AMELIA MORRIS: THE STATES PROJECT: INDIANA | Lenscratch

I love my lil' death trap
© Amelia Morris – I Love My ‘lil Deathtrap

This past week, Lenscratch.com featured Indiana based photographers through a series of features written by Jacinda Russell. One of the artists featured, was Amelia Morris.

Amelia was kind enough to do interview earlier this year with Wobneb Magazine and F-Stop Magazine, so it was great to see her being featured on Lenscratch as well. It is encouraging to see local artists getting recognition.

As for some personal pride in the photographers being featured for the States Series for Indiana on Lenscratch – three out of six photographers are connected to Ball State University. BSU has been, and continues to be, a place where artists can find their voice, and learn from professors who are a wealth of knowledge and are themselves creators of strong work. Both Mark Sawrie and Jacinda Russell are photography professors at BSU and I wish them the best in their ongoing and future projects.

I will never forget Sawrie telling my class of graduating photo students – “The life of an artist is a long and difficult row to hoe.” Each day I try to find my own voice, either in words or images, I keep that mantra in mind.

Cary Benbow

 

Niall McDiarmid | British Portraits Exhibition – Print Sales Fundraising

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British Portraits Exhibition, Oriel Colwyn, North Wales

The London-based photographer, Niall McDiarmid, has announced an upcoming print exhibition. After five and a half years of travelling,  150+ towns, 2000 or so portraits – he’s pleased to say the first show of his work will be held at the Oriel Colwyn Gallery in North Wales in September. As well as showing a large selection of images from around the country, he will be returning to North Wales to shoot a new series of local portraits to coincide with the opening.

McDiarmid was kind enough to do an interview with Wobneb Magazine earlier this year, which also got wide-spread attention through F-Stop Magazine, Lensculture, and Vantage Photos on Medium.com. He and his work has also been featured in The Independent Magazine, Financial Times Magazine, BBC, and his photobooks from his Crossing Paths and Via Vauxhall series have received several awards.

Everything Niall has done so far has been self-funded. However, to help with the exhibition costs of printing, framing and transport, he is offering a selection of prints for sale over the next month. Your support will be very much appreciated and a list of all those who help fund the exhibition will be displayed at the Oriel Colwyn Gallery, and in any future exhibitions.

As of this posting, he is almost halfway towards the total needed for framing, printing and transport. Prints are on sale through his website HERE Feel free to contact Niall if you have any queries. By purchasing a print or donating, your name will be included in the list of supporters at the exhibition.

If there are any other images on his blog or website that you are interested in, please feel free to contact him!

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(Please note: white gloves & special display easel shown are not included in print prices)

Book Review: The Last Stop by Ryann Ford

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What started out as a humble Kickstarter project, has since grown to be a fully-realized photobook from powerHouse books. The Last Stop by Ryann Ford is a fantastic collection of parts of America that are disappearing: the humble highway rest stop. Ford set out to document these places before they were gone, much like a documentary historian who is frantically trying to preserve history; the fabric of what makes us who we are. This couldn’t be more true of the great American car culture of the mid-twentieth century, and who better to do it than a person named Ford.

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Ford laid out her project summary in late 2014, and her case was this: “Literally, before our eyes, rest stops are vanishing from the landscapes of America. All over the country, rest areas are losing the fight to commercial alternatives: drive-thrus at every exit and mega-sized travel centers offering car washes, wi-fi, grilled paninis and bladder-busting sized fountain drinks. They’re on the chopping block for many states, their upkeep giving way with tight highway budgets. And they’re not just being closed, they’re being demolished. “They’re just toilets and tables” you might say. But if you take a closer look, you will see that they are much more. They have been an oasis of green to walk your dog, have a picnic, study the map. For some, what was seen and read at rest stops could be all that was known of a region’s historical, archeological, geological, or cultural significance. Many people these days only know of rest stops as a blur from the car window. Many don’t know the historical significance of these quirky little roadside relics.”

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Raised in a Southern California mountain town so small it didn’t even have a stoplight, Ford had the freedom to explore and observe from a young age. At age 12, she took her first photo using her father’s old Pentax Spotmatic; at age 18 she enrolled in the renowned Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography.

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“When I moved from Southern California to Austin,” Ford recalls, “I had to move all of my belongings, so I drove. I had always wanted to make that Route 66 trip, so I tried to drive on it as much as I could from LA to Texas, which is actually kind of tough because so many sections of the road are gone now and at some points you’ll be driving on the pavement or have to go off on the dirt. I hadn’t really thought of the project at that point, but I think I saw a couple of the rest stops and that planted the seed. Then I got to Austin and became a commercial photographer. I shot a lot for Texas Monthly magazine and they would send me on assignments all over Texas, so I really got to see everything from Dallas to Houston, and San Antonio to all the small towns. I drove on a lot of the backroads, and that’s when I think I really started noticing them. There were just these cute little pull-offs, some of them don’t even have restrooms, it’s just a covered picnic table nestled back in the trees or out on this gorgeous prairie. A lot of them looked like they were from the 50s and 60s and I just love mid-century architecture and vintage design. I thought they could make for a really cool photo project.”

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The book’s design is well executed and the 10″ x 12″ trim size of the book gives ample space for the photos. Each rest stop shown in the book has a corresponding geo-tag location and a dot on an adjacent map of where it is located along her journey. In this collection of sites, Ford has created her own visual language, her own typography of this aspect of American culture. Much like projects that document and capture disappearing languages, iconic styles of architecture, and culture – With The Last Stop, Ford does far more than capture the remarkable, effective design of our nation’s road stops; she preserves a moment in the American travel experience when the journey was just as important as the destination itself.

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“The rest stops are more than just a place providing service to the public, they represent uniqueness in a world headed toward commercialization. While rest areas were originally designed to provide only the basic amenities of parking, bathroom, and picnic table, developers soon found within them the opportunity to reconnect people with the places they were traveling though, to add some humanity back to interstate travel. We can all relate to rest stops and what they represent as social and architectural icons of Americana. To me though, they are disappearing waysides of memories, anticipation and mystery of what the next one down the road will look like, and lastly they are a relevant benchmark in an era of bygone leisure travel.”


 

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The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside By Ryann Ford
Hardcover, 10 x 12 inches, 176 pages
ISBN: 978-1-57687-791-3

All images are reproduced with permission and are from The Last Stop by Ryann Ford, published by powerHouse Books.

You can purchase the book “The Last Stop” here, or see more of her work at her website here.


Interview with photographer Nathan Pearce

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Cary Benbow (CB): Can you please explain the idea behind your portfolio images submitted to the Family exhibition in this issue? How do they relate to your other projects, or how is it significantly different?

Nathan Pearce (NP): The photographs of family that I submitted for this issue are all part of my major projects. Mostly my main project Midwest Dirt. Family is important in my life and it’s something that I see as a major theme when I am photographing the Midwest.

CB: Why do you photograph? What compels you to make the images you create?

NP: I love making photographs and zines that include my photographs. It is the most satisfying  and important thing in my life. I am constantly compelled to make images. It’s probably because it is so satisfying and rewarding that I do it so often. I simply love making photographs. I’m not sure what originally compelled me to start but I do remember that it was a really long time ago.

 

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CB: Where do you get the ideas for your personal photography?

NP: Everywhere. I usually shoot in Southern Illinois and the Midwest acts as both the backdrop and subject of my work. Where I am from is very inspiring to me.

CB: What or who are your photography inspirations – and why?

NP: Aside from the inspiration that the Midwest gives me, I often look at the work that my friends are making and at my collection of zines and photobooks. I am often collaborating with friends on projects, and that is pretty inspiring as well. I most often make work with Rachael Banks and also frequently collaborate with Jake Reinhart and Matthew David Crowther. Most of those collaborations involve zines created and are released on Same Coin Press; which is a project I co-founded with Claire Cushing.

 

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CB: How are these images different (or similar) to the majority of work you do?

NP: Much of the work that I submitted for this issue is part of my main project Midwest Dirt. Family plays a big part in my work. Family is one of the main reasons I returned to the Midwest and I explore it a lot in my photographs.

Almost all of the pictures I submitted, with the exception of one or two, are of my own family. Several photos are of my nephew Journey. I have photographed him his entire life. I photographed him when he was less than an hour old, and I photographed him yesterday on his 6th birthday and hundreds of times in between. We even worked on a split zine together recently.

CB: Tell a little more about your project, Midwest Dirt.

NP: In the statement for Midwest Dirt I mention a beauty in having nothing to do. I am often photographing the stillness and the slow pace of life here offers a lot of material and inspiration for photographs. I felt like street photographers in New York often photograph people in a rush on the street, and the constant busy feeling in the city. I try to photograph the opposite here. Midwest Dirt is a project that I started upon returning to the Midwest after years of being away. I photograph the stillness of my native rural Midwest and the restlessness of people in it.

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For more information about Nathan Pearce, and to see more of his work, visit his website – http://www.nathanpearcephoto.com


 

This article was originally published in F-Stop Magazine in June 2016

Lenscratch | The States Project: Indiana – Jacinda Russell


©Jacinda Russell, A Chair Recognized 18 Years Later, Boise State University 2014

Lenscratch is featuring photographers from Indiana in their States project this week – and Indiana photographer Jacinda Russell has started out with a couple of photographers known to Wobneb Magazine. Amelia Morris did an interview and was featured in a Wobneb Magazine, and F-Stop Magazine earlier this year. Mark Sawrie is a common link between us as a professor and mentor. It is nice to see the state so well represented.

Check out Jacinda’s posts to find out about more photographers in/from Indiana.

http://lenscratch.com/2016/06/jacinda-russell-the-states-project-indiana/