William Staffeld: Examination of the Eye
Join us on Monday, November 15, 6–8 p.m. in Sibley Hall's Hartell Gallery for the opening reception of William Staffeld: Examination of the Eye, a special exhibition showcasing the work of AAP's longtime college photographer, William (Bill) Staffeld. Introductions and remarks begin at 6 p.m. Enjoy "Bubbles in the Bubbles" — refreshments and food in the Stiller Arcade between Milstein and Sibley halls from 6:30–7:30 p.m. — and celebrate Bill's 37 years at Cornell, his final semester as AAP Photographer, and a lifetime of creative work.
In the spring of 2009 — 26 semesters ago — I became the college photographer for AAP. After working many years in the AAP Knight Visual Resource Facility, which closed in 2009, the invitation to become the college photographer evolved and grew over the years. At first, I was primarily documenting the construction of Milstein Hall; then lectures, events, and the daily activities of students became my mainstay, from downtime to critiques to thesis presentations. There was a rhythm to photographing AAP's spaces and people, a rhythm structured by the seasons and semesters. Eventually, I would also cover field trips as well as many events and reviews at the Gensler Family AAP NYC Center studios, both in Chelsea and Midtown at 26 Broadway.
Again and again, I have asked myself how this work for AAP over so many years connects with my roots and the work that really launched me as a photographer. My earlier work was black and white analog photography of places and people in Upstate New York towns and cities. Much like my early work wandering the streets of Upstate towns, at AAP I became a roaming photographer, allowing for discovery and being open to creation. I make connections to moments between light, activity, and form, or in this case, between faculty, staff and students, their work, and the surrounding environment; these images are captured when the imagination is free and the mind empty of thoughts. What enters the eye then finds focus, answering the questions "how is all of this revealed to me, and what manifests?" The wandering is how you open yourself to energies within and without, to what simply is.
With this exhibition, I invite you to make connections and explore the work. Our best work is dreamed into existence. The density of our dreams and impressions is always colliding with and connecting to all we encounter in the world.