Photography and beautiful books go hand in hand. Jane Fulton Alt has made one of those beautiful books. Rfotofolio is pleased to share her work and words.
Please tell us about yourself?
I started in the arts about twenty years ago, having always been interested in making things with my hands. I live in the Midwest, have raised a family, done extensive traveling, and am a clinical social worker in addition to being a photographer.
Can you tell us about the making of your artist book?
The artist book came out of a need to raise money for the “trade” book, The Burn. I collaborated with a book and paper artist in Chicago, Teresa Pankratz. When I approached Teresa about creating a book, neither of us has any idea of the scope of the project, as neither of us had ever collaborated with another artist before. We met weekly to discuss the form the book might take. What we came up with was beyond my wildest dreams. Teresa had seen my exhibit in the Chicago area and wanted to include one of the encaustic pieces in the book, thinking of it as embedding a jewel in a book.
How did you get started photography?
When my youngest child started first grade, I began taking art classes at a local art center. We were doing some traveling and I decided to buy a new camera. I took a photography class in order to learn about the camera. The rest was history. My photography teacher was so much more . . . asking so many questions about what it means to be alive. I learned the “poetry” that can be captured with the camera . . . and from then on, I used the camera to try to better understand life around me.
Which photographers and other artist work do admire?
Started with Edward Weston, Julia Cameron, Bill Viola (video artist), Robert and Shana Park Harrison, Debbie Flemming Caffery . . . to name a few.
And what about their work inspires you?
Getting to the very essence of their subject matter.
Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you overtime.
Edward Weston has, throughout time, been my photographic hero. I have never tired of “The Pepper”. He transformed how we look at everyday objects, creating a mysterious, elegant and sensuous experience for the viewer. The photograph was revolutionary during its time and continues to intrigue, even after all these years. His use of light and shadow and ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary is breathtaking!
What challenges do you face as a photographer?
I don’t love the flat surface of photographs. I suppose that is why I have explored encaustics, gold leaf, and xerox transfers. I don’t have a brain for the technical side of photography but have always been able to learn what I need to do to get where I need to go with my work.
Would you tell us about your workspace?
I work in the heart of my house, second floor middle, what once was a bedroom. I also have studio space on the third floor for my encaustic work. I call it the tree house.
How do you over come a creative block?
Just let it be . . . I have learned over the years to be patient. Things work themselves out over time. Sometimes I just need to let something go that is not working according to my vision. I have complete faith that if it is meant to be, it will happen. If not, it is ok to let it go.
How important is it to your art form to have “creative community”?
Actually, I have worked in solitude for much of my photographic life, relying on close friends and family to give me feedback. Having just completed this collaboration makes me want to explore the possibility of more collaborations. I also run a critique group out of my home, once a month. There is community there although I don’t share my work as I try to mentor others in more fully realizing their vision for their work.
How does your art affect the way you see the world?
It impacts much of what I do . . . I am a very visual person and am always aware of my surroundings and how the light is falling. I am especially aware of the changing seasons and the angle of the sun.
Whats on the horizon for you?
I spent all of last year realizing both books. It was very intense. There is a let down, having the work done. I have three other projects I thought I would jump into but am finding I just need to let the dust settle first. And that is ok. Today, all I want to do is knit and read, but I am sure that will pass. I am working on a project called ” The Poetic Dialogue” in which I have been paired with a poet to create a piece. That is my next immediate challenge.
I am also interested in filming video footage of “The Burn” for a possible installation . . . that will be a steep learning curve for me.
Thank you Jane for sharing your work and your words.
To learn more about Jane Fulton Alt please visit her page at Jane Fulton Alt.
To learn more about paper and book artist Teresa Pankratz please visit her site. Teresa Pankratz
Also thank you to Kim and Gina Weston. To learn more on the Weston Legacy please visit their site. Kim Weston
Thank you to the photographers that share their work with us.