Saturday, December 23, 2017

DMA "Open Studios" Event

The Studio Arts and Digital Media Arts departments at Hamline University recently had their "Open Studios" event. It was just after my finals time at Hamline, so I finished critique, went to get my 3-year-old, and then the 2 of us came back to check out the work. Here are a few photos that I snapped (as I was chasing around my toddler, so there's not many, and they were all quick [AKA: not well composed]):

Map of the corner of campus where the different classrooms/studios/galleries were located.

A wall of Studio C. There was a LOT more work throughout this space.

Some 2D work.

A corner of my classroom with 35 different photos running in a slide show on the screen,
and web design and DMA games on the computers.

Some design posters in the hallway.

More design work.

My little guy checking out work in the main gallery.

More in the main gallery.

Back in my classroom to close out the night.

We were there early, so there weren't many people yet. There was a good-sized crowd outside of the main gallery where there was an interactive piece being set up. Thanks to everyone who showed up, and nice job students! See you in the spring semester!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Speaking at Career Day at White Bear Lake High School

Earlier today, I was asked to speak to a few students at a "career day" at White Bear Lake High School. There were maybe 50-70 other people there to speak about their careers (including Kare11 anchor Tim McNiff). I spoke mainly about being a professor (that's what most of them wanted to hear about), but also a bit about being a photographer.

I just realized that I made nearly this exact same photo two years ago.

I Instagrammed this photo thanking Julie for inviting me back to speak.

I might as well share a bit about what I told them here. After hitting on 8 points that the school wanted us all to talk about (like general work activities, helpful high school courses, skills and abilities, wages, etc), I ended with some of the points below...

My big takeaway for them at the end of my presentations was to that they either need to become THEE most educated in a very specific field, or (more likely) become well rounded and have lots of blanket knowledge in their field. I shared this example: "You could have your Masters and Doctorate on 15th century ceramics from the Ming Dynasty, but it might help to have a general 'Art History' minor or even 'Chinese history' minor. Don’t be TOO specific. Specificity might get you 1 perfect class every few semesters, but being well rounded will get you other classes where you can actually make a living." I told them how nearly half of the 70+ classes I've taught were actually Color Theory or 2D Design classes. I shared a story about a friend who wanted to teach ONLY film photography classes (so that's all she learned), and now she's taught maybe 3 courses in the same time that I've taught 70. There's a lesson in there.

On the photography side, I said I was by NO MEANS a great photographer, but I had tips to share. I stressed the idea of "making your own luck." I wasn't able to share this story today, but in grad school, I was the first to hang my MFA exhibition once the gallery had been prepped. It just so happened that the head of the Photography Dept at the University of Minnesota walked through the gallery just after I hung my work. He recognized my name as I had just recently applied to their "adjunct pool," and he enjoyed seeing my work in person. He told me a few years later that seeing my work up helped get me that job (and I ended up lecturing there for 6 years straight).

Related to that, I shared a story of winning the Golden Light Award and the "Social Document" category over 10 years ago. A senior photo editor from the New York Times Magazine was the juror for that, and because she saw my work, she called me a few months later asking if I could shoot a cover story for them. Umm, YES. And since then, I've completed 4 more projects for them. Had I not kept entering contests and submitting to galleries, I wouldn't have had my work in front of that photo editor, and I never would have done these 5 projects for the Times.

I CAN picture my life without having done those projects for the Times, but I CANNOT picture my life without the 6 years I taught at the University of Minnesota. Those courses really helped set the groundwork for my teacher career.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Grandma's Garage

I snapped this photo of some old dust pans, some hangers, and a nasty drywall stain in my Grandma's garage this past weekend while we were celebrating Thanksgiving:

The dust pan on the left is so old that the telephone number for the Easton Farmer's Elevator is 6. That's it. Just 6.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Final Photos from the "RISE" Exhibition

CVA Action shared a great album of photos from the "RISE" exhibition that was up 2 months ago at the Concordia Gallery. Here's a link to the album if you'd like to take a look. Below are 6 photos from the album (2 general photos and 4 of my piece):

(click each photo to enlarge)


My piece on the far right.

Also, I just saw that CVA Action had another album from the opening reception. Here are 2 from that one:

Me chatting with Concordia professor Cate Vermeland (left) and former
CVA professor and juror of this exhibition Karen Wirth (middle).

See more on CVA Action's Facebook page.

Related: here are my 3 posts about the exhibition: photos from the opening reception, a panorama of the exhibition, and the photos I made of the entire show.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

New 4 a.m. Print

Yesterday, I made a 17” x 25” print of a recent 4 a.m. photograph. A good friend had seen an image she really liked on my Instagram page and asked for a print. Here it is just after it was printed:

A rainy morning outside of Como Conservatory in front of the Casto Solano
sculpture of prairie grasses and fireflies. Hanging on the white board.

A skewed close-up photo of the sculpture.

The print turned out well, and my friend was quite happy.

Also, this brings up that I haven’t posted about my Instagram page here. I started a page devoted to my 4 a.m. photos about 8 months ago. Search for “photostenzel” to find (and follow) me:

Full of my 4 a.m. photo series. Updated often!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

My Pre-Schooler's "Camera"

My 3-year-old goes to preschool, and the school sends photos to parents after every class. I recently got these 2 photos of his homemade camera:

That viewfinder is in an odd spot. Maybe it's some sort of strange rangefinder?... :)

Friday, October 13, 2017


I recently helped my Mom dig her colorful carrots on her farm:

CLICK HERE for a larger version.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

“RISE” Exhibition Photos

The juried College of Visual Arts alumni exhibition “RISE” is still on display at the Concordia Gallery in St. Paul. If you’re unable to get to see it, here are some overall photos of the exhibition that I made a few weeks back:

[click each image to enlarge]

There’s my piece on the far right.

Click here for a panoramic photo of the exhibition, and click here for photos from the opening reception last month.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

RISE Panorama

Last week, I stopped by the “RISE” exhibition at the Concordia Gallery to photograph it. I still need to fix up the rest of the files, but here’s a quick iPhone panoramic shot from the gallery:

(Click image to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Photos from the Opening Reception of "RISE"

Last week was the opening reception of "RISE:" a juried exhibition of College of Visual Arts graduates. I was at the opening for a while, and here are a few photos:

That's my piece in the middle. The one with no one looking at it. *sad face*

On the CVA Action Facebook page, I found this photo of the opening where you can see me, my wife, and my boys:

Also, in conjunction with this exhibition, CVA Action is hosting some fun "Pecha Kucha" artist talks next week, which will feature people associated with CVA:

I know most of this isn't legible in this tiny image, but what you need to know is at the bottom:
Sept 21 at 6:45 pm at the Buenger Education Center (200 Syndicate St N) at Concordia University.

Check out CVA Action on Facebook and find out more about the Concordia Art Gallery here. The exhibition is up through October 11 if you want to stop by: M-F 10-4.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Upcoming Exhibition: "RISE"

I was recently accepted into a juried show. It’s the 2nd exhibition put on by CVA Action, and Karen Wirth was the juror. The show will be held at the Concordia University Art Gallery.

Postcard for the exhibition. (Photo by [and hand of] Caroline Houdek Solomon.)

Back of the postcard.

A close-up (legible) view of the info on the back of the postcard.

So stop by the opening reception this upcoming Thursday, September 7, from 5-8 pm.

Check out the opening reception event on Facebook, follow CVA Action on Facebook, and find out more about the Concordia Art Gallery here.

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