Philly or Bust…

In March, I’m planning to attend the 47th SPE (Society for Photographic Education) National Conference in Philadelphia, PA. SPE is a non-profit membership organization that provides a forum for the discussion of photography-related media as a means of creative expression and cultural insight. The main focus of the conference is “Facing Diversity: Leveling the Playing Field in the Photographic Arts,” it will examine how photographers of diverse backgrounds participate in the art world today and how these artists are being received. The conference will look at inclusively, diversity within diversity, and the various perspectives on the changing cultural dynamics of this country. It strives to bring together curious minds in celebration of the achievements by artists of all backgrounds.

The conference program will:
• Discuss what diversity means within the framework of photography
• Examine how artists have expressed themselves on the topics of race, culture, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, sexual preference, and age
• Identify how these issues are being discussed in the art world and in the classroom today
• Investigate the vocabulary required to discuss diversity in the arts today

SPE is partnering with En Foco to bring together photographic educators, artists, and scholars from around the nation to address issues of diversity within the field of photography. En Foco is a non-profit photography organization dedicated to nurturing and supporting photographers of diverse cultures, primarily those of Latino, African and Asian heritage, and Native Peoples of the Americas and Pacific. This event is extremely dear to my heart, so I’m determined to go at any cost (even if I do go broke :/). Today, I am competing in a field particularly dominated by the majority, so being Native American and a woman I have to work 10x harder to accomplish my goals.

One of the featured speakers is Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie and Veronica Passalacqua. Hulleah is a Native American photographic educator and artist in residence at the University of California Davis. Veronica is the curator at the C.N. Gorman Museum at the University of California, Davis. Hulleah will be speaking about her perspective of the concept of visual sovereignty while Veronica will examine how visual sovereignty is employed in the structure of the conference and exhibition as well as within artists’ works. I’m so excited to hear each one speak, especially Hulleah, she too is Navajo, a woman, and an imagemaker.  I want to get the chance to ask her some questions about her work and etc.

And importantly, I’m submitting my portfolio into the Student Portfolio Critique, where I will receive two twenty-minute sessions with a professional portfolio reviewer of my choice. There are 5+ pages of professional reviewers looking at both student work and professional work. These reviewers range from university professors, established artists, gallery owners, curators, editors, non–profit organizations, publishers and more. I want to hear everything they have to say about my work, good or bad, this is going to be the most important forty minutes of my life! It’s important for me to network with as many people as possible, the more people I talk to the the greater my chances are to get my work seen.

So I will be using my blog as a way to get me there. I will exchange some of my work for donations to raise funds to pay for my room and board, airfare,  food, and photography supplies (meaning paper for my portfolio and printing ink). I looked at all the costs and figured it would cost me about $800 to go, as of now I was able to raise $100, but I still need to come up with several hundred dollars on my own. So, any donations would be GREAT APPRECIATED!