Student Photographers: Elif Korkmaz '14 and Sam Lamy '14
November 7 to December 13, 2013
Photography by Taft seniors Sam Lamy and Elif Korkmaz will be featured in the Mark Potter ’48 Gallery from November 7 through December 13. Join us as we celebrate the show’s opening Thursday, November 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Gallery.
Last year Sam Lamy spent nine months living in Italy. What struck her most was the way the country’s history was so vividly reflected in its art, architecture, artwork and culture. Her gallery show, “The Permanence of Italy,” transforms those reflections to photographic images that, Sam says, “communicate the permanent essence of Italy: the ancient churches, the men carrying la Macchina di Santa Rosa, the Pope’s Sunday sermons and the well-preserved paintings of the Virgin Mary and her child.”
As a 16-year old Turkish student, Elif Korkmaz had never seen a 35mm before arriving at Taft. Her journey from student to street artist to powerful photographer has been marked by personal growth, realization, and self-reflection.
“After spending a summer in London attending a street photography course, I started to see that photography was a way to discover the world around me...
I came to the realization that I was interested in issues and ideas, not just aesthetics… As I discovered how to use photography as a medium of my inner reflection, I began shooting portraits of familiar people in order to reflect their influence on me.”
Elif’s show, “The Women in My Life”, is a culmination of that reflection.
The Mark Potter '48 Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Permanence of Italy
If I could fit my journey abroad onto one piece of paper for you, I would. However, trying to fit my experiences in Italy onto even 100 pages seems impossible. They say a picture has a thousand words so, rather than telling you my story, I will try to show you. Last year I spent nine months in Italy, living with a host family in the small city of Viterbo. I attended an American school of 67 students (including me): 53 girls and 14 boys. I departed from America on August 30th, 2012 knowing only a few words of Italian. I felt confident that I knew how to say, “How are you?” and “good” in Italian however when I meet my family for the first time they said, “Come stai, bella?” and I responded “bien” which, for those of you who don’t know, “bien” is, in fact, Spanish. I definitely had my work cut out for me. Now I consider Viterbo my home. I know every street, every shop, and almost all of the employees in these shops.
During my time abroad, I began to realize that when I stepped off of that plane I was not only immersing myself in a new country but also a different time period. The architecture, artwork, and even the traditions and styles of life that Italians lead have been preserved through the centuries past. The photos that I have chosen to display are ones that I believe best communicate the permanent essence of Italy: the ancient churches, the men carrying la Macchina di Santa Rosa, the pope’s Sunday sermons and the well-preserved paintings of the Virgin Mary and her child. Even the traditions of marriage reflect that essence.
The Women in My Life
As a sixteen year old Turkish girl who had never seen a 35 mm camera before coming to Taft, nobody expected me to become a photographer. Photo I managed to be the most challenging class I took last year, but the joy I received from photography motivated me to work harder and fit a photography class to my schedule every semester. After spending a summer in London attending a street photography course in Central St. Martins College of Art, which was made possible through a Kilbourne Grant, I started to see that photography was a way to discover the world around me. As a street photographer trying to photograph like Martin Parr, Alex Webb or Philip-Lorca diCorsia, I tried almost every technique and equipment that were available to me until I found what I enjoyed the most: medium format black and white film.
As I am growing up, my perspective as a photographer is changing, too. During my Independent Tutorial in photography, I came to the realization that I was interested in issues and ideas, not just aesthetics. I have gradually switched from street photography to portraiture. I started by photographing random strangers on the streets of New York. As I discovered how to use photography as a medium of my inner reflection, I began shooting portraits of familiar people in order to reflect their influence on me. Louise, the housekeeper of McIntosh House dormitory at Taft, was my first subject. My first impression of her was as a woman with a very strong character. As I got to know her better, I was fascinated by her strength and passion for living, despite the many hardships she has endured throughout her life and the recent loss of her beloved husband. After working with Louise, I decided to expand this project to reflect the community of strong women in my family; they have contributed to my development as a female photographer. I photographed my grandmother, my mother, our maid, the cleaning lady who comes to our house since I was two years old, the theater women who reproduced the Hamlet in the mountains of Turkey despite not having received any formal education, and my sister who is soon to be a young woman. Working on this project helped me get to know these people on a much different level, but it also shaped and unfolded my own story.
I would like to thank Ms. Chickadaunce and Mr. Yin who have continuously supported my efforts to share project with the Taft community and made this exhibition possible.
The photographs are taken by Hasselblad CM-500 and Leica R4 on black and white film.