Assistant professor, founder exhibits with artist collective

Trends Reporter

The ability to capture moments through a lens has been explored, practiced and perfected for more than a century, and now assistant professor Barry Stone has made his mark on the world of photography.

Stone’s work history includes his tenure as the Coordinator of the Department of Photography in the School of Art & Design and showcasing at the Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York City. He received the 2012 Artist of the Year honor from the Austin Visual Arts Association and will have an upcoming feature in “Zing Magazine.” However, his most prominent contribution is the founding of the artist collective, “Lakes Were Rivers.”

Originally, Stone set out to form the collective in 2008 as an outlet for supporting and critiquing photography.

“I noticed an incredible amount of talent here in Central Texas,” Stone said. “There was always an energy for contemporary photography here in Austin.”

The collective consists of eleven artists, including former and current Texas State faculty members Ben Ruggiero, Jason Reed, Elizabeth Chiles, Jessica Mallios and Mike Osborne.

Currently, “Lakes Were Rivers” is presenting its own work and works frequently with the Harry Ransom Center, a nationally recognized archive of photographs at the University of Texas.

“It is always cool to go through the archive and make connections,” Stone said. 

“Lakes Were Rivers” has utilized its association with the Harry Ransom Center as a resource to study and support their work as a collective.

“We feel very privileged to be able to work with such a unique collection,” Ruggiero said.

In 2011, The Austin Chronicle contributed to the collective’s exposure, naming them Best Lens Crafters of 2011 and referring to them as “11 of Austin’s sharpest, most industrious artists working in photography and video.”

Five of the artists involved in “Lakes Were Rivers,” including Stone, Ruggiero and Chiles, were each selected in 2011 to exhibit their work at the Austin Museum of Art as “New Art in Austin: 15 to Watch.”

“It’s really cool to be picked and recognized,” Ruggiero said. “Our work has a life of its own, reaching people when we don’t necessarily know that it is.”

In the fall of 2012, “Lakes Were Rivers” presented a photo series at Vanderbilt University entitled “Dark Matter,” which explored the subject and concepts of deep space.

“‘Dark Matter’ was a show we put together last fall dealing with and inspired by science-fiction and notions of the unknown,” Reed said.

Outside of “Lakes Were Rivers” and Texas State, Stone continues to take pride in his work, describing his overall influences as family-oriented. Stone said photos were a way to support one’s own happiness through capturing such moments.

“Photography is meant to convey that slip between truth and fiction,” Stone said.


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