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Bushwick Art Show Explores the Identities of American Millennials Through an Open Call Photo Shoot

Think how cool it would be if you walked into an art gallery and saw a photo portrait of yourself on display

Tulu Bayer

Think how cool it would be if you walked into an art gallery and saw a photo portrait of yourself on display. Well, an open call for photography subjects in their 20s on Monday can make this dream a reality.

Artist and professor, Tulu Bayar, is asking that any 20-somethings in NYC drop by Amos Eno Gallery in Bushwick this Monday between 3 and 9pm with a possession that defines them. Each participant will be asked to throw the item that they brought toward a camera as it snaps freeze-frame photos of them symbolically declaring who they are.

Tulu’s inspiration for the project stemmed from her work teaching art to college students for the past 14 years at Bucknell University and wanting to explore the social and cultural identities of American millennials. The project has been called 20s Somethings.

If this project sounds familiar to you that’s because Tulu exhibited these types of portraits at Amos Eno Gallery this past April. Previously though, the showcased portraits were of subjects she knew personally. The open call on Monday will be the first time Tulu will be taking photographs of strangers for the collaboration. She won’t know who or what she’ll be photographing until they’re standing in front of her and her camera.

“I don’t know who will show up and what they will bring to the session. It is a real risk, but I love this risk factor. I have a feeling that it will be more genuine,” Tulu told us. “There is always going to be the “photographer” factor though, because as much as they participate in this by bringing the [possession] of their personal choice, I will be the one who will photograph them and I am not a millennial.”

So if you're in your 20s and are interested in coming on Monday, you're welcome to bring literally any item or collection of items that help to define who they are (even though millennials are people born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s, so you can be in your early 30s or in your teens and still be a millennial, Tulu is interested only in 20-somethings).

When Tulu previously photographed subjects for the project she was fascinated that not one person chose to be photographed with their smartphones or other electronic gadgets. Everyone chose to be photographed with items representing their passion (stuff like vegetables they’d grown, items they’d crafted, or toys they’d collected).

“This project is a critical reflection on the assumption that millennials spend a lot of time on texting and social media and that they do not focus or invest enough time on activities that enrich their personality,” continued Tulu.

Each photography session is expected to last about 10 minutes and will consist of Tulu asking a few intro questions about the item of choice and then using a strobe unit to take freeze frame photos. Participants are also encouraged to hang out after their session and shmooze with the other collaborators.

A cool detail about 20s Something is that one photo from every person who attends the open call will be used in an upcoming showcase, and every participant will get a print copy of their portrait (likely in September). Tulu will actually be spending the summer traveling the country doing additional 20s Somethings photoshoots and is also envisioning putting together a book. So if nothing else, being involved in this collaboration will result in a perfectly weird gift to give to your mom.

The open call photo shoot is taking place on Monday, June 29 between 3-9 p.m. at Amos Eno Gallery at 1087 Flushing Avenue, Suite 120s (Shops At the Loom), Bushwick. It is not required to RSVP, walk-ins throughout the day are welcomed.


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