Photographer Raeford Dwyer runs an outdoor adventure program for Bronx Youth called Into The Woods, which he partners with the Bronx River Alliance to get the kids canoeing. Click here to go to Raeford’s page and learn how you can donate to this great program so they purchase new canoes and paddles for the kids!
Photographer Adam Bird sent an email to me recently about this cool series he shot on Local Beer in Grand Rapids, and I thought it would also fit nicely into this month’s newsletter, since Taurus loves to eat and drink. Maybe some of these brew-masters are Taurus? I had to laugh to myself as I wrote this post because I had to click on a button that says “save draft” – and here I am looking at a nice cold draft in the photo!
Greetings everyone and welcome to the May ChatterBulletin and the sign of Taurus!
Last month we talked all about Aries and Accidents and the planet Mars, which speeds up time, thus making us anxious and more likely to be accident-prone. But as soon as we step into the domain of Taurus, all that changes. Remember, whatever one sign is likely to do the next sign will do it differently. Where Aries sped everything up, Taurus will now slow it down. But it’s not simply a case of one sign does this, and the next sign does the other, because each sign also takes on whatever the previous sign gave them. With Taurus, it is their job to take all of that unbridled Aries energy and harness it so it can be put to good use. Their job is to stabilize the situation. So our theme for this month is Stability.
What does Stability mean for you – a roof over your head, a steady job, or perhaps simply peace of mind? Interesting to note that we use the word “stable” in terms of housing our livestock, and the animals we domesticate are generally kept in stables. But for most of us, Stability means being able to pay our bills every month. This is also why Taurus is the sign associated with Money, because in our society, money pays the bills and gives us that Stability – or does it? Many of you may have heard stories of how just because someone is has lots of money, doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy. So even if you have Financial Stability, doesn’t mean that you have Emotional Stability as well – that’s a whole other story!
Remember last year we talked about Taurus and the senses – and in this instance, as far as Stability goes, a Taurus will do what makes the most sense. Taurus is the 1st of our 3 Earth Signs, so by nature they are going to be practical and they are not afraid of hard work. Every Taurus I know is a hard worker. Earth likes to work. Taurus may be practical but they are not designed to be flexible, or to embrace change (that comes with our next month’s sign Gemini) – Taurus’ job is to hold on to whatever Aries discarded. This is why they are the sign associated with Possessions. Where Aries was fast, Taurus will be slow, and where Aries’ color was Red, with Taurus it is now Green, which makes total sense, since money is Green, and so is the garden where Taurus grows their flowers, fruits and vegetables. But here’s another reason why their color is Green. The Planet Venus rules Taurus, and the metal associated with Venus is Copper (remember with Aries and Mars, it was Iron?) Now when Copper oxidizes, it turns what color? Yes, it turns Green! And speaking of Green, Aries can be described as the rolling stone that gathers no moss (which happens to be Green in color), whereas with Taurus, that moss will surely be gathered. Here’s an image from photographer Taylor Glenn that fit my thought perfectly!
If we take the ancient sport of Bullfighting, also known as Tauromachia or Tauromachy (see where the word Taurus comes from…) notice it is the color Red that lines the Matador’s cape and makes the bulls crazy! Consider then that the Matador is probably an Aries! Followers of this tradition view it as an “art” (notice the Taurus reference again – Taurus loves art) where the Toreros perform formal maneuvers and that it is not simply a bloodthirsty “sport.” When we were young and went to Spain on our holidays, we stayed near the tiny village of Mijas that boasted one of the only non-circular bullrings in Spain! In fact, it was oval and years later I saw the very same bullring featured in an episode of the television mystery series Rosemary & Thyme!
Now one of the photographers that I did not get the opportunity to review while I was in Palm Springs, but I noticed his work in the Source Book, was California-based fine art photographer Bill Johnson who happens to photograph Rodeo’s, and therefore cowboys and bull riders. So I contacted him to ask if I could show one of the images from his Rodeo series, and he was happy to oblige! Bill said, “I am following the rodeo and creating stories for my website RodeoLife.com. This image is of a bull ride in the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association Finals. The bulls are bred to buck and not harmed in any way. The rider’s goal is to stay on for 8 seconds. The bulls usually win!”
Bulls, and Taurus in general like to eat, drink and fornicate, or shall we say, “Make Love.” They love the finer things in life, beautiful art and music. So while we’re talking about love, here’s a very cool tidbit for you. The Planet Venus is associated with Love, and Vanity. Venus holds the mirror in which to see her beautiful reflection, thus Venus is also connected with Glass. So here is something both beautiful and made of glass that my friend sent me of an amazing and very earnest Duo, who play Tchaikovsky’s The Sugar Plum Fairy on a Glass Harp! You’ve all heard of the expression “A Bull in China Shop” – so let’s hope the bull steers clear of the glasses! Click here or on the image to view the full piece.
But back to Stability - Scientists refer to the Island of Stability in Nuclear Physics, while the economists are seeking yes, you guessed it, Financial Stability; there’s even the Financial Stability Board, headquartered in the ultimate Land of Finance aka Switzerland, that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. Incidentally and not surprisingly, the sign of Taurus rules Switzerland as well as the Vatican City, and let’s be honest, you can’t get much more financially stable than the Catholic Church!
As I’m writing this article, there was literally a story on NY1 about how yet another greedy downtown developer is taking away a community garden on the lower east side of Manhattan. With so little green space in our city, it is ironic that the men who are going after the “green money” are so willing to destroy the “green gardens.” Also ironic and on the topic of “green” (but not in a good way either) is something I mention in my ChatterReport this month on the Palm Springs Photo Festival, where I saw (amongst others) photographer James Whitlow Delano speak about what else is happening on this planet, specifically in Malaysia, where logging companies for example, are totally destroying the local rainforests in order to grow “green bio fuel” – I mean, how messed up is that?
And in closing, Happy Birthday to all you hardworking, possession-loving and garden-growing Taurus!
WPPI and PDN have partnered with ASMP and Kelby Training to bring you On the Road, a 2-day photography workshop with seminars covering shooting, post-production and the business of photography. Click here or on the banner for all the information, cities and dates. The tour starts in Chicago on Monday & Tuesday, May 20th & 21st, 2013.
I first met Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low, collectively known as Anderson & Low when I was at the Black Book, and I was taken by their beautiful imagery back then. They have been collaborating together since 1990, and their series ENDURE – An Intimate Journey with the Chinese Gymnasts opens on Thursday, May 23rd at the Fahey/Klein Gallery located at 148 North La Brea in Los Angeles, and runs until Saturday, July 6th.
Excerpt from the Press Release: The exhibition is comprised of large-scale color photographs taken over a two-year period documenting the elite Chinese gymnasts, their challenging and dedicated training program, their character, and the team’s training facilities in Beijing. Athletics, endurance, and the process of training have inspired Anderson & Low for over twenty years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the duo was granted exclusive and completely unique access to photograph the Chinese gymnasts. Nobody has been given this access, and the results are as unprecedented as they are extraordinary.
Over the following two years, Anderson & Low would work to create a documentary series that reinvents traditional sport imagery. Whereas conventional sport photography primarily focuses on the winning moment, or an instance of heartbreaking defeat—Anderson & Low’s images explore the mental and physical process of training itself, and the structure and discipline the young gymnasts endure. The images capture powerful moments of stillness and transcend into a study of the human condition in microcosm, an examination of the purest human emotions under intense pressure. Although the images have a distinctly contemporary feel, athletics, training, and competition are among the most ancient and earliest depicted themes. Anderson & Low’s images reference classic Greek and Roman forms, and the ancient ideal of the trained athlete. Their photographs examine the tension between the athlete’s ideal and the very real limitations of the human body.
Some of you may recall I mentioned Open Show NY #6 in last month’s newsletter, so if you missed it, which I unfortunately did, call for submissions for Open Show NY #7 are until Tuesday, May 21st. The outdoor event will take place on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 – so put it in your calendars now! This one also marks their One Year Anniversary – so it would be a great time to either participate and/or attend!
Open Show NY #7 will be an outdoor event on Thursday, June 5th, 2013 @ The Bronx Documentary Center, 614 Courtlandt Avenue (@ 151st Street), in the Bronx, NY 10451! BBQ will be at at 6:30pm (food & drink will be available for purchase), followed by the presentation @ 8:00pm. *The event itself is free, but donations are welcome at the door.
FOR FAQ’s ON SUBMISSIONS PLEASE CLICK HERE!
TO SUBMIT PLEASE CLICK HERE!
OPEN SHOW is a Global Network – currently in 31 cities and 15 different countries – that organizes FREE curated screenings of diverse, compelling work by photographers, filmmakers and multimedia producers in high-profile spaces. Submissions are open to both students and established pro’s, for both photography and multimedia projects. Their shows provide an opportunity for the public to interact directly with visual artists and talk about their work – but they are not a Portfolio Review!
I met fine art photographer Lina Bertucci this week when we both reviewed photography portfolios for the Parsons New School for Design Graduates. So here is a show of Lina’s Artist Portraits opening next week at the Bleeker Street Arts Club (who knew?) on Thursday, May 23rd, along with a panel discussion.
PLEASE NOTE: This 2-day portfolio viewing event is for REVIEWERS ONLY! Photographers submit their portfolios to The Photo Closer for review, and reviewers, you can come and go when you please to look at the books during either Tuesday, May 21st and/or Wednesday, May 22nd at Picture Ray Studio, have a bite to eat, and chat with whoever else is there. For more information, contact Frank Meo.
Where to begin? I mean, it’s one thing to write a report on a one-day visit to a photo festival or an event, but when it’s the Palm Springs Photo Festival which I just attended for the 1st time, that’s a whole week’s worth of writing! I truly had a wonderful time; I viewed a lot of incredible photography, I reviewed a whole bunch of attendees and volunteers, I met lots of new people and spent extended and quality time with some already familiar faces in a much warmer and sunny environment! On the day we all arrived (Sunday), it was the hottest April 28th on record in Palm Springs, as in “ever” reaching a whopping 106 degrees! They said it would be hot, but even the locals had to admit that it was a lot hotter than usual for this time of the year!
The large group of faculty, sponsors and volunteers (as well as many of the attendees) were split between 3 hotels, the Hyatt Regency Suites, where most of the action took place including the seminars and portfolio reviews, the faculty lounge & lunches and sponsor tables. Some of the faculty stayed at the more “artsy” Korakia, which is an adorable little Mediterranean & Moroccan style pensione where the dinners were held each evening as well as the opening night reception, at which I ran into what appeared to be most of ASMP’s either current or former national board members, including Gene Mopsik, Blake Discher, Judy Herman, Gail Mooney, Jenna Close, and Shawn G. Henry. Later in the week I became acquainted with the very whacky and yet wildly informative world of Colleen Wainwright when I attended her seminar on social media. Also at the opening reception, among many others, were Lauren Wendle, Publisher of PDN Magazine & Vice President of the Nielsen Photo Group, along with the magazine’s chief Editor, Holly Hughes.
The 3rd hotel (where I was staying) the Palm Mountain Resort, was sort of in between the other 2, both in size and location, and to be honest, it was my favorite. A little bigger than the Korakia, not as corporate as the Hyatt, and very laid back – plus it had the best pool! All I had to do was walk across the lawn… I swam every day – I was in heaven!
Each night there was an outdoor networking dinner for the “faculty” hosted by different sponsors and culminating in a fabulous Moroccan Feast on the last evening, served family style by our wonderful waiters who had gotten used to the crazy crowd by then – these communal dinners were so much fun, and were accompanied each night by delicious wines from small select California vineyards. At the very first of those dinners (Monday) I was seated at a table of approximately 8-10 people, and what are the chances, but we discovered that 6 out of the 8 of us were Leo’s. How crazy was that? In case you were wondering, and I know you are, those 6 fabulously creative people were Sarah Rozen, Photo Editor @ Women’s Health Magazine, Susan Jones, Director of Photography at AGE Photostock, Nancy Glowinski, Photo Editor for Reuters, Frank Meo, The Photo Closer, Queen of the Alternative Process photographer Jill Enfield, and yours truly Louisa J. Curtis of Chatterbox Enterprises – quite a sextet!
After each dinner, everyone either took a shuttle bus, or stumbled down the street and around the corner, to the Palm Springs Art Museum, where we were treated to our evening slide shows, and photographer presentations. It has been a while since I was able to immerse myself in photography without a bunch of other “daily life” distractions, and it was the 1st time I had been away in a while, so it really was part vacation for me as well. What I also enjoyed was not only meeting a lot of new contacts, but also getting to know a few people on a deeper level than previously when we have simply run into one another at an event. I saw old friends such as my buddy Alexandra Bortkiewicz, Photography Director at Alamy in the UK, consultant Sherrie Berger, who amongst many other things handles PR for the prestigious Lucie Awards and the Lucie Foundation, and I even ran into the very charming Photo Editor at People Magazine Darrick Harris, who will be one of my panelists at PPE (Photo Plus Expo) in New York this October.
But what about all of the photography that I saw? Some of the evening presenters during the festival were Jill Enfield, who spoke about alternative processes, but she also shared with us some interesting family history and stories as well. We saw Stephen Wilkes take us step by step through his “day to night” process, along with Andy Katz, who not only showed images from his beautiful book on wines, but his family vineyard also provided the wines we were drinking that same evening. French photographer Mathieu Grandjean, Director of Open Show in Europe, was in town to tell us more about that – and many of you may recall I mentioned the New York branch in the last newsletter. It was also Mathieu’s birthday that day, so he was presented with a birthday cupcake, candle and all. Frank Ockenfells III kept us entertained both at dinner and with his creative celebrity portraiture, while Ralph Gibson showed something like 300+ slides while transporting us through his enormous and fabulous career retrospective!
Aside from the evening presentations, there were also lunchtime sessions and afternoon symposiums each day, and one of those I attended was given by National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier. I certainly knew his work, but it was wonderful to hear him speak as well as seeing a retrospective of his travels all around the globe, documenting the vanishing cultures of our world. In one of his glorious stories he referred to “where the green meets the blue” – a beautiful expression of simply where this island ended and the ocean began. Beyond that was the unknown. I took a few photos of Chris during the presentation, and later on I had to chuckle to myself, when in his darkly humorous presentation on the last evening, diehard B&W film photographer Roger Ballen, who was born in New York but made his home in South Africa (both photographers have South Africa in common) since the 1970’s, summed up his work by saying “the light comes from the dark” and that it was all about the “integration of visual relationships” – so Roger, if you’re reading this, please note the visual relationship between Chris’ arm and the bow and arrow in his image on the screen!
I saw a lot of photography that is documenting either cultures or land that is vanishing, or simply causes that speak to universal and global issues. One of those was James Whitlow Delano, whose book project Mercy invited a diverse group of photographers to submit images that spoke to the theme of “mercy” through their eyes. James resides in Japan but has spent much of his time working in Malaysia, specifically documenting the “little people” whose lives are being disrupted and whose rainforest is being systematically destroyed by the logging companies, all in the name of “Green” bio-fuel. Bit of an oxymoron really, destroying the planet to grow “green fuel”… I mean, what’s wrong with that picture?
Photojournalist Ashley Gilbertson with the VII Agency spoke from the heart and we all felt it. He showed images from the wars (chiefly Iraq & Afghanistan) he has witnessed first-hand, but it was his haunting series of Bedrooms of the Fallen that was so poignant and touching. He admitted to having to gone through a lot of therapy himself, much like the soldiers, but he was also passionate that the public needs to better understand that not only are they suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) but many of them return and commit suicide because they cannot live with the lingering memories of death.
Before each of the evening photographer presentations, we also viewed 4 short slide shows, comprising the finalists in the festival’s Slide Show Contest. The entries came from all around the world, the contestants paid no entry fee to participate, and the final selects were an interesting range of subjects and origins. The overall winner was Alison Turner, whose beautifully haunting series Reflected Identities certainly caught the judges’ attention. One of my own particular favorites was by Marjorie Salvaterra, whose wonderfully whacky “tongue-in-cheek” entry entitled Her takes an imaginative look at what women go through as they get older and definitely struck a humorous chord with me. She was also named one of PDN’s emerging photographers earlier this year, and I can see why. Another prizewinner, this time the top pick from the Portfolio Reviewers was Melissa Pierschbacher, although I did not get to review her work, I can certainly see why she won! I had a few “favorites” from the photographers that I did review, starting with Massachusetts-based food photographer Elizabeth Cecil, whose delicious work certainly caught the hungry eye of several of the reviewers, followed by Vancouver-based Torrie Groening, who integrates her fine art drawings and paintings into her exquisitely crafted photographs, Washington, DC-based photographer Kristi Odom, with her sepia prints of endangered species, and Gregory Diamond, a recent graduate from the Masters Program at Brooks Institute of Photography, and 1 of the 4 recipients of the festival’s Emerging Photographer Scholarship (well deserved), who showed a fascinating series and interpretation about how the world views “brail.”
Another inspirational story was that of David Nelson, who used to be a sports photographer, but after being diagnosed with MS, instead of quitting, he said, “I’ll shoot fine art instead!” Although he is now in a wheelchair, he and his wife Margaret continue to travel around the country photographing over-sized signage in his series “Land of the Giants.” Now speaking of “giants” – pretty much everyone takes a picture of the Marilyn Monroe statue while visiting Palm Springs (myself included), and she was conveniently located right in the heart of the festival so most likely you walked past it pretty much every day, if not several times a day. And each time you walked past her, no matter what time of day, there was always somebody taking a photograph of them selves, usually standing in between her legs and underneath her crotch. It’s a very large statue! I mused as to exactly how many images would be taken of her whilst we were all in town? I even saw a local TV news crew filming a segment about her. So naturally, I had to do my own take and decided to shoot her from behind!
Now, about those birds… One night, after one of our networking dinners and a few glasses of wine, a small group of us walked the “back way” to the Palm Springs Art Museum. The group included most of the 6 Leo’s, so we were loud and laughing and then I looked up in the sky above the mountain to our left and I saw a flock of birds flying in a V-formation. At least, that’s what I thought I saw. I immediately got the rest of the group’s attention and they all saw it for themselves, so it wasn’t just me who saw this, I have witnesses! We all stood there and gazed up at this beautiful sight – why so beautiful? Because they appeared to be illuminated from underneath and none of us could figure it out? I mean, in photography the light is everything, but where on earth was this light coming from? The city lights weren’t bright enough, there was no full moon… we couldn’t come up with a solution, but we all agreed they were wonderful anyway and Susan Jones aptly named them the “Firefly Birds.” Some time later when I was back in New York, I pondered back over this notion of illuminated birds and V-formations and my friend immediately suggested the most obvious notion and one I had surprisingly not thought about – until then. So what were they? A flock of illuminated Firefly Birds, a US Air Force secret training mission, or a bunch of Extra Terrestrials simply showing off and going for a celestial spin…
More about those flipping birds… I can’t recall if this was the same night, but it may have well as been, or if it was on another evening, but upon arrival at the Annenberg Theater we were asked to kindly “flip the bird’ so that Jeff could take a group photograph of us all. He did preface this request with the story of how it all began with a couple of them flipping the bird and sending the photo to someone else, and then that person with his friends responded with their own version, and as it continued, each time the group in the phone photo got a little bit bigger – until this particular night, when Jeff trumped them all by photographing “the largest group of bird flippers on record” in the Palm Springs Art Museum – And here we are!
They say things come in 3’s, so here’s my 3rd bird story… One day I was walking up the main street from my hotel to the Hyatt, and as I was passing one of the deserted storefronts, this somewhat straggly-looking and slightly suspicious character beckoned to me and muttered something about photography and a bird. I chose to ignore his enthusiastic gestures saying that I had to be somewhere (really Louisa?), and off I went. The next day, I was walking in the exact same spot and there he was again, only this time I saw what it was he was referring to. There, hovering above the plants was a teeny tiny bright purple humming bird. It flew off before I could get a photo, but I realized that perhaps he wasn’t so crazy after all! Since I don’t have a photo of the purple hummingbird, I’m giving you a picture of a purple vintage car instead that Tracey Woods, Photo Editor at Essence Magazine, and I found one afternoon parked right there in the Art Museum parking lot!
And finally, I want to say thank you to my pals Allegra Wilde of Eyeist and Frank Meo, The Photo Closer, for both encouraging me to come out to the festival this year, I am so very glad that I did. And last but by no means least, I want to give a special shout-out to Festival Director Jeff Dunas and his charming wife Laura (who celebrated their wedding anniversary while we were all there with them!) for hosting this wonderful event. Jeff and his amazing team of producers, sponsors and volunteers succeed in bringing both artists and technicians, creators and makers of beautiful, inspirational and moving images together for 5 whole days – everyone shares a passion for the art of photography and we all merged into one massive party in the hot desert sun! I also want to give a special mention to Associate Producer Michelle Gossman, and Faculty Captain River Jordan, who were both brilliant at taking care of us all. And Workshop Producer Nina Miller did an awesome job as well, along with all of the dedicated volunteers – you know who you are… Just to show how thankful he was, on the very last evening, Jeff invited all of his staff and volunteers to come up on stage and take their much-deserved curtain call.
Our ChatterArtist for this month is Linda Rutenberg, a Fine Art photographer from Montreal whom I met last year at Photo Plus Expo. My friend Jill Waterman introduced us, since Linda was on Jill’s panel about night photography. But the reason I selected Linda for this month’s bulletin is not because she likes to photograph at night, but because she photographs gardens and is a Taurus, born May 13 – how perfect is that? You may recall I featured a whole bunch of garden photographers a couple of years ago, and I have to say, that was one of my all-time favorite issues!
Linda didn’t set out to photograph gardens at night; it came about by accident really, as many great ideas and projects do. She was shooting for Landscape Architect magazine at the time and had been sent to shoot a garden festival at the Reford Gardens in Quebec. It was agreed that she would shoot in the early morning when the light was best, so as the gardens were locked at night, she asked if she and her husband Roger Leeon could literally spend the night in the garden parking lot in their 1982 Westfalia camper, thus they would be there ready to go when the sun rose. However, the garden at night was all too tempting, so with flashlights taped to their tripods, off they went to explore after dark. What they witnessed beneath the moonlight was so mesmerizing, Linda knew right then that she was on to something. Remember Taurus is the sign associated with our senses, and clearly, Linda’s senses were extremely heightened by her nocturnal expedition!
Now since then, the project has grown and Linda and her husband Roger have explored numerous gardens all across North America. The 1st book The Garden at Night published with Chronicle Books in 2007 included 16 US gardens and 4 in Canada. From there the project evolved into a yearlong study of The Montreal Botanical Garden, resulting in book number 2 and a 6-month exhibition aptly titled After Midnight and published by Verve Editions in 2008. As Linda herself said, the next logical path led them to England – Land of Gardens and Gardeners Galore! I should know, I grew up there, and yes, everyone loves their gardens… So naturally, they had a plethora of beautiful gardens to select from, resulting in the book The English Garden at Night published by Thames & Hudson in 2009.
However, one particular garden kept coming up in her research, and that was the Eden Project, located in Southwestern England, in Cornwall. Not your archetypical English garden, for sure, but more of an environmental and social project that combines conservation with art and nature, and a mission that certainly spoke to Linda. So much so that she reached out to them and was granted a residency during which she could spend time creating her own images of the project.
Next up will be another logical progression in the garden theme, and that is The Japanese Garden at Night. But before you start to think that gardens is all Linda photographs, not so fast. Linda has not only been a passionate photographer for the past 30 years – she is also a dedicated teacher and continues to lecture and give master workshops and classes. She was the co-founder and artistic director of Galerie Mistral in Montreal, and the owner of a darkroom rental facility called Camera Lucida Image Center. Linda has created images for a total of 15 books and her work can be found in galleries, museums and private collections all over the globe.
She is currently working on a landscape series on the Gaspe Coast in the wintertime, a very remote area with not a lot of vegetation, and due for publication next year. So from the oh-so familiar darkness of those nighttime gardens she is now stimulating herself to capture the beauty of all that white snow and ice-cold water! As she says herself, “Quite different and quite challenging…”