5 Subjects as Seen
by 5 Photographers
Available on view Opening Reception, Saturday January 7th, 4:30-7:00 PM
Closing Party, SATURDAY, January 28th, 3-6pm
at the Morton Memorial Library in Rhinecliff, NY
Morton Library Hours:
Monday: Closed, Tuesday: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Wednesday: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Thursday: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Friday: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Saturday: 10:00am – 2:00pm, Sunday: Closed
Artist’s Statement: Jessica Bard January 2023
As a mother, wife, and daughter, with a full-time job, I’m pretty busy all the time. And, I need photography in my life.
My dad gave me my first 35mm camera in 1978, and I got hooked on taking pictures. Living a life partly away from home in Hudson Valley during high school and college, ( NYC and SUNY Purchase, 1980-1990), I had full access to a dark room, cameras, and film. With lots of interesting subject matter (namely skateboarding and punk music scene), I amassed a broad body of work which I am currently digitizing and cataloging my archives.
When I broke my Nikon camera in 1991, I didn’t replace it. Instead, I got a point and shoot and took standard snapshots for many years. I was busy being a cookbook photo editor working with film. Over the years as digital photography and workflow shifted the job of a photo editor, I shifted my career accordingly to be a culinary stylist and writer. Reclaiming my personal photography mojo took a while to get back. Affordable digital cameras were a bit clunky, and I refused to use a camera phone. That is, until I got my first iPhone. Since then, I have been a dedicated and unabashed iPhone photographer!
I take pictures every day with my iPhone. I love it and still approach photography in the same way I did with while using a 35 mm camera. Of course, there are differences, but the impetus to capture light and shadow, beautiful and interesting things, and life’s precious moments persists. (Just like the billion other smart phone users.)
I love sharing my photos on Instagram. However, I’ve been struggling with how else to share my photos “of the now” and my photos “from the past”. Talking about it with friends is part of my process. This “5 Subjects as Seen by 5 Photographers” project was a fun and productive exercise for me. I liked having objectives with no mental strings attached. I made a commitment to myself to avoid overthinking, to trust my intuition, to get the shots, and to make a selection quickly (hoping this concept would spill over into other parts of my life, lol).
Photographing the lighthouse on a late, rainy afternoon, was a solitary and thought-provoking activity, and I wondered why I don’t do that more often. (Oh, ‘cause I’m crazy-busy, but something I’ll keep in mind!).
Photographing the car wash at night was a totally fun and sudsy adventure I shared with Tracy. (That was the subject I selected and I didn’t get the shot I expected but I love where I ended up, even after $10 in quarters!)
Photographing the Red Hook stop light was challenging; but my intuition kicked-in, and I knew I had to shoot in the evening from an interesting angle.
Photographing the oh-so-familiar Rhinecliff train station inspired me to capture a dramatic landscape in context rather than a detail; there were so many options but I did not overthink it!
Photographing Elise reminded me how much I like to take portraits, and the bonus was, I got to meet such an amazing person! I feel like I could have known Elise all my life! Thank you Naomi for introducing me to Elise, and for suggesting a portrait as a subject.
This project has been totally interesting and fun as I found fresh perspectives on these subjects that I’ve had a personal connection with my entire lifetime. Being a part of this group has inspired me to continue working on my photography, both new and archival, to create visual narratives and illustrated essays.
The 5 x 5 Photography Exhibit:
These 5 subjects have one thing in common; each was selected to be photographed by 5 women.
The Reveal: The 5 Subjects
Portrait of Elise ~ Rondout Light House ~ Foam & Wash at Night ~ Red Hook Traffic Light ~ Rhinecliff Train Station Platform
These are my photos -- you’ll have to come to the show to see the images by Alison Vaccarino, Naomi Maxwell, Tracy Potter, and Kim Cantine.
Over the last few months, inspiration took focus and the project evolved. Our group of women, with varying degrees of photography experience, decided on a collective yet independent approach to creating a body of work-- Go out and shoot the same subject (cameras or smart phones were fair game), then get together, compare our work, and discuss our motivations. Then we decided to share our efforts and exhibit our work. The Morton Library team has generously made their exhibit space available and eliminated the stress, cost and risk of jumping into a formal gallery situation. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of work that goes into pulling a show together. Some of us are learning or re-learning all the steps involved. I especially love that art opening kick off with a party!
So dear friends, I hope to see you at the Opening Reception, Saturday January 7th, 4:30-7:00 PM at the Morton Memorial Library in Rhinecliff, NY (Snow Date: Sunday Jan. 8th, call 845-518-4288 for details)
The Genesis: Acknowledgements
The idea of doing an art photography show with friends is a discussion I’ve been having for many years with my friend (since nursery school), Alison Fennell Vaccarino. The pandemic put the kibosh on plans for following through in any concrete way. But the conversation persisted and expanded to other friends. As we got back to in-person socializing and being out in the world (and not just posting photos on Instagram) we felt it was time to act.
Alison suggested we meet-up with mutual friends and see where a conversation would take us. Our long-time friends, Ania and Ricky Aldrich, offered to host our gathering one late summer‘s afternoon on the peaceful and quiet porch at Rokeby, with its breathtaking views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.
Ania listened to us vent our frustrations She observed that though much of what we shared was nothing new (inspiration, self-doubt, art world angst), it was clear that this day and age presents a unique set of challenges (digital workflow and social media) that one could not have previously fathomed.
Ania shared anecdotes of her experiences and tidbits of wisdom from her years as an artist, and as part of The Tivoli Artist Co-Op (TAG) and as a contributor and participant in a wide variety of creative events. The bottom line is that she encouraged us to act. Naomi suggested the first subject -and it was right in front of us: the cast iron bench and a yucca in bloom. I was hooked.