RFOTOFOLIO Interview

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An interview published September 17, 2015 on the RFOTOFOLIO blog.

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Thank you, Connie and Jerry Rosenthal!

9/9/2015 LenScratch

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Aline Smithson and her crew at LenScratch went above and beyond in helping to spread the word about our upcoming World Cyanotype Day.  We asked the people who were participating in the project to photograph the cyanotypes they had already made and send them in so LenScratch could feature them in a “recruiting” post.  The information was published on September 9.  Following that, our WCD facebook group had a massive influx of new participants from all over the world.

You may read that post here.  Thank you, Aline!

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wheat-pasting Johnson City

Kevin James Tully has created a SmileBox slide show / collage of thirty-seven images from the June 27, 2015 shootapalooza wheatpasting extravaganza in Johnson City, Texas.  There to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the A Smith Gallery, our friends from Johnson City as well as from across the US covered two walls with black and white photographic images.  We appreciate Texcetera and Echo in Johnson City for providing the walls.

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Wheat-pasting at Texcetera in Johnson City by The shootapalooza Wheat-Pasting Team. Photo by Ess Silks.

Ingrid Lundquist, one of the shootapalooza wheat-pasting crew members, wrote the following account:

Photo Gallery Celebrates Anniversary with Wheat Paste Revival…  Low Investment, High Reward

By Ingrid Lundquist, August 2015

Wonder no more about a traditional gift for an art gallery’s anniversary. Year one is obvious, a light-up “Open” sign; year two, logo wine glasses; year three, matching gallery frames; year four, a matte cutter; and year five, exterior walls on which to wheat paste giant photo images into larger-than-life collages.

Wheat pasting is not new as an art form, but it is an inexpensive product that can produce results beyond the few dollars spent. Think about the concert posters glued to the sides of buildings or the adhesive that binds papier mache. Basically it’s just flour and water. So simple and so old that it’s easy to forget, that is, unless you’re looking for a unique business team-building or celebratory activity.

Amanda Smith, owner/director of A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas (population 1,658) is a magnet for interesting projects and people. In the past five years she has staged more than 50 photography shows in her gallery and in local establishments.

Smith is a professional photographer and veteran of “Shootapalooza,” an ad hoc group of photographers from more than a dozen states who descend on a city for a week each year. Along with the other gallery director, Kevin Tully, and Judy Sharrod, ring leader of Shootapalooza, the trio planned an on-going five year anniversary for the gallery.

On Sunday, three photographers met Amanda, Kevin and Judy at the gallery before heading out on their first photo shoot. Day-by-day more photographers arrived and by the seventh day, 29 photographers representing 8 states roamed Johnson City, the boyhood home of Lyndon Baines Johnson. The week-long effort incorporated at least 20 photo shoot destinations (including “last call” at Luchenbach, Texas), four gallery receptions, lots of eating and drinking, two workshops, and two outdoor wheat pasting installations.

The theme of the anniversary photography exhibit was water with the competition garnering more than 1,200 entries from 35 states and 9 countries. “When I saw the entries, it was obvious that outstanding work fell into two separate categories,” said juror E. Gayle Stevens, a fine art photographer from Chicago, Illinois. “I asked if it would be possible to hang two shows and the gallery agreed.”

“Water,” the 50 piece photography show in A Smith Gallery reflected the juror’s selection of work evoking the calm and spiritual quality inspired by water; it included many soothing abstract black and white images. At East Main Grill a few blocks away, another 30 pieces hung in a show called “H2O.” These boldly colored photos suggested a more brazen side of water, often including people interacting with and challenged by water.

Staged on the Art Wall at Pecan Street Brewing, the “Shootapalooza Alumni Exhibit” featured 32 photographic works created by participants in prior Shootapalooza treks. “The Johnson Settlement + One,” encaustic works by Kevin Tully graced the walls of 290 Diner, a local eatery.

“Art should be shared,” Smith said, “being outside, everyone can enjoy the images.” In agreement, Texcetera, a retail shop featuring Texas artists and craftsmen, and Echo, a vintage treasure and art store, offered up the exterior blank walls.

The wheat paste gang ranged from a curious wide-eyed two year old boy to a feisty photo wiz 80 years his senior wearing a t-shirt that read “Old Guys Rule.” It was uncanny how the participants found (or claimed) their unique role. Two ladder-fearless one-time paper hangers anchored the crew, while two or three others gravitated to organizing the images by size. Since all images were black and white, the balance of light and dark on the sheets was another consideration. The size of the paper made the organization process more like layering carpets on the floor than dealing cards when sorting through a stack of snapshots.

The unstructured wheat pasting activity quickly established its own rhythm and magic happened as if keenly orchestrated by a maestro. Mix the wheat paste, sort the photos into stacks, start with a large central image, roll the wall with wheat paste, hold the image up to the wall, press it into the wall from the center out, roll with more wheat paste, brush out the lumps and creases (leaving some for artistic flavor), and stand back to admire you work. Repeat until all images stick to the wall.

The self-appointed curators in the group used intuition in deciding the order and placement. The actual image was of less importance than the size, shape, and relationship to adjoining images. One curator placed a fragile flower next to a giant bee, another directed an old sink under a roller coaster car because the shapes mirrored each other, and a woman’s head was strategically positioned at the upper left so she could stare down at passers-by.

Because the wheat pasting took place on two different days in different parts of the city, each activity attracted a unique group of on-lookers. Some recognized it as “a happening” and casually wandered into the group while others took root in lawn chairs as if watching an outdoor concert. The store owners provided refreshments and words of encouragement, pausing only to gaze in awe as the massive wall statement unfolded before them.

In celebration of the fifth anniversary of A Smith Gallery, the Hill Country town of Johnson City, Texas was inundated with art-related activities for a full week, providing educational workshops and showcasing more than 100 photographers in five shows. The investment in wheat paste supplies – minimal; the goodwill and resulting public art – priceless. They came, they conquered, they left inspired… more than three dozen photographers, 64 images and two attention-grabbing wheat pasted murals.

Kudos to Amanda, Kevin, Judy and all who participated by offering walls, images and labor.

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a letter from shootapalooza

If you will click this link, you will find the following “letter from shootapalooza,” published in the September / October 2015 issue of South x Southeast Photomagazine.

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Ebb and Flow by Lynda Martin for the show, “Water”.
Ebb and Flow by Lynda Martin for the show, “Water”.

Hello Nancy, and thank you for your continued interest in this movable creative feast called shootapalooza.

You missed a great party on the twenty-first of June. Johnson City is not a big place in Texas, but it is home to a big-hearted fine-art photography gallery. Five years ago, Amanda Smith came to town and purchased the gallery that now bears her name. She made the front half into a showcase for monthly exhibitions and the back half into a home and gallery for the works in her personal collection. She turned the bathroom into an aviary, except there were no birds – only bird cages.

Continue reading a letter from shootapalooza

what is shootapalooza?

Our first shootapalooza was held in February, 2014 in Port Aransas, Texas, a fishing town on Mustang Island, off the coast of Corpus Christi. We refer to it as “shootapalooza, the experiment,” because that’s exactly what it was.

The goal was to figure out if people would come to the beach in February to show their photographic art work, share knowledge, and shoot together. I hoped for ten people, no more than twenty, and we had sixteen:

Vicki Reed from Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Stacy L. Gardner from Loveland, Colorado
Diane Boddy from Dallas, Texas
Karine Aigner from Washington, D.C.
Claire Cartwright Vaughan from San Antonio, Texas
Heather Perera from Seattle, Washington
Amanda Smith from Johnson City, Texas
Kevin James Tully from Johnson City, Texas, who was crowned
Mister Congeniality
Anne Jarrell Berry from Newnan, Georgia
Christa Blackwood from Austin, Texas
Becky Ramotowski from Albuquerque, New Mexico
Carol S. Dass from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Heather Oelklaus from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Heather’s companion, Video Barbie
Jennifer Shaw from New Orleans, Louisiana
Judy Sherrod from Wichita Falls, Texas
My constant companion, B

We began each day with “Show and Tell.” Everyone participated. Everyone showed the things they were working on. Several days, we followed that with “Photo Labs.” Becky taught one on caffenol developing. Vicki taught lumen printing. She and I taught alcohol transfers.

Afternoons were reserved for photography around Port Aransas and Mustang Island.

We had an afternoon excursion that included the museum, a tiny little chapel no one knows about that is adorned with drug-induced religious frescoes, and the Farley Boat Works, a recently resurrected hand-boatbuilding work center.

Thursday morning we drove to Goliad, where the first Declaration of Independence for the Republic of Texas was signed. We went first to the restored Presidio on one side of the highway and then to the Mission on the other side. We also had a picnic on the mission grounds.

Here is what I believe makes shootapalooza special:

We didn’t have a high-power, expensive “key note” speaker. Instead, everyone was our keynote speaker. We didn’t have big-name, expensive workshop leaders. Instead, we taught each other. Our meeting room was there at the Holiday Inn Express, and we used it almost 24/7. We spent a lot of time in that meeting room sharing ideas, studying things together, trying new things.

And shootapalooza was free. There was no fee. There is no fee. We used a sand bucket as our “kitty” to collect money for the meeting room and also for donations to the museum after our visit there.

I believe people are hungry to be together in a creative environment that’s encouraging, validating, supportive and non-threatening. Each person who came, came ready and prepared to give, and open to receive. They came with different gifts and they came with different needs. Gifts were shared. Needs were met.

shootapalooza honestly and truly created itself. So I am really looking forward to seeing how it develops as it moves forward. We are all always learning new things and we will continue to teach each other. It has been a labor of love, and I’m honored and privileged, as are my creative colleagues, to produce and present this wonderful spirited beach-fest. We are all excited. All the time.

Judy Sherrod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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