Lauren Greenfield's Girl Culture

While I am on this (completely unintentional) XX kick I received a postcard in the mail from the Sabatini Gallery (located at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library) announcing an upcoming photography exhibit. I was completely floored when I read on the front of the card that the gallery is planning on showcasing the work of Lauren Greenfield!

"American Photo named Greenfield one of the 25 most influential photographers working today." (http://www.apple.com/pro/profiles/greenfield/index2.html). This is an incredible opportunity! It is not very often that such a highly respected photographer shows their work here in Topeka.

The exhibit will include selections from Greenfield's book Girl Culture that was released in 2002.

"Girl Culture has been my journey as a photographer, as an observer of culture, as part of the media, as a media critic, as a woman, as a girl.

The photographs in this book and exhibition are both very personal and very public. They are about what is private and what is public and where the line that divides the two lies, when that line exists at all anymore. They are about the popular culture that we share and the way the culture leaves its imprint on individuals in their most public and private moments. They are about the girls I photographed. They are also about me.

I cannot say exactly when I began this project. I was enmeshed in girl culture before I was a photographer, and I was photographing girl culture before I realized I was working on Girl Culture. The first part of this process was making sense of what I had been drawn to for years in my photography, the themes and subject matter I visited again and again. Unlike other projects I’ve worked on, this one was less like building with blocks and more like deciphering code. The elements were all there, almost from the beginning. I simply needed to identify them, understand their importance, find the connections, and look for the big picture." (from Mirror, Mirror by Lauren Greenfield)

Contestants in the Fitness America competition pose for
a photograph, Redondo Beach, California

Morgan and Lisa, both 13, during Spring Break,
Sanibel, Florida

Sara shops in SoHo, New York, New York

Erin, 24, is blind-weighed at an eating disorder clinic in
Coconut Creek, Florida. She has asked to mount
the scale backward so as not to see her weight gain.

Danielle gets measured as Michelle waits for the final weigh-in
on their last day of weight-loss camp, Catskills, New York

Girl Culture will open with a reception at the Sabatini Gallery on Friday, March 6 from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. A Gallery Talk with Lauren Greenfield will take place at the Marvin Auditorium (also at the Library) on Monday, March 9 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. This is a show that you will not want to miss!!


Still Continuing a Tradition of Excellence...

Last semester I received a very interesting telephone call during the school day. A young lady from Washburn Rural High School wanted to speak to me about the art classes available at Topeka West ...especially the photography program as she was very interested in continuing her photography education. During this less-than-ten-minute conversation I was very impressed with her maturity and was delighted to know that a student was possibly going to transfer to T. West because of our art department.

This semester I am very pleased to announce that former W.R.H.S. junior Caitlyn Olsen is now a student at Topeka West!! Since she has already completed beginning photography and advanced photography she is currently enrolled in Digital Imaging with seven other junior and senior advanced students. Though I have only known her a few weeks I am completely psyched at the fact that she will be with us for one more year! I am very curious to see where she will go creatively over the course of this semester and her senior year.

"So I transferred to Topeka West mainly for the Photography program and art exposure. At Washburn the only level beyond beginning photography was journalism photography, for either Yearbook or Newspaper. Well photography as journalism is something I am personally not interested in. I hope to go to a college to study photography as art and I wanted some extra exposure to photography as art. While I have been at Topeka West I've already learned quiet a few new little things, as well as viewed beautiful pieces by other student photographers that are helping to inspire me as a student photographer. I'm happy with my transfer to West and hope to learn many things about photography while here." -Caitlyn Olsen


Tangobaby (via San Francisco)

I received the greatest surprise in the mail last Friday. I had finished my work day, running some errands around the campus during my plan period, and I was in the main office checking my mail. I pulled out a large white envelope and was clueless as to what was inside. Much to my enjoyment I pulled from within the envelope a gorgeous black and white photograph (look below):

Red Shoes, Backstage 2008

It instantly came back to me that I had specifically voted on this photo earlier in the year on a blog that I had found via Blogger.com's Blogs of Note. Tangobaby is authored by a wonderful woman (and photographer!) named Julie and she had created a post titled Color Me Grateful. She had asked her readers to browse through her photographs on Flickr and choose which one they liked best and why. Then she would choose from the comments which photos she would send out....and she sent one to me! How cool is that?? I am going to proudly display it along with all of the other photos in the developing darkroom.

I am completely in awe by the fact that two photographers, half a country away, can connect via the internet by sharing pieces of their craft. Yet, I was a bit disappointed when I looked on the envelope for a return address so that I could return the favor and send Julie one of my pieces. Well, she knows my email address and if she reads this post maybe she will send her address so I can do just that. Thank you Julie!


Women and the Photographs They Create

During the years of teaching photography at Topeka West High School I have worked alongside hundreds of students. And, of course, like any other department there have been many stand-out students. There have been the guys...Josh, Cameron, Aaron, Jimmy, Thomas, Jared, Brian, Dalton, Andrew, & Andy. But, recently...within the past four years or more...I have definitely noticed an increase in the number of young female photographers that have started in Photography 1 and through their sophomore, junior, or senior years have become many of the leading photographers in the program. To name just a few: Brittany, Brenna, Savannah, Kelli, Elizabeth, Kelsey, Caitlin, Meghann, Naomi, Taylor, Emily, Annie, Megan. This post is dedicated to all of these wonderful young female photographers (and the many more that I did not specifically list) and the up-and-coming ladies that will continue to amaze me with their creativity!


Since starting this blog I have become addicted to seeking out and spending countless minutes (sometimes hours!) browsing through photography blogs and websites. Many of them seem so accessible now....one blog will link to 10 more which, in turn, will link to several others.

During one of those browsing sessions I happened upon an incredible blog that I hope all of you take the time to visit. Shutter Sisters is a "collaborative photo blog that welcomes all women with a passion for photography from experts to amateurs alike."

Their philosophy:
"Shutter Sisters is committed to honoring and celebrating the beauty that women behind cameras can capture. We embrace the belief that we are all creative equals, eager to share with one another our work; our art. It is in that sharing that we thrive and grow not only in our creativity but in all facets of our lives.
As technology continues to vigilantly lay down new stepping stones in our exploration of the ever- changing landscape of photography, each day offers a chance to learn more. At Shutter Sisters, we encourage you to feel your way as you go. If the passion is there, the rest will follow. It’s not our photographic background, education, or expertise that is important; it’s our pictures. We don’t need to be paid professionals to be recognized as talented photographers. A great image is a great image whether it happened by beautiful mistake or meticulous calculation.

Whether we are using an inexpensive point and shoot camera or a pricey SLR, one common thread remains; when we take a picture, we are telling a story. We are translating our life experience into significant visual images, each photo distilling the fleeting moments of our lives. As women who love to take pictures, we are all united by our cameras and by the desire to capture remarkable images. A sisterhood like that is dare we say it, worth a thousand words."
I spent most of Sunday morning re-visiting the blog and taking the time to look through all of the "sisters" websites, blogs, or Flickr pages. They are all incredibly talented photographers and I was hard-pressed to choose a photo from each of them that would accurately represent their style.

Tracey Clark (founder of Shutter Sisters & Mother May I)

Kate Inglis

Karen Walrond

Maile Wilson

Andrea Scher

Paige Balcer

Irene Nam


Jen Lemen

Stephanie Roberts

The Shutter Sisters openly encourage all female photographers to get involved and to sign up for their email list. Start getting connected!!

The next post will include a photograph by another incredible female photographer (that I have never met!) who sent me a very generous gift...


For the Guys...

Yes, it's that time of year again. It is always around February 14th that guys are not only looking forward to Valentine's Day but they are also looking forward to the release of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue! This year's cover features model Bar Refaeli!

From MSNBC.com:
"Sports Illustrated is as secretive as it is successful with its blockbuster swimsuit issue, so Bar Refaeli found out she's cover girl of the magazine's 46th annual ode to the barely-there bikini just hours before the magazine hit the newsstands today.

Refaeli is no stranger to Americans — she's been one of the most in-demand models since age 15, and she frequently graces the pages of celebrity magazines by virtue of her three-year relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. But for a model, gracing the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is truly hitting the career jackpot.

The swimsuit issue is typically seen by 66 million readers — including four in 10 adult men in the U.S., according to Sports Illustrated research — making it the biggest annual event in magazine publishing. Moreover, becoming the S.I. cover girl launched the careers of Tyra Banks, Rebecca Romijn, Cheryl Tiegs, Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum into the stratosphere."