Jason Reblando is a photographer and artist based in Chicago. He received his MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in Sociology from Boston College. His photographs have been published in the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Camera Austria, Nueva Luz, Bauwelt, and PDNedu. His work has been exhibited in the Singapore International Photo Festival, the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, the Houston Center for Photography, the Light Factory in Charlotte, the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, and the Minnesota Center for Photography. His work is collected in the Museum of Contemporary Photography's Midwest Photographers Project, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Chicago based photographer Brad Temkin (American, b.1956) has been documenting the human impact on the contemporary landscape for most of his career. Brad believes that in spite of ourselves, humanity continues to stumble into grace. He celebrates this by focusing on what we leave behind, be they objects in the landscape, or the integration of architecture & landscape / infrastructure & environment. Brad has exhibited his photographs throughout the United States and abroad, and is part of several permanent collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Akron Art Museum and Museum of Contemporary Photography among others. Temkin's images have also appeared in such publications as Aperture, Black & White Magazine, China Photo, TIME Magazine and European Photography. A monograph of Temkin's work, Private Places: Photographs of Chicago Gardens, was published in 2005. He teaches at Columbia College Chicago.
Among other projects, for the past fifteen years Colleen Plumb has been working on a series of photographs about animals and the myriad ways that we’ve integrated them into our lives. Her photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally and are held in public and private collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Milwaukee Art Museum, Southeast Museum of Photography, Fidelity Collection in Boston, and the Girls' Club Collection in Florida. Plumb’s work has been widely published. Her first monograph, Animals Are Outside Today (Radius Books, 2011), was named a 2011 Notable Book by PDN. She teaches in the Photography Department at Columbia College in Chicago.
I’ve shared Dona Schwartz’s terrific project, In the Kitchen, in my classes for a number of years, so I was happy to see Dona receive an honorable mention for her new project, On the Nest. Dona’s work is about space and time; she examines the “interactions among and within the physical, social, and emotional spaces we inhabit”. She also recognizes the fleeting and evolving periods of childhood, parenting, and being part of a family. The image below, Christina and Mark, 14 months, from On the Nest was the Third Prize Winner in the 2011 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize competition, awarded by the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Dona lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her PhD at the Annenberg School for Communications is an artist, scholar, and educator. Amongst her many academic publications are two photographic ethnographies, Waucoma Twilight: Generations of the Farm (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992) and Contesting the Super Bowl (Routledge, 1997). Her new photographic monograph, In the Kitchen, was published by Kehrer Verlag.
Her work has been internationally published and exhibited at venues including the National Portrait Gallery, London, Blue Sky Gallery, the Milwaukee Art Museum, The Stephen Bulger Gallery, the Pingyao International Photography Festival, and in numerous juried exhibitions in the United States. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, George Eastman House, the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, the Harry Ransom Center, the Portland Art Museum, the Kinsey Institute, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago’s Midwest Photographers Project.
ON THE NEST: In our lives we experience multiple transitions, and in these moments of change we renegotiate our sense of self. Events like communions, weddings, baby showers, and retirement parties formally mark the new roles and statuses we take on. We cross other thresholds without rituals or celebrations—even though divorce is a momentous life transition there is no script for marking its passage. I am intrigued by the ways in which we move from one life phase to the next, and I am working programmatically to represent complex processes of changing identity.
In On the Nest I use environmental portraiture to examine two moments of change that bookend parents’ lives—the transition to parenthood with a first child’s birth, and the transition to life without day-to-day responsibility for parenting when young adults leave their childhood homes. I photograph expectant parents in nurseries or other spaces they have made ready for their newborns, and I photograph empty nesters in the rooms left vacant by their grown children. The nursery is a canvas on which parents paint in broad strokes their imagined picture of the future. Creating the space is itself a celebratory ritual, and for many parents-to-be the nursery is a showplace—and a sacred space—to be shared.
Teenagers’ abandoned bedrooms tell different stories. The transition to life as an empty nester lacks formal ritual observance. There is no finite gestation period and the new beginning it heralds may be more sobering. In some vacated rooms, abandoned childhood toys compete for shelf space with high school trophies, providing a time-lapse history of nurturance, growth, and development. In others, boxes containing once treasured items await their final disposition. Unused beds become temporary worktables. A sewing room is born. By showing expectant parents alongside their empty nester counterparts I invite viewers to reflect on their own experiences of change and the trajectories we trace in the course of a lifetime.
One of the highlights of the recent Filter Photo Festival in Chicago, was meeting so many wonderful photographers and and reviewing some terrific portfolios. Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman presented two stellar series, one of which I am featuring here. Barbara and Lindsay have collaborated as photographers for over thirty years, and the results show a deep knowledge of art, photography, and themselves.
Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman met as students at the Institute of Design in Chicago at Illinois Institute of Technology over three decades ago. They are drawn to the narratives of femininity — from domestic mythologies to the imprint of history and popular culture in shaping how we see ourselves. Their photographs comment on the consequences of these processes and showcase our connection to the natural world, reflecting the sensual and powerful beauty of being alive. Their photographs have been in numerous solo and group exhibits and are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Barbara is a photographer/graphic designer living and working in Chicago. Lindsay is a Milwaukee based photographer and teaches at the University of Wisconsin.
The stunning series below, Natural History, features one-of-a-kind cyanotypes that incorporate portraiture and botanicals. The juxtaposition of faces that show history and presence with the fragility of flowers and plant life bring a renewed energy to the standard portrait.
In Natural History, we transform portraits into tangled shadows of time. Grafting techniques from the history of photography, the cyanotype impressions of botanicals pay homage to Anna Atkins’ use of the medium in the nineteenth century while the underlying portraits are printed using digital technology. They speak of evanescence and hidden nature. Mapping inner life, they are blends of art, science and historythrough the portrait.
They wished to flower,
and flowering is being beautiful:
but we wish to ripen,
and that means being dark and taking pains.
—Rainer Maria Rilke