Over the last year, I’ve been focusing on reinventing myself as a photographer and artist. I have found inspiration in new places and forced myself to rediscover what inspires me. This has included looking in new places for inspiration (more posts to come on that later) and from artists working in many different media.
A creative writing professor of mine at NY’s Fashion Institute of Technology, and brilliant poet, Amy Lemmon asked me to participate in a “virtual blog tour”. As she explains, the tour is “aimed at giving more exposure to blogs that readers may not have seen before.” Amy included me in her post last week, and this week the two artists she has featured and I will post about three more artists each (see below). And the blog chain letter continues. What a brilliant way to spread inspiration and ideas.
Let’s get this started!
First let me introduce you to Amy Lemmon who invited me to participate in this blog tour.
Amy Lemmon is the author of two poetry collections — Fine Motor (Sow’s Ear Poetry Review Press, 2008) and Saint Nobody (Red Hen Press, 2009)—and co-author, with Denise Duhamel, of the chapbooks ABBA: The Poems (Coconut Books, 2010) and Enjoy Hot or Iced: Poems in Conversation and a Conversation (Slapering Hol Press, 2011). Her poems and essays have appeared in The Best American Poetry 2013, Rolling Stone, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, Verse, Court Green, The Journal, Marginalia, and many other magazines and anthologies. Awards include a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship, the Elliston Poetry Prize, the Ruskin Art Club Poetry Prize, and scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, West Chester Poetry Conference, and Antioch Writers’ Workshop. She is Professor of English at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, adviser to FIT Words: The Club for Writers, and Poetry Editor of the online literary magazine Ducts.org. Amy lives in Astoria, Queens, with her two children.
Of all the professors I’ve had in my constant quest for knowledge and information, I found Amy Lemmon to be one of the most dedicated and thoughtful. Forget writer’s block (or Photographer’s block), she has steps for working through any form of creative block that any artist may have to confront. In my almost 35 years, I’ve been using journals on and off to capture my thoughts, experiences and ideas, but Amy gave me some simple ideas for staying on the bandwagon (maybe that’s a post for the future) and keeping the ideas flowing.
The next part of the virtual blog tour is a self interview.
1. What am I currently working on?
My constant process of self discovery has led me to a strong desire to explore filmmaking as a new medium of telling stories (It’s not so new. My interest in photography actually started with video in my teens). I am currently working on a screenplay loosely based on an event in my childhood.
In my still photography work, I’ve been working on several editorial collaborations with other photographers and artists. I’m also working on an art project featuring dancers from major NYC dance companies photographed at iconic locations in NYC in one-of-a-kind fashion.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Coming from a background in dance and theatre, I feel that I have a unique sense of movement (and stillness) that many other fashion photographers may not have.
3. Why do I create what I do?
Whether my current mode of creation be the written word, a photograph or a moving picture, my overall goal is to tell stories and share how I see the world (or how I want it to be). My work takes elements of fact and merges them with elements of fiction to create my own little world. They say that modern art is about generating a response from the viewer; My take on modern art is to create a response while sharing my own ideas.
4. How does my creative process work?
Photography, and film, are collaborative sports. Ideas for my projects may strike me while I’m sitting at Union Square people watching (my favorite pastime) or looking at art at the MET. All my ideas go in a journal that I go back to when clients or publications, approach me for projects. I, also, research current fashion trends and projected trends consistently and when it comes time to create work I look back at this research.
After I write up a one sheet with the general guidelines of the project, I start to build the team. I reach out to potential stylists, makeup artists, and hair stylists, and ask for their input into the project. Fashion stylists are masters of their domain, as are makeup artists, and hair stylists. I tend to ask every member of the team for their input and together we make a collaborative vision become a reality. While a plan is a necessity to ensure a project’s success, once the creative juices begin to flow on set anything can happen. That is when the magic happens.
Jan grew up in Berlin, Germany and moved to the US 20 years ago. He spent many years in technology, marketing and retail roles before focusing on fashion photography. His approach combines his understanding of technology, marketing, and visual story telling to understand the client’s needs, and deliver well crafted visuals. Jan likes cooling creative problems that businesses have with their brand and their marketing. The camera, the lights, the location are all just means to an end. An end to tell a story that creates interest in the subject.
James Groeling is a freelance artist in New York who was educated at the School of Visual Arts. Over the past several years, James has been part of numerous art shows which have taken his art and prints to four continents at last count. His time is mostly spent creating, working on projects, and enjoying life with friends and family as he considers that to be the most inspiring part of life.
As a freelance artist and illustrator working in many media on various surfaces, his work has continued to develop as visual experimentation and new projects have arisen. His work has traveled to four continents and have been a part of museum exhibitions and fundraisers.
I met James while looking for an artist to create hand drawn molding on a set for a client a couple years ago and continue to be inspired by his out of this world talent and creativity.
jeanmiele.com Jean Miele is a photographer and digital artist exploring the borderlands between fiction and reality. Drawing on 19th & 20th century ideals and enthusiastically embracing 21st century techniques, Miele creates beautiful prints that explore perception, spirituality and mysticism. His strong, quiet images intend to remind us that moments of perfection are possible, in photography, and in our lives.
His images have appeared in thousands of publications, including recent articles in “Fotografi,” Norway’s premiere photo magazine, and the Houston Center for Photography’s Journal “Spot”. In addition to making fine art and commercial work, he is a pretty well known teacher whose workshops, seminars and one-on-one instruction demystify digital and empower students to realize their own photographic vision.
He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Carol and grown-up daughter Cally.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jean twelve years ago while I was working on my A.A.S. at NY’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Since then, Jean and I have become great friends and have kept in touch over the years. I’m currently working on a documentary on Jean’s work which is a fascinating combination of reality and fantasy that is built on his strong spirituality and search for perfection.
CHECK THEM OUT!
I encourage you to check out Jean, Jan, James (Wow, I just now realized that I selected 3 J’s) and Amy’s blogs, today and next week when they each post three artists whose work they follow.
Kevin Michael Reed is a theatre maker from New York City living in Dublin and London. His production credits have included producer, director, playwright, dramaturg and designer. He is Artistic Director of Squire Lane Theatrical UK, a theatre production company specialising in developing new works for the stage. He holds a BFA in Photography from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), a MA in Playwriting from City, University of London, and a MFA in Theatre Directing from The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art, Trinity College Dublin.