PODCAST: A Photographic Life, Episode 219: Plus Photographer Arne Svenson

In episode 219 UNP founder and curator Grant Scott is in his shed reflecting on embracing experiences and life, empathy and context in photographic documentation, and protecting your legacy through your own actions.

Plus this week, photographer Arne Svenson takes on the challenge of supplying Grant with an audio file no longer than 5 minutes in length in which he answer’s the question ‘What Does Photography Mean to You?’

Arne Svenson is a self-taught photographer with an educational and vocational background in special education, whose photographic practice aims to seek out the inner life, the essence, of his subjects, whether they be human, inanimate, or something in between. He says that he uses his camera as a reporter uses text, to create a narrative that facilitates the understanding of that which may lie hidden or obscured. In the years 2012-1016, Svenson was artist-in-residence at Wesley Spectrum High School, a program in Pittsburgh for children on the autism spectrum. In partnership with The Andy Warhol Museum and the Cognitive Psychology Department at the University of Victoria, BC, he was involved in a long-term project exploring the science of facial recognition skills with subjects on the spectrum. The resultant work was shown in its entirety at The Andy Warhol Museum. He is the author/photographer of numerous books, including Unspeaking Likeness, The Neighbors, Prisoners and Sock Monkeys and in 2016 he received the Nannen Prize in photojournalism for his project The Neighbors. Svenson’s photographs have been shown extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia and are included in numerous public and private collections, including SFMOMA, Carnegie Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Norton Museum of Art. His work has been profiled in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America and The New Yorker, among other publications. Recent solo exhibitions of his images have been held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Western Washington University, and as a two-person show with the work of Andre Kertesz at Galerie Miranda, Paris. Over the past few years Svenson has given numerous lectures in universities and museums, mostly on the issue of free speech in the arts and how this topic relates to his series The Neighbors, the subject of a protracted legal battle. He was the defendant in a lawsuit involving privacy issues and therefore uniquely qualified to speak about the ramifications of censorship and the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. https://arnesvenson.com

Dr. Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, documentary filmmaker, BBC Radio contributor and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019). His film Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay was first screened in 2018 www.donotbendfilm.com. He is the presenter of the A Photographic Life and In Search of Bill Jay podcasts.

© Grant Scott 2022

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