an imageteller captures image celebrations.
sharing image tales broadens an artistic expression.
doing so, brings this particular creative indescribable joy.
what is your image story? perhaps I can help you tell it!
suffice to say that this was one of those first spring evenings where the temperature and the stretch of brightness into the end of the day confuses you, and you start a crazy ambitious task of making in the kitchen at like 7. On this particular evening I made a nettle pesto, a chocolate cream for one, a batch of stove top granola and because i was starving I also made these asian cabbage rolls. I amused myself and took images of all that I made, but the cabbage rolls really photographed well so I thought i'd have today's blog post be about them. I am not trying to make this space become a cooking/recipe space. I just think the photo narrative works in this circumstance.
I could not get enough of my back door being wide open ( flies are not in full force yet ) and laughingly, I took two very similar images of this little blue vase obviously because of the way the light was shining through it. I crack myself up.
And then, to have the entire evening be sent off with a visual kiss from the universe - there was this remarkable sunset. With clouds outlined in golden light. Gorgeous.
I had so many dishes to do - it wasn't even funny.
asian cabbage roll recipe
asian cabbage rolls - these were amazing. preheat oven 400 degrees. rinse 8 cabbage leaves and boil for 3 minutes. transfer to a bowl of ice water, remove then dry. in a skillet heat 1 T of oil, 1 teas of garlic and ginger - fresh grated ginger, add 1 shredded carrot and 1 shredded zucchini - add 4 fried eggs ( i did those separately ) add 1/4 cup green onion. lay out cabbage leaf add veggie/egg mixture and roll - brush with oil - bake for 25 minutes. top with soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds and more green onion. note: i steamed mine vs baking.
i have been collaging for a long time. recent years collage has taken on a larger role in my day to day. as well as a growing role in a local art community. this expansion of my collage work means everything to me. if you are someone who collages you can relate to the compulsion to tear apart publications in public places. i can't help it, i see something and want to add it to my collection of potential for collage.
after you've been collaging for some time you begin to have a knowing, an already oh "this" that has you build a confident collage upon. pairing images is a great technique for this knowing. when i saw these two images from two very separate sources i had to collage them together. something about the colors, the textures, the mood, the moment. all just made sense. perhaps you can see why? while pairing might seem like a very simple way to collage, it's not as easy as it appears. it's very much like a puzzle and making sure the piece fits just right. when the pieces fit it's ready to glue.
the quilt like piece was sourced from an art in america magazine - the construction and mixed media expression is by artist Joan Giordano
the photograph was sourced from a conde nast traveler magazine - it was taken in Burma by photographer Richard Renaldi
A photography contest prompted our creative work and how it relates to our freedom. What drives international and contemporary photographic practices, they asked. Further in prompting they said - what is our language as photographers, our visual language. What are we saying? How does what we say elevate the social conscious? In 1941 President Roosevelt outlined our four basic freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear. These three questions they wrote struck me the most: What is freedom? Are we more free by isolating ourselves from unknown others or are we more free by being able to exercise and enjoy our basic human rights? How do we respond to and counter those ideas with alternative perspectives?
While I don't relate to these questions on a political level. They provoked me on an artistic level. Specifically on the topic of privacy. I don't like having my picture taken. I never have. With the advent of cell phones - random capturing occurs everywhere you go. I feel like people should ask me my permission. May I take your picture? Yet, I admit that probably some of the very best shots of me are when I had no idea that someone was photographing me. I actually like this. Someone saw something in me to casually pause that moment in a photograph. How great is that! This however can be a very fine line. I won't go into the legal aspects of this topic, because i am not an expert on it, and the conversation has too many opinion nuances to it. I will say this, over the years as I've developed myself as a photographer I have become very good at honoring privacy. Almost to the point of paranoia. When some asks where everyone's heads are ....that might be a little too private, yet, as a style of capturing, I sometimes prefer it. Over time, my photography work has taken on a narrative role. I believe you can say a lot about a person without revealing their full identity. I admire the street photography genre - I'd say that most of it is probably not taken with signed consent. It doesn't need to be. It just needs to be mindful. Especially in a public space. If you are a person looking out a window in a public place - that's fair game. If you are a crumpled heap asleep on a sidewalk, that's a very public place. I think in the spirit of observing, that when I see something that makes me want to pull out my camera, that moment is altered completely if have to ask that subjects permission. I also think as a creative my freedom to express myself is also in that moment. It's like painting something pink that should be blue ...you do it that way because you can. I have had more than a few people say that zooming in on a crowd is voyeuristic ...i'd say that if that practice was exploiting or violating perhaps so, but if you look at some of the gritty, in your face photography. that stuff is real and in the moment and there is no fine line. that photographer is observing it with every click of the shutter.
I didn't submit to this particular contest because the fee was prohibitive for me. I did however think on it. quite a bit. I also gathered a few photographs that I feel example how I respect a persons privacy and engage in my right to express myself creatively. To narrate and speak as I see things. I do love the idea of provocative topics and projects in photography. I admire the tenacity and risk, and projects are often very inspiring to me
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to collage prompted by a short story.
Local author Alma Alexander is working on a collection of short stories titled "Untranslatable." Each story has a word that inspired it. She let me work from one of the stories and swedish word "Manzata"
These are the two collage pieces that found me.
They were not exactly right - meaning, they did not literally depict the tale. I sure had fun trying though!! As process goes, I worked with what I had. I read her story - I jotted down words from her story that spoke to me, I then took a stack of national geographic magazines and tore what I could find. In my minds eye certain imagery would illustrate her story, and some of that definitely landed in these two collages. The challenge was to take what images I did find and have them have some artistic aesthetic. Very much like a puzzle of sorts.
It was a delight to meet Alma, and super fun to playfully attempt to illustrate something in collage. As time goes on I bet the right collection of imagery will find me and I can be more literal to the story!
Alma's story by the way was really wonderful! You can enjoy her writing for yourself here
My personal process for making a collage starts with a pause. like a deep breath. never more than that. just a small moment before i begin.
sometimes i will let a word find me. what word describes what am i feeling during this pause? It's nice to compare that beginning word to the word that finds you after you collage.
I then tear apart a magazine and/or pull images from a stack of already torn pages. My work space could remind you of a deck of cards except my cards are pages and pages of all sorts of magazines.
I then assemble. In 2013 I began to collage in a journal. That style of collecting work turned into a story of my life illustrated through collage.
Occasionally I have a clear vision of a finished piece with what I find, but mostly it comes together as I go. The images seem to have a plan for themselves. Like this needs to be cut, or this needs to be torn. This shape goes in this direction etc. I love the challenge of puzzling it together. When it is finished I am continually in awe of what a collage will narrate from my subconscious mind. Over and over they tell my story. I always feel so relaxed after completing a piece.
For this particular collage I had only pulled two images. In my mind, i had one idea for it, my gut however said no cut them into strips and let the two intermingle. The result was remarkable. I like this collage very much.
Lately, I've been called to use scissors more than usual. Not sure why. When making this collage I randomly placed one of the images on top of my phone and it glowed! Isn't that wild?
Once I finish a collage I let words find me to be complete with it. free flow. sometimes i ask the words for a title but mostly I want to be with what it initially tells me.
For this piece the word "divided" spoke the loudest.
Beginning in 2017 I started an instagram hash tag #icollagedaily just to see how that phone based social platform works and to provide example and accountability for daily creating. Its neat to see all the collages assembled in one space, better yet ...another artist @saraglactica posts her collages too! I sorry to say that I am not that attached to my phone to be in the moment with my fellow connections on instagram but I sure do love how responsive so many folks are of me when I post.
Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations.