Photographs by Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell is an independent artist, photographer and writer living in Lawrence, Kansas. He earned a BFA degree in Painting from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Art from Rutgers University.
From 1974 to 1992, he taught photography at Rutgers University. Always interested in interdisciplinary studies, he served in the Art Department, Graduate School, and the departments of Humanities & Communication, and Journalism. While on the faculty of Rutgers he also served as the Director of the Agricultural Museum of the State of New Jersey. From 1993 to 1996, Mitchell taught History of Photography in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies of Baker University. Late in 1993 he took the position of Director of the Exhibition Program at the Lawrence Arts Center which he held until 2009. While at the Lawrence Arts Center he oversaw the development of more than 240 exhibitions. For five years he was publisher of Cottonwood, a literary review published in cooperation with the University of Kansas Department of English. He was a founder of the Arts Center's Committee on Imagination & Place (1999) and incorporated Imagination & Place, Inc. in 2009 as a freestanding not-for-profit organization that operates the Imagination & Place Press. In 2009 and 2010 he taught drawing and painting in the Art Department of the University of Kansas. Mitchell has exhibited his work since 1970 and has received grants to further his interdisciplinary work from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the New Jersey Arts Commission, the New Jersey Historical Commission, the Kansas Arts Commission, Kansas Health Foundation and the Lawrence Arts Commission.
I work by walking with my camera and allowing myself to be stopped by things I see. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am or if I am alone or in a crowd. By now, after years of working this way, it feels like the images are opening like new blooms here and there– as constant as the twinkling of stars. My approach to photography, as an artist rather than a journalist or scientist, is to make images that are just slightly out of register with "normal" color and sometimes, as we photographers say, "out of gamut." This is something like "magical realism" which appeals to me in literature. Walks in even the most familiar neighborhoods become adventures in new perception and imagination. Now halfway through my sixty-third year, I am experiencing both a renewed and matured sense of the splendor of seeing. Common things I previously overlooked loom before me, animated and vivid. Making pictures is a way of enlivening my appreciation of the material world even in its phases of decay. How can I help but be stunned by light itself as its waves cross even the most familiar surface?