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CCU Atheneum: CCU student Brant Barrett won an artist-in-residence from Slow Exposures in Georgia to work on his photography.
CCU student Brant Barrett won an artist-in-residence from Slow Exposures in Georgia to work on his photography.

CCU photography student awarded artist-in-residency

by Mona Prufer
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Brant Barrett, a nontraditional, nondegree-seeking student at Coastal Carolina University, recently won one of two artist-in-residence awards from Slow Exposures, a nonprofit in Georgia that focuses on rural photography of the South.

When his two sons were born more than 30 years ago, Barrett was like many other new parents – he took hundreds of pictures with his 35-millimeter, single lens reflex camera. In the pre-digital camera era, though, it was costly to buy film and have it processed.

That was about the time he was bitten by the photography bug.

“I was cheap, so it made me very thoughtful about my composition and settings,” says Barrett. “So even now, when I take a shot on my digital camera, I want it to count. I don’t take 10 shots and hope that one is good. I want the first one to be the best.”

Originally from St. Helena’s Island, Barrett has been taking art studio and photography classes at CCU for five years. His photographs have been displayed in a number of businesses and competitions, and he has received awards for his work, including being selected for the ArtFields competition in Lake City.

Barrett was featured recently in the exhibition “Contemporary South 2016” in Raleigh, N.C. He was also selected as a 701 CCA South Carolina Biennial Artist in 2015, featured on Oxford American magazine’s “Eyes on South,” and was juried into the Atlanta Celebrates Photography 2015 Portfolio Review.

Barrett usually takes a photography class each semester just to learn more about the craft, but he recently took sculpture under Alexandra Knox, sculptor and assistant professor of visual art, and loved it so much that he plans to take more art classes. He is a walking advertisement for CCU’s art studio department.

“The professors here have drastically changed my way of photography,” says Barrett, who now focuses on photography projects for his portfolio rather than pretty pictures of birds. “I’ve really grown because of the support and input they have given me.

I plan to keep taking courses until they kick me out.”

That seems unlikely, though, as the faculty speaks as highly of Barrett as he does of them.

“Barrett is an exceptional student who we enjoy working with.” says Armon Means, an assistant professor of visual arts at CCU. “Though very talented, he continues to push himself purely for his own educational goals and to better his craft. He's truly a valuable addition to our program.”

During his residency at Slow Exposures in May, Barrett plans to develop a new portfolio focusing on the people of rural central Georgia. Slow Exposures runs workshops, exhibitions and programs year round and sponsors selected photographers annually to work on their portfolios.

“I think SlowAir [the residency part of Slow Exposures], free of distractions and in a new setting, will allow me to concentrate on elevating my environmental portraiture skills,” he says.

When asked his favorite photo or subject, Barrett mentions a few photographs of workers in tobacco fields, a father and two sons in a boat, two hunting dogs. “My favorite shot is always my next one,” he says.

His work can be viewed at brantbarrettphotography.com.

 

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