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UNF Photography Student Sets Up Studio Inside MOCA, Invites Visitors In For A Peek

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Lindsey Kilbride
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While a lot of University of North Florida students will spend the semester at desks, one photography student is spending a lot of her senior year working at the Museum of Contemporary Art, downtown.

Amanda Rosenblatt is the second UNF student to be chosen for the museum’s residency program.

On Friday, Amanda Rosenblatt was getting her studio ready at MOCA.

“It’ll be a functioning studio,” Rosenblatt said. “This is where I’ll be shooting the whole series.”

She’s flipped through a large, tan, worn notebook to get to her notes. It holds the ideas for her 22-piece photo exhibit she’ll be creating this semester. The series is inspired by a deck of tarot cards.

Her first piece is based on the tower card. She says it means “ambition built on false pretenses.”

The image on the card is a gloomy-looking tall, gray building.

“It’s being struck by lightning,” she said. “And the crown is falling and there are people leaping from their material desires.”

Rosenblatt says she’ll personify this image, using a female model and play with the symbolism represented by the cards.

“I like the visual,” she said. “And I love how there’s a little bit of Christian symbolism, Judaism, gypsy-myth, and folklore, and it’s all in these single cards.”  

And she’ll incorporate fashion photography. She shoots a lot of it, the old kind.

“The images you saw in magazines were very artistic and beautiful and not so ‘salesy,’” Rosenblatt said.

She says she’ll be outfitting a lot her models with pieces borrowed from designers and boutiques around town. And she has other decisions to make.

“‘Can I really fit that couch in this space?’” she said. “‘Can I bring a python into MOCA?’ ‘The little logistics.’”

She says a residency like this will prepare her for a career in photography.

“Hopefully one day I have my own museum shows elsewhere in the world,” she said. “[And] I’m not blindsided by questions or answers or interviews and things like that. It really helps that student-artist transition to working-artist transition.”

Rosenblatt will begin her first shoot during September’s downtown Art Walk. Attendees are encouraged to stop by and take a peek.