Documenting the 2021 Faculty Biennial with Cameren White ’24
Monday, March 29th, 2021
This is the final post in a series highlighting the creative contributions of students at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design who worked behind the scenes to make the 2021 Faculty Biennial in the Main Gallery.
From Trenton, New Jersey, Cameren White ’24 is on the CORE Gallery curatorial board and does special video projects for the Main Gallery. He is also a member of the photography group Lux Club. After graduation, he plans to be a full-time photographer. His subject interests include shooting models, sports, fashion, and magazine content. In addition to photography, he also aspires to shoot a movie one day and would like to start his own fashion label.
White was tasked with a video documentation project for the Faculty Biennial. Since the main Gallery is closed to outside visitors at this time due to health and safety concerns with the pandemic, the videos are designed to share the works and the artist’s stories with the community beyond the College’s walls.
You are still in your first year and tasked with an incredibly high-bar task to film and produce videos of PCA&D’s full-time faculty — so the pressure for quality was on. Can you tell us a little bit more about this experience from your personal perspective?
CW: When the Director of Exhibitions offered me the opportunity to do this, I didn’t feel any pressure. I was more so excited and honored because (in) the Foundation year it’s more of you doing everything and not just your major. So being able to just record and edit like I want to, it made me feel like this was my time to shine.
Normally, a first-year in art school may have the task of camera equipment caddy, the person who just helps carry stuff, and you were tasked with being the artistic director. Can you tell us about what this experience may mean to you professionally?
CW: This was my first time actually having to direct everything from the lighting to soundchecks and making sure everything looked good. I’m usually a just go-with-the-flow type of person, but this gave me the opportunity to get that feeling of not just going off what others say but the setup and how it shot is all from my creativity. I was really given the freedom to have it look how I wanted with some minor tweaks of how the school wanted it to look, so it felt good to get that step into directing.
What were the biggest takeaways you learned from this experience?
CW: Time management, having to record two, maybe three videos a week and then edit them so they could be put on every Monday. These were 10-15 minute clips, so just editing on the last day just wasn’t an option. Also, equipment isn’t always necessary but when you’re doing something very important like this, it just makes it look more high quality and professional.
What did you add to your resume and portfolio that you are excited about?
CW: Just being able to say I filmed and directed faculty videos for my school as a freshman. That’s something I’m very proud of personally. Also, having the experience of working with people I’ve never met before and just become more of a social person. I also connected with a couple of the people I recorded. I recently got to take pictures at Designathon after meeting and talking to (Graphic Design Chair) Prof. Pam Barby.
What were some of the biggest challenges?
CW: I would say balancing my schoolwork and the faculty show work. I spend most of my free time doing homework for classes, so trying to slide in some time in between classes to work on the video was a task. I got the hang of it after the first video because I already knew how they wanted it to look and what to put in it. The first video was like a template for the rest of the videos for me, so it made the work a little easier.
What was the funniest thing that happened on a shoot?
CW: There were a lot of bloopers and cut-scenes just laughing on set, but I would say the funniest was when Professor Christy Hess said how she had illustrated her coin. She explained how she learned the woman she drew was from a mugshot. I think in the video you can actually see her laughing about it when she said it because we were laughing behind the camera. Everybody seemed to have a little joke in all their videos or something behind the scenes.
What would you give for advice for incoming students who have an interest in photography and video production?
CW: My advice to freshmen, in general, is to just put yourself out there. I would’ve never been given this opportunity if I didn’t put myself out there. As a freshman, not everybody knows your work or what you do, so by putting yourself out there, it just makes you more accessible.
To the freshmen with interest in the (Photography & Video) major, just keep working and listen to the advice that the upperclassmen are giving you. Everybody in the photo department is really nice and helpful. Just keep an open mind. I know it may seem like somebody is talking bad about your pictures, but it’s just because they know more about compositions or lighting or how it’s edited, so listen to advice. It’s going to help you; it’s helping me right now.
Check out some of White’s video work and learn more about the artists of the Faculty Biennial:
Prof. Linda King Brown and Prof. Christina Hess
Prof. Pamela Barby and Prof. Maria Cummings-Miller
Prof. Becky Blosser
Photos of Cameren White by Na’Chelle Morris ’22, Photography & Video
The Faculty Biennial is an important tradition that celebrates faculty members for their dedication to the College’s mission and showcases their creative talents. This year’s rendition of the exhibit features the full-time faculty: Pamela Barby, Becky Blosser, Linda King Brown, Maria Cummings-Miller, Jon di Venti, Christina Hess, Johan Klingler, William Mammarella, Justin Phillips, Dr. Jessica Sponsler, Aaron Thompson, Jeremy Waak, Eric Weeks, and Robert Young—all of the College’s full-time faculty. See more of the artworks in the exhibition at https://pcad.edu/gallery_exhibit/faculty-biennial-2021/