown Salt Lake City, looks like a speakeasy because it was one. It opened at the end of Prohibition in 1933. Although it has changed ownership numerous times, it continues to maintain an iconic ‘20s feel. Moody lighting, lines of liquor bottles, velvet pillows and tasseled sconces collude to make this backdrop as much a character in the shoot as the actors.

The goal of this work is to turn history on its head and show what it could have looked like if a woman had commanded these positions of power, e.g., bartender, crime boss and detective. Although the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment was drafted in 1923, it wasn’t until March 22, 1972, that it passed the U.S. Senate. We can only imagine these scenes because the reality of that time was women could not move in these circles (with the exception of Ma Barker). The male patriarchy in business, crime and law enforcement was absolute. If women worked at all, it was in service capacities, such as typists, dressmakers, teachers and housekeepers. White women had the vote but it would be a decade or more before females broke into the upper echelons of the workforce. To envision a woman, especially a woman of color in those roles seems prodigious.

Group 3 - a.l.b. Fall/Winter 2050
Adah Bennion, Silvana Peterson, Albert Abdul-Barr Wang, Keaton Yoshinaga

Imagine the Met Gala in the year 2050… Though the grandeur and spectacle are the same, the red carpet has been replaced with industrial scale heaps of scrap metal and the attire is made from the most readily available material: repurposed low-density polyethylene (plastic) film which reflects the times and theme, Not Too Trashy.

a.l.b. Fall/Winter 2050, is an haute couture capsule collection handmade entirely from various types of reclaimed used plastic bags by Adah Bennion that explores the lifespan and reusability of materials and waste generated on a daily basis by a consumer society obsessed with single use products, convenience, and fast fashion, and how, if left unchecked, this might shape the resources available to us in the future.

Group 4
Sally Logue, Allison McKinney, Duke Ross

Our body of work draws inspiration from Renaissance ideals and classical aesthetics while emphasizing the inherent capacity of feminine community and connection. The models are dressed in Renaissance revival pieces to harken back to the aesthetics utilized during the 16th and 17th centuries. Aspects of classical art and Humanist philosophy borrowed and reexamined ideals from antiquity. These themes included archetypes of beauty and truth, balance, harmony, order, uniqueness, the value of human life, and an individual’s ability to lead their own destiny. However, these ideals were primarily reserved for male viewers and subjects. In our images, we wanted to reapply these classical artistic philosophies to female subjects while also separating them from the gaze under which they are typically viewed in Renaissance era artwork. In addition to working exclusively with female models, we also collaborated with women-owned businesses for makeup, wardrobe, accessories, and props.

Painting in this era paid special attention to color, subtle luminosity, the celebration of the human mind, and a balance between humans and nature in which humans recognize and display reverence for the power of the natural world. Our location drew direct inspiration from these ideals, juxtaposing human-made structures and natural environments. We used classical architecture and structures situated in a natural setting to frame the organic, spontaneous movement and posing that our models created for the camera. The idea was to capture images which mirrored the beauty of human emotion, specifically feminine connection. We wanted the shoot to provide a space for our models to feel powerful and allow their personalities to radiate through the photographs. Thus, we encouraged them to move freely through the scenes, which resulted in a more fluid, ritualistic dynamic.