McKee Photography Fellowship Recipients Showcase Their Work at Photography Exhibit Opening – The Bowdoin Orient

Courtesy of Keaghan Duffy
TABLE OF PHOTOS The work of McKee Fellowship recipients is exhibited at the Edwards Center for the Arts. Recipients focused on topics ranging from native land to nature in Maine. The grant was $1,000 to cover travel and photo costs.

McKee Grant recipients showcased their work at the annual showcase at the Edwards Center for the Arts on Wednesday evening. Funds from the $1,000 grant travel over the summer for recipients as they compile a collection of photographs on a chosen subject.

The collection topics this year ranged from native lands to nature in Maine.

Grant recipient Brandon Lozano-Garay ’24 decided to focus his project on Monhegan Island, located just off the coast of Maine. After researching the island for his internship at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art last summer, Lozano-Garay was drawn to the island for its rugged, rocky coastline.

“Part of the reason I chose to focus on the Isle of Monhegan was to be part of the collection of hundreds of artists over hundreds of years who also focused on the Isle of Monhegan,” Lozano-Garay said. “I fell victim to the common trope that you arrive on Monhegan Island and fall in love with it.”

Lozano-Garay, who typically focuses on people in her photography, decided to only take landscape shots for her project. He tried to incorporate his earlier people-based photographic techniques into his approach to capturing landscape.

“I usually take pictures of people, so I took pictures of the landscape the same way I would normally take a picture of a person,” Lozano-Garay said. “I imagined the face and the contours that extend over the body of someone looking at the island. There is something alive in the island and my photos.

Initially, Lozano-Garay began capturing only black and white photos, but eventually transitioned to color as he continued to visit the island.

“They looked fantastic. Taking color photos instead of black and white brought more liveliness to the island,” he said.

Growing up, Lozano-Garay always gravitated towards the camera due to the abstract nature of photographs. The scholarship allowed him to explore this facet of his photography.

“Photography is just a lie, and it’s a question of who can tell the best lie,” he said. “I know it sounds cruel and awful, but there’s something very satisfying about taking a picture and then transforming it into something beyond what the human eye can ever imagine on its own. “

After working on the project for five months, he felt anxious to see his work exhibited.

“I reached a point in Bowdoin and in my career where you’re expected to do things like that,” Lozano-Garay said. “It’s good to finally be at the level where I show others what I’ve done.”

As with Lozano-Garay, grant recipient Keaghan Duffy ’23 decided to focus her project on the indigenous lands of the Lakota tribe in the Black Hills. She was told that her great-grandfather, Bud, was Lakota and that she wanted to investigate his story further with the grant.

“[Bud] was probably my only connection to the indigenous peoples of this region,” she said.

Duffy initially wanted to take portraits of her grandmother and her five children, but it became clear to her that they did not want to be photographed. This change, however, did not deter Duffy.

“Having a camera in hand and trying to build deeper, meaningful relationships with my family was interesting territory to explore,” Duffy said. “I didn’t end up taking a lot of personal portraits, but I did reflect on how my interest acted as a connection between Indigenity and my family.”

Although she turned to landscape photography, Duffy was still able to bond with her family through her project.

“I spend a lot of time in my grandfather’s garden because it’s the land that connects us,” she says. “You will find that there is a lot of terrestrial photography. I want to start a meaningful conversation about how we relate to each other across the earth.

After four years of photography, the scholarship allowed Duffy to showcase his work as a photographer for the first time to his family.

“It’s really like a first step in giving me credit for being a photographer,” she said. “It also feels like work that you really can’t fit into a schedule. The intention was never to finish the job because it was always a start for me.

Lozano-Garay and Duffy’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Sophia Wei ’23, a participant in the exhibition, thought it was powerful to see scholarship recipients explore topics that interest them through photography.

“I loved the incorporation of the body theory aspect into Brandon’s presentation,” Wei said. “I think it’s so powerful when you only have a second to capture what’s around you. It’s special to be able to capture an instant moment from your point of view.

Tracey L. Sweeney