Photo and story by Morgan Brantley / Contributing Writer
On Wednesday evening, MTSU photography professors proudly introduced internationally-recognized photographer Richard Tuschman to several students and colleagues in the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building. Tuschman, whose art is currently on display in MTSU’s Baldwin Photographic Gallery, spoke about some of his favorite collections he has produced over the years.
Tuschman began his lecture by telling his life story in order for the audience to understand why he builds miniature dollhouses, photographs models and uses photoshop to place models inside dioramas. It all began during his childhood when his parents realized that he showed signs of being introverted and enjoyed activities such as painting. He later attended the University of Michigan where he studied painting and printmaking. While in school, he discovered that he did not enjoy the darkroom very much. The chemistry involved didn’t quite click with him. After graduating, he moved to New York and got a job working at an architectural supplies shop and that is where he discovered his love for building dioramas.
In 1990, Adobe introduced photoshop, and he began working as a graphic designer.
“It really actually changed my life,” Tuschman said.
He was a graphic designer for roughly six years until the internet caught up. So, he found his way to the camera and fell in love with photography. Once his photography career took off, he began shooting images for different magazines, and, in 2005, he decided that he was going to commit his life to photography.
The “Hopper Meditations” series is a series that MTSU has exhibited in the Baldwin Photographic Gallery upstairs in the Bragg Building. Tuschman placed an abundant amount of focus on this particular piece during his lecture because of how much time went into this series of images.
“It’s basically two days of photography and three years of everything else,” Tuschman said during his lecture.
Tuschman also mentioned that he likes to keep his images open-ended. He likes for people to make their own assumptions about what the series is about. Many students found it interesting that the first image in his “Hopper Meditation” series, “The Potato Eaters,” is based on Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of the same name. Both are set in the 1930s, but Tuschman’s piece focuses more specifically on loss and tension inside the home.
After the lecture, many of the students went upstairs to the Baldwin Photographic Gallery to see the images for themselves. There are 24 images in the exhibit, some from his “Hopper Meditation” series, a few from his “Once Upon a Time in Kazimierz” series, as well as one of his dioramas from the Hopper series.
The students that stayed afterward were stunned by Tuschman’s art.
“I think it’s really nice how his imagery blurs the lines between fact and fiction and how it’s a mixture of both but you can barely tell where the two meet,” said Blake Mason, an MTSU senior.
Other students found his way of using photoshop very unique. In fact, some did not even realize that photoshop played as big of a role in his art as it does.
“When it first started, I didn’t realize that he did photoshop,” said Shannon McCool, an MTSU junior. “I thought it was just pictures that he made in general. And when he told us that it basically was photoshop and layering and that kind of stuff, it was crazy to think that something that was miniature could look real life.”
The gallery is located in the Bragg Media and Entertainment building in room 269 and will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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