It is one thing to take a photograph. It is another to create a portrait. “Give Me Your Portrait,” an exhibition of Stephanie Swindle’s photography, curated by Nicole Cingolani, will be on view in the Borland Project Space, Monday, May 8 – Wednesday, May 24. In this exhibition, the process of making a portrait addresses the interactive dialogue between the photographer and the sitter. Stephanie Swindle ('10, M.A., Art History), public relations specialist for the College of Arts and Architecture, and Nicole Cingolani ('02, B.S., Biology, Penn State Behrend; '10, M.A. Anthropology, University Park), IT Consultant, will display a group of portraits “given” to Swindle by sitters from within the college in her role as photographer. There will also be portraits from her personal experiences in Italy, Greece, and her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.
“I want to lead the conversation of photography away from lighting, gear, and counting to three. All of those things are important, but there is so much more that has to happen between a photographer and sitter, in order to end up with a great portrait. That is why I am emphasizing ‘giving’ rather than ‘taking’ a picture,” explains Swindle.
In conjunction with her exhibition, Swindle will spend weekdays (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) during the first and last week of her residency in the Borland Project Space offering complimentary portraits to interested visitors. The exhibition is sponsored by the College of Arts and Architecture Staff Council and begins during Staff Appreciation Week.
“The work on view examines the relationships between subject and photographer, highlighting the disparities in the openness and expression of the ‘giver’ along a continuum of varying familiarity with the ‘taker,’” said Cingolani. “Swindle’s talents lie in her ability to establish authentic connections that transform otherwise everyday portraits into depictions of extraordinary vulnerability in a beautiful and raw fashion.”
As part of the College’s Staff Retreat activities, Swindle will lead a workshop titled “Taking Better Pictures: The Art of the Selfie and Cell Phone Camera Tricks” on Thursday, May 11, 9:30–10:30 am.
There will also be an interactive photography dialogue, “Giving a Portrait,” in the Borland Project Space on Tuesday, May 23, 12–1 p.m. This dialogue will bring participants together to learn the art of taking portraits through the process of storytelling and interaction.
No experience is necessary to attend and participate in the events. Guests are encouraged to bring either a digital camera, or preferably a cell phone, tablet, or any other instant-picture-taking device.
The closing reception, which is open to the public, will take place on Tuesday, May 23 at 3 p.m. in the Borland Project Space.
“My goal in making portraits is to get the sitters to recognize themselves in the photographs. That’s why I always click on two,” admits Swindle. “By three, no one looks like themselves.”
For more information about “Give Me Your Portrait,” visit the Borland Project Space website: http://borlandprojectspace.psu.edu/