Laura J. Bennett
Dames of Anatomy

Martin McDonald Gallery

November 2– December  22, 2018

Laura is one of the 2018 winners of the Texas Photographic Society Award.

Laura Bennett earned BA degrees in journalism and studio art from Humboldt State University and an MFA in photography from the University of Houston. As a college educator she has taught photography, photojournalism, photo history and history of women artists. Dames of Anatomywas awarded first place in the portrait category of the 5th Annual Julia Margaret Cameron Award. Bennett was the recipient of the Mylio Grantthrough Luminous Endowmentfor Elsa Johanna,an emerging body of work about the life of her grandmother, a Finnish immigrant. She attended a SÌM Artist Residency in Reykjavik in September of 2017. Her image Memory Best Forgottenwon first place in Soho Photo’s 5th Annual Alternative Process Competition. The same image was also on the cover of SHOTS Anniversary issue in the summer of 2011. Her work has been published in View Camera Magazine and The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, by Christopher James. Much of Bennett’s work stems from her experience of being the mother of nine and addresses the complexities of the female condition. She uses an old Gundlach 8x10 camera and an early version Hasselblad. In addition to traditional silver gelatin process and alternative processes, Bennett also scans antique glass negatives, film, objects, old medical illustrations and ephemera for transformation in the computer and for creating digital negatives. 
"Dames of Anatomy" is an ongoing project that addresses the complexities of the female condition and challenges cultural norms. Old glass negatives of anonymous women are scanned and combined with antique medical slides, ephemera and my own selected images. They are peppered with satire, but there is an underlying presence of struggle and submission. My life experience as a woman is a far lonesome cry from any fairytale I ever knew as a child. I tell my daughters, “You are your own prince charming, so saddle up and find yourself.”

Project Barbatype began with a conversation in the darkroom of Collin College in Plano, TX in the spring of 2014. Scott was an instructor who had been working with tintypes for a few years, with a growing interest in portraiture. Bryan was a photo lab tech, and former beard competitor, with an ambition to make a book. An idea was spontaneously generated- to join forces, and make it happen.

Project Barbatype is a collaborative effort of a dedicated group of individuals who have each committed their time, skills, money, and energy to get Project Barbatype started and keep it running.

Scott Hilton started photographing in high school. He has a BA in Art with a concentration in Photography from the University of Nevada, Reno, and an MFA in Creative Photography from California State University, Fullerton. He currently teaches photography as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington. Scott began working with hand-made photo processes while in grad school, and started making tintypes in 2009. He reluctantly admits it was nearly three years later until he actually knew what he was doing.

Bryan Wing retired from competitive bearding in 2011, after receiving numerous "Honorable Mention" awards for his facial hair achievements. He earned an AA in Photography from Collin College in Plano, TX, and is currently pursuing a BA in Photography from Texas Woman's University.

Scott and Bryan met when Scott was teaching a darkroom photography class at Collin College in Plano, TX, and Bryan was the evening lab technician.  Project Barbatype was born in a conversation when Scott mentioned his efforts at perfecting tintype portrait techniques, and Bryan mentioned his thought of doing a photo project on Beard and Moustache Competitors.  A partnership was formed, and continues to roll on.