Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nellie Love

Solarized image of Nellie at homeDear Friends,

On Wednesday morning, January 5, my retired Seeing Eye dog Nellie suddenly became very ill and collapsed as I was getting ready for work. As Bjorn and I rushed her to our vet clinic in West Seattle I was in shock as she has been so healthy, happy and full of joy.

We learned she had a mass behind her heart that had ruptured and Nellie was bleeding internally -- there was nothing to do but have her put to sleep.

She was my second dog after Louise worked here at Bellevue College. Nellie was a little (?) ADHD, a lot energetic and social and very petite with mostly hair apricot in color until her stroke 7 years ago when I retired her. At that point she began turning completely white! She loved her retirement and thrived at home.

Many of you had a special connection with Nellie: she knew how to work a room like no other dog I have ever known …. She befriended many of you and was honored at one of President Jean Floten’s end of the year speeches upon her retirement, picture and all.

My heart is heavy with grief, but that little girl dog did more to comfort and guide me in her 13 years than family members could ever have hoped to do in the same amount of time passed.

May her spirit live on in those who knew her.

Susan Gjolmesli

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where Journeys Take Us

Susan: As I grow older the winters seem to bring with them restlessness and a malcontent that annoys my spirit. I was less inclined in winter to engage in photography though I did try on several occasions to learn the “shooting in the dark” concept. My first attempts took countless patience on my part -- lining up the object of my desire to shoot.

Then there was the tripod. Was it pointing the correct way? Was the distance right? Did it tilt just so? I’d go over and over the space and angles with my fingers and hands until I would be literally dizzy. Then I would put the cardboard spacer in the camera lever to insure the lens remained open as I bathed the object in light with a bright flashlight. The last step was to ever so carefully pull the wedge out of the lever so the camera would take the photo and I could then advance the film.

To my dismay the first roll of film did not turn out; operator error I hate to admit. When I tried again I knew what to do and felt I had some incredible shots. You do not want to know what happened to that film. I wrapped it in foil for my partner in blog (Tess) to pick up and take to the darkroom ... and someone mistook it for trash (aurgh!) and dumped it!!!

I was devastated, so much so that I just couldn’t bring myself to “shoot in the dark” for a while after that.

I think in another few weeks I will be able to experiment with this medium once more. Truly…I learned a good lesson about where I leave my film for pickup. . . .

(To be continued.)

Susan Gjolmesli

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Swainson's Thrush

Sidewalk with spiked wrought iron railing.Me: Here are more of the photos from Florida and Louisana Susan shot on her trip there.

The film that was fogged by airport X-ray scanners.

Film I scanned instead of enlarging.Louisiana reliquary?
I'm choosing again to share the images as they appeared with the default scan settings; I find the rosy tone appealing and also very characteristic of Susan.

For some reason, when I saw these images I thought of the Swainson's Thrush. This is a bird I've never seen in person, although I hear it in the forest when I am hiking.

Inez in a double exposure in front of wrought iron railing.
Its song is my favorite, and to my ear it is different from any other bird I've heard.

It has the resonance and breathiness of a wooden flute, usually beginning mid-range with a single note held a few breaths, followed by some experimental trilling. Then the song takes off, trilling mordents on a rising scale finally reaching a few exhuberent finish notes, sometimes followed by a self-satisfied whirring.

This song always intrigues me with its hollow notes that have so much timber and airflow. I hear the notes just long enough to be intrigued by them, then I am taken away as the mordents float up and up into the trees.

You can hear a Swainson's Thrush here: at the MacCaulay Library of the Cornell Institute of Ornithology.

That's my metaphor for today's images. Beauty can be shared and experienced in many different ways. I don't have to see it to enjoy it, or I might even see something different than you do.

But we both share in the enjoyment.

Cheers! More photos to come soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

X-Ray Vision

Susan took a trip to the Gulf coast not too long ago, visiting both Florida and Louisana.

When I processed the film she had shot, it came out of the tank uniformly dark and gray ("fogged" is the photographic term). Most likely this was due to the rolls being pre- exposed by the X-ray scanners at the airport.

This led me to ponder how best to entice the images from the film. I was short on funds and so did not want to waste paper and time in the darkroom. I decided to go high-tech and scan the negatives rather than print the film manually.

I thought scanning would give me some control over the contrast and clarity of the images, without having to waste a lot of expensive paper. Plus, the college has a high-end Epson negative scanner that I've always wanted to try out and I now had an excuse to ask for permission to use it.

I used the default settings for the scanning software, and the negatives were output as .jpg images, with a soft rosy tone. Above is the first image, after I rendered it as grayscale.

Here is the same image with the default settings.

I do prefer the rose-tinting.

Rose-colored glasses, and all that.

I'll post more of the scanned negatives soon.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Beauty of Intent

Rachel and four-legged friendsMe: The many different definitions of "Art" I have found all define art in different ways. There are some common threads. One is the component of intent: the artist has intentionally created a piece to elicit an emotion or reaction within the viewer. A second common thread is a notion of indirection: the viewer, through their experience of the object, comes up with their own idea of what the artist's message is.
Log house
This project was created with the intent to inspire thought. It is different from some projects in that it has been encouraging a large element of discovery and accident. Probably the most surprising component for me (this is Tess writing) is that as one-half of the team I have found myself to be a viewer as well as an artist. I have had "ah ha" experiences that I did not realize I would have.
Hanging flowerpot, through a window

I wonder if that is a third, less obvious, goal of art: that the artist too be transformed through the creation of their art.

You who are reading this now must have a certain reaction -- either to the photographs, the ideas they express, or to the blog or the notion or nature of the blog.

We are very curious to know what your personal responses have been.

When you have a moment, please submit a comment sharing your experiences.