On a day leading up to the BFA photography exhibit, Holly Jo Schnaudigel was looking over her “Staged Reality” photo printed on crêpe georgette and backed with chiffon. The cinematic portrait shows a rapt t.v. viewer wearing negligee and curlers. She’s a gal whose glamour doesn’t fade. She’s not the least bit interested in the camera. But she looks like she’d be easy to get to know, and to like. Just like Holly Jo. The piece is currently part of the “Departures” exhibit in the Feldman Center lobby on view until December 13.
“I think ‘Staged Reality’ is a visual enigma. It isn’t until you get close that you see multiple layers of the fabric. You almost have to work through them. The imagery, the look, is simple to how she creates it.” - photography professor Curtis Willocks
We chatted with Holly Jo about “Staged Reality,” her “lingerie-inspired” piece, and about the techniques and experimentation she began in her teens:
“What I experimented with in Lakeland High School Westchester, NY), I was able to do on a bigger scale at FIT,” she says.
Holly Jo began a disciplined study of darkroom techniques before coming to FIT. “There are more tangible materials when you’re in the darkroom that I wanted to extend to the digital world,” she says.
“Holly’s choice of a soft fabric print blends seamlessly with the satin fabrics in the (“Staged Reality”) photograph. You almost can’t tell which you are looking at since the subject and the print have folds and reflections that are really the same. It was a great choice of a surface that enhances the experience of the image.” -photography professor Doug Mulaire
She now uses an “arsenal of arts and crafts techniques” to combine recognizable styles from different time periods. “I take aesthetics from the 50s and 60s and add modern elements, like digital hand coloring and gluing glitter to photos and then scan them.”
“Think Fast” by Holly Jo Schnaudigel
“The way I dress and present myself is reflected in my photos,” says Holly Jo. Even her manner, she says, is a lot of 50s kitschy humor and old Hollywood aesthetics.
“She’s almost a period piece,” says Willocks. “She reminds me of the 40s and 50s especially when you talk to her.”
“I like combining story-making elements in an old Hollywood glamour style. The comic book effect is something I am trying in order to achieve this combined look.”
“I did projects that included hand coloring darkroom prints, which led to digitally hand coloring my pictures now,” she says.
“One of my finals was all in-darkroom double negatives, a method I used in Prof. Max Hilaire’s class. “My private study final project were darkroom prints painted over with glow-in-the-dark paint.” Holly Jo’s “light painting” method on pictures led to her current glitter project.
Says Photography Department Chair Ron Amato, “Some students have a proclivity toward experimentation and investigation. It could be a part of a natural investigation, or personality or environment.”
For Holly Jo, it’s all three.
The “Departures” exhibit in the Feldman Center lobby until December 13. To see more of Holly Jo Schnaudigel’s work go to Holly Jo Photo