A native Mainer, George Philip loves being in museums almost as much as being outdoors. His research, writing, and photography have led him from the mountains of Switzerland, where he was a Fulbright Scholar, to the coast of California, where he now resides. George Philip graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts in French, Italian, and Art History, and then went on to complete his Master of Arts degree in Arts History at Williams College. As a Doctoral Candidate at Stanford, George Philip focuses on environmental history and ecology at the intersection of art and science. We spoke with George Philip about the exhibition he recently curated at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center and his experience exposing students to the world of art on several Putney programs.
George Philip has taught the history of art, architecture, and photography at the high school and college levels, and is a multi-year veteran instructor of Putney’s Language Learning France and Pre-College Paris programs. He has the innate ability to translate his academic knowledge and expertise into tangible, real-world experiences for Putney students — The photo above was taken by George Philip and his Art and Architecture students as they explored the Arcades during their Pre-College Paris program. We talked with George Philip about the experience.
“This was one of my favorite days of the trip, a distinction made unlikely by the temps de chien. Under shifting rains, my art and architecture class had joined with David Weldzius’ street photography class to visit the Arcades,” says George Philip.
“As we talked about the architecture of the glass-covered passages and how they changed the way nineteenth-century Parisians shopped and moved through the city, the students paired up to take photographs. While we pulled my big view camera’s hood over our heads to set up the shot, people began to stop, asking us questions in French, accepting our invitation to peer into the glass of the camera themselves.”
“Not only is this image a souvenir of that experience, it’s also a great reminder of the power of slowing down, being present and engaging people. On a trip like this, lessons in photography can quickly become lessons on how to be a good citizen of the world.”
Outside of his summers spent with Putney, George Philip curated an exhibition at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center. The exhibit, Arboreal Architecture: A Visual History of Trees, which opened on April 15th, is a collection of representations of trees, ranging from a 6th-century Egyptian medallion to 21st-century photographs. As George Philip explains in an article published by Stanford University, the exhibit examines, “the tree-like structures of knowledge that help us make sense of the world”. For his doctorate in the History of Art and Architecture, George Philip continues to explore this line between nature and culture in the photography, painting, and travelogues of renowned 19th-century painter and photographer William Bradfordart.