Photography in the Mitten: Candi, Inc.

Photography in the Mitten: Candi, Inc.
Photo courtesy Candi Inc.
Photo courtesy Candi Inc.

A name like Candi Inc (pronounced “ince”) procures thoughts of sweetness, perhaps a little bit of business savviness, and, if you’re like me, an impressive set of photographic skills. After all, Candi is something of a photography maven and hopes to continue honing her wide range of talents long after her present studies are complete.

Photo courtesy Candi Inc.
Photo courtesy Candi Inc.

Raised in St. Charles, IL, Candi made the move to our Awesome Mitten after visiting a friend who was attending Northern Michigan University in Marquette. She fell in love with the community and surrounding area and is currently enrolled in her final semester at NMU.

Candi has always been involved in the arts, taking every photography course offered at her high school while also pursuing endeavors in painting throughout her education. Her senior year in high school was tumultuous to say the least. After losing her father to pancreatic cancer, Candi found release and the ability to express herself in the arts. In her own words, “Painting was an escape for me.” However, she found it too painful to complete a series of paintings depicting the impact of her father’s death for her final senior project.

Photo courtesy Candi Inc.
Photo courtesy Candi Inc.

Elgin Community College, IL, offered a continuation to her somewhat broad foray into art. Because of its emotional ties, painting had become too difficult for Candi. So, once again, she turned to her first love: photography. At this point, she decided a move was necessary and began to pursue a BFA in Photography at Northern Michigan University. Over the course of her faculty review course in the Art and Design program, Candi revisited the emotionally charged experience regarding her father. She wanted to complete the project she had been unable to before. But this time, she would utilize photography to tell her story. It was then Candi realized her affinity for vernacular photography, or photographs taken by amateur photographers of everyday life, and installation art, creating a powerful piece for her final art review.

Candi’s Artist Statement regarding “The Shift:”

The Shift is a set of photographic timelines that explore attachment, loss, and the way family tragedy can affect memory and individual growth. The photographs on the clothesline depict a visual chronology of the experiences of my siblings and me both before and after our father’s death. Much as we wear and wash our clothes, these memories are used and revisited in a cycle. Each visitation reinforces the memory, creating a stronger image in the individual’s mind.

The degree of clarity in each photo represents the ability to create and reinforce strong memories based on the amount of time each individual spent with our father. The photos in the memory box represent how time and distance have caused many memories to be lost. The place-card holders within each timeline articulate the loss of our father. The initial cards signify the stages of mourning—the moments when our lives were on hold, unable to continue on. The subsequent cards gradually demonstrate the progression of life challenges and achievements that created new memories punctuated by our father’s absence. They signify the shift from nostalgia to living in the present, the idea that life can and must continue on.

Photo courtesy Candi Inc.

Candi plans on going to graduate school to pursue either a MFA in Photography or MA in Photographic Preservations and Collections Management. Because she often draws inspiration for her work from the past and photographic theories, a museum position appeals to her. She currently works at the DeVos Art Museum on NMU’s campus and can be contacted for freelance work at cinc@nmu.edu.

Having known Candi since our first semester at NMU, I can vouch for not only her technical skill, but her warm and fun-loving personality. She is a talented and kind individual with immense ability and I cannot wait to see where it takes her.

Art is a compelling force. Has an artistic outlet allowed you to express something you could not have otherwise? Share in the comments below!

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Born, bred, and here to stay, I can proudly say I've lived all over our Awesome Mitten--and on three of the five Great Lakes, at that. My imagination has always been my greatest strength and in cooperation with the Awesome Mitten, I can excitedly implement my creativity in a way to promote all that is wonderful about Michigan. Contact me at claire@awesomemitten.com.