May 10, 2017 – May 28, 2017

Photography is Magic
Lecture in Photography with Charlotte Cotton
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
6 – 7PM

Opening Reception
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
7 – 9PM


Persist: Columbia College Photography MFA Thesis Exhibition 2017

Forrester Whit Poster

The Columbia College Chicago Photography Department is proud to present Persist, the 2017 Photography MFA Thesis Exhibition. Persist features the work of 11 emerging artists who explore a diversity of photographic art practice. A lecture in photography with artist and curator, Charlotte Cotton, titled, Photography is Magic, will precede the opening reception.

From the exhibit catalog

Persistence is a key element to a resolved body of work, especially when clarity is elusive in the making process. Every artist in this group has engaged in rigorous art research to solve conceptual and technical challenges.

The spectrum of photography covered by these artists present the audience with innovative observations of both the self and the collective. The diverse practice, subject matter, and cultural issues addressed in this exhibition are testaments to our Photography MFA program’s mission, which is to foster the goals of the individual artist.

–Peter Fitzpatrick, Chair, Photography Department, Columbia College Chicago


Exhibiting Artists: Robyn Day, Whit Forrester, Anahid Ghorbani, Sarah Hiatt, David Kasnic, Carissa Meier, Rebecca Memoli, Danielle Owensby, Whitten Sabbatini, Jessica Sladek and Qiao Zhi (George Chen)

Persist is supported by Mana Contemporary Chicago and Hahnemühle Fine Art. Charlotte Cotton’s lecture is supported by the Rubin Visiting Artists Award and is presented by the Lectures in Photography series, a partnership between the Columbia College Chicago Photography Department and the Museum of Contemporary Photography Lectures in Photography.

Photography is Magic


A Lecture in Photography with Charlotte Cotton
This lecture asks us to consider how we subjectively shape our idea of photography from what seems to be both the medium’s enduring capacities as-well-as mercurial state today. Photography is Magic explores how artists are consciously reanimating and diversifying photography, and the curatorial approaches that contemporary shifts in image-making and image-viewing have called for. 

This lecture is presented in partnership with Columbia College Chicago Photography Department and the Museum of Contemporary Photography as part of the Lectures in Photography series. Charlotte Cotton’s visit is generously funded by the Rubin Visiting Artist Award and supported by Mana Contemporary Chicago. Join us after the talk for the opening reception of the Columbia College Chicago Master of Fine Arts Photography Exhibition Persist.

Charlotte Cotton is a curator, and writer who has explored photographic culture for over twenty years. She has held positions including curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum; head of programming at The Photographers’ Gallery in London; and head of the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has curated photography and contemporary art exhibitions for museums, international art festivals and biennials, including in the UK, US, mainland Europe, and South Korea. Cotton also contributes feature essays to magazines including ApertureIMA, and reviews for Artforum, and Art in America. Her book, Photography is Magic, was published by Aperture in September 2015 and surveys over eighty artists whose photographic practices shape the possibilities of our contemporary image environment.

Whit Forrester, Aloe vera, 2015
Charlotte Cotton, Photography is Magic, 2015