My friend, Kathy, had mentioned that she really enjoyed a workshop she took, How to See + Make Photographs, led by Kim Weston at the Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville, CT. After reading about Kim’s work, I was thrilled to discover that she planned another, How to See + Make Photographs II, in conjunction with the ArtEcon Initiative (www.ArtEconInitiative.org). I signed up in April knowing that there would be a gap over the summer as I geared up for my portfolio development class at Southern Connecticut State University.
Years ago, I was a florist in New Haven, CT, and based my designs on the study of Ikebana or Kado – the flower path. My approach was intentionally minimalist so folks could appreciate the individuality & beauty of each blossom. A client gave me a book of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos of flowers…and I promised myself to put together a body of work that inspired me as much as those photos. In 2001, closed the shop and went back to school to study photography and graphic design. I have been photographing flowers in earnest for over ten years. Magic occurs for me when using a macro lens & standing very close to capture a tiny detail. Equally “magical” is the ability to change something as small as a single pixel and not deal with the unpleasant odors & chemicals of the darkroom. Perhaps, most magical, is the chance to get in so close & capture something not obvious to the human eye. Maybe even crop even closer so as to wonder about what the final result describes. I totally love flowers…they make me happy…some more than others. I love to consider them as individuals and love to explore their colors, centers, forms and lines…and am thrilled that much of my work reflects this. Just take a quick glance upwards at the mosaic header. And, I feel that my journey has just started!
Although I went in many directions for school and work, kind, positive & supportive people helped me to stay on track and also encouraged me to see & create with a wider perspective. It’s nice to come back again to this promise made in 1989 while at the same time, Kim’s workshops help me move forward at a time when I hoped to kickstart my creative energies for the fall semester.
In May, Kim announced another workshop, Through the Camera Lens to the Photographic Print. It was enjoyable to push forward knowing that by the fall there would be some new work. To be honest, I tried some things for the sake of trying and although the images were interesting and technically proficient I really did not enjoy some of the work and realized that the person I needed to please was me!
So this time, I tried very selective focus, high key backlighting and intentional defocus…all new for me. This allowed me to photograph deliberately arranged, fairly usual botanical subjects in a new way and to concentrate on the abstract components of light and shadow and still make images that please me.
It’’s hard to pin down my favorite part of Kim’s workshops: her vision for growth, humor, warmth, or scholarship. Sometimes, after she showed us the work of several artists, I was inspired to learn more for days and really look forward to the next meeting.
Another favorite moment for me was being asked to present the work of a photographer that inspired me. I selected Nick Brandt and spent hours researching his work and philosophy. Folks at the workshop seemed comfortable and engaged and I was able to reinforce my belief that an artist should build a vision that suits them, justify it if necessary and inspire others to do the same.
Over the years, in fact, since the early 1970’s, I have taken a number of university level photography courses, specialized workshops and even private instruction to learn and grow as a photographer. So thanks again…Kim for helping to make it easier to push forward!!!