My daughter — composer and singer, Emily Cardwell — and I were chosen for an artists' residency in Norway with Light Grey Art Labs out of Minneapolis. We're collaborating on a multimedia project rooted in our concerns for nature, and we expect to finish the work by fall 2018. So many of the best things in this life are threatened because of the actions of humans: forests, oceans, wildlife. In fact, the future of our own species is unknown as the air we breathe and the water we drink are polluted; as wildfires, flooding and catastrophic storms increase; and as governments and many people ignore science and fail to take action. But even if humans persist, I wonder what the quality of life will be.
I'm happy to announce this image was one of 35 chosen from nearly 3,000 entries to be included in an exhibit at PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont, May 30 - June 23. Many thanks to the gallery and to juror Ann Jastrab!
Just finished a weekend learning from some of the "greats" of the photo-book world: David Chickey, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb. The three looked at all the participants' work, edited their projects down and sequenced them in two sessions. It was amazing to watch as they worked together, nixing and rearranging prints, talking about possible holes in work, and coming up with possible titles, text and format. It was brilliant.
Three great minds and hearts, to be sure. Look them up:
David Chickey, director and designer extraordinaire, Radius Books
Of course, the other participants were phenomenal artists. Here are just a few of my favorites, including old friends and new ones:
I've entered just a few contests until now, because it's so hard to get over the rejection letter. But you lick your wounds and try again. I found a contest by the Center for Photographic Arts in Carmel entitled "In Celebration of Light" and I couldn't resist. And then I was so surprised to find I'd won first place. I read the email through two or three times.
The Center for Photographic Arts evolved from Friends of Photography, the historically important group of West Coast photographers that included Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham. And the juror was Richard Gadd, director of the Weston Gallery. So I couldn't have won a contest that meant more to me.
I attended the SF PhotoAlliance portfolio review in San Francisco and met more incredible photographers and had the opportunity to show my work to some wonderful and helpful reviewers.
One reviewer, curator Ann Jastrab, asked if she could borrow one of my photographs for a show at Scott Nichols Gallery: "Hope Springs Eternal."
The show opened last night, and my daughter was there to take photos. Many thanks to Ann and Scott Nichols for including my work in this incredible gallery show!
When I was at AIPAD in 2017, my friend and amazing book artist Jace Graf pointed out Mary Virginia Swanson and said I should meet her. There she was in her red jacket ... a gigantic presence ... so I summoned my nerve, approached her and introduced myself. She referred me to her website and said she would be happy to talk with me.
That was the beginning of a relationship that has helped me begin to get my work out into the world. And it was the start of a great friendship with someone who is a legend (at a young age) in the photography world, from her early work with Ansel Adams and Magnum to her tireless work today lecturing and mentoring photographers.
Why do we photograph? For many personal reasons, but also because we want to communicate something with others. And that is the tricky part, the stuff that is sometimes unpleasant and confusing for artistic types. But Swanee is an incredible mentor, and two workshops and many conversations later, I now have a fair idea of how to go about this.
Here's Swanee's post of my work at the PhotoNOLA portfolio review in December.
I took a second photography workshop in Italy, in October. The workshop was organized by Alchemy Studio: Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek, longtime photography/art teachers and amazing people. The guest teachers were Kate Breakey (still life and hand coloring) and Jace Graf (book making). James taught me how to shoot with pinhole cameras and make cyanotypes. It was fun shooting and developing 4x5 film again, and it was a glorious time of living in a villa for a week with other photographers and shooting like mad. Again, the friendships forged were the most beautiful part of the experience. And, away from everyday distractions, I was able to get in the zone and shoot images that became part of my current projects.
After deciding to free myself from the constraints of journalistic photography, I started working in my darkroom with different papers and materials, adding paint, gold and silver leaf, and text to prints. But I wasn't happy with the way I was shooting. I looked at the work of photographers whose work I admire and chose Keith Carter as someone whose style I wanted to move toward. I filled out a contact form on his website, asking if he might be willing to mentor me, and he kindly wrote back, saying he didn't have time for that sort of thing, but that I might want to sign up for his Santa Fe workshop. I did.
The biggest takeaways for me were using poetry as inspiration for shooting and letting go of "the rules." The other thing I learned was how great if felt to get out of my little darkroom and out among other photographers. I'd been working alone for so long, I'd forgotten.