“We are all brothers under the skin—and I, for one, would be willing to skin humanity to prove it.”
Ayn Rand

“Manic sex isn’t really intercourse. It’s discourse, just another way to ease the insatiable need for contact and communication. In place of words, I simply spoke with my skin.”
Terri Cheney

As this exhibition coincides with a political season in which many, including myself, fear a future with a fierce Randian influence, the photographs in un/common skin, and the artists who produced them, give me great hope. I’ve been fortunate to have a front-row seat to watch the evolution of these uncommon artists as they honed their craft, professionalism, and creative vision during the ten months of the Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography program. They have inspired me with their talent, tenacity, bravery, sensitivity and sense of community. Much of my time with this group has been spent making sure they understand the mechanisms—of light, optics, silica, bits, displays, and pigments—so that they can control their tools (and negotiate the unpredictable variables involved) well enough to translate their vision and images into the final prints. Their heroic attention to the technical details has only one purpose: to remove distractions, so their ideas and passions reach you without unnecessary aesthetic constraints. And what about those ideas and passions? While some of the projects explore the struggles of identity, femininity, memory, modernity, puberty, gluttony and connectivity, others celebrate beauty, youth, sex and divinity. Without a doubt, the diversity of what these artists seek to communicate is breathtaking, as is their common humanity.

Tom P. Ashe
Associate Chair
MPS Digital Photography
School of Visual Arts