Tag Archives: Photo Workshops

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

Submit and Upcoming Workshops and Events

The next LENSCRATCH exhibition is on your HOME TOWN.  Please send one image of your home town (72dpi, 1000px on the long side, in jpg format) and include:


Name, title, location, link  (Aline Smithson, Lego Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, http://www.alinesmithson.com)

Send to: [email protected] BEFORE August 20th
Aline Smithson, Lego Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA



2012 FotoWeek DC International Awards Competition

Challenge the Way We Look at the World
FotoWeekDC’s 5th Annual International Awards Competition is looking for extraordinary images – we’re looking for yours! The 2012 competition will honor professional and emerging photographers from our region and from around the world.
  • Cash prizes totaling $20,000
  • Winning images will be exhibited and/or projected during FotoWeekDC, November 9-18 as well as online.
  • Winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of world-renowned judges
  • Winners will be notified on or about October 5, 2012

________________________________________________________________________________

I have a really full fall, teaching in Los Angeles at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops, but also teaching and reviewing at a variety of photo events around the country, so thought I’d share my schedule in case you happen to be in the area! The expansion of photography festivals only reflects our growing community and lucky for us that we can benefit from the exposure, the education, the ability to share work and make new connections.

Fall classes at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops can be found here.


I will also be at the Santa Fe Workshops next spring (I believe the 3rd week of March), again teaching, The Big Picture. Details to follow.

In San Diego, from September 6-8th, the inaugural launch of the Medium Festival Of Photography will kick off with a keynote lecture by Alec Soth, speaking on Sept 6th.  The festival includes workshops, lectures, artist lectures, portfolio reviews, and exhibitions.

I will be reviewing and be teaching the workshop, Preparing for Portfolio Reviews on September 7th.

Filter Photo Festival takes place in Chicago and is a week long festival with lectures, workshops, portfolio reviews, exhibitions, and connections. The keynote speaker will be the compelling, Brian Ulrich, on Thursday, October 18th.

Filter is an organization dedicated
to producing the Midwest’s premier photography event, the annual Filter
Photo Festival.  The Festival’s ongoing mission is to connect em
erging,
mid-level, and professional photographers from across the country with
gallerists, educators, curators, editors, and other elite photo
professionals, focusing
particularly on those of the Midwest.”

I will be reviewing at the event and teaching The Art of Presentation: Showing your work to the fine art market (presented by the Santa Fe workshops) on Wednesday, October 16th, from 9am-1pm.  This workshop will get you ready for reviews and help you contextualize your work in the fine art world.  There are also terrific workshops in addition to mine, lectures, portfolio reviews, and lots of connecting and celebrating of photography.

This year The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO will be hosting the SPE Southwest regional conference. Running from November 1st-5th, It will be 4-5 days filled with lectures, artist presentations, exhibitions, and networking.  More specific programing to follow.

I will be giving an artist’s lecture, will have a solo exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography, will be giving a workshop, and participating as a reviewer for SPE.  SPE events are open to ALL photographers, and they are incredibly informative and interesting.

The keynote speak of this year’s event is the amazing Phillip Toledano.

Foto DC is a week long event from November 9-18th that is filled with exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and portfolio reviews.


On Sunday, November 11th, I will be teaching a workshop for emerging photographers on how to create a fine art portfolio.




PhotoNOLA is an annual festival of photography in New Orleans, coordinated by the New Orleans Photo Alliance in partnership with galleries, museums and photographers citywide.
The 2012 festival will take place from November 29 – December 2
with broad ranging photography exhibitions on display throughout the
month. The lineup includes portfolio reviews, workshops, lectures,
demonstrations and a kick-off gala at the Musée Conti Historical Wax
Museum. Many events are free and open to the public.
Portfolio Review registration will open on September 5, and the reviewers list will be announced in August.

I will be teaching a workshop and reviewing at PhotoNOLA this year.  Dates and details to follow.




Hope to see you somewhere!




Thoughts on Success

I have just returned from a magical experience in Boston and thought I’d share some of my insights and highlights. Tomorrow I will get into the specifics of the events, which I strongly suggest you consider attending next year, but today, I am using you and Lenscratch as a sounding board for this intangible journey that we find ourselves on.

Some months ago, Paula Tognarelli from the Griffin Museum called to give me the amazing news that I was being presented The Rising Star Award, at their annual Focus Awards evening.  She also told me that I would be hearing from Maryann Camilleri, the head of the Magenta Foundation about being a keynote speaker and having a solo exhibition at the Flash Forward Festival in Boston.  As you might imagine, I was completely stunned, even more so because I had just finished a 14 hour day with my students at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops, and was already in a surreal mental space. How does this happen?  This wasn’t something I submitted to, that I had sought or ever thought would happen to me.  My first reaction was that they must be calling the wrong number, but I was assured that this was not a dream and soon would be a reality.

After months of preparation, self-doubt, 3 day crash dieting, more preparation, trepidation, and flat out fear, I boarded a plane for Boston with a suit case packed with my best efforts and intentions.  I truly didn’t know what to expect, and what I received mentally, emotionally, and personally, was more than I every could have imagined.

It’s funny.  One works so hard to move their careers along, to make some inroads and connections, and slowly, very slowly things start to happen and build, and all of a sudden the ten group shows turn into a solo show…and you think that will be in pinnacle.  But it’s not.  It’s just a stop on the photo train that has no specific destination, no ultimate station to navigate towards, but one hopes that it just keeps moving forward.

When I had my first museum exhibition, I remember the anticipation, the excitement of being flown to the venue, being feted and well taken care of.  I had exactly two days of feeling slightly special, and then it was back home to do the laundry, walk the dog, pick up kids.  My absence was only a blip on the family agenda and I had to paste the experience in my mental scrapbook that I pull out sometimes late at night when I can’t sleep.

It struck me that these successes or achievements are sort of
like a wedding or a prom or some life marker that requires a lot of
build up –there’s the processing of the event, the planning, the prep, the anticipation and anxiety, all the details that surround it and by the time
the event actually happens, the adrenaline is pumping at such a high level that it is
truly an out of body experience. When it’s over, you don’t
really remember it enough to savor it in any significant way…and then
it’s gone. There is no tape to wind back, no complete documentation of the experience and you go to bed that night trying hard to remember who said what, who did what, and how you are starving for the food you never ate.  I don’t know quite how to change that process and allow
myself to be more in the moment.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that all of our journeys are a success, no matter where we are on that train.  I can still remember getting into my first group show and running over the the elementary school to pick up my children and telling some of the moms that were hanging around out front that I was going to be in a photography exhibition at the Los Angeles County Fair and they smiled and looked at me blankly.  But it made me feel validated in the bigger world, and about all I could do was smile to myself as I typed out that first line on my resume.

And you know, those early successes felt just as good as the recent ones.  I’m not taking any of it for granted, and the most important lesson that I have learned is that I am not doing this in isolation, that every step I make forward is because someone has a hand on my back pushing me in that direction. And it’s that hand that is truly the success story in all of this.  It’s the connections to each other that become the true prize and the big award. At the end of the day, having a beer with a photo world friend and shooting the breeze about our shared passion is the best reward I can think of, except for maybe getting that solo show at the Museum of Modern Art.   And I promise here and now if that happens, to buy anyone that shows up, the first round.

Christopher Capozziello

Looking at few of the portfolios that received Honorable Mentions for the Santa Fe Prize offered by Center and jurored by Maggie Blanchard of Twin Palms Publishing….

I had the great pleasure of getting to know Christopher Capozziello when he attended his opening at the Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Los Angeles last year. He had won the Berenice Abbott Prize for his series, For God, Race, and Country. From our conversation, and from exploring his many meaningful and compelling projects, it is obvious that Christopher is a very special person and photographer. He is founding member of AEVUM, a collective that looks at photography as a privilege, and seeks to give voice to others. Christopher’s work is well celebrated and for good reason. His philosophy is this:

“His work focuses on documenting both life around him, and stories that are outside of his own experiences. He believes that there is a redemptive quality to photography; that it can take the unpleasant or repulsive and make it beautiful, not by misleading anyone, but by allowing the viewer to stop and take a deeper look at the subject. As a photojournalist, his method of making pictures is not something new or incredibly deep – it is, simply, to tell the truth.”

The project that garnered Christopher the Honorable Mention for the Santa Fe Prize, The Distance Between Us, is a deeply personal series about his twin brother who navigates the world with Cerebral Palsy. His compassionate lens takes us on a life journey full of struggle and suffering, but ultimately is life affirming. Chris writes a monthly column on AEVUM about this project. There is also a terrific interview with Chris in Daylight Magazine.

The Distance Between Us from Christopher Capozziello on Vimeo.

The Distance Between Us: Over the last ten years I have been making pictures of someone very close to me, but it wasn’t until recently that I disclosed the photographs I have been making of the young man with cerebral palsy are of my twin brother Nick. By sharing who he is, I have seen first hand what suffering can do. It unites people in ways that other aspects of life cannot. When I meet someone who has a sibling that is sick or down on their luck, a friend or close relative who is ill, I hear the ache in their voice as they tell me their stories and express the guilt they feel as they watch the ones they love suffer. Then, almost always, they ask how Nick is doing. Sharing stories of suffering creates solidarity, and it makes us care more deeply for others.

Nick’s brain surgery was completed in early 2010 and for the first time our family holds out hope that things might change for him. We now wait to see how his condition changes as the doctors continue to treat him over the coming year.

©All images by Christopher Capozziello

My brother Nick, sitting on a fire hydrant in New York City, trying to relax from a cramp.


Nick has been getting bad cramps again. Earlier tonight he came out of his bedroom with his knee turned in, barely able to walk. It was hard to look because it appeared broken at the knee. Mom and Dad helped him into bed, straightened his leg against the end of his bed, and gave him medicine to relax his muscles.


After 30 years of struggling through life, the doctors decide to allow Nick to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery. They hope that the surgery will help curb the muscle spasms from the CP. Should this work, Nick’s life will change in a drastic and beautiful way. He may be able to get a job and function better in society.


During the first surgery Nick stopped breathing, and the doctors had to pull him quickly out of the anesthesia before they were finished. They told him that he didn’t have to go back for the other half of the surgery, but I pulled for him to do it. “Why only fix half the problem,” I questioned. He was afraid of having the metal frame screwed into his head again. They did that while he was awake and he was only given topical Novocain. But, two months later, we were back in the hospital, and it was finally over. Now we wait to see what the surgery will do for him.


Nick smokes. He has been unable to hold down a job because of the muscle spasms, and when he is around other smokers, it’s a way for him to connect with them. But, Nick is diabetic and at tremendous risk of stroke and heart disease. He has tried quitting.


When I visit home, I can almost always find Nick in his room on the computer, playing Farmville or listening to music.


When I photographed Nick at the Ale House, a woman asked if I was making fun of him. I told her I was his twin brother. She yelled over Nick’s singing, ” ‘Cause if you’re making fun of him, there are a lot of guys here who wouldn’t like that!”

One of our artists to teach a class at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops!

“Finding your voice as a photographer.” – taught by Michael Crouser.


Michael was an ideal teacher: generous, kind, extremely well versed in photography, and incredibly creative. recycled glass products . Alesandra Zsiba, former workshop participant

Finding your photographic voice can be a lifelong quest. With Michael Crouser as your guide, begin the journey to developing and honing your own personal aestheticthe point of view that is uniquely your own. We start by examining the works of well-known photographers and review the choices they make in producing their images, and how they present a unique and personal voice as a photographer. We examine the choices that we make when producing a photograph, the choices that separate the image from a mere snapshot and make it a photograph we can call our own. These elements include composition, lighting, subject, perspective, black and white versus color, and a myriad of other choices.
Our stimulating and thought provoking classroom sessions are followed with field sessions every day, to put into practice our insights, develop our eye and our voice, and to draw inspiration from the beauty of Santa Fe.
We begin to see photographs differently and learn to identify the aspects of our work that are uniquely ours, as well as the aspects that we need to discard. Its not just the techniques that make the difference. Most importantly, its the point of viewyours. Ultimately, we lay a foundation to build upon and develop, which becomes the voice that is uniquely you.


More info on the class here: http://www.santafeworkshops.com/photography-workshops/workshop/804

One of our artists to teach a class at the Santa Fe Photo Workshops!

“Finding your voice as a photographer.” – taught by Michael Crouser.


Michael was an ideal teacher: generous, kind, extremely well versed in photography, and incredibly creative. Alesandra Zsiba, former workshop participant

Finding your photographic voice can be a lifelong quest. With Michael Crouser as your guide, begin the journey to developing and honing your own personal aestheticthe point of view that is uniquely your own. We start by examining the works of well-known photographers and review the choices they make in producing their images, and how they present a unique and personal voice as a photographer. We examine the choices that we make when producing a photograph, the choices that separate the image from a mere snapshot and make it a photograph we can call our own. need an attorney . These elements include composition, lighting, subject, perspective, black and white versus color, and a myriad of other choices.
Our stimulating and thought provoking classroom sessions are followed with field sessions every day, to put into practice our insights, develop our eye and our voice, and to draw inspiration from the beauty of Santa Fe.
We begin to see photographs differently and learn to identify the aspects of our work that are uniquely ours, as well as the aspects that we need to discard. Its not just the techniques that make the difference. Most importantly, its the point of viewyours. Ultimately, we lay a foundation to build upon and develop, which becomes the voice that is uniquely you.


More info on the class here: http://www.santafeworkshops.com/photography-workshops/workshop/804

The Next: L.A. Photographers 2011

In conjunction with the Grand Opening of the new The Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Hollywood this Saturday, March 26th, two exhibitions will be on hand to greet the guests. The first reception is for Berenice Abbott Winner Christopher Capozziello’s award winning project, For God, Race and Country, and the second is an exhibition of emerging Los Angeles photographers, The Next: L.A. Photographers 2011. The openings are from 7-10pm and it should be a packed house.

Image by Christopher Capozziello

The Next: L.A. Photographers 2011 is a group show featuring the work of emerging Southern California photographers who have been developing their unique and personal visions in contemporary photography. The exhibition features the work of 11 photographers: Ashly Stohl, Bob Bright, Carolyn A. Hampton, Claire Mallett, Dan Shepherd, Lisa Bevis, Shawn Robinson, Stacey Rebekah Scott, Stella S. Lee, Steven C. De La Cruz and Aline Smithson.

Nostalgia, childhood, finding beauty in the mundane, connections with nature and exploring the world around us are the themes that occupy their images. They tell stories of power and weakness, sadness and joy, confusion and clarity. Whether it be through landscape, portraiture, narrative or abstraction the photographers in this exhibition offer a fresh point of view into their respective genres.

Ashly Stohl’s First 2 Hours Free explores the unremarkable corners of parking structures; places we pass on our way to somewhere else, but never really see. The series looks to alter our impressions of these places as cold, gray, and utilitarian, in order to see warm saturated walls of color, and splashes of shadow and light. Her goal is to change the way we walk through our lives, finding beauty in the gritty and mundane details of daily life.

Claire Mallett’s series Wildcat Nudes is an exploration of the female form within the intricate dance between light and shadow. It is a study of not only tone but of texture. This series looks at the nuances of skin against the complexities of nature. The collection of fine art nudes was shot at Edward Weston’s Estate on Wildcat Hill in Carmel, California. By combining a contemporary sensibility with her deep seated love of the classical styling’s of Man Ray, George Hurrell and of course Edward Weston, she created her own voice and vision of the female form.

Lisa Bevis’ work Dog Day Afternoon is part of her ongoing “MYOPIC” series. Her use of forced blur and bright whites eliminates specific details and creates an illustrative effect that enables the viewer to just enjoy the emotion of her images.

Robert Bright’s series, Signs, captures the heyday of classic business signage, reflecting a period of Los Angeles architecture when graphics and neon were the celebrated standard. These iconic signs stand as symbols of Los Angeles history when humor, hope, and Hollywood glitz elevated even the smallest venues. Besides their unique personalities, Robert shows the detail, workmanship and condition of these passing icons of L.A. culture.

Steven C. De La Cruz’s series Within Plastic, is a glimpse of the inner struggle, pain, happiness, confidence and vulnerability behind the manufactured smile. It is a revelation of the artist and an offbeat solution of unmasking one’s true sentiments. Through twisted beauty and captivating sorrow, we can now take a glimpse of what’s behind the counterfeit veil.

The Remnants of Past series is based on the exploration of a recurring dream in abandoned and allegedly haunted spaces in Los Angeles. Carolyn A. Hampton used intensely personal artifacts that have been passed down through generations of her family, and shot the images digitally during several visits to Linda Vista Hospital and Sybil Brand prison. Bringing a particular nightmare to life on film can be an empowering way to conquer fears. Perhaps an image resonates with the viewer because he or she has experienced similar night terrors? Many of us are captivated by the same things, either subconsciously or consciously, because of our shared human experience.

Dan Shepherd’s, Draw Me A Tree, asks the viewer if we remember when we had a stubby crayon in our hands and happily scrawled out our houses, our cats, a blue sky with the sun up in the corner and a tree in the yard? One of the few artistic endeavors that we all have in common is drawing a tree and with this ongoing project Dan will explore our connection to nature by asking people to Draw Me a Tree. But not just any tree, Dan is asking people to partner with him and illustrate the trees that have had some impact in their lives. Draw Me a Tree will help show how intrinsically connected to nature we are through a series of visual tree stories that can be found everywhere in our yards, parks, gardens, forests, and streets.

In Los Angeles, the beach is a stage and the Shoreline series reflects the countless scenes of life waiting to be captured. Stella S. Lee seeks out split seconds of a typical beach day and at the same time strives to portray a sense of timelessness through the use of a Holga camera. From bikini competitions to frolicking along the water’s edge, these photographs document the
inhabitants of today to be eternally memorialized amongst the sun, surf and sand.

Stacey Rebekah Scott’s interest in photographing fire dancers came from the desire to document women who explore unconventional ways of life and expression. Dancing With Fire is an analogy for controlling the uncontrollable, taming that which by nature is wild and unpredictable. What was initially just a simple exploration into photographing subjects at night has turned into a full documentary series on the culture of fire dancing, telling a story of intrigue, beauty, danger and art.

Shawn Robinson’s project, The Light Through Which We All Grow, looks at a society where people spend untold sums of money to look the same, cosmetic surgery is booming, and in every direction we look the norm is encouraged and celebrated. The Light Through Which We All Grow, is an ongoing series of portraits investigating what it means to be unique and how that fits into the world today.

Aline Smithson’s Converging Narratives is a series about the relationship of connected imagery and the new conversation that juxtaposed photographs create. This fusion begins a unique narrative that is a convergence of ideas and associations, open to personal interpretation. The result is something completely separate from the original intent of the image making.