About this Blog

A place to remember and to share articles, videos, and information about art and culture. My primary audience is students of the arts, with the purpose of expanding the discussion and encouraging research.

Links Page

Flower Man

I just love stories about outsider artists. This is another one that I managed to miss seeing before they died. I do hope the artist community in Houston figures out away to perserve this work of art.


Is Connectivity making us Lonely?


Cynic's Photo Dictionary

Roger Cicala, puts a clever and funny spin on Ambrose Bierce's , The Devil's Dictionary, some of my favorites -

Depth of Field – The part of an image that is in best focus, traditionally placed just in front of, or just behind, the subject  See also, Autofocus.

Sharpness – The amount of fine detail visible in an image before it is compressed to 1/10th its original size to post online.

Vignette — A technique used by lens designers to make the image very dark in the places where the lens is very bad, based on the principle that if things are dark enough you won’t notice how bad they are.

And from the comment section,

Film; magical plastic strip capable of producing images when voodoo is performed upon it in a dark room. -AJ

Tear sheet: Fictional item of value used to barter for free use of photos in a publication, advertisement or on a website. The target photos are usually taken by the unsuspecting or naive photographer. - Bob D

The whole thread is silly - enjoy



Getty Trust Open Content

One of my newest images just made the Getty Museum Tumblr page, I'm doing a Snoopy happy dance right now ;-)

The collages are created from artwork owned the Getty Museum and available through their Open Content Program. As a collagist, this is like being given the keys to the candy store, I am thrilled to be working with such a treasure trove of images.

Image Credit: Rene' West, Whispering Muse, 2013


Abramovic and Ulay

I never really got Marina Abramovic, or frankly performance art, until I heard her speak. It was just after her and Ulay walked the Great Wall of China and met in the middle to say good-bye. The two of them had lived and worked together for many years as performance artists, and when they decided to break up, this was their last performance as a team. Afterwards, walking through the photographs, I found the experience quite moving, it was like a meditation on change, transitions, and life. Truly powerful. Even though I was not there to experience the performance, hearing her speak about it, changed my perception of her work and of all performance art. It is partly about the experience of being there, and no document of it can ever truly justify what actually happened.

This video of Marina seeing Ulay for the first time in many years is such a beautiful moment. It makes me long to see old friends, and spend a moment in silence reflecting on our time together. We spend so much of our lives filling the silence with noise to masks our deeper feelings.

This video will expand on their work together and the Great Wall performance.


Collages by Alexander Korzer-Robinson

This work is absolutely fantastic. I could look at his images forever, there are so many layers and small details for my imagination to play. The collages are created from a single book, cutting text away from illustrations, page by page, as he works his way to the back of the book.

Regarding his work, he states,  

By using antiquarian books, it makes the work simultaneously an exploration and a deconstruction of nostalgia.

We create our own past from fragments of reality in a process that combines the willful aspects of remembering and forgetting with the coincidental and unconscious.

On a general level, I aim to illustrate this process that forms our inner landscape.


He does make reproductions of the works, which also seem quite intricate. Korzer-Robinson describes the process as "three dimensional paper construction, consisting of 6 layers of hand cut pigment prints on archival paper."

I may have to make a collage this afternoon - I'm so inspired.

Image credit: Alexander Korzer-Robinson


Faculty Excellence Award Winners Announced

I just figured out why this is floating around Facebook this morning. In August, I recieved a Faculty Excellence Award for Community and Workforce Innovation. This was for a variety of different projects, all of which required lots of help from photography students, other faculty, and the Student Government Association at Amarillo College. From the article on the AC Website:

Excellence in Community and Workforce Innovation—René West, assistant professor of photography

For her community outreach projects with the Worldwide Pinhole Day, Meyerowitz Exhibition, and Photo Club work with San Jacinto Elementary School.

René West, co-sponsor or AC’s Photo Club, oversees a bi-weekly community outreach project for fourth- and fifth-graders at San Jacinto through which club members encourage and teach photography. She also spearheads Worldwide Pinhole Day, an annual community photography workshop at which a diverse group of attendees receives instruction in this eclectic way of making images, while her students learn how to conduct a public event. West not only served last year on the Dust Bowl Committee, she gave multiple lectures focused on photographs of the Dust Bowl. Additionally, she served in 2011 as liaison between AC’s Student Government and the Museum of Art to help bring documentary photographer Joel Meyerowitz and his Aftermath: Images from Ground Zero to AC.

For their role in the Meyerowitz exhibition, the Student Government Association, won the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce's prestigious Golden Nail Award for making the greatest contribution to fine arts in the Amarillo area in 2011.

That same year, the Photo Club (ACPC) received the Student Government Association's Award for Best Student Organization.

Of the six awards in faculty excellence, the Art Dept. received two of them. I am proud to share this honor with my colleague, Stephanie Jung. Please read about her accomplishments, and the other Faculty Excellence winners, they are all so inspiring. Go Team ;-)



Student photos

A few years ago, I created a photojournalism assignment in my fundamentals class. Basically the students shoot 4 different categories, and feed photos to the student run newspaper use online and print. I just stumbled onto this article, and all the images were shot by my first semester students. Feeling proud.

Photo Credit: AC Student, Darla Fish


Documentary Films about Photography

I just wanted to add this link to the blog for posterity.


The Benefits of Education

There is a great article in the NYTimes today, Why Do I Teach? Below are two of my favorite passages....

We should judge teaching not by the amount of knowledge it passes on, but by the enduring excitement it generates.

The fruits of college teaching should be measured not by tests but by the popularity of museums, classical concerts, art film houses, book discussion groups, and publications like Scientific American, the New York Review of Books, The Economist, and The Atlantic, to cite just a few.