Get to know Glenna Jennings

Glenna JenningsIn a snapshot Glenna Jennings is an intensely focused individual whose multidisciplinary approach to the world allows for a truly unique perspective. Glenna is an assistant professor of photography, teaching courses in foundation photography, digital processes I and II, studio practices, and constructions of place. Yet she has always had a special love for her art and social practice course. Glenna attended Pepperdine University, where she earned a B.A. in English Journalism and a B.A. in Spanish. After teaching English as a second language abroad, she decided to return to school for photography. She earned a B.F.A at the Art Center of Design in Pasadena before heading to University of California, San Diego for an M.F.A in visual arts. She also recently received a Crossing Boundaries grant to develop her newest course on art and social practices. 

Glenna has worked as an artist, curator, and educator. At age eight her father bought her first professional camera. When asked what her favorite part of photography is she quickly answered, “The unspoken contract between subject and photographer. That is a true connection.” Her passion for this connection is tangible in the air when she speaks about one of her recent projects, Looking at Looking. This is an art series in which she photographed people looking at the National Cash Register archive photos. Glenna developed this project after receiving a grant through the Peter McGrath human rights fellowship. The University offered her the chance to work under this prestigious grant while she was still a lecturer.

Her art and teaching career has taken her to far-flung locales all over the world. She has worked in Prague, China, Colombia, California and now Dayton, Ohio. When considering the art scene in Dayton compared to other places she claims, “Dayton artists know the same truths as artist in LA, but the difference is that, despite a seeming lack of critical mass, Dayton allows for a more experimental and interdisciplinary impact on the community.” She goes on to explain, “Artists often try to impact the community around them, but in Dayton I actually see this happen in smaller-scale but more tangible forms.” Glenna is very interdisciplinary and with a coy smile states, “I try to stay true to photography, curating, and writing as an artist.” 

Growing up as an only child has prompted Glenna to explore the world perception of family, identity, and origins. This goes hand in hand with one of her earlier installments called Inheritance, in which she depicted all of the guns she inherited from her father after his passing, in the hands of important women in her life. She is also very close with her mother who loves to visit Dayton for the fall weather. Glenna is very close with her friends and throughout her life has looked at her friends as her personally constructed family. “Life is not just who you are related to by blood,” she told me in reference to her friend/family.

Glenna loves foreign films and the TV drama Breaking Bad despite her issues with the writing from a feminist standpoint. She appreciates good cinematography in as such her favorite movie is City of God. She wants to continue to live life as an explorer of culture, art, and the human experience. Her main advice to every aspiring artist is “try not to take yourself too seriously - this will help you get through the rough spots.” Glenna Jennings is a picture perfect inclusion in the University of Dayton family.