Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 5

May 31 ~ Sixty plus five

I was up for several hours last night wondering what I was going to post today. I then decided to "get it over with" and just shoot my studio in the wee hours of the night... it was 2 am on day 5!

This is going to be an interesting year.

On another note...

I took my car in to be fixed on my birthday.

It was an unexpected repair and I complained about it when I took it in, saying it was not how I had hoped to spend my 60th. Well, much to my surprise, when I returned 4 hours later, I was met with the entire staff at Duxler Auto Repair with a box of 24 cupcakes to celebrate my birthday! I was so touched I later dropped off some faux monarch butterflies for the guys.

If you need any repairs and live in Evanston, please consider having your car repairs at Duxler!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sixty Plus Daily Diary

I just celebrated my 60th birthday and have decided to create a daily visual journal for the next 365 days. The purpose is to force me into paying closer attention to my life and everyday miracles. When I first conceived of the project, it seemed like too much work. Doubts came streaming in with lots of reasons why it would be too much trouble to pursue. The idea was put on the back burner.

Then, 2 events collided that made me realize this was to be.

First, my flip cellphone broke a hinge on my actual birthday. I had resisted buying an iphone as I thought it would demand too much from me. HOWEVER, what I did not realize was how much fun the camera and camera applications were. At the 60 plus one day, I found myself with the new iphone at a local diner in Northern Wisconsin and a prolonged wait for a table. I pulled out the iphone and took what would be the very first photograph of the diary.

May 27th ~ Sixty plus one ~ I am open to the possibility that anything is possible.

Secondly, after unforeseen circumstances, I found myself with a book, Daybook by Anne Truitt. I have just started reading it and have been struck by its resonance to my life …. “This anguish overwhelmed me until, early one morning and quite without emphasis, it occurred to me that I could simply record my life for one year and see what happened…” It is uncanny how things fall into place if you are listening.

Day Two

I have driven along a road in Northern Wisconsin for 35 years, always attracted to a run down, unusual building that had long ago been a mink ranch and then a chicken coop. The property always appeared abandoned, until today. I drove by and saw a group of people having a picnic. I thought to myself that I could ask about photographing the property but really felt too shy, so drove on. Then I thought about this daily visual diary and turned the car around. The worst that could happen is they could say no.….the rest is history. What I loved about the space was how decrepit it was and yet the light streaming into the space was so amazingly beautiful.

May 28 ~ Sixty plus two

May 29 ~ Sixty plus three ~ Elsewhere

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bill Cunningham New York

This amazing film just opened in Chicago and if you are a photographer, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go see it. He is about as "pure" as they come. I was deeply moved by his outlook on work and life. Richard Press, the Director and Cinematographer, really got to the essence of an extraordinary man and his life.

ABOUT BILL (Bio courtesy of Wikipedia)

William J. Cunningham (born 1929) is a fashion photographer for The New York Times, known for his candid street photography.

Bill dropped out of Harvard University in 1948 and moved to New York, where he initially worked in advertising. Not long after, he quit his job and struck out on his own, making hats under the name “William J.” After being drafted and serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he returned to New York and got a job writing for the Chicago Tribune. During his years as a writer, he contributed significantly to fashion journalism, introducing American audiences to Azzedine Alaia and Jean-Paul Gaultier. While working at the Tribune and at Women’s Wear Daily, he began taking photographs of fashion on the streets of New York. As the result of a chance photograph of Greta Garbo, he published a group of his impromptu pictures in the Times in December 1978, which soon became a regular series. His editor, Arthur Gelb, has called these photographs “a turning point for the Times, because it was the first time the paper had run pictures of well-known people without getting their permission.”

Bill photographs people and the passing scene in the streets of Manhattan every day. Most of his pictures, he has said, are never published. Designer Oscar de la Renta has said, “More than anyone else in the city, he has the whole visual history of the last 40 or 50 years of New York. It’s the total scope of fashion in the life of New York.” Though he has made a career out of unexpected photographs of celebrities, socialites, and fashion personalities, many in those categories value his company. According to David Rockefeller, Brooke Astor asked he be invited to her 100th birthday party, the only member of the media so honored.

In 2008 he was awarded the title chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

his winning smile

Trailer for the movie

and a 2009 New Yorker article is HERE

Friday, May 20, 2011

Evanston Art Center Spring Benefit Auction

Burn No. 26

The Evanston Art Center is where I got my start, studying under Dick Olderman. Please consider supporting it by either attending the benefit tomorrow night or bidding on many wonderful works of art. Burn No. 26 is available to the highest bidder...and you don't need to be there to purchase it. It is a win/win for everyone involved. Click HERE to find out how.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

POETree - Mission Amy Project

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem. ~ David Carradine

"The POETree" is another amazing Mission Amy project...I just love her work!

conceived and created by Lisa Coughlin and Anna Mangahas, Mission Amy KR regulars.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Postcard Project

Spring cleaning offers up the most amazing bits of history. I unearthed a box of postcards from shows I have been in from the very beginning. Instead of keeping them sitting in a box, I have decided to offer them out. If you are interested, all you need to do is send an email to photos (at) janefultonalt.com with Postcard Project in the subject line, your address, which postcard you would like and I will slip it into the mail. What fun it will be to have these images circulating again!


Before the Butterflies

Southern Exposures

Matters of the Heart

City 2000 ~ Grace

The Treatment Room

Look and Leave Book Cover


Visitations No. 3

Burn No. 21

Happy Spring!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Spring

The sun is out and it feels like I am in the full spring cleaning mode. I am thinking more and more about working in mixed media and realized that I did not have the studio space I needed. After some time to consider my options, I decided to clean out a storage room that was filled to the gills with boxed artwork, furniture, suitcases...you name it. It was a major undertaking. I relied heavily on FREECYCE and could not believe how quickly people came over to pick up various sundry items.

What I love most about this newfound space is that it is OFF THE GRID! No computer, no internet, no phone! A departure from the workspace I am used to...which I now consider my "dry" darkroom. It reminds me of the working conditions I had during my artist residency at Ragdale, which is where my art jumped by leaps and bounds, in part because I did not have the distractions. I am excited about having created this newfound space that was just waiting to be unearthed!

These photographs of tulips were taken a week ago at the Chicago Botanic Gardens where the Toast to Ragdale Benefit was held. The field of flowers were breathtaking and the canon s90 did a nice job of conveying their amazing colors.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Darkroom Gallery Exhibit in New Orleans

I so wish I were going to the opening...however, at $500 a pop for airlines tickets I decided to pass. I am sure it will be great fun. I really miss the place!

I came across Joli Livaudais Grisham's work because I am in the show with her . I checked out her website and was impressed by her artist statement...thought I would share it.

Project Statement: Meditations

"I once read that everything in the universe is made from the same kinds of particles, and the only difference between material and spirit is how swiftly those basic components are vibrating. Quantum physicists have demonstrated that particles near each other synchronize, and so paired will move as one even when separated. Isolation and stillness are an illusion. All things are intrinsically linked together in ways mysterious and strange, and seeming differences are really just variations on a theme.

© Joli Livaudais Grisham

When I was young, my mother taught me that God is love and that violence and destruction are constructs of man. Yet when I look around me at the marvelously balanced creation of the universe, I see a system founded in the deaths of the weak and unfortunate. The wheel of creation, maintenance and destruction grinds endlessly, a ravening machine, terrifyingly pure in its lack of concern or gentleness. Yet, it is also beautiful, orderly, a profoundly synchronized web of vibrating particles. Meditations are my conceptual explorations on the mysteries of the machine--the deeper spiritual truth that connects us on the wheel of life and unifies reality.

Byzantine painters used a set of visual symbols to reveal the divine in the mundane. One of the most important of these was the use of gold. Gold gave the work a feeling of material preciousness, while also creating a source of otherworldly luminosity and warmth. They also used ultramarine blue, a rare and expensive pigment, to signify spiritual purity. I print my images in tones of blue and suspend them over 23K gold leaf using resin. By applying these symbolic spiritual elements to a photograph, a process intrinsically rooted in reality, both are interpreted in a new way. The work is experienced as concept and as a physical object, mirroring the duality of spirit and earth."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

more on Vivian Maier

I am sharing a few more images from the estate of Vivian Maier because I find them so irresistible. There is now an official website devoted to all things Vivian Maier. I was delighted to find this first image on the site as I saw it at the Chicago Cultural Center show a few months back and swooned over it. The work is so amazingly wonderful.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Vik Muniz ~ Wasteland

Thank you , Cathy, for this tip on an extraordinary project that photographer Vik Muniz created...using art to address his humanitarian concerns. I heard him speak a few years ago at the Art Institute of Chicago and his humanity shined thru. He makes art from pretty much anything, be it shredded paper, wire, clouds or diamonds.

There was a wonderful NYT article about the project HERE.

Vik Muniz was born into a working-class family in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1961. As a young man he was shot in the leg whilst trying to break up a fight. He received compensation for his injuries and used this money to fund a trip to New York City, where he has lived and worked since the late 1980s. He began his career as a sculptor but gradually became more interested in photographic reproductions of his work, eventually turning his attention exclusively to photography. He incorporates a multiplicity of unlikely materials into this photographic process. Often working in series, Vik has used dirt, diamonds, sugar, string, chocolate syrup and garbage to create bold, witty and often deceiving images drawn from the pages of photojournalism and art history. His work has been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim, and has been exhibited worldwide. His solo show at MAM in Rio de Janeiro was second only to Picasso in attendance records; it was here that Vik first exhibited his “Pictures of Garbage Series” in Brazil. (from Wastelands website)

This trailer for the movie (available thru netflix streaming) gives you preview of his truly inspired work.

And here, on a TED video Vik Muniz describes the thinking behind his work.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Letting in the Light

This weekend the desk in my studio almost collapsed under the weight of it all. What I thought was a curse turned out to be a blessing. Lightening my load...tossing out lots of stuff. I am feeling better by the minute while I am finding little treasures in my archives.

©Richard Olderman 2002

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

Friday, May 06, 2011

Celebrate : Save A Mother - by Nicholas D. Kristof

I read this article last year on Mothers Day in the New York Times. It helps me to rethink alternative ways to celebrate our Mothers.

Celebrate: Save a Mother

Published: May 8, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day! And let me be clear: I’m in favor of flowers, lavish brunches, and every other token of gratitude for mothers and other goddesses.

Let me also add that your mom — yes, I’m speaking to you — is particularly deserving. (As is mine, as is my wife. And my mother-in-law!)

And because so many people feel that way, some $14 billion will be spent in the United States for Mother’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That includes $2.9 billion in meals, $2.5 billion in jewelry and $1.9 billion in flowers.

To put that sum in context, it’s enough to pay for a primary school education for all 60 million girls around the world who aren’t attending school. That would pretty much end female illiteracy.

These numbers are fuzzy and uncertain, but it appears that there would be enough money left over for programs to reduce deaths in childbirth by about three-quarters, saving perhaps 260,000 women’s lives a year.

There would probably even be enough remaining to treat tens of thousands of young women suffering from one of the most terrible things that can happen to a person, a childbirth injury called an obstetric fistula. Fistulas leave women incontinent and dribbling wastes, turning them into pariahs — and the injuries are usually fixable with a $450 operation.

So let’s celebrate Mother’s Day with all the flowers and brunches we can muster: no reason to feel guilty about a dollop of hedonism to compensate for 365 days of maternal toil. But let’s also think about moving the apostrophe so that it becomes not just Mother’s Day, honoring a single mother, but Mothers’ Day — an occasion to try to help other mothers around the globe as well.

Oddly, for a culture that celebrates motherhood, we’ve never been particularly interested in maternal health. The United States ranks 41st in the world in maternal mortality, according to an Amnesty International report, or 37th according to a major new study in the medical journal The Lancet, using different data sources.

Using either set of statistics, an American woman is at least twice as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as a woman in much of Europe.

A friend of mine in New York, a young woman who minds her health and has even worked on maternal health issues, nearly joined the data set last month. She had an ectopic pregnancy that she was unaware of until her fallopian tube ruptured and she almost died.

Maternal mortality is far more common in Africa and Asia. In the West African country of Niger, a woman has about a one-in-seven lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy complications. Women there often aren’t supposed to go to a doctor if the husband hasn’t granted express permission — so if he’s 100 miles away when she has labor complications, she may just die at home.

On the 50th anniversary of the pill, it’s also worth noting that birth control is an excellent way to reduce deaths in childbirth. If there were half as many pregnancies in poor countries, there would be half as many maternal deaths.

It’s certainly not inevitable that women die in childbirth, and some poor countries — like Sri Lanka — have done a remarkable job curbing maternal mortality. But in many places, women’s lives are not a priority.

There’s no silver bullet to end maternal mortality, but we know steps that have made a big difference in some countries. Bipartisan legislation to be introduced this year by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut aims to have the United States build on these proven methods to tackle obstetric fistulas and maternal health globally.

Just the money that Americans will spend on Mother’s Day greeting cards for today — about $670 million — would save the lives of many thousands of women. Many organizations do wonderful work in this area, from the giants like CARE and Save the Children to the tiny Edna Maternity Hospital in Somaliland. Women Deliver and the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood do important advocacy work. And the Fistula Foundation and Worldwide Fistula Fund help women who have obstetric fistulas. (Details are on my blog, nytimes.com/ontheground.)

So if one way to mark Mothers’ Day is to buy flowers for that special mom, another is to make this a safer planet for moms in general. And since we men are going to be focused on the flowers, maybe mothers themselves can work on making motherhood less lethal.

I had a letter the other day from a woman in Connecticut, Eva Hausman, who was so appalled when she learned about obstetric fistulas that she e-mailed her friends and asked them to contribute at least $20. To date she has raised $9,000 for the Fistula Foundation.

“Most of the contributions were accompanied by thank-you notes,” she told me. When people thank you for allowing them to donate — that’s truly a heartwarming cause, and a beautiful way to celebrate Mothers’ Day.

Care and Heifer

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"My Favorite Artistic Advice" based on a Sol LeWitt letter

Based on a letter by the artist Sol LeWitt, written to the artist Eva Hesse. Slight alterations by Levni Yilmaz

Monday, May 02, 2011

what constitutes a life worthy of being remembered?

Here is another wonderful video,"Kindness Thought Bubble" by Amy of www.whoisamy.com, an inspiration to us all.