Tag Archives: Museum Of Fine Art

Edie Bresler

The subject of luck and money is always an intriguing one.  The mix of judgement, fascination, and a sliver of hope are a combination worth exploring. Boston photographer, Edie Bresler is doing just that with the lottery culture and her series (in progress), Lottery Economies.

Edie received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and an MFA from the Art Institute of Boston. She was recently awarded an artist in residency at The Boston Center for the Arts beginning Spring 2013. Her solo exhibits include The Griffin Museum of Photography, the Visual Studies Workshop, and CEPA. She has been included in numerous group exhibitions in the United States, Canada and the Middle East and her photographs are featured in public collections such as the Houston Museum of Fine Art, The Whitehead Institute, and Fidelity Bank. Edie also writes for Photograph magazine, covering exhibitions and photo-related happenings in the greater Boston area. Edie is on the faculty of Simmons College in Boston, where she teaches photography and digital imaging. 

Lottery Economies 

 As the economy continues to stagnate and income disparities widen, communities across America grow more dependent on state lotteries to cover budget shortfalls. $70 billion is spent annually in North America on the lottery, which is more than the total spent on movies, music and porn combined. In the US, 44 states operate lotteries and Massachusetts has the highest per capita lottery spending in the nation ($807/ adult). Aggressive media coverage paid for by the state, typically highlights big winners and annual revenues generated for education and other essential services, but finding tangible effects in communities is illusive.

Azores Discount Tobacco located in a one-family house in Fall River, MA. They sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2011 and the owner received a $10,000 bonus commission.

 I focus on archetypal lottery stories not part of the usual hyperbole. A lot of these stories happen in small family-run convenience stores and marketplaces where lottery tickets are sold, and where the big money sometimes trickles down. Owners are a diverse cross-section of the community. Some are recent immigrants but others have operated their small store for decades.

Fast Freddie’s located in Wakefield, MA sold the first winning $10,000,000 scratch ticket, which in 2009 was the largest payout for a scratch ticket in the nation. The store received a $50,000 bonus commission. 

The lottery is an endemic part of their business or as one vendor put it, “a store without lottery is like a bar without alcohol.” After selling a winning ticket, stores become known as lucky and the resulting happiness contagion creates brisk sales we all benefit from whether you play the lottery or not. Owners receive a 1% bonus commission but each state has its own designated maximum payout. I photograph winning stores during the fleeting moments of twilight to evoke the tenuous seduction of hope and desire that accompanies the purchase of every ticket.

Located in Hull, MA, this family-run marketplace sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2011 and received a $10,000 bonus commission.

Steve is the fourth generation of his family to operate Coulson’s News in Albany NY, which has been open for business since 1895. In March 2011 they sold a winning MegaMillions ticket worth $319 million. So far this is the largest jackpot won by a single ticket in the games history. An office pool of 7 workers who were all regular customers shared the money. Steve received the maximum bonus commission, which in NY State is $10,000.

In March 2012, the jackpot for MegaMillions reached a record $640 million. One of three winning tickets was sold in this store located in the town of Red Bud, Illinois (pop. 3683). FKG Oil, a corporation that owns 73 other stores, received the maximum bonus commission, which in Illinois is $500,000. In an unusual gesture they gifted $50,000 to the 7 workers at the store.

Denise, the manager at Motomart received a small share of the $500,000 bonus commission. With her $25,000 windfall she was able to purchase a bassoon for her husband, a retired member of the Air Force band. “We tried to get a bank loan several years ago but were turned down.”

Darla, a regular player, sold the winning MegaMillions ticket in March 2012 at Motomart. As assistant manager she received a bonus commission of $12,500. When the other 7 clerks in the store found out they had to split the remaining $12,500 bonus, 3 of them quit in protest. “Money changes people.”

Frank and Rafaella DiFonzo own and operate Bill’s Food Shop, the oldest family-run convenience store in Somerville, MA. Frank points to a photograph of his father who helped him buy the shop. They raised three children in the apartment above the store. After 54 years in business they have never sold a big winning ticket.

Ed and Nancy have been in the convenience store business for over 25 years. They currently operate four stores in rural communities in central Maine. Theirs is a family business where all three children lend a hand after school and on vacations. Kate is a college junior, Nick recently enlisted in the Army and Matt is a star athlete at the local high school.

The owner is the third generation of his family to work this small shop located in Randolph, MA. He sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2010 and received a $10,000 bonus commission. Eight years earlier he sold a winning $4,000,000 scratch ticket and received a $40,000 bonus. His customers consider Minihan’s a lucky store.

Harry Patel with his family inside Jay’s located in Lowell, MA. He sold two winning $1,000,000 scratch tickets in the last 5 years and the customers in the surrounding neighborhood consider his store very lucky.

Amar Ramadan, proprietor of Neighborhood Market located in Somerville, MA. He sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2001 and used the $10,000 bonus commission to put a down payment on a house nearby where he still lives with his wife and two daughters.

Peter Wong with his youngest son is the proprietor of S&R Market located in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn, NY. He makes origami sculptures with the discarded lottery tickets his customers leave behind.

Cassie’s Corner Store, a family-run business in Canton, MA sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket and received a $10,000 bonus commission.

Tony is a ticket hunter. He collects discarded tickets from the trash of neighborhood stores looking for winners that were inadvertently thrown away. “Some weeks I make as much as $250.”

Elizabeth is a reformed scratch ticket addict who used to spend as much as $100 each week on tickets: “I was convinced it would solve all my problems.”Located in Brockton, MA, they sold a winning $1,000,000 scratch ticket in 2010 and received a $10,000 bonus commission. Wally Markham always said if he ever won the lottery he would use the money to purchase and revitalize his favorite local golf course located in La Porte City Iowa (pop. 2321). When he won $10 million dollars on a scratch ticket in 2012 he made good on that promise and the course is once again the center of this small Iowa community.

Maxine Helfman

The Flash Forward Festival in Boston this spring was a wonderful experience, and one of the best parts of it for me personally, was meeting photographer Maxine Helfman.  We had solo exhibits that flanked each others and found ourselves together at numerous times over the course of the event.  We discovered that we had a lot in common and visited a lot of the same themes and ideas in our work. We both loved taxidermy and children and conceptual approaches.  Plus I was blown away by her work. I’m showing work from 4 series, to give an idea of her approach to photography.

Several weeks after the event, Maxine asked me for my address and said she had a little box to send me.  A week later, a box the size of Texas, where she lives, appeared on my doorstep. I hadn’t ordered a new dishwasher, and certainly never expected what was sitting outside my door to be the little box she had mentioned.  Inside was a cornucopia of objects, things she had collected and knew that I too would be drawn to–masks, toys, scraps of wall paper. Her generosity was remarkable.

Maxine is a self-taught late bloomer. After years of working as a stylist and art director, photography brought her vision full circle.
She works as a commercial photographer for a range of advertising and editorial clients, but  devotes a portion of her time
to pursue her personal work. Her photographs has been recognized by Flash Forward Boston, Px3 – 2012, IPA – 2012, Critical mass,
Santa Barbara Museum of Fine Art & Museum of Fine Art Houston. Here work is currently on display in the Santa Barbara Art Museum’s exhibition, Portrayal Betrayal. One of her Boys in Dresses images is featured in the exhibition.

 My work begins with a thought or idea, and becomes an “invented reality” through a photograph. inspired by
flemish painting, i like to maintain a strong simplicity in tone and composition. i prefer to pose questions with my work, rather than provide answers.

Lucas Foglia, Alex with Gourd

Lucas Foglia, Alex with Gourd

Lucas Foglia

Alex with Gourd,
North Carolina, 2009
From the A Natural Order series
Website – LucasFoglia.com

Lucas Foglia was raised on a small family farm in Long Island and is currently based in San Francisco. A graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Art, Lucas exhibits and publishes his photographs internationally. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Pilara Foundation and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Fine Art, and has been published in Aperture Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Contact Sheet, and PDN’s 30. His first book, A Natural Order, is available from Nazraeli Press.

Garie Waltzer, Shanghai / Overpass #1

Garie Waltzer, Shanghai / Overpass #1

Garie Waltzer

Shanghai / Overpass #1,
, 2001
Website – GarieWaltzer.com

Garie Waltzer was born in New York City and received her BFA in painting and MFA in photography from State University of New York/ Buffalo. She is a recipient of numerous artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, including the 2011 Ohio Arts Council Award for Excellence in Photography, and most recently, the 2012 Cleveland Arts Prize. Waltzer developed the photography program at Cleveland’s Cuyahoga Community College where she chaired the department and taught for many years. Her work is included in the numerous private, corporate and museum collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, and Houston’s Museum of Fine Art. She is currently working on Living City, a project examining the cultural landscape of urban civic spaces.

Photographer #419: Regina DeLuise

Regina DeLuise, 1959, USA, is a fine art photographer based in Baltimore. She received a BFA at State University of New York and an MA at the Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts in Italy. Her poetic images contain a large range of tones and a lot of texture. To achieve this she makes platinum / palladium contact prints from 8×10″ film negatives. 100% rag paper is coated with a light-sensitive chemical and the metals onto which the negative is placed. The large contact prints are soft, dreamy yet strong in expression. Regina has been teaching at Maryland Institute College of Art since 1998. Her work is in various public collections as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Houston Museum of Fine Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. The Photographs have also been shown in numerous exhibitions, mainly in the USA. The following images come from the series Cortona, The Phenomenal World and Guggenheim.

Website: www.reginadeluise.com

Elizabeth Clark Libert

You have to appreciate an image maker who has a title like, “After the Barney’s Sale”. It’s a title not often seen in contemporary fine art photography and it’s a window into a life that is rarefied, but also real. Elizabeth Clark Libert is a bit of an open book, sharing her GPA’s and SAT score on her resume, but also her achievements in acquiring a BA from Amherst, a Post-Baccalaurate Certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Art, and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts.

Her series, Libert & Company, is an exercise in self portraiture, but also allows a ringside seat into a family that is comfortable in it’s own wealthy skin and not making excuses for a privileged lifestyle. By shining a spotlight on the world that is most familiar to Elizabeth, it is a cathartic expression of simply accepting who she is and what she has.

2011 is proving to be a good year for Elizabeth. Her work was selected for the New Directions exhibition jurored by David Bram at Wallspace Gallery and was also selected for The Summer Show Project at the Michael Foley Gallery in NYC. Her work is also included in the first edition of 50pm,”Family Matters”, a photography magazine iPad app by Daylight and Bite! In addition, Elizabeth has self-published Libert & Company through Blurb.

“Libert & Company” is a photographic study of a financially and socially privileged New England family that I know well—it is my own. In the past I found myself hesitant to share photographs that evidence the “privileged” background that I grew up in, especially given the current state of the economy. This current body of work addresses my ambivalent attitude towards this aspect of my life. I often experience various emotions such as pride, embarrassment, guilt, and relief. With that in mind, I have started to photograph familial characters of this wealthy circle in a way that captures a certain, wavering insecurity – my projected insecurity.

The Libert Family, Cambridge

The result is a series of images where discomfort and awkwardness are present. Sometimes this unease is evident in the subjects’ ambiguous facial expressions and gestures in relation to each other and their environment. In other situations, the characters display an obvious self-awareness and, at times, sense of entitlement. Much emphasis is placed on aesthetics, whether it be one’s own personal appearance or with external surroundings, such as home decorating. There exists a desire to not only fit in, but to impress and fulfill the high expectations set by prior generations. As the photographer and occasional subject of these images, I too embody these characteristics.

Whippets, Palm Beach

I ultimately consider this body of work to be both a self-portrait and critical view of my life, one that intends to both please and disgust the audience.

Liz and Mardee, Palm Beach

Half-Bath, Cambridge

Andy, Joy, and Jeff, Palm Beach

Sugar Having her Breakfast, Savannah

Mardee at Mooo, Boston

Jeff at his Desk, Newton

TV-Room Bar, Cambridge

Liz and Andy Before Dinner, The Silver Spirit

Dan and Liz in the Rolls, Palm Beach

Benedict Flying Home

After the Barney’s Sale, New York City

Mardee’s Shoes, Palm Beach

Clock and Chair, Milton

Liz Getting her Hair Done, New York City

Jack Kennedy and Mardee After the Service, Savannah

Jeff, The Libert-y

Dan at Brunch, Palm Beach

Whippets, Palm Beach