Category: Creativity Podcast

David Wells mines his archive

In this Zoom presentation I discuss how I spent time mining my photographic archive. This presentation was partly a byproduct of my being home-bound at the start of the pandemic. The next factor adding to the mix was the changing market for publication images. Many of the photo agencies that I once worked with have been going out of business over the last decade and returning my old film images along the way.

By way of background, I started my life in photography in 1972 using film and I “went digital” in 2008, so when the images from that first part of my career started coming back to me, I initially shoved them in closets and ignored them. But late in 2019, before the pandemic, some things happened that made me think it was time to open up my film archive, to find the gems and get rid of the rest. Images from that exact process are at the core of this presentation.

About the same time as my work was being returned to me, I had an internal reckoning of sorts, where I was prompted to come to terms with what’s likely to be the ultimate disposition of my photographic archive and my life‘s work. The mixing of all of these events together prompted me to do the massive editing and housecleaning that I had long avoided. Among the many things I found were photos of me when I was much younger with less gray hair, images that I made throughout the world. I guess we would call these selfies now, but back then somebody else had to take the actual picture. I found some great old family photos, especially of my daughter. I reconnected with some very old newspaper work that I did when I first started. I waded through a lot of junk. A lot of junk.

In the talk you will learn about my early career, see some surprising images, and probably laugh a bit. I also hope the talk prompts you to think about the future, about your photographic archives, about the importance of our images as our legacies (and maybe a few other questions.)

Jill Enfield goes Zooming with the Wells Point

This Zoom presentation features Jill Enfield, a fine art photographer in conversation with Annu P. Matthew. Jill is an author and educator who is known for her instruction of hand coloring, wet plate collodion, and an array of other photo processes at Parsons The New School for Design, Fashion Institute of Photography, New York University, Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, and the International Center of Photography in New York City as well as RISD.  Enfield has been the subject of dozens of solo exhibits over the years, in galleries and museums around the world. Her work is also included in hundreds of group exhibitions. Jill’s personal work has appeared in such publications as American Photo, Archive Books, Camera Arts, Camera & Darkroom Techniques, Digital Camera, Hasselblad’s FORUM Magazine, Modern Photography, National Geographic, Nikon World, PDN, Photo Techniques, Popular Photography, Shutterbug, Step by Step and ZOOM. After 35 years in New York City, Jill moved to a house built in 1828 near Newburgh, N.Y. Jill’s first book on non-silver techniques titled Photo Imaging: A Complete Guide to Alternative Processes was published by Watson-Guptill, Amphoto in November 2002. Her second book, Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes: Popular historical and Contemporary Techniques, was published by Focal Press in 2013 has already sold out and is was recently released for a second printing.

Harvey Stein at The Wells Point

In this Zoom presentation, Harvey Stein was interviewed by Bob Patterson, They explored Harvey’s motivations, bookmaking, passion for Coney Island, long-term personal projects, and maintaining a long-term career in photography.

Bob Patterson is the founder and publisher of Street Photography Magazine. His mission is to create a digital platform that gives street and documentary photographers the ability to showcase their work and share their vision with a worldwide audience. Bob began making photographs at the age of 10 with the family Brownie camera, developing film and printing photos in a makeshift basement darkroom. In 2013 he merged his professional management experience with his love of photography and fascination with technology to create Street Photography Magazine. 

Harvey Stein was stationed in Germany as a lieutenant in the US Army when he took up photography at the age of twenty-two. A Pittsburgh native, he studied engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, then pursued graduate studies at Columbia University’s Business School. Fascinated by what he calls the “variety, excitement and strangeness of New York street life,” he was “hooked and photographed all the time.” 

After obtaining his MBA in the late 1960s, Stein remained in New York and worked in the advertising world. He took photography classes at Parsons School of Design/The New School and New York University. As he recalled: “My first and most influential teacher, Ben [Benedict] Fernandez, a terrific street photographer, said, “get a Leica, use a 21mm lens, and shoot at Coney Island.” Being the good student that I was, I complied.” 

Stein began teaching photography classes in 1976 at the International Center of Photography, where he has been ever since. He has also taught at the School of Visual Arts, The New School University, Parsons School of Design, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Bridgeport.

His first book, Parallels: A Look at Twins (E.P. Dutton, 1978), is a six-year investigation of identical twins with quotes by the twins. The book Artists Observed (Harry Abrams, Inc, 1986) is his study of 75 well-known American visual artists in their studios, from Andy Warhol to Keith Haring. Harvey created his photographs between 1980-1986. He made his first book of Coney Island over 27 years (1970-1997.) It chronicled the people and amusements of this American cultural iconic location and was published by W.W. Norton, Inc. in 1998. Movimento: Glimpses of Italian Street Life (Gangemi Publications, 2006) follows a ten-year investigation of Italian public behavior in major cities of this country. Coney Island 40 Years (Schiffer Publishers, 2011) documents the many changes and events that the amusement park/beach/pier experienced since his first book. From 2013 to 2020, he published in rapid succession four more books, Harlem Street Portraits (Schiffer, 2013), Briefly Seen: New York Street Life (Schiffer, 2015), Mexico Between Life and Death (Kehrer, 2018), and Then and There: Mardi Gras 1979, (Zatara Press, 2020). 

Harvey will admit that producing books is often laborious and a lengthy process. But he finds it an efficient way to have some of his work seen more widely and over a more extended period than most other distribution methods.

Elizabeth Greenberg Zooms into the Wells Point

This Zoom recording features Elizabeth Greenberg, an artist and educator living on the coast of Maine. Elizabeth speaks about her work and motivations. Elizabeth’s passion for photography has been her guide for living a life and a career immersed in a daily conversation about looking at and making pictures. She studied photography at Rhode Island School of Design and thereafter began what would become a long-term relationship with the Maine Media Workshops + College (formerly Maine Photographic Workshops.) After running her own commercial photography business in NYC she changed paths to more seriously pursue her own art practice and share her passion for the medium of photography through education.  She received her MFA in Visual Arts from Vermont College. Elizabeth’s work has been exhibited across the country and she has curated  numerous exhibitions. She works with the Arnold and Augusta Newman Foundation to administer the Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture to honor her mentor’s legacy. Currently, Elizabeth is the Provost at Maine Media Workshops + College. She teaches workshops in Maine and Hawaii, and is a member of the faculty in both the certificate and MFA programs at the college.

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. 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