Friday, May 6, 2011

Courtney Teed

I was introduced to Courtney Teed first semester during my intro to Photography class with Colby. She was my TA for the class and was often working in the dark room when we were. I talked to her one day and found out she was actually an art major with a photo focus, which I did not know was possible at SMCM. Well I fell in love with the dark room and photography even more and from then on Courtney had set a path for me also. I knew first semester that her SMP was in Photography. I saw many negatives and photos floating through the drying racks of the dark room and saw how amazing her work was. I favored her work more then the other SMP photo student. Her focus is on the unseen. I too have always focused on the unseen. I like taking pictures of landscapes, nature, animals, and objects that most people never get the privaledge to see.
Not only the unseen but the things in everyday life that go unseen, much like behind a grocery store. She does not need to travel to the amazon or Gambia to show us images that many people never see, she just travels to odd places. Most of her photos were taken behind the locally owned grocery store up Route 5. I have seen many of her pictures that are just of simple objects that we see in every day life. Things like screws, bolts, wood, trucks and windows. Yet she takes those things that we quite often pass by and present them in a manner that makes the viewer discover the object like it a whole new thing. She strays off the conventional path to places that no one other then the packers see. She explores the back allies and romote places that the public don't see. She displayed a photo of the broken down wagon behind the store. Form the normal perspective it is just a little old wagon. But from her perspective, from the camera's perspective she showed a whole new view. She got low and showed the hole in the trailer, the grain of the wood and the textures of this antique "trash" in a magnificent manner. Other images in her show are of what seems to be a large gas can that is rusted and scattered with dirt. In real life viewed more as trash and useless, in a black and white photo is shown with so much texture it is unbelievable. She also decided to place this image on two boards and making it into a corner piece which adds even more meaning and character, It was by far my favorite piece in the show.

Another piece showed a bolt and screw in a perspective that the background was out of focus and only the threads of the screw were in focus. The camera's perspective transforms the image to a sight never seen by the eye. Courtney touched on the topic of monocular vision that is provided by the camera lense that cannot be achieved by the eyes. Photography focuses on vantage point alot. Many images are only unique and great are simply by the vantage point of the camera. Courtney and many photographers alter their vantage point to make a photo pop. Get on the ground, lay down, be tall, sideways heck hang upside down, any view other then your normal five foot tall binocular strait on view of the world is unique.
In her presentation she also talked about a few photographers: John Sarkowski being one. I believe he was the photographer that took the image laying down looking at a fire ladder on the edge of a building, or the hole cut in the building over looking a city. Courtney and these men make the familiar seem unfamiliar simply by the use of a camera. Courtney works with 35mm film and the dark room because much like myself she feels that there is more of a connection to each image this way. She talked about how with 36 exposure, you take more time to take each photo. Whereas with a digital camera you just click away and fill up a memory card that can hold thousands of pictures. There is also such a difference in black and white photography then color. It just abstracts every image even more. We see the world in color so anything in color is more normal to us. Black and white seems to be a thing of the past yet is such an antique quality that should never be lost.
Courtney Teed is an amazing photographer and shows us the world often unseen just through the camera lense.

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