I photograph the landscape at night and at dawn. The camera captures the frames as stills, freezing time, regardless of the length of the exposure, and creating an image different from what the eye perceives. I like to believe that these resulting images are from a moment suspended between night and day.
The camera allows me to see my surroundings with new eyes. Out at night, alone, the day's cares recede and the sense of time fades. Allowing a heightened awareness to take over, I direct my attention to conveying the quiet and solitude of the night. It is this shift in attention, I believe, that allows me to experience the moment with a different vision.
My exposure and printing decisions enable me to take the surroundings I know so well and present them as they have not been seen before. What fascinates me about this process is that magical element of surprise. I venture out in search of scenes that contain an unknown light source of have some other mysterious quality. Of course there are times when I don't find anything. Since the night sets the stage, I never know where I will wind up. It reminds me so much of life.
All images © Bob Avakian and 555 Gallery
As a documentary photographer, I went to Varanasi India to shoot the Hindu holy festival. I had dreams of a project titled, "Sacred Water". Having never been to India, I found myself in complete and utter culture catatonic state. I had imagined a more meditative journey, but was completely blocked by visions of cremations, dead bodies, the horrific smells and the sites of starving children and deformed animals.
On day three of my journey, I was crossing the Ganges River in a boat in order to shoot the sun setting on the city. As we were rowing away, the children that were selling the prayer candles that float in the water were begging me to take them in the boat.
So we turned around and took them with us.
It was that day, that I realized what was sacred to me in India. Motherhood. The desire, or I'd say need, to protect children. Their laughter and their smiles made me feel at home. It fed me and I spent the next week with them learning about their lives, ambitions and their enormous struggles.
I saw these kids. And they, in turn, changed who I am for the rest of my life.
Usually, I take pictures and put them out for people to see. But these photos, they took me. I won't forget these children. They've fundamentally changed my own internal infrastructure. The photos are not necessarily their story, as much as it is my own.
Brenda Bancel is the president of the Take 5 Foundation and owner of Brenda Bancel Photography LLC.
She spent ten years in the advertising industry working with clients such as Apple and IBM before realizing that she wanted to focus on nonprofit work and using her own creative talent.
She is a recent graduate of the New England School of Photography, where she graduated with honors in Documentary. She hopes to use photography to bring awareness to important social issues.
Images are from Bancel's Finding the Sacred on the Sacred River project.
Michael Benari is a Boston / New York based artist working in black and white, film and digital. His educational training is in science and medicine but ten years ago he decided to commit fully to art and photography. Essentially self-taught, he has drawn inspiration from the lives and works of Minor White, Aaron Siskind, Callum Innes, Richard Serra and many others.
Benari is drawn to the tradition of “street photography” but has chosen to give it his own interpretation, emphasizing more the aesthetic than narrative. The street provides abundant source material from which to create art, and “found art” becomes the vehicle for universalizing the familiar. His love of abstract painting further helped shape and strengthen his vision.
Benari uses the urban landscape to create his own visual language, and in the process, make work not familiar or necessarily embraced. He aims to use visual elements in ways that surprise, and at times, provoke, so as to invite the viewer into new emotional realms. His work seeks not to make happy or sad, but rather to question what we assume to know. His use of abstraction further challenges our understanding of what defines photography today.
Benari has had several individual and group exhibitions, in Boston, New York and Tel Aviv. He has also published four books covering several of the projects completed, most recently “Manhattan Project”. He is currently working on “GREY”, to be published the spring of 2017.
New Mexico Diptychs
In June 2016, I embarked on a two-week road trip, from Denver, Colorado, to Marfa, Texas, covering about 2200 miles of the Southwest. It is a land of wide-open space, big sky, and wonderful light. I was particularly drawn to Marfa, home to the Judd and Chinati Foundations, and found great inspiration from the stark simplicity of minimal art. As an urban photographer, working in black and white, the Southwest presented a unique opportunity to interpret the setting in my own way. Having been influenced in my artistic development by abstract painting, I came to view “Diptychs” as meditations on space, time, light and dark, as well as contrasting dualities in Nature. The adage “all reality is abstract” very much describes my aesthetic and what inspires my work in art and photography. The “Diptychs” represent new voices of my work, signaling a further turn away from representation to abstraction.
Walter Crump explores alternative ways in which cameras see the world. Trained as a painter and printmaker, Crump gradually mastered the art of photography when in 1986 he was asked to teach photography at his school. Previously, he had never worked in a darkroom. Over time, as his photography skills improved, his grew fascinated with the possibilities of extending his vision through photography and began to concentrate on alternative ways to photograph, using both traditional cameras & handmade pinhole cameras. He soon gravitated from printmaking to photography first working in his darkroom and later digitally.
Crump photographs cityscapes, landscapes, people, details and found objects - anything that catches his eye. He merges most of his photographs, melding or welding multiple images, producing photographs that hover between photography and painting, leaving time, and words behind.
Crump has been especially attracted to still lifes - why, he doesn’t know. But from the first time he saw, in art school, Chardin’s still life paintings of domestic objects, he was mesmerized. Later, discovering the still life painters of 16th & 17th century Northern Europe, Morandi’s sparse but luminous paintings of jars and bottles, William Bailey’s elegant ceramic “cities”, and most of all, my teacher Walter Murch’s object paintings, Crump began to explore, photographically, his own particular brand of still life. Instead of daily objects such as shinny apples, dead fish, polished copper vessels or battered crockery found in those painters’ paintings, he began to photograph the mechanical and electronic detritus of our culture. Over the years, he has collected and photographed objects discarded from the fading industrial world, fragments of defunct mechanisms, mangled circuit boards, worn gears and tangled rusting whackmadoos. Like Morandi who arraigned and rearranged his dull crockery, to create his luscious nuanced paintings, Crump’s constructed still lifes are not permanent; once photographed, they are dismantled and reassembled in different configurations. He thinks of these impermanent structures as machines without a purpose or machines that have lost their purpose invoking rusting metropolises or ambiguous edifices, elusive images appearing as cloudy wrecks of a dubious age, blending fiction and reality, shivery things surviving on the edge of memory.
Pinhole Still Life
An artist, transitioning from painting and mixed media in the late 2000's to working exclusively in photography Steven Duede brings a sense of painting to his use of the camera. The influence of painting in much of the photographic work cannot be understated. Originally from the mid-western USA Duede has been living and working in the Boston Massachusetts area since 2001. With a work history in museum operations, academic office administration as well as consulting and design for museums, galleries and arts non profits he carries his attachment to the creative process to all work. Currently, Duede serves as a corporator to the board of directors with the Griffin Museum of Photography. Having studied painting, printmaking and photography at the Kansas City Art Institute, then becoming an entrepreneur, for a time owning and operating a small music shop & gallery, Duede has devoted much of life to making art and working in creative environments. Work has been exhibited regularly in the Boston area and around the nation.
Selected Museums and Galleries include the Danforth Museum of Art, Griffin Museum of Photography, DeCordova Museum, Photo Center North West in Seattle WA. Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Sohn Fine Art MA, Photographic Resource Center, Boston, Site: Brooklyn NY, Kiernan Gallery VA. Public Art Projects with United Photo Industries (The FENCE) as well as King Co. PCNW (City Panorama) in Seattle. Permanent collections: Danforth Museum, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Boston Properties.
In much of my work I’m dealing with subjects that are in a transitory state. The Evanescence series features images from composted organic materials. The photographs reflect my continued interest in images that can be beautiful; images that are chaotic, from natural elements and that also evoke something less obviously marvelous. Flowers and natural things are marvels of beauty and obviously flora is a big subject in my work juxtaposed, alongside elements of the ugly, the degraded. These elements bring to mind thinking about the contrast of the lovely and the less than beautiful. Thoughts about mortality and vitality can a rise from participating in these sorts of themes and that thoughtful imagery abounds for me in my own creative process. I’m witnessing the decomposition of natural compositions. In this body of work I’m exploring the mechanics of transition through time, neglect and natural decomposition. I hope to establish images that can be beautiful and chaotic. Subjects that in their own specific way function as part of a transient process.
The I-70 series features the relics of service stations found along Interstate 70 between St. Louis and Kansas City Missouri. These two cities inhabit the most easterly and most westerly areas of the state. Interstate 70 links these two provincial cities in an almost straight line. While traveling between those two cities visiting family, I observed numerous abandoned fuel and service stations that dot the landscape on either side of that highway. I found these structures compelling architecturally and indeed metaphorically given that they seem to mirror the ever-changing economic degradation in Middle America. Soon after, my lens followed these structures on my travels. These lonely broken unique buildings possess those transitory themes I am compelled to visit again and again in my work. Once with a specific purpose now without, except one that follows that decomposition of compositions. In this case the compositions were man made and structurally unique to one purpose. Box upon box surrounding an altar where petrol can be tapped to support our motorized needs and vehicular obsession. They appear to me as vacant monoliths creating a gauntlet along the open road without threat to the passerby. Without notice or function rendered useless by all consuming truck stop comfort zones that offer more and more under one roof. They serve as a reminder of the rapid loss of individuality that is pervasive in contemporary American culture and the hunger for the quick satisfaction of the snack, the slushee, the fuel.
This series is ongoing and I am now photographing abandoned service stations wherever I might find them. I-70 and beyond.
Art and photography has been Joe Greene’s life. He started out painting, then he picked up a camera because he couldn't get his ideas onto the canvas fast enough.
At 15 and entirely self-taught, Greene became the yearbook photographer for a summer camp, responsible for producing hundreds of editorial style images for an 80 page yearbook. At 17, he apprenticed with an artist who painted paintings for furniture stores, he learned how to paint the same painting over and over again. At 20, Greene was awarded honors at Mass College of Art as a dual major in graphic design and photography.
Recent film photography projects include an 8 year study of the biker lifestyle, shooting bikes, bikers and the women who love them. He has photographed fairs, carnival side shows and rides for 5 years and has traveled throughout New England and remote areas of Canada photographing iconic Lobster Fishermen (and women). Greene is currently photographing Scrap, a photo essay about recycled materials and Concealed, a series of still life images featuring toy guns.
Using a variety of techniques, Katherine Gulla explores our experience of nature and light in the city. Gulla uses art, design and industrial techniques to make photo sculptures, vinyl installations and stenciled paintings. Born in Berkeley, California, she grew up in New York City, and lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts. After studying painting, her early work evolved into video art and then documentary television. As a freelance writer/producer of video and new media, she worked with many different technologies and industries. Because her ideas often call for finding new forms of presentation, this experience comes in handy.
Since transitioning back to fine arts, Gulla’s work has been shown widely throughout New England. In 2017, Katherine’s work will be on view at the Griffin Museum of Photography. Exhibitions at Danforth Art in Massachusetts include a solo show and the Annual with 2nd Prize in 2016, and Honorable Mention in 2011 and 2014. Gallery Kayafas in Boston featured Gulla’s photo sculptures and paintings in one- person and two-person shows. Her works are in private and corporate collections and in the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Corporate Program.
My paintings, photographs and mixed media works investigate our experience of ephemeral visual phenomena, encompassing trees casting shadows, reflections gleaming on puddles, and lights illuminating asphalt.
Leaves and branches are primary subjects of my photographic work. Reflections on car glass curve with the shape of the car. I wanted to physically bend the image, extending the distortion created by sunlight. Forest is an installation of photographic transparencies of tree reflections in Plexiglas tubes. The containers force the two-dimensional prints into three-dimensional cylinders.
In my paintings, rain puddle drawings became a series of shapes made with stencils. Like the photographs, the paintings are abstractions of found shapes.
The shapes in the Path paintings follow the walking trails in the Arnold Arboretum. Each painting represents a section of the park map.
Drawing, painting, photography, and digital techniques are part of my process. In my work, I lift fleeting images off surfaces and make them into objects.
Born and raised in Bristol, Connecticut, Heyne wanted to become either a scientist or an artist. his father wanted him to learn a trade. Instead he became an architect, but he's always had a camera.
From the beginning Heyne has been intrigued with accidental or unconscious beauty and much of his early work focused on portraying industrial architecture in an heroic light. He finds there to be a truthful honesty demonstrated by engineers designing to resolve a physical requirement. Lately he has been looking at the flip side by reevaluating deliberate and conscious design by architects and artists who strive to imbue meaning but seem to miss the mark. He is exploring this disconnect.
To Hunt a Moon
Summer time 1898, a group of 200 Ute Indians traveled from their Utah reservation to their ancestral hunting grounds of western Colorado. An article in The Steamboat Pilot newspaper reported they journeyed there “to hunt a moon”—a month long period. To enforce the new state’s forestry laws protecting wildlife, the US Army from Fort Duchesne was called in by the local game warden. The Ute hunting party conferred, and with the intimidating threat of US soldiers looming, the Ute acquiesced and were escorted under guard back to their reservation. After almost 5,000 moons, this was probably the Ute’s last hunting party on their native lands.
To Hunt a Moon Series is comprised of wintertime photos shot in 2016 of the ranch lands and Rocky Mountains surrounding Steamboat Springs Colorado. They are paired with vintage moon map engravings by Walter Goodacre published just a few years after the repelled 1898 hunting party, from NASA’s 1960’s moon cartography files, and from NASA’s Apollo astronaut photo archives from 1969-1972.
Goodacre’s map was so accurately detailed that it was referenced by NASA fifty years later for the initial planning for the Apollo mission landing sites, and where to plant the American flag.
Summertime lasts about three moons at this high Colorado elevation. The rest of the year the lands are covered with snow resembling a lunar landscape. From the radio dialogue transcriptions of one of the Apollo 15 astronauts, he ruminated while standing on the powdery lunar regolith and gazing up at the 12,000 feet of Mt. Hadley, “…this reminds me of skiing Squaw Valley.”
The images of this series are arranged, grouped, and collaged together melding the form and contours of the lunar topography with the snow covered hills and cattle pastures around Steamboat Springs. Purposeful color shifts and imprints of fencing straddle and blur the line between the terrestrial and the lunar.
Barbed wire, split rail, and electric fences etch dark lines that roll for miles through the stark white snow-covered grazing lands around Steamboat Springs. They clearly define the property boundaries parsing up the landscape that demarcate land ownership—all backed by a deed on paper—a legal construct very abstract to the native peoples of just a 120 years ago. Why were the Ute not being allowed on the lands where they always hunted?
This year in Cannon Ball North Dakota, a similar land rights issue has again reached fever pitch. If the river crossing for Dakota Access Oil Pipeline was deemed too hazardous in Bismarck, why is it safe at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation?
Over a two week period in the summer of 2013, repeated each hot and humid evening weather conditions over Boston created large, violent and quickly moving thunderstorms. As if on cue at 5pm, the afternoon cumulus clouds collected and welled upwards creating giant multiple thunder cells, and the city was pummeled with hail, rain, and lighting.
But the storms cleared out right at sunset, and the strong raking sunlight illuminated spectacular multiple rainbows, and made vibrant the textures and roiling turmoil of the clouds themselves.
While on the roof of his studio building with his camera, Heyne was dodging between episodes of hail rain and lighting trying to capture the rawness of the storm. And he felt trepidation and fear from a deep and primitive part within himself. It was a little less like the storm clearing skies portrayed by the Hudson School painters, and more like he was seeing the pounding music of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
While processing the images later on his computer, he continued shifting the color balance, and the more her pushed and altered the colors, the same primordial sense that overcame him on the roof, started to resonate again. It seems he was tapping into a primitive atavistic feeling of pre-language, and color had the only the words that would speak to him.
Considered the most beautiful woman in the world of the 1850’s was Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary. And she knew it. So concerned with her image that at the age of 32 she ceased to sit for state portraits, did not allow herself to be photographed, and only made public appearances from behind a hand fan, raised to veil her visage.
Veiling the female body extends to various and opposite purposes. An Afghan burqa conceals a man’s property; a representation of chattel. A Victoria’s Secret nightie is fashioned to selectively reveal, entice, and evoke sexual arousal. Lingerie is worn as a display, a representation of power over the viewer, and a signal in initializing foreplay.
As in his previous bodies of works on the female form such as Barbie dolls and allegorical sculpture, Heyne's Voile series looks at the representation of women found in iconic renaissance and classical painting. He appropriates images from Botticelli, Ingres, and others from postcards sold in the gift shops of the Uffizi, Louvre, and other museums. He then blends in a digitally created vertical veil, similar to a hanging shear curtain, with colors derived from the painting palette itself. The veil and female form merge together, intertwined in a complex relationship about what is chaste virtue, what is beauty, what is eroticism, and how they bond together.
Anatomically, fascia refers to the membrane tissues that connect the body’s skin to its underlying muscles. In this series Heyne is photographically exploring the idealized human face. Similar to his past series of work based on allegorical figures, mannequins, and Barbie dolls, he is searching for the way body imagery affects the way we feel about ourselves, the way we emote those feelings to others, and how they are interpreted.
In this ongoing series of work, Heyne has been photographing 19th century marble sculptures found within various museum settings. The images are highly blurred to further affect the improbable perfect face of the sculpture. Unlike the pure white marble of the busts, he has altered the colors in his photos using a palette more commonly found in a woman’s make-up collection. How one defines beauty is debatable, but the beauty industry banks on our desire for unattainable perfection.
Born in Iran, Nasser moved to the United States at the age of 16. After completing an MBA, he gravitated to acting, and formed a City Theater group with a band of other local actors. For over a decade, he acted in and directed many plays in the Cambridge and Boston area. Nasser is a self-trained visual artist who has made visual art his main artistic concentration in recent years.
Nasser welcomes opportunities to experiment by exploring subjects, situations and potentialities. His work is personal; voice of his social values, belief and interest in community and society at large.
Currently Nasser is working on Urban Life in Brooklyn – Places, culture and people. He brings a theatrical tension to his work and compares his self-expression in photography to creating in theater. “The photographer sees the outer world through the viewfinder and the actor through the eyes of his character. Directing demands scene composition by relating subjects, objects and spaces, similar to photo composition.”
Images are from Nasser's Trees Grow and Fall Project.
Trees Grow and Fall
Trees are very generous. They give shade, clean air, and beauty to any landscape. When harvested, we use their wood to build homes, make furniture, pencils, paper, and other useful items, and, in return, trees ask for nothing. It seems to me that society takes this generosity for granted. Are we acting responsibly with this precious natural resource?
Trees Grow and Fall is a documentary multimedia project that shows the way urbanization has marginalized trees and questions the social impact of deforestation. My interest in this topic began after looking closely at a group of photographs I’d taken in Brooklyn. These photos jumped out at me, beckoning to be heard. They depicted trees being pushed back by newly built structures; some were fenced out like prisoners; others were replaced by electric poles made with their own corpses.
In the forest, trees rise majestically as the world’s sentinels of life, goodness, and clean air. In the city, packed with cars, people, and buses, trees become hindrances to progress, nuisances to be eliminated. Does it have to be this way? Can’t trees and people co-exist?
This documentary raises many important social questions, not the least of which, what effects will deforestation have upon society, as well as on each of us?
Originally from New York, Lynn graduated from Pratt Institute. She has an impressive list of employers and clients over her four-decade career shooting fashion for WWD and W as the first woman staff photographer, as well as photographing gardens, food and interiors for Country Living magazine, House Beautiful, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Coastal Living, Design New England, Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design, Organic Gardening and England’s Gardens Illustrated.
Sole photographer of three award winning garden/lifestyle books, she now adds fine art photography to the mix. Lynn’s new body of work is purely personal. It is about the obvious but often overlooked beauty of the harvest. Visits to photograph at local Maine farmers markets and Chase’s Daily, a farm-to-table restaurant, took a new direction when she brought a stunning purple cauliflower back to her studio and placed it on an old white pedestal by an east-facing window, honoring vegetables by literally placing them on a high level. Two years later Lynn expanded her search of subject to fruits, flowers, mushrooms and artisan cheeses.
Lynn triumphs in showing her reverence for the remarkable colors and forms in the garden. “The Pedestal Series” evoke, through beauty that is also sustenance, a sense of connectedness to this planet. Her limited edition prints are held by corporate and private collectors throughout the US and Europe.
All images © Lynn Karlin and 555 Gallery
Cynthia Katz's work explores the fragility of life, and fleetingness of time in ordinary realms of (her) life. She attempts to explore ideas that hide beneath the surface of commonplace objects and experiences. She pays particular attention to layers, textures, patterns and light, and the imprint they leave. The role of transitions reflects Katz's interest in change, even while she attempts to uncover constancy and a moment of simplicity. Photography stops time, and preserves a resonant instant of flux in its search for clarity. The first light wakes her in the early hours of each morning. She is continually amazed at how even her sleeping self is conscious of light.
Slowing down to a pedestrian pace cultivates a more heightened awareness of the world around me. Daily walks to photograph have resulted in this ongoing series entitled "Occupied". I search out details and the unexpected in ordinary, human scaled landscapes, walking the same routes again and again, in an attempt to reveal visual elements that expose new meaning about the landscape. I am drawn to repetition constructed by human hands, (obsessions, habits), found text, and juxtapositions that reveal new understandings about our relationship to the environment. The patience that is often required of us as we go about our daily lives creates cycles that root our lives, and these are conflated as I photograph. I often find humor, or intrigue, where others merely were getting the job done. My interest in the human intersection with the landscape, whether consciously designed or by chance, encourages me to explore, and seek out both harmony and dissonance.
The Strata Series stems from my ongoing work with the Occupied Series, exploring how we attempt to create and control our environments. Here, I explore the formal(ist) tradition of creating abstraction through the photographic frame. I remember the critic Sidney Tillim saying upon seeing pictures of mine exhibited after graduate school: "Well, you always were a formalist". Guess so.
Cyanotypes, or blue prints, are a non-silver photographic process that go back to photography's origins in the 19th century. Also from these early days, the garden has been a source for imagery. Drawing on these themes, I mix my favorite chemical recipe and turn to my garden for the bulk of my summer imaging. Gardening and cyanotyping share a process-oriented approach that is slow and timely, ethereal, spiritual and ultimately ephemeral. Happy surprises, and the promise held by chance keep me at it, and failure propels me toward next year's possibilities, and new works. Each summer's garden is different; the same holds true for each cyanotype session.
Following my longstanding recycling habit, I began to play with the accumulated cyanotypes, cutting, stitching, and attempting to find ways to use the bits I liked. I experienced delight in the process of transforming the elements into new images, not unlike the experience of planting seeds each spring to mark the start of another garden season.
Bear Kirkpatrick’s forbearers were an ad hoc mixture of adventurer-navigators, naturalists, whalers, Puritans, dissidents, judges, and witches. He was born in the American south to a mother raised in Brahmin Boston and to a father who was several days after his birth sent across the world to war in the jungles of Southeast Asia. His upbringing was scattered across the Eastern seaboard, resting longest on a farm in New Hampshire during his teen years where he learned the survival skills of tracking, fishing, and hunting. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, the University of Michigan, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has made his living by turns as a stone wall builder, roofer, bookkeeper, furniture builder, and video art installer.
Bear Kirkpatrick defines his imagery as evidence, documents of past and present human psychological states. He is presently working to develop a model to prove that acquired characteristics are not only inheritable as a result of natural selection and artificial selection, but also as the result of psychological selection as created by the environmental pressure of human memory.
His work has been exhibited at Daniel Cooney Fine Art, 555 Gallery, Flowers Gallery, the Center for Fine Art Photography, Corden-Potts, Rayko, photo-eye Gallery, Houston Center for Photography, wall space Gallery, and the Corey Daniels Gallery.
His work has been honored with the 2013 Critical Mass Finalist Selection, the NH Charitable Foundations Artist Advancement Grant, Amy Arbus’ Curator’s Selection at The Center for Fine Art Photography’s 2014 Portraits Exhibition, and with 3 International Photography Awards.
Bear Kirkpatrick lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.
555 Gallery Artist Talk: Bear Kirkpatrick, The Human Diorama
Wallportraits are an investigation of human visual response, a way to push against something and see what gets pushed back. More than “pushing,” though, the act is more like “pulling”; instead of adding, I am taking something away. To veil anything, in particular a human face, works on the imagination creatively (what’s hidden?), religiously (is this the face as God sees it, alone and unadorned?) and psychologically (can we negate anything without it rearing back stronger and thus becoming a sometimes dangerous obsession?). Each of these questions provoke responses: they create a flowering in the eyes, an elaboration of setting, and the shaping of a time and space the sitter seems to have carried with them into their birth.
The human eye struggles with blind spots, aberrations, and distortions—all of the awkward design flaws in the human visual system that the brain smooths over by creating additional data to fill in the gaps and so create for us a seamless picture. I think all consciousness works this way—it gathers what it can, creates a 3D picture, and fills in missing gaps to create a seamless experience of the world. And though parts are added, there is also much that is lost or just thrown away when data overlaps or just doesn’t fit or perhaps even conflicts with the rest. Those gaps and thrown away pieces are what interest me, and they are what I am using my camera to find. They are the ghosts of presence and memory, the vestigial elements we carry about us as invisibly as spirits.
Japanese photographer Koichiro Kurita graduated from Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe, where he studied perceptual psychology, using a camera extensively to stimulate the function of the eye in his research that examined how people view moving objects under changing circumstances. He worked as a young man for a Tokyo advertising agency before becoming a successful independent photographer and director of commercials. But at the age of forty, moved by his reading of Walden by the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862), Kurita moved away from his lucrative career in the city in order to fully direct his photography toward meditative expressions of his connection to the rural world.
In order to concentrate on large-format landscape photography, Kurita retreated to a studio in the Yatsugatake Mountains a hundred miles northwest of Tokyo, where, he writes, “the feeling was Walden.” After obtaining a grant from the Asian Cultural Council created by John D. Rockefeller III to encourage international dialogue between Asian and American artists and scholars, he was able to travel and photograph in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain.
Since 1993 Kurita has maintained studios in New York and Massachusetts, focusing his impressions of the natural world – quiet New England woodlands, remote Boundary Waters lakes and rocks of Minnesota and Canada, or natural features of California – by extracting poetic details from the greater landscape. He uses nineteenth century photographic printing processes to create monochromatic prints. His handmade platinum palladium, albumen, and salt prints on paper made from the Japanese gampi tree have enhanced the delicacy and subtle resonance of his images, linking historical yet timeless qualities with his contemporary vision.
His photographs have been widely collected and exhibited both in galleries and museums around the world, including the Bibliotheque National, Paris, the George Eastman House, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Yamanashi Prefecture Art Museum, Kofu, Japan.
Kurita's medium of platinum palladium print
For these my photographs, I chose traditional platinum /palladium printing process with archival handmade gampi paper for a harmony of idea and form. There are three reasons to use gampi paper. The first, I have seen Steiglitz’s photogravure using Japanese paper long time ago and I was amazed at his sensibility. The second, the paper has been used for historical documents since 1400’s in Japan. It perfectly endures in the Japanese museum. Lastly, as a nature photographer, I am concerned about environment. The gampi paper is used only tree’s surface without cutting down the tree. I took on the challenge to use gampi paper for hand coating photographs and collaborated with a paper maker. The resulting, gampi is the finest for my photographs.
Terrasphere - "Chi"
Hydrosphere - "Sui"
Atmosphere - "Ki"
About nature and “Chi Sui Ki” – (1986 ~ 2006)
I had a fateful encounter with a book when I was a commercial photographer. It was Thoreau’s “Walden”. I was moved and inspired by its insightful, independent thinking and by the absolute freedom of his spirit unconstrained by society’s rules and his ability to enjoy harmony with nature. It was reminiscent of Chuang-Tzu’s philosophy and very close to the Oriental way of understanding nature. --- This was the start of my photography as art.
The world of Nature embraces Terrasphere, Hydrosphere and Atmosphere, (Ground, Water and Air—Chi Sui Ki). Each surface and their borders connect in a subtle and mysterious way. These phenomena, including all things and all living things like us exist in time both as independent and co-dependent entities. They all share borders with each other and with other spheres. To recognize all relationships, we understand that the connections are not in conflict but rather in a state of order and harmony. Each connection contributes to a harmony of Nature as a whole.
My work is the expression of these mysterious junctures and an exploration of the connections between myself and nature. Loving nature doesn't mean to scrutinize or analyze examples, but to make contact with nature instinctively, with sense and emotion, for the sake of its beauty. Interestingly, the photography itself is also a form of communication without words.
"Perceiving" - (2003 - 2013)
The idea of "Perceiving" was inspired by my study in Japan of perceptual psychology. "How the human being sees and perceives," was my study within the scientific approach. Since becoming a photographer, I wanted to photograph the connection between my mind and visual perception - "What I see and perceive" rather than isolated artistic vision. Perceiving is for each human being a connection between time and mind.
An important point in photography to me is where to place the camera. The placement of the camera is not merely a physical position, it is also a psychological position. In this work, I aim to create a link between psychological comprehension and my philosophy of nature, which ties perception inextricably with object, which then relates to my photographs. I photographed nature with multiply composed sequences using 8x10" format camera. As a result, the final image (composed of multiple images) is a condensation. Each focused visual area, without emphasis of perspective and distortion, is more than a single photograph that I could take in just one exposure using super wide lens. These photographs look natural, however the images depict an experience seen in the camera — it represents the process of “seeing photographically.”
From the outset, a central theme of my work has been the contrasts between the industrialized and natural landscape. The primary focus of my early work was forests and the impacts of industrial logging. As my understanding of ecological issues has grown, so has the range of my photographic subjects. My recent work has been largely focused on the world of modern fossil fuel production and its associated impacts on the landscape. Recent projects have addressed mountaintop removal coal mining, shale gas production, and the Alberta Tar Sands.
My work has appeared in leading editorial publications including, Time, GEO,The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, The Guardian, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Esquire, and many others. I have been invited to address major corporations and government bodies on the issues of conservation and sustainability. These include The New York Times, NTT, GTE, Kimberley Clarke, the GEO Foundation, the Canadian Senate, and the European Parliament. My recent TED talk on my traveling exhibit – The True Cost of Oil – has received over 800,000 viewings to date.
I have received awards for my work from the Prix de la Photographie Paris, the International Photography Awards, and Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
My exhibits from the Alberta Tar Sands have been featured in the G2 Gallery in Los Angeles, the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, at the Aperture Foundation Gallery in New York as part of the “What Matters Now” exhibit, in 2012, at the Tippetts Gallery at Utah State University, and at the Galt Museum in Alberta. Other works have been exhibited recently at the Center for Fine Art Photography, at the British Columbia Art Council, in the Capital building in Washington D.C., at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, at the Annenberg Space for Photography, and at the Natural History Museum in London.
In 2008 I was designated a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, one of only 60 photographers in the world to receive this honor. - Garth Lenz
Images are from Lenz' True Cost of Oil Project.
Reflected Sky in Tailings Pond. Alberta Tar Sands
Disguised by the beauty of a reflection, nearly a dozen of these toxic tailings ponds lie on either side of the Athabasca River. Individual ponds can range in size up to 8850 acres.
Rouge Mountains. Mackenzie Valley, NWT.
The Mackenzie Valley is the world’s third largest watershed basin. Only the Amazon and Mississippi are larger, but of these, only the Mackenzie is virtually entirely intact. Proposals to build the 800 mile Mackenzie Valley Pipeline to bring natural gas from the Beaufort Sea to the Tar Sands would open this remote region to a variety of potential industrial development.
MacKay River, Boreal Forest, and Tar Mine. Alberta
The boreal forests and wetlands that surround the Tar Sands are the most carbon rich terrestrial ecosystem on the planet, holding almost twice as much carbon as tropical rainforests. Referred to by the tar sands industry as "overburden," these forests are scraped off and the wetlands dredged, to be replaced by tar mines like this.
Crossroads. Alberta Tar Sands 2005.
A relatively small section of a massive mine encroaches on the boreal forest. With the five fold proposed expansion of the tar sands, within as little as two decades an area the size of Florida will be industrialized.
Tombstone Valley. Yukon Territory 2005.
At the border where the Boreal, or Taiga, meets the treeless Tundra, this valley is the wintering ground for the Porcupine Caribou Herd whose breeding and calving ground is the Arctic Nation Wildlife Refuge.
Alysia Macaulay is a fine art photographer living in Boston, Massachusetts. Inspired by the power of an image, and the story it can tell, her photographs depict the subtle, poignant moments that occur within her family life, particularly in times of great challenge. Her work has appeared in numerous group shows, as well as, solo exhibitions at Umbrella Arts Gallery in New York City and The Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston. Alysia is represented by 555 Gallery in Boston.
The Elegance Aging Cannot Steal
2013 – 2016
As my mother lives out her final years ambling down a long, slow, circuitous path of aging, it is the beauty she created in the interiors her homes that I have turned to as a means of paying homage to her carefully curated and inspired life.
The duality of interiors, my mother’s and those of her homes, bare a stark contrast. While her physiological interior deteriorates in unexpected ways, the refinement and sophistication she so expertly crafted around her remains stately and stoic, as if to shield her from the realities of aging she cannot escape.
No corner, vignette, or edging went without thoughtful consideration. These images depict a strong, intelligent, complex, rigid albeit, warm, open and fascinating environment. These images capture her essence. As her interior fades, that which surrounds her now serves as the museum of her life.
David Mattox is a photographer and Alaskan commercial salmon fisherman. Born and raised in Oregon, he graduated from the University of Portland in 2004 with a BA in Philosophy and English Literature. Upon graduation, he took a job as a deckhand on a setnet skiff on Alaska's Cook Inlet, a summer adventure that would lead to three more seasons work as a deckhand before buying his former captain's fishing operation. Currently, David is living in Boston, MA with his wife and their little gray cat, traveling to Alaska as a family for the seasonal harvest of wild sockeye salmon as East Side Setnetters on the Upper Cook Inlet. His ongoing project "Fish Camp" documents the work and the lifestyle of his summers spent on the shores of Alaska. He studies photography through workshops and is represented in Boston by 555 Gallery.
Fish Camp is an ongoing series of photographs documenting an East Side Setnet Camp on the Upper Cook Inlet of Alaska, a camp that comes together each summer for the commercial harvest of wild sockeye salmon as they return to spawn in the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers. I have worked in this camp for a decade, first for 4 years as a deckhand, and since 2008, as a permit holder, captain and owner of my own small operation.
When I first began traveling to Alaska, I was struck more than anything by the contrast between the stark beauty of its landscapes and the weathered state of disrepair in which much of its towns and outlying communities appeared to be. I have come to find Alaska to be a place where the realities of its seasons, the expanse of land, coastline, open water, and the extremity of its industries combine to create not only unique lifestyles among its inhabitants, but in particular a culture of work that is often misrepresented and misunderstood by the “lower forty-eight”. In 10 summers spent in Alaska, of all the things I have pointed my camera at, I have become most drawn to make pictures of the people that I work with because I find the allure of Alaska’s character more prominently displayed than anywhere else on the faces of the individuals that live its narrative season after season. This is a character which ultimately gives view of a cultural landscape that plays out on one of the greatest stages of land, water, and horizon that I have ever been privileged enough to witness.
In taking these pictures, it is not my intention to show how things “really are," for I believe these pictures tell a fiction of their own. Perhaps the story they tell is at its simplest the version that I like to remember the most. Alec Soth once said that the "art is the experience of moving through the world, the photograph is just some sort of documentation of this.” It is in line with this sentiment that I both marvel at the placethat I have found Alaska to be and can think of no greater satisfaction than to be back on its shores as spectator, participant, and documenter.
These images represent everyday moments, as they arrive and as they pass by. For this project I have become drawn to objects and patterns as they exist upon every surface of life, and witha design for simplicity, with a shedding of their contextual importance, but not a complete loss of it, I want to challenge the viewers to look a little bit closer into their own daily selves, into their own every day experience of warmth, light, color, touch. Without the visual complexities and peripheral complications of objects upon objects, colors upon colors, textures upon textures, and the human body itself, these images attempt to reduce the entanglement and slowly focus for one moment, on an object, a texture, a reason, a memory: the curve of metal, the smell and touch of steel, of flesh, a meal prepared, a light rain, a kiss, a drive on the beach.
At one moment I am lured by an object whose simplicity not only portrays an isolated beauty, but also inspires me to imagine the absolute complexity of its history, its utility, and the potential for its existence at all. In the next moment, it is the pattern and texture of the natural world contrasting, but also complimenting that of the man made world, and the ensuing competition that exists between the two.
As the minutes and hours of our lives pile upon each other, our thoughts and visions and dreams entangle into a muddied confluence of passing days where so much expires with but the smallest consideration. It is such moments as those depicted in these photographs that I hope ask fornoting more than a brief pause, and that quiet consideration, which if nothing else, slows that passing for the briefest of seconds.
Jim Nickelson is a photographer whose work is driven by an interest in science and nature. Science is thus the underpinning for all of his photography, whether it be work based on the concept of the passage of time, work motivated by natural rhythms and cycles and patterns, work exploring the mysteries of nature, or work simply inspired by the wonder of the natural world.
Jim works full time as a fine art photographer and custom digital printer (as Nickelson Editions) and teaches workshops on photography and digital printing both privately and through Maine Media Workshops. Before committing himself to the photographic life, he pursued the classic artistic career path of NASA engineer and corporate lawyer. Jim makes his home in Camden, Maine, with his amazing wife and daughter.
Jim has received numerous awards and exhibited widely, including in museums or galleries such as the Photo Resource Center at Boston University (Boston, MA), Danforth Museum of Art (Framingham, MA), Center for Maine Contemporary Art (Rockport, ME), University of Maine Museum of Art (Bangor, ME), Bates College Museum of Art (Lewiston, ME), Three Columns Gallery at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), University of Wyoming Art Museum (Laramie, WY), VoxPhotographs (Portland, ME), Davis Orton Gallery (Hudson, NY), Center for Photographic Art (Carmel, CA), Preston Contemporary Art Center (Mesilla, NM), Spiva Center for the Arts (Joplin, MO), Ten High Street Gallery (Camden, ME), Jonathan Frost Gallery (Rockland, ME), Kingman Gallery (Deer Isle, ME), Gallery Photographica (San Francisco, CA), and Silvermine Guild Galleries (New Canaan, CT).
Jim's work resides in corporate, public, and private collections across the United States and Canada.
The underpinning of my photographic work is an intense and abiding interest in science and nature. This interest manifests itself in my photography as I create work based on the concept of the passage of time, work motivated by natural rhythms and cycles and patterns, work exploring the mysteries of nature, or work simply inspired by the wonder of the natural world.
For my Pyrotechnic project, I became interested in how fireworks, as a quintessentially man-made object, mirrored many aspects of the natural world once they were abstracted to their basic forms.
The incongruity of the noisy, ephemeral, and commonplace fireworks bringing to mind beautiful and delicate forms from nature continues to inspire me in this ongoing project. Whether the fireworks ultimately recall natural forms that we see with our eyes, or other objects on a microscopic or even astronomical level, each brings to the viewer a different connection based on their own unique experiences and backgrounds.
Adventures in Celestial Mechanics
My Adventures in Celestial Mechanics project is based on my quest to capture each full moon of the year, at moonrise or moonset, from somewhere in the Maine landscape. The project name derives from the delightfully-named textbook (written by my professor, Dr. Szebehely) that captured the beauty and majesty of the equations underlying orbital mechanics. For moonrise of the full moon results from an important phase of the celestial dance between the Earth, Sun, and Moon – when all three bodies are aligned and one can stand on the Earth with the sunset at your back and moon rising right in front of you. (Moonset results from a similar alignment at sunrise).
The fascinating names of each full moon, each rooted in the history of the land and its peoples, provide further inspiration for my endeavors.
Moonrise and the cycles of the moon happen endlessly, month after month, year after year, and their repetitive nature results in many becoming numb to the magic of the moon hanging above. With this project, I hope to reignite in viewers a passion and interest in the passage of the moon through the sky and its importance to peoples throughout history, just as this project has reignited those same passions in myself.
In my aerospace engineering program, the workload was relentless with homework in each class every night. Notwithstanding that, Dr. Szebehely had a long-running joke where he refused to give us any homework on the night of a full moon as he would instead tell us with his thick Hungarian accent: “No homework tonight. It is full moon. You have more important things to do.” I’m not sure I did then, but I certainly do now – every full moon now finds me out there with tripod and camera, seeking out the rising or setting moon.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Stories of distant and mysterious lands have stirred my imagination since I was a young child, curled up each day with some type of escapist literature, whether it be mythology, fairy tales, or fantasy. In these stories, the best and most interesting worlds were those that were difficult to reach for the protagonist. Even now, when I am immersed in the natural world of this planet, I am still seeking glimpses of those alternative worlds with my photography.
A famous Norwegian tale talks of a young woman who sets off in search of her prince, who has been banished to the castle of his wicked stepmother. The young woman knows only that the castle is located east of the sun and west of the moon and, after many adventures and false steps, she reaches this difficult-to-find castle and rescues the prince. A place that is east of the sun and west of the moon has been known since as a place that is effectively part of another world and notoriously hard to reach.
In this project, I seek out landscapes that are evocative of another world, that seem to be of a different universe, time, or place than our own. Like those stories that fed my imagination in my own youth, these landscapes are portals to lands that lay east of the sun and west of the moon.
Neal Rantoul is a career artist and educator. He retired from 30 years as head of the Photo Program at Northeastern University in Boston in 2012. He taught at Harvard University for thirteen years as well. He now devotes his efforts full time to making new work and bringing earlier work to a national and international audience. With over 60 one-person exhibitions over the length of his career, Rantoul continued in spring 2013 with two different bodies of work shown simultaneously: Wheat, aerial and ground-based photographs of the area in Southeastern Washington called “The Palouse” at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA and the Island Aerials, aerial photographs of the islands of Massachusetts at Panopticon Gallery in Boston, MA. In the winter of 2014 he showed new work from a residency in Iceland at 555 Gallery in Boston and in the fall showed work from the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia and the Spallanzani Collection in Reggio Emilia, Italy, also at 555 Gallery. New work called Monsters was shown at 555 Gallery in an exhibiton called Wild Thing in September and October 2015. Finally, Rantoul showed new aerial photographs from Salt Lake, Utah on display at Studio 416 at 450 Harrison Avenue in Boston in January, 2016. Upcoming, the Monster photographs will be in a solo show at the Fitchburg Art Museum in central Massachusetts in September, 2016.
Rantoul’s work is extensively collected and is included in numerous permanent collections such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA, the Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Biblioteque’ Nationale in Paris, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Fogg Museum in Cambridge, The Princeton University Museum, The RI School of Design Museum of Art, The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, The Boston Atheneum, etc. His work is also in the corporate collections of JP Morgan Guaranty Trust and Fidelity Investments, as well as numerous private collections. He is the recipient of many awards, grants and residencies including a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation grant, Light Work, Hambidge Center for the Arts, the Baer Art Center in Iceland and Visiting Artist at ICP’s Lake Como Workshop in Italy, among others.
Neal Rantoul is continuing with an active teaching and lecturing schedule which includes a workshop in 2012 for the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, a class on the “Creative Process” for The Penland School of Crafts in the summer 2012 in North Carolina and a several day class for the New Hampshire Society of Photographic Artists at their annual retreat in the fall of 2012 on Star Island off the coast off Portsmouth, NH. In 2013 he continued these activities with a lecture on his work for the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, another for the Boston Architectural College, teaching again at Penland as a co-teacher with three prominent architectural photographers in a Master Class in Architectural Photography and two workshops for Digital Silver Imaging in Belmont, MA on Portfolio Preparation. In the summer of 2014 Mr Rantoul taught again at Penland for two weeks with the author Christopher Benfey and reviewed graduate portfolios for the NH Institue of Art. He is teaching a class in the Spring of 2016 in Creative Practice at the Griffin Musuem of Photography in Winchester, MA.
Mr. Rantoul is the author of several books of his photographs, among those are: American Series published in 2006, Cabela's published in 2009, A Year published in 2010, Wheat published in 2011, Collections published in 2011, Rock Sand Water, published in 2012 and Above, aerial photographs of Martha’s Vineyard, published in 2013. His most recent books are Essays on Photography and the catalogue called Monsters that accompanies the show called Wild Thing at 555 Gallery in Boston in September, 2015. Both of these new books are available for sale through the gallery.
Finally, Mr. Rantoul served as an active board member of the Photographic Resource Center for six years and is on the Board of Corporators of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA serving on the Exhibition Committee, among others. He serves as a founding member of the non-profit service organization called Photo Legacy Strategies, a group formed to help photographers with archiving their work and with other legacy issues. He also reviews portfolios each year for the New England Portfolio Reviews (NEPR) held in Boston.
Mr. Rantoul lives in Cambridge, MA and has one daughter and one grand daughter.
Read WBUR's article on Neal Rantoul HERE.
Multiple portfolios of Neal Rantoul's are available for viewing in 555 Gallery's Flat Files.
"What was in front of us was an ancient large scale geological event and volcanic eruption, a huge upheaval of magma thrust from the crust eons ago and then eroded by waves and wind over centuries upon centuries, something so primal and so elemental as to be formative to this earth and its making. Some kind of glimpse backwards, peering over the edge at something seldom revealed and too important not to notice. To be in the presence of this cathedral of rock this monument to violent upheaval and extreme forces was a real honor and left me speechless and humbled, reduced in self importance or indeed so small when compared to something so big and powerful."
"The challenge for me is to shift slightly our understanding of landscape photographs and, ultimately, how we look at them."
"The work has evolved over the years, going from first black and white to color, from large format to digital, and from being based on the ground to including pictures made from the air. I have also photographed the area through the seasons. It is my longest running project.
It is a landscape almost without scale due to few trees and little to reference size, the pictures can convey the movement of the wheat in the breeze at the same time as show the stillness and static nature of the topography, allowing photographs that convey sharpness and blur due to movement in the same image simultaneously and finally, in the more recent work since about 2000, colors, on their own, but also in relationship to each other."
"The "Waves" idea is simple enough: to aerially photograph the breaking waves from the ocean side, not the land side. Land side picture of waves are the norm. I try to approach common stuff in uncommon ways. Atypical verses typical, exceptional verses standard, innovative verses commonplace. That's what you try to do, right? The world out there presents you with an infinite number of possibilities. Our job is to see the inherent choices implicit in this."
"While waiting to board the ferry to the island in Woods Hole, I saw that that there were many antique cars waiting as well. They were from a MASS Antique Auto Club and were headed to an Oak Bluffs hotel for the weekend. I got the camera out of the back of the car and it had the long lens on it, the same one I'd used for most of the Monsters pictures. A fateful decision but a good one, as it turned out. In sunlight these immaculately restored automobiles would be the same old same old but wet from the night's rain."
Photographer Astrid Reischwitz’ latest portfolios have transitioned to a personal and more conceptual perspective. Stories from the Kitchen Table explores her heritage and the meaning of home. In The Bedroom Project she creates intimate portraits, bringing personal spaces into public view. In The Gift of Regret she turns the camera inward in an exploration of her own history and values. An earlier portfolio, Street Art, reflected outward towards street art murals and the diversity of urban life.
Solo exhibitions of Street Art include: the Griffin Museum of Photography, Photographic Resource Center at Boston University (NEO), Firehouse Center for the Arts Newburyport, Munroe Center for the Arts Lexington, and Boston Public Library. The Bedroom Project was featured at Cambridge Art Association (CAA). Expectations, an earlier black and white series focusing on the shapes of pregnant women, was exhibited at Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts, Concord MA.
Reischwitz’s photographs have appeared in juried group exhibitions at the Danforth Museum of Art, Off the Wall and New England Photography Biennial; CAA National Prize Show,Red, and Platinum (Best in Show); Photo Place Gallery VT; Gallery Seven, Maynard MA; Bedford Free Public Library; Brush Gallery Lowell; Concord Art Association (Prize for Best Photography), Frances N. Roddy Open Competition (Third Prize); Houston Center for Photography; Massachusetts Convention Center with Photographic Resource Center Boston; and DeCordova Museum School Gallery. She received a Silver Medal Award in the San Francisco International Photography Exhibition and was selected as one of Top 100 for Review Santa Fe Photo Festival.
Her photographs have been published in the Boston Globe, the Lexington Minuteman, the Newburyport Current, the Bedford Minuteman, Armenian Weekly, and other publications. Her work was also published online on LensCulture and appeared on Lenscratch, What Will You Remember, and 3200K online blogs, as well as Cambridge Art Association blog and Echoes of Pop in the New Millennia blogspot. Her portfolio Stories from the Kitchen Table is featured on Syracuse University’s Family.Life. Project webpage.
Reischwitz curates art exhibitions at the Bedford MA Free Public Library, most recently the group show Portraits, as well as featured exhibitions including Dick Simon (kNOw T-H-E-M), Caleb Cole (Other People’s Clothes), and Nick Johnson/Sus Iserbyt (Solitude). She is a juried member of the Cambridge Art Association.
A graduate of the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany, with a PhD in chemistry, Reischwitz began her study of photography at the International Center of Photography in New York soon after moving to the United States. After relocating to the Boston area she continued her studies at the New England School of Photography, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, DeCordova Museum School, and Photography Atelier at Lesley University and Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester MA. She also holds a certificate in Arts Administration from New York University.
Stories from the Kitchen Table
I have created Stories from the Kitchen Table to preserve and honor a fading way of life in my childhood home.
Going home for me means travelling back to my family’s old farmhouse in a small village in Germany. It is the last remaining untouched house in the town. Going home evokes many different emotions. Most powerful is my need to document my childhood home, the people who passed through, and what, one day soon, will be left behind.
The very essence of home for me is gathering around the kitchen table to sit down to a meal with family and friends and share stories old and new.
In Stories from the Kitchen Table, some of my composites include old family photos combined with what I see today when I return home. I add flowers and fragmented images of fabric: these dish towels, tablecloths, napkins, and decorative wall hangings (dating back to 1799) were passed down from generation to generation.
The Gift of Regret
This series is based on an inner exploration of my history and values. The influences from my past linger, and looking back leads me to the things I have left behind; the path I never walked; the lifestyle that is about to disappear.
I find myself exploring feelings that surround the abandonment of my former scientific profession and comparing life in my country of origin to life in the US. I examine my core values about knowledge, education, and wisdom. I think about nourishment, lifestyle, globalization, and changes in communication.
In The Gift of Regret, I choose objects to symbolize these changes and values. By wrapping or presenting them as gifts, I preserve and honor them in my memory. After sitting with these images for a long time and experiencing the loss, I now feel that I can let go of regrets to make room in my heart for my new journey.
The Bedroom Project
We can spend many hours, days, even weekends in the homes of friends and relatives without ever seeing their bedrooms. For The Bedroom Project, I ask friends, relatives, and acquaintances for permission to photograph their bedrooms, bringing their private space into public view. I create intimate portraits of the couples and individuals through their private sanctuaries, where secrets are shared and dreams are dreamt.
I was curious if their beds and décor would reflect the people as I know them, or if I would learn anything new about them. I became aware of items in the bedrooms that have deep meaning for the individual and tell a personal story. Even the short amount of time I spent in these private rooms left me with a better understanding of the individual.
Believing that art lives in the space between the viewer’s eye and the artwork itself, I like to imagine that the viewer creates inhabitants who will become an inherent part of the picture and fill the bedrooms with life. I wonder how these imagined people reflect aspects and personalities of the actual people who, in fact, live/lived in each particular bedroom.
Street Art is an art form brought directly to the viewer, in many cases without any prior selection by curators, art critics or the media. In composing each photograph I position myself near existing Street Art, often in lonely, urban areas, and then wait for people to walk by.
Through their reactions or lack of reaction to the artworks they become both viewers of and participants in an art making process. The people in these pieces become a part of an art event themselves.
Ripped paper or the application of paint over the original art work documents traces of former interactions with the art by unknown participants and shows another layer of art mediated by urban life.
By choosing the specific street art in its unique, if out of the way location, I maintain a degree of control over the process while having no control over the people or actions that will become an inherent part of the photograph.
Gail Samuelson photographs ordinary and more challenging events in her life: the landscape through which she walks her dog each day (Beaver Dam, Sherborn, MA); her parents struggle with her father’s Alzheimer’s disease (Downhill all the Way); her breast surgery (My New Bra), her 26-year-old daughter’s return home (Jessie); photographs taken from trains while traveling to visit her elderly aunt in NYC (Train shots); and several on-going series of self-portraits.
Samuelson's most recent self-portrait series, All Dressed Up, has been exhibited in several galleries in 2013: the Kiernan Gallery in Lexington, VA, where she received Juror’s Choice award and was featured on their gallery blog; the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, VT; the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA; and most recently, at the Cambridge Art Association’s Red Biennial competetion, where she received Honorable mention for her self-portrait, My father Sinclair.
In addition to her art work, Samuelson owns a portrait and event photography business in Sherborn, MA. She studied photography with Stephen Tourlentes, Frank Gohlke, and David Hilliard at workshops at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, MA, the New England School of Photography, the Art Institute of Boston, and at Photography Atelier at Lesley University and at the Griffin Museum of Photography. She also has an MBA from Simmons Graduate School of Management.
Keep It for Luck
These clothes, hats, handbags, and jewelry belonged to my mother and my aunt Florence. While most of the objects are perfect after a half a century in storage, the armpit of my mother’s silk blouse gives way, as I arrange it before the camera.
Although my mother and her sister-in-law were both smart and educated, they were also superstitious. They saved objects- wishbones, charms, and talismans- to bring good luck or ward off the evil eye. For example, Florence’s bridal handkerchief reminded her of her good fortune to marry Ben, the sweetest man ever.
My mother also saved many intimate garments- bras, garters, and nightgowns- from when she was just married and not yet a mother. Who would have known she was so sexy?
Beaver Dam, Sherborn, MA:
The beavers came to Rocky Narrows two years ago and plugged up Sewall Brook. The beavers don’t care that Rocky Narrows is the first and premier property of the Trustees of Reservations; don’t care that their dam has made a muddy mess of the trails leading to King Phillip’s Overlook, a magnificent view of the Charles River named for the Wampanoag Indian chief who unsuccessfully confronted the English colonists; and don’t care that the brook they dammed was named for Samuel Sewall, the infamous Salem witch trial judge. The beavers are there to chew down trees and saplings, make their dam, and flood the place.
The resulting landscape is surprising with its dying trees and bright green mud. A swamp quickly replaced the forest, followed by wood ducks, red-winged blackbirds, and mosquitos. This place smells more like the underside of a rotting log than the sweet scent of pine trees. The quiet is broken by the sounds of startled ducks and woodpeckers rummaging for food. Neither the place nor my photographs are conventionally pretty. But this is my place, which I pass each day when I walk my dog.
Reflections, Sherborn, MA:
Here, the dammed brook has become a reflecting pond. The world is upside down, and the plane of the image is distinct from that of the photograph. The water is the color of the sky—deep, deep blue on a sunny day and grey when it is cloudy. Likewise the flora transforms from green and brown to black and white. Gravity appears lost, as the wind brushes the water, bending each tree trunk.