Joanna Szupinska-Myers

Curator of Exhibitions for the California Museum of Photography

With eyes like a shutter and a mind like a lens, Joanna Szupinska-Myers, curator of exhibitions, is a living camera who thinks in photographs.

“Photography is related to everything. It’s great in that you can use your camera to see something that our human eyes can’t see. To me, that is all really exciting,” she says.

Working at the UCR ARTSblock’s California Museum of Photography, Szupinska-Myers is in charge of organizing all the changing exhibitions. She focuses on what she calls the “three Cs” — the collections, contemporary art, and the collaborations between artists and UCR faculty.

“I keep it as three Cs: Making the collection accessible to scholars to do their research; collaborating with faculty and bringing in all the expertise to the museum; and third is to really look at photography in a contemporary art way and looking at what is happening in the world today,” she explains.

And she’s busy putting her three Cs into action for her upcoming projects.

“I just started a new series called ‘Flash.’ It’s like a camera flash but also like a quick flash of pictures. It’s just a small gallery on the third floor where we are going to have contemporary art. I think what contemporary artists are doing right now is really important and interesting,” she says.

“We’re [also] doing another professor-student curated show. Susan Laxton from the Art History Department is working with her graduate students to curate a show from our collection, using this portfolio of photographs from the ‘70s called ‘Women are Beautiful.’ They are reconsidering those photographs and relooking at them in a critical, feminist way, now that it is 40 years later.”

Although Szupinska-Myers only started working at UCR in January, she says the California Museum of Photography is already a perfect fit.

“I have always had an interest in photography and in contemporary art, and this museum is the perfect marriage of those two interests. And I love being at a university. A university art gallery is a very particular kind of institution within the museum world because you really get to draw on the expertise of all these departments. I feel like I’m back in school. I can learn from all these great, brilliant minds,” says Szupinska-Myers.

For Szupinska-Myers, being a curator of exhibitions isn’t just a job; it’s a lifestyle. “This is my dream job because this is what I do in my free time. It’s really about talking about ideas and seeing cool things. Why would I want to take a break from that?” — Bethanie Le

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