Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Span Across Time

"A Span Across Time" is portfolio by photographer Barbara Mensch published by The New York Times. Find it by clicking here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Nymphoto on Twitter

You can follow Nymphoto also on Twitter now:

Opening Tonight: Hey Hot Shot Showcase

© Cara Phillips

Opening tonight 6-8pm
Hey Hot Shot Showcase
Jen Bekman Gallery
6 Spring Street, NYC
Up until Feb. 14th

Yijun Liao
John Mann
Cara Phillips
Park Ho Sang
Donald Weber

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Conversation with Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

I met Stacy Arezou Mehrfar several years ago when we were in a group show together. I've kept a mental note to check in on her work every so often. She has been working on the American Palimpsests series for a number of years now. It is a view into what the last couple of years have been like here in terms of the development boom in the US, and hopefully what we are going to leave behind. Here we share some photos from the series and a bit of where Stacy is right now in her life. What I love about the Conversation series is the stuff you don't always find when visiting an artist's site, reading their statement or bio. I've enjoyed the things Stacy chose to share about herself and think you will too.

Joliet, Illinois. July 2004 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

NP: Tell us a little about yourself.

SM: I lived in Manhattan for the majority of my adult life and I always assumed it would be home for better or worse. I was wrong. I married an Australian man and moved across the world to Sydney, Australia. Now I have two homes and consider myself bi-hemispherical. As a child my favorite places in town were the library and Burger King. At the library I devoured as many books as my little brain could handle; at Burger King I consumed as many chicken sandwiches I could get my hands on. Later in life I found that I could only really concentrate on one book at a time, and BK chicken sandwiches weren't as great as I had cracked them up to be. I have had many nicknames throughout my life- but I am most nostalgic for the names I was born with. I was named Stacy after my brother Adam's first crush. He was 7 years old when I was born and somehow convinced my parents that Stacy was the most beautiful name in the world. Arezou, my middle name, translates to "wish" from Farsi. My father invented the name Mehrfar when he moved to NY. He felt that his last name wasn't trendy enough for a doctor working in the US, so he took two names from prominent Iranian families and put them together.

Giraffe. Frankenmuth, Michigan. July 2006 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

NP: How did you discover photography?

SM: I am the youngest in my family. I have two brothers who are significantly older than me, so growing up it was as if I was an only child in the house. To entertain myself I would play with the family photographs and make up stories about them. I especially loved the photos from before I was born. I would sit for hours and play pretend- making up stories about when, where and what they were doing. As I grew older, I became obsessed with documenting all our family moments- carrying the camera and video camera with me wherever we all went.

Automobile. Falls City, Nebraska. July 2005 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

SM: I find inspiration in the usual suspects: memory, dreams, home, family, friends, classic art, contemporary art, music, poetry, film, TV, current events, fiction and old contact sheets. The blank screen on my iMac has even inspired me on occasion.
What I live for is the moment I've been hit by inspiration. My head starts to spin like a tornado, my brain moves as fast as the roadrunner and I can hardly get my thoughts out fast enough. It happens when I see something old like new, when I enter a new space that feels like I have been there before, or when I am half asleep and half awake.

Stairway. Willis, Michigan. July 2006 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

Magnolia, Texas. April 2006 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

Gas Station. Cumming, Virginia. June 2008 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

NP: How did this project come about?

SM: In May 2003, Naomi Harris and I traveled to Las Vegas together for 3 weeks. We stayed in a house in a new development called Southern Highlands. I was amazed at the new landscape of suburban Vegas- there was so much freshly planted grass, you could almost forget you were in the desert. At the time there were something like 4,000 people migrating to Vegas per month. New neighborhoods were sprouting everywhere. I started photographing "American Palimpsests" during that time.

Lago Vista, Texas. April 2006 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

The chapter "This Was What There Was:" came from a re-edit of my film. When I realized that I would be moving to Sydney, I started to scan all my images from the project. In that process I realized that I had been shooting another side of suburbia all along. The project has grown into a two-part body of work: "This Was What There Was:" delineates the debilitating effects sprawl has had on older neighborhoods, and "American Palimpsests" discusses the sterilization of the natural landscape into new suburbia.

Mr Dee’s Fish. Fredericksburg, Virginia. June 2007 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

Many of the new developments I photographed for American Palimpsests now lie empty, and the subprime crisis has left the development of many neighborhoods incomplete. Based on the current state of older American suburbs, I wonder what will become of those empty new suburbs in 30 years time.

Cumming, Georgia. June 2008 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

NP: Whats next?

SM: At the moment, my main focus is to have This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests published and exhibited. With the subprime crises having caused almost 1 million homes to foreclose in 2008, this is the time to get the work out there.

I have started to photograph the Persian Jewish community of Great Neck, NY. My parents live there along with some 15,000 Iranian Jews. This project is something I have had in mind for a long time; now that I am living in Sydney, it is what I work on when I come home. In the meantime, I am working out a few ideas about Australia but nothing is solid yet.

Canton, Michigan. July 2006 from This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests © Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

You can find more from the series This Was What There Was: American Palimpsests on Be sure to look through her Contained series as well which has some interesting portraiture and interiors.

Thank you Stacy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tomorrow: Michal Chelbin @ The Strand

From Strangely Familiar © Michal Chelbin

(via The Strand) Michal Chelbin will discuss her first monograph, a provocative collection of photographs that depicts performers and wrestlers from small towns in the Ukraine, Eastern Europe, England and Israel. Her work straddles the public and private arenas, allowing viewers the titillation of getting a behind-the-scenes look without seeming intrusive or voyeuristic. Although Chelbin's influences--August Sander, Diane Arbus--are readily apparent, her vision is fiercely her own.

Where: The Strand, 2nd Floor (Broadway & 12th Street)
When: January 29, 2009 -- 7 p.m.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Op-Ed Wanted

Nymphoto is looking for additional contributors for its Op-Ed Series. Don't be shy, apply!

What is Nymphoto Op-Ed?

Nymphoto Op-Eds are written by artists, curators, bloggers, collectors, historians,critics and students; the Op-ed pieces share the reflections and opinions of its authors relating to & about photography. We are interested in a broad range of opinions & experiences and are encouraging everyone involved in the arts to submit.

If you you would like your op-ed published on the Nymphoto Blog please submit it via contact(at) along with a CV and a link to your web-presence (if you have one).
Please note that we are primarily looking for op-eds written by women in photography or by men writing about subjects relevant to women artists.

You can find the Nymphoto Collective's Mission Statement at:

Caroll Taveras: Photo Studio in Brooklyn

from Photo Studio, © Caroll Taveras

Opening now through February 11th, Caroll Taveras will have open photo studios sessions for the public in a storefront in Brooklyn. Photo Studio will be a place for everyone to have their photograph taken with a large format view camera in the tradition that was once popular in local portrait studios around the world.

From the press release:
For only $5, Caroll Taveras' Atlantic Avenue storefront in downtown Brooklyn will provide instant 4x5 Polaroid photographic portraits to neighbors, friends, and passersby. Photo Studio is a not-for-profit art project focused on documenting communities around the world.

Photo Studio will remain open through February 11th before continuing to Berlin in the Spring.

Photo Studio
539 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn 11217
Tuesday - Friday, 1-8pm
Saturday - Sunday 12-5pm

You can read more about Caroll's project here and also, check her website too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ellen Rennard

Photographer Ellen Rennard's work can be seen at Project Basho Gallery currently in the "Onward '09" exhibit. Ellen also runs a lovely blog called "Quintessence" and Women in Photography did a beautiful job showcasing Ellen's work on their site last year, you can revisit it at:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lane Collins @ Wall Space Seattle

from the Alchemy series © Lane Collins

If you are in Seattle this or early next month head to Wall Space Gallery to see work by Lane Collins, Christa Boden and others in a show titled "New Directions 2009".
You can find out more information about this exhibit at
If you like to re-visit our interview with Lane, click here.

New Directions 09
Wall Space Gallery
600 First Avenue
Suite 322
Seattle, WA 98104
-through February , 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Neeta Madahar & Christopher Russell @ Julie Saul

Neeta Madahar and Christopher Russell
January 8-February 28, 2009
Julie Saul Gallery
535 W 22nd Street, New York

Also available via Aperture is a limited edition print from Neeta Madhar's Sustenace series. Find out more via the Aperture blog:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Queens International Opening Tomorrow

from QMA
In 2000, the US census revealed the borough of Queens to be the most diverse county in the nation. Two years later, the Queens Museum of Art inaugurated Queens International, a biennial exhibition of artists from around the world who live and/or work in Queens. Celebrating the most recent artistic achievements of Queens with 42 artists, collaborations and collectives from 18 countries working in a broad range of traditional and unorthodox media, the exhibition examines the boundaries of culture, tradition, heritage and nationality.

Like its predecessors, Queens International 4 addresses the relationship between “internationalism” and “multiculturalism” from a local standpoint. Culture is the logic by which we give order to the world. No one stands outside of it. In Queens, one comes to recognize that nations are not walled fortresses but rather permeable containers for the fluid shifts of culture. Here, multiculturalism does not imply a static representation of international identities but rather an ever-changing shift amongst multiple cultures that blurs ethnic, racial, gendered and ideological boundaries. Circumventing conventional art discourse to engage with their immediate surroundings, the artists of Queens ignite a critical dialogue through lived experience, often in the form of collaborative, site-specific and public practices.

Justine Reyes will be showing her Guayabera Series. The opening reception is on Saturday, January 24th from 6pm-12am. There will be food, music and performances.

Queens Museum of Art
Queens International 4
Opening Saturday, Jan. 24th
Jan 24-April 26

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Conversation with Juliana Beasley

Juliana Beasley is a wower. I first came across her Lapdancer work at a benefit auction several years ago. Her personality, writing, and her photographs are bold and gutsy, at least more than I could ever be. Her project Last Stop: Rockaway Park along with the amazing tales on her blog, Juliana's Lovely Land of Neurosis, has become a photo memoir, in which she recounts her experiences with her subjects. I've thoroughly enjoyed her virtual company the last couple of weeks as we worked towards sharing the following Conversation with you. Grab a coffee or a tea before going on and be prepared to be taken by Juliana.

Fish Bowl, from the series Last Stop: Rockaway Park. © Juliana Beasley

NP: Tell us a little about yourself.

JB: I spent the first five years of my childhood in Philadelphia at 3110 West Penn St. I lived across the street from my best friend, Liz Fritz and her tag-a-long baby brother, Georgie. They both had electric red hair like Ronald McDonald in the cartoon commercial. My Mom called Liz, “the Lizard”. I was just Jul, a nickname only a few people in my life still call me.

On summer evenings, when my Mom returned from work, we begged her to drive us around in her red TR6 Triumph named Tony. The sun was low and the heat still. We sat up on the back of the hood, held onto the convertible’s roll bar and she eased up on the gas as we circled the block again and again. I felt the air rush through my hair and over my sweaty face. She played a precarious game of stuttering the pedal with her foot, stopping and starting the engine. We laughed. Could we stand up, we asked.

On summer nights we played with my sister and the other older kids in a game of hide and seek reaching as far as the perimeters of the entire block, avoiding the backyards of disagreeable neighbors and those haunted with ghosts and witches.

The Lizard and I caught fire flies in jelly jars. We also built a playground set, complete with a slide, in a shoebox built for inchworms we had collected from leaves. We crushed their little bodies, in an attempt to teach them how to use the juggle gym. They died before term. We dug their graves with sticks, in a secret burial site on the side my house, performing the most loving memorials in the name of every one.

These are the sweet memories; the flawless nostalgia read in a required reading book for a high school English class, two hundred pages before the darkness and the shadows reveal themselves to our sweet and fragile narrator.

How magical the past can appear after a frontal lobe lobotomy!

Paddy's Mid Afternoon Nap, from the series Last Stop: Rockaway Park. © Juliana Beasley

NP: How did you discover photography?

JB: My unfailing consumption of photography began when I discovered a family in a series of photo album—my family.

I found them in a collection of snapshots, meticulously arranged, glued in with Elmer's, and bound my silver screws. There were five books in all, numbered one to number five.

On nights of Ritalin and Seconal, my mother had painstakingly, pasted pictures of me and my sister, wearing matching outfits (my father always forever absent) into two early albums. We were stacked single file in-between numerous postcards she had bought at Buckingham Palace of her latest obsession, Queen Elizabeth.

Album Number One: there was my mother in black and white, before I even knew her, a young woman on her way to medical school in a series of photographs, hamming it up for the camera in a storyboard performance from beginning to a finale where she mocks her own death at the gas station pump, her tongue hanging out.

What I had believed was my life and family, abruptly ended short mid-way through Album Number Five. My intuition told me the author had lost interest like a child who tosses last year’s favorite toy away and moves towards the next fad.

Isabelle's Room, from the series Last Stop: Rockaway Park. © Juliana Beasley

After the predictable order of a perfect life filled with beaming smiles, birthday parties and aging parents had disappeared; I felt an empty void, a huge misunderstanding in my formative years.

In junior high school, your family became my family. I spent evenings on sleepovers at my friends, Nancy Goldman and Nancy Kaufman. The traditional bonding ceremony towards best friendship meant pulling out the family photo albums, revealing un cool fathers with plaid polyester pants and mother’s who wore their hair the same way that they always did. My mother was avant-garde in the suburban realm.

Henry, from the series Last Stop: Rockaway Park. © Juliana Beasley

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration! I am inspired when I see, for example, a grown woman who collects a specialty brand of dolls at fairs where they meet other woman whom collects the same dolls. No less, the man who teaches his dog to count to ten with his paw thrills me. These people prove to me everyday that without purpose—however stupid or great—there would be little left for most people to ponder, including myself. I revel in the differences of other people and places…I dare to see things from a fresh perspective. I am admittedly, greedy to fill my belly with information. I want to devour it all…the stories of Oliver Sach’s patients, the characters in Edward Gorey’s Poems, the gritty starkness of Boris Mikailov’s work, the soft nurturing of the portraits of Sally Mann, the raw poetry of Eileen Mayle's, the perfect word beyond the idiom, the sugar coated grandiose and morose memoirs of Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Leopard Lady, from the series Last Stop: Rockaway Park. © Juliana Beasley

I have been working on a project about a community on the Rockaway’s peninsula called “Last Stop: Rockaway Park”. I began in 2002, when I was a passenger in a car driving with friends on a tour ride throughout Queens. I hadn’t been out to the Rockaways since my college years. I never thought about the Rockaways; I suppose most people living in the other boroughs rarely do, unless, they are hipsters who go out there to surf throughout the year. Before, Rockaway Park became part of my life-repertoire; it was simply just a nebulous point on a map. After, repetitious traveling from one point to another, the two hour trip became ingrained inside me more as a feeling than a location, breathing and alive with photographs to be reinterpreted every time, I looked over contact sheets and work prints. 116th St. became a second family of people, who really didn’t know much about me and nonetheless, accepted me into their lives.

“Last Stop: Rockaway Park” came into my life like many projects—unexpectedly. A witness to a fight at a boardwalk bar, I watched the bartender jump the bar with a bat in his hand, chasing away an angered ragged man. I later learned his name was Butchie, a soft and generous man at the core.

Maria, from the series Eyes of Salamanca. © Juliana Beasley

NP: How did this project come about?

JB: In the spring of 2006, I went down to Mexico on a vacation with my dear companion, Victoria. I learned a photographer’s vacation is difficult without indulging in snapping the shutter. Upon driving into a small town in the Southernmost part of the Yucatan coast, I noticed an older man, white and quite freckled and burnt by the strong sun. He was talking at a pay phone, along the main street. He wore a uniform, a blue-checkered shirt, suspenders, and a straw hat. Stop the car, I said, a block away.

I approached him while he was on the phone and he motioned for me to wait until he was finished. When he had finished, we met at a stucco wall outside of a Catholic orphanage. We began a conversation in broken English which pleased him, and even more so, that we were Americans. He introduced himself as an elder of the Mennonite Camp called “Salamanca”. His name is Isaac Schmitt. Soon, into our conversation, he invited us to afternoon lunch after their church services on Sunday.

Holding Hands, from the series Eyes of Salamanca. © Juliana Beasley

When we first arrived, the “elders” invited us inside Isaac’s aluminum built home, into a cramped living room where they surrounded us and in what seemed a multicultural round table meeting. One younger man began to ask us about our American lives. I noticed a piece of paper in his hands as he delivered a Q&A. I felt like an American ambassador.

We spent a sweaty afternoon, playing with curious children (initially, they ran away from us in fear) and exchanged information about our very different cultures with the adults. The children marveled when I pulled out my digital camera and began to take photographs. I was showered with young “oohs and ahhs” in unison, when I showed them their semblance on the back of the Canon LCD. For once, digital truly might have a purpose.

Sunday After Church, from the series Eyes of Salamanca. © Juliana Beasley

Young Cowboys, from the series Eyes of Salamanca. © Juliana Beasley

NP: What's next?

JP: In the spring of 2009, I will be returning down to the South of Mexico to live with the Schmitt family amongst the other Mennonites in the Salamanca farm community. At this point, I couldn’t tell you what the project is about even if I go there with a few ideas. I think this is way I normally work. I go in with a larger net than necessary and come out with the small fish in the end. It takes me more time, as it does in all relationships, to understand things clearly and to move beyond the external. My plan is to live in the community for one month, photograph, blog at a computer center in the closest town, ride in the back of buggies and have a Mennonite dress tailor made to fit me. Maybe even relax a little.

Blonde Braids, from the series Eyes of Salamanca. © Juliana Beasley

Thank you Juliana! To see more of Juliana's work, pay a visit to her site, and her blog, Juliana's Lovely Land of Neurosis. To own a piece of Juliana's work, go to her sale.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last Day Of Daniel Cooney's Emerging Artist Auction

© Juliana Beasley

Head over to to see the latest Emerging Artists Auction curated & presented by Daniel Cooney. The works are also available for viewing at Daniel Conney Fine Art in Chelsea.

You will find one of my works as well as many great works by artists such as Juliana Beasley, Nadine Rovner, Toni Pepe, Sarah Palmer, Nyra Lang, Pixy Liao, Shane Lavalette, Timothy Briner & others . But hurry up. The auction ends today! Happy Bidding!

PS: And stay tuned for Rona's upcoming conversation with no other than the formidable Juliana Beasley herself!

Opening Tomorrow: Show One

NYU Tisch Photography & Imaging BFA Exhibition
Gulf & Western Gallery
Department of Photography & Imaging
721 Broadway, 8th Floor
New York, NY
January 22-February 14, 2009
Opening Reception: January 22, 6-8 p.m.

Works by Stephanie Broad, Julia Burlingham, Katherine Carey, Erica Dobin, Moudy Elkammash, Bryan Gursky, Jordan Reznick, Katelyn Roof & Kimberly Schreiber

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Op-Ed by Jane Tam

Elain, 2007 by Jane Tam

I accept being young, a recent BFA graduate, and naive about the art photography world. I have a long way to go before anything I consider "success" goes according to plan. You can say I'm the pessimistic type of person. When I was 5, I wished I was 15, then 18, then 21, and 22 and out of academia. Now that I am 22, I wish I were 5 and free from real world responsibilities sometimes. This is what happens when I am thrown into the "real world" and entered a free fall, with no boundaries and no guidance as to what the next step is.

I am a photographer and an artist. I want my work to be seen by people who appreciate art and those who are not so accustomed to it. I want it in galleries, museums, houses, streets, libraries, cities, suburbs, and practically anywhere. I want it to be questioned and talked about; create a dialogue. Most importantly, I enjoy the process of trial and error in creating work rather than figuring out what to do with it after it's "done." I'm an artist first and a business/public relations person second, or maybe third or fourth in my line of duties.

After all that talk about being an artist, I was confronted with a logistical question of where will this money come from to help me. I come from an immigrant family of blue-collar workers. Although I am the youngest, I don't act out like a spoil brat and asks for daddy's money. Somehow I always knew I had a responsibility to help the family whenever and however needed. When someone in this circle had an health scare, I chose not to celebrate graduation with my friends in Syracuse. It always seemed my family came first.

Grandmother by Jane Tam

So when I moved back home from college, I thought the next step was to find a job. I didn't want to just live at home and make "art" without supporting myself or the family. So I applied for photo-assistant jobs, digital editing jobs, darkroom lab jobs, retouching, dog walking, administrative assistant, English teacher in Korea, almost anything. I landed a fashion retouching job as an apprentice within 2.5 months of looking. In this economic climate, I was darn lucky. I sometimes can't believe I work full time amongst friends and fellow graduates who still can't find a suitable paying job. I get paid and it's great. With my income, I can support my art-making, while many other 22 year olds are out spending their income (or sometimes lack of income even) on constant socializing.

But where did the motivation go? I was about to blame the lack of time, but it's more of an excuse of being lazy. Motivation is different. In an art school environment, I was surrounded by many different genres of art, from illustration to ceramics to sculpture to painting. Ideas would be bouncing off the walls. Now I feel like a drone, work 9-5, dead tired and go home, and bum in front of the tv or computer til bedtime. The motivating community isn't 24/7 anymore. I realized, it's a lot tougher to be a committed artist. I knew I wasn't going to be one of those people who go to art school, then work as secretary and not make art. I wasn't going to stop. I wanted to work again. This took probably the whole Summer and most of Fall to make myself commit again.

If I don't have the physical community, I'll try to find it and just be patient. The world isn't going to hand me a lump sum of answers so I know I have a lot of growing up to do. I had to bring back the competitive spirit and remember why I chose to be an artist. I am back to shooting during my spare time, mainly weekends, and during nights that I come home from work, I brainstorm ideas. I won't say I haven't slacked off a day or two, I'm human. I make my own deadlines. So far the images I have shot are not what I expected or want, so it's back to trial and error. It's a work in progress. If my work is good, people will eventually come see it.

Jane Tam is an artist, daughter, and "juggler" currently living in Brooklyn whilst working full time in Manhattan.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Tomorrow is a day of new beginnings.

© Jane Tam

Fittingly our newest member Jane Tam is publishing her first op-ed piece Tuesday, which speaks about her new life post college.
Last week Candace Gottschalk talked about juggling motherhood & art making, and this week Jane will share her experience as a 22 year old artist and speak about where her priorities lie.

Remembering MLK

Site of MLK Jr. Assassination, Memphis © Emily Shur

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Upcoming: Amy Stein Artist Talk

Struggle © Amy Stein

Amy Stein - Artist Talk
University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
January 22, 2009 -5:30 p.m.

You can revisit our recent conversation with Amy by clicking here.

Karte Orne @ WIPNYC

Currently showcasing at Women In Photography is the documentary work of accomplished photographer Kate Orne. You can see this affecting work here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Snowbound spread

For those who don't subscribe to DWELL magazine here's a peek at the February issue (out now) which features Lisa M. Robinson's gorgeous portfolio, Snowbound. It certainly is inspiration in this weather we're having.

Dwell spread courtesy of Lisa M. Robinson

Liz Kuball's Postcards

Head over to Liz Kuball's blog to check out the 'postcards' she has been posting. Lovely collages of bits of life.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Nina Buesing Corvallo wins Krappy Kamera competition

Congratulations to Nymphoto's Nina Buesing Corvallo who won first prize in Soho Photo’s Krappy Kamera Competition juried by Brian Paul Clamp of Clamp Art. The show will be in March.

Schimmelreiter (Ferro I) © Nina Buesing Corvallo

Also Daniel Cooney’s Emerging Artist Auction, which includes the work of Ms. Buesing Corvallo is still going on at igavel.

Weather Photos

My friend Meera sent me a link to the blog Weather Photos. It's a collaborative project between sets of two photographers in different parts of the world posting a series of photos as they communicate and share their feelings on the weather, emotion and mood.

From Weather Photos © Meera Margaret Singh

For Meera (Canada) + Joanna's (UK) pairings, click here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Conversation with April Gertler

© April Gertler

From the moment I first saw April Gertler's work in 2002, it spoke to me. April's work always connects or articulates a thought, memory or feeling I am experiencing. April is an artist who is constantly exploring and pushing forward in her work, her art is never in stasis and she is incredibly productive. Later this year if all falls into place her first monograph will be published and currently April is showing her work via various outlets. Find out more in this interview.

We are proud to say that April participated in both Nymphoto exhibits.

© April Gertler

Nymphoto: Tell us a little about yourself.

April Gertler: I was born in Germany but grew up in Santa Barbara and then moved to the Bay Area when I was 19. I went to U C Berkeley. Later in my mid-20's I went to art school and I guess you could say that everything started to become really clear. I got my BFA in photography from California College of the Arts and then my MFA in photography from Bard College in 2002. I officially moved (back) to Germany in 2003 and have been there ever since. I am currently living and working in Berlin, Germany.

© April Gertler

NP: How did you discover photography?

AP: While I was growing up, photography was always around me. My father had a darkroom in our house - although I never really knew what went on in there. My step-grandfather was a very good photographer. He was Hungarian and lived in Budapest (my father is Hungarian and grew up there). He would go out into the country side and shoot farmers and landscapes - always printing his own images at home in his make shift darkroom. But honestly I am not one of those people who has been shooting since I could walk. I actually started shooting in my early 20's when I realized I wanted to make a "career change" and go to art school. The medium made sense to me somehow - it was a way for me to explore the idea of seeing and as a result understanding what that meant to me. It was also a tool for me to consider other mediums - like drawing, collage and painting. Honestly I don't really consider myself a photographer. I guess I prefer to be considered an artist. Being a 'photographer' has too many limitations for me.

© April Gertler

NP: Where do you find inspiration?

AP: I always find this to be a really interesting question. On the one hand I have never believed that inspiration can be "found", rather I think it needs to be generated. Working in my studio leads me from one thing to the next and that is where my inspiration lies. The easiest way to answer this question would be to say that my inspiration is self generated and that generation comes from living and sharing my life. But that said, on the other hand I have to say craft and attention to detail make a huge impact on me. I have been regularly inspired by found photographs - because of their ability to immediately generate stories. The questions immediately arise; who, what, why and where. I can look at other people's family photographs for ages and get lost in the stories that seem to jump out of the photograph. The project "They are what they seem." is a direct result of this kind of inspiration.

© April Gertler

NP: It seems to me that birds have a special significance for you, is that true?

Birds have always had a special significance for me. Yes that is really true. Some people grew up with dogs and cats but when I was a child we always had birds as pets. It never seemed unusual or strange to me. When I was 11, my parents got a 3 month old Yellow Napped Amazon, who we named Sammy. Within 3 days she learned to talk. She was amazingly integrated into our family. She lived to be 23 years of age. Having Sammy around was fascinating for me on many levels.
(I did a 38 piece on her and you can read more about her vocabulary here: )

Not only was she a huge personality but she was also incredibly intelligent. But I think having Sammy around encouraged me to think about birds a lot. It didn't take me long to consider them as the perfect analogy to humans. Flying, nesting, attracting a mate and then possibly mating for life (at least some of them do), and migrating to name a few of the parts of a bird's life that seem to be analogous to how humans live. I think it is also fair to say that humans have been forever preoccupied with birds - merely the act of flying has inspired humans tremendously. So, I took these metaphors and worked with them very specifically in the body of work titled Still
( ). I have also worked with photographing diorama's of birds in various natural history museums around the world - that body of work is titled If Only ( )- suggesting "if only they could fly again..." - a bit of an ironic take on the way humans have managed to capture and control an animal that is by nature completely free and very often air born.

NP: How do your projects come about?

AP: One way that my projects come about is my interest in creating a structure for myself. I like working with self-imposed rules. Those rules manifest themselves in a variety of ways. The 38 Project (, which is a recent project that I finished earlier this year, is a good example of that. This project was generated out of a variety of reasons. But specifically it was about creating work that people could buy for 38 euros or dollars on a set day once a week. The project allowed me to get my work out and be seen in a way that was important for me at the time. The project was also about generosity and the idea of accessibility of art.

© April Gertler

NP: What's next?

AP: Even though it is not 'next' and it is more just 'now', I did just start a new project titled Wager ( That has been in the planning phases for a long time. I am excited about it and am looking forward to it gaining some momentum. The basic premise is that I am offering a work up for sale on a blog and anyone can make a bid on the work. The bidding lasts for 2 to 3 weeks or until the next posting is made. The highest bid gets the work. This project developed out of an interest in the current economic down turn coupled with the realization that I am a contributor to the "luxury goods" as an artist.
Aside from that I will be in a traveling group show opening in March in collaboration with Rojo Magazine to celebrate 8 years in print. The show will start in Barcelona and travel to 7 other cities. Also in March I will be participating in a bill board project in Leicester, England. A work from the series "They are what they seem." will be included in that project.
But the next big thing that I am most excited about is the publication of my book "They are what they seem." ( by the end of next year through Kehrer Verlag.

NP: Congratulations! And thank you so much!

© April Gertler

To see more of April's work, please visit: