Ghost Town Portraits Workshop!

Ghost Town Portraits Workshop Photo

I am so excited to announce a new photography workshop.  What could be better than the tumbledown texture of a ghost town and the beauty of dancers and models, combined to create beautiful, moody portraits?  In this special workshop, I’m combining two of my favorite things–historic places and beautiful faces–to teach you how to create stunning portraiture, on-location.

We’ll be gathering June 19-21 in the John Day River Territory of north-central Oregon for a weekend of conversation and photography.  You don’t want to miss this.  Read all about it here!

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Astra Velum in China Life Magazine

Holy Moly, this magazine is huge! After my last show of Astra Velum in China, the editor of China’s Life Magazine (yep, that’s what they call it) contacted me to ask if they could feature my work. After some negotiations, I agreed, but I had no idea how large or beautiful the reproductions would be. (All of the magazines I’ve been in in China have had exceptional reproductions, now that I think about it.) Pretty happy to open this package today.

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Art and Vision: 20/20 in 2020

Art and Vision: 20/20 in 2020

In the 4th grade, Mrs Roberts noticed me squinting at the blackboard. She suggested that I have my eyes checked, and lo and behold, she was right: I needed glasses. By the time I was in my 20s, I wore glasses as thick as Coke bottles; without them, I could only focus within 8 inches of my face.

And then I had surgery. Within a couple of weeks, I had 20/20 vision for the first time in memory. No more glasses. Nothing to break or smudge. Nothing to get in the way of my camera. I was so happy.

Over the years, the 20/20 vision faded as my eyes changed. I had to start wearing glasses again. I became both nearsighted and farsighted at the same time. I got new glasses annually, and each time everything came into focus once again.

Like my eyesight, my artistic vision also continues to shift with time. Maybe it does for you as well. We keep working, adapting, trying something new, sometimes in fits and starts. We have a vision; we get distracted and derailed. We’re artists, but somehow life (kids, bills, health, aging…) get in the way. We try again, and again.

Perhaps TS Eliot said it best:

And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating

There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

“For us, there is only the trying.” And you know what? I’m ready to celebrate the trying. It’s a new year, a new decade, and I have some new work on my plate. Even if my vision isn’t 20/20, the year is, and I’m going to work with that.

In the year ahead, I’m going to be focusing more on sharing my personal fine art photography projects. I’m shifting my Instagram feed to focus more on sharing my personal work and processes with you. I’m going to teach some exciting photography workshops. And I want more of my friends to have my artwork in their homes, rather than storing it in my closet.

I’d love it if you’d join me on this adventure!  Sign up here to receive my occasional emails, with freebies, sales, workshops, and more!

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Diffusion at SE Center for Photography

encaustic photography

Those in the Southeast US will have the opportunity to see one of my handmade encaustic-based photographs this summer. I’ve been invited to show Contemplating Flight in the Diffusion show at SE Center for Photography. Curated by Lori Vrba, Diffusion will showcase a host of ‘artfully crafted’ (often handmade) photography. It’s going to be a beautiful show.

If you’re in the Greenville, South Carolina area, drop by SE Center for Photography between July 5 and August 31. A reception will be held August 2 from 6-8pm.

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Immigrant Stories

Immigrant storiesWe have such a vibrant photo community here in Portland. Friends Jim Lommasson and Paige Stoyer worked this year to put together a wonderful show of photographs featuring the stories of US immigrants. A moving counterpoint to the national angst over the immigration issue, these photos and stories breathe life into this often two-dimensional debate.

I had the privilege of talking with Sosan (pictured here) about her life as an immigrant from Kabul, Afghanistan. Moving to Russia and then the US with her small family, she’s had to learn English, learn American culture, and work hard to pursue her education. It was a fascinating conversation, and I was honored to be able to create this portrait of her.

We say in Afghanistan everyone has a moon, illuminating our lives.  The moon has a bright side and a dark side.  I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan.  The dark side of my moon occurred when I was five years old, and the Taliban occupied my country.  That time was dreadful for all Afghanis, but mostly for women.  All schools were closed for women, so I went to a secret school for five years.  I had a very hard time, but my parents pushed me to keep trying.

I graduated from high school in 2008, when I was 18 years old.  In 2009 I was married, then I moved to Moscow for a better life and education.  However, life in Russia was even harder than in my own country.  Finally, I came to the United States in September 2011.

Now I am living a better life, but it is not easy.  I have not allowed the language barrier or any of life’s hardships to stop me from continuing my education.  I am balancing motherhood with learning English and going to school.  This is not only for myself, but for my family’s security.  My greatest life purpose is to serve those who have limited opportunities in their lives.  I want to be able to encourage others to work hard to achieve their goals.  My goals are to complete my prerequisite classes, earn my associate’s degree, and then my bachelor’s degree of science, hoping to work in a medical career.

Immigrant Stories will be on display at both Blue Sky Gallery and ProPhoto Supply, in Portland, through the summer. I hope you’ll stop by to view and read the stories of these courageous people.

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Featured on the News

Most people assume that eating disorders only affect young women. KATU News recently ran a segment on how men are affected by eating disorders, and they asked if they could interview me on the subject. I was happy to help, and spent an afternoon talking with Deb Knapp about it.  I shared some of my own experience with an eating disorder when I was younger, and talked about how men are also significantly affected by eating disorders, yet are usually unwilling to talk about it.

The resulting segment showcases our conversation, and images from my book Skeleton in the Closet (which you can order on Amazon here).

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Pine Meadow Ranch Artist Residency

This month I received the amazing gift of time at a new artist residency program at Pine Meadow Ranch, in Central Oregon. Having time to focus solely on artmaking, in a setting surrounded by 7 mountains, a river, and abundant wildlife, was both productive and restful.  It was also challenging, as I battled warped panels, failed experiments, discouragement, and bloodied fingers…but that’s all in a day’s work as an artist. #artistslife

I was also able to spend time with friends old and new, and take some beautiful pictures, in addition to working in the encaustic photography medium.

In addition to some experimentation, I was able to work on a new project with the working title of “Holy”. It consists of 5 large-scale encaustic/photo portraits, honoring people who are often victimized in our current socio-political climate. I don’t usually work on projects that have reference to current events or politics, but it was time. It’s my form of Resistance.

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Published in Diffusion IX

Fine art photography and encaustics

I was pleased to hear that several of my encaustics pieces from the Wallflowers/Liminal Spaces series were chosen to be included in Diffusion IX.

A beautifully produced compendium of alternative process photography, they outdid themselves this year, with nine chapters of amazing work:

Nine Chapters: I. Cabinet of Curiosities // II. Transfiguration // III. Nostalgia // IV. Natural Landscape // V. Enigmatic Figures // VI. Organichrome // VII. Geometric Personality // VIII. Human Condition // IX. Sanctuary Shelter

I was honored to be featured among these great photographers: Addison Brown, Alan Ostreicher, Alex Delapena, Aline Mare, Allen Morris, Amaury Orozco & Sev Collazo, Amy Kanka Valadarsky, Andreas Olesen, Andy Mattern, Angela Franks Wells, Anne Campbell, Anne-Laure Autin, Antonio Martinez, Barbara Kyne, Benjamin Montague, Bill Vaccaro, Bob Cornelis, Brianna Tadeo, C E Morse, Carol Erb, Caroline Fudala, Clare O’Neill, Claude Peschel Dutombe, Dawn Surratt, Diana Bloomfield, Diana Nicholette Jeon, Elizabeth Raymer Griffin, Elizabeth Stone, Ellie Ivanova, Fritz Liedtke, Galina Kurlat, Harland Vine, Heather Perera, Heidi Clapp Temple, Heidi Kirkpatrick, J. M. Golding, James Wigger, Joseph Deiss, Joshua Myers, Joshua Sarinana, Kathleen Donohoe, Kathryn Mayo, Ken Ball, KK DePaul, Kon Markogiannis, Linda Alterwitz, Linda Barsotti, Margo Geddes, Matthew Finley, Maureen Delaney, Melanie Walker, Michael Kirchoff, Michelle Rogers Pritzl, Mike Hoover, Molly McCall, Noelle McCleaf, Rachel Wolf, Ray Bidegain, Robert Calafiore, Robert Moran, Sandra Klein, Sara Silks, Stacie Ann Smith, Susan de Witt, Tamsen Wojtanowski, Thomas Michael Alleman, Tom & Lois White, Troy Colby, Wendi Schneider, and Wendy Verity.

Purchase your copy here!

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Welcome to Wonderland and Quite Normal at DaVinci

Between 2000 and 2013, I had the privilege of photographing at an amazing place here in Portland: DaVinci Arts Middle School.  I began photographing there while working on my senior thesis project at Pacific NW College of Art.  I enjoyed it so much that I kept coming back, speaking in photography classes, teaching workshops, and creating new work of my own.  The students have always been inspiring to me.  While many people would write off adolescents, I find them funny, goofy, thoughtful, brilliant.

This summer I photographed the wedding of a former DaVinci student, and in doing so reconnected with some of the students, and the school itself.  When they invited me to show my work in the school’s art gallery, I jumped at the chance.

For two months, a sampling of my work from 13 years of photographing there will be shown in their art gallery.  I’m also working with the administration to give a talk in their assembly, not only speaking about art and artmaking, but also about how this work reflects and can influence their core values as a school community.  (How many schools do you that know would do that?)

You can see this work in its entirety here on the website: Welcome to Wonderland and Quite Normal.

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Tibet was Amazing…

We had a wonderful time on the China-Tibet Photography Workshop.  What a great crew of people; we had so much fun together!  We were together for nearly 2 weeks, stayed in some of the most beautiful locations and hotels we’d ever seen, ate amazing Chinese and Tibetan food every day.  And we took photographs.  Lots of photographs.  Here are some highlights from our time together, studying, eating, hiking, and learning, as well as some sample photos of my own.

Next time, join me on one of my workshops or photography tours.  I’d love to have you!

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Join me in Tibet!

Photo tour in Tibet and Chine

How would you like to spend 10 days photographing in Tibet and China?   Wake up in luxury lodgings very day, and enjoy amazing vistas, delicious food, real people, behind-the-scenes access to traditional Tibetan artisans, and one-on-one photo mentoring with photographer and artist Fritz Liedtke.

All skill levels and types of photography are welcome.  Fritz is an experienced teacher, and a photographer whose work has been featured by National Geographic, among others.  His fine art and commercial photography have taken him around the world, and he’d like to share what he’s learned with you.  It’s a chance to travel, make friends, and learn to see in new ways.

Want to come? It’s June 5 – 15, 2018, and it’s surprisingly affordable.   Learn more here, and take advantage of the limited time special discount until December 31!

http://extravagantyak.com/trips/eastern-tibet-photo-workshop

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