Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My New Love of Natural Light

Last week, I had the honor of presenting my long term book project, "Last Stop. Rockaway Park." in the south of France in the small fishing town of Sete at the photo festival, Images Singulieres. I was not only really happy with the presentation of the work, but also thrilled to be in the company of other international and great photographers... and as always it's a rare opportunity to share some brief moments with other documentary and/or fine art photographers since much of the time our existence and work can be very solitary. I highly recommend attending the next year because what I like most about this festival is it's lack of pretension and down-to-earth-ness.

In 2009, I was asked to come and live in the small town for 5 weeks as part of an artist residency with the organization Ce Ta Voir under the direction of Gilles Favier. In 2010, I returned with a new published book (my second) called "Sete #10: Juliana Beasley" and a wonderful show at the festival. I am only one of two women who have been chosen to do the residency in 8 years and I feel fortunate to be also in the company of Bieke Depoorter from Belgium who has created a very emotional and loving monograph of the village of Sete. Her work was presented in this year's festival, along with her new published book "Sete #15: Bieke Depoorter". It was wonderful to meet many of the other great photographers who had shows at the festival such as Marie Baronnet, Jacob Aue Sobol, Jens Olof Lasthein, Emeric Lhuisset, Carlotta Cardana and many others who I did not have the opportunity to speak with. I want to thank Carlotta for getting up on the stage at the Zanzibar on our last night in Sete and singing karaoke to ABBA's "Dancing Queen"... it can really only be done with at least two people!!

I want to lastly thank all the people involved in making Images Singulieres a great event for photographers and for anyone who has a passion for great photography. Many of the people who I want to thank are volunteers who made time in their own lives to make this event a big success. Thank you!

I was very fortunate to have the chance to take a portrait of Josephine Domino Douek who is a young aspiring photographer and singer. I met her while she was working as a volunteer for the Images Singulieres Photo Festival in the gallery where my work had been hung. Lately, I feel very inspired to to take portraits in natural light and since this is something relatively new for me, it is actually really exciting for me to switch gears. The light in Sete is incredible and it only took 3 visits to finally realize this!!! Here is the portrait of Josephine in her apartment.



"Josephine Domino", Sete, France, May 2015. ©Juliana Beasley

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Something Crafty and a Touch of Photography Too!!!

Hi Everyone,

This post is not about photography.. no Sir or no Mam! It's about crafting stuff. So, stick with me because there is a photo treat at the bottom of the post. 

Two days ago, I decided to go hog wild and dye me some fabric and seam binding! Well, it was a blast and I can't tell you how seeing these vibrant color dye my linen, muslin, cotton fabric and seam binding actually put a smile on my face.. and I need that!!
In the past, I have dyed linen with my homemade alcohol inks. They are really easy to make and so much cheaper than paying Timmy H. for his Adirondack ones! I say "just do it".. the only draw back is the noxious fumes of the 90% alcohol that I used. This is a totally different conversation.

So, I decided I did not want to use my precious alcohol inks to dye my fabric and trimmings this time because I spent a whole day making those precious little bottles of alcohol inks and I knew there is much cheaper ways of doing this. So, I did what the Frugal Crafter does.. I made my own watercolor sprays out of liquid watercolors made by Sax.. you can buy them inexpensively on Amazon  in a set, but I suggest that you just buy yellow, red, blue and magenta and mix your own colors to get the shades you want. I also bought my bottles in bulk from PaperMart online. Now, if you go this route, don't do what I did.. I bought the 9 oz. bottles that Lindsay of the Frugal Crafter suggests and I think really you should go for a smaller size and find some friends who want to buy them with you and split them up. I eventually did a trade with my friend, Jeri who was kind enough to swap some of her smaller bottles for my 9oz bottles. 




 Dyed Seam Binding, Brooklyn, NY, ©Juliana Beasley




Oh, and don't forget to buy the spray guns.. you definitely need those.. of course!!
Here is the Frugal Crafter video on making he sprays: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M3Ac3QGUyI

The other advice I have for you is to not buy all the colors. You don't need them and will waste your money. Just get Red, Blue, Magenta and Yellow and you can mix to your heart's content and get all the colors you will ever need. Oh, and I would also advise you to get a second Yellow because it's really necessary to make several color combinations.

So, I decided to make my favorite colors: I made Orange, Hot Pink, Turquoise, Light Green and a Darker Green. I went online when I wasn't sure how to mix the colors I mentioned above. And I was really pleased with the colors that I got. I sprayed them on paper and tested them in the lab (LOL!) to make sure they were indeed the exact color I wanted and made sure to add water and voila!! I had my color sprays. I will also attach a photo of a page I sprayed and started to doodle on. You can definitely make color sprays for papers that are very cheap and really are intense this way. I like them rich and intense so, I am heavy handed when I pour the liquid watercolor dyes in my spray bottles.

So, I cut my strips of fabric the way I wanted before dying because I intend to use the fabric ones for making flowers.. hope to share those soon.



Turquoise, Yellow and Lime Green Hand Dyed Fabric,  Brooklyn, NY, ©Juliana Beasley



This is how I do the dying:

And I learned this from some woman on YT, but I can't remember her name or the video, but it's efficient and neat as in you don't make a big mess all over the place. Take a cardboard box like a banker's box and at the bottom lay down your craft mat. I spritz or pour a bit of the desired color in the box, just a bit and then I add a little extra water, and then the fun begins. I take the uncolored fabric and I put it in the box and I sop up all the liquid dyes and I do this for a bit and squeeze out the excess dyes and the do it again and try to get the entire pieces of cloth dyed. And if there is any little extra dye left over, even small itty bitty drops, I take out my seam binding and I swish it up with some because that looks awesome too.. it's partially dyed and very beautiful.
So, after they have all been dyed in my color box, and after squeezing them out, I put them on hangers and hang them to dry. With the seam binding I take a lid of a cardboard box. that's the lid that of the bankers box that I call the dying box and I crinkle them in my hands and leave them all bunched up in a ball to dry over night.



Orange Muslin, Orange Linen and Pink Muslin, Hand Dyed Fabric,  Brooklyn, NY, ©Juliana Beasley


So, something unexpected happened and I doubt you will be able to see this in the photographs I am posting here. The colors on most of the fabrics were variegated or rather the the dye did not take to all of the fabric with my swishing in the box with liquid watercolors method. But, I like it and I like it a lot and I think it makes it much more visually interesting. But, I will say that when I used my homemade alcohol inks and dyed fabric and seam binding, it evenly dyed both.
Now as far as Rit goes.. I own about 8 different colors and I have tried to dye paper with it. Dying with Rit is cheap, but it's more work because you need to rinse out everything after you dye it. I might try it in the future if need be.. and I love all the colors you can create with Rit... check out their site and the hyperlink because it will show you all the core colors and how you can mix them to make other colors. I actually think it might be a good thing to download because you could use it probably with the liquid watercolors or acrylics. I'm not sure about that, but it might be worth investigating. They do have great colors. 

Oh, yeah, you can buy your seam binding here on Amazon. The Frugal Crafter suggests that you buy off white seam binding and this is what I got.

The Bauhaus artists really understood how color can really effect ones emotional state. It's interesting to read about Johannes Itten who wrote a book called "The Art of Color". You can also check out more about his ideas about color here.

The Bauhaus movement made a great impact on how we view color photography. Before the 70s, color photography was not seen as fit or worth to be shown in museums and galleries. Color photography was merely used for magazine advertising and family snapshots. But, this all changed in 1976, when the well-known color photographer named William Eggleston opened a show of his work at the Museum of Modern Art. He was definitely influenced by the Bauhaus movement and he forever changed the view that color photography was lesser than B&W photography. If you don't know about Eggleston, his work is really worth looking at simply because of his amazing ways of creating relationships between colors in the frame. And also like Itten believed that colors really can influence our moods.

I hope this has been helpful to someone out there!

Thanks for reading! And excuse my writing mistakes. . first draft!!

Oh, if you were wondering, the colors are true to life. They haven't been enhanced in Photoshop or Lightroom.. They are really vibrant. Good luck!