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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

secondary school

Evalyn, Claire Faith and Scovia (beginning Senior 2)

Rose and Fiona (beginning Senior 1)

Another academic year has begun in Uganda. The students have received their uniforms, shoes, books, pencils and hygiene supplies and are off and running! 

CTT's sponsored secondary students take the following mandatory classes:  English, Mathematics, Geography, History, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.  They also take enrichment classes, including classes such as:  Literature, Fine Arts, Christian Religious Education, Luganda, Kiswahili, Entrepreneurship, Communication, and Computer. Sixteen classes in all! That's enough to make one's head spin.

But just wait until you read about the typical day in the life of a secondary school student:

The school day begins at 3:00 AM, when students wake to complete morning dormitory chores, engage in morning study sessions, participate in organized prayer time, eat breakfast and prepare for their day.  Regular morning classes begin at 7:00 AM and conclude at 4:00 PM.  Each class is held in 40 minute increments. Students typically get a short break during mid-morning and for lunch. After classes, students have the opportunity for some social activities (like clubs or sports), complete personal tasks (like laundry), and eat evening dinner.  At 7:00 PM, student reenter the classrooms for Night Prep classes (evening study sessions) to revise notes or complete homework.  Classes finally conclude at 9:00 PM.  Dormitory lights are out by 10:00. Students have classes for a half-day on Saturday. No classes occur on Sunday.  

CTT is now sponsoring 24 students in secondary school, two in vocational school and five in college.

We've come a long way over the years, and so have these eager, hard working students!

Friday, March 29, 2013

could it be you?

Dawn Taylor, Team 5, with her new friends

Wanted: adventurous, generous people who would like to travel to Uganda to be with the children who live at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood.

You must be able to travel in December and be away for Christmas.

You must pay your own way.

You must be prepared to jump rope, perform in a talent show, hold hands with lots of kids at once and dance.

You must be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

You must be prepared to fall in love over and over again. You must be willing to make room in your heart for this.

You should be able to work well in a group.

You must be willing to take off your watch and let things happen when they do.

You must be prepared to see and hear things that will make you cry.

You must be willing to be loved purely and unconditionally by many sweet, beautiful children.

You must be willing to get red dirt permanently on your clothing and shoes.

You must be prepared to (occasionally) be without power and (usually) without the other comforts of your own home.

You must be wiling to let your life change.


Team 7 is now forming. Contact Gloria for details. (Feel free to share this with others who might be interested.) gbfeinstein [at] aol [dot] com.

Thursday, March 28, 2013




Nsubuga Saka is a good-looking young man who is very quiet and shy. That is, until you get to know him. Turns out this kid has a wonderful sense of sarcasm and humor, and he absolutely loves to be with people and make them laugh! He is confident, caring and playful - a loyal friend and (like Henry) a terrific role model for the younger children. Knowing Saka all these years has been like unwrapping a beautifully packaged gift. Slowly but surely, the treasure inside has emerged. 

Saka has been working hard in vocational school and is now in his final semester at Buganda Royal Institute of Business and Technical Education. This June he will obtain his Certificate of Accounting. Saka is a half-orphan who has been a member of SMK's community since Primary 2. He was one of the first students sponsored by CTT in 2007.  Upon his graduation, he will join the business work force.  He hopes to work in one of Uganda’s banks. 

Saka shared that CTT sponsorship not only provided an educational opportunity, but a way of honoring his late father. “My father was an accountant before he died. People working in banks look so smart, so confident.  When I think of working of a bank, I think my father would be very proud of me. CTT provided me with an education that I did not think I would ever have. Now I have hope for my future.  I will be a good man, like my father.  Thank you CTT.”

Congratulations to yet another successful CTT sponsored student. It has taken a village, and we are proud to be a very big part of it!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

i'm heading to panera for some chicken soup right now!

A few weeks ago my son Max told me about a very cool program started by Panera's head honcho, Ron Shaich. In late January, Max's very own Boston was graced with the arrival of the fifth "Panera Cares" community cafe. I hadn't heard of these before, so Max filled me in. Today, I heard a story about "Panera Cares" on NPR. Seems the good word is getting out!

Shaich didn't start the "pay what you can" restaurant movement, but he is the first to bring it to a well-known chain that has a zillion locations and a bazillion customers. It's possible that with support like his, we may see more restaurants of this kind sprout up across the land.

The idea is simple. The customer orders food from the same menu other Panera stores offer. When it comes time to pay, the person behind the counter states what the suggested price of that order is. At that point, the customer gets to make a decision: pay that amount, pay less than that amount or pay more than that amount. It's a retail store that charges on a sliding scale!

The store in Boston seems to be doing very well. Like its counterparts (in Portland, Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis) about 60% of the customers pay the price that is quoted, 20% pay less and 20% pay more. It works out for everyone! Those experiencing food insecurity get to dine out with dignity (and no judgement), and those who wish to lend a helping hand to the hungry get to do so easily and painlessly.

"Panera Cares" addresses an issue that we simply can't avoid. Over 17 million homes in the US are food insecure. One in five children do not have enough to eat each day. These are staggering statistics.

The mission of "Panera Cares" states that they are trying to do what they can to lessen these numbers:

"While many solutions exist to provide access to food, 'Panera Cares' community cafes are designed to address hunger in a new way…in a restaurant setting that maintains one’s dignity and fills one’s belly."

Visit their website to read more about these cool new community cafes. 

Monday, March 25, 2013



Henry was one of the first children I met when I went to St. Mary Kevin in 2006. The way I met him was actually very sweet. I had two disposable cameras with me. I wanted to give them to two kids who would value them and who might take some personal/revealing/interesting/informative pictures of their friends and surroundings at the orphanage. I asked director Rosemary to select one boy and one girl for this mini-project. She took great pride in introducing me to the children she chose, both of whom, she said, were very smart, trustworthy and personable. Soon, I was handing the cameras off to a girl named Samalie and a boy named Henry.

Henry was in the first group of secondary students sponsored by CTT. After finishing secondary school, he chose to attend vocational school so he could become a certified electrician. He recently completed his courses and is now doing what he has always wanted to do. Thank you, generous supporters of CTT, for helping make that happen!!!

Here is Henry's story:

Ssemanda Henry has completed his vocational studies obtaining a Certificate in Electricity from Nakawa Vocational Institute in November 2012.  Henry is a full orphan who has been a member of SMKOM’s community since Primary 2.  Henry was one of the first students sponsored by CTT in 2007 during his Senior 2 year in Secondary school.  Henry already had an interest in electrical work.  Through his sponsorship, CTT was able to provide Henry with an academic opportunity to expand his knowledge base and skill set within the electrical field, thus preparing Henry for Uganda’s competitive job market.  Within only 3 months of his vocational completion, Henry now has his first job with RES (Rio Engineering Services) installing electrical services to homes and businesses.  In his future, Henry wants to own his own electrical company and specialty shop for electrical supplies.  Henry shared that CTT sponsorship meant security in his studies. “When I went to school, I did not have to worry about my school fees being paid.  Here in Uganda that is a big problem.  I never had to worry about not completing my studies.”  CTT sponsorship also offered opportunity and a more secure future for Henry.  “Because of CTT I have achieved skills.  I now have a job.  Thank you for what you have done for me.  You have changed my life.”

CONGRATULATIONS to Henry, who has worked very hard to get to this point in his life. CTT could not be more proud!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

a pastel kind of day

I woke up very early this morning and found myself longing for some pastel chalk under my fingernails! (I get very messy when I do this.) So, a new drawing emerged. The first in quite a while, actually.

Friday, March 22, 2013

happy facts

I am sick and tried of losing my battle with a sinus infection (despite drugs), sick and tired of friends having to deal with cancer and break-ups and death, sick and tired of snow/cold weather and sick and tired of reading the news about bad people (Steubenville rapists, just to name a few).

So when I saw this silly post on a friend's Facebook page, I was delighted. Pardon me while I share these very happy facts! (Gullible is my middle name, so I hope these facts are all true. Especially the one about flamingos. I could look it up, but this morning I prefer to just believe.)

Thanks, Erica, for posting. For the rest of you, if you'd like to see the entire list of "The 30 Happiest Facts of All Time" click here.

Squirrels forgetting where they put their acorns result in thousand of new trees each year.

Some window washers at children's hospitals surprise the kids by dressing up like superheroes.

Otters hold hands while sleeping so they won't float apart.

The voice of Micky Mouse and the voice of Minnie Mouse got married in real life.

If you fake laugh long enough, you'll actually start to laugh really hard.

A group of flamingos is called a flamboyance.

When you were born, you were, for however brief an amount of time, the youngest person on the planet.

Puffins mate for life.

A chemical called oxytocin is released when people cuddle, helping to heal physical wounds.

Cows have best friends.

Alexander Graham Bell originally wanted people to greet each other on the phone by saying "ahoy!" instead of "hello!"

Blind people smile despite never having never seen someone smile before. It is just a natural human reaction.

The last man to talk on the moon, Gene Cernan, promised his daughter he'd write her initials on the moon. He did, and her initials "TDC" will probably be on the moon for tens of thousands of years.

In 1957, the BBC ran an April Fool's story about how spaghetti was growing on trees in Switzerland. So many people believed the hoax that the BBC was flooded with calls from people asking how to plant their own spaghetti tree.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

the baker gallery

Abbie, Gloria and Andre Kertesz in front of the gallery, c. 1983 (photo by Diane Covert)

My solo show, the preparation for which is beginning to consume most of my waking hours, has been dubbed a “mid-career retrospective.” This means two things: I am at the mid point of my career, and I have enough stuff under my belt to warrant a long look back.

I do have many years to contemplate, especially considering how young I was when I first picked up a camera. No one is quite sure who gave me that first camera, a Rocket Brownie, but whoever it was gave me the gift that just kept on giving! It became attached to my 2-and-a-half-year-old right wrist, where it often dangled like a new piece of treasured jewelry. It was, of course, just the first of many cameras to follow.

It hasn’t been only the cameras and the pictures I took with them that have made this first part of my photographic journey so wonderful. It’s also been the people I’ve met along the way.

Fast forward to my mid-twenties, when I had the chutzpah to open a photography gallery in my new hometown of Kansas City. I did it because I loved being around photographs, photographic books, posters, postcards and photographers. For ten years, I was privileged to surround myself with stacks of prints by people like Cartier-Bresson, Levitt, Robert Adams, Siskind, Arbus, Evans, Cunningham, Doisneau, Kertesz, Meyerowitz, Leibovitz, Josephson, Pfahl, Uelsmann, Dater and Mann. On Saturdays, the gallery would fill up with photographers from the area – people like Loftis, Koch, Kilmer, Tarnowski, Gutowski, Covert, Hamilton and Sutton. Folks sat around looking at prints, books and magazines and chewed the fat about all things photography. Collectors would stop in: Hollander, Berkley, Meeker, Anderson, Nerman, Kaufman and Davis.

It was a special time in my life. I was blissfully wrapped up in being a new mom who adored her role as parent and a businesswoman who had no fear. I made biannual trips to New York for the auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. I brought in guest artists and lecturers, had book signings, organized competitions and sponsored photo workshops. It’s crazy when I look back on it. I didn’t really know enough to start the business, much less run it, but I dove in (ignorance is bliss??) and loved every minute of it.

Even though I had just received my MA in photography prior to opening the "Baker Gallery," I didn’t have time during those years to make my own pictures. The Hasselblad was shoved into a drawer at that point. It would be fifteen years before I reached in, grabbed it and started shooting again.

But what I learned during those heady days of running the local photography gallery was exciting, educational, invaluable and irreplaceable. 

I wouldn’t trade that part of my career for anything.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

what's in a name?

Clara, now 6 weeks

The five most popular girl names in 2012 were: Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella and Ava. The most popular boy names were: Aiden, Jackson, Ethan, Liam and Mason. I know this because I studied the lists while Abbie was pregnant, and besides, I happen to be interested in the whole name thing.

Abbie and Sam did not learn the sex of either baby until the moment the children emerged (Henry into air, Clara into water) AND they carefully guarded their list of possible names. So on both birthdays, Eddie and I got to experience two great surprises! I liked it that way. I don’t really understand the introduction of babies via sonogram on Facebook: We are thrilled for you to meet our baby boy Lucas, who will be born in twenty weeks. Isn’t he adorable??!

It’s not uncommon these days for the expectant couple to reveal the sex of their baby at the baby shower. Here’s how it’s done. The couple goes in for the 20-week sonogram. The technician writes down the sex of the baby on a piece of paper, then seals the paper in an envelope. The couple takes the envelope to their local bakery. The cake baker opens the envelope and then bakes a cake with either a pink or blue center. (Yes, the lady at the cake counter at Price Chopper finds out even before the expectant parents do.) At the baby shower, the cake is sliced and VOILA! Everyone, the couple included, gets the happy news that IT’S A BOY! or IT’S A GIRL!

(My friend Kate, over at Eat the Damn Cake, wrote a wonderful piece about the day she and her husband decided to look at the note that was in the envelope. It’s a very sweet and funny account of their experience. You can read it here.)

At any rate, these “gender cake parties” may have to take a back seat to a new trend in the “gender reveal” world. And folks, I am not making this stuff up. Here’s how this particular soiree unfolds: The couple hires a company that will do the sonogram at home. The shower begins. The living room looks like it always did, except that there is a curtain drawn around some rather large equipment and a table in the corner of the room. There is also a big video monitor. Midway through the party, the pregnant person excuses herself and proceeds toward the table and a smiling technician. Behind the curtain they go. The partner of the pregnant person gets the TV fired up and asks the guests to turn their attention to the screen. I think you can figure out the rest.

Of course, once the sex is known, a name selection isn’t too far behind (though I can imagine the pregnant couple has a stash of both “Michael” and “Michaela” party favors at the ready during these “gender reveal parties."). Choosing a name for one’s child is a big deal, and one can only hope the child will eventually agree that it was a good idea. (I can speak from experience on this topic; my son changed his when he was five. You can read about that here.)

A lot of the names being chosen these days are colorful, charismatic and unusual, much like those being given to Hollywood celebrities’ wee ones. If you want to give your kid a really exotic name in 2013 – one no one in her class will have – I would suggest naming her Sarah or Jennifer or Mary or Ann!

I love the names that were given to my grandkids: Henry and Clara. (Of course, I would love these two children even if I did not like their names.) But I think their names are perfect.

Abbie knows I get a kick out of seeing the latest trends in baby names, so this morning she sent me the list of Henry’s pre-preschool classmates (he will begin attending “school” two mornings a week this fall): Julien, Jude, Rosalie, Jubilee and Maple.

Recently a friend of mine became the grandmother to a Penelope. Other names that are growing in popularity are: Scarlett, Harper, Aubrey, Ivy, Harlow and Clover for girls; Brantley, Declan, Grayson, Kayson, Kingston and Archer for boys.

If you’re interested in the history and popularity of your own name, check out one of my fave sites: Baby Name Wizard. Using the baby voyager tool, you can track any name’s usage from the 1880’s til now. Henry, for example, was the 8th most popular name in the 1880’s, dropped to 134th in the 1980’s and is now very much on the rise again. 

Gloria, on the other hand, was ranked 0 in the 1890’s and is ranked 571st in 2011. My close friend Cheryl is ranked 0 in 2013. Now there are a couple unique names to use! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

two girls

I made this picture at Operation Breakthrough last week. There are always certain kids who draw me in. For whatever reason, the little girl with her arms lifted just got a hold of me that day. I think this picture shows her strength, her sweetness and even her sassiness, but also her vulnerability.

And I love the way her friend gently wrapped her arm around her.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

gravity and grace

I'm deviating from photography here, but felt this video just had to be shared. Ghanaian artist El Anatsui is celebrating a major retrospective of his work; it's now showing at the Brooklyn Museum. (Perhaps you've seen his High Line piece in NY?) This exhibition looks positively majestic.

Anatsui converts found materials into a new type of media that lies between 
sculpture and painting, combining aesthetic traditions from his birth country, 
Ghana; his home in Nsukka, Nigeria; and the global history of abstraction.

Included in the exhibition are twelve recent monumental wall and floor sculptures, widely considered to represent the apex of Anatsui’s career. The metal wall works, created with bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, are pieced together to form colorful, textured hangings that take on radically new shapes with each installation. Anatsui is captivated by his materials’ history of use, reflecting his own nomadic background. Gravity and Grace responds to a long history of innovations in abstract art and performance, building upon cross-cultural exchange among Africa, Europe, and the Americas and presenting works in a wholly new, African medium.
Read this NYT article about El Anatsui if you want to know more.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Spiva Art Center, located in Joplin, Missouri, is host to the longest-running photographic competition of its kind in the United States: “PhotoSpiva."  Founded in 1977, the objective of “PhotoSpiva," as stated by its founders is to “present an exhibition of excellence in photography, celebrating the scope and vigorous activity of today’s contemporary photographers.”

I’ve had a relationship with this competition for many years. In 1987 I was actually the juror! (That was when I wore my gallery owner hat.) Other jurors since the show’s inception have included: Keith F. Davis, Ted Hartwell, Mary Virginia Swanson, George Tice, Keith Carter, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison and Elizabeth Opalenik.  This year’s juror was Natasha Egan, the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College.

I have entered my work in the competition five or six times over the past few years. I like supporting “PhotoSpiva”. I like the grass roots feel of it, and I love that it has continued to support budding photographers for such a long time. The folks there even managed to mount the show the year of the devastating hurricane in 2011. I like the unpretentious nature of everything they do and stand for.

I have gotten a couple honorable mentions. In 2007 I received the third place award, and in 2010 I received the second place award.

I’m really honored to report that I received an email late last night from Linda Kyger, office manager at Spiva Center for the Arts, congratulating me on receiving the first place award this year!

Here are the images Natasha Egan chose.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

michael wolf

I'm assembling work for my May exhibition and have been looking again at my Streetcar series. Recently I just happened to come across this amazing work by German photographer Michael Wolf.

Wolf grew up in Canada, Europe and the US. He moved to Hong Kong in 1994, where he worked for Stern Magazine for eight years. Since 2001, he has been working on his own projects. He won first prize in the World Press Photo Award Competition in 2005 and then again in 2010.

He has made a lot of work. His focus is on life in huge cities. His projects document the architecture and the culture therein. "Tokyo Compression" is the series that blew me away. Here's how it is described on his website:

"with his most recent series, wolf moves away from the ‘objective’ detachment of his early work to question the role of the photographer within the city. this is perhaps most evident in tokyo compression. in this series, he aims his camera at captive passengers pressed against the windows of the crammed tokyo subway. the density is no longer architectural but human, as commuters fill every available square inch of these subway cars. as with architecture of density wolf uses a ‘no exit’ photographic style, trapping the gaze of the viewer within the frame just as the passengers are unable to escape the confinement of these temporary cells. the images create a sense of discomfort as his victims attempt to squirm out of view or simply close their eyes, wishing the photographer to go away. tokyo compression depicts an urban hell and by hunting down these commuters with his camera, wolf highlights their complete vulnerability to the city at its most extreme."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

children with their most prized possessions

"Shot over a period of 18 months, Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s project Toy Stories compiles photos of children from around the world with their prized possesions—their toys. Galimberti explores the universality of being a kid amidst the diversity of the countless corners of the world; saying, 'at their age, they are pretty all much the same; they just want to play.'
But it’s how they play that seemed to differ from country to country. Galimberti found that children in richer countries were more possessive with their toys and that it took time before they allowed him to play with them (which is what he would do pre-shoot before arranging the toys), whereas in poorer countries he found it much easier to quickly interact, even if there were just two or three toys between them.
There were similarites too, especially in the functional and protective powers the toys represented for their proud owners. Across borders, the toys were reflective of the world each child was born into—economic status and daily life affecting the types of toys children found interest in. Toy Stories doesn’t just appeal in its cheerful demeanor, but it really becomes quite the anthropological study."
- by Amanda Gorence from FeatureShoot.com
Bethsaida, Haiti

Botlhe, Botswana

Arafa and Aisha, Zanzibar

Chiwa, Malawi

Julia, Albania

Keynor, Costa Rica

Cun Zi Yi, China

Norden, Morocca

Orly, Texas

Pavel, Ukraine

Stella, Italy

Tangawizi, Kenya

Watcharapom, Thailand