Alumni: Arden Surdam

Arden is currently in Humankind, a photo exhibition at Powerhouse Arena.  The show will be up through January 20th.  For more information, please visit the exhibition website:

Although it’s been six years since I was a part of the Teen Academy program, I still remember my time there clearly.  Before I began, I was approaching my Junior year of High School and I was desperately searching for a community and curriculum that could feed my developing interest in photography.  Since my high school was not equipped to provide this, I was recommended by my photography teacher to check out ICP.  It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (I’m not exaggerating)!  Not only was I trained essential photographic skills, but I was taught how to perfect an interview, how to put together a resume and introduced to talented artists.  I was given the opportunity to become part of a community that is now integral to my photographic life and I met two of my dearest friends along the way.  Teen Academy is a program unlike any other.  It’s agenda is not only to prepare its students with the artistic and intellectual capacity to express themselves, but also to gain the creative confidence they will need in the years to come.  The teachers are emotionally and academically invested in the success of their students and that, I promise, is something that you seldom find.  What I remember hearing or what I like to recall is: to be part of this program is to be part of a home.  And some days, its really good to have that home.    

 After Teen Academy, I attended Oberlin College where I pursued my interest in photography, declaring a Visual Arts Major and graduating with a fantastic thesis show!  I finished school this past May and while I greatly miss classes, I have really enjoyed assisting for freelance work.  Simultaneously, I’ve been trying to shoot my own work on weekends and in my free time with my new Mamiya 6. I try to accomplish all of this by maintaining the goal of finishing a project a month and attending two gallery shows a week. Although, I have to admit, sometimes it is a bit ambitious.  Currently, I am working on a project based on friends who have moved home post-graduation.  This body of work is meant to document how that transitional period is experienced by my friends and their families. Below, I’ve included some work from my senior show at Oberlin. Hopefully, it’ll give you a taste of how ICP help me get started!

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