Sunday, January 30, 2011

Blake Andrews Blog

Please read Blake Andrews blog today; it's a good start to a deeper discussion on fine art portraits. Blake mentions greeting cards in his post, so I thought it fitting I post the card we sent out this year. The image in color below, is our most recent family portrait, which I intended to send out as change of address postcards...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A look back.

Since my last post, I've been thinking about my oldest son's involvement in my work. Even though yesterday's image was just a "snapshot", it brought me back. He's almost ten now and has played a role since he was just able to stand.  Below you will find one of the earliest images we made together. It was for a series I was working on when I was an undergraduate student. I stopped making the work when I went to graduate school and was given some... advice. But, that's a story for another day...


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mother and Son Dance.

My oldest son (9) and I are taking part in a mother and son dance at his school this February... 

Let's just say, we've been practicing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who has emailed me lately, to send a note of appreciation for the contents of the blog, to share your story, or to submit for the  call for entry I posted last week. I was in California for part of the week, and upon returning I haven't had a minute to post, trying to get through a few pressing deadlines.

December through February, there is a big push for those of us vying for tenure-track positions to meet the application deadlines for university and college positions listed to begin the following academic calendar. I'm sure many of our approaches to completing this daunting task vary, but for the most part, there is a collective understanding for the efforts put into obtaining such a position. The process begins in the fall, when the listings start to appear on various job boards in the community. The next step is to sit at the computer for weeks on end, often for me this means from morning till night, trying to write and organize my materials, which includes my portfolio. After the applications are sent off in the mail, you wait and hope for interviews. When the email or call comes in, you must then decide whether or not you will attend the conference, where many of the preliminary interviews are held. For me, this means the College Art Association conference, scheduled for early February, in New York. Then  often comes second interviews, your third (or second) will be a campus interview, often in March or April and then finally the offer, you hope. This can often stretch into May or June and even later sometimes.

The year I was finishing my MFA, I decided I would send out applications to colleges and universities - this was in 2007. I was teaching two classes, finishing my MFA, preparing for my thesis show (why I scheduled it in February is beyond me) and trying to send 30 some applications out. All this was on top of having two young children.  It was pure madness. It was pure stupidity on my part, actually. For the first time in my life I declared I was not superwoman. I'm the kind of person that does well under pressure with many things stacked on my plate. I'm a talented multi-tasker, but everyone has their limits and that year I hit mine. The biggest mistake was that in all of the chaos, I had sent out 30+ faulty CD's containing my portfolio. It was as if I had never applied that year.

The following year I was pregnant with my third child and decided only to send out a few applications to the jobs I was really, super excited about. My son was born May 22 and a few weeks later, I was offered a job in Georgia. I turned it down (under the influence of many hormones, I'm sure) and to this day, I have wondered, "what the hell I was thinking?"

Last year I made a bigger effort, I had been an adjunct for a few years and finally felt a level of confidence in the classroom I felt I deserved. I didn't feel though that my work (my art) had the time it needed to develop and I was not where I wanted to be. You see that is where having kids slows your progress down. I've learned I can't compare myself to those without kids, it just isn't the same...period. Your portfolio is everything in the application process and I wasn't there yet. I vowed last year to put more time and effort into my work and to face some demons that I was still holding onto from grad school.

This year though I wasn't sure I wanted to go through it all over again. I love love love teaching that's not the problem, it's the process I wasn't sure I wanted to go through again. Then in late December, something or someone sparked my desire and after some thought and the passing of the holidays, I decided to apply to some academic positions. At this point though, many deadlines have passed and so I'm moving at lightning fast speed to try and catch those later deadlines, because the academic community really is where my heart belongs.

And for those of you that follow this blog and happen to be former students, reading THIS has helped to focus me on my goal.

Thank you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Call for Artists

Recently, I adopted an old trick to begin shooting more regularly. I decided to use the take-one-great-shot-a-day method, as a means to a more consistent daily practice. (This is why you've seen so many more postings from me.) My process has been almost excusively limited to working on conceptual bodies, years in the making, and I think I stopped simply snapping photos for the shear joy of it, many years ago. I hope you've enjoyed looking at these images: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

A running coach I used to work with liked to say, "Somedays you'll run like Carl Lewis, and some days you'll run like Jerry Lewis."

I think that's true for a photographer too.

So... throughout the next year, my goal is to feature one or two photographers, other than myself,  for a five day stretch every month. As the featured photographer, you will be asked to shoot and post one image a day, M-F. (The rule is, they must be shot that day.)

I'm hoping each of those featured will enjoy the assignment and that the audience will gain a unique insight into those participating artists. Honestly, I hope to see just as many amazing images as I see bad ones. We can all learn a lot from each other.

If you are interested, please send a link of your website to:
In the subject line write: one-shot-a-day

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Direction 2011

I'm so excited to be flying out to California next week to attend the opening of Moments of Being, curated by David Bram of Fraction Magazine. Thank you again to David and a huge thank you to Crista Dix, owner of Wall Space Gallery.

Final Cut

While updating my portfolio recently (I'm very close to being done) I came across some (okay, more than some) images that didn't make the cut, a or have yet to find a home. Honestly, I'd forgotten about some of these images. I think that is one of the struggles that comes from working with digital images. My practice should include printing contact sheets of all of my images and binding them as opposed to using Lightroom or occasionally Bridge to browse through my archive. Unfortunately, the cost of ink is a huge consideration for me and at the moment I have three (small, medium and large format) printers to think about. (What I should think about is selling my 4400.)

Here are two of my favorites:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tethered and Lenscratch

I feel like I'm engaging in too many acts of shameless self-promotion lately, but I want to share my excitement with you. Yesterday, I was featured on Lenscratch, considered one of the 10 Photography-related blogs you should be reading by Source, and InStyle Magazine. Simultaneously, the talented Elizabeth Fleming mentioned my work on her blog. (You can check that post out here.) In Elizabeth's post she also noted that my blog had pulled her out of a temporary funk which brought on a short cessation from creating.

On December 30, I was redirected from Elizabeth's blog to an article she posted on A Photo Editor, where I had the pleasure of reading an opinion piece that was well reasoned and insightful, albeit a little controversial (considering the subject matter). What followed was a heated discussion that at times took direct aim at Elizabeth's own work. With grace, she took a few days to respond to some of her critics and then when she was ready, responded. I must admit, I stood on the sidelines and watched it unfold, cringing at times by some of the combative posts. But, I also took personally the comments directed at her work, since Elizabeth's subject matter is so similar to my own. 

The night before Elizabeth Fleming mentioned me on her blog, I sat in front of my computer trying to decide which image I should post from that day. The comments made on A Photo Editor, were fresh in my memory, especially those referring to the sensitive subject of exploiting one's children. I had narrowed my images down to two and after going back and forth in my head, I ended up posting the less controversial image that night. 

In the morning I woke up and as soon as I could, posted the stronger image. This image holds within it, the ability for me to communicate a small piece of my larger journey; that journey holds the subject matter that informs my work. Being a parent gives insight into the innocence of one's own past while shedding light onto the struggles of our own parents journey, taken not so long ago. It also allows us to see the physiological and psychological discoveries our children make. These moments are much more innocent than the mature adult mind projects onto them. My thoughts had been with Elizabeth and how she was handling the barrage of negative attention, because I knew it would have me feeling a little low. So yesterday morning I posted the image of my son standing on my bed, as a show of support for Elizabeth and her own, powerful work. 

It is difficult enough as a parent to navigate through this world, trying to find time to create art, network, post on our blogs, try to find the time to send our work to shows, working a full or part-time job and trying to be an amazing parent, without someone bringing you down and taking you away from what is really important. I'm not complaining either, I wouldn't trade places with anybody (well maybe with BeyoncĂ© for one night so I could shake it up on stage next to Jay Z) but this is my reality. 

So thank you to Elizabeth Fleming for thinking of me (looks like we were both thinking of each other yesterday morning) and to Aline Smithson for ALL of the work she does daily to support the larger photo community. 

Monday, January 3, 2011


SPE Women's Caucus Call for Entries

I'm so excited to be part of organizing this great opportunity.

If you are not a member of the Women's Caucus and/or you need to renew your membership, call the SPE office and tell them you want to become a member. Than apply to this show asap. The entry fee is only $20 and you still have time to send in your work. What an amazing opportunity to have DEB WILLIS and MARYANN LYNCH look at your work. The show will be part of the Saturday Night Bus Trip, during SPE.

Deb Willis Bio

Named among the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American
Photography Magazine, Dr. Deborah Willis is Chair and Professor of
Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University,
where she also has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and
Sciences, Africana Studies.

Among her notable projects are Reflections in Black: A History of Black
Photographers - 1840 to the Present, A Small Nation of People: W.E.B.
DuBois and African American Portraits of Progress, The Black Female Body in
Photography, Let Your Motto be Resistance, and Obama: the Historic Campaign
in Photographs.

Mary Ann Lynch

Mary Ann Lynch has been a prolific photographer, author, and filmmaker since the 1970s. The founder of Combinations, a Journal of Photography and Not for Profit Network: Photographers & Social Change, Lynch  has spoken at the NYS Writer's Institute, SPE conferences, campuses, art centers and elsewhere. Her scores of awards include those from the Denver International Film Festival, the Lucie/International Photography Awards, the National Science Foundation and the Sierra Club. Her articles appear in B&W, CameraArts, Color,  Imago, National Geographic New York  and other outlets. She lives in New York State.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Fraction and Lenscratch

This morning has felt so new, so fresh, and so inspired. I can't say that has always been true in the past; most New Years Days I feel the opposite. Today is different. I've already shot some images, had some coffee, my husband rubbed my back for twice as long today, and I snuck away when I was supposed to be cleaning to look at all of the wonderful work on the FRACTION MAGAZINE website and on LENSCRATCH.

Don't miss the wonderful Bridget Burke, a former student of mine, on Lenscratch.

Here's to an amazing New Year.

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