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Patrick Murphy is a student in the Certificate Program here at PCNW, as well as long time volunteer in our digital labs. He recently completed the Junior Seminar class this spring, with instructor Keeara Rhoades. This intensive production and critique oriented course is designed for students who are ready to expand or complete a body of work. While emphasizing independent work, the course supports students in their ability to edit, see connections and parallels in contemporary practice, and confront artistic challenges. We are very proud of his progress and are delighted he participated in a Q&A with us.

Below are a few images from Patrick’s project entitled Home Safety.
Read his artist statement here.

Can you describe your experience in Junior Seminar/how it benefited you?
Junior Seminar was my first opportunity in a class at PCNW to focus on a project and to develop it and have to defend it and be challenged by it. Keeara was instrumental in her support of my project. I do feel in retrospect that I do not enjoy having my work looked at too closely in class. I seemed to be too focused on the destination and not enough on the adventure of the journey. I will have to work on that. I was very clear from the beginning on what I wanted to accomplish with Home Safety and I feel Keeara sensed this and let me fulfill my goal. Benefits were several from taking the class. First and foremost it made me more aware of my weaknesses in the technical areas that I felt limited me. I plan on taking that issue up in the near future. Another benefit was my goal of telling a story through several images. This was a huge benefit as it is directly related to where I am heading in my work.

What brought you to the decision to create the series Home Safety?
Home Safety was a very small project that I though of several years ago while taking Digital I, here at PCNW. It was meant to be a funny, sardonic study of dangerous things done at home. It was certainly meant to elicit a laugh from the viewers. In Keeara’s class it totally took an entirely new direction. I really wanted to play with idea of home as a place where I operate dangerously and keep it hidden from the outside. So home becomes a “safe” place for this exploration. The images operate both on a humorous level and also on a disturbing psychological level. It was interesting creating the images; I would have a very clear idea in my head of how I wanted an image to form. I would go with that idea and although things did never work out exactly, I was usually very happy with the result. In many ways I looked at the work as a form of theatre.

How do you feel about sharing this rather personal work with your peers and now the greater photographic community?
I have no problem with sharing the work with the public. Yes, it is very personal but it represents only a small part of who I am and how I look at the world and my life. In many ways it is more of me exploring my fantasies and very little about the course I want my life to take. In my class final, a few of the students wanted me to end the series on a more upbeat note. I am really resistant to that kind of suggestion. This is what I want the world to see today. It is where I am in my life. This is not a DVD rental where the viewer is offered the “alternative ending.”

What is next for you, creatively?
I have a project that I would like to work on. My idea is creating a graphic novel of my childhood or one aspect of my childhood and how it has effected my adulthood. Of course I would not create an entire novel but rather iconic images from the novel that when viewed, tell a clear story of my young life. It has been kicking around in my head for the last 4 years, so I think it is time to start developing it…if only I could quit my job and stop all this work travel I might have more time to be creative!

You have been a faithful volunteer at PCNW for quite a while now. What do you enjoy most about being involved with us?
I have been in Seattle for the last 7 years and, quite honestly, have found it to be a rather cold city, socially. Very different than the communities I was a part of in NYC. This is why I find PCNW such an oasis. I have met wonderful people through the Photocenter and formed some nice friendships. Also, having been in academia for so many years, I enjoy being a student and being around people, young and old, that enjoy learning and developing new skills. I do believe it keeps us all young.


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