Allison Calteux, double-majoring in photography and communication, spent her summer shooting a series of dream-like images that emulate the style of the surrealist movement. She was able to accomplish this study through Carroll University’s Pioneer Scholars Program, an opportunity for Carroll students to spend their summers researching a proposed topic with personal guidance from a chosen professor. Students are also given a stipend which allows them to focus on their research during their limited summer months. Calteux submitted her study along with many other Carroll students, hers being among the handful that were accepted.
Photography is a recently added major for Calteux, a surprising fact given the clarity and creativity of the surrealist study she created. Her natural eye and crafted editing skills allowed her to develop a world of nightmares and daydreams, following careful research of the movement that inspired her. Calteux also occasionally paired text with her images, adding verses of poetry or simple phrases to enhance her haunting photos.
“When I learned of this opportunity, I was drawn to the idea of studying a specific area of photography that would be unlike any classes I could take. I chose the concept of nightmares and daydreams while studying the roots of the surrealist movement, because the subject matter in a lot of artists' works were based on scenes imagined subconsciously.”
While some of Calteux’s images have an obviously unsettling tone, they also have an elegant beauty that allows them to illicit a variety of reactions in the observer.
“I hope my audience will connect with the eerie ambiguous nature of my work. I want them to derive a personal meaning from each of my pieces, and decide for themselves which images are nightmarish or dreamy. I believe that the line between haunting and intriguing images can be blurred—a paradox I attempted to capture through my work.”
The Pioneer Scholars Program is unique in that Carroll students are able to not only gain confidence in their ability to conduct and organize independent research, but also spend many months working under the guidance and knowledge of a faculty member. Students then are able to enhance their knowledge of their study area while gaining invaluable one-on-one time with a respected professor.
“Over the past summer I have gained immeasurable confidence in my work and artistic process, and aim to continue growing independently. I will be able to apply the skills and knowledge I have acquired in future classes, and will hopefully transfer them into a freelance career as well.” Calteux said. “This process has also allowed me to build my portfolio which will help when I enter the professional world. Being a part of this program has rejuvenated my love of fine art, and inspired me to continue independent work in the future.”
See Calteux’s complete Pioneer Scholars Program project.