“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Sunday, April 20, 2014

asmp presentation

An Invitation from ASMP

Come enjoy an in-depth discussion on 
Gloria Baker Feinstein's life in photography. 
For nearly 60 years - beginning as a toddler armed with a Kodak Brownie - Gloria has been making pictures 
as a fine art photographer with a skilled eye for composition and storytelling. On her way to becoming one of the most noted photographic artists in the Midwest and nationally, she has succeeded in complementing her art with work as a commercial portrait photographer. Gloria also has experience operating a fine art photography gallery and establishing a nonprofit organization serving children in Uganda, which is aligned with her most recent photographic project.
Beginning at 6 PM, come socialize over light appetizers and beverages. The presentation will be comprised of a slideshow as well as prints of photographs from throughout her career.


$10.00-ASMP member
$10.00-Students and Educators

When And Where: 4/24/20147 - 9 PM(social time begins at 6 PM)
8183 Studio1735 Oak StreetKC MO 64108

Registration Options:
Besides registering via the website you can register by calling ASMP at 215.451.2767. Business hours are 9-5 Eastern time. Attendance may be limited, so please register early.

Friday, April 18, 2014

love fest

Lining the street by the entrance to the church where the funerals for Reat Underwood and his grandfather William Corporon took place today were hundreds of people claiming victory over hate. It was a beautiful thing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

a day for healing: love your neighbor as yourself

I attended the interfaith Service of Unity and Hope this morning at the Jewish Community Center. The crowd was huge - standing room only; the love in the room was palpable. It was a grey, damp, cold morning, but the amount of hope and healing that hung in the air was as thick and comforting as a pile of old woolen blankets.

Admittedly, it was tough seeing the phalanx of police, the circling helicopters and the news crews at our beloved JCC.

There were many speakers, including the US Attorney General Eric Holder. Of all the words uttered, this excerpt from Reverend Bob Hill's closing prayer resonated the most with me:

And in it all we have begun to see a path toward healing:
that the only way out of pain is through,
the only way beyond loss is through,
the only way to the light of healing is to go through this present darkness,
step by step, breath by breath, hand in hand,
stumbling maybe, from time to time, but always moving forward,
together, with one another and with You.

[Reverend Hill is the senior minister at Community Christian Church in Kansas City and gave me permission to share his words here.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

time for some good news!

Let be me begin this exciting post with two quotes from Anne Frank. They serve as beautiful transitions from the previous posts:

"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart."

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

In two weeks, a mini CTT team will arrive at St. Mary Kevin Children's Home. Eager, enthusiastic, nervous and full of hope. Armed with duffel bags full of supplies. Ready to do fun and magical projects with the children. Poised to give a lot of love and receive same. Elizabeth Ormand and Rebecca Poole will accompany their teacher, my friend Jackie Heigle.




Jackie teaches photography at Middle Tennessee State University (she and I met many years ago at a Keith Carter workshop in Tuscany). Her students are photo majors, Rebecca with an interest in dance, Elizabeth in humanitarian/outreach programs  (she hopes to apply for a Fullbright grant to come back to Africa long term... this is her first trip abroad). 

In Jackie's own words:

"We all want to enjoy getting to know the children at SMK.  Yes, we hope to 'make' art.  But most of all we hope to make 'heart.'  We want to connect with the children and they with us.  We don't know where all these activities will lead us, but I am hopeful that this will be a dynamic opportunity for the children. This is a brand new conversation for me, and I am humbly inspired by Gloria." [Thank you, Jackie.]

Below are Jackie's descriptions of the cool projects she, Elizabeth and Rebecca will be doing with the kids. I want to sign up for each class! I so wish I was going to be there, at least to see the joy on the kids' faces. I have a feeling, though, there will be some awesome photos taken and then shared with the rest of us.

Photo:  Abelardo Morell 

We will convert a room into a camera obscura: This requires a single room or space that has one window that we can block, and with a simple hole in the blocking material, project the world onto the opposite interior wall.  The camera obscura becomes a raw and unique form of "live theater" and a lot of fun.  (The individuals in our "groups" will be involved in creating this room, and adapting it for the live theater.... Then others can partake in performance and viewing.... throughout the week -- we may incorporate all performance opportunities that we improvise, either in dance, music or in combination...  Or this may become a space people can enter and sit quietly to simply muse about the world outside, moving silently and upside down... Magical)

Photo:  Andy Mattern, Camera Head Shanty

Portable Box Head Camera Obscuras: These are amazing things and really can be adapted from any size (shoe box to microwave size box).  These will be constructed in class. Then everyone can try them on and experience the wonder of "pinhole image formation."

Caitlyn Soldan, The Butterfly Caper

Cyanotype Small and Large Scale Murals: These will be produced in groups, weather and light permitting and will be displayed during the Community Share day. We will need tables inside to work, and on sunny days, a few tables outside to work. We will need to place wash pails in the shade (or inside) for developing/ washing the exposed materials. We will need to string up a clothesline inside for the pieces to dry (I will bring clothes pins, and clothes line).  I am bringing all materials pre-sensitized and ready to go. 

Dance exercisesRebecca is bringing music and has developed exercises to incorporate improvised movement and choreographed dance, while also inviting traditional movements to mix with classical and modern. It would be great to engage anyone who wants to contribute musically, choir members, band, etc. This will be fun, light, open and experimental! 

Throughout all of these activities, we will answer questions and make photographs with available cameras and ones that we are bringing.

Monday, April 14, 2014


So it turns out that the 73 year-old white supremacist who fired shots yesterday in the parking lots of Kansas City’s beloved Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom didn’t manage to kill any Jews at all. Which, presumably, is what he intended to do.

A thoughtful and wise Jewish Kansas Citian, David Horesh, posted this on his FB page:

“When tragedy befalls us, it befalls us all regardless of race or religion.

According to the Midrash, God chided the angels for cheering when the Egyptians were drowned in the Sea of Reeds. ‘How dare you rejoice when any of My children suffer.’

We are all God's children, bound together by Grace. When will we realize our eternal connection? When will we stop bickering like infants - lashing out and inflicting pain so unnecessarily?

May Mercy and Grace comfort and nurture all God's children.”

The Methodist grandfather and grandson who were killed were on their way to auditions for a singing competition. The third victim, a Catholic occupational therapist, was simply arriving for a Sunday visit with her mom, a resident at the assisted-living complex.

The doors at the Jewish Community Center are shattered today. So are hearts all across this city. These two institutions combined make up the heartbeat of our Jewish “neighborhood.”

Of course, the doors will be repaired. And once again they will swing open for Jews and non-Jews alike as they bring their kids to daycare, attend theatre, go to school, visit the art gallery, call on a grandparent, eat in the café, work out, swim or just gather with friends.

What is your reaction when horrific things like this happen? Have you ever stopped to think about how you process this kind of hatred and violence? After all, we have to deal with it on some level and find a place to put our feelings so that we can move on. So we can take the next step forward. So we can fix the doors and put a swimsuit on our four-year-old for her next swim lesson. So we can continue living.

I remember the morning of 9-11. As I sat at my computer watching the first tower burn, when things were confusing and undefined, and I had no idea what was happening yet or what was to come, I called my father. He doesn’t live in New York, but I needed to know he was OK. Then I asked him: should I pick up Max from school? My first feeling was: I need to round up my family.

Then, later that day, I had to retreat. Shut down. Crawl into bed, pull the covers up over my head.

Do you know what the mother of the 14-year old singer and daughter of the boy’s grandfather did a few hours after the shooting yesterday? On the worst possible day of her life?

She showed up at the interfaith prayer service that had been hastily arranged. Dressed in a red Oklahoma hoodie, Mindy Corporon made her way to the podium and calmly addressed the crowd. She ended with this:

“We were having life, and I want you to know that we are going to have more life.”

She - without anger, without fear, without hatred, without hysterics -  gently suggested how we might all find our way and move on. She - without pointing a finger or naming a name - sent a message to a hate-spewing murderer that he has no place here. That life will be lived. 

Perhaps she is the Grace who will comfort and nurture the rest of us.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

you okay?

That was the question that kept popping up on my cell phone this afternoon and evening. After all, folks who know me know I've spent a great deal of time at the JCC here in Kansas City over the years. Eddie, too. He even worked there for a while. We weren't anywhere near the JCC today when a crazy person started shooting people in the parking lot. One of the victims (whose name has not yet been released) was shot at Village Shalom, two miles away - another spot I frequent. They say it was a hate crime and that the shooter called out "Heil Hitler!" from the backseat of the police car as he was being driven away.

There was a dramatic thunderstorm in KC just after I heard the news of the shooting. I was driving home from my studio and just had to pull over to make these photographs of the ominous and scary sky that hung over the city. It seemed like the perfect metaphor for how we're all feeling here today.

The following was written by a dear friend, Marcus, who is the director of the Epsten Gallery at Village Shalom. Apparently he couldn't make it there yesterday because his car broke down. His last line resonates loud and clear.

So many conflicted feelings today: I am glad my car broke down, preventing me from going to work today to experience the tragedy at Village Shalom, but I also wished I could have been there to help in some way. All the expressions of concern and support remind me, however, that there is still a lot of love in this world. The safest place may not necessarily be a place at all but a state of mind… 


After two pretty awful health scares (Kawasaki Disease and something like, but probably not, Reye Syndrome), several nights in the hospital, a stint in the ICU, 3 1/2-year-old Henry is (thankfully!!) on the road to recovery. I just returned last night from nearly two weeks in New Orleans trying to help out. It was draining on many levels. We're all exhausted (his parents incredibly so) but feeling hopeful that Henry's recovery is golden and he won't spiral into another crisis, which could happen, we suppose, since the diagnosis -  in the end - wasn't 100% conclusive. The doctors in NOLA are still doing a lot of head scratching over Henry's case and will probably end up writing some medical articles about the little guy. In the meantime, Henry is still being treated for the traumatic thing that happened to his liver, and he has four doctor's appointment next week alone. So, while he is on the mend, there are too many unanswered questions for us to feel like we're on solid ground just yet. He was a trooper through it all, and I was inspired by him. I was also inspired by my daughter, who is my new hero. Without her intimate knowledge of Henry's rhythms and patterns, without her vigilance, without her gentle but firm persistence - even in the face of doctors who wanted to dismiss certain things along the way - without her steadfast "Mama Bear" stance, things could have taken a different turn here or there. Next time I hear someone talk about being an "advocate" for a patient, I will think of Abbie, whose picture should be pasted next to the definition of the word. 

Some things for which I am feeling thankful:

Kids are resilient.

Clara, who just keeps smiling and learning a few new words each day, including "Hemy!"

My friends and family who have been sending waves of healing energy and keeping Henry in their thoughts and prayers.

Abbie has the sweetest, smartest and most supportive husband in Sam, who also happens to be the most amazing dad ever.

and last, but not least… Henry Abram Brandao

Here are some pictures I took after Henry came home from his second stay in the hospital. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

a guggie i did not get

Last summer I began the process of applying for a Guggenheim Fellowship. I had decided in the spring to take on this endeavor, and I spent a great deal of time thinking about the proposal I would submit.

In the end - and over the course of several weeks - I wrote three separate proposals. The Guggenheim folks basically want to know how you might spend a year (and $30,000 to $40,000) completing a project you would not otherwise have the time and/or resources to put into motion. It's an amount that is supposed to free you from the chains of having to "work" during the year - designed to allow the you to devote your creative efforts to a project of your own choosing for a duration of approximately one year. Think Robert Frank and "The Americans."

I finally settled on proposal #3, spent a lot of time writing and assembling other support information, made a set of twenty very carefully edited photographs and convinced four esteemed people to write letters of recommendation for me. When I sent everything in the day before the deadline, I was glad to be finished, but I was also really happy that I had subjected myself to the process. While it was somewhat grueling, it proved to be a thought provoking period, full of introspection and self evaluation  - one that forced me to consider more fully than ever the choices I have made living a photographer's life.

The process of applying for a Guggenheim Fellowship is shrouded in secrecy. There are few hints to be found anywhere in books or online. There is no "how to" manual. I ended up making several calls to past "Guggie" recipients so I could find out what their secrets to success were. I finally realized that it was a total crap shoot for me; I didn't really expect to get it (but, of course, I was secretly hoping I would).

I got the rejection letter today.

It was the same day my grandson Henry got to come home from the hospital after a pretty severe and scary illness. Because of that timing, I was able to put it all into a proper and healthy perspective and realize that everything is relative. The joy and sheer relief I felt that grandson Henry was well enough to come home and that he will be fine was so much bigger than anything I felt about the Guggenheim. I ended this day feeling truly blessed, not sad or depressed.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

detour: new orleans

I spent this past week helping Abbie and Sam take care of two sick kiddos. While it was a wonderful, unexpected surprise to see them, it was not easy to see them ill.

I busted out the camera once they were on the mend.