New Waves 2016 featuring VCU photo/film

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Moca, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, has selected from 282 candidates the artists to be featured in their 2016 show, New Waves.

Of the 27 that will be shown, two are from VCU Photography and Film’s department: Department Chair Sasha Waters Fryere and MFA alumni Alex Artz.

still from Sasha's 'Our Summer Made Her Light Escape', 16mm film, 2012

Still from Sasha’s ‘Our Summer Made Her Light Escape’, 16mm film, 2012


VCU Photo students awarded Philip Beaurline Scholarship

Two VCU students, Hannah Chertock and Olivia Walthall, have been awarded the Philip Beaurline Student Scholarship from the central Virginia chapter of the ASMP.

Hannah Chertock is a fine art photographer based in MD/VA finishing her BFA in Photography at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Currently, she is leading the senior photo class exhibition to be up May 2016.  Her work has been featured at Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington, Maryland, The Anderson Gallery in Richmond, Virginia and literary arts journals such as Medical Literary Messenger and The Tulane Review.  She just received a scholarship from the American Society of Media Photographers to pursue her personal work about invisible pain.  Chertock’s work aims to heighten viewers awareness and experience of their bodies by showing disembodied limbs and objects made to look like the internal space of the body.



Photo professor featured in Book Arts Show


Photography professor, Justin James Reed, is currently being featured in the New York show, Revealed Terrain: The Semantics of Landscape.

The show is being put on by The Center for Book Arts, a group “dedicated to exploring and cultivating contemporary aesthetic interpretations of the book as an art object, while preserving the traditional practices of the art of the book.” This is done through exhibitions, classes, presentations, publications, collections, and many more opportunities for individual artists and writers.

The show is an exciting exploration of landscape and the various ways to manipulate and represent it through the artistry of bookmaking. “Revealed Terrain: The Semantics of Landscape illuminates trans-disciplinary thought—structure and content; decontextualized pure typography; printing; bookbinding; the multiple; and two‐ and three‐dimensional experimental design—as an experimental map for exploration.”

Justin is one of twenty-one amazing artists selected into the exhibit. The show will be up from now until April 2nd, 2016. For more information on the show, please visit this site.

Sarah Kaufman, Devil’s Pool

Our 2008 MFA Photo/film alumni Sarah K. Kaufman has a photography exhibition in The Carolyn and Howard Alber Gallery through Febuary 5th, 2016 called Devil’s Pool.

Devil’s Pool stems from my love for Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Park and the respite it provides,” says Kaufman in an interview with the Huffington Post. “People from all over are drawn to its urban swimming hole as a place to play and revel in physicality and nature.”


Archival pigment print from medium format film, Edition of 5, 21″ x 43″


Photo Seniors Noise Fundraising Show

The VCU Photography seniors are fundraising for their show in May 2016.  They had recent success in their fundraising effort on December 8th with a one night show, ‘Noise’ at the Depot Gallery. The show featured original senior work, live acoustic music, homemade tortilla soup, photo books and small print displays as well as a holiday themed photo-booth.  The photography seniors collaborated on what became an extremely successful event, and also gave a promising sneak peak at the hard work to come with their show in May.


Photo Film’s very own Paul Thulin is part of a three-person exhibition of photography and video art in New Orleans. The show, ‘Genius Loci,’ is hosted by the University of New Orleans’ UNO-St. Claude Gallery as part of the cities annual photography festival: PhotoNOLA.

“In the exhibition, which opens Saturday, Dec. 12, Dolezal, Shipley, and Thulin explore storytelling traditions of the rural woodlands of America. By weaving traditional photographic sequencing, vernacular imagery, fictional literature and historical record, “Genius Loci” constructs a mythical atmosphere of shared imagination, leading the audience through a captivating landscape rooted in the American storytelling tradition.”

The show runs Dec. 12 to Jan. 3, but will be closed Dec. 26-27. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“Paul Thulin lives in Richmond, Va., where he is graduate director of photography and film at the Virgina Commonwealth University. He uses analog photography, digital montage, appropriation and other materials to explore the contextual and material constructs of history, cultural identity, memory and myth. His photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally and his work has been honored with a number of awards, including a 2013 Conveyor Magazine Exhibition Grant, 2015 Hariban Award Honorable Mention, and the 2015 Lensculture Emerging Talent Grant. Most recently, his series Pine Tree Ballads was one of ten emerging talent portfolios selected for GUP magazine’s (NLD) tenth anniversary issue.”

The full article can be found here. For more information about the show, visit UNO-St. Claude gallery online and Or contact Kathy Rodriguez at, or call the gallery during open hours at 504-948-6939.

Students in winning undergrad grant teams

Four POWER LADIES OF Photo+Film working on two different projects
were awarded VCUarts Undergraduate Research Grants!!!!

The Drag Lab

The Drag Lab is a collaborative project extending from Participating Body, a student group formed and named after Hope Ginsburg’s socially-engaged art course. With an initial focus on androgyny, fashion, identity, and cooperative art-making, the project seeks to communicate developments in gender performance through the lens of visual art. As a cooperative group, they exchange and build skills necessary to create wardrobes, prepare performances and alter environments. The Drag Lab now aims to expand the project’s parameter to a larger arena for visual self-expression that is open to community participation, as well as developing interdisciplinary practices invested in the concept of identity and gender performance.

Award: $2,679

Team Members:

Zachary Stahl – Painting & Printmaking

Jessica Carey – Photography & Film

Helen Westergren – Sculpture and Photography & Film

Ryan Schultz – Communication Arts

Miranda Wagner – Sculpture

Chase Keech – Computer Science

Connor Shumaker – Craft/Material Studies

Kate Duggan – Painting & Printmaking

Rhiannon Pyle – Art Education and Sculpture

Faculty Mentors:

Hope Ginsburg – Art Foundation

Sonali Gulati – Photography & Film

Stand Up/Break Down

In a spiraling quarter-life crisis, a young woman decides to reinvent herself as a stand up comedian. The problem: no one thinks she’s funny. ”Louie” meets “Broad City” in this original web series that explores the relationship between comedy, depression, and the occasionally hilarious struggle to find your own voice. Episodic narration has entered into a golden age with increased opportunities for artists to create their own work and stream it almost anywhere. By applying literary analysis to successful models of complex episodic narration, this team hopes to produce a fresh perspective on the growing pains that inevitably accompany following your dreams.

Award: $2,760

Team Members:

Shelby Marie Smith – Theatre (Performance)

Erika Bizousky – Photography & Film

Maudeleora Kaufman – Theatre (Performance)

Shannon Roulet – Photography & Film

Faculty Mentor:

Bostin Christopher – Theatre


Letter from the chair: December 2015 newsletter


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

OPEN NIGHT is this FRIDAY, December 11th from 5-8pm!  The Department of Photography + Film and the Design Departments of Pollak invite you enjoy total sensory immersion in the works of our BFA and MFA students throughout the building, located at 325 N. Harrison Street. Please keep read on and help us celebrate the many accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni!


In January, we will begin accepting applications for the first-ever Summer Studio Program in Photography, Film + New Media.  The Summer Studio is a 4-week artistic residency / post-baccalaureate experience, ideal for artists developing a portfolio for graduate school applications and those interested in an immersive, hands on studio arts experience.  The lead instructor for 2016 Summer Studio is our beloved faculty, Justin James Reed. Please see our website for a full list of visiting and associated faculty.

This fall, our graduate MFA students worked closely with our affiliated faculty, acclaimed photographerWilliam Lamson, and our Visiting Artist-in-Residence, Nir Evron, whose semester here was made possible with the support of the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art and VCU Global Education.  We also hosted filmmakerRoger Beebe with help from the fine folks at Candela Books + Gallery, and photographer Christian Patterson, as well as multimedia artist Daphne Fitzpatrick (co-sponsored with Sculpture).  Nancy Buirski, Producer of the upcoming feature film Loving, visited the Film Senior Thesis class, along with Loving dialect coach, Samara Bay, on the day the film wrapped production in Richmond.

I am pleased to announce the members of our department-wide Student Advisory CouncilDrew ScottJessica Taylor, Alex Coyle, Alyssa Michener, Jessica Carey and Liesa Collins.  These students were nominated to represent their class and major based on their community engagement, communication skills and leadership potential, and I look forward to continuing my conversation with them in the spring.

Our popular VCUarts Film Camp for rising 6th-8th graders will run June 13-24, 2016.  For all those creative middle-schoolers in your life, registration forms will be available on our website in mid-January 2016.



MFA: Roxana Azar

Photography MFA Roxana Azar was recently featured on design site It’s Nice That.

“Roxana Azar’s ongoing series of photographs, Cluster/Eclipse utilizes over-exposure and digital errors to create strange landscapes and abstract patterns in and around nature. The images are vibrant and transfixing in their illogical renders of life, and Roxana’s use of both recent photographs and those from her childhood illustrate the changes in tone and quality that develop and degrade with her life.”

Find the rest of the article and more of Roxana’s images on the website!