I blogged…

Check out my two recent blog postings on Photo Nights Boston (Links now inactive – see text below each link):


September 2, 2013

Emerging Photographers Roundup

Nancy Fulton, Richard Jacobs and Susan Nalband are three Boston based photographers that you should keep your eye on. They are at varying stages of their photographic practice, but all are deeply committed to the photographic medium and message and making powerful imagery.

What first drew me to Nancy and Richard’s work was their painterly, nature-based series that are in conversation with light, form, and spirit. Nancy’s series Tapestry of Seasons and Richard’s series Spirit Woods take us into an etherial place, where form and function are replaced by dreams and light. Both have used motion and chance to create portraits of nature and beauty. Nancy states: “Tapestry of Seasons investigates time and change; both are continuous as we travel through the year. Each moment is fleeting, a ghost that leaves an imprint, a feeling in our minds.” (Images: NF – Estival No. 7, and RJ – Orleans, Mass 2012) http://www.prcneo.org/index.php?exhibit_id=88#members/88/88_fe_12.jpg and  http://www.richardleojacobs.com/p137888440

In addition to being a photographer, Nancy is also a watercolor artist and studied architecture. She was a veteran planning committee member and artist for the Somerville Open Studios (SOS) and has been exhibiting her art since with SOS since1999. She has most recently exhibited in the annual juried Community of Artist show at the Danforth Arts Museum/School in Framingham, MA and will be part of a group show Photography Atelier 18 at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA, in September. I asked Nancy about her photography practice. She says:

“Like many photographers, I’ve taken photographs for years. The first time I exhibited my photography work was in 2008. At the end of 2007, I had the opportunity to sail on a classically rigged three masted barque. The ship was beautiful. I had taken a series of photographs of the interaction between the sails and the wind. This is what I exhibited at Open Studios in May of 2008. I’ve been exhibiting my photography work ever since. I studied photography while earning my Bachelor of Architecture degree. Watching a print appear in the dark room was magical. The creative processes of architecture, painting and photography are all connected for me. Architecture is designed as an abstraction, and becomes an experience. It’s a way of thinking and seeing. Painting and photography are particularly close. The two dimensions, or three dimensions portrayed in two, the colors, the patterns, the composition, the light and shadows, the point of view. All are ways to communicate, a connection between my vision and the viewer’s interpretation. Photography is an experience that becomes an abstraction.”

Nancy has recently released a new series of work, The Rain Begins, shot in Tanzania in the Ngorogoro Crater, which I personally think is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Again, Nancy draws from land and seasons, but rather than blur and motion to capture their essence, she has captured that still and pregnant pause when the life force is strong and promising. Nancy writes: “The mist burned off and then, in the afternoon, clouds heralding the edge between the wet and the dry formed on the rim and spilled rain into the caldera. The wind-driven clouds were at times soaring and at times darkly ominous, but the welcome rains brought hope, renewal, and needed water to both people and animals.”
(Image: Cumulus Portrait and Boabab with Impala)  http://www.nancyfulton.com/Nancy_Fulton/The_Rains_Begin.html#grid

Richard has had a successful career as a therapist, and has returned to photography quite recently.  I asked Richard what inspired him to pick up the camera: “Taking pictures ‘brings me into life.’ I’m inspired by natural and human beauty, by fleeting moments in time that slip through our minds and are forgotten unless we can capture them in a photo. I’m inspired by the very magical act of making a photo, from clicking the shutter, to the wonder of watching it come out of a printer. I’ve spent countless hours with the Monets and the Rothko’s, the van Gogh’s and Cezannes, and have always wanted to pay tribute to them for what they give me.” Richard’s father handed him a 127 format Kodak pocket vest camera he had used during World War II. “He showed me a photo he’d taken of Olivia de Havilland, who made a USO visit on March 3, 1944. That camera had been through a war, almost to Japan, and taken a picture of a famous person!  By 12, I graduated to a Brownie, then my father’s 35mm Argus which I took cross-country, and finally my own Minolta SLR. In college I shot with a Polaroid. Then I became a therapist and photography got put away for a long time. My father had promised every summer to build us a darkroom in our basement. But he never did; so I feel I have picked up that thread and maybe am carrying out an interest of his that he never really developed. Why else would he have made that little plastic camera seem so important? And handed me the Argus like it was the secret to the Universe?” Richard is in the process of transforming his basement into a photography gallery.

Richard has looked inward with his recent work AfterImages – a series taken in his office where he has practiced as a therapist for more than 25 years. Richard says: “AfterImages shows my therapy office as it is between my clients’ sessions…I sit and join my clients as they face their shattered illusions. Their stories echo in the walls and furniture; the images of their lives and mine change in this space over time, and we create new images that hopefully are better than the old ones.”  (Image: Rabbit with thought bubbles, Hiding teddy bear, or notebooks). http://www.richardleojacobs.com/p299477171/h5f859ccc#h5f859ccc

Susan  works with communities, often on projects that take place over several years. When I first met Susan, she was revisiting a town where she had shot a documentary as a college student in 1974. She returned and re-photographed the place and the community. She has studied large families, isolated individuals, sisters, small town inhabitants, diner workers, and laborers. She says, “As is true for many photographers, I don’t remember not being compelled by images and a means to make them. My father and his father were amateur camera men, and I confiscated the family camera for myself at a young age.” In her recent work, Devoted to a Mennonite Life, she came to know and photograph a rural Mennonite community that is bound in time and where change is slow. It all began in a local farmers’ market where they were selling their produce. She worked with the community for about six months last year, and it is an ongoing project. Susan states: “That the Bible teaches a way of life involving speech, dress, work, recreation, education and non-participation in politics and warfare has been the historical belief of Mennonites… There is no television or internet in their homes, the men and women sit on separate sides of the church during services, and the women are encouraged to follow the lead of their husbands in the home… With humility they share their successes and hardships with devotion to their way of life and their community.They have generously allowed me, a worldling, an other, to photograph them and their children at work and play, and share in the peace and simplicity of their lives.” She has shot a wonderful documentary that will soon be published in Desert Leaf Magazine. (Photos: 4, 6, 7, and/or 8)  http://socialdocumentary.net/exhibit/Susan_Nalband/1737 and http://susannalband.zenfolio.com/

When you are out and about in Boston, keep an eye out for Nancy, Richard and Susan. They are going places.


June 14, 2013

Do you remember when and how you fell in love with photography? Can you recall who helped fuel your passion and point you on your way? Do you remember dreaming about having your work in a show? If you have not recently made it out to the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, you should consider heading that way for inspiration before July 10th to see the Photosynthesis VIII show. This show is an annual collaboration between The Griffin, the Boston Arts Academy and Winchester High School. 40 students have worked over several months with mentors Mary Beth Meehan, Dominic Chavez, and Sam Sweezy to create their personal bodies of work that communicate a sense of self and place. Alice Nordstrom, curator of the George Eastman House in Rochester, and Sam Sweezy met with the students to prepare the final edit for the exhibition. And of course, Paula Tognerelli and Francis Jakubek and the staff at The Griffin made sure it is on the wall for us to peruse, contemplate, and enjoy.

I have visited this show every summer for three years now, since I first moved to Boston and volunteered for a short stint at the Griffin. I find it so inspiring to see young people finding their voice though the photographic medium. Their personal truths, their daily realities, their sophisticated views of the world gather us in, give us pause, and might even take us home again. Three cheers for the students who have gathered the courage to put their work on the wall for us to see, and three more hearty cheers for the people who encouraged and guided them along the way and provided the space and place for the work to exist.

And, not to be overlooked, is some fabulous work by established artists also on show at The Griffin.  Be sure to look Under Glass at some delightful photo objects by Candace Gaudiani, Heidi Kirkpatrick and Ryan Zoghlin. Check out the poetic Jellyfish by John Tunney, and get ready for summer celebrations with Amy Neill’s work, Afterglow.


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