Visiting Artists Lecture #7 - Penelope Umbrico
18 April 2013
Before Penelope Umbrico's talk, I had looked up a few of her images online. I was excited because I had been accepted into her workshop and didn't know a lot about her work, so I wanted to hear her describe her practice in more detail. I enjoyed the format of her talk. It seemed casual and comfortable, like she had planned what she wanted to talk about but wasn't following a script. I enjoyed that she showed a lot of pictures throughout her talk to illustrate what she was discussing. However, I kept finding myself returning to a sense of discomfort with her work, and I couldn't figure out why that was. I decided that I really like the idea of her work, and how she is making a statement about how we as a culture make and share photos. However, I think my discomfort stemmed from her process in creating what she creates. In his introduction, Paul Shambroom noted that hers is a process of "collecting images and creating context," and Penelope said that "the subject of my work is photography." I think I had a problem with this because she seems to sell herself as a photographer, when really she is more of a curator or a collector of images, not a creator. I enjoyed her work and her talk, and especially her descriptions of the stories she's telling within her pieces. I just think that she should give more credit to the people creating the images, because they're the ones coming up with the actual imagery in much of her work.