Monday, May 18, 2020

AIC Student Photographers Published in the "When You Can't Find the Words" Exhibit

Students in Professor Nordell's photography classes recently submitted images and were published in the CEPA Gallery online exhibition:  "When You Can't Find the Words".  At this writing, the call for submissions is still open.  You are encouraged to submit a photograph relating to living during Covid-19:

Dear Contributing Artists,

CEPA Gallery was overwhelmed by the quality of the response to our call for our “When You Can’t Find the Words” exhibit. Submissions came in from all over the world and demonstrated an inspirational unity through the wide range of interpretations of Covid-19 pandemic.

Thank you for your art! Please keep sharing your talents with the world. The ability for art to connect us, to challenge us, and inspire us is more important than ever. The online public gallery can be viewed here:

We also wanted to share with you a video that we created, using the images from the gallery and an original song by a local (to us) band:

Feel free to share this video with your networks. It is the first ever virtual exhibit by CEPA Gallery, an organization that has been thinking outside the box since 1974. We are so proud to have been able to use your art in an innovative, accessible and moving way.

Thank you again!

CEPA Gallery

Friday, April 3, 2020

The World I Want to See: AIC Student Photographic Visions of Hope and Unity in the Era of Covid-19

Photo and text by Beatriz

I went out of the house, during these quarantine times, to breathe fresh air and clear my mind off of isolation. I wanted to take a picture of something that could inspire people for hope and faith in the future. This is a picture that in my opinion shows exactly what I wanted to show. I wanted to transmit the message that although these are tough times, we need to be strong and focus on the good things we can accomplish and once we are able to go outside again freely, this is what I want all of us to see, the sun, the light at the end and the beauty of nature. Because, in nature, everything comes in a circle, so after the dark, it will come the light.

Photo and text by Chris

I want to see a world filled with color! A place that allows for people from different ethnic backgrounds and countries to be in solidarity. In times like these, we tend to look at the worst case scenarios and negatives of situations. This life can be beautiful. If we can sit down and look at what is in front of us, we can be inspired.

Photo and Text by Blake

Niagara falls is located 10 minutes from my house. I want to see where everyone is outside again, jammed packed so you cannot even get a good picture of the falls. I was the corona virus to disappear. I was the only one there.

Photo and text by Elijiah

I took this photo outside my house. I know times are hard right now. As I was taking this photo I saw some dead​ leaves and it made me think of how the world is dead right now with everyone being quarantined inside. In the end, the world I want to see is everyone to be those bright white flowers that will grow from this!

Photo and text by Isaiah

During quarantine, I decided to still go on out for some fresh air and go for a small jog at the Whiting Reservoir Trail Head, located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. I want to see the world with completely filled up trails as usual, once this COIVD-19 is eliminated from existence. It was very awkward and extremely depressing to not spot a single visitor. It felt empty and dark.

Photo and text by Gabriella

For the world I want to see, I tried taking a shallow depth image of the overgrowth of the plants in my house.  To me, I want a world much like this one where we can all grow to our fullest potential but to do it together. A lot of the foliage of our plants overlap, some grow up the walls, but they're all happy and healthy, doing their best. I think the world I want to see is one where people are able to grow and mature.

None of these plants are in bloom currently, however, there is still beauty in the leaves. For me, this pertains to the world I'd want to see as well because I feel like every single day we all work constantly to be better versions of ourself, and like plants waiting to bloom, we should appreciate the beauty of the process in ourselves and others.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

We Are Family - Fashion Photography Shoot at AIC with Students and Staff

At the start of the semester in Advanced Photography, Professor Nordell sat with students and collaboratively wrote course outcomes based on student interests and professional goals:

Course Outcomes

The semester culminated in a fashion shoot during which the student photographers demonstrated mastery of many outcomes.  A big thanks to all the volunteer models, who not only struck poses, but also helped with setting up and breaking down lighting gear.

The Team: (left to right) Professor Kat Lombard-Cook, photographer Danny James, photo assistant Jeshua Darnell, photographer Margarita Velazco, Destiny Alicea, Chandler Cotton and Danica Johnson.  Photo by Profesor Nordell

During the semester Margarita Velazco presented the work of noted photographer Annie Leibovitz.  Margarita was intrigued with Leibovitz's approach of bringing a studio lighting set out into the world to simultaneously show the scene and the behind-the-scenes.

Modern Family: (front to back, left to right) Rose McCaffrey, Destiny Alicea, Professor Kat Lombard-Cook, Chandler Cotton, Dean of Students Matt Scott, Mariah Mauke, Danica Johnson.  Photo by Margaria Velazco

Sam Abdul-Karim, AIC '19 (left) and Assistant Director of Diversity Education Alicia McKenzie.  Photo by Danny James

To add layers of meaning to black and white portraiture, models were asked to bring objects that represent one of their cultural identities.

Professor Althea Michel.  Photo by Danny James

Dean of Students Matt Scott (front) and Chandler Cotton.  Photo by Margarita Velazco

Professor Nordell holds a reflector as Margarita Velazco photographs Danica Johnson.  Photo by Marty Langford

Danica Johnson

Stepping Out: (left to right) Danica Johnson, Rose McCaffrey and Professor Althea Michel.  Photo by Danny James

Beauty Lighting:  Lauren Witherspoon.  Photo by Danny James

Destiny Alicea.  Photo by Danny James

Peekaboo: (left to right) photo assistant Jeshua Darnell, photographer Danny James and Chandler Cotton. Photo by Margarita Velazco

See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil.  Photographer Margarita Velazco at work.  Photo by Professor Lombard-Cook

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Defensive End and a Linebacker Share Insights About Connections Between Playing Football and Creating Images

After photographing an AIC football game, Professor Nordell asked two Visual and Digital Arts Majors to reflect on the connections between playing football and creating images.  Defensive End Trevor Catlin and Linebacker Terrell Wallace had recently completed their Midterm Portfolios in Digital Photography 1.

Let's start with Trevor's report:

Being a student-athlete is definitely challenging, and being a student and being an athlete are totally different in what they present. However, there are some are some similarities and connections. In this case, creating images/being a student photographer is going to be compared to being a football player.

Trevor Catlin - Photo by Professor Nordell

Creating images and being a football player definitely have some connections. The connections aren’t physically, but definitely mentally. In football, I have to think of what I have to do to get the job done. I have to adjust to how the other team plays. I have to think of what moves I’m going to use to win in pass rush. I have to learn the new plays and execute them. If not, we start the play all over in practice. Therefore, there is a lot of trial and error in football, especially during the preparation for the game. Creating images is also a good example of trial and error. I have to adjust to the weather. A sunny day can be best window light portraits, freeze motion pictures, etc. I have to adjust the settings in order to get the perfect picture for the assignment. The trial and error can come with thinking of the perfect picture too. You can take a picture and may not like it, or it can be the perfect picture. Football and creating images are very similar in preparation.

Heavy Tobacco Use is a Known Risk Factor for Opioid Addiction - Photo by Trevor Catlin

The images I created in class weren’t easy to take. It took a lot of trial and error. My “I Have a Dream” picture is a great example of that. My idea was to create an image of an illuminated fist surrounded by darkness. I probably took and deleted around 30 pictures. At first, I turned off the main light in my room and tried to use the light from outside as the source. That didn’t work out too well because my camera kept saying subject too dark or the picture just didn’t come out right. I took a break because I was getting a little frustrated.

Trevor Catlin - Photo by Professor Nordell

I turned on my desk light to adjust the settings before I started taking pictures again. I began adjusting the shutter speed and aperture. After every adjustment I took a picture. One of the pictures was of my lamp and it sparked some hope for me. The picture showed the light source of my lamp surrounded by total darkness. Therefore, I beamed the light from the lamp on my fist as much as I could. I started taking pictures. I noticed I was getting closer and closer to getting the perfect impact, but the background was a little illuminated because I had light grey sheets. I put a dark grey blanket in the background and adjusted my camera angle so that not much of the potentially illuminated background could be seen. Three more pictures in and I got the perfect one. This image was just what I was looking for and I was so proud of myself for taking it and not giving up.

I Have a Dream - Photo by Trevor Catlin

And now, let's hear from Terrell:

There are many connections between creating images and playing football. When creating images and playing football you have to find your sense of self and your own style. When playing football you have to find what your good at and you make the best at it working hard and making different plays in the game. When creating images you have to find what your good at and you have to work hard on the little things to help create a better picture. They both take hard work and they both take the individual to find what they are good at, to exploit their talents.

Terrell Wallace Celebrates a Tackle - Photo by Professor Nordell

Game planning for a game and the creative process are similar in many different ways. When planning for a game you take on different aspects from your team, the opposing team and yourself, to help create the best game plan to win. It is like the creative process because when taking a picture you have to account for many different things in your environment of the picture and also you have to account for the many different techniques in pictures and your camera settings. They both take careful planning and work to get the best out of everything. Also with the creative process and when game planning there will be many errors, but you won’t admit defeat until you finish successfully. 

AIC Volleyball Flying High - Photo by Terrell Wallace

The images that I’ve created in class have taken lots of thought and practice. When taking my blur motion picture I went to a volleyball game and tried to catch the players in active motion. I had to take the pictures many times until I captured the perfect one. There have been many times where I had to adjust my camera due to the lack of lighting, but I got it to work.

Terrell Wallace - Photo by Professor Nordell
Also, when I took another picture on my midterm for the MLK speech (I Have a Dream) I really didn’t know what to say until I read the speech over and then had many ideas. So I just took a picture of my friend balling his fist and raising it in the air while I captured the lighting on his face.

I Have a Dream - Photo by Terrell Wallace
A big thank you to Trevor and Terrell for taking take time to share their thoughtful and illuminating insights.  Professor Nordell on his blog explained how he engaged in the Creative Process to prepare for photographing the game.  Click here for the narrative and images.