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

Working the Land… and Curating

2/7/16
In September I began working on an idea for an exhibition to have in February for PhotoTapas – Arizona Photography Month! Generally, I have found with curating I go through phases of meeting people or looking at their work, and naturally I begin drawing connections between ideas and artists, based things I have already been thinking about.

For the past few years, I have been fascinated with the new food movement to grow your own, responsibly source, eat organically, and just plain give a shit about what you put in your body! It is pretty impressive to me that most people (in the US) now care, at least a little more than they did before. You go to other countries where quality and tradition are the most important aspect of food, rather than the emphasis on a bulk of production. Here, that has never been the case – we have no history or ancient traditions, just the aspiration of prosperity.

Lucy for Web

Image by Jill Ison

 

One of the artists who really made me take a closer look at the idea of how each person can change food, is Jill Ison. She is a mother and incredible photographer who I’ve known for a few years now, and she is especially gifted when it comes to photographing her family and in portraiture. Her father purchased a farm several years ago and is invested in growing the best possible food, because it is more to him than a paycheck. Mostly he grows organic oats and ancient grains, which are delicious by the way! The idea of reviving ancient grains, and recovering lost strains of food, is really cool in my nerdy brain. Jill has been visiting her father’s farm regularly and photographing every aspect of the operation, as well as shooting her three beautiful daughters in their day-to-day activities there.

Scott T. Baxter_Working the Land

Image by Scott T. Baxter

Another artist who I have been working with for some time at Art Intersection to make prints, also got me thinking about the history of food, farming, and ranching. His name is Scott T. Baxter and for Arizona’s centennial in 2012, he completed a 10+ year project titled 100 Years 100 Ranchers, in which Scott spent a lot of time alongside ranching families who had been operating in the state for at least 100 years. He made beautiful portraits of them, while also photographing what was happening throughout a typical day in their boots. This project and his experience with it made him a tremendous cowboy photographer, and it sheds light on the incredibly hard-working men and women who still move cattle, and work with the animals we usually only see packaged in the meat section of our supermarkets.

Scott lives and works at an amazing facility called Cattle Track, which was established by Philip C. Curtis, one of the founders of the Phoenix Art Museum. This facility is an artist compound with local businesses, residential units, operating artist studios, and an art gallery, of course. The gallery, which I had visited many times, seemed like the perfect funky place for the show I had brewing.

Ken & Cattle_DeGideo

Image by Gina DeGideo, with original photograph by Marvin Morrison

To flesh out the show, I included the work from my Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison project, which was an insider’s view of farming life photographed by an actual farmer, shooting literally out in the field. I also invited well-known Western photographer Jay Dusard to show some work from his collection of esteemed images he’s made over the years. In the gallery hangs two gigantic black and white cowboy portraits from Jay, and also a colorful grid of action shots he made while photographing commercially.

Jay Dusard_Working the Land

Image by Jay Dusard

Our exhibition Working the Land: Arizona Farming and Ranching Families is up now through February 14, 2016, with a Closing Reception on Sunday, February 14, from 1 – 4pm. It is free and open to the public! In the end, I feel this is a well-balanced and intimate show, invested in the lives of the people who are still doing the things we might think of as being from the wild wild west and times past.

This exhibition is also part of PhotoTapas: Photography Month in Arizona! To learn more about all of the February events happening around the state in February, visit phototapas.com.

phototapas logo b&w

 

Down the Rabbit Hole…

9/20/15

"Found" ©Gina DeGideo

“Found” ©Gina DeGideo

Years ago, I made this photograph on a family day trip up to small rural town in northern Arizona for my nephew’s fourth birthday party. My son, along with a couple of his cousins and I, ventured down a pathway leading from the party for a quick walk. I carried my small point and shoot digital camera to take some snaps of the boys by the creek. I had remembered that down this path was also an amazing tree house my cousins and I had grown up climbing and playing in.

Just minutes into our hike on the trail, often used as a roadway for everyone in town to ride quads, jeeps, and dirt bikes, I stumbled upon this completely flattened and decomposing rabbit in the sand. The animal’s fascinating form, preservation, cleanliness, fluffiness, and unfortunate situation demanded my full attention. I responded to my found object by photographing it (how could I not) including my foot. Its perfect face and form make this one of my favorite photographs to date.

Then & Now – Gilbert, Arizona

9/13/15
Three years ago I graduated from my photography program at ASU and exhibited, for the first time, my thesis project Arid Zone Utopia in the show Click. The work was over a year in the making and was a heavily edited down group of suburban landscapes, from what I thought were unusually designed neighborhoods in Arizona. Of all of the images I shot, those from the Gilbert, Arizona locations worked best in my series, as I found their landscapes most contrasting from the natural desert.

As a result of that exhibition, I partnered with Art Intersection Gallery (of whom I had just finished an internship with at the time) to create a body of work from a family archive of prints and negatives on commission. The artwork and exhibition titled Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison was initially exhibited at Art Intersection in the summer of 2013, after a year of work into the project.

When Howard Morrison (son of Marvin Morrison and patron) and I first spoke about possibilities and scope of this project, we briefly mentioned a future possibility of a “then and now” show, since so many of my photographs are taken in the same locations as his father’s were, only 30-60 years apart.

Shifting Views Postcard Merge_DeGideo copy

The “then and now” of the project has finally taken shape as the exhibition Shifting Views, open now through October 31st at The Gallery at the Gilbert Historical Museum. The entire Morrison project, and nine more of my Gilbert Arid Zone Utopia images are on view, including three images never shown before. I believe the show takes an interesting look at the changing priorities and the booming expansion of this once modest farming town. If you are in the area, pay The Gallery a visit at 10 S. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert, AZ 85296.

Shifting Views Show Statement:
On exhibit, are works made throughout different periods of time, with different intentions. The similarities lie in that they were photographed in many of the same locations, 30 – 60 years apart from each other and both edited and printed by the same artist.

When I shot the landscape project Arid Zone Utopia, I was exploring and documenting many suburban neighborhoods throughout the state, but the Morrison Ranch and Agritopia areas were where I was most intrigued to photograph. At the time, being a self-admitted “desert rat”, I did not understand what these landscapes were in my desert world.

After having the fantastic opportunity to work with the Morrison family, sifting carefully through hundreds of images shot by Marvin Morrison, and listening to many family stories, I began to finally connect with the awkwardly beautiful place I had been investigating with my camera for so many years.

The result has been an unintentional collaboration between myself and the late Marvin Morrison, reflecting the changes this land has been through, and glimpse into the past and present.

– Gina DeGideo

The American Southwest at 75mph

7/25/14
I finally was afforded the one-way opportunity to be a passenger, instead of a driver, on our most recent road trip from Arizona to California. I am a natural observer of the land and I love to look! It has always interested me how while passing through the world at such a high rate of speed your eye creates a visual pattern of objects in your view. You know this to be true if you’ve ever driven by a cornfield in a car. When passing through the desert, my gaze is always focused on the far-away mountains and the curious things I can see in the distance. On the trip I found myself photographing with my cell phone. What was revealed were the patterns, shapes, colors, and alien objects that exist in the middle of nowhere. Looking at all of the images together worked even better to affirm the idea of a deconstructed view and an abstracted landscape.

SW LAndscape at 75mph WEB

 

F/455 and Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day

5/5/14
Last week on April 27th photo nerds celebrated Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day by going out with their pinhole cameras and photographing. My weapon of choice: my home-made wooden 4×5 box pinhole camera with an aperture or f/455, designed by James Hajicek and built in one of his workshops. My ammo: some expired and out-of-production Fugi positive color film given to me by a friend to play with. I was a little nervous about getting a good exposure as color positive film is so finicky when it comes to exposure and with most pinhole cameras, “You just accept what the universe gives you,” says James Hajicek. But, behold, I did get a worthwhile exposure and an image!

by Gina DeGideo

There is something awesome about creating an image with such simple tools (a light tight box and a tiny hole), that makes you realize photography is pretty rad.

A History of Fresh Food in the Desert

2/1/14

Kenneth and Cattle by Gina DeGideo, with photograph by Marvin Morrison

Kenneth and Cattle by Gina DeGideo, with photograph by Marvin Morrison

I am happy to be showing a portion of my work from the series Revisiting the Photographs of Marvin Morrison at Modified Arts in Phoenix, AZ. The exhibition, curated by Kimber Lanning, focuses on the history and evolution of growing food in the desolate landscape we live in. The exhibition, open now through February 15th, 2014, also features work from Heather Gill and from the extensive collection of Jeremy Rowe. Join us for the closing reception on Friday, February 7th during First Fridays!

Collecting Event of the Year – Annual Silent Auction

11/12/13

Narcissus Tresamble, Benabbio, Italy by Gina DeGideo

Narcissus Tresamble, Benabbio, Italy
by Gina DeGideo

Join me and Art Intersection for the collecting event of the year at our 2013 Silent Auction on December 7th, 5-8 pm. This event is held as the annual fundraiser to help keep the doors open and the lights on, aside from helping to bring in world-renowned artist and provide emerging artists with a place to show each year.

The Annual Silent Auction event at Art Intersection is a fantastic opportunity for new collectors to start their collection. With low prices on many highly collectable pieces, you’re sure to find something to fall in love with. This year I’ve donated a limited edition toned gelatin silver 4×5 contact print from a pinhole camera. This is a new print from a series of 4×5 pinhole images I am beginning to shoot and print.

Some of the many notable artists donating:

David Emitt Adams

Kate Breakey

Wynn Bullock

Imogen Cunningham

Binh Danh

Allen Dutton

James Hajicek

Mark Klett

Carol Panaro-Smith

Robin V. Robinson

View the online gallery

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.

DSC_4506

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

Toscana Travel Photies

7/23/13
Traveling to Italy was an amazing lifelong dream that finally came true for me last month. I couldn’t have picked a better a better group to go with. My lovely mentors and friends Carol and James put together an out of this world program to inspire others to live creatively. For 10 days in the gorgeous Tuscan hills we woke up to church bells ringing from our ancient castle-like home, enjoyed a morning of yoga, fresh-baked bread and espresso, then filled our days with writing, art-making, amazing food-eating, and of course a bit of vino and laughs. This trip allowed me to connect in a deeper way with many others on the journey with me, but most of all truly served the purpose of getting me back into living creatively. My batteries are charged and I have been on overdrive since returning home, but functioning on high speed now certainly wouldn’t have been possible without sweet Italy.
These are some of my favorite photos from the trip…

Benabbio Walking to Dinner

 

Benabbio Flowers

 

Book 1

 

Clouds from Workshop 2

 

Cyanotype 2

 

Wall at the Mill

 

Looking Through Lucca

 

Gato Ferocio

 

Blue Trees of Benabbio

Mill Window

 

Backyard Bennabbio

My Shadoe in Benabbio

 

Boots at Mill

Trees at Mill

 

Parlor Villa San Rocco

GiGi in the Mirror

 

Old Mill

Yoga Studio 4

   Super Moon in Benabbio

 

Glass Floor San Rocco

 

Bricked in Window

Path

…other artwork from the journey coming soon…

Back to (ART)Work

12/11/12
Last week I finally made the commitment to getting my behind in the labs to make some art! I was printing and tying up some old loose ends when I discovered these forgotten little stained men in my drawer!

MUSCLEMEN PAPER NEGS NEW

…getting crumpled and torn, my muscle men have been neglected. This is the third sign this week that I need to return to this project and see its completion. I hope soon I will have more of these little treasures to share. In the meantime, this is an interesting photograph.

Daily Photography – Leaving the Hospital

10/8/12
The concept of daily photography is one that I think can be helpful to some. Although it is fabulous to get those creative juices flowing, I think I must side with my former professor Chris Colville in that it results in a lot of really crappy photographs that I get tired of looking at. While the exercise is valuable, I don’t know that posting all is valuable to the viewer. What do you guys think?

Instead of committing to a daily photograph, I use my cell phone camera to capture anything I see as interesting. I keep these as visual notes and I feel they do improve my more artistic shooting. However, I am a fan of editing – not of digital manipulation that is, but of editing out terrible shots. From now on I will post some of my mobile pics as I see fit and hopefully you all will feel inspired… or at least think they are of interest 🙂 .
* * * UPDATE: You can now find my mobile shots on my Instagram * * *

Leaving the Hospital

Keeping my Eye on the Prize

9/24/12
Back to the motherland… Italia here I come!!! Although my ancestors came from a significantly lower portion of the country (this explains the brownness of my skin after sunlight exposure,) I have almost uncontainable joy for the journey I will soon be on to Bagni di Lucca in Toscana, to enjoy the splendors mother nature has to offer and to reconnect with my inner happy/artist.

This week has been tumultuous and I feel as though the universe is somewhat out of alignment. I have no control, but am trying to keep from spinning out of control. A moderate amount of control, at least over your own mental state is usually a good place to be. At a time when the negative aspects of the world seem inescapable, I am greeted with a reminder that yes, there will be an escape.

The first informational meeting for the annual Italy trip hosted by the spectacular Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek, both artists and teachers, was held last night. They lifted my spirits a lot with the details and pictures of the adventure we will be on together next summer in the hills of Toscana for an enlightening and creative workshop. If only we could leave tomorrow! The meeting last night was such a great reminder to keep your eye on the prize. Although we cannot understand why things work the way they do, it seems there is always a greater purpose and what’s meant to be will be, no matter how hard you fight it.

I cannot wait to feel the breeze on my skin as I stand on the hillside…

Chillin in the Batcave

8/26/12

ImageBlack sheets + Construction Paper Bats + Batman Masks + Flashlights = Fun for 5 year-olds

Little man just turned 5 (oh dear God I feel old,) and because he wanted a Batman themed birthday party we did it up, fort style. Me and hubby transformed the livingroom (luckily already pained gray) into a batcave for his sleep over and these lil monsters had a blast! These are some of the awesome pics I took of them wildn’ out last night 🙂 .

ImageImageImageTracking movements with light and time

ImageImage