Resilience of Spirit

After meeting Zoann through my cousin Erin (who I wrote about in a previous post), I asked her to sit for a portrait. My present direction in Uprooted is leading me to explore the experiences of women, and I was honored that she invited me to her home.

I sometimes know ahead of time the visual outcome of a portrait session, but I find the best results happen when I am able to put aside preconceptions of how something should look. Trusting my instincts, without fail, leads to the best picture.

I knew when I saw Zoann’s room that I wanted to create her portrait there. The lightness, sparkle and serenity spoke clearly of her current place in life, and resilience of the human spirit.

25 years of Making Pie

The excitement that June brings – the end of school, planning summer trips and outdoor activities – is also a time of reflection for me. It’s the month of my birthday and what I’ve come to call my moving to Minneapolis-iversary. This week marks 25 years since I loaded up a rented cargo van with my earthly possessions (and two kittens), moving the hopes and dreams for my adult life into an ill-fated apartment on Columbus Ave and 18th St.

As my therapist says, mid-life is a time of taking stock of unrealized dreams and looking with learned wisdom at the potential of the future. I see in hindsight pieces comprising a rich life: love and heartbreak, losses and triumphs, attempts at grace and acceptance.

I’ve lived for 15 years now a few miles south of my first Minneapolis address (with a handful of other residences in between) in a place that still feels like home. The picture I chose for my Mpls-iversary post is the Louisa County (Iowa) fair queen in Columbus Junction. It sums up my thoughts on 25 years in Minneapolis: Sometimes my pie wins and sometimes it doesn’t. In either case, I still like to make pie.

Support two worthy causes while collecting photography

Announcing two upcoming benefit sales that present opportunities to acquire editioned fine art prints at prices typically below market value. I am participating alongside many well-known artists – both events are free and open to the public (and promise to be a lot of fun).

 View details | List of Artists 

Sioux City Art Center Selects Opens 3/22

Christina (shopkeeper) and granddaughter Kimberly

Christina (shopkeeper) and granddaughter Kimberly

I am honored to announce that my work is included a juried show with seven other artists at the Sioux City (Iowa) Art Center. I am the only photographer presented.

Aimed at introducing residents of the area to artists of the Upper Midwest, Sioux City Art Center Selects is an exhibition designed to present visitors with an understanding of how regional artists are thinking and creating at the moment. Curator Todd Behrens selected five portraits from Uprooted, all of women including two pictures of women of color.

In addition to Christina (shopkeeper) and granddaughter Kimberly shown above, Cousin Joan, Pastor Alma of Iglesia Vida Nueva, Eldoris (Lutheran church organist for 50 years) and Lynne and Jalynn (scholars in Sustainable Agriculture) are included. Presenting this vision of life in rural Iowa to a wider audience is a dream of mine and I am happy to be joining the other artists in public conversations on Friday and Saturday in Sioux City.

Opening reception is 5-7 pm on Friday 3/22, with artist talks and panel discussions happening on Saturday 3/23, beginning at 10:30 am.

Snow Days

Makala, October 2018

Makala, October 2018

As I was sitting in my office today (the umteenth snow day of 2019), I got to thinking about the amount of control I have over my day to day life. I was looking forward to a day of work and photography but knew by last night’s weather report chances were good that it wouldn’t happen.

 I recalled this shoot with Makala from last fall. I was in Belmond working on Uprooted when Makala (and her mom) agreed to let me photograph her. At the time I was photographing teenagers, with a preference to photograph them in their rooms. As an environmental portraitist, it’s a great opportunity and privilege to make a picture that speaks to the subject’s identity in a such personal way.

But here’s the catch: Last June while the family was away, an accidental electrical fire burned their house down; Completely gutted, it was a total loss. When I asked Makala about making a picture they were staying in a rental, and her bedroom was not technically hers. So, we decided to make some pictures outside in the yard.

 Come the morning of the shoot – snow! Inside their temporary home there was not a suitable setting for a teenager with a talent for basketball. But the basement! Plenty of space! And unusual enough to make you question what she is doing.

Because of snow.