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New Image Based Media :: Empirical

Over the summer I worked on a new body of work. Normally, my type A personality likes to over-plan my bodies of work, so I decided with this body of work I would at least try to loosen up a bit and just start making images and let what happened happen. This body of work really is about how I operate as a photograhper, some of the characteristics I see that are inherent in image based media and about how I choose to interact with my subject matter. The images shown below are the images before the final process. I chose to use the White Marble Fresco Image Transfer technique. I will be photographing the final works and will display those images in a future post along with more information about the process. Two of the images below were  transferred to a grid of used tea bags, I will have those images up shortly as well. If you are interested in the complete artist statement read on….

Artist Statement :: Empirical

By definition empirical evidence is evidence based on observation and experience. These evidences come from sources such as the senses, memory and testimony. This body of image based media compares the image making process to gathering empirical evidence. In this case, the images are evidence of how I experience my nearby environment, particularly the home, family and the objects connected to them that are both man made and organic. I believe a defining characteristic of photography is that the image-maker, in many instances, has to physically be in a space to expose the image, which requires observing what to include and exclude in the viewfinder as well actually experiencing the space (through the senses and direct or indirect interaction with the subject). Another characteristic that defines photography is a desire to create environments that exist only in ones mind. This desire existed even in the early days of photography. The establishment and influx of digital photography has aided in the creation of surreal or partially real environments through the use of photo manipulation. This body of work connects the above characteristics. The process of gathering objects and scanning them aided in creating a new environment for objects while the images from the camera allowed me to directly experience certain places, spaces or people.

Many images from this series are placed in groups of two of three. Placing images together, whether related or seemingly random, allows the viewer to make their own narrative connections. Even though the images represent personal memories of places and people, the viewer can still be connected to them by filling in the gaps. When we see something non-distinct, whether it be an abstract work of art, or a patch of clouds, it is our natural desire to want to see something concrete. The process of layering images and varied materials lends itself to how memories exist, sometimes futile, sometimes clear, and more often that not, incomplete.

Collectively, my work centers around symbolic objects, the spaces they inhabit and the people connected to them. Most often these spaces and objects are re-contextualized by taking them out of their original environment and re-building a new space for them to inhabit. I have always been drawn to natural objects but have never really been drawn to photographing them in their original environment or in documenting them in a realistic manner. The act of collecting things from nature and joining them with other elements such as papers or found objects has been a fascination and a practice since childhood. My childhood practice of this process included finding leaves and flowers and gluing them to a piece of paper to make a formal design. This practice resurfaced in my artwork but has grown to utilize a flatbed scanner and image manipulation software.

Bodie Ghost Town Night Photography Workshop

My topic for summer research at Francis Marion University was night photography. I surrounded my study on Lance Keimig’s book titled: “Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark”. I attended a workshop on the topic taught by both Lance Keimig and Scott Martin (of Onsight) at Bodie Ghost Town last month. The workshop started out with an optional Lightroom course (which I highly recommend) followed by 3 days of lecture, image review and shooting at night. For those not familiar with Bodie it is a “ghost town” left over from the late 1800s and as described as “a town frozen in time in a state of arrested decay. Bodie is maintained by the California State Park System in a way that allows it to stay in its current form. Rather than picking up the old cans, bed springs, car parts, etc, they leave it as is. The left over objects and buildings is what creates the charm of this place.

When the sun went down we were free (with a park ranger and a special permit of course!) to photography until 2am. I was a bit freaked out the first night when I heard coyotes in the distance, and even more freaked out when I walked up to a structure and something moved inside. But, my excited overpowered those feelings so I kept on photographing anyway.

I have said repeatedly that I am not a traditional landscape photographer and I think that holds true with these night photographs. What has drawn me to this topic is the ability of the camera (with the photographer’s vision of course) to make a representation of a place or object in a way that the human eye cannot. During the workshop we learned all about star trails, star points, a wonderful shooting workflow, as well as a lot of helpful and fruitful post-production techniques.

If you are looking for a workshop that will be a great investment I highly recommend attending one of these workshops! And look out for Lance’s second night photography book coming out this Spring!

For information about these workshops please visit The Night Skye!!

Here are a few works from the 3 nights at Bodie:

Group Shots by Scott Martin:


Jessica & Bryan :: Washington, NC Wedding

A big congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.! Jessi is a fellow photographer and friend, so it was such a special treat to be asked to photograph her wedding. It is a bit more pressure to photograph a photographer’s wedding, but also reassuring because you know that they understand exactly what it takes to make great images from a wedding day. Jessi and I both attended East Carolina University to study photography, so we definitely share similar thoughts about crafting images.

This wedding was such a pleasure to photograph. The families of the bride and groom were so friendly, the environment was warm, the details stunning and of course the couple was quite beautiful. I absolutely loved that Jessi had her three sisters as her bridesmaids. It really added a lot of emotion to the images as well as just overall fun to see them together. Jessi and Bryan had their ceremony in the front yard of their parent’s home. It was such a beautiful place with so much character. The reception was held at The Bank Bistro and Bar in downtown Washington, North Carolina. The downtown area of Washington also afforded a lot of charm for pictures of the bride and groom.

Okay, I got really carried away choosing images to share, so don’t judge! Well, you can judge if you want, but I just couldn’t help myself….here are the favs:

Nantahala National Forest


Over Memorial Day weekend my husband and I took a quick trip to Western North Carolina to do some camping and visit the Bascom for a landscape and nature photography exhibit. The photography exhibit featured renowned photographers like Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, Sally Mann, Robert Parkeharrison (one of my absolute all time favs) and so many others. It was a wonderful exhibit and the Bascom is nestled in the quaint city of Highlands, NC. After the viewing the exhibit we went into downtown Highlands to enjoy some local fare. We ate at Mountain Fresh for lunch, which was yummy and even though we were super full, we had to have some ice cream after all the camping food, so we checked out Sweetreats.

We camped for two nights at the Standing Indian Campground in the Nanthala National Forest. Other than seeing the exhibit one of my goals was to start my experiences with Night Photography and Long Exposures. At Francis Marion I will be able to do summer research (granted I receive the stipend) so this summer I am researching Night Photography. I just finished a book on the topic by Lance Keimig called “Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark.” I have never really considered myself to be a traditional landscape photographer, but have always admired them. Mostly, I admire their ability to capture a beautiful image in camera with little post-processing. That seems to be what traditional landscape photographers are all about…waiting for the right light, a beautiful exposure and a full and deep composition. I have noticed that in many landscape photographs that I admire there is something that grabs the viewers eye in the foreground, middle ground and background and it is that visual dance between the three that makes a compelling composition. I thought wedding photography is difficult, but landscape photography can prove just as difficult. One may not think it, but it is so challenging not to make a completely boring image of a natural space.

In July I will be attending a workshop at Bodie Ghost Town (in California) taught by Lance Keimig and Scott Martin. I am super excited about it. I have learned so much already from Keimig’s book and can’t wait to see what I will learn at the workshop. Much of what I do naturally and love is the process, often post-processing. I pull myself in so many different directions with processes that I felt this summer I needed to devote time to what happens in the exposure process.

So, I started my night photography journey with something basic and without a lot of accessories. So, I didn’t use a neutral density or a remote. I waited until the sun dropped a bit before I started shooting. Here are a few of my results.

Shannon (my husband) helped me with this one. We were in deep shade and so was the large rock. He used his head lamp and light the rock for the duration of the exposure making it come forward and in contrast to the background.This one wasn’t a long exposure, but was the result of combining several exposure to get sky detail and detail on some of the tree trunks.

Makenzie :: Senior Portraits

I am sure Makenzie is tired of hearing this, but I cannot believe it is already time for her to be a high school graduate. I have known Makenzie since she was a little girl because she is kinda like extended family. Let me see if I can say this without losing you: she is my brother-in-law’s sister’s child. I’m sure there is an easier way of saying that. Makenzie was just a little girl when my sister married her Uncle Chris. I was super excited when they asked me to do her Senior portraits because I knew it would be a lot of fun, and of course, it was. She did a great job during her session and who knows, maybe one day I can photograph her wedding. But, I’m sure her Mom would say that is quite some time away. Makenzie has big plans. She will be attending Meredith College in Raleigh this Fall. So, it was hard to narrow down, and I’m sure I could have narrowed it down some more, but it was just too hard, so here are my favs: