We are thrilled to welcome Colleen Keihm as our new Executive Director! A lens-based artist herself, Keihm is a former HATCH 2017-18 Resident and currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago. We’re excited to see where her expertise will take LATITUDE as we kick off 2019!
Hello and welcome to LATITUDE! We’re all very excited to have you take over as Executive Director! What’s your background?
Thank you! I’m pretty excited to be here! I’m originally from Levittown, NY and since my darkroom days in high school I’ve tried to find my place working with photography - I’ve assisted for a wedding photographer, worked in the fashion/editorial industry, and in framing. I moved to Chicago six years ago for graduate study at UIC and that MFA has allowed me to teach for the last four years. Now I’m here and ready to learn! Artistically, I work with large format cameras, am open to shooting color or black and white but always prefer film. I’m also enthusiastic about art history with a focus on photography. It’s a field that is currently being updated to be more inclusive and I’m eager to follow all of it.
What brought you to LATITUDE? What excites you about this space?
I first came to LATITUDE for a class visit and since then I’ve been inspired by the studio’s ability to make others feel welcome. It’s as if the light that comes through the windows seems to mimic the inspiration in the room. Photography as a medium can be, at times, both difficult and easy. LATITUDE is a space that works amid those scales. There are technical pros that I can nerd out over paper types and the ability Piezo has to get close to a darkroom print. There are also big thinkers who are up for talking about sequencing, style, and photographic history. All of this can occur after talking about how weird circus peanut candies are. The real (sometimes off topic) conversations and shared educational ideas are what excites me most about being here.
You’re also an artist. Can you tell us about your work?
There’s a great moment in the British tv show “Spaced” where the artist describes his work. When I’m asked this question I often have to resist the urge to describe myself the way Brian does!
Currently I’m fracturing spaces through in-camera collage work, making alternative viewing systems like vortoscopes, and working on spatial confusion through images. I’ve also been spending a lot of time in the darkroom with photograms. Site specificity and the singular image are things I’m thinking a lot about as a photographer. I love the physicality of photography specifically processing large format film and making personal, crafted prints.
What art, film, music, food, etc are you currently into?
Miyoko Ito and Torkwase Dyson were recommended to me recently and I’ve really enjoyed diving into their work while reading The Virtual Window by Anne Friedberg. I take the bus to get to work now so listening to H.E.R. has been keeping me feeling lovely and calm. I am way behind on watching recent films but just finished the second season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” I know it isn’t for everyone but I grew up amongst fast talkers and quick wits so that show feels like home. Also Tony Shalhoub never disappoints.
Lastly, what’s your favorite prized possession?
I just received the Carrie Mae Weems’ One Picture book by Nazerali Press titled Monument and I’m extremely excited about it. She is so inspiring! It was a gift from someone important to me which makes the object feel extra special. My Ansco 5x7 camera would be my long time prized possession. I named her Sherry after a Frankie Valli song. It came into my life during a difficult time and since the very first project it helps me get through.