Instructor Spotlight: Pacifico Silano

Pacifico Silano is a lens-based artist whose work is an exploration of print culture, the circulation of imagery and LGBTQ identity. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he received his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts. His work has been exhibited in group shows, including at the Bronx Museum; Tacoma Art Museum; Oude Kerk, Amsterdam; and ClampArt, New York City. He has had solo shows at ClampArt, New York City and Baxter ST@CCNY.

Reviews of his work have appeared in The New Yorker, Artforum, Newsweek and The New York Times. He is a winner of the Individual Photographer’s Fellowship from the Aaron Siskind Foundation and a Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize. He was chosen as an Artist in Residence at Light Work in Syracuse, NY, granted a Workspace Residency at Baxter Street CCNY and was a Key Holder Resident at the Lower East Side Printshop. He is a 2016 fellow in Photography with the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Pacifico Silano teaches:
HPH 169: Fundamentals of Digital Photography & Photoshop

Teaching Philosophy:
I always encourage my students to identify what it is they are most passionate about and challenge them to find ways to put that into their art. When you care about what you are photographing, people will notice.

Industry Experience/Recent Exhibitions:

Solo Exhibitions
2017
John John, Rubber-Factory, New York, NY.
Arrangements, Rubber-Factory @ VOLTA, New York, NY.
2016
Tearsheets, Baxter St. CCNY, New York, NY.
2015
Against Nature, ClampArt, New York, NY.

Group Exhibitions
2018
PHOTO LONDON, somerset House, London, UK.
2017
New Voices: Recent Acquisitions from the Light work collection, Light Work, Syracuse, NY.
Sun Screen, Lower East Side Printshop, New York, NY.
Night Fever, Future Tenant, Pittsburgh, Pa.
2016
High Summer, Foley Gallery, New York, NY.
Art AIDS America, The Bronx Museum of The Arts, Bronx, NY.

Awards
2018
Bric MEDIA arts FELLOWSHIP
2016
Lower East Side Print Shop, Key Holder Residency
New York Foundation of The Arts, Fellowship in Photography
Lightwork Artist-in-Residence, Syracuse, NY.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Alumni Microgrant Recipient
2015
Baxter Street, CCNY Workspace Residency, New York, NY.
2013
Aperture Portfolio Prize – Finalist/Runner Up.
The Bronx Museum of The Arts, Artist in The Marketplace Program.
2012
Aaron Siskind Foundation, Individual Photographer’s Fellowship

Selected Bibliography
“volta ny 2017: building true relationships through art,” Artsy
Vince Aletti, “Goings on About Town: Art,” The New Yorker
Holland Cotter, “Art of the AIDS Years: What Took Museums So Long?” New York Times
Juliana Halpert, “Critics’ Pick, Pacifico Silano,” ART FORUM

Selected Works:

Get Out Of the “Dark” About Darkroom Photography

Traditional film and darkroom processes have been undeniably dying out over the past several decades with the invention of the digital camera. The new generation of photographers is following an interesting trend, though, with a sudden enthusiasm for the film medium. It’s a craze led by the likes of Gucci muse Petra Collins that can be compared to the record player: trend in music, people seem to believe that film is more “raw,” “real,” and creative.

Sheets of rolls of film.

Last class, when had my second experience with traditional black and white manual photography, I worked on developing film. If you aren’t familiar with this, there’s an entire process including working in the darkroom, that allows photos that are taken on a roll of film to be accessed. The whole process of development is multilayered and can be stressful for a beginner, especially in the darkrooms; a pitch-black environment that is essential for the photos to not be ruined because they are light-sensitive materials. After processing the roll of film, it is soaked in chemical baths and left to dry. This process allows you to access only 36 photos that one cannot see until the end, meaning that there is no way to tell if the shots will appear until you take out the photos and set them to dry. This is the risqué nature of the medium that some people reference as more artful than digital.

I interviewed photography instructor Cornelia Hediger to create an exposé on the ins and outs of traditional darkroom film, in comparison to digital photography.

Q: Do you prefer digital or film photography, and why?

A: Overall, I prefer the look and quality of a darkroom print vs a digital print. A traditional printed image, shot on film, has grain. I love the look of grain printed on fiber based paper. You cannot beat that look. It is absolutely stunning.

Q: What are some of the advantages of darkroom photography? What are some of the disadvantages?

A: The advantage of darkroom photography is that you have a negative to work from, versus a digital file. Each image is unique as the prints are done by a person and not a machine. A darkroom print still looks superior to me than a digital file printed in black and white. There are some very nice papers out there that mimic the look of a traditional fiber based print. Definitely, the paper and technology have come a long way and prints, produced with digital files, are starting to look better. The ‘disadvantage’ of a darkroom print is the time factor. It takes longer to produce a darkroom print versus a digital print.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of black and white film photography?

A: My favorite aspect of black and white film photography is that I absolutely love the process. I love to develop film and I love printing in the darkroom. I find it magical to watch an image come up in the developer and I like the slower process of producing an image. In the end, I also prefer the look of a black and white image printed on fiber based paper vs. a digitally produced image.

Q: For young photographers, do you recommend that they learn how to use both film and digital cameras? Do you consider film photography an essential for photographers?

A: I think it is a good idea for young photographers to learn shooting with film and at least experience the process in the darkroom. Film ‘forces’ you to slow down and perhaps be more responsible when taking an image. Each image is recorded on a negative and cannot be deleted like you would delete a digital image. Personally, I find the experience of learning how to take images with film/print in the darkroom essential when learning photography. To some people, it opens up a whole new world whereas others will find the process a slow and tedious one.

Q: Do you think darkroom photography will ever go “extinct”?

A: I do not know if darkroom photography will ever go extinct. In the fine arts, it seems to be making a comeback. The masses and everyday household will not turn around and go back to film. It seems that film and traditional darkroom printing is perhaps surviving through the arts. I have no idea, however, how photography will develop over the next decades.
-End of Interview

Chloe Abidi

Missing class for a good reason

Hello guys!! Last week I did not go to class because I went to Washington D.C. over the weekend. I went to Washington D.C. for the March for Our Lives which was dedicated to ending gun violence. This was also a march in remembrance of all of the school shootings that have happened. The Parkland students did a great job organizing this march. The speeches were so inspirational. I made a video from the march.

Since I could not make my class last week I can not tell you what we did in the class, but I can tell you what I have done up to last week. My professor is Cornelia Hediger. The first day was an introduction to the class, we learned what we will be doing. We looked at the darkroom, the darkroom was very cool and there were many chemicals and machines in the room. Afterward, we took pictures of each other and also viewed photos showing different perspectives.

The second class was a lot of fun. We learned how to use our digital cameras in the class. One of the nice things about this class is that you do not have to have your own camera. FIT will provide you a camera if you do not have one. But we do need to bring an SD card for the camera. After learning the buttons on our camera we got to take pictures; we took pictures inside of each other and pictures outside of buildings and people. Here is one picture I took outside.

a picture I took from the class

I like this picture a lot because the building is on a corner and the colors really pop. For homework, we had to present the 10 photos we took that we liked the most.

In the third class, we presented the photos. Afterward, we got to use the film camera. The film cameras were so cool. All you need is film, but you can also bring your own film camera if you have one. Using a film camera vs. a digital camera is so different. You cannot go back and delete a photo on film and you also cannot view the photo either which is annoying, but it gets you curious about how the photo will turn out.

So far I LOVE this class. I have learned so much in the 3 classes. I can’t wait to go in the darkroom and process the photos. Anyways, see you guys in a flash.

~Cindy Beal

Introducing Precollege Intern: Mahalia

Photo by Romy Weng

Hi! My name is Mahalia, I’m a photographer in the making, and I am an intern here at FIT’s Precollege Program. My passion for art, more specifically photography, was what brought me to FIT. I enjoy exploring different learning methods of art in different environments, and FIT is an incredible place for me to approach photography with a mindset on social components.

Out of all the different kinds of pictures I enjoy taking, landscapes, fashion, sports, etc. I adore taking portraitures. What caught my eye, was something about how humans react when they are on camera. People say you cannot judge a book by its cover, but I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words and more.

My goal in life is to become a professional photographer and be my own boss, which will require that I work extremely hard to reach that goal. In 2016 and 2017 I took classes at International Center of Photography (ICP) which taught me mostly about manual photography. However, right now I am focused more on the depth of digital photography and photoshop. Because not that many people know me, I also am learning how to network. Whenever I take pictures I am really fond of, I post them on an official photography Instagram account (@photo_moro) in order to make myself more known to the public.

Because I am a senior in high school, I deal with plenty of work and deadlines which builds stress for me. Coming from an artistic family, I find not only photography but art in general a stress reliever and much more. To me, art is something extremely fun and wonderful. Art makes the person I am today.

Mahalia :-)

Introducing Precollege Blogger: Chloe

Hello! I’m Chloe Abidi. I’m 16 years old and a sophomore at Ridgewood High School – Ridgewood is a NYC suburb in North Jersey that I moved to three years ago. My interests include modeling, the visual arts (more specifically photography and traditional mediums, like oil paint and graphite), the fashion industry, writing and traveling.

This is my first semester at FIT’s Precollege Programs and I am taking HPH 168 55A Introduction to Traditional Darkroom & Digital Photography. Photography is something that has become more and more prevalent in my life over the years. Growing up in a world of constantly evolving technology, I have seen photography grow into something that, quite literally, sits in the palm of everyone’s hands on a daily basis with the introduction of smartphones. For me, it seemed like a natural direction to move into.

The visual arts have always been a huge part of my life. I have a passion for all of the arts and find my own personal liberation within them. In addition to this, fashion modeling has entered my life as I’ve gotten older, and I’ve developed a love for it and the entire fashion industry on top of the visual arts. Photography is the perfect combination of those two things, and it is what I hope to pursue a career in.

~ Chloe Abidi