Spectaculum Magazine Feature

I was fortunate recently to have the great opportunity to work with Spectaculum Magazine on a feature for their Magazine. They chose a series of images from work from a dance creation at Kaatsbaan in the Hudson Valley in New York State. The Company Bryn Cohn and Artists, BC+A, were there creating new work on a stipend from Kaatsbaan. The work being created was inspired by the late hours and gatherings of the RAVE culture. Follow the link 4AM and check out the feature.

Thank You Grace

In Loving Memory, Grace Knowlton

The story of a day with Grace Knowlton. We live in a spherical world, and Grace’s universe explored the sphere. As a family we have been inspired by her spheres at Storm King Art Center. My youngest daughter Milana began making Dorodango balls and wished to share one with Grace. While attending the Summer Solstice Celebration at Storm King Art Center My husband and I gifted Grace her ball. Grace was so taken by the gift, she invited us to come visit her at her home and art studio. She spent the day engaging Milana who was only eleven at the time. They had more in common than just making balls. Milana had a pet mouse she had saved, and Grace also had a pet mouse in her lifetime and they had stories to share and giggles as they did. At the end of our visit Grace took Milana to the table that she keeps Milana’s ball she made her. Next to Milana’s ball was a beautiful blue ball. Grace picked up that blue sphere, and explained to Milana that she would like her to have one of her balls. This day will be remembered forever and Grace’s ball graces our home. This Was a thank you we made for Grace in 2013. The photographs were taken by me, and the soundtrack written and performed by my oldest son Michaelangelo. We miss you Grace! Thank you always for all the inspiration!

Holiday Traditions

Everyone has their own holiday traditions. Where did they begin? Were they passed down to you to keep the tradition alive, or did you start your own holiday traditions to pass them on to others? No matter where they began, I believe the magic of the holidays are all about these traditions. From making Christmas cookies, to decorating gingerbread houses, secret Santa’s, filling Christmas stockings, celebrating Christmas Eve, or celebrating during the day, we find a way to share in meaningful ways.

I started a tradition that has become a very important part of our holiday. It began 28 years ago, and as a family we are committed to keep the tradition alive. 28 years ago I decided to make something to send to family and friends that lasted for longer than one holiday, but could be taken out year after year. I decided to would make a Christmas ornament to mail out as our Christmas cards. I had no idea it would be the first ornament of many, that would end up turning into a yearly family tradition that has been going on for 28 years.

I collected fallen fall foliage and placed my collected treasures between large sheets of wax paper with wax shavings and a string to hand them on the tree with. I then took an iron and melted these natural materials together, cooling them just enough to still be pliable to cut the large circles you see here. I finished them with a gold edge. I made almost 100 of them.

A golden tree for 1993, we made a mold to wrap and bend wire around. When completed and taken off the formed mold the wire opened into a Christmas tree. We then dipped them in epoxy to create icicles clinging on the boughs and to make the tree glisten.

In 1994 I was busy with my first born child that would turn one in January of 1995. I decided to keep the ornament simple and collect leaves and dip them in epoxy with thin wires to hang from the tree. I wanted them to resemble leaves blowing in the wind. I also decided that we should all be involved as a family to create a tradition of giving. I placed a huge piece of water color paper on the floor and poured out a bunch of finger paints and let my son Michaelangelo crawl, roll and paint. We cut the paper into small squares and sent them along with the ornament as a card with a photo of him covered with paint inside.

Internship

As a professional photographer and educator it is always a pleasure to help open young minds to think creatively and see the world differently.  I think the task at hand is how to take ones ideas and translate them in a way for people to see the discoveries you have made, and to help them understand your intent.  I have challenged my intern to think and see independently, and to use me as a resource to understand the facilitation of the camera as the tool to help define the ideas and visions she sees.  First there is the exploration, which leads to new discoveries, and helps develop a language to translate what was learned.

“As a high school senior nearing graduation, I’m just beginning to think about what I want to do with my life. College promises the opportunity to explore a variety of passions and to discover my interests — from a career-related major to other supplementary hobbies. While I don’t move in to college for several months, I’ve already begun the search for passion through an internship. Participating in an internship provides one the chance to test the waters in an area of interest, and to gain experience in a career field. Internships allow one to learn from an expert of their craft, and for me that meant working with a highly experienced and talented photographer.”

Photograph by Elizabeth Pullman

“Learning from a photographer includes not only learning how to use a camera, but also how to photograph. On a basic level, one must understand their equipment in order to effectively capture an image. I’ve learned that after that, a large part of photography is about finding what interests you as the artist, whether that be certain shapes, lines, angles, light, or subjects. Each photographer has a different style of work; some focus on details, some prefer to capture an entire image in focus, while others highlight only a small part. Under Karen’s tutelage, I’ve started to recognize what types of images I like to capture, and what I want to portray as an artist. I’ve begun to develop myself more as an artist, and have a better sense of what makes my images personal and unique to me.”

Each artist has in them a unique way of seeing the world.  I helped my protege learn the functionality of a camera. What ISO is, shutter speed, aperture, and what their functions are in relation to the subject, and the different effects they may have.  Then we open the doors, we step out into the world, and we test what we have learned. I shoot alongside for a while. Discussing the landscape, light, shadow, details, the artist if it is artwork we are engaging. Then I walk away and encourage them to explore and discover. I ensure them there is no right or wrong, just investigation that will lead to their own answers.

I tell Elizabeth, how most artists I have ever met, look just like their artwork. I believe it has to if it is honest work.

It is your unique language, that is who you are that will shape and define your work. I insist she be herself, honest to what she sees, and how she wishes to describe that vision.

Photograph by Elizabeth Pullman

“As with any craft, learning about photography required working in the field. I found that one of the most valuable methods for learning to photograph well was to simply practice it. I went with Karen to several locations to shoot, all of which had distinctive subjects and personalities. We began our work at the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor museum that houses the work of many sculptors. I enjoyed capturing the contrast of the sculptures against their natural backgrounds, and was especially fond of the lines of much of the artwork. Some of my favorite images from that shoot are shown below:”

Photograph by Elizabeth Pullman
Photograph by Elizabeth Pullman

I think an important part of the photographic process is editing and critique.  It helps develop the ideas explored and discovered and gives the artist the language skills to talk about their work.  I do not like the word critique, I think it implies being critical. One should always feel safe to talk about their art and what they were seeing and trying to achieve.  It is a gift to see the expressive nature Elizabeth had and embraced! Not intimidated by me, all I asked of her, and being independant to explore her own ideas in her own way!  She even put up with being eaten alive by the Mayflies! In the open discussions we had about her images, Elizabeth clearly related to me her intentions and it was obvious in her photographs what she was trying to achieve.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to share with Elizabeth a small part of what photography is to me, and hopefully she will go on to understand what it means to her.