Second Summer / by Hannah Harley

I've been signing up for summer classes since 2010, so when I found out that the Parsons MFA Photo revs up to an intensive session during the summer, I was thrilled. It's a pedal to the metal, stress filled few months, but damn is it prolific. 

With critiques twice a week, we're constantly being push to produce more work and to experiment outside of our comfort zones. We're researching like crazy, printing every other day, and pushing ourselves to the brink of seven coffees a day. But when you look back at the end, what an insanely rewarding time. 

I don't need to tell you that grad school is hard, but can I tell you how much fun it is??? Cause it's a blast. Floating in and out of my friends' studios, collaborating with them, talking art for 12 hours a day. We're loading up on theory and going to artist talks, we're filling up our studio spaces with endless work prints, trying to figure out how we want to say whatever it is we want to say. It's a stark contrast to last summer for me.. (See the blog post about my "dramatic failure" from last summer here.) 

The real difference is friendship and community. Having friends to work with and to bounce ideas off of and to complain about coffee prices with... It's invaluable. Working with such talented and lovely people has expanded my passion for photography beyond what I thought I was capable of. 

Today, I want to introduce my newest series - Statecraft. It's an exploration of the visual language of politics, the policing of women's appearance, and the correlation between visual presentation and politics. It's also a case study of potential public personas I could embody should I choose a life in politics

 See more images from this body of work  here . 

See more images from this body of work here

The jpegs on your screen isn't the final rendition of this work. I'm creating a mixed media interactive installation of Statecraft for Open Studios, which will be taking place July 21st from 6 - 8 at 25 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003. It's a been fun to incorporate the audience more with the work and to plan for their various interactions. And I'm giving away little gifts to the viewers! So stop on by if you're in the area! 

(I also want to recognize the privilege I have in making this work. I fit society's ideal mold of female politician: white, thin, cis, hetero. I think that this is part of the problem about the policing of visuals and am continuously doing more research about it; however, I'm not yet sure how to bring it into my work.)

I also want to introduce the 66 Collective, which is a collaborative creative collective based in New York. It's comprised of some truly talented and respected emerging artists, who boast impressive accolades (like one duo whose most recent book sits in MoMA PS1's book store, next to Roland Barthes' Camera Lucida..). And bonus! They're good people too! 

There's also some artist writings and musings that will find their way onto the blog at the 66 Collective, which will be fun to collaborate with once we're spread out throughout the world. 

And an announcement! I will be showing my most recent work, Statecraft, at the Pingyao International Photography Festival this September. I'm excited to accompany the work as well, as it'll be my first time exhibiting outside of the United States.

As always, I want to thank everyone who has followed this journey along the way. It's had its ups and downs, but I've felt your support through it all. 

Cheers, 

Hannah