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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Partners with Raritan High School for the Veterans Portrait Project

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) recently partnered with Raritan High School in Hazlet, New Jersey for the Veterans Portrait Project (VVP), a nonprofit organization and ongoing photography project that honors the women and men who have served their country in the armed forces.

    NYFA Photography instructor John Tona guided digital photography students at the high school as they captured portraits of over a dozen veterans from across New Jersey, as well as any of the students’ family members from across the US who have served.

    Veterans Portrait Project VPP Raritan HS
    On set was Colonel Jack Jacobs, Medal of Honor Recipient and Chair of NYFA’s Veterans Advancement Program, who greeted the student photographers and veteran subjects, as well as joining them for a portrait. Each veteran participated in an individual portrait session.

    Additionally, the participating veterans and Colonel Jacobs were interviewed by AP Language students who used the statements to compose a tribute to commemorate their service. Both the portraits and written tributes were showcased in a dedicated exhibit at the school on Memorial Day. 

    “There are few Americans with experiences as diverse, startling, and life-altering as our military veterans,” said Jacobs. “The Veterans Portrait Project brings these experiences into emotionally-laden view, and in the process, the Project captures the creative skill of those who have served us. The New York Film Academy is proud to be a part of this spectacular effort.” 

    “It was an amazing experience,” remarked Tona, who worked closely with the students and their veteran subjects. “It’s always great to work with young students, eager to learn photography. What I think made this even more special was our subjects. Meeting with and hearing some of the stories from the veterans and their families from all major conflicts going back to World War II was a unique experience—not only did the students of Raritan High School receive photography lessons, but it was a lesson in our nation’s history as well. I am glad I could be a part of it.”

    Also in attendance during the event were Hazlet Mayor Scott Aagre, Raritan High School Principal Dr. Andrew Piotrowski, and Monmouth County Freeholder Sue Kiley.

    The Veterans Portrait Project was launched by Stacy Pearsall, a decorated combat photographer who has completed three tours in Iraq and photographed approximately 6,000 US veterans. The project provides photography students with an opportunity to advance their studio lighting and portrait photography skills, while also giving them the chance to thank America’s heroes through their art.

    “The Raritan High School Veterans Portrait Project’s purpose is to provide students the opportunity and privilege of interacting with local military veterans while advancing their interviewing, writing, and portrait photography skills,” declared Teresa Gennarelli, Fine Arts Educator at Raritan High School. “The event fosters a knowledge of—and a respect for—the sacrifices our veterans have made for all of us, and bestows a small honor on our heroes.”

    New York Film Academy and Chair of the NYFA Veteran Advancement Program Colonel Jack Jacobs thanks the students, faculty, and staff of Raritan High School and Ms. Stacy Pearsall for including NYFA in this impactful activity and for their dedication to those who have served in this nation’s military.

    Check out some of the student portrait work below:

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    June 18, 2019 • Photography, Veterans • Views: 292

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Showcases Graduate Work

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    May was a month of bittersweet endings as New York Film Academy (NYFA) said goodbye to both a class of BFA Photography students as well as the 1-year Conservatory class.

    Of course, it isn’t a permanent goodbye, as NYFA alumni are always welcome to events, mixers, and the exhibitions held by current students. And it’s not so much an ending, but a new beginning as these students begin the next step in their journeys as professional photographers.

    The 1-year Photography students graduated on May 16 and featured the work of graduating students Cindy Chiang, Um Kulthoom Al Nasri, Kalavathi Kandasamy, Anqi Liu, Maria Antonella Moisello, Angelica Wilberg, Clea Livingston, Ana Duran, and Brian Myers.

    The students came from around the world and showcased their final projects, which explored self-portraiture, identity, gender, color, war, grief, and fashion. NYFA is very proud of this talented group of artists and look forward to Brian Myers joining us again in the fall to continue with our MFA in Photography program.

    On May 24, NYFA Photo held its opening reception for Kaleidoscope, a group photography exhibition showcasing the images of our BFA Photography graduates. The show included a selection of works from seven students’ thesis projects. The photographers included Jennifer Siemsen, Sara Barber, Sudeen Shrestha, Cinthya Reta, Parth Gajjar, Stephanie Johnstone, and Junsong Wang. 

    The images explored concepts ranging from memories and marriage to religious symbology and the gentrification of downtown Los Angeles. The show was curated by our Photo faculty member Andre Keichian, who encouraged students to explore multimedia presentations of their projects, including handmade darkroom prints and sculptural installation.

    New York Film Academy congratulates the NYFA Photo 1-year and BFA graduates on the completion of their studies and the amazing work they’ve produced!

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    June 7, 2019 • Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 323

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) and United States Army Garrison (USAG) Host Joint Masterclass in Vicenza, Italy

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    On May 18, a joint masterclass in storytelling and photography was held at the US Army Garrison in Vicenza, Italy, hosted by New York Film Academy (NYFA) and United States Army Garrison (USAG). The students were from the garrison as well as from the local community and included filmmakers, writers, and photographers.

    Storytelling was taught by Diana Santi, NYFA Program Director – Florence, Italy, while photography was taught by NYFA Chair of Photography David Mager. 

    Vicenza Italy Garrison Joint Workshop
    Diana Santi is an award-winning director and producer of short films and commercials and has worked as 1st AD on many large-budget Italian commercials. She also founded Purple Reel Productions and directed the short film Florence in Love with the support of the Tuscan Film Commission and the City of Florence. She is currently Program Director of NYFA’s Florence location, where students learn filmmaking with the historical city as their breathtaking backdrop.

    David Mager is an award-winning photographer with over 20 years of experience in the publishing, editorial, and advertising industries. Clients have included Disney, DK, Scholastic, Der Speigel, McGraw Hill, Penguin, Time Out NY, Parents Magazine, Paper, Flair, American Baby, and Park Place Magazine, to name a few. He is the current Chair of Photography for both the New York and South Beach, Miami campuses at New York Film Academy.

    Together, the masterclass lasted four hours. Santi and Mager talked about the elements needed in storytelling for both moving image, screenwriting, and still imagery. Through examples for all genres, students were able to connect and gain insight into the necessary steps to successfully tell their stories. 

    The storytelling portion of the joint masterclass was entitled “The Secret Ingredients of Successful Stories” and asked the important questions: What is a story? Why do people tell stories? What are the elements that make a story successful? “I was honored to teach at the US Army Garrison in Vicenza and I hope that our workshop about visual storytelling can inspire new amazing stories,” says Santi. 

    The photography portion of the joint masterclass was called “Taking Creative Control of Your Camera: Demystifying the Elements of Exposure.” It focused on understanding how the camera works as well as how to use the elements of exposure to create visual decisions that transform snapshots into thoughtful, intentional images. “We had a great group of interested and engaged students,” describes Mager. “There were good conversations and some beautiful images made.”

    Vicenza Italy Garrison Joint Workshop

    Both workshops used a combination of lectures and hands-on activities. The event organizer at the Garrison, Jodi K. Giesbrecht, CYS Instructional Programs Specialist, USAG Italy – Vicenza Military Community, was thrilled with the joint masterclass and “would love to plan for more exciting and creative events provided by [NYFA].”

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    May 23, 2019 • Filmmaking, Photography, Screenwriting, Study Abroad, Veterans • Views: 380

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Students Attend Palm Springs Photo Festival

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    This May, The Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) attended the Palm Springs Photo Festival for the fourth consecutive year in a row.

    Each year, the festival provides an opportunity for our students to meet with legendary photographers, share their portfolios in the celebrated portfolio review program, check out the latest photo gear, enjoy evening presentations by world famous image makers, and attend cutting-edge seminars, symposiums, and networking events. NYFA Photography students gain incredible insight into the current photo market and make new connections with industry leaders. 

    Palm Springs Photo Festival 2019
    “The part I enjoy most about the Palm Springs Photo Festival is that it gives me the opportunities to meet with a lot of great photographers of different genres,” shares Cindy Chiang, a 1-year Photography student at NYFA. “In addition to the portfolio review, which is helpful in itself, I’m inspired by different artist talks that enable me to think further about my own project.”

    This year our students met with Paris Chong, curator of the Leica Gallery Los Angeles; Emily Shornick who is the managing photo editor for InStyle.com; and Virginia Heckert, curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, among others. 

    Palm Springs Photo Festival 2019“Palm Springs was a very enriching experience,” says Maria Antonella Moisello (1-year Photography). I’ve not only learned a lot about my own work, but I’ve also had the opportunity to share with my colleagues and network with really cool people.”

    In addition to portfolio reviews, our students attended a symposium on women photographers and were honored to attend this moving conversation. The speakers included Barbara Davidson, a three-time Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy award-winning photojournalist best known for her work on victims of gang violence in Los Angeles; artist Mona Kuhn’s whose work has been exhibited and/or included in the collections of The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Pérez Art Museum, and many more; and Melanie Pullen, a fine-art photographer whose work focuses on both social values and taboos while purposely taking aim at the media’s exploitation of sex, gender, and violence. 

    Other lectures were given by industry legends such as Stephen Wilkes, Jay Maisel, Nadav Kander, and Duane Michaels.

    “It’s incredible to get a chance to see so many legendary image makers speaking about their unique journey,” remarks Amanda Rowan, NYFA Photography instructor. “It’s a great way for our students to gain insight and perspective on there own creative journey.” 

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    May 22, 2019 • Film Festivals, Photography • Views: 240

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography’s FAYN #006 Has Its First Shoot

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    FAYN magazine is a the fashion and art publication created by students and faculty of the Photo Arts Conservatory at New York Film Academy (NYFA) to celebrate and explore photography each semester, culminating in a printed publication.

    FAYN #006

    For this next issue of FAYN Magazine, NYFA Photography students shot their first original content event inspired by the theme of Issue #006: “The Unseen Body.” Here is what student editor and writer Mina Khouzam says about the event:

    “A night of truth, of vulnerability, a night of acceptance, of appreciation. Welcome to the space we collectively called home. With egos checked at our open door, fellow students from NYFA Los Angeles joined us for a photoshoot that was developed in the spirit of collaborative creation. 

    “Each subject was asked two questions: What part of your body, like physically out there, makes you feel most vulnerable? Everyone’s got something that they associate with a superficial weakness, intrinsically woven in the stories that make us who we are. What part is most powerful? Yes, powerful. What part of you makes you feel strong and confident? That part of you with the most compliments, that part of you, if all else failed, still carries the brunt of the beauty you perceive to have?

    “What sparked as a thought, blossomed into a photo session and a conversation about self, society, and social-awareness—that human condition we’re all going through, we’re going through it together … We are excited to share the full story with you in our upcoming issue. And invite you to ask yourself these two questions. We’re all beautiful, this reminded us.”

    The photos were shot by FAYN’s editorial power-trifecta of Maddie, Um Kalthum and Maria-Antonella, and assisted by FAYN editors Yingda Shang, Thom Myers and Cindy Chiang. Myers also photographed behind-the-scenes images of the shoot.

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    May 21, 2019 • Photography • Views: 391

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA Cinematography Alum Tian Liu Builds Impressive Portfolio

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    Since graduating from the New York Film Academy (NYFA) MFA in Cinematography program, alum Tian Liu (Fall 2015) has been keeping very busy. Liu has been steadily growing her career as a filmmaker and building her portfolio with credits as a photographer, producer, and cinematographer on several professional projects.

    Tian Liu
    Liu was born in China, where she studied sports journalism. While teaching orphans math as a volunteer in Kenya, Liu felt inspired to photograph their experience. After those images were professionally published, Liu realized she wanted to become a filmmaker. “I realized that images have power,” Liu tells NYFA. “It can tell others a story, it also can help people and give people a better life. I love telling stories and I want to be a visual artist.”

    Following her dream, Liu opened a photo studio and enrolled at New York Film Academy. At NYFA, Liu earned her MFA in Cinematography while studying under Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond, ASC, BSC (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Sandlot, Legally Blonde).

    Tian Liu
    “Without NYFA,” Liu says, I would not have been able to become a female Chinese cinematographer and do the kind of work I find so fulfilling.”

    The Piano, Liu’s thesis film completed at NYFA, has screened at over 35 film festivals, and has picked up an impressive 28 awards for Best Cinematography. Additionally, she has worked on over 40 film projects that used 16mm and 35mm film, and has shot several films as director of photography. Recently, Liu worked on a feature film in Louisiana, as well as a camera operator for Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dean Cundey, ASC (Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) on the feature documentary Motionless. Liu has also worked in New York City for the United Nations and an esteemed advertisement firm.

    Liu has also found success as a photographer publishing her work in high-profile magazines and newspapers, including China Daily. Over 40 images she’s shot have been featured in Vogue Italia.

    In addition to her work behind the camera, Liu has been a strong voice for female cinematographers, and recently gave a talk at USC about working in the industry as a female, Chinese cinematographer. While the film industry works to course correct issues of gender inequality, women still make up a distressingly small proportion of working professional cinematographers.

    New York Film Academy congratulates MFA in Cinematography alum Tian Liu on her continued success in the industry and thanks her sharing her experiences with the filmmaking community.

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    May 9, 2019 • Cinematography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 363

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Filmmaking Alum Rozette Rago Photographs Steven Spielberg and the Cast of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

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    Freelance photographer and New York Film Academy (NYFA) Workshop alum Rozette Rago was recently profiled by ABS-CBN news. Rago has photographed several high-profile subjects, including Steven Spielberg, U2, and the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, and often shoots for The New York Times.

    Rago hails from Marilao in the Philippines and is currently based in Los Angeles. In 2011, Rago completed New York Film Academy’s 8-week Filmmaking Workshop. Her first big break came after shooting legendary rock group U2. Since then, she has worked for  national publications including FADER, Buzzfeed News, Bloomberg, TIME, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Smithsonian Books, VICE, and HBO. Additionally, she has shot on the set of famed sitcom Will & Grace, and has worked as a photo editor for Time Out Los Angeles.

    Rozette Rago

    Rago is also a freelance photographer for The New York Times, and has worked with the publication to shoot subjects including musician Shirley Manson, actor Riz Ahmed, racing driver Robert Shwartzman, the cast of Crazy Rich Asians, and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

    When asked about shooting such high-profile subjects, Rago told ABS-CBN, “The biggest challenge with these shoots is maintaining composure. I have very limited time with them so I always have to stay focused on the images I need. I allow myself to freak out later when I’m driving home.”

    The interview and profile also focuses on Rago’s position as a woman of color in an industry that has been traditionally male-dominated, but that has been undergoing a seismic—yet, gradual—shift in the past few years.

    Rago currently works as photo editor at Wirecutter, a product review website owned by The New York Times. She also continues to shoot freelance.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Filmmaking alum Rozette Rago on her continued success as a photographer!

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    #Repost @nytimes ・・・ “I wanted this to be the ‘Avengers’ of Asian actors.” @crazyrichasians isn't a Marvel superhero film, but the movie does have epic ambitions of its own: with an all-Asian cast (featuring @constancewu, @henrygolding, @awkwafina, @kenjeong and others), #CrazyRichAsians hopes to pave the way for Asian-led films in Hollywood. "If we make a decent showing on that first weekend, there are like 6 Asian-American lead movies set up at different studios," said the director @jonmchu. But for @crazyrichasians, the casting process was anything but simple. The search began in 2013, when producers acquired the right to the book from @kevinkwanbooks. Then, to assemble the movie's cast, @jonmchu and the producers embarked on an extensive talent search process, including an open casting call for Asian and Asian-American performers. “We just didn’t want to miss anybody,” he said. As a result, the film features an international cast, with actors from Singapore, China, Britain, Australia, Malaysia and more. When it hits theaters next week, it comes not just as a #romcom but also as the first major Hollywood film set in the present day to showcase a majority Asian cast in 25 years. @hellorozette took this portrait of members of the cast. Visit the link in our profile to read about what being in @crazyrichasians means to the movie’s stars. (And if you’re in NYC, join a few of them for a @timestalks screening and talk on August 14. You can find the details at the link in our profile.)

    A post shared by Rozette Rago (@hellorozette) on

     

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    April 29, 2019 • Filmmaking, Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 572

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Instructor Joan Pamboukes Speaks at Artexpo New York

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    On Saturday, April 6, New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Instructor Joan Pamboukes gave a lecture at the Artexpo New York. The Artexpo was held from April 4 – 7 at Pier 90 on Manhattan’s West Side. Each year thousands of art industry insiders flock to Artexpo New York in search of art and artists that can influence trends in galleries worldwide.

    artexpo

    Pamboukes is an award-winning artist based in Astoria, Queens. Her artwork has been exhibited at venues including The Montclair Art Museum, Chashama UpTown, The Dumbo Arts Festival, and The Arts Council of Princeton. Honors for her work include the 2014 Sky Award, the 1999 Art and Literacy Award, and the 1999 Albert Munsell Media & Performing Arts Award.

    Pamboukes’s lecture was entitled Media Transections & Contemporary Photography Influences, and discussed her work, which explores projects that transect human interactivity with screens—including smartphones, television, and video games—as well as how the human experience is currently shaped by the dominance of advanced technology in modern society.

    On display was Pamboukes’s portfolios, featuring “images that flash before us, mingling with personal memories and emotions, and influencing our state of mind.” Visual artists, collectors, gallery owners, art dealers, and anyone else interested in statement art and fine art photography were invited to attend the presentation, held at the Education Pavilion. Pamboukes was introduced by New York Film Academy Chair of Photography David Mager.

    “Joan is not only an incredible professor, but an amazing artist as well,” Mager recently told NYFA. “Her work looking at today’s technology is sometimes sardonic, but always interesting and beautiful.” He added, “She often brings her artistic vision and approach into the classroom.”

    Later this year, Pamboukes will have work on display at the Open World: Video Games and Contemporary art exhibition, curated by Theresa Bembnister at the Akron Art Museum, exhibiting from October 2019 – February 2020. The show is expected to travel as well.

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    April 17, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Photography • Views: 530

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Alumni Win & Place in International PHOTOgraphy Competition

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    Two New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Alumni were recently honored at the 2018 International PHOTOgraphy Competition, run by Latitude Life APS. Lotta Lemetti won in the Culture section of the contest, as well as the overall competition, while Nipun Nayyar placed second in the Nature/Architecture Category.

    Latitude Life APS is an International Think Tank based in Italy. According to its own mission statement, Latitude Life APS is the “first international operative think tank of the culture sector” and focuses on interests within art, culture, and scientific research.

    The second edition of their International PHOTOgraphy Competition received hundreds of submissions from across the world, including the US, Australia, Canada, Cuba, India, Japan, and Europe. The categories of the competition included Culture, Intimacy, Nature/Architecture, and Street Photography.

    Lotta Lemetti is from Finland and graduated NYFA’s 1-year Conservatory in Photography in New York City before enrolling in the BFA program at our Los Angeles campus, and won Best of the Best – Photographer of the Year for her contribution to the Culture category. She was awarded a Sony 4K camera for her efforts. Nipun Nayyar won second place in the Nature/Architecture section for his overview shot of the Gordon Dam in Tasmania.

    Lotta Lemetti

    The winners were announced March 30, 2019, while the awards ceremony will be held on April 25 at New York Film Academy’s New York City campus at Battery Park. The competition is co-sponsored by NYFA, as well as Sony, Fujifilm, Nikon, and others. The International Jurors  Committee includes NYFA-New York Chair of Photography David Mager, Professor Saul Robbins, Dr. Davide Andretta, and Professor A. Patron.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Photography alum Lotta Lemetti on her win, as well as alum Nipun Nayya and everyone else who was honored in this year’s competition!

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    April 12, 2019 • Photography, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 585

  • Q&A with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Photography Instructor Amanda Rowan

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    Amanda Rowan grew up around rock stars. Rowan, a New York Film Academy (NYFA) photography instructor, is the daughter of Grammy-winning bluegrass musician Peter Rowan. But unlike many of her contemporaries—offspring of famous musicians—she discovered her instrument was a camera, not a guitar or piano. She began shooting rock concerts in high school and went on to shoot portraits for corporate clients, international artists, and pop celebrities. Rowan recently took some time to discuss her career, her upcoming projects, and playing Paris Hilton’s best friend in a National Lampoon movie.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA): As someone who grew up around music and musicians, why were you drawn to photography?

    Amanda Rowan (AR): At first I was drawn to photography as a way to document the music and performances that I was inspired by. But I realize now that when I was shooting bands and live music the camera was my “instrument.” I felt like I was part of the band and adding to the music.

    Amanda Rowan

    NYFA: How would you characterize your work?

    AR: I am drawn to elements of life that are visually theatrical. I seek to create images that feel like a movie or a dream. I like the heightened art direction with dramatic color and juxtaposition.

    NYFA: Speaking of musicians, you did a project—Born Backstage—shooting musician and performer offspring of artists like The Beatles, the Grateful Dead, and Frank Zappa. How did this project come about?

    AR: In my 20s I was living in New York City and had a lot of musician friends. I was shooting a lot of bands and actors. I was looking for a project to focus my portraiture towards a single subject and build a photographic series. One night I was at a party and I was sitting with Chris Stills (his father Steven Stills was in Crosby, Stills & Nash) and we were talking to Jenni Muldaur (her mother Maria Muldaur was on the cover of Rolling Stone for her 1970s hit song “Midnight at the Oasis”) and Harper Simon (his father is Paul Simon). We were talking about art, music, and our shared sense of gratitude and angst about having musicians as parents. I thought that there was a unique bond between us and that it could be a compelling photo series.

    NYFA: You were an actor in your 20s. What were some of your highlights?

    AR: One of the highlights was playing Paris Hilton’s BFF in National Lampoon’s Pledge This! We lived in Miami for six weeks at the Shore Club. We would stay out all night and then film all day—I don’t remember sleeping much! But even then I always had my camera on set and was known by the cast and crew as the actress who was always taking everyone’s portrait. Paris was very sweet and liked to pose for me. Our on-screen friendship developed into a real friendship. When I moved to LA to pursue photography, she gave me my first job taking photos of her. 

    I also played opposite Dave Chappelle on a Chappelle’s Show sketch. He was The Wolfman and I was his girlfriend. It was shot in black and white like an old 50s horror movie. I was cracking up the whole time.

    NYFA: Tell us about your latest project.

    AR: My new project, Arrangement, is a series of still-life images as well as self-portraits, taken in the studio. The images are of flowers and fruits and other organic matter pared with personal objects like jewelry and feathers. The objects and items in the images are all symbolic to me and represent the “performative” quality of acts of domestic curation, like setting a table for dinner. The images tell a story of seduction, vulnerability, and power. The series will debut at the Carrie Able Gallery in Brooklyn this August. The show is produced in conjunction with the leading photography and art publication, Float Magazine.

    Amanda Rowan

    NYFA: What is your favorite thing about teaching at NYFA?

    AR: Teaching is the best plot twist of my career/life! I truly love it! I feel like I have a chance to teach all the little secret things I wish someone had told me when I was coming up! Mostly I just want to support young artists and give them the tools and the confidence to be creative and bring forth the amazing ideas inside their brains! It makes me happy when they are able to express themselves.

    NYFA: What’s your favorite class to teach at NYFA?

    AR: I love teaching the business classes. I think the business side of art can be challenging for artists. But I have found with the right tools and education you actually gain confidence in your art by feeling equipped with the business side of things!

    NYFA: Is there a piece of advice you give your students before graduation?

    AR: Do everything you can to stay confident and nurture your creativity and self-confidence. A creative career is not linear so enjoy the wild ride and be open to the twists, turns, ups, and downs!

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    April 11, 2019 • Faculty Highlights, Photography • Views: 574