The salon – The Art Junket

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mbfitzmahan.  The first Art Junket Salon.  2015

The Salon

After 2 years of sharing my photos on social media and exhibiting my art, the best thing I do for my art is to work in a salon experience.

A salon is a gathering in the home of an inspiring host,  to show and discuss art. The salon is an  ‘incubator’ for new ideas.  It is where rising artists can gather and draw inspiration.

The salon of the 21st century is a continuation of the spirit of the cafes in Paris where great artists and writers met in the 1920s and 30s.  Over cups of cafe noisette Hemingway sat in Le Select writing, smoking, and meeting with other writers and artists.  Hemingway escaped the claustrophobic confines of his small apartment and daily took up residence in Parisian cafes where he wrote The Sun Also Rises.  My favorite Hemingway book is his autobiographical account of his early years in Paris, A Moveable Feast.

It was in the cafés and salons of Paris that artists broke away from the stultifying and male dominated art world in Europe.

Continue reading “The salon – The Art Junket”

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Show your work: Social Media

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SOCIAL MEDIA

For the artist, a first entry into showing work may be by posting art on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogposts (WordPress, Weebly), Flickr, 500 px). It may be your first entry into the public art world.

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mbfitzmahan. Palm Desert. 2017

Social media is a non-threatening way to announce to your friends and family that you are working in art. Here you will find a receptive group of admirers.

Continue reading “Show your work: Social Media”

Why show art?

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mbfitzmahan. Zoey. Berkeley, CA. 2017

1) Art is one of the extraordinary ways human beings share experiences or emotions that we are unable to communicate in any other way. 

Beauty, love, hope.  Loss, fear, hate.  Awe, faith, excitement.

The soulful moments we experience walking into St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco.

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mbfitzmahan. St. Mary’s Cathedral. San Francisco, California. 2015.

The giggling kind of fun we feel when we hear the beat and the sound of Bruno Mars singing “Downtown Funk.”

These are moments of art.

Continue reading “Why show art?”

Come see my work: Art Trax in Pittsburg

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mbfitzmahan. Kaitlin. Pittsburg, California. 2014.

Come to my  upcoming show!  This Thursday.  From 5 pm to 8.

Then, let’s go to E.J. Phair, the local brewery for a beer on tap and the best pizza in Northern California!

I am participating in Art Trax in Pittsburg, CA.   I will be showing 13 of my pieces.

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mbfitzmahan.  Temple Incense.  Osu Kannon Temple, Nagoya – Japan. 2012

This will be Pittsburg, California’s first art walk.  It is an art walk through Old Town Pittsburg, with 20 venues and 24 artists.   Open every third Thursday of the month, the art walk features the artwork of local artists.

Where: 777 Railroad Ave (My Beauty Salon), Pittsburg, California.  40 minutes East from Berkeley.  Right on the Bart.

When: April 20, 2017.  5-8pm

Art Trax 2017 Brochure-Final

List of venues and artists-13Apr

 

Photography is a solo sport

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mbfitzmahan. Takayama. 2013.

My photography is best when my photos introduce you to me.  In my photography you can find seven decades of this artist.  Not only what I did, but what I value.

There are many photographers that have mentored me.  I have been inspired by their photos, their skills, their aesthetics, their teachings.  Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ruth Bernhard, Édouard Boubat, Niki Boon, Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, Mariana YampolskyEric Kim.

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mbfitzmahan. Noren hanging. 2016.

Art is a solo sport.

Make your photos be you. This is what will make your photography completely unique. No one else is even close to being YOU.  Incomparable. You are not in competition with anyone else.

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mbfitzmahan. Lovers in Rome. 2007.

Now comes the hard part.  Who are you?

Make a list. What do you like to study? What do you like to do? Who and what do you love?

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mbfitzmahan. Tempo. 2015.

For me,

  • I am deeply touched by Japanese aesthetics.
    • simplicity
    • empty space, irregularity
    • nature
    • aging, the imperfect
  • I love Japanese kanji and calligraphy.
  • I like to translate and study haiku.
  • I am drawn to the study of Zen Buddhism.
  • I am interested in philosophy.
  • I like learning about the universe, the stars, and the constellations.
  • I like mathematics.
  • I am fascinated by history.
  • I like to travel.
  • I like to have conversations with strangers.
  • I like stories, and sussing out the secrets that people like to share.
  • I like cultures different from my own.
  • I like the aesthetic of black and white photography.
  • I like the beauty of older people, and children.
  • I love and am fascinated by my daughters, my grandsons, and my husband.
  • I like to write.

The multipotentialite photographer

mbfitzmahan. Rome, Italy.  2007.

 

So, I was again having a WAIGTDWIGUM (what-am-I-going-to-do-when-I-grow-up) moment.  You know, when you feel guilty because you can’t figure out what it is that you were born to be?  See my last post.

Shouldn’t I have figured out what I am suppose to be in this life?

The question was also bleeding into my photography.  I asked myself what am I doing in photography? What kind of photos should I be making?

Continue reading “The multipotentialite photographer”

A case of WAIGTBWIGU

mbfitzmahan. Taboo.  2015.

When I was 26, I thought I was finally all grown up.

After many years of schooling, I had just passed the bar exam. I was a REAL attorney. With a real job.

Continue reading “A case of WAIGTBWIGU”

Exhuming stories

mbfitzmahan. Lovers and Coffee. 2013. Issaquah, WA

I was inspired by Viola Davis’ acceptance speech at the Oscars on Monday, February 26, 2017. Viola Davis won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, in the movie, Fences

“People ask me all the time — what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies! Exhume those stories — the stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition, people who fell in love and lost.”

Photography is the art where I like to ‘exhume those stories.’ It is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

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Documentaries – Inspiration for Photography

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2015. Spring. Berkeley, CA

When I’m looking for ideas for photography, I look for inspiration wherever I can find it.

Recently, I watched Chef’s Table on Netflix. Chef’s Table is a series developed by David Gelb who filmed Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The cinematography in the series is visually rich, the stories are engaging, and the film is escorted by the music from Philip Glass and Vivaldi.

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Being valued as an Artist

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MBFitzmahan. The News. 2011. Florence, Italy

I love the sublime feeling of the FLOW that I get when I create through photography.  I love the visits from my Muse.  A day of taking photos, coming home and viewing and editing those photos.  That is an amazing day.  Add to that another day writing to you on my blog.  Writing, telling stories, sharing ideas.  And sharing with you some idea how to take photos and be a photographer. 

As much as I enjoy the process of creating, I must admit that I have a desire to be valued. I’d like for someone to see my work and say, “Your work is fabulous, earth-shattering.” 

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Finding time for the FLOW

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MBFitzmahan. Shadow Dance. 2011. Tallinn, Estonia.

Is there anything that you love doing so much that while you are doing it, time passes without you even noticing? 

I love being with my daughters. And my Donny. I also love reading a great mystery novel or seeing a good Star Wars movie. I love a piece of watermelon, still warm from the summer fields.

Continue reading “Finding time for the FLOW”

Provocative Photography

 

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mbfitzmahan. 2017. Oakland Women’s March. Women are Human Beings.

Photography has the ability to influence world politics and public opinion.  I took the photo above three weeks ago, the day after the Trump inauguration.   I marched with my husband, my two daughters, and their families and friends down the streets of Oakland to not only say we support women’s rights, but to advise the Trump administration and the Republican Congress that,  “We will not go quietly into the night,” to paraphrase Dylan Thomas.

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Am I in focus?

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mbfitzmahan. 2017. In focus?

I used to chant to my high school students, who were easily distracted,  “Focus, focus, focus.” One of my Polish students protested, “Ms. Fitz, I AM fuckist!” Many years later, I still say to my self, “fuckis, fuckis, fuckis.”

Just as my photos may sometimes be out of focus, so may be my hours in the day.   Continue reading “Am I in focus?”

Equipment Check

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mbfitzmahan. 2016. Central Park, NY

I’ve received a few questions on what camera I use.  When I need a new camera, I like to go and talk to someone I trust for advice on cameras and lenses.  So, I’ll tell you what I use.

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A Family, a Job, and a Photographer

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mbfitzmahan. 2004. Wales, UK.  Katie.

When my children were little, I felt guilty when I worked on photography.   Who had time to work on art when there were all those dirty clothes to wash and diapers to change? Dinners to make.   Children and husband to tend to?

I got around this problem by making my girls my models.  “OK.  Katie sit here.  It will be just a minute,  then we’ll make scones.  I promise.  No…just a few more minutes.  I’m almost done.  Hey, Shauna, please come get in this picture, too.   It’ll just be a minute….”

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Quiet refinement

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mbfitzmahan. 2012 Jōkōji, Japan. A weed deserves to be noticed once in awhile.

I have two deep passions.  Black and white photography, and kanji, the system of Japanese writing.   The allure of these two systems comes from my attraction to Japanese aesthetics: simplicity, suggestion, irregularity, quiet refinement. 

Both photography and kanji can be minimalistic, complex, esoteric, mysterious, and enigmatic.    Continue reading “Quiet refinement”

What flavor do you like your photos?

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mbfitzmahan. 2013. Kyoto, Japan. Incense. Kiyomizu Temple

I  make my photos in black and white.

I’ll admit it, I do sometimes take photos in color.  But, I don’t think of those photos as real photography.  You know, art photography. 

Wait!  

Rewind.  Let me backtrack.  Color photos of family.   Babies, grandparents, the latest vacations.  Those are wonderful photos. They are snapshots of our lives.  Of our times together.  I love looking at them.  I liked sharing them on my iPhone.  I like to sit with my girls, laughing and talking about the adventures in those photos. Continue reading “What flavor do you like your photos?”

Photographing the Crowd

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mbfitzmahan. 2012 Nagoya, Japan. Leaving the baseball stadium, Nagoya Stadium

There are different kinds of crowds.  There is the Sunday-go-for-a-walk crowd.  There is the tourists-watching-the-street-performer crowd.  There is the parade-watching crowd.  There is the March for Women crowd.  There is the protest crowd.  There is the riot crowd.

For a street photographer, a crowd is a gift.  No one pays much attention to the photographer and there are plenty of opportunities to get interesting candid pictures of people.

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