Tag Archives: Dean Gallery

Julia Dean: Forty Years Behind the Camera

A dozen years ago, photographer Julia Dean changed my life by asking me to teach at her photography school, The Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Los Angeles. Over the past thirteen years, Julia has taught hundreds of classes, thousands of students, and exposed the Los Angeles community to photographic luminaries and educators such as Keith Carter, Duane Michals, Mary Ellen Mark and many others too numerous to count.  Her school has created a photographic community in Los Angeles, a place to share portolios over a glass of wine, a place to hear lectures, experience wonderful exhibitions, and take a broad array of classes (160 offered each year). Julia’s desire to open our eyes, to see one world, and to bring attention to those who have no voice has been remarkable.  Her generous and enthusiastic spirit is infectious and I feel so lucky to be her friend.  So today I celebrate a woman who has spent a lifetime engaged, enthused, and involved in photography.

Julia has spent the last year revisiting negatives and spending month upon month in the darkroom creating beautiful silver prints in preparation for a 40 year retrospective of her work that opens at the Julia Dean Gallery in Los Angeles tomorrow night, December 15th.  I am featuring work from her General Stores project today — she recently rediscovered the negatives and printed the images for the first time for the exhibition.  Julia is also offering photographs from the exhibition for sale online at a special anniversary price on her site.

Forty Years Behind the Camera: A Retrospective

When I worked as an apprentice to Berenice Abbott’s in 1978, I was 23 years old. Berenice was 80. 

She taught me how to print, among many other photographic skills. She taught me about life in Paris in the 20s, about working with Man Ray, about meeting and photographing people like Eugene Atget, James Joyce, and Jean Cocteau. She even taught me how to do the Charleston. 

I remember using an 8×10 camera with 8×10 film and an 8×10 enlarger. The film had to be processed in complete darkness, one sheet at a time, in 8×10 trays that you lined up just right so you knew what to do in the dark. 

images from General Stores

I learned how to bend light with my hands under an enlarger, how to add light, how to subtract light, how to make a print look just like our eyes saw the subject when the picture was taken. I learned that photography renders 10 tones compared to the hundreds of tones that our eyes can differentiate. I learned that it can take hours to get one good print.

I also learned how to flatten the prints, how to retouch the dust spots, and the patience it takes to produce one beautiful black & white fiber base print.

 I was asked recently what the difference is between the traditional role of film and the digital era. It is very simple. It is much easier to be a photographer today than it was in the past. (Photographers before me would say the same thing!) Though today’s cameras are much heavier than my Leica M6 and have more buttons, once you learn your tools, digital photography makes life quicker and easier.

I don’t look down on those who didn’t learn the hard way. I wouldn’t have minded an easier path myself. But I am grateful for knowing what I know about photography that digital shooters will never know: the craft of the black & white print. 

To me, there is no more beautiful craft in photography than the black & white print from a black & white negative. I learned from a master and for that I am eternally grateful. Printing is a dying art that I hope I never give up, even if I, too, have embraced digital. This retrospective exhibit is in honor of the beautiful black & white print.

It’s Personal: 13 Photographic Visions

For the last twelve years, it have had the pleasure to teach at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Los Angeles, under the leadership of the amazing Julia Dean. Starting in January at JDPW, I began working with a group of thirteen talented Los Angeles photographers–all established image makers with solo shows, books, and numerous awards under their belts.  For nine months,  we came together for critique, feedback, and mentor ship as the photographers created or continued significant photographic projects.  The result is that each has developed a new portfolio of work, with a printed component to compliment the photographs–from newspapers, to zines, to books, and an exhibition titled, It’s Personal,  that opens this Friday, September 28th, at the Julia Dean Gallery in Hollywood, CA.

Needless to say I am incredibly proud of their efforts, their breakthroughs, and their ability to articulate the world around them through imagery and thought. The exhibition, It’s Personal, reflects personal explorations of subjects that are meaningful to the artists. A big congratulations to all.

Here are the featured 13:

Nancy Baron’s Walking in LA is a series of photographs, which document hiking culture in Bronson
Canyon in Los Angeles. Baron’s lush gold-and-green-toned images capture the natural beauty that lies
minutes from urban streets. Titles reflect overheard conversation at the site.

 Can I Get Closer to The Hollywood Sign? © Nancy Baron

 She Dumped Me as Soon as We Signed the Lease ©Nancy Baron

Marjorie Salvaterra’s Her is an examination of the psychology of age and gender. Marjorie’s self reflection on her many roles and expectations as a woman are redirected through surreal interpretations and exaggerated gestures, in portraits that are evocative of Italian cinema. Marjorie has created photographs that reflect the universal idea of womanhood and assure HER that she is not on this path alone.
Eve Unraveled, 2012 ©Marjorie Salvaterra

The Weight of Water, 2012 © Marjorie Salvaterra

Marian Crostic’s Ethereal Paris is a continuation from her popularTimeless Paris projects and books. Shot
in early winter to early spring at the break of dawn, Marian captures a sense of stillness within the
hustle bustle of the City of Lights. Ethereal Paris focuses on the grandeur and geometrical shapes of
gardens, particularly Le Jardin Des Tuileries and Le Jardin Du Luxemberg.

 Big Wheel, Paris ©Marian Crostic

 Windows, Jardin Des Tuileries ©Marian Crostic

Noelle Swan Gilbert’s Wide Awake and Breathing is a series of landscapes and scenes in muted colors
and tones that captures the feeling of waking up and learning to breathe again after living through a
grieving period.

 Taking a Break  ©Noelle Swan Gilbert

Wide Awake © Noelle Swan Gilbert

Bootsy Holler’s The Visitor reinterprets intimate family snapshots while exploring time and blurring boundaries and as a way to comprehend her heritage by placing herself into each photograph. She has begun to have an understanding of how she was created over generations.
©Bootsy Holler

©Bootsy Holler

Cathy Immordino’s Another World is a reflection on Cathy’s feelings as an outsider in the world she lives in. Transforming landscapes found here on earth into other worldly realms. She challenges the viewer to think outside the truth of their reality. A second project, Fuck Hollywood, looks at the double edged sword of life in Hollywood.
Other World ©Cathy Immordino

Meta Hollywood ©Cathy Immordino

Jamie Johnson’s One World combines her two worlds of photography into one. On one side she is
a family and child portraitist, on the other she is a world traveler exploring other cultures through a
lens. Within her vast inventory of images Jamie has discovered a universality of human nature and
experience. One World features two photographs captured years apart and without connection but
showing similarities that speak a powerful truth about who we are. None of the photographs were staged to reflect another image.

Nomad Mom/Soccer Mom ©Jamie Johnson

Teenage Girl, Cambodia/Teenage Girl, California  ©Jamie Johnson

Gray Malin’s A La Plague, A La Piscine captures the essence of the world of pools and beaches.
Shooting from door-less helicopters, Gray has used the dynamic vacation destinations of the United
States, Brazil and Australia as his canvas, creating a visual celebration of color, light, shape – and
summer bliss.

©Gray Malin
©Gray Malin

Claire Mallett’s Drawn By Color is a love letter to the European Masters using the female figure.
Using window light in much the same way as the painters did centuries before. Each portrait uses a
predominant color to evoke a particular mood and atmosphere of self reflection.

 Dune ©Claire Mallett
Ochre© Claire Mallett

Bob Bright’s Big Sur has transformed his recent trips to Big Sur into breath taking landscapes that impart the sense of wonder that greets him each time he finds a spectacular view. Bob encourages everyone to visit the Carmel, Monterey area and to see Point Lobos.
 ©Bob Bright

©Bob Bright

Lisa McCord’s A Southern Family is a reflection of her growing up in the south. Which she remarks,
is very different than growing up anywhere else. The unique social norms of the south colored our life
with richness that made us who we are.

Granny playing [email protected] Lisa McCord

Granddaddy in [email protected] Lisa McCord

Ashly Stohl’s History Will Absolve Me, challenges the perception that Cuba has been frozen in time
since the embargo. She seeks to capture the decline of a once flourishing culture and convey the
human cost of the tensions between the United States and Cuba.

© Ashly Stohl

© Ashly Stohl

Alison Turner’s Bingo Culture is series of portraits taken in Bingo halls all across America. Alison
doesn’t photograph strangers she photographs new friends, she takes time to connect with her
subjects, “I truly care about each person I meet and I enjoy listening to their stories”. She realized she
was looking at a cultural phenomenon that will be lost in order to make way for new technologies in
gaming and social interaction. Once these dedicated players pass on, so will the bingo halls as we see
them today.

Christmas Bingo in Colorado 2011©Alison Turner

Woman with a Bingo Card Stack, 2010  ©Alison Turner

MOPLA: Marjorie Salvaterra

Looking at photographers and exhibitions featured in The Month of Photography in Los Angeles.

The first time I met Los Angeles photographer,Marjorie Salvaterra, I wasn’t prepared for the power of her work. She is fine boned and petite, with a grin and a pixie cut. I never imagined that the striking black and white imagery she started while on bed rest with her first child would evolve into her first solo exhibition at the Clark | Oshin Gallery in conjuction with the opening night of The Month of Photography in Los Angeles. The reception will take place at Pier 59 Studios West located next to the Santa Monica gallery complex, Bergamot Station, from 7-10pm.

The exhibition will also run June 1 – July 7, at Clark | Oshin Gallery at The Icon, 5450 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.

Marjorie was born in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Her interest in all things theatrical began a transformation from acting to photography after playing the leading role in “The Faculty Lounge,” a black and white film by the late photographer, Herb Ritts. Her early interest photography was rekindled and never looked back.
Marjorie’s work has been well exhibited including Rencontres d’Arles, Arles, France; “Classic Camera Show,” Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco; MOPLA Group Show, Los Angeles; “Contrast LA,” at A&I Gallery, Los Angeles; “Alternative Photography,” at Julia Dean Gallery, Venice, California; and the “Human + Being” show at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Marjorie’s images reveal “a fine line between sanity and insanity,” according to Virginia Heckart, Associate Curator of Photography at The Getty Center. I’ve always been fascinated by human psychology. When most girls were reading Judy Blume, I was reading the DSM. It lists all the psychological disorders and their symptoms. Diagnosis is made on the number of symptoms. And yet, it is easy to go through the list of symptoms for the various disorders and think, ‘that could be me.’ Are we all a little crazy — at least at certain moments in our lives? Is it nurture vs. nature? Some believe people are either born sane or insane.

Others believe we are all born perfect and it’s the things that happen in our lives that damage us. I tend to believe the latter. In each portrait, I am looking for that line in each person: the part of ourselves that we tend to hide, the part that scares us, the part that is usually saved for the people closest to us – the ones that know our secrets.