Transformational Bodies: Using Photography and Sculpture to Express Shifting Identities

Monday, July 12th - Thursday, July 15th
Application Deadline: June 15th


The Program: 
In this class, we will use media such as photography, writing, movement, and sculpture to understand transformation as it relates to our identity. We will look at what identity means, and expand our notions of the self. Who, exactly, are we? What are the boundaries of the “self,” and how can we use our artistic practice to explore (and push) those boundaries?

To approach these big questions, we will be honing our artistic and thinking skills to illuminate some possible answers. We will look at how contemporary artists use a variety of materials and techniques to express their ideas. We’ll get into self-portraiture, persona work, and look at how social media affects our identity and self-representation.

The goal of this intensive is to become better artists, thinkers, and observers of ourselves and our world. No experience in the mediums listed is necessary, just a curiosity and openness to try new things.

Mollie McKinley, Master of Fine Arts candidate in Alfred University's renowned School of Art and Design, is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York City and the Hudson Valley. She approaches the body through what is perceived as natural and unnatural in dialogue with landscape, feminist thought, care, and metaphysics. Her pursuit of the mysteries of existence and geologic time are forged through a reconciliation with death and embodied transformation. This process unfolds through site specific, ritual performances in the landscape, recorded as photographs; as well as through materials such as salt and glass. Her practice encompasses diverse media, but is rooted in sculpture, performance, and photography.

You will attend classes and discussions via an online, virtual platform. Further information, including a detailed program schedule and online platform details, will be sent upon acceptance.

The cost is $100. A deposit of $50 is required.

How To Apply:
We are partnering with CampDoc (an online registration program) to better serve our campers and staff. CampDoc offers online registration and an electronic record system for campers. The CampDoc site is secure, encrypted and password protected. Only Alfred University Summer Health Staff will have access to camper information.

To gain access to our online application, please use the following link (we support the current and previous major releases of Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari):

Camp Registration Portal (CampDoc)
CampDoc Registration Instructions

Acceptance Next Steps:
The program director will evaluate all applications and determine who will be accepted. Acceptance and non-acceptance notifications will be sent via email. Once campers are accepted, they will be directed to pay the camp tuition and will be provided with the official schedule and online platform information. Any questions should be directed to Mollie McKinley.

Please not that this is a sample schedule. Details may be subject to change.

Icebreaker / names & pronouns / Community Agreement

Drawing transformation. Using sheets of paper, everyone will draw out (or map, make a chart, whatever feels right to them) a pivotal / transformative moment in their lives. This would be a time when something radically changed for you. (It’s not when you decided you prefer pizza over sandwiches). We’re looking for a moment when you experienced something differently, had a perspective shift. We’ll have a share-out and discuss briefly.


Pre-photography exercise discussion. We’ll continue with our brainstorm about transformation, and look at what it means to us in the context of identity. From there, we’ll begin a conversation about how to trust our observation as part of critical thinking in an art practice. (Curious observation is a key tool in our summer experience together.) We’ll look at how a few contemporary artists have done this by approaching self-portraiture and alter-egos in new and playful ways.

STUDIO WORK: Use photography to create images that express transformation within an aspect of your identity. This is solo studio or field work, but I will be here on Zoom to answer questions and be available a sounding board. You will come to class tomorrow with 10 images to show us for a group critique and discussion. You are required to meet back up before class ends to get instructions for tomorrow.

Daily wrap-up and homework; brief discussion of photography post-production (exposure/color, editing, sequencing).

Alfred University is located in the peaceful village of Alfred in western New York State, where summer days are warm and nights are cool and comfortable. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful meadows and valleys, Alfred University is the perfect place to spend an enjoyable week learning more about a favorite subject and meeting other students who share your interests.

Whether considering candidates for admission or financial aid, applicants for employment or the management of its policies and school-administered programs, Alfred University does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or disability. Alfred University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.