Alumni in the Field

Helgi Olgeirsson

Class of 2015

Since graduation from MICA I have been focused on the space of “re-commerce” giving new life to items otherwise discarded and in turn attempting to reduce waste in our single use economy. It was photography that got me interested in the field, taking a job for a local online auction house as a product and marketing photographer. From there you could say I caught the bug, within a year I relocated to Boston and ran the North East region for the company focusing on employing skilled photographers, art history majors and other creative minds that could help solve the many problems of re-commerce, especially item identification. 
The biggest problem with the field is automation. It is easy to track, market and sell items when you have hundreds of them, but with re-commerce every items is unique, and each item has to be treated as such. What is its story? Where did it come from? Who best to market it to? These questions have to be answered for every single one of them and its been my goal for the last four years to streamline this process so that more items can be repurposed rather than discarded. 
I now serve as the Regional Manager / New Business Development for Clearing House Estate Sales / Black Rock Galleries for the Greater Boston area where we aim to bring intelligent design and creative workflows to every collection seeking a new home. 


Dana Chang

Class of 2015

While at MICA, Dana wrote and photographed two books documenting Baltimore’s local food community of restaurants, farmers, and purveyors. How to Eat Meat (2013) and Baltimore’s Bounty (2015) were inspired by her Northern California upbringing and passion for supporting local and farm-to-table businesses. She graduated from MICA in 2015 with a BFA in Photography and a concentration in Sustainability & Social Practices.

After graduation, Dana moved back to California to start a full time position as a Producer for Noel Barnhurst Photographer, an award winning food photography studio based in Oakland. As a producer, Dana has led both studio and on location shoots for advertisements, packaging, and motion for nationally and internationally marketed clients. In addition to producing, Dana photographs as a freelancer for local California food businesses. In her spare time, she enjoys photographing her own personal work on film. Her work can be seen on her website at

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Akea Brionne Brown

Class of 2018

Akea Brionne Brown is a lens-based artist whose work investigates the implications of historical racial and social structures in relation to contemporary black life in America. She explores current political and social themes, as they relate to historical forms of oppression, discrimination, and segregation in American history. She graduated from MICA in May of 2018 with a BFA degree in Photography and Humanistic Studies. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland. 

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Zeina Zeitoun

Class of 2017

A little more than a year after graduating from MICA, Zeina relocated to New York and started working as a full time Digital Tech for Saks Fifth Avenue at Hudson’s Bay Company. Aside from her full time responsibilities, she’s also starting to take an exciting dip into freelance and work alongside some unique brands and other artists as well. 


Erin Fender

Class of 2016

Since graduating from MICA in 2016, Fender traveled to Madrid, Spain for 6 months to document underground hip-hop, following Impact dance crew. From 2017-2019, she served as the Program Manager for the Atlanta Photography Group (APG), a non-profit organization that promotes fine-art photography in Atlanta. During her time there, she developed a sustainable curriculum of photography-related creative and professional development workshops for adults and youth. Fender also serves as a member of the Advisory Council for Atlanta Celebrates Photography.

Currently, she manages a shop called Brick and Mortar that offers curated vintage and antique goods. She lives with her husband Aaron and their dog, Cref.


Bryn Dunbar

Class of 2016

Bryn Dunbar is currently working as a photographer at the digital advertising agency ISL in Washington, D.C. Since graduating MICA photo in 2016, she has worked on campaigns for well known brands, including Sam Adams, Volkswagen, and Kroger. While at ISL, she won PDN’s “The Taste” award in the personal work category for her MICA thesis project “USDA Approved”. She was also featured in USA today for her work on The Shelter Pets Project, which was a project done in conjunction with Ad Council to raise awareness for the adoption of shelter pets. This was a campaign that went world wide thanks to USA Today. Outside of commissioned work, she is currently working on a campaign to fight hunger in food desserts around the DMV area by designing and building a traveling food truck with other artists in D.C.  


Tiffany Jones

Class of 2012

Graduating in 2012 with a BFA in photography Tiffany Jones developed her art practice by employing interactive types of data collection such as interviews and surveys, in order to engage participants and to collect stories. This practice grounded her community work as an artist. Tiffany’s work is versatile and varied, and is always influenced by history, culture, and current events and societal assumptions. Her passion for community art and motivation for engagement grew prior to graduation with her involvement in the 2011 Black Male Identity project of Baltimore City, an initiative to change negative stereotypes of black men into positive images. Over the years each of her projects have been a platform to build a deeper appreciation for arts as a tool for education, impact and dialogue.

In 2015 Tiffany was a featured artist of the New Day Campaign, an arts initiative to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and substance use. Since then Tiffany combined her love for community and art and is now serving the role of an advisory board member and the Programs Committee Chair of the New Day Campaign. Other art leadership roles include an advisory member of Baltimore’s Gifted and Site Coordinator Access Art’s Lyndhurst Elementary after school program.

Continuing to work on her studio practice, Tiffany is a resident artist of School 33 Art Center located in Federal Hill.

Sara Cluggish

Class of 2008

Sara Cluggish is Curator at Site Gallery in Sheffield, UK, where she oversees the gallery’s exhibitions and events programme, as well as Platform, a series of artist-in-residence projects. Sara was previously an Assistant Curator at Nottingham Contemporary (2012-2014), and has worked in the exhibitions departments at Chisenhale Gallery, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. She spent two years working within the commercial sector as the Gallery Manager MOT International and Registrar at Herald St, London. 

Over the past five years, Sara has developed a range of solo and group exhibitions, including new commissions by Ed Atkins, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Lucy Beech & Edward Thomasson, Geoffrey Farmer, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Lina Lapelyte, Mark Leckey, Christina Mackie, Elizabeth Price, Laure Prouvost, James Richards, Florian Roithmayr and Grace Schwindt. In 2015 she undertook an interdisciplinary research fellowship at the Rudolph von Laban Archive held at the Trinitiy Laban Conservitoire of Music and Dance in South London. She is currently developing The Hunger Artist, a new moving image work and exhibition by Daria Martin, scheduled to open at Site Gallery in 2018. She is an occasional contributor to ArtReview and Frieze.

Sara Cluggish holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Curating from Goldsmiths University, London and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Amber Carroll Santibañez

Class of 2009

Amber Carroll Santibañez is a Durham, NC native.  She earned her BFA in photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009, later going on to earn a Masters of Arts in Teaching in 2010, also from MICA.

     As an undergrad student at MICA, Santibañez was awarded the amazing opportunity to participate in an internship with the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.  As an intern, she worked in small team to design and facilitate a 13-week documentary photography workshop at the Thomas J. S. Waxter Children’s Center.  The workshop included group discussions, art critiques, technical tutorials, and team building activities for a group of young women ranging between the ages of 13-21, rehabilitating from crimes ranging from repetitive misdemeanor to first degree murder.   At the conclusion of the program Santibañez and two other interns organized a group exhibition of the student work at one of Baltimore’s newest museums at the time. The exhibition was well received by the community and the interns received the governor’s recognition.  Inspired by that opportunity, Santibañez decided to teach, work, and collaborate with underserved youth.   After leaving MICA, Santibañez worked in Montgomery County Public Schools for 2 years before moving back to her hometown to start a family.

     Now in her seventh year teaching and in her fifth year at Durham School of the Arts (DSA),  Santibañez is focused on helping her students discover, develop and value their voices and the unique gifts they have to offer to the world.  She is passionate about fostering a strong sense of community in schools due to her belief that collaborative learning best supports individual growth.  She deems it is vital that students realize and understand that they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and that, together, they can inspire, organize, and generate change.  Her hard work and dedication has earned her recognition from a variety of professional learning communities.  She was identified as the Outstanding New Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Art Education Association in 2011, the Teacher of the Year Semifinalist for Durham Public Schools in 2015, and  was honored as the Student U High School Teacher of the Year for 2016.


Michelle Czerwinski

Class of 2015

I work for an e-commerce company that sells special occasion gowns and dresses. We run three different websites:, and With nearly 5,000 products available for sale on each site, we’re one of the largest online dress retailers. We buy from multiple brands and vendors like Sherri Hill and Jovani. All products are photographed and edited at our Times Square headquarters. It’s certainly a fast-paced environment. On photoshoot days I work as digital tech ensuring that the quality and lighting is consistent across all shoots. As each product is shot, I review the images and make selects that are forwarded to the editing team. During the off-seasons, I retouch and produce editorial shoots. I recently directed an editorial shoot in Central Park for our Graduation campaign. I got to work in the sun all day with an amazing team while tourists gathered round and snapped pictures of our shoot. It was surreal.

 On the weekends I keep busy freelancing as a photo assistant. I’ve had some amazing opportunities that led to working on exciting shoots. One highlight was when I did the set design for the Spring ’17 Isabelle Armstrong campaign. I’ve also been testing development models and shooting street style during fashion weeks. My goal has been to say yes to almost everything that comes my way. I love having the chance to flex my creative muscles and try out different roles on set. It’s a steady hustle, but an enjoyable one for sure. I’m grateful every day for the skills and experiences that the MICA photo department provided me.

Amalia Bussard

Class of 2015

Since graduating from MICA in 2015 with a BFA in Photography and concentration in Sustainability and Social Practice, Amalia has taken on the roll of Manager in Training – Operations of MOM’s Organic Market in Hampden, but will soon be moving over to their newest location in White Marsh. When looking for a job post-graduation Amalia knew it would have to be something that aligned with her personal values, but would also help her stay inspired so she would not lose focus of her creative passions. MOM’s Organic Market’s company mission is to protect and restore the environment, so it only made sense for Amalia to plant her roots with them.

Amalia’s work is centered around food, more specifically super foods: nutrient rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. These super foods are so naturally beautiful and vibrant in appearance that she considered each one to be a work of art in itself. She was so inspired by these foods and began arranging them in an artful way every time she would made something to eat.  A visual trend began to emerge in these culinary creations. Each one organically began to take the shape of a mandala. According to the history of Buddhism, the word mandala comes from the Sanskrit meaning “Circle” and offers balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony.

A few years back she created an Instagram account called “The Wholesome Bowl”. This has been her platform for sharing these superfood mandalas and vegan/vegetarian recipes with the world. Fast forward to her Senior year at MICA, she found herself so invested in creating, photographing, and sharing her food art with the world via social media, but couldn’t help but want to take them off the screen and make something more tangible. After having this realization she decided to write a cook book for her senior thesis project, encompassing photographs of her food mandalas along with corresponding recipes and words of enlightenment.

Her motivation in making this cook book was simply to inspire people to live a healthier lifestyle. Using food as a language, she hopes to encourage people to open their eyes to the world of delicious and nutrient packed foods that not only help sustain a healthy body, but also a healthy world.

“The Wholesome Bowl” cookbook is now published and available for purchase through her website, and also at MOM’s Organic Market’s Hampden location.

unnamed-1Alex Alexander

Class of 2010

Since graduating from MICA, Alex Alexander continues to broaden her visual horizons by combining her first love of the literary arts with the medium of fine-art photography. This, accompanied by a particular focus on portraiture, with an exquisite eye for composition and striking subject matter all accumulates to what she calls “photo-poetics”. Upon graduating in 2010 Alex completed two visual triumphs in book form entitled “The Awakenings” and “Nudes of the Awakenings”; fine art catalogues where poetry and photography collide. In this collection she brings to the forefront matters of sexuality, racial sensitivities, emotional loss and gain and stories of ones defiance against the odds. Her work does not shy away from any harsh truths. It revels in existentialist overtones not burdened by some overwhelming need to be safe or gentle with its viewers. Her images and correlating prose work in tandem to provide a greater understanding of what it means to be queer, black and female in a world where all three traits can be seen individually as a weakness.

“In the beginning stages of realizing what my art was to become, I was always taken aback by the audacious comments from my peers during critiques stating that I was giving the viewer too much information; that there was no need for both photography and poetry at once as if one had nothing to do with the other. Thats like denying a painter the use of her entire palette\ just because a simple rendering in black and white would do just fine. Thats privilege, thats nerve, dissecting art for ones own comfortability. It was then that I realized the weight of my versatility would be too much for the average person to bear. Therefore I do not create with the average person in mind”.

Alexander’s rawness comes not only from an innate desire to push and bend the realms of visual thinking but from a physical depletion of vision that occurred at birth. Alex Alexander was born with only partial sight, causing her to depend majorly upon the distinction between extreme lights and darks. In the contrast is where she finds the greater picture which becomes evident in her style of shooting.

Continuing the narrative of overcoming obstacles, Alex still battles daily with having only partial sight. She has yet to limit her expression to only one canvas. This ongoing story of one woman’s journey through life can be summed up in several mediums with photography at the top of the list. While her visual triumphs echo off walls, her lyrical compositions grace pages, stages and speakers throughout the DMV. Her latest body of work entitled “Perfect Vision” is a recorded collection of vocals paired with heavy hitting spoken word poetry and outstanding musical accompaniment. This album is the artists first solo spoken word project that was inspired by her comprehensive knowledge of photography and is a testament to her strength and unyielding versatility in the arts.


Alexander currently resides in Baltimore where she works as a freelance portrait photographer and professional performances poet. She continues to create and show variations of her work, both new and old, in galleries across the city while providing social commentary and lifestyle advice as blogger/ public figure The High Yella Bella. She was recently featured in LED Baltimore and in 2016 was added to their list of east coast artists to watch. “I wish I could say that life after art school is glamorously gilded in endless opportunity and lucrative advancements within your field but id be lying. This is only the case for a very lucky few. But for artists, such as myself, who are simply enjoying where they are now while knowing where they want to be in the future, you find that its enough just to be able to get up every morning with the very important task of being an artist. I would have never imagined there being so much downtime but I wouldn’t change a thing. Between editing, writing and waiting for that one yes in a million maybes, I have honed in on my purpose as a photographer and poet. I cut my teeth on time the spent interpreting the world around me.  All I wish for now is to have these interpretations projected on a greater scale. This too is on the horizon for sure”.

rafaelsoldiRafael Soldi

Class of 2009

Rafael Soldi is a Peruvian­-born, Seattle-based artist and curator. He holds a BFA in Photography & Curatorial Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has exhibited internationally at the Frye Art Museum, American University Museum, Griffin Museum of Photography, Glassbox Gallery, Greg Kucera Gallery, G. Gibson Gallery, Connersmith, PCNW, and Vertice Galeria, among others. Rafael is a 2012 Magenta Foundation Award Winner, and recipient of the 2014 Puffin Foundation grant, 2016 smART Ventures grant, and 2016 Jini Dellaccio GAP grant; he has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and PICTURE BERLIN.

His most recent solo exhibition, Life Stand Still Here, was presented in 2016 at Glassbox Gallery in Seattle and is traveling to Oregon State University gallery in 2017. His work is in the permanent collections of the Tacoma Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, 4Culture, and the King County Public Art Collection. Rafael is the co-founder of the Strange Fire Collective, a curatorial platform dedicated to highlighting work made by women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.


Erik Poutinen

Class of 2012

After graduating from MICA with a BFA in photography in 2012 Erik moved to Brooklyn and began working as a full time overnight photo editor with the Patrick McMullan company. During this time, he gained experience working many high and low profile events ranging from the New York Fashion Week, the Met Gala and the Oscars to small batch product launches and movie screenings.  He has since joined Getty Images as one of the few Staff Field Photo Editors. Since joining Getty now leads teams of photographers and editors on large events in an effort to get images live on the Getty site and ready for sale to magazines and blogs as the event is still happening.  When time permits, he continues his own photographic practices, shooting digitally and on film. Shooting street photography around Manhattan and Brooklyn, still lives in his living room/studio and developing film in his bathroom.



Lisa Parisi

Class of 2006

Since graduating in 2006 with a BFA in Photography, I have been pursued various careers including: Photo Editor at Fast Company, Complex Media, Maxim, as well as Photo Agent at Rona Represents.

While at magazines, I loved being part of a large staff comprised of incredibly talented and creative individuals; Photo Editors, Creative Directors, Art Directors, Writers. I stayed at my first full time job, Fast Company, for four years. I watched and took part in its evolution from a publication people never head of, to a major force sitting alongside the likes of Fortune, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Time. We launched three web sites and an iPad app. I gained experience in the digital realm where even now my current job intersects daily. Complex and Maxim both offered opportunity into the world of celebrities, commissioning shoots for some of the biggest names in the business: Nas, Nicki MinajIggy AzaleaKanye WestRihanna, and countless others.

Many jobs and years later, I am now Vice President, Executive Producer at Edelman, the largest global PR Agency. I lead Design Production and Art Buying for the Creative Network within the Edelman NY office. Our Clients range from some of the largest in the global sphere including Samsung, ACLU, Unilever, Campbell’s, Johnson & Johnson, etc. Here at Edelman we are at the cross hairs of Communications Marketing going to bat with some of the largest Ad Agencies in the world, producing work that is equally as measured and poignant. I was Producer on REI’s #OptOutside social campaign, which asked consumers to ban Black Friday and instead focus on an outdoor activity. The campaign swept Cannes with Edelman taking home the 2016 Cannes Grand Prix in Titanium Lions.  We recently wrapped a large photo shoot and redesign for Dove Self Esteem Project Curriculum – a program that is distributed to schools globally and teaches tweens/teens to value self esteem and confidence in this ever-changing landscape. We are beginning brave and important work our Clients, and that in and of itself is incredibly motivating and rewarding.



Rachel Hulme

Class of 2014

Rachael Hulme is an artist, art educator, and researcher living and teaching in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a BFA in Photography ’14 and her MAT ’15 from MICA. In 2014 she was awarded the Jan Meyer ’87 Traveling Fellowship and traveled the Southeastern United States for her project, “Lessons”, documenting empty K-12 schools, classrooms, and the teachers, students and staff who used to inhabit them. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Patricia Lion Krongard Award in Art Education and has presented on her research in photographic education at regional and national conferences, including MSDE PDS, SPE National, and MAEA. Currently a full-time faculty member at Edgewood High School, she teaches Photo I, Advanced Photo, and AP Photo for Harford County Public Schools as well as small-group workshops for Apple in Columbia, Maryland.





Micah Wood

Class of 2013

Since graduating from MICA I’ve kind of never slowed down. I worked on just personal work for the first few months, then started picking up lots of freelance. I started doing freelance photography for MICA in many different departments, some of my favorite designers, bands, and even some clipping masks for the BMA.

From there, I continued freelancing but returned to a project I began during my time at MICA called “Features”. The project documents bands and musicians the way they want to be seen, instead of the way the photographer (in this Scenario, me) thinks they should be seen. I set out to make a 200-page book of these collaborative portraits I had been taking since Junior Seminar in 2012. A successful Kickstarter funded the project and a few months later, I released my book with a very fun and rewarding release party, with some band members from the book even DJing at the show.

Since then, I have also released a solo album of all original music and have been photographing a lot of bands and artists that I really respect and like. I’m looking forward to see what’s next!



Jess Marx

Class of 2012

After graduating MICA, Jessica worked as a full time photographer at the Baltimore Under Armour ecommerce studio for three years. She developed the lighting and styling direction for the accessories and footwear on and has art directed and photographed many web and print editorials. She then began as a freelance photographer/ assistant/ stylist in Baltimore. Her work ranged from assisting on a Martha Stuart editorial, shooting Pennsylvania based furniture makers, to styling MLB players in the Orioles and National Stadiums for UA commercials. She is now based in Brooklyn, NY is a freelance food and product photographer. She freelances for the New York Times Recipe Section and photographs packaging, social media, and editorials for food and product based companies.




Kyle Tata

Class of 2012

Since graduating in 2012, Kyle Tata has been exhibited his work at various galleries and institutions across the country such as Current Space Gallery, Spudnik Gallery and Press (Chicago,IL), Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Walters Art Museum, Aqua Art Miami, Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, The International Print Center of New York and Hamiltonian Gallery. In 2014 he was selected as a finalist for the Walter and Janet Sondheim Prize. In addition to his personal studio practice, Kyle has been the photography instructor at Baltimore School for the Arts since 2013, teaching classes in darkroom and digital photography. He is currently in the fellowship program at the Hamiltonian Gallery in DC.





Suzanna Zak

Class of 2011

Suzanna Zak is an artist based in Los Angeles. Her practice combines photography, sculpture, and artist books. She is concerned with how we come to understand place. Zak employs a variety of strategies that point to the many expressions of a singular space. Often working with found objects including print ephemera, her collections depict a variety of representations focusing around a central locale. In addition, Zak runs the artist book press, Rock Bottom, where she publishes her own work and collaborates with other artists. Zak was the 2012 recipient of the Meyer Photography Traveling Fellowship and has exhibited at various spaces such as Kimberly-Klark (Queens), Center for Photography at Woodstock (New York), LAND&SEA (Oakland), GOLD (Los Angeles), Embassy (Los Angeles), Good Press (Glasgow, Scotland), Sydney Gallery (Sydney, Australia), and Gether Contemporary (Copenhagen, Denmark).Suzanna has been an artist assistant to Walead Beshty since 2013. She is also an avid mushroom hunter and rock climber.


Shane Smith

Class of 2015

See recent photographs by MICA Photo alum, Shane Smith, featured in Fader magazineThe photo series features models wearing not only fashion, but also “rejuvenating” face masks. The visual contrast is striking! Check out the full article, “All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go” at:




Ashley E Walters

Class of 2015

Shortly after graduating MICA photo in May of 2015 I quit my restaurant job, crammed everything that would fit into my car and caravanned across the country with my boyfriend, he in his car, and me in mine, heading for Los Angeles. LA really wasn’t my initial plan; actually it was sort of the end of my five-year plan. But things change, as they often do.
We spent about month on the road, curving and crisscrossing westward in a very roundabout sort of way, seeing as much of the country as we could. Surprisingly, though I spent quite a bit of time in the heartland, I only made a few pictures for my body of work, When the Moon was in the Seventh House (on the birth, death, and magic of small towns in middle America). I spent most of my time in the Midwest writing, thinking, and reflecting on the work so far.
After a beautiful July and comically treacherous apartment hunt, I arrived in LA, and the job hunt began, I promised myself when I left Baltimore that I would avoid taking another restaurant job if I could, which was a hard decision to make. I  enjoyed my time in the service industry, I was good at it, plus it was fun.  But I stuck to my resolve. After another month of waiting, and searching, semi-panicking, and secretly looking up barista jobs, I was contracted full-time by the Internet Archive to work at the Getty Research Institute. Funnily enough, after a month of searching on every website and platform I could think of, I found my job on Craigslist. So thank you, Los Angeles Craigslist, for the job and the cheap bed frame.
I’ve been working at the Getty since, essentially my job is to scan and archive rare books from a variety of different special collections.  There is a lot about the job I enjoy, for example it is extraordinary to find a flower petal pressed into a book that hasn’t been opened in a hundred years.  And I am learning so much about archival systems and library protocol. The work itself is rather meditative thus there is lots of time to plan photographs while flipping pages.
Though archive work is a 9 to 5 kind of gig, so I have been learning to adjust to that. Fitting my personal practice into my suddenly grown-up life has been a challenge. But I’m happy to say that the Seventh House town is very much alive and breathing, my new apartment was built in the 1960’s and makes the perfect backdrop for pretend farmhouse still life recreations. In December I traveled back to South Dakota to see my family and to make more photographs for the series. I would say it feels like I’m just starting to get back into the swing of things, on my to-do list for this year? Dive deeper into Seventh House, decorate our new apartment, and to finish a collection of poems three years in the making. –Ashley E Walters



Corinne May Botz

Class of 1999

“Hands” from the series Bedside Manner, 2013

Opening reception: December 17, 2015   6pm – 8pm

December 17, 2015 – February 6, 2016

Benrubi Gallery is pleased to announce Brooklyn-based photographer Corinne May Botz’s Bedside Manner, her first solo show with the gallery. As in The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, her acclaimed series of photographs of doll house–sized crime-scene dioramas built in the 1940s, Bedside Manner blurs the line between the actual and the artificial in a series of images that powerfully evoke the Freudian uncanny—something that is strangely familiar yet resists classification.

The subject here is the little-known world of medical simulations, in which trained medical actors portray so-called “standardized patients” in order to help medical students improve their diagnostic and interpersonal skills. Botz photographed the medical actors through two-way mirrors, visible in the frame, which creates an immediate sense of voyeurism as well as dread. The relationship between viewer and subject is further complicated by the viewer’s difficulty in pinpointing the exact nature of what is being depicted. In some photographs, there is no indication that we’re looking at a performance; in others, the inclusion of props—a child-sized plastic arm, a couple in tense vigil at the bedside of a simulation mannequin with a bloody rag pressed to its forehead—suggest a re-enactment of some kind, but its nature remains opaque and unsettling.

The photographs simultaneously elicit and circumscribe an emotional response, as viewers are forced to contemplate their reactions not just to sickness, injury, and hospitals, but also to the innumerable images of human suffering we are confronted with on a daily basis, whether for entertainment or edification. As such, the photographs contain an ethical aspect as well, as we question their effect on our own empathic processes, and are reminded of the way in which even real patients “play sick” in order to solicit care from doctors and nurses. As with the student-doctors for whom these simulations were performed, we are forced to interrogate which aspects of these scenes are not just true but relevant to our own medical history.

Also included in the show is the short film Bedside Manner, in which neurologist Dr. Alice Flaherty plays herself as doctor, patient and standardized patient in a narrative that forces spectators to decipher what is authentic in the main character’s narrative. To paraphrase Flaherty: she is a doctor learning how to be a patient, in order to teach doctors how to be better doctors. In regards to the discourse concerning empathy, we are left not only thinking about what patients feel but what student-doctors feel as they go through the process of becoming an “authority.”

Corinne May Botz (b. 1977) was born in Ridgewood, N.J. She earned a Bachelor degree in Fine Art from Maryland Institute, College of Art and a Master of Fine Arts from Milton Avery School of the Arts, Bard College. Botz’s photographs have been internationally exhibited at such institutions as the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois; Wurttembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany; De Appel, Amsterdam; and Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK. She is the author of Haunted Houses (Monacelli Press, 2010) and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (Monacelli Press, 2004). She is the recipient of both the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Jerome Foundation grants. Botz is on the faculty of International Center of Photography and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Benrubi Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm
We will be closed from Dec 24, 2015 through Jan 4, 2016 for winter break.
We will reopen Jan 5, 2016 at 10am.



Jack Sorokin

Class of 2015

Jack Sorokin works as a freelance photographer and video director on assignment all over the United States for editorial and commercial clients. He specializes in using shallow depth of field and natural light to create powerful and well-crafted portraiture.
In his last year at MICA Jack started a small branding business with Liberty Riggs, his partner at the time and fellow MICA student. Upon graduating from MICA in the spring of 2015, Jack moved to Austin, Texas with Liberty to continue their business and work as freelancers in their own right. Despite the company’s success, in the summer of 2016 Jack and Liberty dissolved their business together. Jack then lived on the road for 5 months, traveling Europe and the United States, shooting mostly for personal work and the occasional client wherever he went. Most recently he settled down in Asheville, NC and is continuing to work as a freelance photographer and video director.




Tatiana Gulenkina

Class of 2011

After my graduation in 2011, I almost immediately moved to DC which, at first glance, might not seem like an obvious choice for photographers but I think it’s a big enough city to find a niche. While at MICA, I did both of my internships there – one was at a small non-profit called Citizen Effect where I helped with media production and photo editing, the other one at Carriage House photo studio where I assisted on various workshops and shoots.

The first year wasn’t easy (to say the least) since I had to manage random jobs with finding assisting, production and any other art-related gigs I could come across. Then I started working in TV full-time which was exciting, and I learned a lot with different shows, but at some point, a little over a year ago, I decided that what I really want is to be a freelancer, and if this doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. I like video production and video editing but my heart is in still photography, which of course doesn’t mean that it can’t be combined with something else.

Quitting a solid job with benefits was the most stupid (according to my mom), the coolest (according to my friends) and the most time-consuming (according to my ex-boyfriend)  thing I went through so far. It’s certainly not be for everyone but I think it’s worth experiencing at some point in life.

While finding work in general might be easier than I originally thought, getting assignments only in one chosen area of interest is very hard since there is a limited number of opportunities. So at this point I try to keep my options open and not turn anything down unless it’s something that I don’t do at all. Recently, I was lucky to experience a whole range of situations: from shooting restaurants and concerts to working on a feature story about dark matter for Harper’s magazine and producing commissioned cyanotype portraits. One of my favorite projects was documenting DC Commission’s on Arts and Humanities art education program that runs in a number of public schools throughout the city.

With all the hours that go into e-mailing, reaching out to people, filling paperwork and editing, I’m just happy that I still have energy to pursue fine art. All three projects that I’m working on right now I originally started in college but they’re still exciting to me. In some mysterious ways, my portfolio was featured in print in the British Journal of Photography last year and noticed by Wired and Complex but getting work exhibited and recognized by curators is obviously completely different so this is something that I want to concentrate on in the near future.

Another thing I didn’t expect was the overwhelming amount of alone time doing different tasks and research and in how many ways one gets tested through different stages of creative process. For example, I decided that I’d rather shoot a commissioned portrait or a wedding where at least I can have a genuine connection to people that pay me than do work for an organization or a corporation with values that I don’t support. While it’s true that there is little stability in this business, I don’t think I’d like to change anything at this stage since so far it’s been a great personal journey, and I’m extremely grateful to be given a chance to do what I’m doing.


Patrick R Pilkey

Class of 2014

“I graduated from MICA with a BFA in photography in 2014. At the time, I worked as a photographer for the Baltimore City Paper under Joe Giordano. After graduating, I left the paper and moved to New York to pursue an internship with photographer Mary Ellen Mark. Upon arriving, I began to intern at her studio in Soho as well as regularly assisting her on set.
I also began to work freelance as a photography assistant. and as a digital retoucher. During this time, I also worked as a behind the scenes set photographer for feature films such as Stereotypically You.
Three months after moving to New York, I landed a position as intern at National Geographic photographer Robert Clark’s studio. Not long after I began, I was moved from intern to Studio Assistant. Around this time, my internship with Mary Ellen Mark ended and I decided to stay in New York where I continued working for Robert Clark.
Recently, I have been promoted to Studio Manager for Robert Clark and work full time at his studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yards.
My duties mostly consist of managing the rental of the professional photography space in house, as well as acting as Robert’s First Assistant which includes editing, booking trips for National Geographic, and operating his photographic archive.
 I love my job…every day is a new and exciting adventure. Whether it’s thumbing through Robert’s archive of unbelievably beautiful and exotic photographs, to booking a Vogue shoot in the studio…there is never a dull moment. Although the position is taxing and requires a great deal of energy and time, I am still photographing and creating work as often as possible on my spare time.
I am currently working on a body of photographs about the culture of the American Appalachian region which was just featured online alongside an interview on Appalachian Appreciation. The end goal of the project is to complete and publish a book of the photographs. ”  – Patrick R Pilkey



unnamedKate Porter

Program DirectorYouth in Focus

Class of 2005, Photography

Class of 2006, MAT

          Kate Lynn Porter (Morrill was her maiden name while at MICA) contacted us recently, and this is what she’s been up to since she graduated from MICA…
2006 – 2011: Taught photography at Towson High School (Photo 1 through AP)
2011 – 2013: Founding Assistant Principal of Baltimore Design School
2013 – current: Program Director at Youth in Focus in Seattle.  (
“Youth in Focus – Our mission is to empower urban youth, through photography, to experience their world in new ways and to make positive choices for their lives.  We put cameras in the hands of at-risk youth and place them in a challenging environment surrounded by high quality talented teachers, nurturing adult mentors, and create a strong community of support. Through photography our students find their voice, identity, creativity, and gain new confidence in their worth and abilities.
Additionally, since 2008 I’ve been leading Habitat for Humanity International teams each year to build homes in a variety of countries in need, and documenting the people, culture, and experience through photography.  (Guatemala, El Salvador, Zambia, Romania, Cambodia)”.



Scott Bradley

Class of 2014

“The first year of Post-Grad has been quite a whirlwind experience. I decided to stay in Baltimore and use the connections I made through MICA as a springboard for my career. After scraping by as a Barista, my efforts paid off. In the past year i’ve done marking work for local beer distributors, Freelanced consistently for the Baltimore City Paper, forged a working relationship doing real estate photography for a local contractor, and a multitude of other freelance opportunities. In terms of more sustainable work, my most significant success was being given the opportunity to work with The Maryland Department Of Natural Resources. From the end of June to the first of August, I worked with the Conservation Jobs Corps for Maryland DNR. The Program employed at risk urban youths from ages 14-17, and put them to work at State parks across Maryland. It was my job to document the project, and capture the growth and development of these young adults. When the program ended, I kept ties with DNR and the National Park Service, and have continued to work with them. Shortly after the program, I started working as a car photographer for Koons Toyota in Annapolis, and am working there currently along with my other freelance endeavors. In my spare time I am working on a photo and video project for the Lowside Motorcycle Syndicate and Motorcycle shop, located in the Remington neighborhood of Baltimore.” ~Scott Bradley ’14


unnamedJuan Carlos Castro

 PhD, University of British Columbia ’10, MAT Maryland Institute College of Art ’00, BFA – Photography, ‘99

Juan Carlos Castro (PhD, University of British Columbia ’10, MAT Maryland Institute College of Art ’00, BFA – Photography, ‘99) is Undergraduate Program Advisor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Art Education at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His research focuses on the dynamics and qualities of knowing, learning and teaching art through social and mobile media as understood through complexity thinking, network theory, and mobility studies. His current research examines how mobile media coupled with visual creative production networks knowledge in urban environments to create educational and civic engagement with teens and young adults. He is currently Principle Investigator for the Social Sciences and Humanities Council Insight funded project: MonCoin: Investigating mobile learning networks to foster educational engagement with at-risk youth (2015-2018).
Prior to joining the faculty at Concordia University, Juan has taught at the University of Illinois, University of British Columbia, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and the Burren College of Art. Juan was a National Board Certified Teacher and taught at Towson High School in Maryland. As a high school teacher, Castro’s teaching and curriculum was awarded a Coca-Cola Foundation Distinguished Teacher in the Arts from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts and twice awarded with a U.S. Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award.
In 2013, he was awarded the Manuel Barkan Memorial Award from the National Art Education Association. He is also co-editor of the recently released books entitled:Educational, Psychological, and Behavioral Considerations in Niche Online Communities (2014) and: Youth practices in digital arts and new media: Learning in formal and informal settings (2015).


elleperezElle Perez

Class of 2011

Elle Perez graduated from MICA in 2001. Check out Elle’s powerful new series of images featured in “The Fader”. These photographs focus on the underground wrestling scene in Brooklyn. Below is an excerpt from the article on “The Fader”:

Elle Perez: “I first heard about the underground entertainment wrestling scene in the Bronx after my cousin’s wrestling persona added me on Facebook. I was like, “What the hell is this?” His wrestling persona is from Canada, which is really interesting when you think about what a Puerto Rican kid from the Bronx’s ideal persona would be. Like, here that’s what’s exotic.

I went to his show at a community center inside a housing development. You walk into the basketball court, and there’s a makeshift wrestling ring in the middle, surrounded by all these people screaming for their favorites and booing at the villains. It reminded me of underground punk shows when I was 14 or 15. Fantasy can take off running, and you can be this version of yourself that somehow couldn’t exist in the real world, you know?”


katie Mcdonough

Kate McDonough Kutil

Class of 2003

Katie McDonough Kutil graduated in 2003 and continued running the photography business that helped her put herself through MICA.  The work focused mostly on weddings, as well as product photography for local businesses.  She had always been interested in design and letterpress printing, and there was a void in the market at the time for custom wedding invitations.  Turns out she liked the design side of weddings better than the photography side and went to work for nationally acclaimed brand Paper Source at their location in Georgetown DC designing custom invitations.  Feeling like Paper Source didn’t give her enough creative freedom, In 2005 she took a job as a custom designer for a small stationery boutique here in Baltimore, where she went on to become a partner.  Chellé Paperie moved off the avenue into a larger event space they shared with a florist, and Katie started studying floral design, and freelancing for the florist they shared space with.  In 2009 Katie‘s business partner moved cross country and they decided to close Chellé Paperie.  Katie continued doing custom invitation and stationery design but added her new found love of floral design to her business model.  She now operates her boutique floral and stationery design business Petal and Print out of the home she shares with her husband, two dogs and newborn daughter.  She loves photography and continues to use the skills she learned at MICA to further her business, and occasionally still takes on work as a lifestyle / product photographer.



Samantha Wilson

Class of 2012

After a successful 4 years at MICA, I graduated in May 2012. I then moved back home to Stanford, Connecticut and began working a few odd jobs and volunteering at a local gallery, Franklin Street Works.

Spring break of my last semester at MICA I visited Portland, Oregon and decided that was where I wanted to begin my professional career. The thoughtful nature and openness of the creative community in Portland drew me to pack my things and move cross-country.

In March 2013, I made my move to Portland. I soon joined PECI, a company that provides incentives to those who purchase energy efficient products and supports a more sustainable future. I also volunteer at Newspace Center for Photography, a community-driven photography center. I’m currently researching, developing and planning new projects incorporating photography, performance, installation and video.



Shelby Silvernell

Class of 2009

Since graduating from MICA with a BFA in photography in 2009, I moved to Chicago and have had a few different jobs in the field.  The summer after moving, I found a job in the commercial photography studio of an auto accessories manufacturing company.  I learned a great deal about this particular niche of the industry, and I had the opportunity to work with some amazing equipment.  I had several internships at museums while in school, and I missed non-profits, though. So, I decided to accept an offer from the Chicago History Museum for a temporary scanning technician position.  It was wonderful working with their massive collections, the photography collection in particular.  The temporary position lead to another temporary position, and I was eventually promoted to a permanent imaging specialist and photographer position.  I was involved in all aspects of imaging for the museum, from marketing and event photography to digitizing 2D and 3D collections materials.  I have recently started working as a visual resources digitization assistant in the main library at Northwestern University.  I am excited to work in imaging to make research and educational materials more accessible at an institution which has made this work a priority.



edmodo portrait sized

Erik Whipple

Class of 2002

My name is Erik Whipple and I graduated from Mica in 2002 with a a major in photography.  I have been working as a photography teacher at Perry Hall High School in Baltimore County since 2004.  I teach high school level photography classes (wet darkroom and digital) as well as basic drawing and painting.  I work occasionally as a self-employed wedding and portrait photographer in the Baltimore area.  I shoot photography for my own enjoyment and collect vintage cameras.  I would be willing to be contacted by alum or students with interests in photography or teaching art.



Rose Cromwell

Class of 2005

Upon graduating from MICA in 2005, she was awarded the Meyers Traveling Fellowship.  With this grant, she then travelled to Cuba and completed a photography project “Jovellar y Infanta”.  In 2006, she applied for and was awarded a Fulbright grant to spend a year in Panama working on a project that examined how Panamanians were locally by a global trade route: The Panama Canal.  During her time in Panama she met the artist Gustavo Araujo who introduced her to the photographer Sandra Eleta. She stayed in Panama for the following two years working as Sandra’s darkroom master printer and helped to found Cambio Creativo,  an organization that facilitates creative workshops in the community of Coco Solo in Colon, Panama. She also had her first solo exhibition at the Diablo Rosso Gallery in Panama City and was included in the publication “25 under 25, Up and coming American Photographers” published by powerHouse books. She has recently been accepted to the 2014 Light Work Artist in Residency Program

In 2008 I assisted for photographer Chan Chao, who was working on a project in Panama, and he told about Syracuse University’s MFA in Art photography, with impressive faculty and generous fellowships. In 2009 I applied and was awarded a Full Fellowship. During my years at SU I spent time off from classes traveling back and forth from Syracuse to Cuba to Panama. I began working on a long-term project based in Cuba: “Everything Arrives”. I also organized and ran a bilingual afterschool photography program for Syracuse youth and worked at Light Work / Community Darkrooms, fine-tuning my digital printing skills.

 I have recently moved to Brooklyn, New York, and am looking forward to the creative opportunities that a large city like New York City offers. I continue to work with Cambio Creativo, am a team member of Estudio Nuboso, and work as a freelance photographer and videographer.  I will begin teaching at International Center for Photography this winter.



Nathaniel Fink

Class of 2006

I have been living in Boston since graduating MICA and working at non-profit called AIDS Action Committee. For the past year and a half I have been working in their Development department doing grant writing and sponsorships. All the while I have been keeping up my photo practice while also becoming more involved and interested in urban planning, particularly in the area of “alternative” transportation (i.e biking, walking, transit, etc). My current project is a blog called Cycle Style Boston (, which is my attempt to combine my photo work with transportation issues. It features photos of everyday people who rides bikes in and around Boston for transportation. I ultimately came around to my decision to
pursue Urban Planning as a career because I am exciting about the possibilities for positive social and environmental change that can happen when we start to rethink our urban environments and transportation systems, and I want to be a part of that change.


Kottie Gaydos

Class of 2010

In 2010, I received the Meyer Travel Fellowship. Almost immediately following my graduation from MICA, I embarked on a trip to the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, where I photographed, lived, and worked with a clan of Khampa Tibetan Nomads. This project continued over the span of three years, with three consecutive trips to the Tibetan grasslands. In 2012 I began to focus my attention back to my home state of Michigan, where I worked as an Education and Development intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) as well as a volunteer at the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography (DCCP). I continued at MOCAD for another year as the Education Assistant, where I oversaw the daily management of the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead among other duties. From 2013-2015, I taught photography and book arts, part-time, at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts and at the Cranbrook Educational Community’s Summer Art Studio. During this time I became more deeply involved with the DCCP and moved into several roles, first as the Director of Communications and Assistant Curator, to Director of Operations, to my current role as Director of Operations, Curator and Editor-in-chief of Special Publications. I received my MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in May of 2016. It was a thrill to come back to MICA in the summer of 2016 as a photography instructor at MICA’s Summer Pre-College Residency program. It is a pleasure to be back in the Baltimore community, where I look forward to teaching part-time at local universities as well as continue to maintain my studio practice.




Madeline Gray

Class of 2007

After graduating from MICA in 2007, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with photography so I headed to Minneapolis and worked at a portrait studio for a year. Although I learned a lot, I also learned that photographing kids all day wasn’t the right fit for me. So in typical young art school graduate fashion, I packed up and moved to New York City, without a job but with the support of lots of friends.

I ended up getting an internship with Magnum photographer Steve McCurry. The internship quickly turned into a studio manager position. I managed projects with clients all over the world to help execute large-scale commercial shoots, exhibitions, book projects and international workshops. I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Myanmar and Argentina, and I got to see first hand how much work it takes to run a photo studio. But most importantly, I realized that documentary photography is really my passion. I want to tell other people’s stories.
In order to learn how to do that, I went to Ohio University to get my master’s degree in photojournalism from the School of Visual Communication, which I completed in 2012. Whether I’m documenting the last gasps of a dying coal town in rural Appalachia or the peaceful coexistence of Christians, Muslims and animists in southwestern Burkina Faso, I try to approach every story as a community journalist seeking to uncover the details and personalities that make each place unique. Currently I’m doing an internship at The Palm Beach Post in West Palm Beach, Florida. I’m not sure if newspaper photography will be my final landing spot, but for now, it’s an exciting opportunity to learn new skills and explore a new community.



click here to visit her website

Melis Bursin

Class of 2006

Melis Bürsin, (b. 1984, Istanbul Turkey) is an American citizen who lives and works in multiple time zones. She works
with photography, printmaking, and video. Her works deal with the immediate influences that culture has on time and memory − what we choose to preserve and what we purposefully choose to repress. She graduated in 2013
with a MFA from Columbia University, in 2004 she studied Italian Art History at the University of Georgia in Cortona, Italy, and received a BFA in photography in 2006 from Maryland Institute College of Art. She recently participated in Contemporary Istanbul, and had a solo exhibition at Space Debris. Her prints are held in the permanent collection of LeRoy Neiman Print Center. Her works have been exhibited in New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Turkey, and Italy. She is represented by Space Debris Gallery.



Ben Shipley
Class of 2006

Co-founder, Banjo & Bean Products

Since graduating from MICA, I’ve done a lot of different things, searching for what I wanted from life and a career. I’ve worked as a display artist for Urban Outfitters. I’ve shot weddings, portraits, and product. I’ve been an art handler, a photo lab tech, a barista, a house painter, a carpenter, and a freelance designer. 

In 2011, I was accepted to the Education program at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. After earning my Masters, I began teaching middle school in Howard County, Maryland, where I was awarded the 2015 Howard County New Art Teacher award for my involvement in curriculum development. I focus my instruction on putting my students in the position of the contemporary artist, reacting to why we make art and what we want to reveal to our viewers.

In 2013, I began work that has since led to the creation of Banjo & Bean Products, the business that I co-founded with my partner. Centered within the community of Mid-Atlantic rock climbing, we create natural skincare products that aim to keep our customers healthy and active.



Jennifer Grimyser

Class of 2006

I graduated with BFA in Photography and a Concentration in Book Arts in 2006 from MICA and an MFA in Photography from Hunter College in 2013. Maintaining a consistent studio practice and exhibiting my work has been extremely important to me and since graduation I have presented multiple solo exhibitions at numerous galleries including the Bronx River Art Center, Solo(s) Project House, Ground Floor Gallery, and Guest Spot Gallery. I’ve exhibited nationally and internationally in numerous group exhibitions including galleries such as Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Le Dicateur, Lesley Heller Workspace, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Islip Art Museum, BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Bronx Art Space, Transmitter Gallery, Present Company, Cindy Rucker, and galleries at both Rutgers University and the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition,

I received a Studio Fellowship to the Women’s Studio Workshop, an Artist Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center, and studio residences at the NARS Foundation and Chashama. I have published two artists books which are now featured in several library special collections including Walker Arts Center, Yale University, RISD, MICA, VCU, Rochester Institute of Technology, Indiana University, and MCAD. Over the last 7 years, I have worked in a variety of fields – as an intern for art related non-profits, a fine art custom frame and presentation designer, a commercial photographer for events and products, and an artist assistant. While maintaining a daily studio practice in New York City, I currently sell my art and work at multiple New York galleries as an art preparator, digital archivist, and photo editor.


alex wein_red room

Alex Wein

Class of 2012

I am living in Oakland, California working for a start up company located in San Francisco. The company I work for, Lasso, is an local shopping service App for smart phones. I am one of 2 marketing associates. The team is very small, only 7 total including the CEO, CTO, and 2 developers so I get to work hand in hand with everyone. As a start up, I never really know what tasks will be my responsibility. For example, I was initially hired as a ‘fashion photographer’ to photograph retail items, but during my interviewing process, my art background, client work, and my own self produced projects would shed light that the company might need a creative in the office as well. I happily accepted the position on the marketing team. Since then, I have art directed their app icon, logo, and even did a bit of copywriting by coming up with their tagline, “Lasso, what you’re looking for” (Since the service is based off of real shoppers’ requests, we connect them to local stores who would carry the specific item they are looking for)



click here to visit Joshua Dudley Greer website

Joshua Dudley Greer

Class of 2002

In 2012, I was named one of the New Superstars of Southern Art by Oxford American magazine and I received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission for my Point Pleasant work. I was included in the group show Looking at the Land which was curated by Andy Adams of Flak Photo. I was also hired by Le Monde to photograph for a story in their OBAMA issue and I had my first large museum show at the Knoxville Museum of Art.
 So far, 2013 is off to a good start. I just finished framing my first large scale exhibition and it’s currently on view at East Tennessee State University. That show will move onto West Virginia University and some of the pieces will be traveling to Catherine Edelman Gallery in March, just in time for the SPE conference.
 I’m hoping to do a few reviews this year and get the work out in some additional venues. I teach photography at ETSU so that keeps me occupied much of the time, but hopefully 2013 will be a big year for me.




Melissa Chao

Class of 2009

Like most MICA students, I carried a sketchbook everywhere I went. Frustrated by the poor quality of commercially available sketchbooks, I began to explore bookbinding as a way to create the books I always wanted. I made books of all shapes and sizes, and utilized fine drawing and printmaking papers. I took every bookbinding and paper-making class MICA offered, and studied further during a semester abroad in Cortona, Italy.
After graduating, I moved back to my home state of Massachusetts and launched my handmade book business, To Boldly Fold • Handmade Books & Paper Goods. Since day one I’ve been dedicated to high quality materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and functional design, and these foundational principles continue to guide my business today. My flagship products are hand-bound sketchbooks and journals made with acid-free artists’ papers & supple leather covers, and I’m branching out into a line of paper products this year.
For the first few years I sold primarily online and at craft shows, advancing steadily from farmers’ markets and local shows to more high profile events such as Bazaar Bizarre Boston and Renegade Craft Brooklyn. I got my big break in 2012, when I was accepted into the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) and was awarded the Carol Sederstrom Ross Scholarship, which paid for my show expenses in full. Suddenly, a show that would have been far outside my price range for another several years became an immediate reality, and my business changed overnight. Thanks to the wholesale buyers I met at the show, my books are now in over two dozen stores across the United States & Canada, including the National Archives gift shop, two wineries owned by Francis Ford Coppola, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum shop in Boston, and a number of wonderful, independently owned stores.
2013 is off to a great start. I’ve been awarded a grant as part of a program called Assets for Artists, which helps promising artists to build their creative businesses through matched savings. I attended NYIGF once again in January, and continue to book new wholesale clients. I also just recently got married! My husband is fellow MICA alum, Mark Grambau (Illustration ’08), who is working as a User Interface Designer & Illustrator here in the Boston area. He also keeps me looking good, designing every aspect of To Boldly Fold, from the website and brand, to packaging and signage.
It’s been an incredible amount of work, but I’m thrilled with the direction in which my business and life are going. Follow along at



Adam Ferris

Class of 2010

I was the featured artist in the Conveyor Magazine’s issue #4 Dark Matter where I had an article and a couple full page spreads of my work. In addition to the magazine there was a supplemental exhibition held at Wild Project in the East Village. The show has been extended through late March!
 I also opened a 2 person show in Rotterdam titled “500 years away” at Cokkie Snoei Gallery in early January showing a selection of my moving color separation videos.
 I will have a few videos and prints on display at the University of Maryland Salisbury Art Gallery for a show titled Beyond Vision opening March 4th I believe. There’s a little blurb about it here:
My work has also been featured on a number of websites and notable blogs. Most recently: Booooooom, But does it Float, & Fast Company.
I’m running the Otis Photo Lab full time, selling prints, teaching workshops on platinum printing, wide format digital printing, the imacon scanner and related software, and strobe and tungsten studio lighting.
I recently joined the Tremendous Family artist collective, and am also currently the art director for Live for the Funk. I’ve been fortunate enough to have sold a few album art designs to the record label Planet Mu, and have sold a few textile designs to the Imaginary Foundation.




Katrina Zook

Class of 2007

After graduating from MICA, I finished out the summer at Full Circle where I gained experience in framing and digital archiving from a local photographer David Orbock. I moved up to Brooklyn at the end of the summer and haven’t
left since. I got a photo internship at Time Inc. Content Solutions. This was
an editorial/advertising division that made medical and quarterly magazines. I learned the basics of photo research, production and administrative skills, driven towards a job as a photo editor. I eventually took a job at Martha Stewart. I edited and retouched the photos and screen grabs taken on the television shows each day. I gained content management knowledge used to create and maintain websites.

Working at Martha lacked creativity, and I spent most of my time sitting at a
desk. About a year ago, I took a job at Popular Mechanics and have been
there ever since as a fulltime freelancer. When the associate photo editor recently left
the magazine, it was up to the photo director and I to create and find content for
the entire magazine. I love the mix of producing shoots, and collaborating with the
editorial team to come up with visual solutions to smart stories. Because of our diverse content, I could be buying a car battery one day, and at a tree­climbing shoot the next. We work with pro photographers as well as up­and­coming shooters (including some MICA grads).

In my free time, I find other outlets of inspiration via music, art shows, and reading other magazines. I also shoot for my own personal enjoyment, and have shot a few small stories for the Martha Stewart Living blog. And occasionally I’ll even sneak a photo in Popular Mechanics.

I haven’t quite figured out my dream job yet, but I’ve learned an immense amount about the quickly changing publishing industry and how photography must change with it. I’ve been really lucky to work for a photo director with a long history in the industry. Currently I’m looking to get more involved with a groups like SPD and AI­AP, will hopefully also lead to more connections and open doors in the publishing industry.


John Lehr

Class of 1998




Eric Helgas

Class of 2012

After graduating in May I moved directly to Brooklyn, New York. I’m currently working as Ryan Pfluger’s studio manager, and assisting him on shoots. We’ve had some interesting assignments recently. The New York Times Magazine flew us to Tallahassee to photograph the families who were affected by the Conor McBride / Ann Grosmaire murder case from 2010 – a teen violence case which used restorative justice as a method of prosecution against Conor. Most of our assignments are for human-interest articles, so there’s always an interesting story behind each piece. In addition to assisting Ryan, I’ve been making personal work as well. Most of my new work revolves around ideas of illusion and artifice. I’ve been shooting a lot of still life images that reference the studio as an artificial format of making photographs. I also recently just self-published my third book ‘Who Put Hot Sauce in my Juice’, which premiered at the fourth annual Publications and Multiples Fair in Baltimore.

In more recent news, I received my first editorial assignment for Bloomberg Businessweek, which is on newsstands now. It’s great to work with photo editors who really think about their photographers when they give assignments; I’ve been able to experience this by working with Ryan’s clients as well. I’m excited the see what the rest of 2013 will bring!

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