New York photographer comes to ISL

New York photographer, Accra Shepp, spent a week at the International School Luxembourg on a new and interesting project.  A book of the pupils' work will be created and placed in an outdoor public place in Luxembourg for one year.

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(HeP) The International School Luxembourg has been welcoming a new artist every month to talk and offer workshops to pupils as part of their 'Learning to Look' series.

Olivia Lorton, Upper School Teacher, expressed the importance of appreciating and understanding art. Invited artists include a print maker, photo realist, service pattern designer, textile painter and a ceramicist.

"Having artists come to the school has been an eye opener for the students and they have discovered new areas within the field. Even if it doesn't become their main career, they can appreciate it and understand the meaning of art," she explained.

From March 10-14, New York photographer, Accra Shepp, worked on an interesting and very different project with years 9-12.

During the week, pupils took photos of various aspects of Luxembourg that represent the diversity and culture of the country. This included portraits of people and landscapes that are relevant to Luxembourg. Once all images are complete, Shepp will create a book of these images from his NY studio.

"But it's not an ordinary kind of book," he said, "because in a traditional book you open it and you choose where you're going to start, whether it's at the beginning, middle or end. But this book is one that I place outside, out in the element for the wind to turn the pages."

The book will be placed in a public spot in Luxembourg and will stay in the open air for a whole year, no matter what weather. The pages are not made of special, waterproof paper; the idea is that the book stays out in nature. A year later, the book will have formed a sculpture, which will be taken indoors to a gallery in Luxembourg.

"I'm interested in our relationship with the environment. We take the control away from the human being and we give that level of agency to the environment and it will turn the pages. So we just need to take a step back and allow the book to unfold. They will turn freely through the wind, rain and snow for about a year and slowly the wind will sand the paper so that it becomes a little fuzzier and it will form a sculptural form that will not move. After a year it will be brought inside. I'm looking forward to the book being able to experience Luxembourg weather!"

Shepp also wanted to share with the pupils the meaning of working as an artist. Asked which one piece of advice he would give to a pupil wanting to follow a career in the field, he said "90% of the work is just being present, showing up. You take care of business. Part of being an artist is more mundane than you would imagine. You have the idea, but you have to go out there, show up and do the work. You need to translate your imagination into images."

The artist spoke with enthusiasm about his visit to Luxembourg and fascination at the cultural diversity he had experienced in such a small country. He said, "Moments after a child is born, he or she has such a personality. Luxembourg is like a newborn child. Although Luxembourg is not physically, geographically large, it doesn't mean that its culture is not distinct and set."

An update will be given once the location of the book will have been decided.