OCAD U 2013 Medal Winner in Photography: Jessica Tai


[music plays throughout]
My name is Jessica Tai. I’m a graduate
of the Photography Department, and I’m from
the San Francisco Bay area. Oh, in my thesis body of work, uh,
titled, “To Shadow A Failure,” um, I was interested in reinterpreting
the historical stigma failure, um, and I was using that
through, um, a failed historic process. So, my research stemmed primarily from looking into
one of the seminal figures, uh, in early photography,
which was William Henry Fox Talbot, and, um, I was really interested in his original paradox
to fix the shadow. So, from that, I was interested
in thinking about, uh, the origins
of the photographic medium, um, how the value of permanence and, um, the kind of requisite
of preservation, um, originated, and thinking about using
those first failed methodologies as a way of, um,
creating ephemeral images. So, the first methodologies
that Talbot used were not successful
in fixing his images, so by employing those,
I’ve created ephemeral photographs. Well, OCAD was really
one of the first places in which it- I felt heavily encouraged to develop,
uh, historical context for my work, a theoretical basis, and, uh,
a heavily research-based practice, so that has something-
has been something that I’ve been really attracted to
in the Photography Department, um, and I feel has been extremely,
uh, nourishing to my practice, and has led to, uh, success
in creating work. I found a number of faculty who I’ve really been able
to connect with and, um, establish a relationship with
that was extremely nourishing, and I’ve felt- I always felt
comfortable going to them at any stage of my process, in talking about my work,
in talking about my research. So, I’m really grateful
that one of the awards I’ve won, um, enables me
to have access to Gallery 44, which means that this summer,
and for the next year, I’ll be able to spend a lot of time
in the darkroom. [music fades out]

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