Tag Archives: San Diego Ca

Medium Festival: Claire Warden

Several weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending the inaugural year of the Medium Festival of Photography in San Diego, CA, conceived by the very capable Scott B. Davis.  It was a three day event kicked off by a keynote lecture by Alec Soth, and continued on with workshops, artist lectures and portfolio reviews.  Most importantly, it was an opportunity to connect with a wonderful community of photographers.  Over the next week (and into the next), I will be featuring a few of the photographers who attended the festival.

Claire A. Warden, a photo-based artist working in Los Angeles, California, brought a terrific project about preserving the natural world, titled Salt: Studies in Preservation and Manipulation. The project includes methodically captured images of plant life preserved in salt, but when exhibited, also includes some of that flora and fauna under bell jars and on the wall.  The fragile quality of the salt is reminiscent of snow and only adds to the delicate nature of the object and the approach to her image making. The images are timeless and exquisite.
Claire received her BFA in Photography and BA in Art History from Arizona State University where she worked along side Guggenheim fellow Mark Klett and former Eastman House curator, Bill Jenkins. She now works in Los Angeles as a fine art photographer and photographing and working at the Getty Research Institute. Claire’s work is in personal collections and has been displayed in galleries nationally and internationally, including Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, CA, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO and the Center for Photography at Madison, WI with upcoming shows at Soho Photo in New York, NY and Agripas 12 Gallery in Jerusalem, Israel. Her SALT series has earned her the Ted Decker Catalyst Artist Grant. 
Salt: Studies in Preservation and Manipulation: Despite the best efforts of science, authentic preservation of living matter is an impossible act. It is an ideal that stands in tension with the transient ephemerality that qualifies life. And yet – or perhaps because of it – this tension makes the humble ambitions of the botanical sciences intriguing. In order to preserve and document specimens for future study, scientists must ‘fix’ the organic complexity of the botanical specimen through human intervention.  

It is a process that, ultimately, restructures the essence of the specimen. In this way, botanical life can only endure as a specimen in a liminal state, the extended occupation of a pause between natural growth and decomposition. It is in this otherwise invisible moment, one reachable only through the intervention of the preservative act, that I find a deep and uncanny beauty. 

I emphasize the manipulation that manifests from preservation through the use of salt. This paradoxical mineral, that is necessary to sustain life—yet, if the delicate balance is outweighed, can extinguish it—reflects the structure of a preserved specimen and acts to preserve it. I submerge each living plant in a bath of salt water and allow the salt to crystallize on and within the living form.

Inspired by the intentions of botanical illustrations as a method to understand and control one’s environment, I seek to impress the human urge to order nature and in the process fundamentally change it. Using the platinum-palladium photographic process for its chemical stability and long-lasting image, these direct contact prints complicate the ideal of preservation, albeit, at the expense of the most authentic act of living matter, decay.

Alison Turner

I first discovered Alison Turner’s work when I was selecting images for the Center for Fine Art Photography’s exhibition, Dreams. Alison had a haunting image and I was happy to include it into the exhibition. This image was also included in the recent Art of Photography Show in San Diego, CA.

Dissolve

Alison is a traveler, and for the last three years as lived on the road with a tent, her dog, and her cameras. She’s interested in people and the real world, and along the way, she’s created some wonderful projects, one being the project featured below, Bingo Culture.

Bingo Culture: In 2010, I hit the road to photograph America solo; living out of a tent and bringing along my dog for the ride. I did not have a preconceived agenda, rather, I wanted to discover worlds that were unfamiliar and meet people I would not have otherwise encountered. Each day I would make a decision on what direction I would take. While traveling in Maine, I discovered a Bingo hall and it provoked a curiosity about a subculture that I was aware of but hadn’t given any thought towards. What I discovered was a community of dedicated players who travel to the same place, set up in the same spot, and bring along the same good luck charms with the hopes that this will be the day they win big.

It’s a place where hope and despair come hand in hand throughout the night as the mind lets go of everything but what numbers are being called. Each location I encountered would bring in a true sense of community, each with their unique set of personalities and characters. As I continued my travels and visits to Bingo Halls across America, I realized I was looking at a cultural phenomenon that will be lost to future generations.

YPA Mentoring Program Deadline Extension

If you’re young and have a passion for photography, Young Photographers Alliance coordinates a mentoring program that will develop your skills and portfolio under the guidance of a professional photographer. The program offers six two-hour sessions with a mentor in the course of eight weeks and the application registration fee for a year membership is only $21. hotel deals . The finished project will show in an exhibit and be promoted through press.

The application deadline has been extended until Saturday, May 21st and there are spaces available in multiple cities across the US and internationally. This list of mentors for US cities are as follows:

Atlanta, GA, led by Stan Kaady
Boston, MA, led by Lynne Damianos & Margot Cheel
Chicago, IL, led by Dirk Fletcher
Denver, CO, led by EJ Carr & Christopher Davies
Houston, TX, led by Rocky Kneten & Sofia van der Dys
Los Angeles, CA, led by Cat Jimenez
New York, NY, led by Barbara Bordnick, Stella Kramer & Jill Waterman
San Diego, CA, led by Jenna Close & Jon Held
Seattle, WA, led by Rafael Soldi & tbc
Toronto, Canada, led by Ozant Kamaci

For details and to apply, please visit YPA’s website here.