Fellow: Awarded 2011
Field of Study: Photography
Competition: US & Canada
Betsy Schneider is a photo-based artist. Over the past ten years she has focused her camera and her attention on ideas surrounding childhood, parenthood, consumption, and relationships. Earlier work explored decay and the body, and revealed a penchant for looking closely at strange visceral things such as rotting fruit, placentas, and the mouth. She uses a variety of photographic tools for her work both film and digital, ranging from point-and-shoot to view cameras to video.
She is an Associate Professor in the School of Art at Arizona State University.
For the past ten years I have photographed my daughter, my son, their friends and cousins in a project titled Sweet is the Swamp. This work has drawn from my memory of my own childhood as well as my experience as a parent and as an artist to create images that I hope challenge and disturb traditional views of children and childhood.
With the Guggenheim Fellowship I will expand my subject matter to include a wide array of thirteen-years-olds. With this work I am interested in questioning the simple dichotomies to which adolescence is so often reduced. I am motivated by the intensity, the trauma, and the beauty of that point in life. I wonder not only about the experience of early adolescence, but also about how we as adults retain that experience and how it shapes us for the rest of our lives. I believe it is a painful, vital, and powerful experience to become an adult. And while media, electronic communication, and over-parenting have created a culture very different from what came thirty years ago, at the core the struggle of adolescence is eternal. I am interested in exploring the commonalities across time as well as the specifics of the early 21st Century: What is it like now to be thirteen?