Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rousseau on Happiness

"If there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul." - Rousseau

photo from the book Look and Leave : Photographs and Stories from New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward © Jane Fulton Alt

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A thought for the New Year from Rilke

On Patience

"I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing it, live your way into the answer…"
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Wishing you...

Lots of Love, Light and Laughter!

from Cathedral of Oaxaca ~ Angel © Jane Fulton Alt

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Original Mind

Our "original mind" includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few.
Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jonathan Traviesa ~ Winner of the Michael P. Smith Grant 2009

I saw Jonathan Traviesa's work at the Ogden Museum while I was in New Orleans. His environmental portraits give one a glimpse into the everyday of New Orleanians. He captures the essence of the person and the place over and over again, with frankness and honesty.

Jonathan was the first winner of the new Michael P. Smith Grant and also has a newly published book on the work, Portraits.

Friday, December 11, 2009

David Halliday

I became familiar with David Halliday and his work while in New Orleans this past week while participating with him on a PhotoNola panel discussion. His work speaks volumes about elegantly seen and presented. Check out his website.

Frutti di Bosco, 1998
sepia toned silver print
4.5 x 6

Still Life with Cantaloupe & Scissors, 1998
sepia toned silver print
11 x 15

David's work was included in two shows that opened this week at the Arthur Rogers Gallery and the Homespace Gallery. The later exhibit was titled, Revival : Historical Precesses in Contemporary Photography and was curated by Richard McCabe. It included the works of many photography masters, including Sally Mann and Robert Park Harrison.

Ciccada, 1996
sepia toned silver print
11 x 22

I am planning on featuring more work from the New Orleans art scene so stay tuned. It is a happening place with lots of exciting work going on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Greetings from New Orleans

Here few of the highlights from New Orleans...

I went to the L9 community art center in the lower ninth ward where Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun have their Studio. They lost many of their negatives after the storm but are reclaiming their lives. So great to finally meet them. And their work is awesome.

Mural at the New Orleans American Museum of Art, Culture and History

Second line parade Monday morning at 9:30 am!

Louisiana State Museum where I took a morning yoga class overlooking Jackson Square.

Christmas parade on on Canal Street.

On route from the airport there is a billboard that says be sure to check out the "miracle on Fulton street." I finally made it over to the one block to see this christmas extravaganza. They had a bubble machine blower that simulated snow...I guess that was the miracle.

Stay tuned for more on the New Orleans art scene...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

On the Men and Women who Serve ~ Ellen Susan

While on route to New Orleans as I was passing thru airport security, I spotted a young man in fatigues surrounded by his family with his mother clutching Kleenex in her hand. They were all hovered around the young soldier, bidding him a farewell. I looked into his face. He seemed so youthful and innocent. My mind then traveled to a photographer, Ellen Susan, whose work focuses on the young men and women who serve our country and with whom I will be participating in the Six Shooters Panel discussion at PhotoNola.

SPC Brandie Carpenter, Brandie, 2007 , Ambrotype 6"x6"

In Susan's words..

"The Soldier Portraits Project is a work in progress. The project consists of portrait photographs of soldiers of the United States Army, primarily of the 3rd Infantry Division.

SPC Brandilynn Corntassell, 2007, Ambrotype, 6 x 6 in

The photographs are made using the 150 year old collodion wet plate process - the primary photographic method from the 1850s through the 1880s, encompassing the dates of the American Civil War. The men and women photographed for the Soldier Portraits project are members of the U.S. Army based in Southeast Georgia. Most have deployed to Iraq one to three times since 2003.

PFC William Burnett, 2007, Ambrotype 6"x6"

The necessarily long exposures of this process often result in an intensity of gaze, and the grainless, highly detailed surface brings out minute details of each individual. These attributes, combined with the historical military associations made me feel that the process could be a meaningful way to photograph contemporary soldiers to provide a counterpoint to the anonymous representations seen in newspapers and on television. I wanted to produce physically enduring, visually arresting images of people who are being sent repeatedly into a war zone."

SGT Timothy Campbell, 2007, Ambrotype 6"x6"

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Jennifer Shaw's Hurricane Story

I am returning to New Orleans for some book signings, panel discussions and to participate in PhotoNOLA 2009 . The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) did not exist pre Katrina and has grown into a very robust, all volunteer organization. They have had much support and have worked incredibly hard on what will be, I am sure, a fabulous week of photography events.

During my second visit to New Orleans I met with another photographer, Jennifer Shaw. I heard of her trials in dealing with Hurricane Katrina..she was nine months pregnant and...well the rest is told in her book, Hurricane Story.

We left in the dark of night © Jennifer Shaw

"I was nine months pregnant and due in less than a week when Hurricane Katrina blew into the Gulf. In the early hours of August 28, 2005 my husband and I loaded up our small truck with two cats, two dogs, two crates full of negatives, all our important papers and a few changes of clothes. We evacuated to a motel in southern Alabama and tried not to watch the news. Monday, August 29 brought the convergence of two major life changing events; the destruction of New Orleans and the birth of our son. It was two long months and 6000 miles on the road before we were able to return home."

When we arrived at the hospital it was time © Jennifer Shaw

"Hurricane Story is a depiction of our family’s evacuation experience – the birth, the travels and the return. These photographs represent various elements of our ordeal. The project began as a cathartic way to process some of the lingering anger and anxiety over that bittersweet journey. It grew into a narrative series of self-portraits in toys that illustrate my experiences and emotional state during our time in exile."

In spite of it all there's no place like home © Jennifer Shaw

Guthrie Contemporary
Opening: Saturday, Dec 5, 6-9pm
3815 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70115

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

After the Storm ~ Final days of Exhibition

I am feeling really sad about the end of my exhibition, After the Storm, that is currently up at the Chicago Cultural Center until December 27th. It has been a great venue, seen by many... a dream come true. The inclusion of text and a continuous video with great New Orleans music has provided more context for the photographs.

There have been several reviews of the show.
New City
Chicago Maroon
The Red Room

The book is now available online and I so appreciate it having been published. However, the exhibit is a more visceral experience, maybe because of the size of the prints, the music and the text.

If you haven't seen the show yet, please make an effort to get down won't be disappointed.