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Posts from the ‘Photography’ Category

Photographs: Julie Blackmon

Have you seen the wonderful images by Julie Blackmon?  I have always loved her work.

Julie Blackmon is a photographer who lives and works in Missouri.  She majored in art education and photography during college, and she began photographing seriously in her late thirties.  Her photographs are inspired by her experience of growing up in a large family, her current role as both mother and photographer, and the timelessness of family dynamics.  Many of her photographs are inspired by 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings of domestic life.  Blackmon photographs are carefully orchestrated to include members of her own family with a sense of an uncanny.  Sometimes her photographs are made up of several images via Photoshop.  Blackmon has been quoted as saying, “I know I’m very much defined as the ‘family’ photographer, but I don’t think of it quite this way,” she says.  “I’m just looking around at my everyday life and, like any artist, trying to make sense of it.”

Prior to the COVID-19, Julie Blackmon’s photographs were on display at Robert Mann Gallery/Fotografiska New York until May 2, 2020.




















All photos are courtesy of Julie Blackmon.

Artist Talk: Sally Mann


I recently came upon this very interesting and fascinating talk with one of my favorite artists since high school and college, Sally Mann.  In this talk, Sally Mann spoke with curators about her exhibition “A Thousand Crossings” at Jeu de Paume, Paris, that was on display through the fall of 2019.  During this talk, she also touches on being one of the first distinguished photographers who was both an artist and a mom.

For over forty years, Sally Mann has made experimental and haunting photographs that explore the overarching themes of existence: memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature’s indifference to human endeavor.  What unites this broad body of work is that it is all bred of a place, the American South.

You can view a portion of the body of work that was on display, below.



Tips: To Document Your Family

One of my favorite things to do since becoming a mom to a little human, is to document our everyday.  I am certainly not good at all ‘domestic mom things,’ but I enjoy documenting our family and it is really important to me.  It takes effort, but if you have a DSLR camera, here are a few tips that might help you document your everyday more easily versus always relying on your phone to take images.  (I still use my iphone to take images).  I want to remember these moments of our life, and I continually make family photo albums, which I cherish.  I print the images I love and I update the photo frames in our home regularly.  I am also working on the magnets on our fridge to reflect Alex’s second year, which has been fun, too!

Have a place where your camera lives.  I have my camera ready to go with a CF memory card loaded, battery charged, along with the lens attached, and it is always in the same place in my office, unless it is in the car as I have brought it somewhere.  So, if I see a moment I would like to capture, I will quickly get the DSLR camera out and it is all ready to go making things easier to use the DSLR camera.  Alex and Victory do not seem to mind the camera, and Doug is usually pretty cooperative, too.  In fact, looking back, Doug says to me sometimes, that he did not even remember Alex looking a certain way without the images as a reference.  Having the camera in the same place and ready to go makes it so much easier to utilize the DSLR camera.

Identify ‘good light’ in your home.  I know where we have good natural light in our house, and I take advantage of those places, which makes it easy to capture our little family.  Knowing where ‘good light’ exists during certain parts of the day, as the light changes, is also good to note.  I also take note of ‘good light’ outside when we are out and about.  So, it is good to know the places in your home where ‘good light’ exists and during what portions of the day that light exists.

Have a designated memory card for family images.  I always keep a large CF memory card in the camera so I am ready to go and hopefully do not miss the moment I hope to capture.  (And, I do my best not to let the CF memory card get full.)  Additionally, I do not take images of anything else on this family CF memory card outside of our family, which makes things much easier as other files/images are not commingled.

Have a designated external drive to save the images and edited images.  I have two large external drives where I keep our family images and edited images, which is organized by year and month, which makes it fairly easy to go back and find images.  I download the images from the camera usually weekly, or when I am able, in order to not fall too far behind on editing of the images.

Know when you have taken enough images.  As time goes on, and Alex gets older, I usually know when I have shot enough to capture what I want to put in a spread of our family photo albums.  And, with a toddler constantly on the go, the moment usually is defined.

Teach your spouse/partner how to use the camera.  I have taught Doug how to use our DSLR camera after setting the settings for him, so he can also help include me in family photos.  This has been very useful.

Remember that you do not have to be perfect.  I have learned that conditions are usually never ideal, but you do your best in order to document your family.  I rather have the images of our little family versus ‘perfect images.’  I love capturing our candid moments, which are so fleeting.

Below are a few images from Valentine’s Day morning with our little loves opening their Valentine’s gifts and cards together.  And, they are getting along again so well now; and I even got a few images of our little loves together now that Alex knows and she has learned that she cannot chase Victory and pull on her fur!  They love each other so much.  Victory is back to licking all over Alex and Alex approaches Victory gently with lots of treats, which makes life so much easier for everyone!

Happy Thursday!








The Importance of Memory Keeping


Since becoming a Mamma, I have been thinking even more about memory keeping, especially since our baby Alex is growing like a weed and changing daily; and our beloved fur girl, Victory, will not always be with us physically.  (Victory is well and she is doing well and we hope to have many, many more years with her, as we cannot imagine life without her!)  We are throughly enjoying our time with our girls!  Therefore, I want to preserve as many fleeting moments as I am able.  I am a visual person and it brings us joy to have tangible ways to preserve moments.  Below are a few ways that I preserve and plan to preserve our memories.

1. Baby Hand Print and Foot Prints — I purchased this kit prior to going to the hospital.  Soon after coming home, with the help of my Mom, we made Alex’s newborn hand and foot prints!  They are so tiny!  I am really glad that we did this to capture an impression of her hand print and foot print as a newborn.  We also did this in a similar way with our fur girl, Victory — see here and here.

2. Promptly Journal – I love making photo books; however,  I wanted to find a simple way to capture this time in our lives so I purchased a childhood promptly journal, which helps you capture your child’s complete history from your pregnancy until your child is 18 years old.  There are pages for your to document your pregnancy; pages month for the first year of your baby’s life; and then there are pages for each birthday until age 18.  Each section has places to document your child’s favorite things and then it has questions that help prompt you with what to say.  Additionally, there are places to add photographs, and there are even places to write letters to your child.  So far, it has been manageable to keep up with; and I have had fun completing this book and inserting tangible items to capture memories, and it will hopefully be a nice keepsake for Alex enjoys when she is older.

3. Birth Story – I wrote a more detailed and personal birth story for Alex for when she is older augmented by images of her birth sharing the entire experience with her, while it was fresh in my mind.  (I keep a folder on my computer where I save such documents in one place, which helps keep things organized.)

4. Pregnancy Announcement and Baby Announcement – I designed our pregnancy announcement and our baby announcement that we mailed out to friends and family along with using a custom stamp and seal for both announcements.  It is a nice way to memorialize this type of exciting news in a tangible format!

5. Monthly Portraits (first year) – I am going to do my best to take monthly portraits of Alex and Victory and Alex together to capture what Alex looks like each month during the first year.  Then, I will likely move to yearly portraits!  Of course, I will always do impromptu photo shoots!

6. Monthly Blog Posts (first year) – I plan to do monthly blog posts sharing thoughts and highlights from that month as a way to remember each month with Alex during the first year!

7. Photo Books – I have made a photo book from our wedding, honeymoon, and our annual vacations together since 2011!  I love them!  I have also made a baby book for Alex leading up to and through her birth.  I plan to make another photo book capturing her first year and I plan to subsequently make yearly photo books of Alex, including our fur girl, Victory, of course!

8. Annual Calendar  – I have made an annual calendar for us for at least the past five years and we really love them!  They also make great gifts and they are the perfect size for a desk!  I plan to continue this yearly tradition!

9. Photo Magnets – I like to make photo magnets for our refrigerator of our favorite images!  Our refrigerator is covered in images, photo magnets and quotable magnets which can easily be swapped out, etc.  They also make great gifts, too!

10. Prints – I have always made a point to print our images as I edit them, and then frame them around the house.  Since having Alex, I have even more images from my phone and ‘big camera.’  So, in order to keep up on everything, each week, I download the images from my iphone (I usually edit the images from my iphone on my phone as I take them) and from my CF card on my camera and cull and edit the images and save them on my computer in two places as a back up.  Then, each month, I print these images.  (I have to do this process somewhat consistently, or else it become unmanageable to keep up with.)  Further, there are a variety of places to get prints made online.  I try to document our everyday as it unfolds in images, which typically turn out to be the best images that occur spontaneously.

11. Albums – After I print the images each month, I put them in a photo album.  I know that this may be outdated, but I really like having our images in chronological order and organized in tangible form.  I have been doing this since Doug and I met and it is nice to have some semblance of our images.  Plus, it is always nice, sometimes, to go through images from the past and reminisce.  I also have started a photo album for Alex, which contain images specific to her.

12. Frame Prints – I make fine art prints of the images that I frame to put around our house.  It brings us joy to have our images around the house to actually look at versus having hundreds of images on a phone or computer!  I try to update prints in our frames throughout the year, on multiple occasions, with the images that we especially love and want to see each day!  I use simple frames for the wall and I also use simple frames for around the house for those frames that are not hung on the wall.

I hope that this helps give some ideas for preserving the fleeting moments that go by much too quickly!


Stardust and Ashes, by Shannon Johnstone, Photographer

Have you seen these very moving images contained in the series entitled, Stardust and Ashes, shown below, by Shannon Johnstone?  I found these images to be remarkably touching and beautiful.  According to Johnstone, “I made these cyanotypes with the ashes of euthanized homeless animals from an animal shelter’s crematorium.  These animals died with nobody to mourn their passing, except maybe a few overwhelmed shelter workers.  I hope these images serve as a memorial to these animals, who were nobody and nothing.  Turned to dust and returned to the cosmos, they become everyone and everything.  Just as we all will someday.  Using my own breath and fingers to manipulate the ashes, I work the ashes into celestial configurations while the sun exposes the cyanotype turning the negative space to a Prussian blue.  With these images I hope to mourn the passing of thousands of our forgotten companions, and remind us that we are all connected and headed for the same fate: reduced to dust and returned to the stars.”

“As I am working, I am quite aware that I am working with deceased animals who were not lucky enough to find a home,” according to Johnstone.  “It is really important to me to treat their ashes with respect and dignity.”  On hot days, she sweats onto the fabric, leaving marks.  It used to upset her, but now she lets her own body–her breath and hands–interact with the ashes to create a picture.  The final prints are eight by ten inches, and she also makes giant murals at five by seven feet.  Because they are fabric, the sun shines through them.

Stardust and Ashes is a reminder of the impermanence of life and the recklessness with which we humans treat our fellow creatures.











All images are courtesy of Mary Shannon Johnstone.

Photographer, Tomio Seike, Overlook

Have you see these beautiful images from the series Overlook by the Japanese photographer, Tomio Seike?  Taken from a window in Seike’s holiday apartment in Brighton, England, Overlook documents the changing light and muted color tones of a particular stretch of beach, as well as capturing its regular visitors.  At first glance, the photographs could be mistaken for paintings.  Each image features a large expanse of water, overshadowing the unidentifiable figures in the image, visible only as dark spots in the shapes of two or four-legged beings.  Seike waits for the picture to present itself, observing the people who come daily to the beach to spend some of their time.  Seike occasionally waits hours at his window for nature to contribute to the pose, for the rough waters to calm, for the light to clear, for the sand to make evocative lines.  Importantly, Seike combines the abstract and traditional, using only natural light, while simultaneously capturing the quiet moments in life most people fail to notice.



All images by Tomio Seike.
Tomio Seike is represented by Hamiltons Gallery.

2016: Wrap Up

This year has seemed really long at times and, during other times, it has flown by.  Below is a visual highlight of our 2016 year together!  We love our fur girl, Victory, very much!  We hope that you had a great 2016!  We look forward to what next year has in store…

Happy Pawlidays!





Victory: Photography Project — 93

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

We went to Newark, Delaware this weekend and took our fur girl, Victory with us!  It was nice to get away.  Before leaving, we finished most of our Pawliday cards, while getting our small Christmas tree and Holiday decorations up around the house, including our outdoor lights, wreath, poinsettias, and indoor window candles!  It feels cozy in our house, especially with all of our candles.  We are looking forward to making Christmas cookies and watching some festive movies.  While we are not ready for Christmas, and we are taking a low-key approach this year, Victory is ready!  She looks festive in her red cable Christmas sweater, shown below!  She is also going to visit Santa again this month!   While we cannot believe another year is coming to a close shortly, we are excited to see what the New Year will bring!

Happy Tuesday!



Victory: Photography Project — 92

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

This past weekend, for the long weekend, we took our fur girl, Victory, to Dewey Beach!  The weather was nice and Victory loved the beach.  There were not too many other people or dogs on the beach, so it was perfect, in Victory’s eyes!  Each time we went to the beach, we walked several miles, and Victory was never ready to leave the beach — she dug her back legs into the sand and she would not budge and she turned around to head in the opposite direction we were heading!  This was the first time Victory dipped her little paws into the Atlantic Ocean!  The sunsets were very beautiful.  We had a fun time together and Dewey Beach is very dog friendly, thankfully!  It is always nice to visit the ocean!  A few images from our trip are shown below.

Happy Tuesday!











Victory: Photography Project — 91

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

Last weekend, near Victory’s birthday, we took Victory to the pumpkin patch, an annual tradition, to pick out our pumpkins, which Doug will carve!  We all had a great time!  We still could only find one pumpkin patch located in Delaware, after looking in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, that would permit a furry family member to come along!  We had fun, Victory had fun, and the weather was just gorgeous!  After the pumpkin patch, we went to our favorite restaurant in Delaware, where furry family members are permitted on the patio — there were nine other furry family members on the patio, along with Victory, that evening!  A few images from our annual trip to the pumpkin patch are shown below.  You can also view images from our trip to the pumpkin patch last year, here.

Doug is carving our pumpkins again this year for Halloween so stay tuned!  Enjoy the photos below!

Happy Wednesday!