Sophie Cappello and the Goodbody Collection

Reflecting on my internship involvement at the Bates Museum of Art, I can truthfully describe my experience as a positive one. This program offered me opportunities to exercise my writing, critical thinking, and research abilities while having access to mentorship and trustworthy guides through my learning curve of proper writing stylization. Being tasked with the research of the Barbara Goodbody collection’s artists and the writing and configuration of artist biographies along with an applicable art interpretation, I feel proud to have my contribution displayed within the upcoming catalog. I have come to a better understanding of the demands and formalities of working within a museum, and better yet, have created a deeper bond within myself to the art I know and love. 

This internship did not come without its hardships; developing a keen eye for analysis was a main focus of my mental energy. Photography, which does not always tell a straight-forward story, relies on the manipulation of techniques like framing, lighting, and perspective to initiate thought in the eyes of the beholder. One of my artists, Keither Carter, displayed in his work Harris that harnessed light to acts as a symbol of the boy’s imagination. An orb of light shines beneath his hands and envelops the dim room, giving life to the child’s curiosity and an optimistic worldview.

Keith Carter (American, b. 1948), Harris, 1999, Gelatin Silver Print, 15 X 15 in., Bates College Museum of Art, Gift of the Barbara Morris Goodbody Collection of Photographs, 2021.1.9

My interpretation dips into both the background research I had completed on the photographer, as it is entirely possible that their experiences play a significant role in the intended meaning, as well enacting a method of stepping into the audience’s viewpoint with a set of fresh eyes. The copious amount of photography I have studied, both in-person and within our database, has had a leading role in my ability to discern details in a photograph, allowing me to become more proficient in aspects of composition, depth of field, color, and more. 

Interning with the Bates Museum of Art was my first experience within the museum field. Close mentorship with Dan Mills and Anthony Shostak along with the other museum staff gave me a warm welcome into this new and interesting line of work and passion. I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity and hope that others with a passion for art will volunteer to help the museum progress to even greater heights.