When current MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department student James Pomerantz began classes this fall, he added an unofficial (and self-imposed) assignment to his grad-school workload: blogging about being in the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department. His A Photo Student blog is subtitled The Adventures of James Pomerantz in Photo MFA Land, and that is exactly what he delivers on a regular basis, delving into the experience of learning and honing his craft at SVA.
Pomerantz took a short break from his busy schedule of classes, studio work and blogging to answer a few questions via e-mail.
What made you start the A Photo Student blog?
I started the blog for one main reason: I couldn’t find anything like it when I was considering graduate school. I first had the idea for the blog when I was trying to decide whether or not to apply to MFA programs. Why would I need an MFA? What would I be doing in the two years at school? Which MFA program would be right for me and how would I decide?
I was having a hard time finding information about the various programs other than the usual useless rankings. I was fortunate enough to be able to approach photographers, gallery owners, editors and professors who had experiences with various programs. I was able to meet with some of the alumni, and what they had to say was insightful and very helpful. That was great for me, but what about the prospective student who lives on the other side of the world and only has the Internet as an information source? My hope is that the blog will be an insightful diary of my two years at school so that those debating whether or not to apply to an MFA program will have a better understanding of the process.
What sort of response have you gotten?
The response has been great! Apparently, I wasn’t the only person wandering around without a clue.
Has it started to change the way you think about the work you and your classmates are producing?
After reading a text or seeing some work, it’s a great exercise to try and express the main points in my own words for the blog. But, I wouldn’t say it’s changed the way I think about the work so much as it helps clarify my thoughts. Writing is a critical part of an artist’s career, from writing artist’s statements to grant applications. Working on the blog for two years will hopefully help my written voice just as taking photographs regularly is helping my visual voice.
Images: James Pomerantz, untitled images from the series Agua Sagrada, 2009.