Friday, July 30, 2010

New England Photography-Yankee Magazine

Congratulations Gay Bumgarner
Yankee Magazine Shutterbug of the week

Gay Bumgarner is featured in Yankee Magazine's online gallery this week after being selected as Shutterbug of the week for June 26, 2010. Gay was nominated posthumously by Linda LaCroix who, more recently, has become familiar with her nature and animal photography. You can see the pictures that were selected by the editor, read some of the back-story, and enjoy the enthusiastic comments by fellow photographers on this link-- Gay on Yankee magazine photo gallery.

To be selected is an honor and particularly as it comes posthumously. It has provided a wonderful opportunity to introduce Gay and connect to a new generation of photographers and viewers. Gay was a fierce critic of her own work and threw out most of what she shot. Nevertheless there are about 60,000 transparencies carefully filed in metal cabinets organized by topic and each slide labeled with a unique alphanumeric ID. An astonishing achievement and level of discipline that has made it possible to follow behind her.

After she died, in lieu of any real plan, I moved her entire photography operation into my home in Vermont. I wanted her business interests to remain as viable as possible and, I loved her pictures. This plan, albeit vague, insured that I could get endless copies of her photos including her signature photo "Quarter horses running in snow". My relevant experience with the business was thin but I had asked questions. I drew a diagram of her office based on what she said was important and we packed her collection up based on that floor plan. Too much of what she explained back then was lost on me and little of what happened next was as tidy as it sounds.

In the nearly 2 years since then many things have happened--- things that you “Shutterbuggers” might understand better than most. I became enthralled with the photographs, then the subjects of them, and finally, I started taking photographs myself. Oh, my, she is indeed having her last laugh. I can now give the common and Latin name to most birds of New England and the Midwest, many flowers, the host plants for the caterpillars, the butterflies, and how to submit pictures to 3 separate stock agencies via my new website. I have waded into a strange and foreign world and her business has survived. The critical secrets to this survival have been my flexible day job, my love of big complex gnarly computer data-base challenges, and my mother’s impeccable record-keeping. I have jettisoned lots of things– some wisely and others less so. My family has been sturdy and good humored about this enormous change and I have been graciously helped by many of her fellow photographers, editors, and even the scary stock agency people.

I am honored when people are interested in her pictures or the subjects and scenes in the pictures. I love telling the stories and I am grateful to Jeff Folger (Foliage) who manages the online elements of Yankee magazine including their facebook site and an active discussion group of both novice and professional photographers from all over New England-- a wonderful community.

You can see the pictures selected for the online Yankee Magazine on our website too.

Next post-- some storytelling about the adventures of the past two years and some good humored backstory for your entertainment.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

AP wire article about Arts vs oil and other endeavors to show outrage and support

Artists find ways to protest Gulf spill
This is something I proud to have contributed to and I will send along prints that can be used in the local art shows and sales. Its a problem that belongs to all of us. I will turn down our lights and use less oil and it is wonderful to share the pictures of these beautiful animals and birds along the southern gulf coast. All I can hope is that this heartfelt wish adds to a sense of support by those whose lives have been so severely affected-- animal and human.
NEW ORLEANS — Musician Shamarr Allen was flying back into Louis Armstrong International Airport when he got his first real glimpse of the BP oil spill. The words of CEO Tony Hayward's TV spot — "To those affected and your families, I'm deeply sorry" — were ringing in his ears.
Allen was exhausted after playing a private party, but he couldn't sleep until he and some friends had laid down their response. Like the oil from the Deepwater Horizon drill rig, "Sorry Ain't Enough No More" came gushing out.
"To whom it may concern, come here, first things first.
"Tell me, how much is this dead pelican worth?
"How does it feel to have a man's blood on your shirt?
"To single-handedly put a whole industry out of work?"
The song — a blend of rap, blues and brass-band jazz — begins with Hayward himself speaking about the "tragedy that never should have happened," and ends with Allen's simple plea: "Think, people."
For the 29-year-old trumpet player, whose home in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward was wiped away when the levees failed during Hurricane Katrina, the song was an exercise in catharsis, his "way of getting it off my chest." For others, far beyond the Gulf Coast, art has become a means of raising awareness and money, of showing solidarity and venting anger at a system that has failed on so many levels.
Editorial cartoonist Steve Breen of The San Diego Union-Tribune had done several spill-related panels since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20. But simple black India ink didn't seem sufficient to convey his anger at BP and federal regulators.
"I wanted to channel that outrage in a unique way," he wrote in an e-mail to the AP, "and since I'm in the powerful image business, I came up with the oil idea."
Breen flew across the continent on his own dime to spend the Fourth of July weekend collecting tar balls on Florida's Santa Rosa Island. He took the globs home to California, thinned them with gasoline and created four cartoons.
One panel shows a BP logo made up of oiled birds and sea creatures, another the Statue of Liberty holding a dripping oil drum aloft instead of a torch. The brownish-orange oil — darker or lighter, depending on the amount of gasoline Breen used — seems almost to bleed from the page.
"Some people I bounced it off said I was crazy," he wrote. "Luckily my wife, Cathy, supported it and told me I should book a ticket ..."
As an ornithologist's son, watercolor artist Paul Jackson grew up spending Christmases in the park ranger's cabin on Horn Island, Miss. Over several weeks, he turned his outrage into "Fowl Language," in which a least tern, stilt, egret, cormorant and other Gulf birds sit atop a dropping-streaked BP sign as an oil rig smokes in the background.
He posted a photo of the painting on his Web site while the paper was still damp. Within two hours, it was selling as a T-shirt on the art-sale Web site
The Columbia, Mo., painter has since created his own site, "Art vs. Oil Spill." About 100 artists from as far away as India and Malaysia have offered works, with all proceeds going to nonprofit groups working to clean up the oil or oiled animals.
So far, the group has raised $5,500.
"I realize that our efforts are merely a drop in the barrel of what is needed," says Jackson, who is also donating his earnings from a show currently under way in Pensacola, Fla. "But every bit helps."
By launching the online "action" Poets for Living Waters, writers Amy King and Heidi Lynn Staples were hoping to reduce the disaster's "overwhelming enormity to a more manageable individual scale."
Dozens of poets have submitted works to the site. In "Chandeleur Sound," an elegy to a wildlife refuge fouled by the spill, poet Marthe Reed — director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette — turns the dry corporate jargon of BP's own regulatory documents against the company.
"Residual marsh sequesters toxicity, pompom booms mimicking widgeon-grass. A regulatory regime cut-to-fit Big Oil, profit, thirst of our idealized machines. Fill in the blank. `No clear strategic objectives'tern estuary, soak, seat`linked to statutory requirements.' What is required?"
Like the rest of us, New Orleans artist Mitchell Gaudet was just trying to "wrap my head around" the shapeless, relentless menace floating out in the Gulf, to put form to the seemingly unfathomable.
Long before the spill, the nationally recognized glass artist had received permission for an installation at New Orleans' Longue Vue House, a classical revival estate renowned for its gardens and collection of decorative and fine arts pieces. Nestled between the stately mansion and the seventh hole of the New Orleans Country Club, Gaudet's piece is as incongruous as mats of oil in a wildlife refuge.
A stark row of black-painted steel drums stretches across the mansion's meticulously manicured back lawn, ending beneath the outstretched branches of an ancient oak. Fifty-three 55-gallon barrels — the amount of crude that would have leaked into the Gulf every minute under BP's worst-case scenario.
As Gaudet repositions the water-filled drums every two weeks, the spreading "stain" of dead grass becomes another symbol of the migrating oil slick.
"I'm not one of these people who thinks art should confuse or confound," says Gaudet, who owns Studio Inferno in New Orleans' Bywater district. "It has a pretty sinister impact."
Like Breen, Gaudet funded the project out of his own pocket. And, as with Breen, not everyone has been supportive.
"There's been a couple of people that have been upset, that it's a very ugly thing in a very peaceful and green space," he says as a golfer glides by in a cart. "And although that wasn't my intention, to make something ugly or provoke people in that way, I'm kind of happy. Because I think people need to think about that — that this is, on a very small scale, what's happening in a massive area on the Gulf."
"It's hit me on a pretty personal level," he says. "I mean, my backyard is a bayou."
Associated Press Writer Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans also contributed to this report.
Music video:
Art vs. Oil:
Poetry action:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poems for Friendship

I found a box of Gay's recently. It was a special box, cardboard with hinges and a bow with  nice paper on the outside. I looked in it and read when was in it trying to figure out its theme?  How did these bits and peices all end up together? It happens like that around my house.... As careful as we tried to be nonetheless much arrived in Vermont

Let me share a few of the contents.  Readers may recognize them or some may not know that your card, picture, or note was in the box too. For some of you I will be mailing you something from the box because I think it speaks to the friendship of so many years and it obviously was something you all shared.          

I found two themes-- Maybe more if I pay attention ----- Do you want to guess?

Variations on the theme of friendship - A. J. Constance

It was just like old times,
as they say
except it was better
than the old times
It was more like the new, new times
to come

More like what we are
and are becoming
and will be
Than like what we have been
and were.
Whatever I can give you
of myself,
that you have not already
acknowledged as your own

What gift is left then
to pass between us,
but the living out
of  that ultimate priceless gift
of friendship
already given and received
and given back again.
Was ever the wind
so gentle on my face?

Did sea ever stretch out its arms
to such wise horizons?
Has the sky ever been so full
of peace and promise?

Has it been that I have been alive
here on this earth
through many years,
or have i just been born
for the first time today,
Into this world
of inexpressible beauty
and tenderness?
It occurs to me
as I watch the wind move
Through these ancient olive trees,
that thirty years from now
these ties between us will be stronger
whatever paths our lives may take

and that I shall cherish you then,
in that quite different time
(so far beyond our present seeing),
even more than I do now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Almost a Conversation

I have not really, not yet, talked with otter
about his life.

He has so many teeth, he has trouble
with vowels.
Wherefore our understanding
is all body expression—
he swims like the sleekest fish,
he dives and exhales and lifts a trail of bubbles.
Little by little he trusts my eyes
and my curious body sitting on the shore.

Sometimes he comes close.
I admire his whiskers
and his dark fur which I would rather die than wear.

He has no words, still what he tells about his life
is clear.
He does not own a computer.
He imagines the river will last forever.
He does not envy the dry house I live in.
He does not wonder who or what it is that I worship.
He wonders, morning after morning, that the river
is so cold and fresh and alive, and still
I don't jump in.

~ Mary Oliver ~ from Evidence)
 © Beacon Press, 2009. Reprinted with permission. (buy now

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Artvsoil-- Helping art

Check out the Art vs Oil Spill (its not a spill!)
[but we know what they mean]

This project was created by Paul Jackson in Columbia MO, an amazing watercolor artist among other things.  He started it and the idea has caught on with many artists participating by donating some gorgeous, moving, and heart-breaking images.   Proceeds from purchases will benefit an all-volunteer organization that will use the funds where they can do the most good. Feel free to also donate to them directly!

The name of the organization is Wildlife Rehabilitation & Nature Preservation Society, Inc. or WRANPS. They are a 501(c)3 and their info can be verified on Guidestar, the official website that monitors US Non-Profits. They are also registered with the Secretary of State of MS as a Charity. Their address is P O Box 209; Long Beach, MS 39560.

I contributed Gay's picture of the Atchafalaya swamp (say that 3 times fast) in Louisiana.  It is a mystical, almost unbelievable place especially if you live someplace else and have not spent time in the "deep south".  To me it looks like an image from a video game-- fantastical and ideal -- in a good way.

To see it on a T-shirt go to.....FUN!!
Art to heal and help- Gay Bumgarner

To see more gorgeous pictures of oil-free (as it should be) Gulf Coast animals and landscape go to:

Meanwhile here is a favorite. I call it "dating" in the way of the snowy egret. The fellow with the "hair do" and yellow shoes/feet really makes an impression.

Below is a note from Paul Jackson about the efforts to date and the plans for auctions of the artwork to raise funds in 4 places.

All proceeds donated to local environmental groups to help animals, birds and communities.

Join us...go look...take something with you.


Greetings All,

The Zazzle site is doing very well for it's first month. We've raised close to $2000 for WRANPS already and the site is still growing! We have about 100 images listed and nearly 2000 different products. I continue to list them every time I have a spare moment.

We have set up four art auctions along the Gulf Coast for October The auctions will be held in Pensacola FL, Mobile AL, Gulfport MS and Baton Rouge LA.

Lamar advertising has offered us billboard advertising and a place to ship and receive artwork.
Thanks you for doing what you do best in the face of this overwhelming and ongoing travesty!

Paul & Marla Jackson