Carlos Rene Pacheco is a photographer and artist originally from Tucson, Arizona. As a young astronomy student, Pacheco became disenchanted with applied physics and mathematics and exchanged his view through a telescope for a view through a camera lens. He received his BFA with an emphasis in Photography from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in 2011 and his MFA in Photography + Integrated Media from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 2014. Pacheco currently resides in the Fargo-Moorhead area where he is an Assistant Professor of Photography in the School of Art at Minnesota State University Moorhead in Moorhead, Minnesota. He is now in his third year teaching at MSUM. In addition to teaching, Pacheco remains an active artist and exhibits his work nationally on a regular basis.
2015 – present
Inspired by the near unbroken flatness of the Upper-Midwest along a horizontal plane, Flatland is an in-progress series that explores the microscopic and macroscopic structures of the terrain from an aerial vantage point. From this perspective the landscape is evocative of the extraterrestrial topography of a distant planet, visible through the circular portholes of some space-faring craft.
Why Minnesota State University Moorhead?
The Minnesota State University Moorhead School of Art offers a B.F.A. in Studio Art with emphases in Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, Ceramics, Drawing and Illustration, and Painting. We also offer a B.A. in Art History and a B.F.A. in Art Education. Additionally, we offer Minors in Art, Art History, and Art Therapy, as well as, specialized certificates in Book Illustration, Professional Portfolio Development, Scientific Illustration, and Sequential Art. The numerous degree and certificate paths we offer emphasize the strong interdisciplinary nature of our program.
Our department is small but faculty in the School of Art take an active role in the continued success of our students while also being active and accomplished artists themselves. One of our strengths is our ability to offer individualized interactions with students. In addition to in-class critiques our students are required to take part in two portfolio reviews. This gives our students the opportunity to develop their voice and receive feedback from professors outside of their emphasis.
Despite our small size, each year we also offer a number of competitive awards and scholarships to students in the School of Art. These awards aid our students in the continuation of their own art practice. The state of Minnesota itself is known for its continued support for the arts.
What courses do you teach?
I teach undergraduate students. Being the sole photography professor in the School of Art I teach the full range of classes we offer on a rotating basis. I teach Intro to Photography, Contemporary Digital Concepts, Experimental Techniques, Untrue Narrative, Identity in Photography, and two senior-level Photography Studio courses. Each class covers techniques and concepts related to different themes in photography. Additionally, I teach a section of Contemporary Art, Design and Theory.
How does your program bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary photographic practices?
While developing the photography emphasis my goal was to incorporate a number of different photographic concepts into the curriculum. Aside from our intro course, which is entirely darkroom-based, and Contemporary Digital Concepts, which is a digital course, my students are encouraged to choose a method of image-making that best suits their ideas. The program doesn't emphasize digital techniques over traditional ones or vice versa. In Experimental Techniques we explore historical processes like the tintype and cyanotype processes, in addition to, mixed and new media approaches to image-making and presentation. Likewise, in Contemporary Digital Concepts, my students are introduced to current and evolving digital technologies; DSLR imaging, camera phones, web-cams, drones, etc. In Untrue Narrative we explore a history of constructed narratives and storytelling through still images, book-forms, moving images and cinema.
Describe the process of output for photographs.
Output requirements change depending on the class and particular project. For instance, in Experimental Techniques where we spend some time exploring the photograph as a sculptural object I encourage my students to create photographs that don't exist as flat prints on the wall. That said, my students are still often required to make traditional prints. Being able to craft a good photographic print is still an important skill to have. We have a small digital lab with computers, several large format printers, and scanners available for photography students. We also have a black and white darkroom with over a dozen enlargers that students have 24-hour access to while registered in a photography course. Intermediate students also have access to a large lighting studio space.
Describe the critique format.
Critiques happen in class, unless the work being critiqued is sculptural or performative and requires a space outside of the classroom to be successful. On occasion I bring my intermediate students to our on-campus gallery to discuss the work of our graduating senior photography students that is on display during their senior exhibition. Critiques happen several times a semester, with individual progress meetings scheduled in-between each group critique. During group critiques I encourage my students to respond to and ask questions about the work being critiqued. The student whose work is on display gets to respond after everyone has had a chance to discuss the work. Finished prints are displayed but I encourage my students to think of the work as still in-progress. They should take the feedback they receive and continue to examine their ideas. In the past I've invited visiting artists to join us and join our critique. It is always a nice change of pace to introduce students to unique perspectives. Visiting artists are also welcome to hold one-on-one studio visits.
Where can we keep up with your photo department online?