Take 5: Photographer and art critic Lisa Kereszi

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(Photo by Michael Marsland)

Take 5 offers a brief introduction to Yale faculty members in a Q&A format. The featured faculty member selects 5 out of 10 questions to answer. Any opinions shared are not necessarily those of YaleNews.

Lisa Kereszi, a critic at the School of Art, is a photographer whose images on film have captured subjects ranging from her family’s junkyard to strip clubs to defunct amusement parks and other abandoned venues. A graduate of Bard College, she earned her M.F.A. in photography from the Yale School of Art in 2000. Her work is in many private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Study Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery. She was commissioned in 2003 to photograph Governors Island by the Public Art Fund, which culminated in shows at the Urban Center Gallery and the Mayor’s Office at City Hall, and a book. She has three other books of her photographs in print: “Fantasies” (2008), “Fun and Games” (2009),  and “Joe’s Junk Yard” (2012), as well as a newly released artist’s book titled “The More I Learn About Women.” She was a finalist for Harvard University’s Gardner Fellowship in 2013 and was on the short list for the United Kingdom’s Cord Prize that same year. In 2005 she won the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers.

What important lesson(s) have you learned from your students?

That we all have so many different angles on the world and how it works and what our places are in it. That is clearly visible when an intro-level student is sent out with an analog camera loaded with black-and-white film for the first time; they come back with an infinite number of possible pictures.

What do you do for fun?

Some of the same things I do for my career — photographing and collecting. I haunt antique and flea markets, because, as is true with the life of a photographer, you never know what you might find when you are keenly aware of looking for something.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do — either professionally or personally — that you haven’t yet?

I just became a mom, so I am checking that one off my list, although there’s clearly going to be a lifelong journey ahead. In a way, it’s like our greatest art project.

What person, living or dead, would you like to spend a day with?

That would be Walker Evans, who was professor of photography here before I was even born. It turns out that besides being the main artist with whose work I feel a great affinity, we are also descended from the same colonist, so we are cousins, too!

What is your favorite spot on campus?

The newly renovated Yale Art Gallery is just awe-inspiring, especially those junctures where the new meets the old structure; they are all light-filled and clearly inspired spaces.

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