The Long Way Home


Unblurred: Samantha Stowe
October 2, 2014, 8:21 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
Witch by Samantha Stowe

Witch by Samantha Stowe

For October’s First Friday art series on Penn, Studio 5013 features Halloween photography by Samantha Stowe. nighttidephotos.tumblr.com

Grim by Samantha Stowe

Grim by Samantha Stowe

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Unblurred: Julie Skidmore
July 31, 2014, 8:42 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , ,
Untitled by Julie Skidmore

Untitled by Julie Skidmore

For August Unblurred on Penn Avenue: Studio 5013 features photography by Julie Skidmore. Through August 31.

Untitled on expired film by Julie Skidmore

Untitled on expired film by Julie Skidmore

Untitled by Julie Skidmore

Untitled by Julie Skidmore



Unblurred: Lynette DeMary
February 6, 2014, 6:33 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , ,
Memory 1 by Lynette DeMary

Memory 1 by Lynette DeMary

For February Unblurred, Studio 5013 features Memory #1 and Memory #2: Photography by L. DeMary. lynettedemary@gmail.com Through February 28.

Memory 2 by Lynette DeMary

Memory 2 by Lynette DeMary



Out of Focus
March 13, 2013, 6:43 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
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I was born with strabismus, a congenital eye disease more commonly known as crossed-eyes. I had two surgeries to correct it when  I was a kid,  but my vision is scarred with astigmatism; I’ve worn glasses since I was a year-and-a-half old (I still have them too: tiny plaid ones with chew marks on the temples because I tried to eat them more than wear them), and there was a period where I wore flesh-colored patches over the “good” eye to strengthen the weaker one. My mother had crossed-eyes too, but she didn’t have surgery until she was eight or nine, which damaged her vision into adulthood. I remember her right eye drifting skyward when she grew tired, much like my left one does a little bit now. It’s challenging for me to focus in photography, as well as judging focal distance, which is why some of my photos are soft-focus or blurry. It’s a personal triumph when I get a shot that’s detailed and sharp, something most photographers take for granted. I’m stubborn though, and when I love an imperfect image, I try to salvage it. Some images are just not worth saving, and I have to accept them for what they are – glimpses of the subject before my lens.

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Closet Photographers

I’m drawn to writers who turned to photography or photographers turned writers or artists who choose to do both because this is me. I’m always looking for answers as to how the two arts coexist in a creative mind. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to accept that both exist inside of me. I came to photography more recently, and I’ve always identified as a writer.

I’ve been a closet photographer for years, living in denial every time I’d go for my camera instead of sitting in front of the computer to write stories. In grad school, my friend Dan and I would spend afternoons going for drives, looking for places to take pictures when we both should have been writing (he’s a writer too, although he is a talented photographer as well), but instead we told stories through the lens.

Julia Margaret Cameron was a late-Victorian photographer who explored literature and mythology through portraiture. Prior to her turning to photography at the age of 48, she was an aspiring writer who was friends with the likes of Alfred Tennyson and Henry Taylor. Learning this bit of information, I now study her photographs in a completely different way. Why did she abandon writing? What made her embrace photography with such enthusiastic fearlessness?  She would still make a print from a cracked glass negative just to preserve the image.

Sappho c. 1866

Sappho c. 1866

Lewis Carroll‘s photography was considered merely a hobby, but has now gained respect in the art world, as well as generated controversy with his photos of naked children. With his mathematician’s attention to detail, he viewed photography as more of a science to be explored rather than an art.

After reading one of my favorite creepy novels of all time, Therese Raquin, I was curious to discover that Emile Zola was also a closet photographer. I have been trying to find examples of his work online, but I only came across this self-portrait from someone’s Flickr page.

While browsing at Barnes & Noble one afternoon this past spring, I bought The Well and the Mine simply because of the photograph of a barefoot young girl sitting on a porch railing. Eudora Welty had taken the photograph when she worked for the WPA during the Great Depression. In a New York Times 1989 interview, Welty is modest about her photographs, calling them ‘snapshots.’ I was hoping, as the interviewer seemed to hope, that Welty would make connections with photography and writing, let us in on the big secret – did one art fuel the other?

Welty compared her photographic ‘snapshots’  to short stories in that each, if done well, captures a moment that could have been lost. She had proposed a book of short stories accompanied by her photographs to her publisher in the 1950s, but there wasn’t a market for this sort of project. Knowing that she was also a photographer allows me to read her fiction through the eye of her lens.



Snow White and Rose Red

Sarah, Liz and I spent the afternoon in Harmony, continuing my fairy tale photo project with a reinterpretation of the tale “Snow White and Rose Red.” In the original Grimm Brothers story, Snow White and Rose Red are kind-hearted sisters who have run-ins with an ungrateful dwarf. They are frequently visited by a bear, who ends up being a prince (did I give it away?). I wasn’t sure where we’d get an angry dwarf, or a bear for that matter, but in this series of photos I concentrated on the closeness between the two sisters. You can find the ‘final’ versions at flickr.

lizwojogate



The Girl with the Silver Hands

This September, Jeff and I are co-curators for a fairy-tale themed show at Future Tenant gallery in downtown Pittsburgh. Stasia was the guinea pig for my fairy tale photos. I found it a challenge to interpret fairy tales through photography — we more often see the tales depicted in paintings and illustration. I wanted to do “The Handless Maiden” and considered ‘dissolving’ her hands in photoshop to give the effect of a handless appearance (which I  still may do), but having limited props, a beautiful sunny day and a lovely model were all I needed to create another version of this tale, “The Girl with the Silver Hands,” reminding me about the magic in the limitations of photography. I need to do some shadow and highlight adjustments on the black and whites (and she may even end up in sepia), but here is a preview of what I captured yesterday: (‘final’ versions can be found at flickr.)

8X8 color stasiastasiaupsidedown

An amazing photo by Jeff:

jeffpoppies




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