Love and Kisses, George by Brigitte Carnochan


 Becomes Bride © Brigitte Carnochan

Becomes Bride © Brigitte Carnochan



Rfotofolio is pleased to share a new series of work from Brigitte Carnochan.


Some years ago I found a shoebox full of love letters dated 1929-32 from George Daniels, a bank official for the Royal Bank of Canada in New York City, to Edna Josephine MacInnis, a nursing student at Columbus Hospital.

The letters, all from George, trace the story of two young people introduced by mutual friends. They begin seeing each other for walks, they go bowling, they have dinner with friends. They fall in love. They have doubts. They write each other at least once every day. Before he goes on vacation she asks him to destroy her letters so his roommates won’t read them (he does). She keeps all his letters, which talk of his love for her, his inexperience and uncertainty in terms of “technique” (kissing), their deepening love for each other and his desire to marry her despite feeling he is too poor, telling her that “I continually doubt that I can make you happy.” On the October day after the stock market crashes, he apologizes for not seeing her—“between this stock market slump and boom and locking up the vault, I’ve been here every evening this week.” Two months later, after “the thrill of a kiss on Terrace Hill,” and a letter he signed, “xoxoxo with every expression of love ever thought of,” they elope.

In this series I use photos of my imagined Ednas to respond to excerpts from the letters that I believe she might have singled out. She was a modern woman. She smoked and wore make-up (which George worries about telling his mother), she loved to dance, she voiced her romantic expectations, she wanted a career. There is nothing momentous about their story—one of the reasons I found it so compelling.

Brigitte Carnochan 2015


Dearest Edna © Brigitte Carnochan

Dearest Edna © Brigitte Carnochan


Beginning to Find a Way © Brigitte Carnochan

Beginning to Find a Way © Brigitte Carnochan


Theres a Moon Tonight © Brigitte Carnochan

Theres a Moon Tonight © Brigitte Carnochan

Desire to Marry © Brigitte Carnochan

Desire to Marry © Brigitte Carnochan


Like Birds in a Cage  © Brigitte Carnochan

Like Birds in a Cage © Brigitte Carnochan


Tell Me I'm Forgiven  © Brigitte Carnochan

Tell Me I’m Forgiven © Brigitte Carnochan


Thank you Brigitte Carnochan for sharing your beautiful work.

To learn more about the work of Brigitte Carnochan please visit her site, Brigitte Carnochan. 

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Willie Osterman, Photographer

Willie Osterman is one of the photographers whose work will be at this years Depth of Field.

© Willie Osterman

© Willie Osterman

In  2014, our call for submission was based on Inspiration.  What inspires you and how do you hope to inspire others.

Our Juror, Joanne Teasdale undertook a difficult task and chose the work of Willie Osterman.

Here is Joanne’s statement about his work:

“This album of ten photographs is my choice for the award.  When you talk about raising the bar and inspiring other photographers to be better at what they do, I feel that this body of work has done just that.  There is a lot of good photography in the submissions but this series takes the viewer into an intimacy where we experience the profound transformative effect of such an illness, a transmutation on the cellular as well as the emotional level.”

Thank you Joanne for your vision, care, and time.  It was a pleasure working with you.

The following is our interview with Willie Osterman.

Would you please tell us a little about yourself?

I am an active artist and educator.  My most recent work is using collodion and making sculptures incorporating images and artifacts. The ChemoToxic series started this process. My website has a good history of my work.

How did you get started photography?

I began in college and was quite shy and the use of the camera gave me an excuse to gain access into peoples lives and to travel. I continue to document many things in my personal life although what I show is only a small part of it.  I am often asked what I will do with all the work I make and I’m not quite sure, maybe it is something for retirement or when I can’t get around as easily as I can now.

ChemoToxic © Willie Osterman

ChemoToxic © Willie Osterman

“ChemoToxic” is a very personal series please tell us about it?

I was on a Fulbright in Croatia and six days after I returned I drove my wife Michele to the emergency room due to stomach pains.  A CAT scan revealed tumor and she underwent emergency surgery the next day.

With the realization that she had cancer our lives changed in an instant.  There was no way to make sense of the diagnosis, as she is one of the healthiest persons I have ever met.  On that memorable day (Valentines Day!) I found myself unable to make sense of it and quickly realized that I needed to look forward and not try to reason why.

When this happened it was the first time in my life that I was unable to record the events around me, as I just wanted it to go away.  I wanted no record.  I froze.  It wasn’t until after the hopeful pathology report that I was able to begin to consider documenting as we began to rebuild our lives.

To capture this transition I felt that an antiquated process would give me perspective on this when we will be able to (hopefully) look back on this “historic” part of our life together.  Also, learning the wet plate collodion technique became my ‘therapy’ while coping with the changes we faced.  A parallel process occurred.  I was learning about cancer while learning about the Wet Plate Collodion Process. An amazing metaphor evolved as I realized that as Michele’s health improved the quality of the work improved.

She began Chemotherapy on March 30th.  I spent the spring care taking Michele and making images.  She was quite amazing in her willingness to sit for up to sixty-seconds for an exposure.  I asked her why she wanted to sit for these images and she said she was also looking for a diversion so why not.  I have been photographing her for over thirty years and she is an amazing model.

So, I started to learn how to use this complicated and sometimes frustrating photochemical process, as she underwent her own ‘chemical process’ of Taxol and Carboplatin.  ChemoToxic is the term used to describe the impact of chemotherapy on the body, specifically 48-72 hours after getting dosed.  Toxic waste products are present in body (urine, stool, saliva, secretions).  The patient is told not to exchange body fluids with others, nor let children or pets play near the patient’s toilet.  When I heard this term, it kept resounding in my head.  In essence, the body is being poisoned with the intention of killing the fast-growing cancer cells.

The Collodion process is, as many know, an antiquated technique developed in the 1850s.  The chemicals used include silver nitrate, nitric acid, cadmium bromide, grain alcohol, lavender oil, and potassium cyanide among others.  The result is a one-of-a-kind image printed on a glass plate known as an Ambrotype.  I believe the created images reflect fear, hope, hard work, beauty and transformation.

This portfolio includes twenty-seven unique (one of a kind) images in twenty-one frames.  Individual image sizes are approximately 5×7 inches.


ChemoToxic © Willie Osterman

ChemoToxic © Willie Osterman

© Willie Osterman

© Willie Osterman

What affect do you hope this work has on others?

When I made the work I was totally selfish and did not care about anything other than the documentation and diversion it provided. It was, as I mentioned, therapy.  Now as times goes on and I travel the exhibit I am finding that many respond to it and unfortunately almost everyone knows someone who has had cancer.

The work was exhibited at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester along with another body of work. (an ambrotype sculpture of self-portraits looking at myself wondering what “I” may have) Michele and I decided to have a fund-raiser to support the cancer center where she had her treatments and the outpouring of support (we raised over $6,000) and interest was very moving.  As part of the opening reception (where we had over five-hundred visitors)  I was going to shave my head as part of the fundraiser and we ended up with sixteen others joining in to show solidarity.  My website has a video that was made of the event.

What affect did it have on you and the subject (only if you care to share).

It documented what we went through and if you look at the first images and the final image there is an amazing transition in her spirit.  It can be seen in her eyes.  The early images show fear and uncertainty where as the final image shows confidence and strength.  Looking back on it I am very happy we created the images but when I made the image of her with the Japanese shirt on and I saw the look in her eyes I knew that the project was over and finally I felt I could put this part of my life behind.  It was too close and I needed some distance.  It felt great and empowering to realize that and accept it. Michele felt the same way and it became a milestone for us.

Which photographers and other artists’ work do you admire?

Oh boy, that is such a tough question as it always changes.  I remember being in grade school and being asked what is my favorite color.  I always had trouble answering it as I like them all.  It is always influenced by what I am currently researching. Actually this may be a bit surprising but often it is some of my students work.  I know many will disagree but there is nothing like being jealous of your students work.  Actually I have a piece in an exhibition in NY that was inspired by my students.  One day in a graduate seminar we discussed the idea of being over educated and freezing when you’re creating artwork because you get lost in so much theory.  I asked if it is possible to create a piece that is totally based on intuition and that night I woke up and realized I had to try it.  I was surprised and impressed with the results. (I’ve included an image below)

A few weeks ago I was in Croatia for the International Photography Festival Organ Vida (Eye Life/Health) and met several photographers who I really admire.  Two were young Russian photographers.  One was Olga Ingurazova and her work entitled “Scars of Independence” where she is documenting the affect of Abkhazia and its decision to become and independent country. The work is extremely powerful.  Another Russian photographer Egor Rogalev’s work entitled “Synchronicity” documents the situation happening in the European part of the former Soviet Union.  He is documenting the effects that transformation of urban and social environment has on human behavior and individual perception of life.  Recently I have also been fascinated by William Wegman’s “other” work beyond the dogs.  His paintings and writings on nature are quite amazing.

Would you share with us an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.

If I go way back to when I started as a photo student I would have to say that it is Ansel Adams’ image of Mt. Williamson in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1944.  I saw this image when I first became a photographer and it changed my life.  I was working on a research paper and when this image was presented and I froze and realized that was what I wanted to do; to travel, explore and make images like this.  I also made a promise to meet this man and through a friendship with Alan Ross, who I assisted in the production of Mr. Adams special edition prints I was able to spend time with him.  Quite an amazing experience!  If you look at my early work you can see the influence of that single image.  Harry Callahan made images that have stayed with me over time.  He had the same formal qualities of Ansel and he took them home, as I say, in the images he made of his family in Chicago.  This work helped me to appreciate that same landscape beauty at home.  I believe that is shown in the “ChemoToxic” series.

Please tell us about your process and what the perfect day for you.

To make an ambrotype takes most of a day.  I am making unique ambrotypes, which means I am only making one and using it as a positive, not as negative for making copies.  In this age of digital everything I really like the idea that there is only one.  The night before that perfect day, I get organized with my idea and check to be sure I have adequate chemistry.  I just started a new project, I am constructing an archeological dig to photograph that includes not only bones and artifacts, but also contemporary articles.  I like to make sure the composition is mostly organized then I begin to photograph.  The collodion process always gives you surprises so you must be flexible and able to work with them.  It does not mean I give up control, it means I understand the variables and adapt my concept.  This new piece will have about forty-eight, 11×4 plates that will be mounted on a wall and collectively it will create sort of a cubistic abstract landscape that includes the dig.  Lots of these individual plates need to work in unison so there are lots of decisions to be made.  I like to work slowly and enjoy the process. It is a ritual for me and quite meditative.  If I get one plate a day I am happy.  That is why I so enjoy my summers.  I don’t teach as many workshops as I used to, so as to have more time for my work.

What challenges do you face as an artist?

There is never enough time and there are too many politics in the art world.  They both frustrate me.

How do you view this time in the history of photography?

It is very exciting.  There is something out there for everyone.  Everyone is a photographer now but the really good work, as always, is hard to make.  As the world is going so digital I enjoy going the other way.  I teach at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and there is so much technology around that students in the photo arts department get swept up in it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the advances but feel a loss of the traditional methods.  Some colleagues, I believe, encourage some of this.  I mean if you look at it, as Robert Heinecken said, “the purpose of art is to give form to ideas”.  I wonder why so much work looks the same.  It’s curious to me.

How do you over come a creative block?

I work harder.  Creative blocks are a natural part of the process.  When I’m stuck, I push harder and break through to something new.  This is a necessary part of the process.  Who has not done a project and has not gotten frustrated and sick of it?  I have this special relationship with my work and any relationship is challenging at times.  It takes time, passion, and determination. Too many people give up and move on to other projects and start another relationship.  That is also why there are so many people getting divorced as well.  Too many don’t want to put in the effort and stick to it.

© Willie Osterman

© Willie Osterman

Where can we see your work, and would you like to share any upcoming projects?

At my site:
For more philosophical issues about my work/life check out my “TedX talk”:
Ted Talks“Live the Dream: Willie Osterman.”

Thank you Willie, for sharing your work and your words.



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Betty Press Gallery

Thank you to the photographers that share their work with us.

Rfotofolio logo

No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of Rfotofolio,

and the photographers. All Rights Reserved.

Art You Don’t Want to Miss

Brigitte Carnochan in the Garden of Beauty

ENGAGEMENT PEONIES by Brigitte Carnochan

ENGAGEMENT PEONIES by Brigitte Carnochan

Rfotofolio is honored that Brigitte Carnochans’ work will be in Depth of Field this September.

Brigitte Carnochan has said, “does the world need another pretty picture of a flower?” Her answer was “yes” and that she needed them too.

We feel the same, and try to feature work that brings beauty to the world.  Brigitte has certainly captured and shared beauty.  It’s our pleasure to bring you her work and words.

What  first brought you to photography?

I’ve always loved making portraits of my friends and family, but it wasn’t until I turned 50 and decided (for a reason now lost to me in the mists of time) to take a darkroom class at a local junior college that I became obsessed with making images and printing them.

What drew you to working in the platinum process ? 

I’ve loved the richness and depth of platinum ever since I first saw it, but making internegatives or using a giant view camera just weren’t options for me. Once it became possible to make high quality digital negatives, I realized that I could finally use this process that I’d admired for so long.

Wedding Poppies by Brigitte Carnochan

Lace Dahlias II Brigitte Carnochan

Which photographers and other artist do you admire ?

Ah–such a hard question, when there are dozens of photographers, if not hundreds, that have inspired and influenced my work over the years—and continue to do so. I look at a lot of photography books and go to exhibitions and websites all the time.  Even when I find the work bad or unappealing it stimulates my own ideas. Teaching is another way to see new work and new approaches.  I suppose the first work that I gravitated to was that of the Pictorialists–and then later photographers like Edward Weston, Ruth Bernhard, Imogen Cunningham, Joyce Tenneson, Sarah Moon, Irving Penn—really, I could go on and on.  I saw the Robert Mapplethorpe show at the Berkeley Art Museum in 1989, the year before I took my first darkroom class.  His controversial images aside, I fell in love with his flowers and nudes–equally erotic and beautiful.  They’ve always stayed in my imagination.

What makes a great photograph in your view?

Well, if it stays with you—over time—it has a certain power, right?  I think there are so many things about a photograph that might make it “great.”  The “decisive moment” is certainly one which is interesting to me, since I often think about poses with my models in advance–and then I find that it’s a moment of transition–unplanned and unforeseen that is THE shot.  And out in my garden–it’s the light, the wind, the angle of view.  And when I give up on the wind and light and bring it into my studio, it’s the accident of arrangement.  I often have very precise views of things—and then they don’t work and I try this and that.  And that’s what most often ends up being THE shot.

Do you ever have a creative block and if so , how do you work through it?

Painfully. I mean, who likes being at a dead-end?  But I think the secret is to keep trying—keep giving yourself assignments and going out there and making photographs.  I’ve certainly had blocks—but if you read through the memoirs and autobiographies of writers, painters, photographers, you realize that this is part of the process—and you carry on.  You keep making the effort—putting words on the paper, images on the film, pixels on the CD card.  What’s the alternative—giving up?  I suppose so, but it’s not really an option for me. Eventually, something clicks and I can move forward.

Late Leaves I by Brigitte Carnochan

Late Leaves V by Brigitte Carnochan

Valley Grasses IV

Valley Grasses IV by Brigitte Carnochan

Would you tell about your editing process?

I use Lightroom now and so I just rate things—go through several times picking the images from a particular shoot I like and pulling them into Photoshop to work them up.  And maybe in the end I don’t like them after all—that’s the beauty of the digital world—you don’t have to invest THAT much energy into something until you make a negative for a platinum image or you work it up precisely for a digital print. … The digital world is amazing to me.

Would you tell us about your workspace?

I work in two children’s bedrooms in our house, connected by a bathroom.  It’s very convenient—but too small, of course.  Fortunately, our children are grown, so we don’t need the bedrooms.  My darkroom is in the garage.  It works out fine most of the year because I live in California and the temperature is moderate most of the time.

How does your art affect the way you see the world?

Once I took my first  photography class  in 1990, I began to see the world completely differently—how could I not?  The first assignment was to photograph “light”.  I’ve never stopped being grateful for that insight into a way of seeing the world.  Just being attentive to light has changed my ordinary life–not just my photographic life.  In fact, my husband also will point out “a certain slant of light” (to quote Emily Dickinson), which makes it that much more terrific.

How important is it to your art form to have a “creative community”? 

Very important.  And I’m very lucky to have lots of interesting and talented colleagues and friends all around me.  I’m involved in several small groups of friends with mutual interests—3-7 people who get together to socialize and enjoy art events—one of the great pleasures of being in this community.  From another perspective, I also enjoy seeing what my former students are up to.  Years ago one of them in the Stanford Continuing Studies course I taught, set up a Yahoo group so that the students in the various classes could stay connected.  Over the years the group has grown and meets every 5-6 weeks or so to exchange ideas, pass along information and share work.

Would you tell us about your series “Leaving My Garden”?

For years I’ve grown most of the subject matter in my photos—the flowers and the fruits generally come from my garden.  But in the last couple of years I’ve gotten interested in the leaves and grasses—even the weeds—I see outside my garden or in some of the amazing estate gardens we have in this area.  Some (when it’s legal) I bring back into my studio to photograph and others I photograph in situ, so to speak.

These subjects began to attract me at about the same time that I began to work with platinum/palladium images, and the two—process and Image—have grown together.  I love platinum’s extravagantly long tonal range, depth, and permanence—and the subtlety of the warm black, grey, and brown tones are perfect for this subject matter.

Is there another type of photography or subject matter you would like tackle?

Well, I definitely want to continue to work in platinum/palladium, and I’m at the very beginning of a new series of nudes.  There’s a definite story I want to tell with this body of work, but it’s so early that I can’t even formulate it properly yet. This is always the exciting but also frustrating time for me—when I’m experimenting and struggling to find the best way to express what’s in my head.  Sometimes it comes easier than other times.  My FLOATING WORLD series came to me almost ready-made.  This current idea has proven a bit harder in the birthing stage.

Any advice or just a statement you would like to share with us?

I rarely let a day go by without doing something related to photography.  If I’m not actively engaged in shooting or printing or post-processing, I’m thinking about an image I’ve been working on, or a statement about a body of work, or a way to teach something better.  Or I find time to finally get through an on-line tutorial or look at blogs or websites, catch up on the photo magazines that I subscribe to.  I know any number of people who are unhappy in their jobs (or don’t have a job!) and that makes me feel like the luckiest person alive to be able to wake up every morning and do what I’d be doing if I were on vacation.

Thank you  Brigitte for sharing your art and your time.

Valley Grasses and Thistle by Brigitte Carnochan



Valley Grasses V by Brigitte Carnochan

 Thank you to the photographers that share their work with us.
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Chasing the Afterglow with Blue Mitchell

Full Moon © Blue Mitchell

Full Moon © Blue Mitchell

Blue Mitchell’s’ work will be showing in Depth of Field.
Rfotofolio is pleased to share the work of Blue Mitchell. 
Would you please tell us a little about yourself?
I currently live, work ,and play in Portland Oregon.  I’m a Montana native.  Most of my family is from northern California but my grandfather headed up a mining company in Montana and transplanted his family there.  I’m a good balance between Montana and northern California and find my current home in the northwest a good balance of the two.
I enjoy hand crafted photography, long nights in the studio, coffee, good bourbon, and that twinkle in my daughter’s eyes.

How did you get started in photography?

I took a class in college in 1998.  That’s all it took.  It was love at first… develop.  We got engaged, had a few rocky years of splitting up and getting back together and then finally sealed the deal up with a marriage in 2002.  The honeymoon period lasted for 3 years … flirting, experimenting, and maturing together.  We’ve been happy ever since.

Which photographers and other artists work do you admire?

It’s a very long list, so I’ll keep it simple.  Off the top of my head:  Teun Hocks, Starn Twins, Rocky Schenck, Joel-Peter Witkin, and Christian Boltanski.

Rear View (Holding up the Moon) © Blue Mitchell

Rear View (Holding up the Moon) © Blue Mitchell

Sky's Escape © Blue Mitchell

Sky’s Escape © Blue Mitchell

And what about their work inspires you?

This list is some of the photographers that inspired me early on in my photography studies.  I’ve always been drawn to photography that uses alternative approaches and mixed media.

If no one saw your work, would you still create it?

Of course.  I do make it for myself.  It’s how I challenge myself to address my spirit, our earth, our atmosphere, our little universe, and the connections between us all. Sounds kinda new age, must be my upbringing.

Please tell us about your process and what the perfect day of photography is for you.

My work, like many artists, is all about process.  My intention when starting a project is just to shoot things that I’m drawn to emotionally.  I have no one way of capturing images — I use many tools (cameras).  I labor over what the work should look like in the end which requires a lot of experimentation with printing, presentation, and substrates.  I use an acrylic lift process for most of my work.  In a nutshell, it’s a pigment print transfer onto a variety of substrates (wood, metal leaf, papers).

The perfect day is when a piece is finished and I title it, sign it, and frame it.  Done.  Mission accomplished — satisfaction.

The Illumination © Blue Mitchell

The Illumination © Blue Mitchell

Would you care to share the inspiration for your newest work, “Chasing the Afterglow” ?

This project started  a few years ago when I found that my creative time was limited to the evening, during twilight, and late into the night.  I’ve always enjoyed the night and especially when there’s a moon present.  As a goal, I decided to photograph every full moon night (of course I shot every chance I had whether the moon was full or not).  The subject matter varied though depending on the moons location and visibility.  Of course I shot many full moons, but I also captured what goes on under the moonlight.  When the moon was not visible, I spent that time working in the studio on creating my own twilight lores.  This studio work also allowed me to add a more abstract narrative to the project and gave me the freedom to add hand drawn elements with still lives.

With the rapid changes in how people make and view a photograph how do you view this time in the history of photography?

It depends what we’re talking about really.  People are writing books on the subject — It’s exhausting really.  If we’re focusing on fine art photography I don’t actually think much has changed other than the tool options.  This is the biggest difference between a fine art photograph and let’s say painting.  Photography is more susceptive to technology advances.  It is mechanical.  Whereas traditional painting is less impacted by technology.  Because cameras are mechanical I don’t feel the evolution of the photograph will ever end.

How do you overcome a creative block?

I have the luxury of producing a photography print publication, as well as curating for an online gallery.  These projects are a great escape from my own work (actually at most times, takes priority).  I work with so many creative and exciting photo-artists through these that I’m continually inspired by them.  It is a double-edged sword though, at times, it seems impossible to have an original idea.  Call me naive but it’s only recently that I realized that it IS impossible but that does not take away from the reality that we should make work that makes us happy anyway.  That’s the most important piece and pretty much the point for creating in the first place.

How does your art affect the way you see the world?

My art is a reflection on how I see the world, not the other way around.

Is there another type of photography or subject matter you would like tackle?

Plenty!  I started this journey in film making.  I’d love to go back to it in some way, some day.

Fusion © Blue Mitchell

Fusion © Blue Mitchell

Thank you Blue for sharing your work and words.

To Learn more about Blue Mitchell  please visit his site.  Blue Mitchell Photo

Blue Mitchell is also the publisher of Diffusion Magazine  and Plates to Pixels Gallery.


Thank you to the photographers that share their work with us.

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No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of Rfotofolio, and the photographers. All Rights Reserved.


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