This fall, Evergreen student Jenny Rice will be heading to Spain to complete an Independent Learning Contract (ILC) in photography. There, she will have the chance to display her work at the 5th Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary Photography in Barcelona—an opportunity she earned by placing in six different categories in this year’s Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers competition.
After submitting her photos to the competition in autumn of 2017 and not hearing back for some time, Rice had assumed that the judges had passed over her work. When she saw the finalists, however, she was delighted. Staring back at her from the line-up of chosen photos was none other than her own dog Lucy, whom she had photographed months before for the contest.
“My heart nearly exploded,” exclaimed Rice.
The news could not have come at a more perfect time for Rice, as a series of challenges in her life—including a five-year legal battle that resulted in the loss of her farm—had left her feeling unsure of herself.
“I was struggling with the all-consuming feeling of having failed,” said Rice. “For me, the [award] is not only the recognition of my work as an artist, but a door opening to new and exciting opportunities.”
To Rice’s delight, there would be more exciting news to come. Just as she was invited to display her work in Barcelona, some of her closest friends accepted jobs in Spain and invited her to stay with them.
With a place to stay in Spain secured, Rice set about crafting an ILC that would allow her to study abroad while she was there. In addition to displaying her work in Barcelona, the ILC will consist of studying the Spanish language and culture, producing a weekly documentary photo series, and creating a twenty-image photo essay.
Supervising Rice’s ILC will be faculty member Steve Davis, whom she has worked with previously. After being impressed with Rice’s work in the past, Davis is looking forward to seeing her discover new approaches to image making, and to being pleasantly surprised.
“A good ILC allows a student to take more agency in creating their own curriculum,” said Davis. “They can move in directions not available in our regular and [Evening and Weekend Studies] curriculum.”
For Rice—who has been interested in photography since she was just a child—her trip to Spain will be her first time having her work exhibited on the international level. More than anything, however, she is looking forward to documenting life overseas.
“It is through photography that I am able to capture the essence of emotion in other people, in myself, and in animals, and tell a story to the world of what it means to be alive,” said Rice.
After Rice graduates, she hopes to write poetry and take plenty of photos. Above all, she wants to use her talents to make society a better place. Armed with a wealth of artistic skills, an overarching admiration for life, and just one year away from earning her Evergreen degree, Rice is poised to do just that.