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Faculty Spotlight: Andrea Modica

November 17, 2014

Photography Professor Andrea Modica received a call on a recent Saturday offering her the chance to shoot her third New York Times Magazine cover.  By the following morning she was in northern Vermont photographing American journalist Theo Padnos and his mother at their family home. Padnos had recently been released by Jabhat al-Nursa, an al-Qaeda branch in Syria, and the photos were to accompany Padnos’ November 2 New York Times Magazine piece that chronicled his nearly two-year captivity.

Shooting with an 8X10” view camera and only available light, Modica was assisted by Drexel Photography 2012 alum Mike Arrison. “I was confident that hiring a Drexel alum would guarantee that he/she would have the photographic skills necessary to do a great job. Mike was terrific,” she said. Currently, Professor Modica teaches Photography program seniors in Thesis, and next term will teach two sections of palladium printing, the 19th century hand-coated printing process she uses for her exhibition work.

Andrea’s work is also the subject of the recently published book L’amico del cuore, the Italian idiom for “best friend,” featuring images of best friends in a high school in Modena, Italy, where she taught English in exchange for photographic access. All the work was done with an 8X10” camera and printed in platinum.

Professor Modica is currently finishing up a project photographing horses in a post-operative, deep anesthetic sleep in recovery rooms at an equine hospital outside of Bologna, Italy, while making her first attempt at creating short films during the operations. In addition, her work is currently included in the Callahan to Warhol: New Photography Acquisitions exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, as well as the show All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Platinum Photography from the Center for Creative Photography at the Norton Gallery, Phoenix Art Museum. Other works by Professor Modica are in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery and the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris.

“It was a privilege to spend time with Theo (Padnos) and his mother, both remarkable and fascinating individuals.  It was intensely moving to hear Theo talk about his time in captivity, and he offered information freely. For instance, while setting up the photograph that was used as the opener in the magazine, I asked Theo to relax outside, to give him a break from the posing he had been doing for the camera all morning. It was a beautiful day, and he lay down and told us that this was the position he slept in for nearly two years on the prison floor in Syria,” Modica said.