"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

center awards

Today Center Santa Fe announced its prizes for the annual Project Competition, Project Launch Competition, Curator's Choice, Director's Choice, Editor's Choice and Center's Choice Awards. I am honored to be one of the ten award winners in the Director's Choice category. Two of the Sea Pictures wiggled their way in. There were 2,239 images submitted. See the award winners here. You'll notice of the ten, I am the only one still working in black and white.

(I'm a stubborn old fart.)

For my Uganda portfolio, I was also given the opportunity to attend Center's Review Santa Fe in June, which is, according to the website, "the premiere juried portfolio review event in the U.S. It is a weekend conference for photographers who have created a significant project or series and are seeking wider recognition. Up to 100 photographers are selected to meet with esteemed curators, editors, art directors, publishers, gallery and agency reps, and alternative market professionals."

There were a lot of submissions to Review this year - 433 - all high caliber, according to the folks at Center. Between this number and the number of submissions mentioned above, it is clear that there is a lot of great work being done. It's mind boggling, really.

You can see all the prize winners here.

I really liked what the Director's Choice Jurors, Chris Bennet and Laura Valenti, Director and Program Director respectively at Newspace Center of Photography in Portland, Oregon, had to say about the work they chose:

"Out of a diverse field of talented photographers, we have chosen two 
images each from 10 photographers for the Directors' Choice 
competition. The photographers selected have a striking breadth of 
talent and a uniquely modern take on the medium.

Our selection is unified by a subtle elegance, a delicate humanity, 
and a sense of mystery, as well as a remarkable clarity of perspective 
and a high level of craft. As a whole, the images chosen speak to our 
primary interest in showcasing challenging contemporary fine-art and fine-art documentary work. We are pleased to offer our gallery as an 
exhibition venue for the winners and look forward to a gorgeous show 
at Newspace in September."

I am excited to be part of all this. I took my very first photography workshop at the Santa Fe Workshops nearly 15 years ago and returned to the Workshops several times. I have attended Review Santa Fe two or three times over the years and have really enjoyed, been inspired by and been challenged by the reviewers. I love meeting and sharing work with the other photographers and the community of Santa Fe. I look forward to returning to the Land of Enchantment in June for more of all of this.

And, of course, I'm thrilled that I'll be included in a Fall show in Portland, my new second home!

I congratulate all the other award winners, all those who took the time and energy (and financial expense) to enter the competition and especially the women who oversee this whole thing: Laura Pressley and Jessica Taylor Watts-Parker. Having put on a juried competition back when I was a gallery owner, I know all too well how daunting the task is. When you consider the depth and breadth of this competition, the fact that it is pulled off so seamlessly is awfully impressive.

Friday, March 26, 2010

change the truth exciting news: part one

As promised, here's a taste of some of the exciting stuff going on at Change the Truth.

The centerpiece of our annual fundraiser this June will be dolls. The children at the orphanage make these wonderful, whimsical dolls out of banana fiber (the stuff you strip off the bottom of the banana tree.) The dolls have always been big sellers at our events; they are clamored over, actually. Each has a distinct personality, and all are beautiful. This year, we are asking area artists to select a doll and do a "collaboration" of sorts with the child who created it. The artist will alter or decorate the doll any way he/she sees fit.

The really exciting part is that some of Kansas City's preeminent artists have agreed to take on this project - indeed a generous gift of their time and talent. The artists will have the doll for about a month to put their "signature" on it and transform it into a new piece. Among those who have kindly taken on the challenge are ceramicists, painters, printmakers and fabric artists.

Just to whet your appetite for the June 25th silent auction, here is a sampling of some of the amazing and highly respected artists who have graciously agreed to participate:

Shea Gordon
Jane Voorhees
Marcus Cain
Lonnie Powell
Linda Lighton
Susan White
Allan Winkler
Archie Scott Gobber

Included in this fantastic mix of creative rock stars will be art educators, high school students and emerging artists. We have about 40 dolls to give out and are still in the process of contacting artists. More names will soon be announced, and starting in May, I will post photos of some of the finished pieces.

In the meantime, here's a photo of one of the dolls - ready for "alteration."

parting shot

I enjoyed terrific weather while in Oregon this week. Sunny and clear and the first thing everyone wanted to talk about! When I left today to head back to Kansas City, clouds, cold and rain had moved into Portland. It was kind of a good day to leave, I guess, but I sure do love my time in the Pacific Northwest.

This is the last of the images I made at Siletz Bay.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

sea series at leopold gallery

I'm pleased to say that I'll be part of an upcoming four-person exhibit at Leopold Gallery. The show opens on Aril 9 and I'm exhibiting (for the first time) a selection of pieces from the "Sea Series." I'm hoping to have enough time to frame a couple I made just this week at Siletz Bay out here in the Pacific Northwest. Here's another picture that keeps calling my name.

Here is the invitation for the show. I'd love to see you there! The artists' reception will be Friday, April 9 from 6 - 9 PM. Leopold is located in Brookside in Kansas City.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

new work

I sneaked off to Portland this week for a little r&r and to continue working on my Sea Series. Yesterday I found my way to Siletz Bay - which is part of Lincoln City - on the breathtaking Oregon coast. Oh, I'm a lucky girl.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

change the truth fundraiser: june 25th

Lots of exciting things are happening at CTT. A date has been set for our 3rd annual fundraiser. MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 25TH! The artwork that will be offered in the silent auction has been chosen and is now being matted. All other plans, including selection of venue, booking of entertainment and the addition of some new special features are well underway. Stay tuned here to get all the latest information.

There is more cool news that will be announced later this week. You won't want to miss it!

Friday, March 19, 2010

winter paralympics: amazing athletes, amazing pictures

Over 500 athletes from 44 countries around the world have once again descended on Vancouver Canada, for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympic Games, (officially known as the X Paralympic Winter Games). After a separate torch relay and opening ceremony, competitors faced off in five different sports: Sledge hockey, Wheelchair curling, Alpine skiing, Biathlon, and Cross-country skiing - the last three broken into classes of sitting, standing and visually impaired. Currently Russia is leading the medals race, with Canada and Ukraine tied for second place. The Winter Paralympics continue until the Closing Ceremony on Sunday March 21st. - From the Boston Globe

(Thanks, Brian!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

on a lighter note: you are a bus

Subaru is the name of a star cluster in the Taurus constellation, which is called “Pleiades” in the West. Six of its stars are visible to the naked eye. Credit for naming the car company goes to Kenja Kita, the first president of Fuji Heavy Industries. As Fuji Heavy Industries had just taken over five of twelve companies resulting from the breakup of the old Nakajima Aircraft Company, Kita saw this unique name as the ideal symbol to express the unification of these five Fuji companies - "Subaru”.

Sure, we all knew that... right?

But while spring break road tripping behind my son Max’s “The Ru” his good friend Arjun figured out the true, veiled meaning of the name by simply reading it backwards.

Max quickly got out the tools necessary for rearranging the letters and


Um, I mean... URABUS!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

photographers and haiti

The following post, written by The New York Times’s international picture editor, Patrick Witty, raises interesting and important questions.

“Photographers from across the globe descended on Haiti after the earthquake. As the death toll grew, more photographers arrived — some with a deep history of working in Haiti or in conflict zones, some with neither. Some photographers were sent on assignment, supported by the budgets of large news organizations. Some went on their own dime.

At one point there were almost certainly too many photographers in Haiti. But which point?

This question is scarcely new. It attends every war, every conflict; each famine, disaster and political upheaval.

‘I think it goes without saying that I believe it important that photographers are there to document the event,’ said Uriel Sinai, a photographer for Getty Images, who was there.

Few would disagree. But the scope of coverage in Haiti seems to exist on a different scale. Ron Haviv of the VII agency said that in times of crisis, Haiti is a ‘haven for photographers.’

‘Amazing story, people and images are there,’ said Mr. Haviv, who has been traveling to Haiti for 20 years and made pictures there after the earthquake. ‘Being so accessible and inexpensive has always led to an abundance — and sometimes overabundance — of photographers during the various coups, insurrections and natural disasters. Quite often during these times, it was normal for three to six photographers, plus the occasional TV crew, to be all working the same scene.’

Mr. Sinai acknowledged that ‘it feels awkward when you get to a scene of violence, tragedy, or chaos, et cetera, and there are more photographers around a subject than there are even people at the scene.’

‘When you are there in the moment, and there are photographers crawling all over the place, it simply feels weird,’ he said.
It’s worth noting that in troubled areas around the world — not just Haiti — numerous photographers often are in the same place at the same time, frequently traveling there together.

‘First and foremost, it’s an issue of safety,’ said David Gilkey, a photographer for NPR. But he does not see this as an impediment to good coverage. ‘Even though you are traveling with another photographer, you are almost never duplicating each other’s work,’ Mr. Gilkey said. ‘While two people may be looking at the same thing, they’re seeing it in different ways.’

More than a dozen photographers covered the landing of U.S. troops at the ruined National Palace on Jan. 19. The scene recalled a photograph by Alex Webb of American soldiers landing on the beach in Haiti in 1994, facing what looked like a battery of news photographers. This year, many photographers were drawn to a statue, untouched by the earthquake, standing solemnly amid the destruction.

There is no question a tragedy of this magnitude demands a thousand eyes or even more. But do they all have to be staring at the same thing? When does redundant become intrusive?

Some photographers drew the line at themselves. Despite having worked in Haiti many times, for instance, Christopher Anderson of Magnum decided to avoid the earthquake and its immediate aftermath. ‘I have never felt comfortable covering natural disasters,’ he said.

‘Wars and other types of human-made tragedies are different. There are questions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, political complications, et cetera. I feel like my voice as an observer has a purpose.

‘But with an earthquake or tsunami, I don’t have a purpose. There is no need for explanation or contemplation. There is only the immediate need for the news photographers to go and report what has happened.

‘I am not a news photographer. I would just be composing pictures of misery. Not to mention being another mouth to feed and another camera in the face of someone who has just lost everything. In the days and weeks immediately after something like this, all that matters is that the news pictures help drive a response of aid. I didn’t feel like there was anything I could add to that. They didn’t need me getting in the way.’

Paradoxically, the question could soon become: are there enough photographers covering Haiti?

As celebrity television journalists begin to leave and the spotlight on Haiti dims, photography, in many ways, becomes even more crucial. Lynsey Addario, who arrived in Haiti last month on assignment for The New York Times, said she felt conflict about not going just after the earthquake struck. But she realized that important stories will need to be told as the recovery continues.

‘While the first phase of the Haiti story is coming to an end, there is a whole new stage of people moving on with their lives, and trying to rebuild what they can in a totally shattered psychological and physical infrastructure,’ Ms. Addario said. ‘I sometimes feel I can be a more effective photographer, and do more in-depth coverage, if I do spend more time on stories without the pack, and choose subjects that I feel are lacking coverage.’

‘There will be many quiet, important features to do.’”

Monday, March 15, 2010

when and what to shoot: meyerowitz

Good stuff from a Joel Meyerowitz interview I recently stumbled upon...

"I'm often asked how I know when and what to shoot. You feel it out. It's like walking on ice. You have to feel your way and use your intuition.

For me, I know when I'm there.

Simple human terms are the motivation and the response. It's like conversation. When you go to a party and you talk to somebody, you may at first stand at a social distance, or, if there's some opening from that person, and you feel connected, you may get slightly closer and speak in a more intimate way. Or if you dance with someone, you may dance close or you may dance at a social distance. You feel it out. That's what it's like when I'm photographing, I move in and out as I get called into what's happening and I try and find the right relationship to it, of course this is all happening in an instantaneous way. After all the camera has a thousandth of a second on it which means we can react and relate in those minute fragments of time. One learns to live in those here and now and then vanished moments.

It's all about seeing the things only YOU can see. After all you see everything every day, and most of it seems boring, right? But then, every once in a while you see something and it makes you have a little 'gasp', isn't that so? Just a little intake of your breath when you are startled by that small thing, or that brief moment when something in the world says, 'look at me, pay attention to ME!' Well, that's it! That's when you take the picture and when you have done that for a while you will have lots of pictures that will look only like pictures that you can see, and not like anyone else's pictures. And that's the secret. there are no rules to follow, there is only your 'instinct'.

Wherever I go, the camera is on my shoulder, and it's been like that for more than forty years. I am just there trying to be present and conscious. And at some given moment I sense that I've walked into a zone of energy that awakens me. I suddenly lose my forward momentum. There's no reason to go forward. It's not something I eyeball. It's not a bunch of red flowers, or an obvious object, it's some thing that's giving off energy. It's a force field that I enter and in it there are relationships that come together in a way that strikes me as meaningful.

Sometimes, for example, when you walk on the streets of New York, and you walk under construction scaffolding, you step out of the daylight and into the shadow, and as you pass that place where the door leads into the site you smell the presence of wet concrete, of acetylene torches, and the dust of construction. It's a very palpable, powerful smell. You step under the scaffolding and there's nothing; you hit the door and there's a smell of everything; and then you take one more step and there's nothing again. You've left the zone. All that's happened is that a current of air has rushed across the path that you're on. Photography is like that; a sliver of sensation that becomes visible in some way and then is gone, but when you were in it, it was total.

I don't mean to be mystical, but when I hit that space I say, 'Whoa, something is here. What's here?' The first thing that's there is me. I take the opportunity to see what it is that's defining me. And every time I do that I make a picture that has some special meaning to me. When I look at them afterwords, I know I was in the right place and the right time. I use that beat to allow it to come into being, to stop myself from pushing through it. Because the easiest thing is to be blind, and to keep right on rolling until you get to someplace that's a familiar, observable reality. But this is not only about an observable reality; it's a sensory reality. I trust that now, more than any other form of approach.

My central premise as an artist is to connect to my own feelings, and by so doing, when I'm really close to them, I may be able to make something that transports people back to the experience through the openness of the photograph. That's what I do, I try and disappear, and let the image do the work of transmitting the experience. I've come to understand this over 40+ years of shooting, that the heart of my work is conveying what I felt while I was briefly awakened by the moment. These 'glimpses' of reality are powerful calls to consciousness."

-- Joel Meyerowitz

(Thanks, Hub)

Friday, March 12, 2010


Like most every other emerging and mid-career artist, I enter competitions; one of my favorites is PhotoSpiva, one that is right in my own backyard in Joplin, MIssouri. From the website:

“PhotoSpiva is a national competition hosted annually by Spiva Center for the Arts. Founded in 1977, PhotoSpiva has become the longest-running photographic competition of its kind in the U.S. As stated by the founders, the objective of PhotoSpiva is to ‘present an exhibition of excellence in photography, celebrating the scope and vigorous activity of today’s contemporary photographers.’

Co-Founder Jim Mueller stated, ‘We have intentionally avoided any categorization of either photographers or their work in setting forth the criteria for this competitive.’ PhotoSpiva welcomes any photographic process as long as it is original artwork and has not been previously exhibited at Spiva Center for the Arts. This philosophy has created an unbiased forum for exhibiting and educating photographers."

I was actually the juror in 1987, back in the day when I wore my gallery owner hat. Other jurors over the years have included Mary Virginia Swanson, Jack Welpott, Sally Gall, Elizabeth Opalenik, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison and Keith Carter. I have entered the competition a few times during the last decade and have always been pleased to figure into the show. This year, two of my new Uganda pictures landed the 2nd place prize. Tom Chambers took the first prize, deservedly so! (This is one competition that does give fairly generous cash prizes.)

I didn’t make it to the opening reception, but I did swipe this picture from PhotoSpiva’s Facebook page. In it you can see my two images that were accepted.

The judges always seem to enjoy working on this show. The juror this year was Deborah Klochko, Director of the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, California.

Here’s what Keith Carter had to say about the exhibit when he juried it in 2006:

“At the end of the day when all is said and done, I tell you unashamedly that I love exhibitions such as this. It shows the magnificent democratic tradition of image making is alive and well!”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

more stills for the video

Continuing to show work I’ve made for the Operation Breakthrough fundraising video...

These photographs feature a family of four. The parents struggle because of low education, lost jobs and continued unemployment. They and their two children have been homeless, have lived in shelters, have had countless meals at soup kitchens and are challenged daily because they have no car and little money. The help they’ve received from OB has lifted them up, but nothing much good (except a HUGE amount of family love and a tender sense of togetherness) has come their way.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


These days I continue working on the video presentation that will debut next month at the annual fundraiser for Operation Breakthrough. One of the children we're featuring lives in an apartment with her learning and physically challenged mom.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

ctt annual event

Today was the first meeting of the 2010 CTT Friendraiser/Fundraiser planning committee. Lots of great ideas were tossed around. This is an energetic and creative group of people; it will be exciting to see what develops! Stay tuned for more details.

photo by Linda (back row left to right) Paula, Eddie, Gloria, Mary, David, Michael (front row, left to right) Susie, Paulette, Lynne, Melissa (not pictured) Wynne, Richelle, Ann, Sandy, Linda

Friday, March 05, 2010

exciting news!

When asked to describe myself, I say I’m a photographer, the director of a not-for-profit and a mom.

Come August, I get to add a new line to my resume.


Here’s son-in-law Sam being, um, Sam.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

one of the best letters ever

this email landed in my in-box yesterday. with kaley's permission, i am sharing it here. if you've ever thought about going on a volunteer vacation or considered sending your teenager on one, read this and you might decide to just do it. thank you, kaley! you made my day.

"with each day, i realize more and more the impact that africa has had on my relationships and my own life. when i first got back, it was hard to balance the life i have in america and the life i had in uganda. the bonds i made in africa are unlike any that i’ve ever had, and its been confusing trying to find that at home. things in uganda came naturally, and everything was real. i think it’s just been very strange to see the differences in how friendships are made here and just how people interact in general. i guess it has a lot to do with the fact that i’m still in high school, but i’ve been trying really hard to not get caught up in it. as i go into the third month away from uganda, i’m starting now to realize the niche that the experience has in my life.

it has been about accepting new people and loving them for their differences.

i don’t know exactly how to describe the extent to which my life has changed because the new me adapts to every situation and grows from it in different ways. there isn’t simply one part of me that i could point out that has been an obvious change. my development has been subtle, yet sincerely noticeable. it’s kind of contradictory, but, like i said, i don’t know how else to describe it.

i guess you could say i’ve matured, and in the end i owe it all to you. i thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for everything that you’ve done for me. you saw something in me six months or so ago that i didn’t see in myself. it was something that convinced you i was a worthy contender to go on this trip. you set it all in motion and for that you helped me grow up in a big way. you opened my eyes and my heart to an entirely new world. so i will forever hold a big place in my heart for not only you, mama gloria, but for st. mary kevin as well.

i hope that in a few years that i might be able to go on another trip, if my application is accepted, of course. but for now, good luck with everything and let me know if you ever need anything." - kaley

Monday, March 01, 2010

the good people fund

Change the Truth was lucky to receive a grant from the "Good People Fund" this past November. The money was earmarked for the purchase of a brand new laptop, some software, several thumb drives and a printer for the computer lab at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage. An article was just published in the Good People Fund diary about the grant. It's really nice - take a look!

I have posted their mission statement before, but in case you didn't see it, here it is again:

"Many people work quietly and diligently, often below the radar screen and with shoe-string budgets, to better our world in untold numbers of ways. It is to these people, small entities or individuals whose efforts don’t benefit from glossy brochures or promotions, or help from adequate staff or large organizational structures, that we direct our attention. Their success is our mission — by making them and their work visible and viable to others who will provide needed funding through tzedakah that is given in a cost-effective and meaningful way. One might call those that do this work social entrepreneurs or tzadikim (the righteous ones). We choose to call them simply good people.

Founded by a diverse group inspired by the work of Danny Siegel, founder of the Ziv Tzedakah Fund, including and led by Naomi Eisenberger, Ziv's former Managing Director, The Good People Fund is about both the good people who work selflessly on behalf of others, and also the good people who contribute time, money and energy to help that work become a reality."