Breath I © Robin Robinson
Today we continue our series on photographic communities. Photographers that have come together to build a community to support each other. We hope you will find these articles enlightening and inspire you to build your own community.
Thank you to the memebers of Salon Jane for sharing your story with us.
What is the purpose of Salon Jane?
Salon Jane is an artist collective based in the Monterey, California, area composed of six female photographers: Martha Casanave, Susan Hyde Greene, Jane Olin, Anna Rheim, Robin V. Robinson, and Robin Ward. All of the artists work outside the traditional sense of straight photography and are committed to supporting each other’s artistic process.
Founded in 2014, the purpose of the Salon is to provide each artist with what they need to thrive in their art-making. We encourage experimentation and expanding creativity with the support and honest feedback of the rest of the group. The Salon builds important artistic relationships through regular sharing of our art and related personal stories with each other.
We also exhibit together, although it wasn’t our original intention to do so. Our past shows include “Independent Presence,” exhibited at Green Chalk Gallery in Monterey (2015) and Sand City (2016), followed by an expanded version of these exhibitions at Art Intersection in Gilbert, Arizona (2017). Through these shows we have discussed our ideas and art at events with live audiences.
In the end, our primary purpose is to address the individual needs of each artist member. Our meetings are quarterly and go on for over 5 hours. You could call these meetings intense – they are deep and personal and truly get to the heart of things.
How did Salon Jane come into being?
Salon Jane was formed out of a need for deep mutual support and feedback among a small group of serious photographers. Our founder Jane Olin consulted with several of us to put together a synchronistic group, each woman offering a unique voice but with common values about making art. Each of the six members is independent but thankfully we all have healthy personalities, allowing for fair and honest dialog about each other’s work and related life events and goals. Groups like this don’t always work out; it can be tricky to find the right fit.
Would each person in the group share with us what Salon Jane means to them?
“The Salon Jane meetings are an incentive for me to keep working, for one thing. Also, I really value, especially over time, seeing other members’ work, hearing about their struggles and successes, and watching their artistic growth.”
Susan Hyde Greene:
“There is just something about a gathering of women in pursuit of creativity in their lives that is most satisfying and enjoyable. The fact that we like each other, respect each other as artists and as people is an added bonus. Being a part of Salon Jane has been extraordinary in too many ways to count!”
“Being in a group of talented artists inspires me to do my best work. Not only do I receive sound critique for my work but also receive encouragement and feedback that fosters risk taking and innovation.”
“Throughout my 40 years in photography, I have discovered the value of an intimate support group for pushing one’s creativity and nurturing the expression of one’s deepest emotions.
I have many friends whose art I admire in the photography world of my community, but it is the five women in Salon Jane who are instrumental for my support. These five friends are my artist family. They are a valuable source of encouragement and inspiration.
We meet with agreed upon protocols to offer one another honest constructive feedback on our art. As we are all female, I feel more comfortable revealing my vulnerabilities in our discussions. The level of dedication to the craft that these women possess keeps me focused on high standards.
Salon Jane is a remarkable group of artists, distinctly different from one another, who have united to support each other in pursuing photography as our passion.”
Robin V. Robinson:
“Salon Jane is a sounding board of women I respect and admire. If I’m questioning my own artistic self, I can always rely on their truthful and well intentioned feedback. I feel like they have my back and I have theirs.”
“I’ve matured exponentially as an artist being a member of this dynamic group. Be warned: authenticity, audacity, sincerity and astonishment are only some of the side-effects.”
How important is community?
We are fortunate in the Monterey area to have an active and generous photography community, one that descends from talented artists and mentors like Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham. The tradition here is to pass it on, and that sense of community has created a healthy and dense pack of artists. We all know each other and cheer each other on. It’s encouraging and also provides opportunities for exhibiting. Even a small community like Salon Jane is something one could create in a more isolated location. It seems important to find or create that wherever you are in order to grow as an artist.
What’s on the horizon?
Salon Jane is opening a new exhibit at the Monterey Museum of Art on September 20, 2018, called “Salon Jane – The Ethereal Zone.” This show will include all new work from each member. The work includes multiple subjects using everything from cameraless salt prints to digital collage and mixed media books. We are excited to be part of the Museum’s “Year of the Woman” and look forward to our panel presentation on October 21st. Also, each member created multiple “Zines” which will be for sale in the Museum. The Zines are creative and expressive small publications, each giving you an idea of the artist behind the curtain.
Beyond that, we are always looking for opportunities to travel our art to meaningful places. And of course we each continue to work and support each other.
To learn more about the exhibit The Ethereal Zone please visit the Montery Musueum of Art by clicking on the name.
To learn more about Salon Jane please visit their site at Salon Jane.
Please visit our page on a Community of Photographers