Current Elements

Current Elements was a pop up satellite art fair put on by Photo + Film graduate students from VCU and afar over this past weekend on Oct 22nd. The show was an extension of Richmond’s first contemporary art fair, Current. The show was held inside and around a U-haul truck and focused on ephemeral experimental works. Current Elements presented unmarketable work in a non traditional way.



Congratulations Paul Thulin!

Many congratulations to VCU Photo + Film’s Paul Thulin for winning the Renaissance Photography Prize for 2016! The Renaissance Photography Prize is an international award that showcases outstanding works by both emerging and established artists, while raising funds to support young women with breast cancer. Thulin’s work, Pine Tree Ballads won for the best series and was exhibited in London, England at the Getty Images Gallery from September 6th to September 17th.

Pine Tree Ballads is a poetic vision of land, family, and time. Thulin drew inspiration for this work through his family history, taking a specific interest in where his great grandfather settled on the coast of Maine in the 1900s. The series speaks to a subtext of struggle and hope that mirrors Thulin’s narrative sense of self and heritage. Thulin explores his family identity through this unique memoir.



Shockoe Artspace is thrilled to invite you to the opening of LAKE ELSTER, a large-scale exhibition of new and recent work from artist Will Connally. Come explore the long and mysterious history of Lake Elster through a collection of narrative photographs and correspondent objects. Connally’s work compellingly brings together, by way of narrative, curious happenings and interesting characters as life surrounding Lake Elster moves us between fiction and the real, dispersing strange visual phenomena throughout.

Come out next week and support!

Shockoe Artspace is located on,

12n 19th street Richmond, VA 23223

Stay: A Survey of Horses Think Press

Justin James Reed and Ofer Wolberger’s small independent press had it’s first survey exhibition on September 7th! The opening of the exhibition was marked with a panel discussion featuring Ofer Wolberger, Common Name, a design firm from NYC, and the curator Christopher Gianunzio. The exhibition presents a complete inventory of their publications, print ephemera, research materials, and artist’s projects. 

The exhibition is on through December 11th! Go see it!

Stay: A Survey of Horses Think Press

The College of New Jersey Art Gallery

2000 Pennington Road

Ewing, NJ 08628

September 7 – December 11, 2016


September 15th through the 18th Justin James Reed and Ofer Wolberger unvieled their new imprint, Flat Fix, at the NYABF in Queens, NY (MoMA PS1).


Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair


September 15 – 18, 2016

While We Were Gone –

We are catching up some of our news. Here are some things that happened while we were gone!

Summer Study Abroad: Berlin Program

Our first study abroad program was a smashing success! This program will be carrying over into next year, Summer 2017. Don’t miss it! This 4 week program is led by Matthew Warren. Berlin: Studio & City is a 6 credit course that immerses students into the diverse contemporary art community of the vibrant city of Berlin. Students split their time exploring their own independently driven artistic goals in the studio and exploring the city’s various museums,  art galleries, and professional art spaces. Stay tuned for future announcements on how to apply for 2017!

Summer Studio: Richmond

Another first for the department is the Summer Studio course here in Richmond. This course was for post-baccalaureate degree holders to refine their practices and portfolios. During this intense 4 week course, led by Justin James Reed, 8 SSP students engaged with artists, critics, curators and gallerists from the region and beyond. Our SSP students – from from Boston, Iowa, Brooklyn and Kentucky among other places – presented Guest Privileges, a show of new works created during the program at the VCUarts’ Depot Gallery. The show included photography, film, and multimedia works. Since then, two SSP artists Lara Mossler and Leticia Bernaus have begun collaborating and Lara’s SSP project was written about in Vice Magazine!


John Freyer’s Fifty/Fifty at 1708 Gallery

We are catching up some of our news. Here are some things that happened while we were gone!


John Freyer’s social practice artwork Fifty/Fifty was exhibited in 1708 Gallery this past June. From the 13th to the 26th Freyer used 1708 Gallery as a storefront in which the community of Richmond was invited in for either a 5 cent coffee or a free glass of ice water. He engages accidental audiences, some of which who appreciate the gesture but simply walk on passed, and others who become much more inquisitive. “Why?” they ask. “Why is this here?” “Who is doing this?” “For what reason?” In this work Freyer focused on addiction and substance abuse. Through Fifty/Fifty and his ongoing project Free Ice Water, Freyer aims to stimulate conversation around addiction – focused on individual origins, social and political conditions, and it’s impact and manifestations.


Department News


Dear students, parents, teachers, alumni and friends VCU’s Department of Photography + Film,

I write to share highlights of the Spring 2016 semester and to wish the very best to all our graduating seniors who will cross the stage this Saturday.  Please read on and help us celebrate the many accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni!


We are thrilled to welcome eight students as the first cohort of our post-baccalaureate Summer Studio Program from mid-May to mid-June, 2016.  The Summer Studio is a 4-week artistic residency, ideal for artists developing a portfolio for graduate school and those interested in an immersive, hands on studio arts experience.  If you are interested in learning more or wish to share with a friend for next summer, the website is here

This past spring, our graduate MFA students worked closely with our affiliated faculty, Brooklyn-based video artist Ira Eduardovna and sculptor Beth Campbell. We also hosted Mary Virginia Swanson, a long-time photo educator, workshop leader, author and consultant to photographers and the new executive director of LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph; filmmaker Jem Cohen and his beautiful film The Counting; Hawaii-born, Brooklyn-based contemporary photographic artist Letha Wilson and Margot Norton, Associate Curator at the New Museum in New York.

One of the most exciting, anticipated events of the spring semester for the undergraduates is the Anderson Juried Show, which featured works by 18 Photography + Film majors, including Jessica Aicholtz and Devin Hein, who received, respectively, the Award of Distinction and the Jumping Fences Award from juror Toby Kamps, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection in Houston.  This spring the department awarded five Senior Project grants totaling $1500 to Erika Bizousky,  Hannah Chertock, James Quinlan and Lexi Wilson for projects ranging from bookmaking and photographic sculpture to VR research and surrealist film.  Junior Kimin Kim was awarded the VCUarts Dean’s Scholarship in Photography + Film for the 2016-17 academic year.


Alyssa C. Salomon featured in The Valentine

Professor Alyssa C. Salomon’s photo series, A Chicken in Every Plot, is currently being shown at The Valentine. In an article written by the Richmond Times Dispatch, Salomon explains that her work,  “explores the recent resurgence in the backyard chicken movement, a trend that has been on the rise in Richmond, and across the country, over the past few years.”

Her series stems from her curiosity of the backyard chicken population of Richmond and how they’re existence may impact those around them and their environment. Various egg inspired pieces will also be featured with the exhibit, from egg dishes to chicken coop art.


PhotoBook Showcase at Candela featuring Justin Reed


Candela Books + Gallery is currently hosting an Indie Photobook Showcase with work from self-published small press photography books.

“The purpose of the exhibition is to highlight the range of ways independently published photography books are being produced today. As a publisher, Candela is committed to the quality and design of the printed medium. We believe the photographic books on view have an intimate relationship with each photographer’s work and make a remarkable contribution to their legacy. ”

Photography professor in the VCU Photo/Film department Justin Reed is one of the eleven artists featured in this collection. The show will be up until June 18th, 2016.

MFA Alex Matzke featured in ‘Public/Private/Portrait’ Book

MFA Alex Matzke has recently been featured in an article by Humble Arts Foundation with an image from her thesis photography series. The article highlighted one of her images, which will be presented in the book, Public/Private/Portrait. The book is a creation from Romke Hoogwaerts in collaboration with Charlotte Cotton and the International Center of Photography. The title of the book is suggesting of the blurred lines between each subject in the world of photography.

Hoogwaerts comments on the works selected for the book: “Some [artists] are directly invoking the approach in their work, others are commenting on this strange state of constructing one’s own social identity — which is important as virtually everyone in the developed world is implicated in the act when they participate in social media.”

Matzke writes about her thesis show and photography series on her website: “With my photographs from this series I reflect on my experience growing up with military propaganda—pictures of cheerful white women in pearls as part of my rural middle American landscape. I do not name the oppressor because I am not here to pick at the thorns, but to get to the root of the oppression. These are some of the servicewomen I’ve met. Their stories parallel but cannot encompass the private experiences of all service women. I am grateful for their generosity; without them there would be no pictures.”

For the full article, visit the Humble Arts Foundation site. For more of Alex’s work visit her website.