A Personal Matter of Some Account

Michelle Saffran
Winter 2019 Edition

It's January!

January arrives just in time to restore my mental health and get a sound night's sleep.  The holidays are over and I have a month off teaching before spring semester begins.  Time to clear my mind, clean the studio and catch up on reading. 

I am grateful for my studio; large windows with plenty of natural light for making photographs, a wall to tack work on to but it gets smaller and smaller by the end of each project.  Floor space shrinks from disarray and two 70 pound, extremely hairy, studio assistants who shed and sprawl in the middle of the room. 

When I am working I don't notice the scraps of prints, collection of still life props and general clutter that accumulate first on the tables then the floors.  I am in the zone.  I don't hear the music.  I forget to eat. I ignore the need to pee. 
Depending on the project deadline and its complexity this mess grows over days and  sometimes weeks.  It is a magnificent frenzy of production.  I love it. 

I also love cleaning up because it means a new beginning.  Writers talk about staring at the blank page.  Painters talk of the blank canvas which may feel intimidating, causing anxiety akin to creative paralysis.  For me the act of cleaning and putting things away is rejuvenating.  Once completed, I sit down at the computer to look at archived photographs and can once again think and plan.

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Good Reads

Color Problems: A Practical Manual For The Lay Student Of Color

by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel

Written in 1901 Vanderpoel's book breaks down complicated theory on vision, light and color into a readable book with over 100 color illustrations.  She synthesizes the research of the day (much remains undisputed) into color harmony, properties of color, history of color and even a chapter on color blindness.   This re-issue from The Circadian Press gives credit to an overlooked gem of writing and artist / writer.  One take away for me was the similarity between the way our eyes interpret light waves to see color and the similar way the sensor on a digital camera works.

Another Way of Looking at Love

by Janelle Lynch

My first attraction to this monograph was its accordion fold structure.  As a maker of hand-made accordion fold books myself I wondered what the format would look like when commercially produced.  Once I opened the book my initial curiosity quickly took a back seat to the exquisite photographs.  Following the sequencing of images across each page slowed my breathing.  The feel of its pages in my hands an intimate adventure completely absorbing my attention.  Lynch's respect of nature and ability to frame quiet moments of observation touched my heart.  Her photographs are truly another way of looking at love.  To see the book and read Lynch's artist statement follow this link to Lenscratch.


Current Exhibition

The Way We See It:  Social [In] Justice
January 8 - February 23

Opening Reception - Friday,
January 18th, 6 - 8 pm

Axel's Gallery
Waterbury VT

"The world is filled with injustice. And as of late, the political stage has highlighted both racism and sexism within our own country. This group show highlights the work of five artists that are responding to their own view of social injustice - be it racism, sexism, religious discrimination or genocide. Participating artists include Kate Longmaid, Ann Young, Jerry Ralya, Michelle Saffran and David French."  Gallery Website

My part of this group show includes photographs of the Bhattarai family of Winooski along with text from interviews between writer David French and the family. 

The photographs and text are from the New American Family collaboration between David, myself and the Bhattarai family. The project was funded, in part, through a Vermont Community Foundation grant and a private donation.  Our contribution to this show speaks to a more humane and  compassionate United States policy on immigration.

Photo on the right:  Duku and Renuka, October 17, 2018  19" x 13"

Coming Up

the Front:  Show 30
January 25 - February 9

Opening Reception - Friday,
January 25, 4 - 8pm

Show 30 celebrates the third anniversary of this stellar cooperative gallery and will be one of the stops on the Montpelier Art Walk February 1.  Each show is different and features the work of twenty different artists.  I haven't yet decided which piece I will show but am thinking of either the piece shown on the right  Conceived From Imperfect Knowledge (2018 color photograph 38" x 13") or another recent photograph Dusky Path of a Dream (not shown).  The only way you will know what I decide is to come to the show!  Gallery website link.


Art on Loan

Art Museum of the Americas

Four of my handmade accordion fold books:
Flow, Atlas, You Can't Live Your Own Life and Possibility are on loan to the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington DC for their Artist Book Fair exhibit that happened November 8 - 11, 2018.  As part of the exhibition the books will remain on loan through November 15, 2019.  I don't have the specifics as to how the public may access the exhibit after the Book Fair ends but will keep you posted as I learn more.  I was invited by the curator Fabian Gonclaves Borrega whom I met last March at Houston FotoFest.

Photograph on left:  details from Atlas (2018)

Copyright © 2019  Michelle Saffran, All rights reserved.

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Howes Road, Moretown, VT 05660

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Michelle Saffran Photography · 30 Howes Road · Moretown, VT 05660 · USA

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