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A Guest Photographer at Watkins?

January 15, 2009

Dare I say. Without much ado, the day has come and gone. Yesterday, photographer Jock Sturges was invited to speak at Watkins College of Art, design & Film. Jock Sturges is an internationally known photographer that has garnered much controversy throughout his career. His work consists of photographs of nude preadolescent and adolescent boys and girls taken in naturist communities in France and Northern California. What? I had to read the Watkins press release again. Is this the same Watkins? Is this the same Watkins that failed to renew professor Terry Glispin’s contract over the mentoring/advising of students Elvan Penny and Scott Phelps in the making of “Fearful Symmetry”, a video depicting juxtaposed video clips from hostage situations in Iraq with audio snippets from television and radio ads. It ended with essentially unaltered footage of the beheading of American engineer Eugene “Jack” Armstrong. It was not an easy film to watch, and it garnered much criticism from the outside public. So much so, that college president Jim Brooks removed the video from public view. This outraged much of the artistic community. How dare a fine art institution censor the work of its students, or censor any creative voice for that matter. Granted, the video may not have been the majorities cup of tea, but the work deserved an audience. The same is true for Sturges’ photographs. Even though his imagery may not fit into everyones artistic ideal does not mean it should be censored away.

Even though I am not a fan of Sturges’ work, I will give Kudos to Watkins for taking the risk. They need to do more of this in the future…. Oh, and Kudos to the greater Nashville public for not raising their pitchforks and torches. The local art scene has a glimmer of hope…

penn

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From → News/Rants

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