1708 Gallery ARTIST TALK // VCU Photo’s John Freyer and Stephanie Benassi

Thursday October 8th, 1708 Gallery will have an artist talk featuring VCU’s Photo Department professor John Freyer and MFA Graduate Stephanie Benassi.

Stephanie’s work, displayed in the show Going Somewhere, is featured along with six other artists.”Through video and performance, sculpture and photography, painting and sound, these artists engage notions of navigation and movement, adaptation and mobility, exploration and transition.” Her work, Global, is a photo archive of gelatin silver prints. The wood samples her photographs feature, found in local shops, are considered “exotic,” being from areas all over the world.


Post Graduate Success: Fionnuala Bradley

Fionnuala [Fin] Bradley is a VCU alum with a BFA in Photography. Her humble beginnings, similar to many college students, included taking jobs in the food industry; and the need for change and a driven attitude led her to drop everything and move to San Francisco. “Leaving VCU, I felt a loss, as well as, a little lost. I no longer had access to facilities and equipment, to a daily routine, to purposeful deadlines and most importantly, a community of like-minded artists.” Rather than dwelling on this loss, Fionnuala took the challenges San Francisco life threw her way. She maintained a day job to afford rent while also working hard to develop connections, specifically with groups in her interest field of youth development in the arts and culture sector. “I interned with the Education Department of the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, mentored youth with a photography program called First Exposures and taught Digital Art to middle schoolers in the After School Program that I now direct.”


Department Chair Sasha Waters-Freyer Podcast feature

Sasha, VCU Photography and Film’s Department Chair, was featured on a the podcast show: Origins & Influences- Episode 10. Hear about her experiences of becoming a filmmaker and how it’s shaped and influenced her life.

“Sasha Waters-Freyer is an experimental and documentary filmmaker. Her work has been screened at the Telluride Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Rotterdam and more. Sasha is also the Chair of Photography and Film at Virginia Commonwealth University and, as she describes it, “the number one public art school in the United States.”  We caught up with Sasha while she was in New York working on her latest project,All Things Are Photographable, a documentary about the legendary photographer Garry Winogrand.  See more of her work and read more about her accomplishments at and check out her photo/film program at



Nir Evron is a Tel Aviv based Israeli artist. Working in film, video and photography, Evron explores the intersections of history and media, time and technology and the relationship between the documenter, the documented and the viewer. Recently Evron had solo exhibitions at LAXART in Los Angeles; the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; The Artists’ House in Jerusalem; Herzeliya Museum of Contemporary Art; among other venues.  His work has been included in group exhibitions at such venues as The New Museum, New York; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem and has been included in many international exhibitions, including the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014); The International Center of Photography Triennial in New York (2013); and the 6th Berlin Biennale (2010). Since 2007, he teaches in the Photography department at The Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Evron will open a new solo show at the Depot Gallery on November 6th, curated by Lauren Ross.

Former VCU Visiting Artist wins MacArthur Fellowship


LaToya Ruby Frazier, former VCU visiting faculty and exhibitor at the VCU Anderson Gallery, has been awarded the MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant. Frazier is a photographer and video artist exploring identities of race, places, and family while combining self-portrait and social narrative.

Her work in the Anderson Gallery, A Haunted Capital, in 2014 combines the decline of her town with a personal history. From Braddock Pennsylvania, Frazier frequently features the landscape and life in the industrial town. In keeping with her exploration of place, and having grown up there, Frazier has a close connection to the area. Frazier is known to take positions both behind and in front of the camera, creating her vision while including herself in her work.


Letter from the Chair


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

I write to share our department highlights of the summer and lots of exciting news – see below for “Save the Date” info for upcoming events and for our extensive list of students, faculty and alumni to celebrate and congratulate for their recent awards and honors!


We are thrilled to announce that our search for a new full-time faculty member was a success!  Boston-born, Geneva-based artist Mark Boulos will join us in August of 2016, following his year long Rome Prize Fellowshipat the American Academy in Rome.   Mark’s solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 2012 described his documentary video installations as “Drawn to the extreme states of political militancy and religious ecstasy.”  In Mark’s own view, his works “oscillate between fiction and non-fiction, or between mythology and history.”  In the 2015-16 year, we are thrilled to announce as Affiliated Visiting Faculty New York artists William Lamson, IraEduardovna and Beth Campbell, and Tel Aviv photo and video artist NirEvron.

Our successful VCU Film Camp for middle schoolers in June made it possible for us to purchase four pocket Black Magic Cinema cameras, now available in Equipment checkout. Other new additions include a Lumix 14mm pancake lens, a new portable flag kit, three more video projectors and four flash meters for studio lighting.  We are also transitioning to a swipe-card system for 24/7 lab entry!!! NO more keys from the police station (and no more propping open of doors after hours, please).


New Dominion: featuring Photo Film’s John Freyer


Mixed Greens presents New Dominion, a selection of artists living and working in Richmond, Virginia.

“With a subtle nod to Richmond’s history and its present, the exhibition presents works that touch on tensions between the past and the future, independence and loyalty, individuality and community. Many of the works embrace a sense of reinvention, self-determina- tion, ownership, and agency. Many contain a dose of something specific to Richmond.”

John Freyer presents a work from his ongoing series Free Ice Water, in which he guides conversation between participants over Mason jars filled with water, drawing on the cultures of both Relational Aesthetics and substance abuse recovery.”


1708 New assistant director!


A big shout out to Janelle Proulx (MFA 2014) for her new full-time position as the Assistant Director of Richmond’s beloved 1708 Gallery.

“I’ve been working at 1708 for a year now as a part-time Gallery Coordinator, but I’m excited to be playing a bigger role in 1708’s mission of presenting exceptional new art as the Assistant Director. It’s an honor to get to work at 1708 with its great reputation and positive presence in the community – something I hope I can make more widely known through video and photo.”


Congratulations Janelle!

September 10th see Art as a Language

Chair of our Photography & Film department, Sasha Waters Freyer, will be a panelist on the Chrysalis Institute‘s conversation: Art as a Language.  Moderator Lisa Freiman, inaugural Director of VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art, leads a panel of dancers, writers, painters and musicians as they explore and exhibit how their medium speaks to the world and how artists can interpret the same theme or concept in different ways.

Sasha will discuss her experience making non-fiction films about outsiders, misfits, and everyday radicals.  Trained in photography and the documentary tradition, she fuses original and found footage in 16mm film and video.  Most recently, she has crafted lyrical explorations of motherhood, documentaries of her youth, and essay films on the cultural and political legacies of the late 20th century.


Buy your ticket online here for September 10th 7-9 pm at Centerstage Richmond.