The Visual and Performing Arts department at UCCS includes accomplished programs such as photography, in which several students and faculty members have had their work featured across campus and in museums, according to the VAPA website.
Senior instructor of photography Stacy Platt has spurred the success of the program, bringing years of dedication and field experience to the classroom and continuing to pursue her artistic career while she teaches.
Platt began teaching at UCCS in 2015 and has been recognized multiple times for both her art and her instruction. She received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success in 2019.
Platt’s previous creative pieces garnered attention and praise from the art community, and a large part of the success of these works comes from her influences.
“My early background was documentary photography, but I’ve kind of moved towards much more of a bridge between that and a fine art/conceptual approach. I work on projects that are based on things from my personal history,” she said.
A grayscale church with an accompanying quote, part of an ongoing project of over four years, greets visitors to her faculty page.
“There’s an ‘ex-vangelical’ project that I’ve been doing that’s based on my history of having grown up here and when I was really young, and my parents having been indoctrinated by Dobson’s Focus on the Family, and the subsequent effects that this has had in my life,” Platt said.
“I’ve been doing this obsessive project to try and photograph all the churches that hold Christian Services in [Colorado Springs] — there are over 400 of them, and so far I have captured about half of them. I interview people who are self-identified as ‘ex-vangelical,’ and there are people who grew up with that culture and then consciously left it as adults,” Platt said.
She also described storytelling through photography as an inspiration for her work. “I’m really interested in artists that take bits of fact, and then mix them to some [kind of] fiction to tell a better story. One of my favorite photographers that I look at is an Indian photographer named Sohrab Hura. He’s a Magnum photographer, which is a consortium of some of the best photographers in the world. He mixes a lot of fact and fiction of his life,” Platt said.
Prior to COVID-19, Platt wrote and edited for the Exposure Magazine, a photography oriented magazine based in Cleveland, OH.
The magazine was “exclusively devoted to the analysis and understanding of photography through scholarly insight, historical perspectives, critical dialogue, educational issues, and reviews of contemporary photographic publications,” according to Platt’s curriculum vitae.
“That organization [branches from] the Society for Photographic Education. It’s full of people who teach photography classes all over the country. They’ve had a bunch of economic stresses from the pandemic, and I was part of the hired national staff. They [cut all] positions and so there hasn’t been a magazine really since 2019,” Platt said.
She said she has also felt the effects of the pandemic on her work-life balance and her personal creativity.
“What I have done is thrown everything I have into teaching, and it feels like I have nothing left anywhere else. So I have not been able to push for much creative work. I have an eight-year-old and [the last two summers] I haven’t really had childcare, so I haven’t had that time that [people in academia] really rely on. For artists, that’s when we have the biggest bulk of time to make new work,” she said.
Platt’s preferred area of teaching focus is analog photography, as opposed to digital.
“I do think there’s a resurgence of interest in analog, but the resurgence is expensive. The film that every photography teacher tells students to buy is now $10 a roll. When I first started teaching here it was $5,” Platt said.
Platt teaches several classes at UCCS including VA 2110: Introduction to Photography, AH 3010: History of Photography and a 2D visual foundations class. She has also taught the VAPA junior seminar course.
To learn more about Platt or get in contact, visit her VAPA faculty page here.