Alumna Interviews Former Photo Professor for Online Publication

Alayna N. Pernell, courtesy of the artist.

Photographer and UA alumna Alayna N. Pernell interviewed her former teacher and mentor, UA assistant professor Allison Grant, for Lenscratch‘s ongoing “Photographers on Photographers” series. Lenscratch is an online publication that explores and celebrates contemporary fine art photography and photographic artists.

Allison Grant, courtesy of the artist.

Pernell, who was named to Lenscratch’s 2021 Top 26 to Watch, was asked by the publication’s editors to contribute an interview with “a hero, mentor, or an artist who has inspired” her for their series. Pernell, who graduated from UA in 2019 with a BA in studio art with a focus on photography, chose her former professor.

In the interview, Pernell asked Grant about her own mentors and influences, and her current work. In response to a question from Pernell about what she has learned from her work process, Grant talked about how surprising and expansive working collaboratively with others – her children, other artists, curators and scholars – can be for her. “It often takes my work to the next level,” Grant said. “Different minds and instincts can build really special things when they come together. It’s a lesson I hold onto as an antidote to my darkest thoughts about climate change. Togetherness is a space where we sometimes discover possibilities beyond what we can imagine alone.” Go here to read the full interview.

Hidden by thickly drooping wisteria vines, a mother and child stand together.
Allison Grant, “In the Vines,” from the series, “Within the Bittersweet,” 2019, archival inkjet print.

Allison Grant is an artist, writer, curator, and assistant professor of photography at UA. Her artworks have been widely exhibited at venues including the High Museum of Art (Atlanta); DePaul Art Museum (Chicago); Patti & Rusty Rueff Galleries at Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN); Edelman Gallery (Chicago); and the Weston Art Gallery (Cincinnati), among others. She was named to the Silver Eye Center for Photography’s 2022 Silver List. Grant received the 2020 Portfolio Purchase Award from the Atlanta Photography Group, the 2019 Developed Work Fellowship from the Midwest Center for Photography and was shortlisted for the 2019 FotoFilmic Mesh Prize. Works by Grant are held in collections at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), DePaul Art Museum (Chicago), Columbia College Chicago, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation art collection, Cisco Systems Corporate Art Collection (Durham, NC), and the King County Portable Works Collection (Seattle).

Alayna Pernell, “With Care to Ms. Maudelle Bass Weston,” from “Our Mothers’ Gardens,” 2020.

Grant has curated exhibitions at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Photoforum Pasquart, Biel, Switzerland; Filter Space, Chicago; and Atlanta Contemporary. Essays by Grant have appeared in Minding Nature Journal and INCITE: Journal of Experimental Media, Volume 7, as well as numerous artist publications and exhibition catalogs. Grant holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago (2011) and a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design (2004).

Alayna N. Pernell was awarded the 2020-2021 James Weinstein Memorial Award by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Department of Photography and the 2021 Snider Prize by the Museum of Contemporary Photography. She was named to the Silver Eye Center of Photography 2022 Silver List and Photolucida’s 2021 Critical Mass Top 50. In 2021, she received her MFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2019, she graduated from The University of Alabama summa cum laude with a BA in studio art with a focus in photography and a minor in African American studies. Pernell is a lecturer of photography and imaging at the Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.