Photographers visited UK to give lecture about their disastrous art


Photographer Lori Nix and her partner Kathleen Gerber lectured to UK faculty, staff, and students as part of the Robert C. May lecture series in the Kincaid Auditorium on Friday, November 10, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Arden Barnes

Train wrecks, like Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber’s art, are something humans can’t look away from.

Renowned photographer Lori Nix and her partner Kathleen Gerber lectured to approximately 200 UK faculty, staff and students in the Kincaid Auditorium in the Gatton College of Business and Economics on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, about their artwork, which focuses on imaginary post-apocalyptic scenes.

Nix spoke about her art and how her past experiences impacted the scenes she and Gerber create, photograph and then destroy.

Both Nix and Gerber grew up in the Midwest, meaning they were no strangers to natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods and blizzards.

Nix said that these experiences along with her “constant diet of 1970s dystopian cinema” are the major inspiration for her current artwork. She continues to derive ideas for her miniature sets from her current surroundings, from news events and from photojournalism.

Nix said she and Gerber “work backwards,” first constructing a scene she imagines in a small scale and then capturing the model with a camera.

Nix and Gerber were invited to speak by Janie Welker, the curator of the UK Art Museum, as part of the Robert C. May Lecture Series.

“We have four lectures a year so we look for a variety of people working in different modes. Sometimes we have photojournalists, sometimes we have artists that use photography in their work, as Lori and Kathleen do,” said Welker. “I always try to get a good balance… I often try really hard to get a diverse group of photographers.”

Elliot Schiff, a digital media and design senior, attended the lecture as a requirement for his studio lighting photography class.

“I love these lectures. I think more students should go willingly, not just be required to go,” he said. “Especially art students, because we learn a lot and its really inspiring and it kind of makes you want to do what they do when you see how hard they work.”

Nix said she thinks her artwork appeals to college students. She said she feels that college students feel that they can do what she does.

A few pieces of Nix’s work are currently on display at the UK Art Museum.