Category: Creativity Podcast

Marky Kauffmann at the Wells Point

This Zoom presentation features Marky Kauffmann who has been working as a fine-art photographer and curator for more than thirty years. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2017 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist’s Fellowship in Photography. Kauffmann utilizes traditional darkroom techniques, alternative processes, and digital technologies to create her unique images. Samples of Marky’s work are interspersed throughout this newsletter. Kauffmann is also a passionate educator who has taught photography at numerous secondary schools, including Milton Academy and Weston High School. When I asked Marky to speak and I asked her what she would talk about, she wrote:

Growing up female in America in the 1950s has greatly influenced my photography and my curatorial work. I lived in a very sexist household, where the boys ruled the roost. Most of the resources were spent on them, right down to the food we ate. There were dinners at which the boys were served steak while the girls ate cereal. And if there were seconds to be had of anything, the boys got them. What is astonishing is that my sister and I accepted this hierarchy. We truly believed the boys deserved more.

College changed all of that. I took courses in Women’s Studies and learned about feminism. And in my photography classes, I learned that the camera could be a megaphone. Thus I began to “scream and shout” with my photographs, creating images that were a feminist critique of the blossoming cosmetic surgery industry. Along with five other women who were also making work about the lives of women and girls, I curated my first “activist” show called Beyond Mothers and Children: New Feminist Photographers in 1992.

Fast-forward to 2014, and the death of eighty-one year old Joan Rivers. The New York Times paid homage to her by printing her portrait on a full page, noting her birth and death dates. In the image, she is completely wrinkle-free. I had just turned sixty when I saw the image and was aghast. I thought, “Oh my God, am I not allowed to age?” Again, with my camera, I began screaming and shouting, creating my Lost Beauty portfolio that once again critiques the cosmetic surgery industry and the cultural idea of female physical perfection. Wanting to hear other female voices, I went on to curate Outspoken: Seven Women Photographers.

Stephanie Alavaerz-Ewens at the Wells Point

This Zoom recording features Stephanie Alvarez Ewens, who has been a photojournalist, documentary photographer, and portrait photographer for over twenty years. Stephanie lives in Cranston, Rhode Island with her two daughters and husband.
 Stephanie graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Economics, but it was a photography class her senior year that propelled her into a career of photojournalism and portrait photography. She went on to study photojournalism and documentary photography at San Francisco State and The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. She opened her own business in 2008. Her interest in telling people’s stories has fueled her love of photography and this passion remains strong in her work today. Stephanie comes from a family of immigrants and she’s always been curious about people and other cultures, as well about how people relate and the fact that everyone’s story is unique and interesting. She’s found that her camera is her most useful tool in understanding people and helping share their stories. In the presentation, she talked about how her upbringing contributed to her way of walking through the world and has kept her continually wanting to learn more about her craft, seeking out professionals in all different areas to help her become a better photographer. Throughout her twenty-year career, she’s assisted many different types of photographers, worked at several newspapers in California and RI and most recently has focused on portrait photography. It is in her studio where she is now able to take everything she’s learned from each job and put that towards her work in photographing men and women, telling their story and empowering them to be confident in front of the camera.

Laurie Klein Zooming with the Wells Point

Renowned photographer and educator, Laurie Klein talked about how as photographers we are motivated, creating imagery to work through the pain, angst of the unknown, as well as celebrate the silver linings through the creative expression of photography.

As a single mom who raised and supported two sons soley through her photography, she would photograph weddings practically every weekend for over 25 years. She realizes now she wanted to see love that looked perfect and record it. That was her subconscious response to external motivators telling her to feel love, all part of her effort to”get the marriage piece right.” Simillarly, with the outbreak of Covid, Laurie found she couldn’t pick up her infrared camera for months and stopped making pretty infrared photographs. She began tapping into the feelings of helplessness, isolation and the unknown. She worked through this personal transition through her personal work and offering workshops which addressed the healing process through photography.

Laurie holds a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MFA from Ohio University. Early in her career, Laurie studied with Ansel Adams. Laurie has been a leader in infrared photography for over 40 years. She has used this medium to create ethereal romantic imagery that included the female form in the landscape. Growing up in a physical body that was not the so called ‘’correct body type” she would use models as her surrogates trying to ‘get it right and be noticed,’ through her images.

Klein is the author of Infrared Photography (Edition 1 & 2): Artistic Techniques for Brilliant Images and Photographing The Female Form with Digital Infrared both published by Amherst Media. Hand Coloring Black and White Photography published by Quarry Publishers, and is published in numerous magazines. Her images have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Laurie teaches regularly at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, Maine Media, and in her own boutique workshops around the globe.

David Wells goes Zooming with the Wells Point

In this Zoom presentation I shared my interest in my favorite topic, in-depth visual narratives. I explored what motivated me to do the projects and the steps I went through from the initial idea to the final project.

Embracing Failure

Out of the blue, I received an e-mail from someone who described themselves as a “personal brand strategist who helps creative people shine online and share their talent with the world.” He wanted to talk with me about failure. To be honest, I was sure it was a scam and so I put up all my defenses. To his credit, Jonathan Tilley persisted and we ended up having a life-changing dialogue. This blog entry will take you through the process I went through and maybe change your life in some small way. Read More

Hanuman Jayanti (a video)

People in Bangalore, Karnataka, India seize the moment as they celebrate the birthday of Hanuman (the Hindu monkey god) by lighting 100,000 clay oil lamps in the heart of the city. Read More

Haridwar Time (a video)

Haridwar is an ancient city in India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometers (157 miles) from its source, enters the Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára. Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. Read More

Waterfire Promotion Video

In a promotional video that I made for WaterFire Providence, you can hear from the volunteers what a powerful experience they have volunteering for Waterfire, a long running piece of performance art held on the river in Providence. Waterfire is a spectacle to be enjoyed through the eyes and ears (as well as the nose.) Read More

Melded Arts: The sculpture and photography of Abigail Gumbiner (a video)

Abigail Gumbiner is a photographer and sculptor living on the Central Coast of California. Combing her passion for the two media, she produced her Melded Arts work, which has been exhibited at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art and the Art of Photography Show in San Diego as well as being featured in “The Handmade Photograph” magazine. Read More

Real Exposures Interview

I recently sat down with David Brommer, the force behind the Real Exposures interview series, to discuss what Brommer describes as my “visually striking and highly moving photo-essays for magazines and non-profit organizations, including a project on the pesticide poisoning of California farm workers that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.” We also discussed my more recent photo-essay depicting homes that people had left behind during the recent foreclosure crisis. Read More