Famous photographer flashes through MU

Originally published October 28, 2014.

Surely there was a large turnout expected for Larry Fink’s arrival to Millersville for the Conrad Nelson Lecture Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Myers Auditorium in McComsey Hall, but the needed auditorium size for the event was underestimated. Needless to say, Fink attracted a large crowd. Students and art enthusiasts from Lancaster and surrounding areas packed the auditorium full to the point where some people had to stand outside in the atrium hoping to hear a few snippets.

Fink is a famous photographer, who has been featured in the likes of The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Vogue and GQ, respectively. During this lecture, he showed off the contents of books that he designed himself, immediately connecting with the audience with his casual speech and friendly demeanor.
First, he presented a book that contained pictures of his teenage/young adult years, emphasizing that his life consisted of “smoking dope and carrying on like no one’s business,” which immediately drew laughter from the crowd. “We were dirty by nature,” Fink said.
While he showed off the rather impressive gallery of photographs that he had taken over the years, he threw in a couple of tidbits about how he achieved such pictures. “You have to use [the camera] in which a way that’s aggressive… Photography is not a passive sport,” Fink said. “I was known for my flash technique,” he said, stressing that on most occasions, one can not see a single point of light in his photos, which are always black and white.
Fink spoke to students about his work at Myers Auditorium in McComsey Hall.

Unapologetically, Fink admitted that some of his photos are taken out of context, but for good purpose. “Pictures lie all the time… Telling the truth is a tricky subject,” Fink said. “You just have to create a seductive visual aroma.”

Despite being a 76-year-old man, he keeps young through his spirit. “I’m not a hipster any longer, but I’m pretty hip,” he said jokingly.

The hour-and-a-half long event was a learning experience for all that attended, and his words will likely stay with students and other participants for a long while. These days, this acclaimed photographer spends his time as a professor of photography at Bard College.

The Conrad Nelson Lecture was established in 2000 by Millersville alum Conrad Nelson, whose goal was to make sure that Millersville could continue to bring in artists for students to experience for years to come.


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