MacPics exhibits collaborative work in Minneapolis

By Tatiana Craine

On Apr. 9, an opening-event celebrating the collaboration between MacPics (Macalester’s photography club) and YouthCARE (Youth for Cultural, Appreciation & Racial Equality) will take place at the Hennes Art Company in Minneapolis. The two groups worked together as part for the Camp CAMERA project, giving a chance to high school students to hone their photography skills and explore new perspective through art. The exhibit runs through Apr. 30. The Mac Weekly had the opportunity to chat with Leah Krieble ’12 and Lauryn Gutierrez ’12 of MacPics about their experiences with YouthCARE and their future in photography. The Mac Weekly: What kind of experiences did you have with the YouthCare members? Has this left a meaningful impact on your own outlook on the link between photography and life? Leah Krieble: I personally have been working with YouthCARE since I was a sophomore (in 2008) in a variety of positions. Because of its profound impact on me and my time in Minnesota, I feel privileged that I received a grant to run the Camp CAMERA Program as a collaborative program bridging the Macalester and YouthCARE communities. I am inspired by the strength, honesty and fun that I have found both in myself and others through my time working with the staff and youth at YouthCARE, and it is in part because of my involvement in this organization that I hope to continue working in the youth development field after graduation. TMW: Has this in any way shaped the way you look through a camera? LK: As I am the Program Coordinator/Director of the Camp CAMERA Project, my role is more to organize and create opportunities for the high school and college students to learn from each other about life, photography and self-expression. TMW: What kind of work did you do with YouthCARE for this event? How long have you been collaborating with them? LK: I have been working with YouthCARE since I was 19, which makes about three years upon graduation this May. After receiving the Action Fund Grant in the fall, I have worked closely with a team from YouthCARE and a crew from MacPics to make this photography program and gallery opening night possible. I am very grateful to everyone’s hard work, as this program is a clear example of how commitment and dedication can allow for wonderful collaboration. The planning of the budget began in the fall and since then we have been working closely to have a weekly photography program. TMW: What kind of work do the YouthCARE kids turn in? Have you found they’ve progressed over the time you’ve worked with them? What kind of subject matter have they turned in? LK: Students from YouthCARE are at all very different levels in their photographic knowledge but what they all share in common is a desire to learn, try new things and be positive and supportive of each other in their work. There is a variety of work that will be displayed in the show ranging from portraits to landscapes to still life. TMW: What kind of cameras did you use with YouthCARE? Did all the students get their own camera? LK: We used a variety of different cameras throughout the program both to experiment and to see the diversity within photography itself-film cameras, point-and-shoot digital cameras, SLR digital cameras, and Polaroid cameras. The YouthCARE students were able to each have their own digital cameras for a week to take the information they had learned and discussed throughout the program and apply it to their own photography. TMW: What would you tell someone who doesn’t know anything about Camp CAMERA? LK: It’s a fun program where students from high school and college come together once a week to teach and learn from each other about photography. TMW: Do you see this being an annual collaboration/event? LK: Currently, MacPics has submitted a budget to make this an annual program; however, we are waiting to hear back from MCSG for approval. Both MacPics’ members and the Director of YouthLEAD, the year-long program within the organization of YouthCARE, have expressed interest in continuing this partnership. If the budget is approved, in future years, we hope to have the students from YouthCARE who have participated this year in the Camp CAMERA Project come back and be the mentors for the younger students. TMW: How long has MacPics been around? Lauryn Gutierrez: We re-chartered the organization in the fall of our junior year, which was 2009. The club did previously exist; however, it ceased to be an active organization in 2008 when the former leaders graduated, and no one took their place to continue the organization. TMW: Who can join MacPics? Do you need your own camera? LG: Any Macalester student can join MacPics! You do not need to have your own camera, as currently we have three cameras that have been donated to our organization for club use-one is film and two are digital! We do both digital and film photography. Digital is more common as people are often short on time during the school year and have a hard time getting into the darkroom to develop and print, however we strongly encourage film photography and are excited to teach people how to use the darkroom. TMW: What kind of work do people turn in to Mac Pics? LG: We have photography critiques every few weeks at meetings, and usually that work is fairly recent; however, many students present photos from their travels abroad or from home. TMW: Any favorite photographers / photographs / pieces to look to for inspiration for your artwork? LK: Wing Young Huie. Peter Lik. LG: Wing Young Huie, a native Minnesota photographer famous for his Lake Street project in Minneapolis, has definitely influenced our work in Camp CAMERA. We frequently tie back discussions and activities during Camp CAMERA to what we learned and discussed in our initial meeting with him in which we discussed ways to approach photography as a way to capture your community in a positive light. TMW: Do you want to pursue photography on a professional level in the future? LG: For me personally, I will always be taking photographs. As much as I would love it to be a profession, for now I’m content doing free, free-lance work! LK: While I don’t have much formal training in photography itself and don’t plan to pursue it as a profession, taking photographs is something I will always enjoy, as it is a lens through which to see and capture your own view of the world-which for me is both inspiring and exciting. I am grateful to see the interest, passion and commitment of the MacPics’ members as I have learned a lot from all of them as well. CampCAMERA’s Opening Celebration is Friday, Apr. 9 from 6-9 p.m. The exhibition at the Hennes Art Company (1670 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis) runs through Saturday, Apr. 30.