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Grant GillMIAD Photography class Professional Practices and its exhibition of semester-long work “de novo: to photograph anew” have taught Grant Gill ’13 (Photography major, Printmaking minor) that “opportunity is a rare thing when you just wait for it to happen.”

“The main thing that I learned from the class was that I can’t just sit around hoping to get recognized,” Gill said. “I have to make work, I have to show work and I have to talk about it.”

The exhibition, on view in MIAD’s River Level Gallery, runs through Gallery Night on Friday, January 20. It was curated by all 19 class members, most of whom are juniors. Each student is showing work. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., except from December 23 through January 2, when the building is closed.

“One of the most important things that we dealt with is how to collaborate on themes and presentation,” Gill said. “We spent hours brainstorming, coming up with a name, finding a venue, getting advertising material together and drawing out a guideline for the presentation of the show. We learned about the gallery business, and the labor that went into hanging the show up.”

Professional Practices is an intensive introduction to the practice of photography as a profession. The course examines the steps required to work as a professional photographer in a variety of settings.

Grant Gill de novo

“The purpose of the class is to start being able to sell ourselves as professionals,” Gill said.

Both Gill and classmate David Szymanski ’13 (Photography major, Advertising minor) said the students learned important lessons about teamwork, communication, scheduling and time management. Faculty member and well-known photographer Kevin Miyazaki helped this process by offering support when needed, but primarily by allowing the students to take on the majority of the responsibility for the exhibition.

Szymanski appreciated the experiences of struggling to agree within a group of 19 students. Over time, they learned how to make decisions quicker and move forward. He believes the lesson will be important for his future career.

The exhibition specifically taught the students about promotional aspects of a career, learning to represent themselves as individual artists in addition to the collection of artists in the class.

Gill and Szymanski believe the work in “de novo” rewards their instructor’s faith.

“It looks great, it looks efficient, and most importantly, it looks like we were serious about making the show look legitimate,” Gill said.

“We are students, but we do professional work,” Szymanski said.

SzymanskiSzymanski recently participated in another student exhibition, “Noir Nouveau: A Photography Exhibit Exploring Film Noir.” The exhibition featured the work of students in Professor Jessica Kaminski’s Film Noir class of juniors and seniors. It ran from December 9 -14 at Plaid Tuba and Mandel Group Creative Studio.

“The concept was to make a series that’s based around your interpretation of film noir,” Szymanski said. “The movies have died out, so it was cool to bring some life back to them.”

MIAD’s Perspectives Gallery hosted a student-run exhibition, “Theater of the Absurd,” through Friday, January 13. Senior photography majors Andrea Bartley (writing minor), Alec Shuppel and Josh Ballew arranged the photography show.

“Theater of the Absurd” showcased the work of Lilly McElroy from her series “I Throw Myself at Men.”


According to Bartley, “this exhibition is based on the genre of plays that take the form of tragicomedies where the characters are caught in hopeless situations and forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions. The work provides a look at a literal interpretation of an awkward social interaction, while commenting on fleeting barroom relationships.”

Click here to learn about MIAD’s Photography program.

Click here to visit the Professional Practices class blog.

Top image: Grant Gill ’13
Second image: Grant Gill, “Letter ‘G’ goes missing at Scrabble championship,” photograph
Third image: David Szymanski, “The day I learned the definition of respect,” photograph
Bottom image: Lilly McElroy, “I throw myself at men – #12,” photograph