What does home mean to you? With so many different cultures, home can have a thousand definitions. Many artists from all over the country, and some from even outside the country, gathered at the Fort Collins Center for Fine Art Photography, or C4FAP, on Dec. 3 to show off their work and what home means to them in a new exhibit simply titled: “HOME.”
The opening reception of this exhibit began with Hamidah Glasgow, the executive director and curator of the C4FAP with a compelling introduction of the night’s events. She mentioned that another current exhibit titled “The Reckoning Days” is related to this current exhibit. “The Reckoning Days” was inspired by the work of artist Elliot Ross in her depiction of the American family farm.
“This exhibit shows the lives they lived and how precarious that is for American farmers now,” Glasgow said. “There’s a fine edge of making it or not making, and keeping their dreams alive.”
Glasgow went on to introduce artist Elle Olivia Andersen and her project titled “The Mountain Stands Still.” Andersen says this project started with her friends standing her up on a mountain hike into the Appalachians, and then deciding to take the hike herself; and she is so glad she did. After some time wondering on a trail, she met a 75-year-old mountain man named Robert.
“I knew the moment I met him, I wanted to photograph him,” Andersen says. “I got to know him, and learned he has lived in the South Carolina mountains all his life. The more time spent, the more he let me enter the intimate spaces of his life.”
Also being a sociologist, Andersen enjoyed learning this different culture of a peculiar man. Robert had a beloved wife who was loved by many, who sadly passed away. He was then inspired to build a town out of old barnwood on his land that would bring all the people from the surrounding area together. The town included a church, pharmacy and opera house among many other buildings. Robert enjoys gathering the town every Monday and Friday to dress up, eat, drink and socialize with one another.
On top of being a mountain man, Robert also flips real estate and invests in stocks, making him quite wealthy, but incredibly humble nevertheless. What started out as a semester long project for Andersen, turned into a two year long adventure. Andersen studied how Robert connected himself to Appalachia and how it connected back into his identity.
Being a student of many subjects, Andersen says photography is her main passion.
“With photography, what challenges me is that it keeps me on my toes, and there’s always something new,” she says. “I love throwing myself into environments and people that I’ve never met before and I feed off that.”
To view the full project visit www.c4fap.org/exhibitions.
The reception went on with a speech from juror Kevin Miller, a curator of the Southeast Museum of Photography down in Florida. Miller spoke of the intimacy and uniqueness of each of the artists’ photos and how so many little things can make up the significance of a home, or perhaps a loss of a home.
“All of these photographers have clearly articulated their particular vision or concept of “HOME,”” Miller says in a statement. “Their lenses and sensibility are directed to an enormous range of manifestations of home. These images quietly whisper an unease and uncertainty that lay beneath our comfort and security.”
A few artists were able to speak in front of the crowd about the background and inspiration of their featured images. Many ideas came from their childhoods, different cultures of what home means and the longing or loss of a home.
Artist Jodie Hulden of San Diego, California captured the loneliness a home can experience when nobody is living there anymore, with her image titled “Waiting.” The monochrome image featured a place setting covered in dust that Hulden described the dust as all the years of waiting this table setting has endured for someone to come and eat there.
Another artist who spoke of his work was Alcala Torreslanda of Querelaro, Mexico. His image featured two young Mexican girl receiving cooking lessons from their grandmother, a display of feminine empowerment.
“I believe that photography can help me to document and communicate and help communities that are doing something to improve society,” Toresslanda said. “This piece demonstrates women trying to make a difference in their communities.”
“HOME” will be on display at the Fort Collins Center for Fine Art Photography through Jan. 7. Come see for yourself the many different meanings of what home is, and how it can connect to your own life and your version of home, whether it be a physical place, a mindset or another person.
For more information visit www.c4fap.org.