Art Captured Through An Unconventional Lens

Photo courtesy of Karl Steel.

On Wednesday Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. photographer Lori Nix visited SUNY New Paltz for an art lecture.

Nix is a photographer and printer based in Brooklyn, New York who has been building dioramas and photographing them since the early 1990s. She said she works out of her apartment and she enjoys working with the TV on at night and the radio on during the day.

The event was coordinated by the Student Art Alliance and the speaker was chosen through an event called the Slide Slam. The group created an interactive slide show of all the potential artists who people selected and a vote was held.

Michael Pultz, a fourth-year visual arts major and co-president of the Student Art Alliance, describes Nix’s work as non-traditional “because she creates her own settings in which to photograph.”

There are different department categories,  and usually the first person selected isn’t always available to speak. Nix was number one on their photo list and Pultz said she graciously accepted, making this her first visit to the college.

Nix plays around with miniature scenes using the most basic equipment. She said she is also very interested in incorporating her personal life and experiences in her work. In her first series of photographed dioramas, she retraces her childhood in Kansas.

Her inspiration comes from reading newspapers and magazines and an idea can sometimes hit her when she is half asleep on the subway.  Nix also mentioned that television programs and movies from the 1970s, especially science fiction films such as Planet of the Apes, have definitely impacted her creations.

“I take everyday experiences and turn them into artwork,” Nix said.

Nix said she has pursued this artistic style since she graduated college in 1997. She claims her style comes from her degree in ceramics and the fact that she isn’t interested in other photography, stating that her style is all based on what she is not. According to Pultz, artists like Nix demonstrate the many ways to “make it” in the art world.

“She also offers insight into her creative process and influences. Even if those aspects don’t apply to you, it’s interesting to get another perspective on how a creative person operates and makes their living,” Pultz said.

First-year photography major Alyssa Scharf attended the lecture and said she was very inspired by Nix.

“I really liked the different perspectives she brings to photography,” Scharf said.

Scharf also liked how Nix demonstrated the different ways one can utilize photography for self-expression.

Nix is currently working on three other projects but has chosen to wait to reveal them to her audience.