Jason camera meets truck


Written October 6, 2019:

“Asheville people may remember my darkroom co-director and friend, Jason Clements, who worked tirelessly with me in 2013 and 2014. It pains me so much to have to share that Jason passed away this past Friday at the age of only 27, from lung cancer. He was fighting it on and off for about two years, but I didn’t know it had returned until this morning when his sweet mother reached out to me.

When Jason emailed me for the first time to introduce himself and ask if there was any way he could be involved in the darkroom, he was just shy of 21. He assured me that he was so dedicated to photography that he even had an aperture tattooed on his hand. But Jason was an old soul, curious, thoughtful, fun, emotionally mature beyond his years, and full of innovative ideas. He was so stubbornly and hilariously analog for his age, refusing all social media and fighting to keep a flip phone going. He inspired me to make art in a time when I wasn’t sure if I was an artist anymore, and challenged me to follow through with ideas and plans that I didn’t believe could be accomplished. When he left Asheville to start new adventures, as I knew he one day would, I still cried after we said goodbye.

I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to see who Jason would be in 20 years, what he was going to be able to accomplish in life based on what an incredible start he had. This news just seems so terribly cruel, and so hard to believe.

Here is Jason the moment the giant camera obscura he dreamed up met a stage full of artificial lights to create a performance piece that we weren’t sure was optically or practically possible. Of course he made it work anyway. Rest easy, dear friend.”

It’s been over a year, and I still think about Jason’s departure, and how “cruel” is still the appropriate word for losing someone so young yet so much wiser beyond his age. Of course it’s hard not to think about death all of the time now, in our country so wracked by Covid-19. A year ago, his passing seemed non-sensical, yet today, we live in an existence where the thought that “anyone could go at any time” (which has always actually been truth) permeates our daily routine in ways many of us did not absorb before. I wonder what Jason would think about this whole mess.

In October, I was invited to participate in a show called “In Situ”, based on the practice of Ancient Romans who created roadside memorials in honor of a person. I didn’t have to think too long about who my subject would be, or how to symbolize him. I am happy that the visual I painted connects to the bigger photography community that he was a part of, the community that is a source of strength for me today in these difficult times. I waited for some good golden hour light for documentation, which I think he would have appreciated.

Jason in situ


Pattern-Speak 2

As I’m hovering in that strange place between Christmas and New Years, with life seemingly on hold, I am looking forward to many events coming up, and feeling quite thankful to have a lot of great opportunities on my plate.

I was pleased to be selected for the 2nd annual LA Artcore Photographic Competition and Exhibition. Some of my very new work, which isn’t even on my website yet, will be traveling to Los Angeles at the end of January.

Also in January, I will be part of a group exhibition of educators using alternative photographic methods at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville SC, curated by Armon Means. It will also feature works by Christina Z. Anderson, Julie Mixon, JC Johnson, and Jamie Tracy. I am also happy to be showing a wide collection of older works in my solo show, “All Hexed Up“, at Starland Cafe in Savannah, as well as have some new work published in The Hand Magazine‘s upcoming volume 19.

I will be participating in the Robert I. Strozier lecture series at Armstrong by presenting “Kodachrome Rumors: Why Outdated Technologies Thrive in the Art World” on Friday January 26th at noon. The talk will cover many topics on photography and art that I have raised through my blog over the years, including the importance of understanding process in appreciating art, and how process ties to reasons for using outdated technology other than nostalgia. More information may be found on the lecture series website.

The fabulous crew at Sulfur Studios here in Savannah has asked me to be a guest juror for “Alternative to What?”, an experimental photographic juried exhibition. Entries are due February 23rd, more details can be found on their website. I have also been working with Emily Earl at Sulfur to develop a monthly critique session for photographers, which happens the third Wednesday of each month, 6-8pm. The turnouts have been great so far — more details can be found on Sulfur’s upcoming events page, and on our Facebook event pages.

I am offering a Cyanotype workshop for adults at the Jepson Center at the Telfair Museum in Savannah, on Saturday and Sunday March 10-11th, 1-5pm. Registration is open through their website. We will be learning to make large format negatives from digitally-captured images, and create photographs in the sun with this 19th-century process.

Later this year, I will have a solo exhibition of new chemigram pieces and installations at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, and be in a Stillmoreroots group exhibition at the Denison Art Space in Newark, Ohio.

This summer should hopefully allow some time for travel and more artmaking as well. 2017 was a year of much transition, as I learned to balance my new position as Assistant Professor of Art at Armstrong State University along with my goals as an artist. A lot of my creative energy has gone into teaching, which has been incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. As my feet are now thoroughly wet, I want to make the time to explore new directions in my work, as I am starting to incorporate prior mediums and even film-based imagery into my ongoing exploration of the chemigram process. Let’s hope 2018 brings some wisdom in the time-management realm.