I was honored to have my work recently published in a new, cutting edge publication called The Stone. Designed by the creative team at Pil Associati, a communications agency based in Italy, The Stone explores the evolution and transformation between the intersections of art, communication, society, and technology.

I just received a copy of the inaugural issue, and it is stunning. The design is inventive and dynamic, and I was really impressed by the overall quality.

IMG_0733

IMG_0750

IMG_0744

 

IMG_0745

As for the content, the work they’ve chosen to represent is evocative and exciting.  It seems to exhibit an awareness of global culture and visual awareness.  I was particularly impressed with their interview questions- they were intriguing, insightful, and made me really think about my responses:

TS:  Your shots transport us to a dimension in between the unconscious and the lucid dream. What do they want to show us? What other realities emerge?

CI:  Perhaps they depict that very transition from unconscious to awareness, from dream to awake, or from one dimension to another and anywhere in between. The realities that emerge may express experiences of the mind or of the psyche, revealing different levels of awareness and psychological states of being.

TS:  Mutation is the only constant reality. How has your art changed shape over time?

CI:  Over the years, I have found that whatever my approach to looking at the human form, it is all one body of work, and that each informs one another. I envision this as a spiral, continually going from water to mirrors to hot tub and back to water, and so on, with each cycle taking anywhere from 10-15 years to complete. Not only do these cycles include the situation, but patterns of visual deconstruction and reconstruction, as well as mythological and psychological issues. In revisiting the same place on the spiral years later, I see differently, elevated by previous approaches. I return to the same situation with new eyes and heightened awareness to nuances and subtleties that I could not have seen before. In addition, it’s not just my eyes that have evolved – I have changed as well. I’m a different person, having lived my life, experienced love, loss, death, and all the myriad experiences that impact a person’s perspective.

Thanks again to Valentina Ottone, Federica Capparuccia, Chiara Castronovo and all the folks at Pil Associati collaborating on The Stone Mag for inviting me to contribute, and looking forward to seeing more!

To check out the interview in its entirety, click below!!

Continue reading “The Stone Mag”

It’s as fact of life: $h!t happens.

Last week, while chasing my lovely little dog Lucy just outside my studio, I successfully found a particularly slippery section of the recently rained on deck. While I felt fine initially, even marveling at my dexterity in catching myself and the grace with which I fell, my wrist became increasingly sore and was gradually swelling.  The rise of my heart rate was proportional to my fading pride as my assistant drove me to Patient First 20 painful minutes later.

Navicular_bone

 

I’m not an expert, so I find it hard to judge from the x-ray, but I apparently fractured a bone in my wrist.  Major bummer, and unfortunate timing: I had arranged for another “binge – shooting” session with Carl, who was traveling up from New Orleans the very next day for a month long visit.  I couldn’t even efficiently tie a shoe lace – how was I supposed to get behind the camera?

Throughout both my personal life and my creative process, I have learned that challenges will continue to arise as time rolls by.  I’ve also learned that- after a suitable and acceptable period of self pity- it is important to meet these challenges head on.  I would not be deterred…THE SHOOT MUST GO ON! connie-broken-wrist-2

With a cast on my arm for the next 6 weeks (again, major bummer), pool shooting was out of the question, so it meant a return to the mirror work.  I met with my trusty consultant – Google – to determine what my options were, and found a variety of devices that could make photographing with a busted limb possible.  Novaflex makes a very simple monopod-type brace that can be worn around the neck to both support the weight of the camera and enable one handed shooting.  I eagerly ordered one and had it delivered the next day, conveniently coinciding with Carl’s arrival.

connie-broken-wrist-1

With the exception of a few limitations, this thing is perfect.  I’m forced to shoot horizontally, but I frequently find myself doing so with the mirror work anyway, so that’s not a huge loss.  I am more restricted in my movements however, which presents a bit of a challenge when I’m trying to really explore what I’m looking at.  I’m also forced to slow down while shooting – manually focusing and other simple camera operations require a little more effort when only using one hand.  This increased effort takes a lot out of me, and I find the shoots are a bit shorter in duration.  I get worn out sooner, and then the paranoia that the flesh under my cast is putrifying under the sweat and stress of it all causes me to wrap things up sooner rather than later.

– BUT –

The shoots so far have been FANTASTIC!  After only a few days worth of shooting, I’m already thrilled with a number of the images and have my ‘handful’ (get it??) with the early stages of editing.  I’m still working with the cool, drained-of-life blue tones illuminating one of the models, as well as continuing to incorporate more of the “Ruben’s Red” that seems to create a sense of atmosphere reminiscent of Renaissance imagery.  This time around, I’ve made some subtle adjustments – some by choice and some forced by the limitations of working one-handed – that have really made a dramatic impact.

I’m also finding that in many of the images, the limbs (particularly the left arm) appear either broken or putrified….COINCIDENCE?!  😉

While the binge shooting continues, I hope to get around to at least some editing to be able to share this work as soon as possible, so stay tuned!

It’s getting to be that time of year when I start looking forward to teaching at some of my favorite workshops!  Three of my favorite workshops are on deck for this summer: The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, ME, and The Center for Photography at Woodstock.

_

 

The Authentic Encounter:

FAWC-promo-2015By the end of this workshop, you will see the world differently.OK, so that sounds crazy, but consider this: Our vision is so often limited by what we know that we see what we expect to see instead of what is actually in front of us.  This can be particularly challenging to us as photographers; we might try approaching new subject matter, or using different photographic techniques, but inevitably feel like we’re making the same image over and over.  That’s where this workshop comes in.We will learn that it is not what you photograph, but how you photograph that is important.  Through exercises, assignments, and discussions, the goal of this workshop is to learn to use the camera as a tool to discover new ways of looking at and experiencing the world around us.  Instead of thinking things through and being in control, we will learn to develop an intuitive visual approach in our work, trusting in our eyes to guide us.

Last year’s students were as exceptional as ever, and produced some incredible images that really illustrate what it means to see graphically:

Howard Rubin
Howard Rubin
Drayden Hebb
Drayden Hebb
Ray Clarke
Ray Clarke
Isaac Reyes
Isaac Reyes
_
The Authentic Encounter is less than two months away on July 5 – July 10 at The Fine Arts Work Center at 24 Pearl Street, Provincetown MA 02657

 

 

The Inspirational Nude:

MaineMediaThis workshop has always been very special for me, and every year I look forward to the opportunity to work with students on tackling the challenging and complicated task of photographing the human form.  The body has been the most popular and most used subject throughout the history of art since ancient and prehistoric times.  It has been used as a vehicle for expressing the most profound emotions – love, sorrow, anger, ecstasy, sex. It is a powerful subject that can force us to confront ourselves and how we see the body; our reactions, our discomfort, or our attraction.  But in order to do so, we must free ourselves of the predetermined notions we have established when interpreting the human form.

In 2014, I was impressed with how quickly my students discovered new ways of looking at the human body, pushing themselves to new levels of seeing and exploring an intuitive approach in photographing the nude:

Charlie Lemay
Charlie Lemay
Carol Macleod
Carol Macleod
Inese Moore
Inese Moore
Eric Smith
Eric Smith
Carla Tyson
Carla Tyson
Luke Utley
Luke Utley

_

You could not ask for a better time of the year to be in scenic Rockport Maine! The Inspirational Nude takes place July 26 – August 1, at The Maine Media Workshops, 70 Camden St, Rockport ME 04856

 

 

Using The Nude To See In A New Way:

logo_CPW1Similar to The Inspirational Nude workshop in Maine, this two day course emphasizes an intuitive approach in photographing the nude in order to encourage new ways of seeing this classic subject.  Artists have always used the nude figure to explore the surreal and the natural, as well as our spiritual and psychological lives. In this workshop, you will be encouraged to explore the figure for its beauty, complexity, and simplicity. Whether you regularly photograph the nude, are new to the figure, or feel stuck and just need a push to get back into photography, this class will deliver a burst of energy, new methods, direction, and clarity.

_

Using the Nude to See In A New Way will be August 22 – 23, and will include a public lecture at 7:30pm on the 22nd, at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, 59 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498

For more information and to register, click here!

 

01-22-15-288

Untitled #1-22-15-288 is another recent image from my last “binge shooting” session with Carl and Cory. The figure is deformed, with its legs appearing as stumps and an odd sensation that his body is caving in on itself. He is in transition, caught in a spontaneous moment of struggle as his body morphs into something else, perhaps a corpse?

Many of the images from this shoot are quite dark, but this is nothing new. Darkness has always shown up in my images, especially in working with the mirrors.

In 1991 I had the good fortunate to meet Stanley, a young schizophrenic man, and I asked him if he wanted to model for me. When I showed him my work and talked about what I wanted to do, he enthusiastically agreed to be part of the project.   We had a weekly appointment to photograph.  I would show Stanley the images we had made the week before, and we would talk about them: what they meant to me and what they meant to him.  We talked openly about the psychological quality of the work, and about his condition.  I realized that his personal experiences could push my work to a new level. The conversations we had offered me insight and understanding into both Stanley and the photographs.  Stanley and I worked together for about a year, and the images we made grew deeper and darker as the trust and understanding between us grew.

3757Photographing Stanley alone, without another model, enabled me to concentrate on just him.  I worked with integrating his position and gestures with the marks on the mirrors, as in Untitled #3757.  I had always admired the way that painters could be expressive with the way they applied the paint and realized that the marks on the mirror could also be quite expressive, especially when combined in a visually striking way with the gesture of the model.

I cannot explain how these images came to be so psychologically challenging.  Initially it was not easy to photograph Stanley: I did not want to pose or direct him too much, and he wasn’t sure what to do or how to move.  As a way to diffuse the awkward tension that was building between us, I suggested we put on some music.  Stanley loved the idea, and picked out what he wanted to listen to from my collection.  He immediately began moving with the music, and I encouraged him to relate to the marks on the mirror as he did.  He was creative and an artist, so his gestures were interesting to me.  Often I would ask him to stop, move this way or that, purely responding to the visual elements, trying to further integrate his body with the lines and marks on the mirror.  Stanley did not filter himself, he had a direct and genuine quality.   Because of his disease, he wore no public mask, so he often exposed what most people hide, leaving him raw and vulnerable. In a fascinating sort of dance, I was reacting on a visually intuitive level to his equally intuitive movements.

The symbiotic dynamic between Stanley and me led to some dark and challenging images, further enforcing the power of an intuitive creative process.  I felt these images came from someplace outside of myself.  I have known darkness intimately throughout my life, and the emotions I felt from these images were not alien to me.  At that particular time, however, they did not feel like they were mine.  I was not having any crises when these images were made; on the contrary, I was happily in a relationship and pleased with how my career was going.  There was no angst in my life at the time.  Neither were the images a recording of Stanley’s psychosis;  he was not having a breakdown when we were working together.  We never tried to illustrate the expression of any particular emotion or psychological condition, and the images consistently surprised me.

The painter Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1912) expressed the experience this way: “The position of the artist is humble.  He is essentially a channel”  – accessing an expression from a deeper place, or what Jung would call the collective unconscious.  This is exactly what was happening when Stanley and I shot together.  The darkness and intensity of the images we produced was unintentional, but expressed real and recognizable pain.  Once again, letting go of trying to consciously control the meaning of the image, rather letting my eyes lead and using the camera as a tool to explore, opened me to the power of intuition.


3725

The session this image (#3725) was made was like any other shoot with Stanley—spontaneously creating the experience and the images together.  He danced with the music we had playing while I worked on incorporating his movements in a visually cohesive way with the marks on the mirror.  Yet this image takes us over the edge of sanity, into a type of psychosis, a disorienting place full of unimaginable terrors where the protective masks and the egos are demolished. The word psychosis is literally a disorder of the soul. This image illustrates an agonizing condition, a spiritual crisis of prolonged darkness and profound loneliness Christians refer to as the “Dark Night of the Soul”.  The figure could be the embodiment of evil, a contortion of the soul so twisted the essence becomes perverted into malevolence.  It is shocking and disturbing because we all recognize this state, whether we want to look at it or not.  Perhaps this makes it uncomfortable because it forces us to confront the potential evil in all of us.  Untitled #3725 does not refer directly to the darkest moments of my life, or of Stanley’s, but of darkness itself, the darkness we all know.

This is the power, and also the danger, of the intuitive process.  It does, if followed, eventually lead directly to some deep, core stuff, and that core stuff can be quite dark. I have often been tempted to turn my back and quit; the process has been hideously difficult at times, uncomfortably revealing at others.  It has also been the most profoundly satisfying endeavor that has opened up the world to me and brought my life meaning and great joy.

After the invention of the CON-traption solved many of the logistical issues involved with shooting in the pool, the biggest hurdle I faced was finding bodies to put in the water. Two of my go-to models that I had worked with for years had moved out of town, and this coincided with a relative scarcity of models in general. The solution was to invite Ruth, a student of mine at The Maine Media Workshops and a dear friend, to stay at the house and spend the week shooting intensively.  Our work together was so successful and productive that as soon as I had recovered I invited Carl, one of my regular models who moved away, to visit and shoot for a week.  This intense method of shooting has become a new way of working for me, and I have since come to refer to it as “binge-shooting”.

It literally took months to go through and edit all of the images from the pool shoots with Ruth and Carl (and I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface).  By January of 2015 however, I was eager for more, and invited Carl to visit for another session of binge shooting…

With the pool – and the CON-traption– officially closed for the winter, it was back to photographing in the mirrors.  With Carl staying at the Imboden Compound, we would shoot at least two to three times a day.  While this was once again an exhausting amount to shoot in just one week’s time, the buildup of my visual acuity was remarkable due to the overall intensity. I found I needed less time to warm up- we would shoot in the morning, look at the work over lunch and discuss what was or wasn’t working, and jump right back into it. I loved how quickly I progressed, and I was thrilled with many of the images that resulted.

In the previous binge shooting sessions under the water, I had explored ways of bringing in different intensities of color and introducing more of it, something I had been working with in the proceeding mirror images.  This time, back to the mirrors, I was interested in experimenting with the darker, cooler tones I had grown fond of in the water images.  Eschewing the usual red gel in favor of a deeper blue filter to light one of the model’s, I found myself working with a ghastly palette in these reflections…

Untitled #01-15-15-533
Untitled #01-15-15-533

In Untitled #01-15-15-533, the blue gel over the light on the model behind the mirror echoes the underwater hues, rendering him entirely in cool tones.  The model in front of the mirror is lit more naturally, keeping the flesh realistic.  The quality of the blue is more dense than it was under the water, a little deeper and slightly less green, making those areas appear drained of life, putrified, or frostbitten.  With the bodies combined into one figure, the contrast with the warm flesh is not as violerubens-boreas-abducts-oreithyant as it had been with the red filter, but is still unsettling.  To further change up the color palette, I swapped out the blue that had become an integral part of the backgrounds in the mirror images with the deep red of a large bath towel.  The resulting hue is lush, not quite as passionate or vibrant as that of the light through the red filter, and offers a sense of depth and space.  It is a rich, luxuriant red, like the drapery that appears in so much Renaissance imagery, leading me to refer to it as “Ruben’s Red” after the 16th century Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens.  The red creates an environment, giving the background a sense of atmosphere.  Interestingly, I’m working with essentially the same color palette as the previous mirror work, except in these images using the blue as the primary color on the body and red as the background, instead of vice-versa.

Untitled #01-27-15-168
Untitled #01-27-15-168

Of course, this binge shooting session wouldn’t be complete without Ruth, who was not only eager and willing to participate in another intense week in front of the camera, but was able to overlap her visit for the same week that Carl was staying.  Suddenly finding myself working with an abundance of models, I was energized by everyone’s enthusiasm and we were photographing like crazy.  In Untitled #01-27-15-168, Ruth is behind the mirror and illuminated by the blue filtered strobe.  Her figure is at peace, again emanating a sense that she is drained of life, but this time the body tapers from a solid form towards a more ethereal state at the bottom.  The solemn embrace of the male figure is pensive, and the way their bodies line up between the mirrors is very precise.  I love the way Carl’s head seems to rest at the top of Ruth’s chest and neck, and the tenderness in the expression.  I also love where the lines of Ruth’s arm fade into and echo the folds of the red bath towel in such an interesting way on the left side.  The texture and marks on the mirrors surface integrate with both of the figures and contribute to the fading from solid to whispy forms.

As with the first week of “binge-shooting”, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work we managed to produce in such a short period of time, and I still have a ton of editing to do.  There’s such a large crop of really quality images, these were just some of the first couple to really stand out.  I’m looking forward to getting more posted here soon before I’m completely buried by the next intense “binge-shooting” session!

Since being involved in the art world for over the past 30 years, many things have changed.  Trends come and go, notions of what is considered “good” art vary, and what is popular in contemporary art fluctuates.  While these things are constantly being redefined, I’ve continued to question and contemplate the function of art in our world.  Here are some of my thoughts:

OedipusAntigoneArt can take us to the unknown – to a place we don’t have any experience of – and give us that experience.

We can have an experience of tragedy without personal tragedy.  The Greeks called this catharsis, which comes from the greek word for cleansing or purging.   Greek tragedies were opportunities to vicariously experience deep feelings.   For example, Sophocles’ Oedipus let’s us experience murder, incest, suicide and self-mutilation. We feel the horror, but ultimately we don’t have to suffer the consequences.  We can experience genuine and deep feelings without actually living the event or circumstances that elicit these emotions. All Great Art is an invitation to experience – fear, joy, anxiety, confrontation, vulnerability, ecstasy and rapture.  It is not a description or documentation of an event or feeling – it IS the event or feeling.

Art is a way of expanding and deepening awareness.

It is not a way to confirm what we already know, but to push beyond that.  We want to try to understand what is beyond our reach.  Art gives us the opportunity to access unconscious material by enlightening the rich areas of our mind that otherwise would not be available to us.  Through a work of art, we can peek into our unconscious and make what we discover there part of our awareness, enriching our lives and our understanding of our world.

Karen_Armstrong
Karen Armstrong, author of “The Case for God”

Art is a way of communicating that which is beyond the limitations of language.  

Karen Armstrong states that “Music goes beyond the reach of words: it is not about anything” (The Case for God, Anchor; Reprint edition).  She goes on to say that through music we can have experiences that do not translate to verbal communication.  The same can be said of all forms of art- we listen to music for the feelings evoked, we read books and watch movies for the connections we make.  Through art, we can transcend the inadequacies of language and communicate on a deeper, more meaningful level.

In all of these years considering the value and function of art, the common thread seems to be clear: it’s all about connection.  Art connects us to each other, to ourselves, and to our humanity.  It connects us to our past, present, and future.  We are unique in our capacity for self awareness, our capability to grapple with the meaning of life and our mortality.  Art provides us with a means to explore our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.  It enables us to share our discoveries with each other in profound and [deeply personal] ways.  Through art, we are offered insights into who we are and why we’re here, and it enables us to fully experience our extraordinary and complex existence.

2014 has been a year of phenomenal workshops and lots of travel.  I’ve had a blast being able to teach across the globe within the past year, even though it has left little time for shooting.  Feeling inspired from the excellent work of so many of my students, I managed to get out of the studio for a change and make some time for some intensive underwater shoots.

Back in the days of only being able to shoot in the pool at night during the Spring and Summer months, I would set up as many shoots as possible in a short period of time.  In the last couple months, I worked very similarly, hosting two excellent models for two periods of relentless underwater photography.  We shot as much as we could physically bear- it can get pretty exhausting!  As I don’t work with scuba gear or anything of that sort, I frequently need to remind myself to take a break and BREATHE, making every shoot quite the aerobic workout.

The first model I played host to was Ruth, who was a student of mine at The Maine Media Workshops. Ruth and I arranged for her to stay with me for a whole week, during which time we would get in as many shoots every day as possible. She was an excellent model and so much fun to work with, and we found ourselves getting into a good rhythm very early on.

With the long shoot days and Ruth’s excellent work as a model, we produced a ton of images I am really excited about! When I’m shooting so actively, the time spent looking at and analyzing images immediately after a shoot is minimal, but the growth and evolution in what I’m seeing is still there. (something about that being very exciting) After some time sorting, editing, and looking at so much of this work, I couldn’t wait to get some of it posted here.

Here are just a few of my favorite images working with her:

08-27-14-187-Edit

 

08-27-14-352-Edit

 

08-27-14-439-Edit

Looking at many of these, I became really attracted to a lot of the dark underwater tones.  Many of the images have a deep, atmospheric quality that I just love.  The weirdness, the various distortions and disconnections between what is above and below the water seem slightly more subtle in some of these, but the effect is still startling.  I was motivated to explore these darker expressions in my next intensive shooting session…

Carl and I have worked together for years and is one of my most photographed models since transitioning to color.  A great deal of the latest work in Reflections features Carl as the model.  Working with him for so many years means that we can typically pick up where we left off- we’re so familiar with how each other works that it feels like second nature.  Knowing what I’m interested in and what I’m looking at makes working with Carl extremely productive, and all of that said, he is also a very dear friend.

We arranged a fervent shooting schedule similar to the one we worked on with Ruth, squeezing in multiple shoots every day, and ending with me getting a nasty case of swimmer’s ear.  Needless to say, it was entirely WORTH it:

09-24-14-195-Edit

While I wanted to continue working with the darker tones I had grown so fond of in working with Ruth, I was also interested in exploring ways of bringing in different intensities of color and introducing more of it, similar to the mirror work.  With the mirrors, I had been incorporating this deep, rich red using a filter over one of the strobes.  My initial intention in doing so was to mimic the profound color difference I had discovered above and below the surface of water and recreate that difference in the studio.  Eventually though the red light became it’s own powerful element, and it became increasingly prominent in many of the mirror images.  Now, back in the water, I wanted to introduce that rich and dramatic red into the images.

For several of these shoots with Carl, I brought a smaller strobe to the pool to light his body above the water with the same red filter from the studio, and I LOVED the effect!  The stark contrast of the red light above the water and the underwater strobe- magnified in coolness by the water- was fascinating!

09-24-14-377

Another thing I was drawn to in the shoots with Carl was the blueness I started getting in the shadows.  Since I’m working with these much darker tones, the exposures are quite long, with rather slow shutter speeds.  The strobe is fast enough to freeze a moment and render it in focus, while any movement is captured from the available light under the water, which is of course very blue.  In many instances, it ends up filling in many of the shadows with what looks like blue mist or smoke, and I love how that looks.

09-24-14-481-Edit

 

Untitled #09-24-14-477

With so much intensive shooting between the sessions with Ruth and Carl, I have thousands of images that I’m working on, and simply sorting through them is like discovering them for the first time.  These images posted above are some of the first to really standout, although I’m sure there will be more to follow….

 

almlof-postcard
Greetings from Sweden: the Almlof Gallery exhibit postcard!

I have just returned from my trip to Sweden for the Reflections opening at the brand new Almlof Gallery, and what a great experience!

Sweden was wonderful, and although Patricia and I were only there for the weekend, we enjoyed every minute of it.  The people were warm and welcoming (and TALL) and the exhibit looked fantastic.  Everyone who attended the opening seemed impressed with the new gallery space Jan Almlof has put together, and the response to my work was positive.

Jan Almlof and Connie
Jan Almlof and I outside the gallery

Whenever I get to travel for an exhibit, I am overwhelmed by the feeling that I am the luckiest person to be able to meet people from around the world and connect with them on a very deep level, despite language and cultural differences.  I love the sincere and meaningful connections we can make through my work, and the capability of relating to one another through mutual passion and openness.  I had wonderful conversations with guests at the opening;

Untitled #7146
Untitled #7146

one couple responded to Untitled #7146 and talked about how the hand looked like it was being pushed out of the body and that it felt like the moment of birth of a full grown person.

Untitled #3572
Untitled #3572

Another guest was intrigued by Untitled #3572, saying that it felt like “what you try to keep inside, but keeps getting out anyway”.  I was so touched by that insight and found it truly beautiful!

Untitled #4-24-08-492
Untitled #4-24-08-492

When a mother asked her little girl (perhaps no older than 8 years old) which image was her favorite, she responded by saying “the dead one”, pointing to Untitled #4-24-08-492, and did not seem the least bit upset by the photograph.  I found this utterly fascinating as this was the second time a young child, undisturbed by their own interpretation, related this particular image to death; the first was at a lecture at the Delaware Center For Contemporary Arts back in 2009.

Prior to the opening – but following a luxurious 5 hour nap – Patricia and I went exploring in the neighborhood between the gallery and the hotel we were staying in.  We stumbled across a clothing boutique called “City Syatelje & Design Malmö”, where Patricia found a very cute dress amongst the twelve or twenty or so she tried on 😉  Meanwhile, I had a great time chatting with Giovanna Brankovicthe, the owner of the shop:

Giovanna: When did you arrive in Sweden?

Me: About 9 o’clock.

Giovanna: And when do you leave?

Me: Tomorrow.

Giovanna: ??  *incredulous*

We told her about my exhibit at the Almlof Gallery, and were delighted when she and a friend came to visit at the opening.  They were very interested in my work and I felt like we were quickly making new friends.

Left to right: Leana Borgström, Giovanna Brankovic, and myself at the opening
Left to right: Leana Borgström, Giovanna Brankovic, and myself at the opening

One of the most intriguing experiences during the opening was an occasional response from viewers when I introduced myself and offered to answer any questions.  A few of the guests were not interested in how the work was made or what the work “meant” – they wanted to enjoy it and interpret it on their own terms.  This doesn’t happen very often, and I love it when it does.  To see people engaging with my images in such a personal way is truly gratifying.

 

sweden 11.8.14.-9810

The Almlof Gallery seems to be off to an excellent start, and I was thrilled to see such a great turnout at the opening.  Several of us gathered for dinner with Jan at a nearby restaurant afterwards, and the wonderful conversations and discussions that had flourished during the opening continued over our meal.  It was such an incredible experience not only to connect with one another, but to feel that the excitement over connecting in this way was mutual.  I’ve always felt that this is the true power of art – the ability to connect us to each other, to ourselves, and to our humanity in a way that transcends the inadequacies of language.

THANK YOU!!!! to Jan Almlof for being such an AMAZING host during our stay in Sweden – we had an incredible time and it was wonderful getting to know you! I’m looking forward to seeing the continued success of the gallery and can’t wait for the next visit!!

For more photos from the opening, be sure to head over to my Facebook page 🙂  You can also check out the Almlof Gallery’s Facebook page here!

NORMAL-FALL-2014-COVERThanks to Philippe Guedon and the folks over at Normal Magazine for sending me a copy of the Limited Edition Fall 2014 issue!  I’m very excited to be featured in such a beautiful publication!

 

Normal Magazine is a fairly new quarterly publication based out of Paris that is devoted to nude fine art photography.  From their website: “Normal makes you discover the intimacy of the greatest contemporary and new talent photographers, through its series of interviews, portfolios and exclusive art, and naked fashion, grouped in about 250 pages. Over the years we have acquired a privileged relationship with the most talented photographers. The team works closely with each photographer on the site, and most have become friends. Supporting quality art, Normal is a digital publication and is available in a limited edition in bookstores, museums and specialty stores.”  

I was immediately VERY impressed with the overall quality of Normal – it’s really more of a magazine book.  The content is very edgy and the reproductions are extremely high quality.  I love the images from my portfolio that they chose to feature – they’re a little edgier than what is normally selected for publication, and they look fantastic in the article.

NORMAL-pg1

 

The piece, sub-titled “The Romantic Obscurantism” is well written, and is fairly deep for a short introduction to my work.  Translated from the article: “She finds her inspiration in the alchemy of water and light, reflection and the naked body submerged. Her images have the power to shock, surprise and push. It is metaphorical poetry through the body and face, an investigation into the human condition. There is a tragic and romantic quiet, reverent and ostentatious.

NORMAL-pg2

NORMAL-pg4

 

Hard copies of the limited edition issue are available to order here on the Normal website.  It appears that back issues are becoming available in digital format, and hopefully this edition will be as well at some point.  Will keep you posted…

Thanks again Philippe and Normal Magazine for an excellent piece and including me in your beautiful publication!

 

Jan-Almlof_logo_60

This November, I’m honored to announce that my work will be featured as the inaugural exhibition at a new gallery opening in Sweden!  The ALMLOF GALLERY is being launched and operated by Jan Almlöf, whom I met in Norway at the Nordic Light Festival back in April of 2013.  Jan responded to my work at the festival and, as the Editor in Chief of FOTO magazine, he ran an article highlighting my work in the October 2013 issue.  The piece in FOTO was fantastic, and I’m eager to see how the gallery launch and exhibition unfold!

02-09-2011-249

The show at the ALMLOF GALLERY will showcase 26 large prints from my portfolio- 10 of the more recent color images and 16 classic B&W pieces.  Jan has put together a strong selection of some of my favorite work, and I think the exhibition is going to be excellent.  I’m also very excited to visit and looking forward to making the trip to Malmö in the southernmost part of Sweden for the opening!

3573

 

The Almlof Gallery is already getting some good media coverage in Sweden; a major southern Swedish news source, Sydsvenskan, recently announced the opening of the gallery and the upcoming exhibit:

Sydsvenskan-almlof-gallery From the text: “….[Jan Almlof] made the decision to start an art gallery specializing in photography.  The first photographer that is exhibited is the American Connie Imboden .  “I will start overseas to show that it is not just yet another in a series of galleries showcasing our already famous Swedish photographers.  After Connie Imboden , there will be photographers from France, Norway and Finland, among others.”

The exhibition opens November 8th, 2014 – just around the corner!  I’ll be posting more details soon, in the meantime, here’s the gallery info for any of my Scandinavian friends who might be in the neighborhood:

ALMLOF GALLERY
Ehrensvärdsgatan 8
SE 212 13 Malmö
Sweden
info@almlofgallery.com