Just added a handful of new images to the portfolio section of the website!

I’ve continued working with the mirrors in color, most recently playing with gels to have more control over the color and how it defines the form.  The color has brought a more dynamic element to the images, and the colors I’ve begun incorporating have been slightly more bold than they were previously.

Check out the 2010-present section at ConnieImboden.com to see some of the latest work!

Another recent workshop I had the honor of teaching at was the Photography Workshops at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.  I’ve been a part of this workshop for the past 4 years, and every year has been an incredibly fun and fantastic experience.

For one thing, Provincetown is SUCH a cool place.

The Parade

The workshop was August 14th-19th, which happens to be one of the biggest weekends of the summer for this little town.  On August 18th, we had the chance to see the town’s Gay Pride Parade, a truly outrageous, fun, and all around extravagant event.  It was such a blast, you never knew what was next…

The Fine Arts Work Center

The Fine Arts Work Center is brimming with creative energy; everyone is inspired and excited to be participating.  I had a wonderful time when one night, my class and Cathy Bowman’s poetry class got together over cookies and wine to discuss creativity and the creative process.  We had some really excellent discussions on the idea that metaphors can be visual, and these “visual metaphors” can enhance and create new meaning.  Some of my assignments take idea’s like these, where verbal language and visual art intertwine and overlap with one another.  Cathy was also interested in these concepts, and was interested in transforming some of my photo assignments into verbal ones, encouraging her students to stretch the meaning of words.  We were thrilled at the idea of doing a collaborative workshop, and hopefully some day we’ll have the opportunity.  In the meantime, here’s a shot of Cathy at the parade:

The Students

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Proust

The students at Provincetown were, as usual, wonderful.  They were so eager to explore the idea of “seeing with new eyes” and developing a more intuitive visual approach to photography.  Encouraging process over product and intuition over reason, the assignments are admittedly challenging, but the students handled them brilliantly.  Their work was simply outstanding, and I was more than impressed by the work they did:

Ann Falvey, “Spatial Relationships” assignment

Da Xu, “Ordinary as Extraordinary” assignment (it’s a folder).

Da Xu, “Ordinary as Extraordinary” assignment (it’s a folder). 

Toby Taber, “Spatial Relationships” assignment

Tom Geyer, “Spacial Relationships” assignment

Margery Gans, “Light As Subject” assignment
Gina Campbell, “Spatial Relationships” assignment

Thank You!

I was thrilled to have such extraordinary students and to see them make such exceptional work.  THANK YOU ALL for your hard work, dedication, and eagerness to learn!  It was a joy working with all of you, and I hope you continue to expand your vision and explore the world without expectations or assumptions.

And of course, big thanks to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown!  It was -as always- a pleasure to be teaching one of your workshops, and I look forward to being a part of the Summer Program again in the future!

Last month, I was honored to be part of a workshop at The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at the beautiful Quartz Mountain Arts and Conference Center.  The two week long intensive program is aimed at the education and advancement of high school age students in the arts, including acting, creative writing, ballet, modern dance, orchestra, chorus, drawing and painting, photography, and film and video.  It is an amazing academy and an excellent resource for gifted young artists.  I found the students to be fantastic, all of them bright, enthusiastic and eager to learn.


Team Photo

Working alongside brilliant photographers Konrad Eek and Ben Long, I knew we were in for a great time when these two knuckleheads launched an impromptu 20 minute comedy routine to kick things off…

  Konrad teaches photography at Oklahoma City Community College and runs Maxwell Eek Design Photography, a commercial photography studio focused on product and fashion photography for wholesale and retail catalogs.  Ben is a San Francisco based photographer with a long list of commercial clients, a longtime contributor to many magazines including MacWeek, MacUser, Macworld UK, and is currently a senior contributing editor for Macworld magazine and a senior editor at CreativePro.com.  His book, Complete Digital Photography, now in it’s 6th edition, has become something of an industry standard.  Together, the three of us formed “Team Photo” and had a blast sharing our diverse passion and knowledge of photography.  (Taking notes myself during their lectures, I found the students weren’t the only ones who had something to learn.)



The Lecture

It was a wonderful experience!  Upon arriving, I gave a lecture and presentation of my work and never have I spoken to a more appreciative audience.  The reaction from everyone was enthusiastic, with great questions and insightful responses to my work.




Oklahoma Wildlife

Even when the students weren’t working on assignments, we found ourselves taking advantage of every opportunity to photograph.

Early in the first week, we pulled over on a bus trip to the city of Mangum, spotting a dead snake on the side of the road that just beckoned to be photographed.

Konrad and his new snake skin belt.

It was great fun, and when somehow word got around that we were interested in photographing dead things, students started collecting and donating dearly departed Oklahoma wildlife:

The Students

Ashley Hale

The work the students completed on their assignments was remarkable, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the work they produced.  In one assignment, the students were asked to see “light as subject”, giving them the challenge of making light itself the main focus and subject matter of an image:

David Parks

Maggie Knobbe

Chris Tran

In another assignment, students were encouraged to photograph something in such a way that a shape in the foreground visually relates to a form in the background.  It’s an undertaking that is usually a lot more easier said than done, so I was very impressed with how well everyone handled this one:

Amber Griffith
Ethan Yates

 The students were thrilled to do an underwater shoot, photographing models in a pool with “splash and trash” type disposable cameras.

Kaylee Howerton 

Kaelea Crowell

By the time they finished cannonballing into the pool, they did a great job and came away with not only excellent images but a new appreciation for what I do and the obstacles involved in making my work.

Closing Show

The show we mounted at the end of the workshop was extraordinary and extremely professional.  I am so proud of all of the students, for the outstanding work they did, and how much they grew and progressed in just two weeks.  THANK YOU ALL for being such a wonderful group!

Also, thanks to The Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute for the invitation to be part of such a fantastic program and wonderful experience!  And of course, special thanks to the rest of TEAM PHOTO, Konrad Eek and Ben Long!  It was great not only to teach with you but learn from you as well.  Hope we can do it all again soon…

Last summer, my work was featured in the Summer 2010 issue of The Georgia Review, and I was honored to have one of my images featured on the cover.  A highly regarded literary journal that features everything from short stories and essays to poems and visual art, it’s diverse content and outstanding quality has won The Georgia Review many awards throughout the years.

This month, the Magazine Association of the Southeast awarded The Georgia Review with seven GAMMA awards for 2010.  I was thrilled to hear that the Summer 2010 issue won a Silver Award for “Best Photography” in the General Excellence Category for my portfolio, entitled “Danse Macabre”.  The title was taken from a long poem inspired by my work written by Susan Ludvigson, who also wrote the introduction for the feature in the journal.  I couldn’t be happier with the introduction and how the whole piece looked in The Georgia Review, and I’m ecstatic about the Silver GAMMA Award!

For more about the seven awards given to The Georgia Review, click here to read about it on their blog.

 

As I’ve said, working in the water with color revealed new dimensions, depths, and interpretations to my work. Differences in color temperature of light above and below the surface of water revealed distinct variations that were totally unexpected, allowing me to see the same subject matter I’ve been working with for over 25 years in a totally new way. The color also gave form and context to certain aspects of the body and it’s reflections, things that were more abstracted by black and white.

After photographing with color under water for 2 years, I decided it was time to explore how color would impact the mirror work.

This is a fairly recent image since starting work with the mirrors again a few months ago.  I think the color has a similar effect on the mirror work as it did in the water- it defines a lot of the forms that were previously annihilated by black and white. The color brings with it an element of reality, and along with the notion that photography is automatically taken as truth, creates a tension with the bizarreness of the rest of the image.

The image above is one of my favorites that I’ve seen in the mirrors so far.  A lot of the latest mirror work has had an undeniably classical religious quality to it, which is a surprise to me, because I’m not religious.  When I go into a shoot, I don’t have an image in mind, or even an idea of what I want to convey.  After seeing this image, I couldn’t help but think that not only did it feel classically Christian, but that it reminded me of something in particular.  And then it struck me:

This is from  “The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden”, by Early Italian Renaissance painter Masaccio.  I was so surprised to see the similarity not only in the gesture, but in the overall expression.  There’s something about the articulation of the image that feels very similar as well, something about the graphic quality…

A good friend of mine came by the studio and had a similar reaction to the image, but a different painting in mind:

“The Birth of Venus”, by Sandro Botticelli.  I though it was so interesting he had such a different association with the expression.  The gesture is the same, but the overall feeling is so different than the one in “The Expulsion”.  It’s also a bit more of a contrast stylistically, but definitely similar.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other works of art, particularly with the same kind of notoriety as the two given here, that share similarities.  What I find so interesting is that I hadn’t planned this prior to making this image, rather, it was discovered after the fact.  I also love that my friend could have such a different, but equally relevant, interpretation and/or association with an image that is just as much a surprise for me as for anyone else.  I feel like that is one of the advantages of working intuitively, that it can lead to these wonderful discoveries, and bring up more interesting questions.

But I’m working on being better about it.  In the past year and a half- or since my last post- I’ve been extremely busy with a number of exciting new things:

– Continuing with the color work I started in 2008, the images have since taken off on a life of their own.  They have introduced new challenges and exciting discoveries, transforming the forms I have been working with for over 25 years in ways that I have never seen before.  Working in the water with color revealed new dimensions, depths, and interpretations, and working in the mirrors has been equally transformative…

– I was part of a major international photography expo in Beijing, China, organized by renowned critic A.D. Coleman.  In addition to having a fabulous time, spending it with my wife Patricia and some of the most accomplished photographers working today, I also photographed much of the experiences and things I saw there…

– My workshops have been going strong and they have been an absolute joy to be teaching.  It has been wonderful to work with so many gifted students, and I’m thrilled with the work they’ve been producing.  This year I’m looking forward to more great workshops in Provincetown and Maine, and a new one in Oklahoma coming up this June…

In short, it has been an incredibly productive 17 months.  I know I’ve been a lousy blogger, and I’m simply racked with guilt about not sharing all of this here.  But in upcoming blog posts, I’m looking forward to posting some of the latest color work and how it has progressed since my last post.  I’m also eager to share images from some of my recent travels, as well as lessons and student work from my workshops.

Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!