Thanks for visiting! I've been working hard trying to set up this blog for quite a while and I finally did it! I've had a passion for photography for many years and I'm excited to share it. I hope you enjoy my story and the world how I see it. My latest craze is for (TtV) Through the Viewfinder Photography, which I will go into more detail about later.
For my art friends and associates who have come to know me through my paperclay and mixed media art, this is a look into another medium I love and have created with for the past 22 years.
It all started when my first son was born and I got a Minolta Maxxum 7000, 35mm SLR film camera. My son became the subject of thousands of images during his first year of life and my passion for photography grew more every day. 19 months later my second son was born and provided me with more subject matter. During this time my husband worked for a Southern California newspaper and they had an annual employee and family photo contest. I entered 2 prints of my sons and won first place in both the color and black and white categories. I soon found that friends and family really loved my children’s prints and they me encouraged to start my portrait business. At this time I upgraded to a Nikon N90, 35mm SLR.
You may remember a series of greeting cards and stationary featuring black and white photos of children with color highlights like a red rose. These were by the photographer Kim Anderson and I loved them. I decided to give black and white a try and soon found it impossible to find a lab that could print my enlargements at the quality I needed. So I started taking photo lab classes for dark room techniques and printing my own enlargements. Next thing I knew my small bathroom was converted into my home dark room where I would spend hours printing images for customers and myself. I used a fiber based matte paper and could enlarge up to 16”x20”. I even perfected the art of sepia toning my prints which would send my family running out of the house holding their noses to avoid the odor of rotten eggs that occurs. To me, the odors of developing chemicals and sepia toner became the Pavlovian signal that something wonderful was being created.
As I learned the art of hand-tinting my black and white prints, I found that there was so much more potential for color than just a single flower or hat. The Marshall Photo oil paints and oil pencils I use seemed to breathe life into each print I worked on. I would lose myself for hours as I added more and more color. Just as my sculptures do today, this would provide a form of artistic therapy and the excitement in my customers faces made it all worth while.
After receiving so much positive response from my clients, I thought I would submit my work to greeting card companies for publication. I had three different companies license an assortment of my work for cards for many different occasions. I even had one image perform as a best seller for over 10 years with the now defunct Portal Publications (they were bought by Marian Heath Greetings). The fine art publisher Hadley House in Minneapolis even used one of my “kids playing wedding” images as an open-edition print and I had to add my signature to 2,000 of them!
I think I realized I finally made it big when a client of mine who lives in Texas called me and said “I didn’t know you were making purses”. Neither did I! She was at a mall and found a purse that a company made by using one of my greeting card images silk screened on it. My client sent me the purse and I soon found the joys of licensing infringement. All of a sudden nobody knows anybody and no one speaks English.
As my portrait business flourished I soon found others trying to compete with my style. Even some of the larger franchised studios trained their button pushers to add one or two color details to black and white prints. As new clients would contact me for sitting fees and enlargement pricing and then tell me it was much cheaper at this or that studio, I would gladly advise them to save their money, unless they truly wanted a piece of art featuring their family that would maintain its quality and be worthy of passing down to future generations. One thing I can’t do is compromise my art for any reason. All of my art is a personal reflection of me.
Moving to current times, I have become better known for my papier mache
sculptures and various mixed media styles. In many pieces I have found
new opportunities for my photos. I have also discovered the joys of the
digital world through the use of my Nikon D80 and Adobe Photoshop. On
one hand I find the potential the digital environment provides to be
exciting and limitless. On the other hand, I do miss the hands-on
process of printing my own images. I still have my dark room equipment
and I know that it be put to use again in the future. I just can’t
forget the joy of creating through the methods photography began with
and bringing life to my prints with each color I added.
Through the Viewfinder (TtV) –
These images are shot using the TtV (Through the Viewfinder) method. TtV is achieved by taking a picture through the viewfinder of any camera with another camera. In this album I have an assortment of photos taken with my Nikon D80 using a 50mm lens with a +1 and +2 Hoya close-up filter added to it. The Viewfinder camera used is a Kodak Duaflex IV Reflex Camera. This camera was made from 1955 to 1960. I built a TtV device for it and will post pictures at a later date. The images are achieved by focusing my Nikon on the viewfinder of the Kodak. This results in a square formatted photo with a rounded corner black border. The image captures all of the unique details like specks, blurry edges and more that contributes to a soft image with a vintage and sometimes dreamy, surrealism about it. The viewfinder uses a mirror device so your images are flopped or mirrored when you download them. I find that some images are best left this way or I will flop them in Photoshop. As you can tell by the wide assortment of images in the album, you can shoot just about anything you want with this method. It’s great fun to find new things to shoot and experiment.
It is definitely a unique experience shooting this way. To take a photo of something right in front of you, you actually look straight down at the viewfinder. People look at you funny when you taking a picture of something without pointing the camera at it. To get some shots I will turn my back to the subject and hold the TtV device above my head and the viewfinder pointed behind me. It can make you dizzy sometimes!
For most images shot his way I love to leave them unaltered. This keeps the purity of the vintage style. Occasionally I will apply various filters and adjustments with Photoshop which makes your image potential endless.
An assortment of photos I’ve had licensed for greeting cards and prints. I've posted a few samples above. I have some magazine covers and various editorial images as well and will add more as I find them. I was also featured in the Winter 2008 issue of Somerset Studios - Life Images, a great publication that needs to be reinstated!
As I explained in the beginning of this post, these were images taken with my film cameras. I believe that most were shot using Kodak Tmax 100 film. I had my film processed and developed at a local lab. All of the images shown in this album were hand-printed and enlarged by myself in my dark room. Most of them have been sepia toned as well. All of these images were color hand tinted with Marshall Photo Oils and Oil Pencils. This process is quite different than traditional oil painting. My paint brushes were replaced with cotton swaps, toothpicks, pointed wood dowels and cotton balls. The originals for these images were either 8.5x11 or 11x14. You’ll notice that most of my published images album features the same type of images.
I hope you have enjoyed your visit here and I hope you will check out my photo albums in the sidebar on the right side of my blog.
Check back again soon and see some new TtV images. I always welcome comments or questions!