Back in Black (and White)

1/13/18
2017 was an incredible and tumultuous year for me. I started a new and completely different chapter in my life. Everything in my personal life has changed beyond what I ever thought was possible, for the good mostly, but not without immense pain. I discovered dark truths about people I’d considered family for over a decade, and chose to be true to myself and to what I know is right.

I went into a bubble of isolation from most people and from my work for the past year just getting through the day-to-day and dealing with the grieving.

I’ve been in survival mode.

I never thought I could live through the loss I did last year, but I am trusting that love and truth will triumph in the end and I’m ready and to move forward in my life and in my work.

05-01 - Grasping_Gina DeGideo

o5/01 – Grasping ©Gina DeGideo

All year I’ve been looking at my unprocessed film and fresh packs of photo paper, knowing I need to get back, so it’s time for New Years Resolutions!

2018 Goals:

Finishing my Along the Way film processing and printing

Complete my writing and book for the project

Exhibit Along the Way as a solo show

Get back to blogging regularly

Process my new 4×5 film and keep shooting

Resolve Flex series printing

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Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison

8/19/13

Cotton Stomper, photograph by Marvin Morrison

Cotton Stomper, photograph by Marvin Morrison

My first solo exhibition and biggest show thus far opened last week at Art Intersection. One year in the making, the show featured 17 prints on the walls from scanned slides, negatives, and prints, with creative writing text below them. A hard cover handmade artist book, and a commemorative platinum/palladium print also sit together in a clamshell box set, on display.

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DSC_4535

The photographs are from a local farmer named Marvin Morrison, who passed away in 2007. His son, Howard, came to Art Intersection and to me looking to commission a project and exhibition based on the remaining photos from his father. In an ironic turn of events I found out that in my previous project Arid Zone Utopia I had actually been photographing in some of the exact places Marvin had been, only 60 years later.

When Howard brought the images to me I was struck at the unique stories I felt the images told. For a lifelong farmer who surely would’ve never considered himself a photographer or artist, there were some amazing images! They had a quiet and telling beauty to them. I felt a connection to the intimacy of many of them and decided this could definitely become something great.

I spent the next year gathering stories and memories from Marvin’s sons and wife, June, while learning all of the players in the family dynamic and getting to know the people individually. In doing so I also got to know Marvin, the man I would never meet. In these verbal descriptions of him, being in his lifelong home, and in the revelations of his photographs, I understood who he was.

...It's 5 am on a chilly Fall morning and the dew is just beginning to settle. Father and son plow ahead bailing 100lb packages of cut alfalfa, their machine shooting them out in perfect blocks. The two have been at it since the early morning hours. The son does his work and remains quiet; his shouting wouldn't be heard over the grumbling John Deere engine anyway. He knows his labor will be rewarded by his comrades in the barn later that day. He will rule as king of the Lego brick fort that the gang constructs when he returns with the goods, and it will be glorious...

…It’s 5 am on a chilly Fall morning and the dew is just beginning to settle. Father and son plow ahead bailing 100lb packages of cut alfalfa, their machine shooting them out in perfect blocks. The two have been at it since the early morning hours. The son does his work and remains quiet; his shouting wouldn’t be heard over the grumbling John Deere engine anyway. He knows his labor will be rewarded by his comrades in the barn later that day. He will rule as king of the Lego brick fort that the gang constructs when he returns with the goods, and it will be glorious…

To compliment the edited down images, I created captions based on family memories, and while sometimes channeling Marvin himself and putting myself in his shoes, based on what I’ve learned of him. The lines of text sit just slightly underneath the image and run as an accent to the pale-colored vintage feel of the prints made from his photographs.

The book is perhaps my favorite part of the project. For the past few years I’ve loved book-making and tried to use it in my work when it makes sense to. When looking at Marvin’s photos, I saw a distinct difference between more general farm-life pictures and between family-oriented photos. One of my favorite images is one of all of the women in the family wearing matching nightgowns, obviously homemade gifts from Grandma, and posing together for a picture on Christmas Eve.

Morrison Book-by Gina DeGideo

I knew I had to use these wonderful pictures in some way, which lead me to the reworked family photo album book. I wanted the book to be fun and also to be something that could be displayed in the gallery in a 3-dimensional way, so I chose the accordion style construction. I unified the many different image styles from different eras, from black and white to color, and printed them all digitally with a uniform sepia tonality. I’ve been dying to make an accordion book with handwritten photo captions (like you would see if you turned over an old photograph; yeah, when people still printed them!) on the back for some time now, and felt this was definitely the project to incorporate this into. June was the natural choice to illustrate the captions. Her fabulous cursive scribbles were done in pencil, scanned in, and digitally printed on the backs of the images. I love how this book has become a sort of unknowing collaboration between Marvin’s photos and his wife’s captions.

Morrison Opening 1

In the end, I am extremely happy with the artwork and so glad I had this unique opportunity to create something wonderful from someone else’s found photographs. I can now continue on with more of my personal projects, but I am so thankful for the experience and I’d like to think that Marvin likes it too 😉 .

Morrison Opening 2

Morrison Opening 3

The Memory vs. The Experience

5/27/12

I remember fragments of this day with family building the brick wall in our family’s front yard, 1993, Age 6.

If you are a photographer like me, you must get tired of the monotonous questions, “where is your camera?” at family functions and questions of if you can take pictures of peoples’ babies or weddings or birthday parties (no offense family and friends 🙂 ). Firstly, let me say that I do enjoy looking at old photographs and being able to create and imagine a sense of the world I was too young to remember, or from a time before my existence. Memories are things that are intrinsically tied to visual images and photographs. Perhaps I am an oddball photographer, but it seems to me that the human psyche relies much too heavily on this photographic form for memory recognition.

This cubby made the perfect hiding spot for toys, lemonade stand profits, and other important items throughout my childhood, 1993-2011. This photograph was taken 1 day after the forclosure of my family home.

I know as a photographer, that’s not what I should say. I believe people expect me to say the camera’s image is a holy form of reality, while in fact it can never even be that… reality. Simply, it is a reference to a particular reality; one in which only a mechanical box can interpret. While this “box” can be a magical tool with endless other benefits, I believe it cannot replace the human body/mind experience.

I much so prefer to live in the moment rather than to struggle to capture every detail on film. I aim to feel the breeze on my skin, to create a sensory memory of the place’s smell, and to see through my eye’s lens. There is something much more spiritual and simplistic about this way of life; a unique experience that cannot be confined or recreated to reflect one 2-D perspective.

In the end will we have our memories, or the tangible objects to represent them?

One Man, One Tutu, One Goal

5/24/12

I had the privilege of meeting the world renowned tutu man, Bob Carey and his wonderful wife Linda a couple of weeks ago. I learned about their ambitious goal of publishing a book to promote happiness. Linda is a breast cancer warrior and Bob is a long-time photographer. He began a project focused on an alter-ego of a happy-go-lucky hairy man in a tutu (my own interpretation) while examining issues of body consciousness. His photographs appeal to everyone’s inner-child and you cannot help but to feel joy when viewing them. Aside from their comical oddity, the images feature gorgeous landscapes and wonderful decisive moment shots. The pictures become even more astounding when you realize the vast shots and impeccable timing are controlled by Bob Carey himself via cable release, and are self-portraits.

As Bob tells it, the idea for the project began when Linda shared the amusing photographs with other women as they waited for chemo treatments. It brought a smile to the women’s faces. This prompted Bob to create a book Ballerina filled with the images, which could be in every hospital and cancer treatment center in the country… or even the world!

What was born from this is The Tutu Project! Bob and Linda are raising money to publish the book by selling pre-orders of the books with a print inside, t-shirts, separate prints, and by taking donations. After the book is published on September 1, 2012, the proceeds from the book sales will be put in a foundation that the couple is starting for financial assistance for things like medication and transportation for breast cancer fighters. Help me in supporting this cause, visit TheTutuProject.com for more info.

Welcome to Gilbert!

11/14/11

Art Intersection is a wonderful art space new to Gilbert, AZ. This place is packed with goodies: a large beautiful gallery space, full wet lab dark room, digital photo lab, artist lounge, and lecture room. Art Intersection offers bi-weekly workshops on a variety of techniques such as book-making and digital photography, regular artist lectures, and monthly critiques/discussions for community members. There are also summer programs for children to learn a new art-making technique and to explore their own creativity.

As a member of the East Valley community, I realize that there’s a serious lack of community engagement with the arts here. For the past few years it has been a passion of mine to one day open my own art gallery/lounge/café which also gives workshops for local artists to come together and support each other. This is not something I will financially be able to do anytime soon, but I am thrilled that someone else finally also came to this conclusion. This is the reason I am more than happy to be an advocate for Art Intersection. Everyone, especially people who leave East of Phoenix should be supporting this hot spot! Sign up for their newsletter by visiting ArtIntersection.com.

420 at NSAA!!!

My first indoor gallery exhibition opened 4/20/11 at NSAA (New School for Arts & Academics) in Tempe, AZ. It was exciting and I was happy it all came together. Thanks to the other 5 artists involved in the show, Kathryn Lew, Virginia Martinez, Glory Shim, Valerie Echeveria, and Margaret Hernandez. I think we rocked it!

Also especially THANK YOU to my supportive family for coming to see the work you are all a part of.

Reminence of Home

This work was very personal for me and dealt with the loss of my childhood home and the visual memories I still have connected to this place I’ve always considered “home”.
Check out my artist book Home published at Blurb.

Bookmaking is a fun and very creative process I look forward to learning more about during my stay ASU. Sometimes though, it is nice to let someone publish it for you… this is where Blurb.com comes in. What a great resource for writers and art enthusiasts. Make your work tangible!