(coming soon!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday pics

It is the time of year for holiday greetings and for making a small limited edition gift print. Thought I'd post some of the cards and images here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tyrus Wong at 100!

Out yesterday at the Santa Monica Beach to spend time with California - and national - treasure, Tyrus Wong who is celebrating his 100th Birthday as he does best(!): out monthly flying his handmade kites with the large attendance of Kim Wong and many family and friends!

Happy Birthday Tyrus! Here are some pics:

More on Tyrus on my 1 January 2010 post.

Catching Up

Almost six months since the last post. A busy time with much to do including organizing and co-curating an exhibition of photograhers at the request of LACMA's curators: SUMMER MIX, an exhibition of work from the Annenberg Department's Photographic Arts Council.

Then, a composition of my photographs of the 747 Wing House has been on exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art in their Design Biennial, accompanied by the model of the house designed by architect, David Hertz.

A busy Fall, continuing work on the Chinatowns Project in preparation for my show next year at the Craig Krull Gallery, in Santa Monica, CA

And best, out on the Beach this weekend to celebrate with Tyrus Wong, his 100th Birthday! The kites are still gorgeous and Tyrus is going so strong! See next post!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Do Photographers Need to Write Well?

A photographer/professor friend, Ann Mitchell, has asked several photographers the following:
"From some of my students, I often get the 'Photographers don't need to write well [for] a photograph is worth...' response. Has it been important for you to write well as a photographer? If you could send me a few lines as to why it has (or hasn't) been a significant part of your success I'd appreciate it."

The question intrigues me for I am a writer as well as a photographer and the written word underlies much of my work, whether literary or visual. I often write down words from my reading and at times when out photographing, a phrase may return to inspire me, often months later than when it was read. When on a speaking engagement about the two books for youth on contemporary art & poetry that I created and edited, marrying the paintings of known artists with the words of evocative poets, I highlight the "conversation" that thus ensues between the words and the art. That is just what it is when the fine arts weave together. Many times an active collaboration as well.

Writing and writing well for me is an integral part of the creative process and, as a photographer, it is key to how I see and shoot and formulate a project as well as how I may describe it later... for "describe" again is about the word.

This is adapted from my response to Ann:

1. Writing is as much about expression as is photography.
2. Writing is about metaphor. Isn't that what a lot of photography is? A visual expression that can be symbolic of idea and emotion? It takes being able to write well to understand the nuance and true significance of metaphor.
3. Writing well is about searching for the best possible expression, whether in the written word or in the image. It is essential to both.
4. Writing well is an exercise that sharpens the questions and focus of all that is being done photographically.
5. Writing well is about ensuring that the rules are learned. Well. It is only when absorbed into one's psyche and creative process that they can be broken.
6. Writing well is about grammar, spelling and most importantly, editing whether for a note dashed off or for a formal exercise that, when combined with or interpreted into the visual image, creates that picture that may be "worth a thousand words."
7. Writing well can be about collaboration, i.e., working on an idea or an edit with another whose mind and skills you respect to hone what it is you want to say.
8. Writing is having the skill and the knowledge to present oneself in the best possible manner and in this case, writing also includes reading to broaden and understand what is to be expressed. See http://www.simpleartmarketing.com/blog/category/writing-for-artists/

How does knowing how to write and to write well mean in terms of photography?
Learning how to write well enhances the application of those skills to one's photography to achieve what is to be expressed.
Learning how to write well enhances the photographer's ability to articulate what it is that is being done photographically and, can even lead to a different tighter photographic focus when, by editing the statement, that direction is honed.
Learning how to write well enhances the opportunities to enter into the business of photography from
1. Artist Statements
2. Proposals
3. Titling a photograph
4. Creating and preparing a website
5. Writing a blog or even Twitter! The latter: when there are only a few words permitted, they must be right.
6. Preparing a college and/or graduate application
7. Job applications
8. Press releases about the work
9. Grant applications - From a grant website "But this opportunity is often squandered when photographers don't appreciate the importance of the written proposal. "We look for a good idea first and the portfolio second," says David Sutherland, a professor of photography at Syracuse University and administrator of the Alexia Foundation for World Peace student photography contest." A caveat to this quote: many curatorial and gallery friends, while recognizing the importance of the written statement, entirely disagree, saying that in all cases, the work is the first to be viewed, the statement only after.
10. Learning how to write well opens up the range of artistic expression to add to the piece of art being made, whether in a fine art application or commercial.

Writing well is about reading, and reading well, for it may be about "a photo is ... " but it is also always about the word. And the better the word is expressed - through great literature, through poetry, through hip-hop and rap - the better the opportunity for visualization and aesthetic conversation

Here is the visual poetry of Federico García Lorca beginning his Romance Sonambulo:
"Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain. ....."
... or in the original Spanish:
"Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montaña. ..."

When one reads such words, says them aloud; when one writes down a word or phrase just to savor it for a while, the words - the concept - infuse our being and our photographs.

Writing. Reading. Words. All are about creation, expression, appreciation and adventure. Emotional. Risk-taking. Sensory. Powerful. Edited. Focused.

Wait, are we speaking about writing or are we speaking about photography?

FotoFest and MOPLA

Coming out of March which had truly roared in like a lion with an intense 10 days at FotoFest, the incredible Houston Biennial.

A reviewee. A visual enthusiast in heaven between the many exhibitions in Houston, my favorite visit always to the Menil Collection (and the Rothko Chapel, the Twombly and new for me, the Byzantine Chapel!), and of course the special opportunity to see the work of fellow reviewee's, from all over the world. Incredible inspiration. Tried to take it all in. And so I did, meeting some terrific new people who could be photographers, could be reiewers but who became professional acquaintances - Facebook anyone? - and hopefully in time, many will become good friends.

Good reviews. Much hard work ahead. Some announcements to come!

And then MOPLA where, within a week after FotoFest, two projects were up for exhibition... both projected, getting away from the print for a moment. The first through a trailer, 'Lucy," onto chance walls for the GroupSC 2009: AN INTIMATE VIEW OF LA. The second: A one-night projection of four artists, part of MOPLA's themed show 160/160 CELEBRATING 160 YEARS OF LOS ANGELES BY SHOWCASING 160 PHOTOGRAPHERS.

Great fun and a fresh new way for me to think about my work: a quick slide show, not always in my favorite order, but...

Some installation pics from the opening nights:
from GroupSC 2009 at the MOPLA opening, 3 April, at Bergamot Station (The Santa Monica Airport project).
from Pro'jekt LA: LA Sights + Scenes, Tuesday, 6 April at Space15Twenty in Hollywood. (The Gridlock Project).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is a matter of great importance to photographers, illustrators and art-makers of any type. Writers should also take note.

TODAY March 24th @ 5PM is the deadline to let the White House hear your comments about copyright. Anti-copyright sentiment is rising. To preserve your rights, send an e-mail ASAP.
A more extensive summary of rights grab (including a one-click email process) is on the

Illustrators Partnership Orphan Works Blog


Below is the email I have written to Victoria Espinel U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) who has called for comments. Any of you are welcome to copy and adapt my letter. Just get it in before 5pm today!!!!! (I don't know if that's EDT or PDT... just do it!). Email comments to intellectualproperty@omb.eop.gov


To Victoria Espinel U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) and others discussing Copyright protection in current times:

I am writing this letter to specifically address upcoming copyright legislation, primarily to oppose any current attempts at this legislation, especially in the areas of rights grab, including orphan works.

My background is as an intellectual property attorney (retired), a published author/editor and as a professional fine art exhibiting photographer.

As someone whose very incentive is to produce creative work and be supported by it, visual or literary, recent attempts to control this fail not only in their scope but in the manner in which they could be enforced. At present, there is no way in which a work could be "orphaned" without a trampling on the rights of the creator. It is too easy, given the fast rise of technology, to separate a work from information about its creator, giving rise to many enterprises to claim the work is "orphaned." This is a direct infringement of copyright.

Protection of creators' rights is the very reason for the creation of the Copyright Act. The recent attempts to amend the Act are in direct contravention of the US and other countries' policies and would not only create dire intellectual and economic consequences for the creator but for the economy as a whole that profits from new work. Without a protection from outright theft, the inevitable consequence of present legislative proposals, it would be difficult for artists to find ways to support themselves with their production. Without that production or even with the limited production that some may venture, far less than now, our society suffers in many ways, from critical thinking to a loss of opportunities for change, always the result of artistic endeavors.

Our world and market opportunities are changing so vastly that any legislation of this type is premature with dire economic and social consequences for a future world that none of us can fortell.

At the same time, it is true that issues pertaining to copyright should be addressed. Among those issues and suggestions may be the establishment through the Copyright Office of at least a registry for photographers and other image makers of their work in addition to copyright registration. Or, attempts to work with creators to establish one central such registry.

I urge to you to investigate strategies that would create solid lasting protection for creators and for the good of the country.

Sara Jane Boyers

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two Upcoming Shows! MOPLA in APRIL

In early April, both part of the second annual MOPLA (MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHYLos Angeles)! Great thanks to the Lucie Foundation for creating MOPLA and supporting photographers!


Saturday, 3 April 2010: GroupSC 2009 - An Intimate View of Southern California - Premiere Installation, part of the Official Opening Night Events for MONTH of PHOTOGRAPHY Los Angeles (MOPLA)

Gallery Skart - 2324 Michgan Ave Santa Monica, CA 90404. http://www.galleryskart.com/
My project for Helen K. Garber's second year of photographers photographing their neighborhoods (or those they frequent) is the Santa Monica Airport.

A preview presentation was already held in January at the LA Art Show and now, finally the work, shown as in a multimedia presentation. INFO FOLLOWS:

45 Artists have created stories about their neighborhoods in an area that covers the territory to create "An Intimate View of Southern California". Santa Ynez is the North West Boundary, San Diego, the South West Boundary, Anza Borrego, the South East Boundary, and Apple Valley the North East Boundary. The photo-based installation will be moveable and presented with the latest multi-media technology.

Apr 03 - Minarc/Gallery Skart for Opening Night
Apr 08 - LACDA for Downtown Artwalk
Apr 23 - Minarc/Gallery Skart for FreshFairs

Here are some of my images from the show:


Tuesday, 6 April 2010, I am being showcased by MOPLA 2010 for their theme exhibition: 160/160 - Celebrating 160 years of Los Angeles through 160 Photographers.
Approximately 60 images from my GRIDLOCK ongoing series - a true LA story - will be projected onscreen at
"Pro'jekt LA 2: LA Intrigue: Sights + Scenes"
Space 15Twenty - 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028
Projections begin at sunset: 7-10PM.
Free but RSVP to projektLA2@monthofphotography.com

All photographic images here ©Copyright 2010 Sara Jane Boyers

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wings over Malibu

It is a great blessing to have such talented and creative friends.

Recently one of them has purchased a 747 and designed a house incorporating many of its parts! At her invitation, I have been photographing various phases of the construction and the other day, the light was right and the moment perfect. Here is what I saw.

Gung Hay Fat Choy/Happy Lunar New Year!

The Lunar New Year - or Spring Festival - is again upon us, overlapping Valentine’s Day this year, thus a day in which cultures combine to wear red. It continues for 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival. For almost a decade now, I have been photographing in the Chinatowns of the United States and Canada, over 40 Chinatowns so far. And now for the sixth year I wander at the New Year through the greater Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley Chinese communities to capture the many ways in which this holiday is celebrated.

This year, I started in Arcadia where the Arcadia Supermarket was packed with last minute foodstuffs, flowers and sweets. Then to El Monte where on New Year’s Eve, Jenny Chen graciously permitted me to photograph her rice-package altars placed on the loading docks of the New Taiwan Trading Corporation, a major importer and distributor of Asian foods throughout the Southwestern United States. At the close of the day, Jenny burned incense and paper money for good fortune in the New Year.

As always, I then returned to Downtown Los Angeles where the usually busy streets were quiet - even on Chung King Road in the middle of the art galleries! - as stores and restaurants close early and families gather for dinners at home until late evening when celebrations and fireworks bring people to the temples and family associations. Homes and businesses post red signs with the chinese symbols for good luck - "foo" in Mandarin, "fook" in Cantonese - often upside down. Association members gather to cook for us all before midnight and again in the morning. My thanks to Jenny Chen, The Southern California Fukienese Association, the Hai-Nam Association of Southern California and as always, the Chua Ba Thien Ha Temple.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Light of the Year

The New Year has dawned, emerging from the Blue Moon eve, a light that at midnight on the 31st illuminated the dark spaces outside with a theatrical light, setting the stage for the transition from the year and decade passed to the new beginning. To start us off with words and images:

The words come from famous quotations about years and about time, for is that not what today's reflections are about? They come as well from my own ramble as, during these years of greater concentration on my photographic career, the words I write are more about the process than about a new book. This blog takes the place for now.

As we think about New Year's Resolutions, from JKF: "In its [knowledge's] light, we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose. Plant it this afternoon.' "

From Ralph Waldo Emerson: "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."

And from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (I, showing my own "seasoning," remember it from the Byrds):" To every thing there is a season.... "

The season seems tumultuous as has been this last decade. Yet without being simplistic, there is room for us, globally and individually, to change. Let us resolve this now.

On the photography side from Aline Smithson: her blog musings on December 31, speaking about her own work - the value of the single image, not necessarily part of a series, and reflecting upon her own work - are inspiration for me and probably today's blog. Aline's Lenscratch blog in general is a gift to us all. The December 31 blog: http://lenscratch.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-personal-favorites-of-2009.html.

Aline's second gift: in today's blog, evocative, emotional pictures culled by Aline from various photographers (I am one) of their "personal favorite" photo of the year.

My own favorite images come from a spurt of activity, on top of a year of activity, during these incredible Southern California pre-winter months when the light is the clearest and most evocative of each year.

One of the most delightful of the latter: a long afternoon into evening spent on the last Saturday of December right here at Santa Monica Beach as Tyrus Wong, 99 and famed Disney illustrator and amazing artist, once again brings his hand-painted/constructed kites to the beach. The wind was incredibly still and the day started out with a heavy wet marine layer. Not auspicious. However, as we wait and Tyrus brings his handkerchief up again and again to test the wind, at Sunset all changes. The light shimmers. The wind comes up and the remarkable centipede kite is shifted to a new wind direction and... suddenly, it lifts!

A documentary on Tyrus Wong has been made here in Los Angeles and donations are welcome for it to be completed. To help bring the story of this national treasure to the screen, visit http://www.brushstrokesinhollywood.com/. In the interim, Lisa See has written an informative brochure that accompanied Tyrus' retrospective in 2004 at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. More photos from the day:

Yesterday afternoon, finishing a photographic project on the Santa Monica Airport for Helen K. Garber's Group SC 2009, (this is from a view at Clover Park)
I feel the need to end the year on a photographic note. Thus I wander over at day's end to the eucalyptus grove in my canyon, historic as the first forestry research station in the US, established in the late 1800's. The rapidly changing light on the eucalyptus trunks offers a poetry of its own. My copyright notice: the first of 2010.

The new year brings us hope always. From resolutions to family to working out the vagaries of inspiration and career, the best is wished for us all.

Light above Palos Verdes at the end of the First New Day.