Betsy Schneider and Rebecca Senf

Rebecca Senf, Chief Curator, Center for Creative Photography, UA

Monday, August 29, 2022,

2:30-3:30 pm,

The Koffler Great Room, ASA

Rebecca Senf, who recently spoke at ASA about her book on Ansel Adams’ early work, will return to show us something “completely different”! Between 2011 and 2018, curator Senf worked with artist Betsy Schneider to create a book and an exhibition, To Be Thirteen, from Schneider’s Guggenheim-grant funded project to photograph and interview 250 thirteen-year-olds.

Of the undertaking, Schneider has written,

With this work I am interested in provoking thought about [the] simple dichotomies to which adolescence is so often reduced. I am motivated by the intensity, the complexity and the beauty of that point in life. I wonder not only about the experience of early adolescence, but also about how we as adults retain that experience and how it shapes us for the rest of our lives.

Senf will describe Schneider’s project, share images and a short excerpt of the film, and talk about the creation of the book that accompanied the Phoenix Art Museum exhibition in 2019. A component of the exhibition suggested by Phoenix Art Museum’s teen council invited museum-goers to write a letter to their thirteen-year-old self.  

While we have become fully accustomed to accept the “classic” photographs of Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Edward Steichen, or Dorotha Lange as “art,” contemporary work such as Schneider’s requires us to change our frame, to ask different questions about vision, form, and the relation of photographic art to human nature.  

Rebecca Senf’s BA in Art History from the University of Arizona led her to attain an MA and PhD from Boston University.  Besides her recent book on Adams, Making a Photographer, and the 2017 book written with Schneider, To Be Thirteen, Senf has published Reconstructing the View: The Grand Canyon Photographs of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe (2012).

To view several of the photos and letters from the exhibition, please click here

Preview compiled by Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteer

Aug 29: “Exploring Thirteen with Artist Betsy Schneider”