Artist, photographer, and educator Meg Birnbaum has given us some of her time via email so we could ask her a few questions about her Griffin State of Mind. What is it that gets her creating, what puts her in the Griffin headspace to teach and imagine.
Meg has been a part of our team for many years now with her work on our core team creating graphic content for us, sharing her brilliant ideas, and even featuring in some of our more recent shows such as Corona which happened in May.
How did you first connect with the Griffin?
Many years ago a friend asked me if I had ever heard about this photography museum in Winchester. He was very excited because there was an annual juried member’s exhibition and he was going to enter. So I checked it out and went to hear a few talks and events.
How do you involve photography in your every day? Can you describe one photograph that has recently caught your eye?
Now that I have an iphone I take photos everyday. I love Instagram and am always looking for something good to post.
I recently saw a photo by Magnum photographer Wissam Nassar that has stayed with me. It is of a father in Gaza in 2015. He is trying to give his two children a bath in a bathtub. The room he is in is full of rubble. There are no walls. There are grey concrete bombed buildings not far away, visible because there are no walls. Human tenacity.
What has been the most eye opening part of our time of physical distancing?
I guess it would be the surprise of discovering that I liked teaching online. It is very different but I was surprised that I liked it.
What is your favorite place to escape to in nature…mountains? beach? woods?
I like freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers. There are so many surprises and discoveries. I like to swim and I enjoy the less restrictions and peaceful environment of an undeveloped place.
What is one of your favorite exhibitions shown at the Griffin?
I enjoy all of the exhibitions – even if I do not appreciate them in the beginning. When I am lucky enough to revisit and live with the images for a bit, I start to understand them and then appreciate them more. I don’t think I can pick a favorite. The shows at the Griffin cover a lot of styles and approaches. That said, Jerry Takigawa is a favorite.
What is one book, song or other visual obsession you have at the moment?
I’ve been starting a new project recently and am quite obsessed with that. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about at night.
If you could be in a room with anyone to have a one on one conversation about anything, who would that person be and what would you talk about?
This is a very difficult question to answer. There are so many people. Francesca Woodman perhaps because she was such a delightful and sad discovery when I started shooting again. Her work turned me around and it was the beginning of realizing that photography could be so much more than what I was familiar with.
To view Birnbaum’s photography, visit her website www.megbirnbaum.com.