Thursday, January 8, 2009

A recent portrait

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

Instead of a name

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.

Instead of an album

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 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.
I am starting to have clients come to me who have images they would like to preserve or extra images that did not make it into the album. Put them in a box!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Supporting the Community

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.