Sunday, April 12, 2009
This is a recent portrait of a mother and her two gorgeous daughters that I took while in California. I love shooting on location at people's homes. Some stairs and a wall in the backyard made a wonderful backdrop for these joyful portraits.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
My beautiful friend Annik is going to have a baby boy in May. While I was visiting California a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to photograph her. She is radiant and glowing as most pregnant women are, but she is definitely going to be good and ready when her little one decides to arrive. We had so much fun hanging out, laughing, and watching her belly rise and fall as the baby kicked inside. I wish I could be there to photograph the birth!
Monday, March 30, 2009
What are the most profound words that you have ever heard, read/seen, or thought --up to this point in your life? This was the question given to me as a participant in a public art piece at the French Embassy in Mexico City. The title of the piece is POLIFACETICA: ETNOGRAFIA GRAFICA which will be projected April 30, 2009. I am one of many artists/people who are contributing their image for this projected piece.
The word came to me easily probably because it is something that I hear daily. Assuming this new role and hearing the word spoken by my son for the first time completely changed my life forever.
What would your word(s) be?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
...is when two friends get married (Seena Hassouna & Brandi Flowers), write heartfelt vows, serve good food, and even better cupcakes, and surround themselves with good friends and family. This perfect wedding also happened to take place at my father and stepmother's house up on Mt. Washington in Los Angeles! I photographed the ceremony and Shane Rymer created a unique video of the event....This is not your typical "wedding video." Shane is an amazing cameraman/writer/director/editor. I feel fortunate that he used some of my photographs in his piece...to view the video click HERE. (You can see me shooting in the video)
Not only is Seena a good friend, but he happens to be one my former students. Seena took the first photo class I taught as a graduate student at CU Boulder. At the time he was majoring in architecture. Seena was also instrumental in helping me create my MFA thesis exhibition. Without his help, I am not sure I would have graduated! I introduced Seena to my father, Craig Semingson, who is also an architect. They now work together at a firm in Los Angeles.
Seena and Brandi met on an airplane headed for Denver. The very sweet story is on Brandi's Blog. Look at her first post in 2008. Brandi is also an actress, so when she moved to Los Angeles to be with Seena she instantly had a job with my step-mother, Andrea Balen, in her film production company.
I would have to say that Seena and Brandi are definitely family! I wish them much happiness!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
From the series Black & Blue
Ink Jet Print on Paper
I have recently joined an art group called Artnauts which was started at the University of Colorado at Boulder by Professor George Rivera. We have our first group exhibition of the year in Oaxaca, Mexico next month. The title of the show is Azag: Mirroring War and we have been asked to create work responding to what has been taking place in Gaza.
The piece I have created uses mutilated doll parts that I contact printed onto paper coated with Cyanotype. Unfortunately I am allergic to this wonderful process, so I have to limit my contact with the chemicals. I wanted to make an edition of the piece to submit to a political art show at Anderson Ranch and a possible exhibition with Artnauts in Gaza....so I headed for the scanner and layered the cyanotype imagery with a map of Israel and Palestine and printed it on my ink jet printer. Fortunately the scanned image still retains the quality of the hand applied emulsion.
The title of the series, Black & Blue, is both a reference to the blue printing process I am using and the terrible atrocities being committed to people on both sides of the issue. After I completed the piece, a friend commented that the body parts resemble milagros, which is fitting since the piece is about violence and healing. This is the second image in the series (the first is about nuclear power and the environment) that I have created and I plan to continue working with the cyanotype process, my scanner, and issues that are important to me.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
My best friend Cori Chavez asked me to update her photo for her websites. Her friend Beverly Green, a professional stylist, came over and did her hair and make-up. Once the lights were set-up I started shooting away. After a few minutes of shooting, I showed a few images to Cori, and she said we were done! I persuaded her to have me shoot a few more, but it was still one of the fastest shoots I have ever had. The best part was trying to think of silly ways to make Cori's natural smile appear...we had some good laughs!
3- 7.25” x 4.5” x 1.625”
Book Cloth, Plexiglas, Romance Novel
The fact is that poetry is not the books in the library . . .
Poetry is the encounter of the reader with the book,
the discovery of the book.
Jorge Luis Borges from a lecture entitled "Poetry," 1977
the discovery of the book.
Jorge Luis Borges from a lecture entitled "Poetry," 1977
Reading is an act of translation and the “book” functions as a convenient package to present information, ideas, and diversion. While in the act of reading, our minds transgress the object delivering the message. I am using the self-reflexive structure of the book to create visual poetry. Instead of ignoring the physical properties of the book I am calling attention to them. By using familiar language or expectations I am asking the reader to consider the book as an integral part of their translation. The structure of the book becomes the poetry.
My newest piece titled Self-Conscious consists of three identical looking books each approximately the size of an “A Format” paperback novel (4.33" x 7.01"). Inside the books house folded pages from one discarded mass-market romance novel.
This piece has just been accepted into a show titled Words Works at the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver. The show runs March 6th -April 18th.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I recently did a trade with my wonderful friend Robin Schiesser who is an acupuncturist. You are in gentle hands with Robin! This is the second time I have had the opportunity to photograph her. She decided to cut her hair, so her professional photo was in need of an update. We also had the opportunity to include her dog Milo in the session.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Hidden Screw Post Portfolios
Japanese Linen Cloth
Many of my book binding clients are photography students at the the Art Institute of Colorado. It's a fun challenge to help my clients come up with a design that really represents their style. These are Sarah Overbeck's portfolios that I made early last year. Instead of her name on the front cover we blind stamped her logo in the bottom right corner. Sarah printed her name on decorative paper for the first page.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Self-ish (my grandmother, my mother, myself)
Ink Jet Prints
In 2006 I purchased my first digital SLR camera and began photographing my family members for a solo show, titled Flesh and Blood, I had in Medellin, Colombia. Each head shot was printed 20x30 inches. I was curious about what is visually passed on from generation to generation. The show went well, but I felt like there were too many images involved, so I decided to simplify the project and re-take images of myself, my mother, and my grandmother. A version of this piece was exhibited in the 2007 Faculty Art Exhibition at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Later in 2007 I co-curated a portfolio of photographs with Andrea Wallace and Adriana Restrepo titled RSVP ,which has exhibited in Paris, France and Medellin, Colombia. I included a smaller version of Self-ish in the portfolio.
Here is my artist statement for the piece. In a sense it sums up why photography is so important in my life and why I am attracted to the medium.
"In theory one is aware that the earth revolves, but in practice one does not perceive it, the ground upon which one treads seems not to move, and one can live undisturbed. So it is with time in one's life." --Marcel Proust, from Within A Budding Grove
My Grandmother said to me when I asked permission to take her picture, "I've come to terms with my appearance." Her comment made me wonder how an eighty-eight year old woman should look? She is old and wrinkled, and yet she remains beautiful in my eyes. I see my own transformation from daughter to mother to future grandmother, a visual process I would to some degree be unaware of if it wasn't for photography.
In Richard Dawkins' book titled The Selfish Gene (1976) he writes, "We are survival machines- robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes." The gene is the unit of heredity, which contains all the necessary information for creating plants and animals. In sexual reproduction the genes are mixed and shuffled creating a new cell. Eggs and sperm (the sex cells) each contain 23 chromosomes and when combined make up the required 46 to create a human being. When the two sets merge and if the gene signals differ (dominant genes versus recessive genes), then one characteristic will prevail over the other. Dawkins uses the metaphor of genes as selfish entities, competing to be the carrier, going to battle with the winners making us who we are.
Photography is one of the most widely used mediums in the visual arts. For most users, including myself, we are trying to document our lives, what we have done, and to have the photograph stand in when our memory fails. In a sense it makes us who we are by allowing us to understand, just as genetics does, the ever-continuing development of life.
4x6 print box
book cloth & decorative paper
holds 200+ images
My mom turned 60 in June 2008. We spent a week celebrating her birthday in Northern California. I made sure to document everything we did over the course of the week. Originally I intended to create a photo album of the images, but there were just so many that I was having a difficult time editing them down, plus I wanted to incorporate images that other people had taken. I decided to create a match style print box instead.
Customized boxes are an easy way to put a collection of images together...as easy as a shoe box (which is where most of my images wind up), but more unique and special as you would want a family heirloom to be. I was able to include many more photos in the box then if I had made a small album.
Four reasons why I love boxes:
- The images are easy to share with others, and who cares if they get out of order!
- Editing the images is less time consuming because you potentially can include more.
- It is cost effective if you already have the images printed!
- A custom box can be a beautiful and unique heirloom piece to pass on.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
In 2008 the studio donated to silent auctions (mostly schools) to help support worthy causes in the community. I met so many wonderful families to photograph and simply had a blast! What a great way to give back! In future posts I will be featuring some of the families I met. I generally do a one hour portrait session and include a $50 print credit. If you are putting together a silent auction and would like us to consider donating, please contact the studio!
Leather, Plexiglas, Hair, Book Cloth
11” x 9” x 2”
A new piece of art completed in 2009! Memorabilia is an artist book which will be included in Molten, an exhibition of erotic (not pornographic) artists' books. The exhibition runs February 13-March 29, 2009 at the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, Colorado.
Much of my artwork concentrates on the cultural history of hair and why we place such importance on this seemingly superficial part of the body. My MFA thesis explored myths, taboos, cultural and religious beliefs and practices around hair. I am interested in what form hair is beautiful or acceptable and what form we find it grotesque.
In the Victorian era, before the invention of photography, people collected hair to make hair wreaths (similar to a family portrait), necklaces, earrings, and watch chains as a tangible remembrance of their loved ones. In 1839 the daguerreotype, the first photographic process was invented. Soon photographic images of loved ones began appearing in jewelry along with hair. But the coming of this new technology was the demise of hair objects due to the detail and “life like” representation of the person, and over time replaced it completely.
Memorabilia revisits this history of hair and its reference to a particular person. Similar to a photo album, this "album" holds and displays a representation of me collected over a period of 10 years.