I began my time here at ICI with a rigid sense of my own professional identity. I thought an archivist must look a certain way, embody certain characteristics, and serve to promote certain scholarly uses of collections, which secretly made me very uneasy. I have always been one to ride the currents of life and trust in the unfolding of it all, so holding firmly to this rigid sense of “professionalism” served in direct contrast to who I am and want to be. But this is all changing, and I have ICI and its associates to thank. The projects assigned to me here have allowed room for the creative interpretations I so badly desire while encouraging exploration of self and identity. I’ve come to discover an archivist can be so much more than what we learn in school. I can hold onto my free-spirited philosophies, engage with creative minds, and still apply the archival principles in which I’ve been trained.
I was introduced to artist and long-time ICI associate Antoinette LaFarge during my first visit to ICI. I was told, if I were to get the position, part of my time would be spent at the Institute, managing its archives, and the other half assisting LaFarge in her home in Long Beach, taking photographs of her work and designing a database to manage it all. My experience in professional photography was minimal at the time, but I was eager to learn from a seasoned photographer like LaFarge. Because working with artists has always been a dream of mine, the opportunity to merge my skills as an archivist with Lafarge’s expertise in art and new media was a welcomed assignment. From our first meeting together until now, LaFarge and I have accomplished a great deal. The database was up and running by our third meeting. We have also taken upwards of around 200 high quality photographs in her studio, which she will use in a variety of ways.
Working with LaFarge has been a delight. Her pieces are breathtaking, inspiring, and thoughtful. As a person, she is caring and kind, extremely intelligent, and someone I respect and will enjoy knowing for many years. Above all, she has shown me that two of my biggest passions in life – art and archives – can be successfully fused. I look forward to working with her more in the future and applying what she has taught me toward a long career documenting, organizing, and disseminating beautiful works of art.