Sunday, January 23, 2011

on my way...

I am off for a few weeks. I am not sure about my ability to post on the blog so thought I would leave a few of my newest Burn images created in 2010. What I found really amazing after culling thru so, so many images was that there can be a single, fleeting moment when the light, wind, smoke, and fire converge in a way that rings true to me....

One of my Burn pieces will be available at the Houston Center for Photography annual print auction. The exhibit opens January 21st and closes February 22nd.They have some interesting programming around the show.

Just a friendly reminder that the Corden Potts Gallery is handling sales from The Burn portfolio. Please contact them if you are interested.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The View from Lazy Point by Carl Safina

I just finished reading a NYT book review of The View From Lazy Point by Carl Safina....which is next in line on my reading list.

".... Safina asks us to reconsider the importance of that perennial question: “What is the meaning of life?” Which, he believes, is the wrong question to be asking because “it makes you look in the wrong places.” The right question is, “Where is the meaning in life.” And the place to look is “between.” In other words, we should look for the ways that all living creatures and all habitats are connected, look for what happens “between” them. “Relationships,” he insists, “are the music life makes. Context creates meaning.”

from The Burn Series ©2010 Jane Fulton Alt

"Safina returns again and again to this consideration of interconnectedness, and to the need for each person to cultivate a more considerate life: “To advance compassion and yet survive in a world of appetites — that is our challenge.” He calls for reverence and caution, and a humbling awareness that future generations must live with the consequences of the decisions we make today. “Ecology, family, community, religion — these words all grope toward the same need: connection, belonging, purpose.”

“Just as we went from hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists to civilized societies,” he writes, “now we must take the next great leap: from merely civilized to humanized.”

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Day

In thinking about Martin Luther King and his message of non- violence, it is hard not to think about the culture of violence today in our country. The programming on TV and radio reflects so much that is unhealthy in our society. Violence is epidemic.

Here is a poem written by Shakita Winters from H.B Stowe Arts Academy in Chicago. She is the 8th grade winner of the 2nd annual Too Hot to Handel Poetry Contest.


Our community is like a hateful song
This crime in the streets causes everything to go wrong
When the grass is green and the sun is beaming
You seem to hear a lot of crying and screaming
But, Martin Luther King had a dream to bring all of us together
So that our children can show love and respect for one another
Despite your race.....
Red, Black, White, or Gray
We still have a chance to join together TODAY!!!!
It's best if we stop the violence
And keep the peace
In order to turn things around for YOU and ME!!!!!!!

I am hopeful that this new documentary, The Interrupters, will shed some light on the subject. The world premier is on January 21st at the Sundance Festival. The film will screen 3 more times at the festival. Tickets are now 'wait list only.' There is already an incredible buzz around it. The movie discusses how a national public health strategy, Cease Fire, is trying to stem the epidemic and has been scientifically proven to reduce shootings and killings.

The wisdom and compassion from our President and First Lady is truly remarkable. They are the true moral leaders of our time...

An Open Letter to Parents Following the Tragedy in Tucson
Posted by First Lady Michelle Obama on January 13, 2011 at 06:07 PM EST

Dear Parents,

Like so many Americans all across the country, Barack and I were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of violence committed in Arizona this past weekend. Yesterday, we had the chance to attend a memorial service and meet with some of the families of those who lost their lives, and both of us were deeply moved by their strength and resilience in the face of such unspeakable tragedy.

As parents, an event like this hits home especially hard. It makes our hearts ache for those who lost loved ones. It makes us want to hug our own families a little tighter. And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.

In the days and weeks ahead, as we struggle with these issues ourselves, many of us will find that our children are struggling with them as well. The questions my daughters have asked are the same ones that many of your children will have – and they don’t lend themselves to easy answers. But they will provide an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons – about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away.

We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way – whether it’s by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.

We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.

We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

Christina Green felt that call. She was just nine years old when she lost her life. But she was at that store that day because she was passionate about serving others. She had just been elected to her school’s student council, and she wanted to meet her Congresswoman and learn more about politics and public life.

And that’s something else we can do for our children – we can tell them about Christina and about how much she wanted to give back. We can tell them about John Roll, a judge with a reputation for fairness; about Dorothy Morris, a devoted wife to her husband, her high school sweetheart, to whom she’d been married for 55 years; about Phyllis Schneck, a great-grandmother who sewed aprons for church fundraisers; about Dorwan Stoddard, a retired construction worker who helped neighbors down on their luck; and about Gabe Zimmerman, who did community outreach for Congresswoman Giffords, working tirelessly to help folks who were struggling, and was engaged to be married next year. We can tell them about the brave men and women who risked their lives that day to save others. And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country.


Michelle Obama

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back to Vivian Maier

I saw the Vivian Maier exhibition yesterday at the Chicago Cultural Center and there were some images that just took my breath away. Her sense of composition, compassion and humor is so evident. I also learned via facebook that a group is trying to fund a documentary via kickstarter. Looks like they have a lot of support... all very exciting. Click HERE for a NYT article that appeared January 7th, 2011.

In the meantime, here are a few more images. I was thrilled to find a photograph from my own neighborhood in Evanston!

taken at the Chicago River on Michigan and Wacker Avenues

downtown Evanston with the Carlson building in the background, Radio Shack has replaced Harbinger Drugs

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Industrial Scars ~ J Henry Fair

I just came across the work of J Henry Fair and it is powerful. His book, the day after tomorrow, images of our earth in crisis, will be released soon by PowerHouse Books.

Fair states...."Industrial Scars is an aesthetic look at some of our most egregious injuries to the system that sustains us in hopes that the viewer will come away with an innate understanding of her complicity and a will to make a difference. My work is a response to my vision of society."

He continues, "I see our culture as being addicted to petroleum and the unsustainable consumption of other natural resources, which seems to portend a future of scarcity. My vision is of a different possibility, arrived at through careful husbandry of resources and adjustment of our desires and consumption patterns toward a future of health and plenty. To gear our civilization toward sustainability does not necessitate sacrifice today, as many naysayers would argue, but simply adjustment. There are many societies existing at present that have a standard of living at least as high as ours while consuming and polluting a fraction of what is the norm in the United States.

As an artist with a message, one asks oneself: how do I translate my message to my medium such that it will effect the change I want?

At first, I photographed “ugly” things; which is, in essence, throwing the issue in people’s faces. Over time, I began to photograph all these things with an eye to making them both beautiful and frightening simultaneously, a seemingly irreconcilable mission, but actually quite achievable given the subject matter. These are all photographs of things I have found in my explorations. Other than standard photographic adjustments of contrast, they are unmodified."

J Henry Fair
all images ©2010

His NYC show opens tonight at the Gerald Peters Gallery.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Obama's speech in Tucson

In case you missed it, here is an excerpt. It was truly inspirational.

"But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, “when I looked for light, then came darkness.” Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

After all, that’s what most of us do when we lose someone in our family — especially if the loss is unexpected. We’re shaken from our routines, and forced to look inward. We reflect on the past. Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?

So sudden loss causes us to look backward — but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we’ve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame — but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others....

...The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives — to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud."

The full text can be found HERE.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer

An extraordinary unknown Chicago street photographer's work is uncovered. Eighty of Vivian Maier's photographs will be exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center thru March 24th. This show is not to be missed. Her work is filled with grace and is a gift to us all. The story about her and her photographic eye is stunning (found in the video below). Over 100,000 negatives and more than 3,000 prints of her massive body of work were discovered in an estate auction shortly before her death in 2009.

The initial inquiry about the work on flicker was as follows...

"I purchased a giant lot of negatives from a small auction house here in Chicago. It is the work of Vivian Maier, a French born photographer who recently past away in April of 2009 in Chicago, where she resided. I opened a blogspot blog with her work here;

I have a ton of her work (about 30-40,000 negatives) which ranges in dates from the 1950's-1970's. I guess my question is, what do I do with this stuff? Check out the blog. Is this type of work worthy of exhibitions, a book? Or do bodies of work like this come up often?

Any direction would be great. "

The replys to the inquiry can be seen HERE.

The rest is history....

There is a blog devoted to her work and I am sure more information will come to light as time goes on. Thanks to Emily and Joe for the heads up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

two days and counting...

After the terrible shock of the shooting in Arizona, my mind keeps coming back to the Room of Silence.

I visited the room located next to the Brandenburg Gate while in Berlin last fall. It was a profoundly moving experience. The room is a symbol of tolerance and brotherhood... all are welcome regardless of race, political beliefs or religion. It is a place of peace and spiritual unity.

The room's decoration reflects its non-denominational character. It is neutral and simple. Its only adornment is a woven wall hanging, which the Hungarian artist Ritta Hager made for the room, an abstract work of the light penetrating darkness.

My prayers and thoughts go out to the families who's lives will be forever altered by a senseless act of violence. My hope is that our country will reflect, recalibrate and renew a commitment to non- violent alternatives (both verbal and physical) to resolving differences.

Friday, January 07, 2011


The Burn 2010 © JaneFultonAlt

lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood.
lasting but one day: an ephemeral flower.
anything short-lived

1. fleeting, evanescent, transient, momentary, brief.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Work Day

I need to focus on my work. Yet there are so many distractions. I am writing a post for a blog in Germany which is taking lots of time...and yet, it is important for me to hopefully inspire others. While working on it I received an email...

"I just want to thank you for your thoughts that you've shared in 2010. I found them inspiring and constructive. I've been encouranged so many times."

The timing could not have been more welcome.

And then I received a phone call this morning from a writer friend who just returned from 40 days of solitary writing in Mexico. When I answered the door, he had a lightness about him. He said his workday followed the rhythms of the day. He would wake up in the morning, walk, write, walk write..etc. I know exactly what he was talking about... the time and space you need for the creative life. He then handed me an envelope. When he left I opened it. It was the culmination of his time in Mexico and the title was "FLUTTER."

I can't wait to read it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Missing My Muse

Muse |myoōz|
(in Greek and Roman mythology) each of nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences.
• ( muse) a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.

3 1/2 years later...

Monday, January 03, 2011

from Art Market pleased to be included

Curator Names 2010′s Most Exciting Photographers

Rebecca Senf, a photography curator at the Center for Creative Photography and the Phoenix Art Museum, made her 13 top picks earlier this year.

Here is her list

Jane Fulton Alt – The Burn
John D’Agostino – Empire of Glass
Desiree Edkins – Lishui
Cheryl Hanna-Truscott – Protective Custody
Dave Kennedy - The Twelve
Benjamin Lowy – Iraq – Perspectives
Rita Maas – Reality TV
Adam Magyar – Urban Flow
Andrew Freeman – (Manzanar) Architectural Double
Robert Weingarten – The Portrait Unbound
Melvin Sokolsky – Bubble Spring Collection
Evan Baden – Illuminati
Richard Misrach – New Work at Pace/MacGill Gallery

© Burn No. 26