(coming soon!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A wonderful holiday season

The holidays are upon us, bringing joy, reflection and hope to us all. For even as we scramble to complete our personal projects, make our lists for the next year, we have those moments to pause, surround ourselves with the lights and music of the season and comfort ourselves not only with good food and drink, but with our communities of friends and family.

My wishes for everyone are for as productive a year as I have had. Hard working but filled with delights and the satisfaction that, most importantly, those around us are well. And that the New Year will bring us peace, THE goal in this difficult time and one which, if we all participate for greater understanding of each other, is there to be attained.

Sara Jane Boyers

BTW, this image was captured under the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles Harbor. Taken while participating in an urban "Painting with Light" shoot, created and guided by my friends, Mark Indig & Ken Haber, as part of their Urban Photo Adventures operation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

After a while.

Wow. Nothing since 25 September, almost two months.

Two months of intensive work with both my terrific photo editor, Paula Gillen of Gillen Edits and, best of all, working with my new gallerist (Announcement soon. A good one in Los Angeles and I am honored to have the representation by someone whose eye I trust so much!), to define my work and create several new promotions for it, both for the gallery and for fine art publication as well as museum and other exhibition.

Hard. Revealing. Understanding collaboration - not just an edit but working and adjusting for goals and allowing views I respect to incorporate and change my own work. Again, not unlike the world of publishing BUT, a different art form and I should have expected a different emotion and artistic approach. Thus, lessons thought to be learned needed to be taken in again.

What this is presently all about? MagCloud. Discussed before but being worked seriously now. A magazine, built from "cloud" computing, i.e. totally via the internet where design is uploaded but a real "hands-on" magazine is published in a POD (print-on-demand) format, available by subscription or just an individual online order. Many are creating their own issues here. And I as well, although not so much for subscription but as a series of promotional tools, helping others to better understand, especially with the Chinatowns, the large body of prints from this 9 year+project.

The work was intensive enough to create an entire book, both from edit and design. However for my purposes, the magazine format is better. It can remain current, capable of change in an ongoing project such as this. It provides the capability to informally "publish" the work at different stages of photography and sequencing, permitting others to take a peek into the process as well as making my own formatting and choice of powerful images all the tighter. There is opportunity to have others "guest edit" the same body of work, a concept most intriguing for the Chinatowns.

Here's the cover image of the first issue, brilliantly suggested by Paula:

And then in the midst, as always, other projects. What fun for a photographer to use another photographer! In this case, I asked Martin Cox, both a commercial and fine art photographer, and a fellow member of the Los Angeles League of Photographers (LALOP. See the LALOPBLOGSPOT I write there!) to do a commercial photo shoot for me: To photograph the interiors of a small co-op owned by my family for purposes of marketing it as a rental.

I had fun being the assistant for the day and, while Martin's work is absolutely wonderful and showed this basically unfurnished unit to its greatest advantage - the realtor loves the pics! - the day of the shoot was incredibly overcast. Even though the gray days by the beach are filled with romance and emotion, for a marketing brochure, blue is better. So I worked in post-production to drop in some sky, pics taken by me from that same unit on sunnier days.

Having done so, I loved this YOUTube video from Tim Grey whose daily photographic tips are quite wonderful to receive each morning. Wish I had seen it BEFORE I did my work!

Here's one of Martin's nice clean shots with a little more blue and clarity from another day:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Light of the Day

Down at Venice Beach several times in the last week to photograph for a non-fiction children's book being released in Canada. My friend, Lizann Flatt is the writer. The publisher is in Canada. The editor/packager is in England. They want a family scene, perhaps with surfers.

Different than what I usually do. The first pics sent were too "edgy." The latter fine.

What this has done: on an assignment rather than on my own, I see the beach a different way. Filled with families, I have to curb my tendency to isolate the loneliness of the landscape.

Rather than outside, I am forced to be "in," to speak with my subjects or their parents in order to obtain the requested image. To ask for a release for here, when taking pics of children today, everyone with a zoom lens is looked upon with suspicion. Swallowing my fears, I again am surprised how warmly received is my request. Those who will not appear in the book will get emailed pics from me as thanks. One good deed does indeed deserve another.

At the same time, at the beach in the early am (before school to catch the diehard pre-teen surfers) and in the later afternoon after school on a 100 degree day in LA, I who live within hearing/walking distance to the beach and know well it's marine layer, am yet again caught by the distinct landscapes of only a few hours apart. Here are two of them: albeit different days but characteristic of them both. The first of course: 8am when the layer still is loosely hemmed to the sand and mysterious hidden objects abound. The second: 5pm, the layer burned off all day but returning to warm the night, the waning sun starting to create shadow, and the beach releases the people to their homes and landscape and the birds take over.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New York color

From the spare, quiet vistas of New England to the gloriously intense color of Times Square viewed from the careening taxicab from Grand Central. A couple of hours makes all of the difference.

Two prints, the first a comp of the taxicab ride. The second - a seemingly vintage Clark Kent view of Gotham - from a friend's window downtown and with the high speed, very grainy Leica D-Lux3.

After all this, a full day in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, photographing NYC's third Chinatown followed by a terrific opening in Nolita at Jen Bekman Gallery of her "Hey HotShot! 2009 First Edition."

From there, without my main camera system, I walked back past Little Italy through the Manhattan Chinatown and caught some evocative images with the Leica - no large or even "table" tripod.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New England Light

Wandering around the Northeast for the past few weeks: some history, some friends and family and some photography. Returning to Boston's Chinatown for a summer view and today traveling down to NYC to capture the third Chinatown around New York: Sunset Park in Brooklyn and perhaps yet another?

In Nantucket, my work has been invigorated by the glorious light and spare design of these New England churches and many quiet hours have been spent photographing in the First Congregational, Methodist and Unitarian Universalist. With luck before I leave today, I'll also visit the African American Meeting House, the second such church in the country, and the Quaker Meeting house.

Whether this series ultimately resolves as "Sacred, Silent" or "Waiting" or a combination of both, it has fed a contemplative moment for me and my work. Several of the Nantucket images here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Alan Rapp on Editors & Publishing/Self-published

Alan Rapp, the remarkable former Chronicle Books editor whose last work for them was David Maisel's evocative book, LIBRARY OF DUST, has joined Hey, Hot Shot! as Associate Director of Jen Bekman Projects. His thoughts on self-publishing AND the need for an editor - "all content benefits from editing" - is right on point here.

The collaborative process is incredibly creative and fun, especially when you have the right editor!

Staying up late nights to create and upload a MagCloud magazine before I leave for an East Coast trip, without time for proper editing although not quite finished and looking forward to some good editing before it is formally published, I am totally in agreement. More later but here's my cover.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Always Change

I have learned that the work of promotion is to keep your name and your work in front of those whom you feel can be helpful to your career. To this end, promotion should remain fresh and current. A static website, one postcard a year, will not accomplish this.

Promotion is a challenge to the writer or photographer/artist as the creative process involves not only new projects but updates or revisions to the old. It requires us to be constantly thinking about how this work is presented to others, even while the process of creation is ongoing. While the general rule is that the work should be in its best and somewhat final form whenever a formal presentation or pitch is to be made, bringing a project up for some sort of "public" examination during the process can be a helpful way to hone a project. The task is daunting.

I am immersed in this process now: finalizing a presentation for a gallerist to see how my work is exhibited (see my post of 22 July); preparing several pitches for children's books and two different proposals concerning my Chinatowns project in preparation for a trip to NYC to see publishers and art galleries and museums; following up on a proposal sent, at their invitation, to a museum of photography for inclusion in an upcoming exhibition; gathering - and hopefully organizing - marketing information and ideas constantly with respect to the chinatowns series and; cleaning up my studio!!!!

Much of this is the reflective process of creation, edit, produce and then revision. But promotion is always a concern for ultimately, the writer and photographer wants the work to be seen and experienced. Rather than tacked on at the tail end, in today's world the writer/artist must factor in presentation both as an editing tool and as a necessity for the final-end product, if in fact there is an "end," for the work and approach is always so fluid. For me, thinking about promotion helps the creative.

What this has meant for me:
1. The Photo Website:
Yet again, an update/review of my photographic website for that is the easiest portfolio to which to refer people to take an introductory review of my photographic work.

a. The Chinatowns project is presently working. I have added only a few new images in the past few months and feel confident about the work at this time, helped in the Spring by Paula Gillen of Gillen Edits, terrific photo editor and consultant.

b. The Gridlock project- still being photographed - needed an update. With a static perspective - shot from the car while trapped in traffic on the freeways and highways - many newer images take a different approach, adding more figurative compositions to those of detritus and concrete. That said, they remain focused upon abstraction and curiosity about what is unseen or left behind. I have been printing in 20"x30" on Hahnemuhle's amazing art paper, the PhotoRag 308 gsm. The rich matte brings out the grittiness of this series.

Once again, I am consulting with Paula Gillen by email and ftp, and once again, she's come up with a better approach and critical review than I was able to make alone. See www.sarajaneboyersphoto.com and the screenshot above introducing this post.

c. I am also considering whether it is time to add my photographic resume to the website. Many photographers do. I had always been reticent but now, I am feeling more confident about the recognition my work has gotten.

2. Fine Art Presentation of the Chinatown Prints:
a. Trying out several image sizes - printing a lot - to determine how both the portrait and landscape images work together. Determining the size of the white surround border - deciding I did not want a pure bleed - part of the artwork as opposed to adding a mat in the framing stage. In long conversation with a framer about the frame itself, finding that my preferred frame - a natural maple - may work well for one print, but not to unify the whole and thus reluctantly, although they are beautiful, choosing black for a consistent exhibition look.

b. Choosing the two images I plan to frame: one portrait (vertical), one landscape (horizontal). Chosen not only for their own integrity but because, like the website and like a portfolio, these two are intended to best show what I do in a complete/final form. That process is not easy.

The size as well: Although today's economics may require a smaller format for exhibition and I am more than willing to listen to this - who IS selling right now?????? - I am printing and framing my preferred exhibition size. We can go up or down from here but there are moments when the artist makes a statement and here is mine.

c. Using my publishing experience:
a. Just like a book - pictorial, a novel or non fiction -the flow of the work tells its own story. Even if each image is unique in subject matter or presentation or creator, when combined with others for exhibition, website, portfolio, there are several stories about the work, the artists, or those simply standing in front of it and those must be woven into a dramatic narrative that is both visual and emotional.

Just as a writer during the revision/editing process may take a mss. and read it aloud to himself/herself or others to understand the cadence of the language/narrative flow, it behooves the photographer to continually review the order of the work presented, to ensure that one image flows to the next and that the themes inherent in the prints spell out the totality in an evocative manner. For me, this is a powerful tool, especially in a project as large as are the Chinatowns. Every time I do this, I gain further insight into my own work.

3. Promotion and Procrastination, or what I started this with ...
a. In the midst of this, I am again looking at MagCloud to create a leave behind for meetings. A great example: My friend, Ann Mitchell's, first magazine, DESERT DREAMS, Issue 1: Diptychs .

b. I started SaraJaneBoyersAloud on the premise of procrastination. As well to feed my need to write, the companion career that this year or so has taken second fiddle to the photographic one. The need to write, to journal, yet matches the need to capture the world with my camera. For the moment, this blog is helping me continue the periodic, if not the required daily, exercise of that skill. But..... enough today. Whether writing or photographing or editing... where it all comes down to... it is time to return to the work! More later...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Samuel Freeman Portrait

Am delighted to see that my portrait of Bergamot Station gallerist, Samuel Freeman ("Samuel Freeman in Holly Mascott"), has been published in the Blue McRight catalogue from her 2009 exhibition - no one you know - at the Samuel Freeman Gallery. http://www.samuelfreeman.com/nav/a_mcright.html

Blue speaks about "personal residue" from not only the trailers ("embedded histories") but also from vintage songbird model kits.

I am drawn to this work perhaps because in her own style, the artist too seeks what it seems I am searching for in my continuing photographic exploration: lives lived and so often evidenced in the items that we design and sometimes, never notice or leave behind or, have been designed around us and sometimes for us, but not always with the sensibility and understanding of who we are.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The redone website has been up since late Spring. The promos are done and, for once, the email lists recorded NOT ONLY in my email log but actually, with some sense of order in word files. We'll see how long that lasts ....

Is the website working? I believe it is as I have already fielded a museum invitation to submit based upon their curator's review of my portfolios on site; a recommendation from a retired cultural attaché, a career diplomat, to definitely submit my Chinatowns project to the US Embassy in Beijing; and the clear identification of what it is I am doing by a simple link to the URL.

So, here I sit: website in hand, several proposals out but with a large question: When and if I land a more substantial exhibition/book project, et al, HOW do I present the work? I've already seen it in online format. I have already printed the showcase prints for the portfolio. I've exhibited in some smaller shows. But now, when the opportunity arises for a more serious review, how do I see the work being exhibited?

These questions have to do with
1. THE PRINTS, OF COURSE, and the questions encompass
WHAT MEDIA? I have shot the Chinatowns in film - 35mm and 645 (medium format) transparencies - and in digital. I have printed for exhibtion in cibachrome and on archival digital media. I love cibachrome and I love my master printer, Frank Green, at The Lab Ciba.

Some say ciba/ilfachromes are "old school" but hey - how can you beat that incredible color saturation?

But, I also love my Epson 7800 and Hahnemühle Photo Rag which gives an entirely different matte look to a print. Whether in the darkroom or in the digital lab, choice of paper and other production and presentation questions when making an art print remain the same.

WHERE IS THE ELEMENT OF CONSISTENCY? For in the Chinatowns Project, work varies in size, vertical vs horizontal and the extent of the crop. It is not studio work and the type of camera, lens and approach may change, not only due to locale but also due to the duration and evolution of this 9+ year project. For the Gridlock work, the concerns are different since camera, format and print remains consistent throughout.

HOW TO PRINT? Should I center? When I decide the size of the print, how large on the paper should the white space be? Will I need a mat or? Today, the mat seems less important than placing the image on the paper and determining the nature of the impact of that total vision.

2. HOW TO FRAME? I love wide, flat wood frames. I love large prints. But there is a reality, especially in today's market: what do I do that preserves my vision AND permits the print to be accessible/saleable in my "market," i.e., that of an emerging photographer. Saleable and, at the same time, affordable for me to do so that the exhibition can be out there.

The economics of exhibiting consist of many variables and, much as I want to show in exactly the way I want, I have to consider the context. More than many emerging photographers, my experience both in the music industry and in book publishing helps me here. Sometimes.

I know how to compromise. But I also know when to stop, at least in music and books. The question now: In this area of my passion, my time and my expense, gladly undertaken as I seriously further the career, can I rationally weight and compare these considerations?

We'll see.

In the interim, I've posted a garden comp on Facebok for a writer friend's birthday. Sometimes it seems important to just shoot and, on a foray into my own garden, this is what I do. It starts this ramble. And, when I think about it, it too is about presentation.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Julius Shulman 1910-2009

A very sad time as this terrific photographer and personality, Julius Shulman, has died. Julius inspired me with his images of Los Angeles and its incredible architecture and living in my very early years and continued to inspire me with his work and conversation even up through this year.

Additional information is up on the LALOP blogspot at http://lalopblog.blogspot.com/

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sundance, 1600 & the 4th

Away for the 4th in Sundance, UT where the rain (rain daily in July? Think about global warming) has kept it green. Just on one hike there are deer, incredible wildflowers and peaceful times.

Not really a landscape photographer, the question is how what I photograph becomes meaningful to me in a manner in which to convey that to others. While seduced by the blinding beauty, for once I am trying to reserve my thoughts and images.

At the open air Utah Symphony concert therefore, only a few pics with the little Leica point & shoot using only ambient light. Something I've never done: pushed the ISO to 1600. No tripod. Chromatic aberration everywhere but hey - the pic of everyone walking down the ski slope turns into an impressionist moment.

Note: SJB photo by Christine Kummer-Hardt

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Yesterday, my friend Claus became a US citizen. At the age of 84.

I sat with Christine, his wife, who long ago had to give up her German citizenship to become American. I sat among 4,000+ people who came to watch the 2700 others - children, spouses, brothers, sisters, mothers & fathers, friends - pledge allegiance to the United States.

People from 90 countries whom the presiding justice, recognizing that becoming a US citizen today does not mean that you give up your past, called to stand up as each of those country's names were called and honored. Dual citizenship is the norm and it recognizes that there is no instant transformation of loyalty, culture or history from one nation to the next. In fact, stated most profoundly by the judge, it is precisely that background that the immigrant brings that makes the US strong – and especially in this difficult time when we are not - for it is the new creative force and culture that continues to weave the American fabric into a greater tensile strength.

Having spent the last nine years photographing in the Chinatowns of the US and Canada, it is startling how such a simple ceremony summarizes so much upon which my work seems to be based, even if only at a subconscious level.

I, a multi-generational American, far from and unknowing of much of the cultural background from which I came, was honored to be invited to this evocative event. It is far more important that many of us realize and I would heartily recommend that we who take our citizenship for granted - in all countries! - spend a moment thinking about identity, about the individual contribution of each of us, of what hard work means to those who make the choice to leave their homeland and move to another land to raise families and connect with the greater community and even, to return or move back and forth between many lands. The mix is vibrant.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Photographers, writers and illustrators: please note that the Orphan Works legislation, badly written to ease the taking of our creative work is rearing its head again.

From the
orphan works illustrators' partnership blog:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Orphan Works: Back Again
In Orphan Works Land, no news has been good news, but that's about to change:

Website Optimization & Metadata

"The point is", the knowledgeable stock photographers at the Photometadata.org tour, told us last night at an APA/LA-sponsored event, "you set up a beautiful website and no one comes." (kinda like this blog so far... have to tell more people about it!).

What draws others to your site or blog is essential now in this not-so-new-anymore millennium. The point is - and we now have the means - to "attract INBOUND traffic," a great complement, if not becoming the substitute for, "outbound traffic," i.e., traditional marketing via our material sent to others who may not have requested it via email, postcard, calls. How we do that is through keywording of images and/or pages (for those not photographers who still want to attract others to their site) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

There are many tools, some of them overwhelming at first and some not so. Many can be found, even for non-photographers at photometadata.org or via the SEO COOKBOOK, provided for free by Photoshelter at http://pa.photoshelter.com/mkt/seo-kit-for-photographers.

Something I should have known but that surprised me: Keywording, although valuable for many other reasons, is NOT picked up by Google and other search engines. Think about what you say in your text on your website for that is what Google sees.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In the Interim

I haven't posted anything lately because I have been sending out proposals, thinking about a curatorial project, working on my gridlock series - I seem to be the only person in Los Angeles actually seeking to be stopped in traffic - and now, responding to interest from a major photography museum for an invitational show! Not yet selected but at least nominated.

Above, the one photograph I managed to be still enough to shoot after an hour and one-half at rush hour on five freeways around LA yesterday. Tomorrow when I venture downtown for theatre and need to make time, I'll be crawling. Yesterday when all I wanted was to be slow, still trying to photograph that surfboard on the I-10Eastbound that I've been racing by four times in the past week, traffic was uncharacteristically non-existent.

So today I took a less oil-squandering tour around the internet - trying not to watch too many SNL spots. There I found this lovely, contemplative and for me right now, oh so relevant blog about photography, shows and photo books, The Space In Between, by German writer/photographer Stacy Oborn.

Truly fascinating: her article on two very different photographers as they adventure down diverse paths to the making of a photographic book. http://the-space-in-between.com/2009/01/14/one-thing-done-two-ways-elijah-gowin-and-james-luckett-on-making-a-book/

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

30th Chinatown

Drove up and back to Santa Cruz in one long day. But, it gave me the opportunity to add the 30th Chinatown - Salinas, California - to the long-term Chinatowns project.

A Chinatown in transition. Site of many homeless. A sense of loss exacerbated by the gray marine layer that often permeates this "island in a sea of lettuce."

There have been neighborhoods in other cities, first inhabited by other cultural immigrants, where the Chinese have moved in... a Jewish temple in an old part of downtown Toronto that is now a Chinese day care/youth center comes to mind. The American and Canadian cultural fabric is always in a state of flux and there are spaces where ethnic or cultural identity was strong and then newer generations weave into the larger identity and the next wave enters.

Salinas is one of those spaces for the change is happening right now as one views the architecture of a culture not really there anymore, altered and then abandoned. But the City is working along with the community to revitalize and there is already a community garden, modern temples and gathering places. I hope to return next year when the Lunar New Year celebration brings many residents there and reminds one of another era.

A great thanks to the Salinas Police Department for making me feel a little more secure as I wander here for a brief time .

First Five Images

Thanks to Aline Smithson for sending me to this 25 minute webcast from ASMP on website management and self-marketing. http://www.asmp.org/strictlybusiness/2009/04/not-working-enough/.

Thinking about my "first five images...."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Done... for the moment

Well, I've sent out the emails announcing the website redo so I guess it is done, if only for now.

Among the "What I love. What I don't," format that I seem to be using: The fluidity of a website is truly invaluable, as long as one can control it. I plan to turn soon to my sarajaneboyers.com, a never completed site for my literary work and, by virtue of the eponoymous title, probably the main directory site for me. But I've never really spent enough time in Dreamweaver to figure out how to work with it. Not too hard but again, just a matter of time when I'd rather photograph, write or work on projects. For these tools become housekeeping hogs as well.

However, now seems to be the time, if only to gain several additional archival pages for specific exhibition of some photographic or literary projects that can be made private.

Like opening a creaky door into a darkened room, I hope, and finding a treasure there. Or let us hope that some of you will...

What I don't like: managing now all of these spaces. The photo website. The literary/main website. The teen activism book website. The Saatchi online gallery. The LALOP blog. THIS BLOG! At least four email addresses. Facebook. Linked In. And, we don't even want to discuss the russian spam...

In any event, this is all at least a serious start. I watched tonight as photographers handed out their cards at the opening of the inaugural photographic exhibition at the new Annenberg Beach House, although much of the professional part fell away as we walked down to the beach from home . What a privilege to watch the mountains fade into the sunset (caught below!)

We do live in a terrific age when we can simply point others to our images online. I love a portfolio, still think it is the best way to present, but this facile introduction to one's work just cannot be beat.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another type of portfolio

Uploaded pics today to Saatchi Galleries Online. As always, having to edit down to a bare bones portfolio (11 pics!) is good for me. Surprising how comprehensive a small number of pics representing my work can be.

I am a fan of this communal site, supported by Charles Saatchi in the interest of disseminating work throughout the world. The site was suggested to me by my friend, Ann Mitchell whose own Saatchi site and website and blog are pretty terrific!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Website Administration

Because of time constraints, I have been using Foliolink for my website. It comes with a set of rather elegant templates and is used by some very well known photographers. I will do more later but presently I tussle with the administration concerns, i.e. making a portfolio private, trying to set up active links and a host of other smaller but vital issues concerning the presentation of image and info on site.

The pics seem ready. Now it's about the workability of the site and, put off although it shouldn't have been, the Artist Statement. It can be said that we as photographers may have difficulty with words and that is why we photograph. To the contrary however, I have found most photographers eloquent in knowing what it is they do and writing about it. OTH I, a published writer, am tongue-tied.


One of the perks of a home studio: watching the natural world live around you while you work.
One of the disadvantages of a home studio: the distraction of the natural world.

Most of the time, I lean toward the perk side.

I am continuing the website work, refining the statements and fortuitously, just yesterday a friend sent on a slew of quotes by the photographer, Robert Adams.

I am presently thinking of this one, "At our best and most fortunate we make pictures because of what stands before our camera, to honor what is greater and more interesting than we are. We never accomplish this perfectly, though in return we are given something perfect--a sense of inclusion. Our subject thus redefines us, and is part of the biography by which we want to be known."

And wow, looking for the source of the quote (remember I'm a writer as well and editors always want the source... ), I just found this cool site, Photoquotes.com! That said, I cannot find the source of the quote so I am at least listing the two Robert Adams books from which it may have been taken:

Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional ValuesBEAUTY IN PHOTOGRAPHY: ESSAYS IN DEFENSE OF TRADITIONAL VALUES, Aperture 2005

Why People PhotographWHY PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPH, Aperture 2005

Note that I'm giving the URL's for Aperture rather than Amazon. The writer in me wants always to go to the publisher or independent bookstore first. However if you just want to buy a book of mine, please do it wherever you can!

So... back to the big "D's" - distraction and diversion, part of the fabric of my life it seems - at top is a lovely butterfly just outside my window. Not a Monarch for those I haven't seen lately in this former canyon home for them, but still pretty terrific.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Next tough moment

I've sent out an email to some well respected photographers I know to check out the website from their perspective.

Sometimes I wonder why I leave myself so open yet, on the other hand, I am finding that the photographic community, like the writer community, is wonderfully giving and helpful. I am happy to be in this although I do await the assessments with some trepidation...

What I like About Any Project

Deadlines. Edit. Consistency.

Whenever there is a new proposal, a new portfolio, a new book or, even a new blogpost, it requires me to hunker down and be clear. Usually with myself. This takes time and it is not always as successful as I would want. Nevertheless, it usually works.

Reviewing and adding to my SaraJaneBoyersPhoto.com website is one of these moments.

Over the weekend, not only am I reviewing with a new perspective - an edit for a website is truly not the same as for a portfolio, especially for the flash-based template site such as I have - but I have gone back into work, especially my unfinished Gridlock series, and made it serious, printing out work prints in 20x30 format, larger than I've printed before.

This is becoming one of those exhilarating moments for me when a project moves from exploration into focus!

There seems to be enough that is strong now to put up for the website, but I know that there will be more.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Photography Is Not A Crime

Lots of activity recently on this subject. Here are a few pointer links:

The Facebook group, Photography is Not A Crime (I just joined it!) where I also posted the following: "And, if you want an example of why this is necessary, just see "Photographers Face Wider Anti-terror Curbs" which starts "Cameras trigger terrorism fears(UK) ... Civilians are being told to be on guard for people carrying cameras and zoom lenses as part of anti-terrorism seminars being rolled out nationwide ... ."

Photography Is Not A Crime - Your Rights A concise list of what a photographer can and cannot do, by Carolyn E. Wright, an attorney and professional wildlife photographer who specializes in the legal concerns of photographers. As a recovering attorney, I wholly support Carolyn's statements and BTW, think it is worthwhile checking out other pertinent info on her blog, "PhotoAttorney."

There are also various Flickr and other groups out there, including several websites by photo journalists. Just google "photography is not a crime."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Photo editor

Ok, so I have put up the various Chinatowns categories. Way too many pics and in need of an edit.

Also, looking at the full site, how do I recategorize the rest of my ongoing work?

Luckily, I have a photo editor/consultant! Paula Gillen, whom I first met at Photo Lucida in 2007 when she was still a photo editor for the New Yorker has become a friend and, best of all, my photo editor. In subsequent years, Paula moved to Colorado and has established a highly successful business as a photo consultant for various museums, media and for individual photographers. Her website, GillenEdits, explains it all.

So here is the bad part: Paula RIGHT NOW has access to my site and is deleting, moving, commenting on the work. It is an agonizing process for me to just sit back for a moment, especially since I can check in by going to my website and seeing the movement there. A bit surreal. But then, the edit process while a little more immediate is not unlike that which I am used to with my books. The most difficult part of any work: when to carve it up, clean it up, force oneself to understand and act upon what it is that really is one's most basic direction. Notice that I've moved to the impersonal? There's a reason for this.

Let's see where this goes in the next few hours.


With all of this work, I also find that I am not shooting much, except perhaps for Gridlock, but that still, the need is there and I am again graced with nearby wildlife. "Harold," who visits every year in the Spring in some incarnation, is here almost touching my studio window.

The good side of working on the website

Like other deadlines by reviewing the work for the site, I find that I am also refining more of it. I've been making more edits while at the same time doing what I (and most others) do as a writer: reviewing the body of work itself with a different eye, honed over time and distance. Doing so allows not only a crisper edit but occasionally the discovery of something passed over which now is possibly shining.

The Gridlock Project is a good example, not even yet up on the web but now, soon to be!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back to the Website

Trying not only to reedit and add in, but to understand exactly what the website is and what it is for.

With respect to the Chinatowns Project, I've categorized the work - almost 8-9 years of it! - into three categories: Settings, Community, and Outside. That said, some of the work could be put in at least two of them. Stylistically, given the size of the project, the work needs to have a consistency as well.

So, the first questions, perhaps with respect to all of the portfolios, are:
Is the work interesting?
Is it different from others so as to make it a source of interest?
Have I been successful in presenting my strengths or should I edit even more to exclude any that is weak?
Do I have enough or, always my problem, too much?
What is the story that I am telling, for even in work such as mine that makes its focus on detail, there is always a tale to be told.

The latter provides me with many sleepless moments for within this body of work there are many ways to go: As fine art photography... my most passionate concern. As a fine art photography monograph (and perhaps more than one). As a children's book project (my other career). As a documentary/community project, perhaps a series of touring exhibitions in North America, if not beyond. And hopefully, something to sell! There is also the aspect that the work could be exhibited or shown by government or tourism bureaus as examples of the North American immigration history ... something that I would certainly like to see.

But the insecurites arise, very much like putting together a book project that one has researched for some years. Faced with the material, where is the element of unification? And how to best show this?

BTW, here's a site I found with the best reasons for a photographer to create a website or a blog. http://www.magicalplacesfineart.com/blog/2008/10/11-reasons-every-photographer-needs-a-website-or-blog/

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


"Sara Jane Boyers Aloud" and "Sara Jane Boyers IS Aloud" (my URL name since I messed up the first time on blogspot - see posts below) for this little set of rambles raises a few diversionary paths. Remember I said I was a procrastinator?

The first is the homophonic reference to my being "allowed" to say whatever it is I wish to say "aloud" right here.

"Aloud" gives expression to thoughts - usually in the air but then, what else is this online presence but a "broadcast" if not from mouth to ear then from fingers to eye.

"IS Aloud" is perhaps not grammatically correct, but I am using it
1. because I have to (see messed up above .. this may become its own state of being);
2. since it may describe the state of being, in that I am aloud, speaking (or in this case writing)

"Allowed" gives permission to the expression. Permission from me to consciously put something out there. Permission from Google - aren't we all going to have to get permission from Google one day? - to add them to this blogspot.

Using my writer's mode, here's an exercise I found while researching "homophonic." One always wants to go to the dictionary or source.... http://www.all-about-homophones.com/homophone-machine.php

And since I am stumbling around in the world of words and phrases, I think it's "if not...then" and NOT "If not....than." Please email me if I am incorrect!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Closer to nature than we would think

Who has time to think about the website when a deer, a young buck, just appeared on the back hill. Yes, it is urban LA but not all of it is that urban. And while coyotes are heard - and often seen - near the mouth of the Canyon, it is rare for a deer to venture this far down. Until tonight. At dusk and no time for a tripod. Perhaps he'll come back.

problems already

Confidence and complexity. Under the guise of redoing the photo website, I am thinking about the words and getting up the blog.
Confidence, complexity and focus, the latter of which I seem to be lacking although I believe it is simply a ploy of my mind to keep me from the hard edit of the work.

That said, today I try to link both this new blog and my Los Angeles League of Photographers blog to the sarajaneboyersphoto.com website. It was 103 degrees yesterday in Los Angeles, 93 at the beach and so this seems the proper thing to do but it's not working. Hmmm...

Monday, April 20, 2009


I thought I'd write about redoing my photographer website, www.sarajaneboyersphoto.com. I thought it was time to create a blog.

Given the vagaries of the blogspot website, I messed up the first time so "Sara Jane Boyers Aloud" is not available... my own fault and so "Sara Jane Boyers IS Aloud" is the easy second choice. Cannot seem to be able to negotiate with myself to give up the first.

As I think about what I want to do - the website, the blog, my future - I love my friend Aline Smithson's quote from Lenscratch, her amazing blog: "This process brings up all the not so positive part of being an artist--doubt, fear, and questioning."

We'll start soon...