What: Guest Lecture
Where: Commons Theater
When: February 11, 2008
Paul Shambroom is a photographer who explores American power and culture. During his lecture, he showed us his early work on office environments to his current work photographing public weapons around the United States. He also showed us his work photographing American weapons and portraits of weapons specialist in their equipment. He was a very funny and smart speaker. He was entertaining which was surprising because the subject matter in many of his photographers were dark and heavy. His work is pretty straight forward and I thought his discussion about how to get permission to take photographs of restricted or limited objects was helpful. All of his work was focused and purposeful with a hint of irony in some of them.
My favorite collection of photographs that he shared with us was his office environment work. I though the progression of this work was well thought out and humorous. I thought the images of the people in their offices was unique to many of the typical office portrait seen in commercial work today. The image to the right was my favorite in this series because the composition is well planned and the expression on the women's face fits the humor of the inflated arms. The progression to local leader and representatives in small communities and environments was very interesting. He photographed ordinary people and made them seem more important and interesting while keeping a hint of humor in the images. The people were the most interesting part of the photographs. All of them were different and had unique characteristics which was nice and added diversity to the photographs.
In his current project, he travels around the United States and takes photographs of public weapons on monument. I thought the idea of traveling America and taking picture of a specific object or group of object was a brilliant idea. I also found it interesting that he preferred to photograph on cloudy days versus sunny days. In addition, I enjoyed his discussion on flickr and how he uses it as a source for looking at pictures. Looking back on the discussion it is interesting to compare Sharmbroom's opinion of flickr to our sophomore seminar class discussion on how there may be too many images in the world. Overall I thought Paul Shambroom was a very good speaking and a diverse photographer with a central theme or concern. I enjoyed the lecture.