|In 1958, Italo Calvino wrote the profound and prescient short story "L'Avventure di un Fotografo", which translates into English as "The Adventure of a Photographer". The narrative follows protagonist Antonino Paraggi on his various escapades and musings about the nature of photography.|
At first Antonino, a "non-photographer", doesn't see what all the fuss is about. He questions why and how photographic choices are made:
"…Because once you’ve begun," he would preach, "there is no reason why you should stop. The line between the reality that is photographed because it seems beautiful to us and the reality that seems beautiful because it has been photographed is very narrow. If you take a picture of Pierluca because he’s building a sand castle, there is no reason not to take his picture while he’s crying because the castle has collapsed, and then while the nurse consoles him by helping him find a seashell in the sand. The minute you start saying something, ‘Ah, how beautiful! We must photograph it!’ you are already close to the view of the person who thinks that everything that is not photographed is lost, as if it had never existed, and that therefore, in order to really live, you must photograph as much as you can, and to photograph as much as you can you must either live in the most photographable way possible, or else consider photographable every moment of your life. The first course leads to stupidity; the second to madness."
Eventually, Antonino is consumed by the camera and falls into his own obsession with photography. He becomes possessed with finding the perfect way to approach the medium, and tries methods as differing as posed portraiture and appropriation, while continuing to ruminate on photographic practices. Perceptively, Calvino's story foretells of strategies not widely used at the time, and ponders fresh theoretical questions concerning the medium.
Undergraduate photographic education in the United States often embraces all the different possible ways to use the medium of photography. This exhibition brings together student work from four promininent photography departments in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States: Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland; Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (PCA&D) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Tyler School of Art, Temple University (Tyler) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and University off the Arts (UArts), also in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Endless possibility is part of the promise that drives the adventures of these photographers.