Arts and Culture / News

Penrose features professor’s photography

Roddy MacInnes, associate professor of photography at DU, will share part of his “Jim River” project starting March 22 at Penrose Library.  

The project covers MacInnes’ fascination with family albums, which began about 19 years ago after finding the album of Nina Weiste of Dickey County, N.D., in a Denver flea market.

“Why do people keep records of their lives?” he asks. “The project is an investigation about what family photography means to people.”

MacInnes will give a lecture about the exhibit at 4 p.m. March 31 at Penrose.

Peggy Keeran, reference librarian at Penrose and the library liaison for the School of Art and Art History, asked MacInnes to be part of the “Penrose Library Presents” series.

“I’m on the library’s exhibit committee, and a component of our mission is to bring art into the library, which we do partly through collaborations with artists,” Keeran says. “In ‘Jim River,’ Roddy explores the relationships between people and photography, first his interaction with the photos of Nina, and then expanding that out to engage a whole community where she lived by using photography to explore personal identity and personal history. This interest in engaging with the past to explore the present fits with the library mission to preserve the past for future generations.”

MacInnes has traveled to Dickey County several times now. Though the family of Nina Weiste is gone, he says the point of the project is to capture a family album of the people of Ellendale, N.D. He’s taken thousands of photographs of the people Ellendale — from school children to residents of the town nursing home.

It’s also changed his family own album. MacInnes takes photos for his family album and posts them on Facebook. He has nearly 100 family albums on his page, from self portraits to “other people’s dogs.”

“I think if Nina Weiste lived now, she’d definitely be posting her pictures on Facebook,” he says.

MacInnes’ exhibit runs through June 3 at Penrose. An opening reception will be held March 22 from 4:30–6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

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