The New Children’s Museum



Here are the two links to the New Exhibition at the Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego. Twelve artist came together to make this wonderful exhibition. I think everyone should definitely check it out! 

TRASH: 12 Artist, 1 mission, unlimited possibilities.



The artists in TRASH, each with differing prerogatives and intentions, share the common desire to draw attention to an invisible issue that increasingly dominates our lives.  Did you know that in the United States, annual production of waste has tripled since 1960? That the average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash every day?  In this exhibition, our mission is to change how we see trash, and changing perspective starts by asking more questions.

How do we decide what is trash?
How does your trash impact the lives of others?
How can we imagine new possibilities, and a new future for our trash?

For nearly 100 years, artists have chosen to work with trash to create a tangible connection to everyday life and to reject the idea that making art requires precious or expensive materials. Today artists are also passionately interested in the environmental impact of their materials.  Through their transformation of trash into art, our artists encourage you to envision trash as more than waste needing disposal.  They want you to see possibilities where others see waste.

The future starts here at NCM.  We want to empower kids to act as the agents of change at home, and we look to kids to find the new approaches, new ideas, and new solutions that will change our future.

TRASH is organized by The New Children’s Museum and is made possible by the generosity of Laurie Mitchell & Brent Woods, Farrell Family Foundation, SDG&E, Lynne & Glenn Carlson, Maryanne & Irwin Pfister and Fernanda & Ralph Whitworth. Support is also provided by The James Irvine Foundation, Nordstrom, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the County of San Diego’s Community Enhancement Program, and NCM members and Annual Fund donors.



Edward Weston’s Lost years in Los Angeles

Recently, this article was sent to me by a good friend. It was an article featured in the LA Times.  I wanted to share it those who like reading about other photographers.

Here is the link:

The Sunday Conversation: Beth Gates Warren

The author of ‘Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and the Bohemians of Los Angeles’ discusses the artist, his muse and his early years in L.A.

December 04, 2011|By Irene Lacher, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Beth Gates Warren, a former director of Sotheby’s photographs department, exhumes details about Edward Weston’s lost years in Los Angeles from 1906 to 1923 and his relationship with a highly influential model, muse, photographer and lover in her new book, “Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and the Bohemians of Los Angeles” (J. Paul Getty Museum).

Why was so little known about Edward Weston’s early years in Los Angeles?

He basically wanted it that way. He destroyed virtually all of his autobiographical writing prior to 1923 when he departed L.A. for Mexico. And most historians took their cue from him and began writing about his career as though he really began working in Mexico. And that was not the case at all. He actually spent a decade here in Los Angeles building his early career.

What piqued your interest in this?

I had read his daybook, which is what unpublished journals were called, and I learned that they had been heavily edited and that he’d destroyed a portion of them. And I became curious about why he had done that. And I also learned that a woman named Margrethe Mather had been his model in many of his early photographs, and yet he barely mentioned her in his journal. And I just found that strange. There was only one important mention of her in his journal and that was that she was the most important person in his life. And yet he made no effort to explain what he meant by that. And so that statement in combination with the fact that she appeared in so many of his photographs and the fact that he had destroyed so much of his own writing made me curious. I wanted to know why.

Who was Margrethe Mather?

She came to Los Angeles around the same time he did. She later told a friend of hers that she’d been a child prostitute and that she had to leave Salt Lake City because there were people who’d found out about her activities. In later years, she was a prostitute, but I doubt that’s why she left Salt Lake City. A friend of hers tried to find out more about her early life and couldn’t, but that was because Margrethe Mather wasn’t her real name, and I was able to track down several of her distant relatives and they told me her name was actually Emma Caroline Youngren.

When she came to Los Angeles, she became a member of the Los Angeles Camera Club and an amateur photographer. And she had an inherent talent for design and composition, so she very quickly became known because she showed some of her photographs in photographic salons, which were the only way photographers could get their work seen because photography wasn’t exhibited in museums in those days.

And so she met Edward Weston in 1913 through a friend and they very quickly became involved romantically, although Weston was already married and had two children. And she worked with him for an entire decade until he left for Mexico in 1923.

I had the sense from your book that you were at times more impressed with Mather because she was more focused on advancing her artistry and he his career.

Yes, that’s true. She was not a self-promoter. She did not need the kind of attention that Weston seemed to need, and of course he was trying to support a family and needed to build his reputation. She was on her own, but she was also less interested in fame and more interested in the art itself. And I think she was responsible for changing Weston’s attitude, because when she walked into his studio in what is now Glendale — it was an area called Tropico then — he was a very conventional photographer. And once he became more involved with Mather, he began to become an artist.

Did she influence his work more specifically?

I think her eye was in some ways more critical than his. She introduced him to the concept of arranging sitters in less conventional poses, and she encouraged him to utilize composition and line and texture to create a mood — in short, to think like an artist rather than a commercial photographer. And she was an excellent printer herself. And she influenced the way he looked at the world. She brought people from the literary world onto Weston’s horizons, and she was also a friend of Charlie Chaplin’s. She introduced him to dancers and actors.

Can you talk a little more about their circle of artists and bohemians?

There was a fairly large group of creative people who lived in Los Angeles in the teens and ’20s for a variety of reasons, and one of the key reasons was the movie industry, which attracted writers and designers and photographers. They came to California because they could actually make a living here. So the people who came here were after fame and fortune, and some of them succeeded, like Charlie Chaplin; others were not so lucky, like Florence Deshon, who was a reasonably well-known stage actress and model in New York. Samuel Goldwyn brought her out to become one of the premier actresses at Goldwyn Studio, but she did not persevere and she couldn’t make a living. She was involved with Charlie Chaplin for a while. But as soon as that relationship ended, publicity about her career also ended. And she wound up going back to New York City and committing suicide.

But some of the people who traveled to Los Angeles weren’t involved in the entertainment business. They were coming out here for political reasons. Emma Goldman came out to California on a regular basis. So did Max Eastman, who was the editor of two socialist publications.

Rudolph Valentino lived for a short time right across the street from Margrethe Mather. Boris Karloff lived up the block. There was an amazing array of talent descending on Los Angeles because of all the opportunities here. In a way, the area around Bunker Hill and Silver Lake and Echo Park was the Montparnasse of Los Angeles.

For a year Weston and Mather were equal partners in a photography studio. Why did their relationship end?

Their relationship came to an end because [actress] Tina Modotti walked into his life. Tina was then married — quote unquote, she wasn’t really — to Roubaix [“Robo”] de l’Abrie Richey. In spite of that, Weston never let a marriage license come between him and a romance. So he started a relationship with her. Robo went to Mexico and died there from smallpox. So now all of a sudden Tina wasn’t married or attached to anyone, and Weston thought Mexico was so appealing. Glendale he thought was dull and boring, and Mexico offered lots of artistic opportunity. So he thought that would be a good way to escape from Glendale and family responsibilities, and he and Tina went to Mexico in 1923.

Los Angeles Times Articles

First semester as a GRAD STUDENT DOWN



Its been a very interesting semester, to say the least. I felt like I was on top of the world when I left undergrad. I felt like my work was at a great peak and I was ready to continue to move forward. I had so many great projects and ideas going through my head. I was highly motivated and ready to move forward.


When I started at San Diego State in the Fall of 2011, mostly lost. haha. The campus is huge and I felt like a freshmen. After much-needed help, I discovered where I needed to be. Amongst the art students and more importantly… the Color printing lab!! I struggled most of the semester because I felt so lost in so many ways. But once I transferred into the Advance Undergrad Color Printing class, I felt more at home. I hadn’t been in a lab in over 7 years, so to be back into a dark room, was a shock to the system. But in such a good way! Especially because I had never learned how to color print. It was amazing and a great learning experience.


Not only did I find my way into the dark room again, but I found myself working with one of the greatest people in the photography community. Arthur Olloman, the past curator for MOPA for over 20 years, was now my professor. I have been working closely with Arthur and find him as one of the most informative photography curator I know. He is like a walking encyclopedia of every photographer there ever was. I enjoy working with him and plan to continue too.


Because of Arthur and the other undergrad students, I was forced to really push myself. I felt stuck in hole ever since I applied to a graduate program. It was nice to have people push me into what I wanted my work to be.


However, I couldn’t help that I was mainly struggling with my personal life. Being away from my daughter has been the hardest thing thus far in my life. I struggle to try to balance my grad school, work and visiting every month. Every time I went to New Orleans, I felt as though I didn’t know her at all. She kept changing and I hated that I felt I was losing her. I still feel that way. I feel as though sometimes I just don’t know her. Now six, she definitely has a mind of her own and such a personality. She will always be the best thing that happened to me.


Because I struggled with being apart, I think that was the main reason my work suffered so much too. But then it lead me into a different direction that I hadn’t really explored yet. I always enjoy the nude. But as my daughter gets older, I a wonder when I have to stop photographing her…. I guess until she tells me she doesn’t like it anymore. The new images I recently took of her, show a different intimacy that we have together and apart. I watch her grow every month, and explore the map of her body up close and afar. Her skin is so pure and young, and she has already accumulated scars of her own, even though she is only six.


I plan to continue exploring the body on a more up close and personal level. I like where my work is going right now. But I know it took me a while to get there. I honestly think my work has suffered because my daughter isn’t around. Funny how that works. I guess I need that love. That comfort from her. I miss her. I always do.


A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a presentation by Louis Zamperini. It was by far one of the most compelling stories I have every heard. I was mainly attracted to the story because he was a runner and in the military, but the story was so heartfelt and uplifting. In this weird way it helped me to motivate myself a little more in Grad school.

The story is about a young man who was an olympic runner in during the 1936 Olympic games, he then went on to become a war hero during WWII when he was bombardier and then survived a plane crash. He then became a POW and  then became a survivor of post-war turmoil. Read the book:

Louis Zamperini talked about the situation so humorously. His first quote was ” I’ve been married for about 50 years, but not even being a POW prepared me for marriage!” He took his experience and instead of dwelling and let it consume his life, he changed it around. He partied with celebrities and married a debutante, but his life was spinning out of control due to a lack of direction. It was a chance meeting of the young evangelist, Billy Graham, inside a revival tent that changed Louis’ life for good. He decided to become a missionary to Japan, preaching the gospel of forgiveness to the very guards who had tormented him during the war.

I look at someone like this and realize that I have a blessed life. Even though there are times where I can’t bear certain situations, I continue to strive forward. I will always miss the military and the experience I had. I miss putting on that uniform and serving my country. There is something about that uniform that makes you feel like…. well I guess its indescribable.

Def’ check him out…Here is the link:

SPE WEST Conference

If you didn’t know, you should try to go. I went last year with Professor Deborah Small. It was an amazing experience getting to know other photographers and seeing their work. I was able to get some great information and saw some great work. If you are interested in Grad school, you are able to sit on the critique and see other Grad work. However, you work will not be able to be shown. It was awesome for me to see, so I could get an idea of what to put in my portfolio. I plan to submit this year and get some feed back. Here is the website, look into it!

2011 SPE West Regional Conference “Survival” • November 18-19 • Santa Cruz, CA

•August 30, 2011 • 1 Comment

SAVE THE DATE for the  SPE West 2011

Regional Conference Survival, taking place November 18-19, 2011 in Santa Cruz, CA.

Featured Speaker: Liz Cohen
Honored Educator: Brian Taylor

Hosted by: SPE West, Cabrillo College


Conference Information:

Black Execution, 2010 © Liz Cohen

The 2011 Society for Photographic Education (SPE) West regional conference Survival, takes place in Santa Cruz, California on November 18th – 19th. The keynote speaker is photographic artist Liz Cohen and the honored educator is Brian Taylor.  Cabrillo College hosts the event in Santa Cruz, CA.

Changing Nature © Brian Taylor

The New Adventures of a Grad Student

My has the summer come and gone. A new path awaits my future as a first year Grad Student at San Diego State University in the Masters of Fine Arts Program. I am learning new and innovative steps to this new higher learning life style now. I feel a bit more mature being on the Grad side, but I also feel like a freshmen carrying a map around and asking people where “that building is!”

I have some very interesting classes and I look forward to each and every one of them. I don’t look forward to the 20 page assignment that I was told about today in my new Art History class. Could it be that I actually have to write now!? Wow, what a concept, Nancy C. diBenedetto, having to write more than just a 5 page paper…. now 20 page papers. May the lord help and bless my thoughtful mind to come up with that much information to jot down!

Aside from my Art History Since 1945 class, I have an Emerging Tech Multimedia class which engages the students to use director and other video gaming processing programs. I already feel lost in the abyss of the new technology  that is about to come out me, but I open to the new learning advances. And Ill probably be in the ocean of tutorials and you tubing. haha…The third class I will be engaging in is a Professional Practice, which I am actually very eager to learn about. Since I have been in a few Galleries already, I am excited to learn more about this process as I lack the knowledge to talk to curators and sell my own work. The class entails subjects that concern the professional artist.

My last and final class, which is actually not advise to take more than nine units, is a 440 Advance photography undergrad class. I am the only Grad student in the class and feel like a fish out of water in a way. However, I am motivated to be in the class because I have a HUGE lack of motivation since last year. After, I finished Grad applications I had a really hard time picking up my camera and really engaging in any work or projects. This summer I tried to pick up my tool and rekindle the lost relationship I once had. But it didn’t happen. It took me all summer to pick it up… and it wasn’t until I traveled to Oregon and New Orleans that I found my love for it again. I did the tourist episode in Oregon and photographed my visit. But it wasn’t until I went to New Orleans my second home and really found what I had been missing all summer, my daughter. Sid.

There is something about photographing my daughter and documenting every step, every move and every growing aspect of her life. I miss her. I hate it.

I know right now that I am ultimately making the best sacrifice for my daughter and myself to better my future as an artist and as a mother. I just hate it. I am happy that I have a wonderful support system and that my daughter is in the best hands possibly. Thanks d.

Trip to MOPA: Museum of Photographic Arts

One of my favorite places to go and relax in San Diego, is Balboa Park. There is something so inspiring about being in the midst of the architecture of the buildings, the museums and of course the diversity of people walking around on a beautiful Saturday. When am there I always need to stop by MOPA to see whats the latest exhibit. I know one day, my work will be shown there, so for the time being, I like to see who’s taking up my space 😉

This past exhibition was probably my favorite to this date, called Streetwise: Masters of Photography. One of photographers that inspired me the most, Mr. Robert Frank, art work was displayed. It was the first time I had ever seen it in a museum and I was like a little kid looking and every detail closely. His work sets the transition from still photography to street. He documents and captures moments like no other. “Frank’s focus on a more personal documentary style influenced a new generation of photographers, including legendaries such as Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Jerry Berndt, Ruth-Marion Baruch, Garry Winogrand, Bruce Davidson, Danny Lyon and Ernest Withers.”

I can only assume that it had to be an interesting time to grow up during the ’60s. There were tons of issues going on during that time, no only for black and white segregation, but feminism and gay rights. Prostitution and the mental “retardness” of different people who were cast out as being “different.” Political issues and war going on, I couldn’t imagine what it was like. But the opportunity to capture it, and to show the world today how much we have come along as a country. Don’t get me wrong, we still continue to have those same issues, but America has conquered those issues slowly and I think we still have a couple of doors to knock down.

With that in mind, anyone who has the time to see this exhibition must go! It only has a few more days, until May 15, so please take the time to go view it. Take a basket, sit in the park, enjoy the day and take away a piece of history with you!

Artist: An-My Le

An-My Le was born in Vietnam and came to the United States as a political Refugee in 1975. She received her Masters in Fine arts from the prestigious program at Yale University. I was mainly intrigued by her because of her collection called small wars. Mostly photographed in Vietnam, she captures the relationship between landscape and the destruction that comes with war in the reenactments of these photographs.

As a trained combat photographer, I feel it’s always hard to have a relationship with other photographers because they don’t understand why I would WANT to document war. But there is something about it, that I love. The ability to go out with my camera behind a solider and document all that he does, because he doesn’t question it, he does it. There is just something so beautiful about war that I cannot describe, at the same time its a harsh reality, but to capture a moment in time is priceless.

Her project in 2003, following a group of Marines before they deployed to Iraq was amazing. At 29 Palms, she followed the Marines in many scenarios depicting combat simulation of what soldiers will encounter during war. As a trained combat photographer, I photographed the same situations, but I also had to learn to do everything the soldiers did. It reminded me so much of the training that I did. But An-My Le shows the relationship between past and future of war by photographing the relationship between the land and war. I never thought of that way. I only thought to document the people and what they were doing. I never looked at the landscape the way she did.

I have this certain relationship with her. Like An-My, I never went to Iraq even though I trained for it, she continued to ask, but was never given permission. She takes the images of them preparing, just like I did. But she gives the pictures such a story, between both the land and the people. Something that I never really did capture. I am continuing to research her, as she has really struck my interest.

Artist: Sara Remington

Sara Remington is a photographer who travels  the world for editorial, advertising and publishing. She currently resides in San Francisco Bay and graduate from Syracuse University, which I give a lot of respect for people who go through that vigorous program.

I was attracted to her work because of the way she forms each piece of eatery to give it a mouth-watering appeal. She presents each piece of food like its right in front of your face ready to take a bite.  She clearly has a wonderful eye that could make potatoes look ravishing and has a sense of composition that allows the food to look amazing.  I am huge food lover, and more so I love fresh vegetables and fruits. My mother always had us eat more fruits than I could handle.  Remington says “I was raised in upstate New York and when I moved to California six years ago that really opened my eyes to the variety and diversity of vegetables and fruits available, and the whole concept of farmers’ market fresh, local produce. That’s when I began to see the beauty in this raw, unprocessed food grown in fresh air, in organic soil, under natural light.” – (source from  Anyone who can take the raw look of a vegetable and make it look so mouth-watering deserves more respect in my book. The use of natural light and crop in camera composition, is what intrigues me more about her talent. She uses her surroundings and doesn’t need a ton of equipment to lug around.

I also loved that she didn’t just start by shooting as someone’s assistant. She started by allowing someone to tell their story. I love that about people, documenting their story and letting them allow you into their world.

Photographing the Alphabet

This assignment is to transform everyday images into letters. We will be photographing the alphabet by using different techniques of composition, cropping, angles, colors and shapes. The point of this assignment is to use the skills you have developed in the class and show the techniques you have learned. This is a very fun, challenging Thing to do. It makes you think outside the box a bit, and look at things around you a little closer. You will have about 45 minutes in of class time to explore the campus and outside perimeters to find your alphabet.

Simple RULES:

-You CANNOT use words or other letters ( signs)

-You CANNOT make your own letters

-You can shoot from above, below, side, or forward

-Uses shadows, colors, light, shapes and crop

-You can turn images upside down, but you cannot use the same image twice.

-Don’t go search letter by letter, search whatever you see.

– 45 minutes, come back to class edit

This is assignment is fun and gives everyone a different perspective. You will be able to create your own displays and you can even use them for gifts later on 🙂

Here are a few examples:

A book I made for my daughter SID’s abc’s:

San Diego Botanical Gardens

Today my Advance photography visited the San Diego Botanical Gardens. They had a wonderful landscape area, but we focused on the California Native Plants.

For my project, I will be focusing on the Rhus integrifolia, also known as Lemonade BerryLemonadeberry, or Lemonade Sumac. Which is a shrub to a small tree. Lemonade Berry’s leaves are simple (unusual in a genus where most species are trifoliate), alternating, evergreen and leathery, ranging from two to four centimeters wide on reddish twigs; length of leaves is five to seven centimeters.Leaves are toothed with a waxy appearance above and a paler tone below. The flowers which appear from February to May are small, clustered closely together, and may be either bisexual or pistillate.

Here are a few images.



Triptych’s with Lightroom

Trying new things in Lightroom, a program that I continue to struggle with, but enjoy the teachings. I am just an old school photographer who doesn’t like to manipulate my images and only photoshop minor details. However, lightroom is great for things like these fun layouts.

San Pasqual Reservation

In my Advance class, we continue to collaborator with the students from Dr. Joely Proudfit’s American Indian Political and Economic Development sociology class and Dr. Bonnie Bade’s Community Ethnobotany anthropology class. Today we visited the San Pasqual Reservation, a beautiful piece of land. The students planted new life to the Reservation. I also encountered and captured some old historical sites and beautiful portraits. I always remember the ways of Chip Maury a great mentor of mine, who says “eyes, nose and mouth” when capturing portrait shots.

After, we ate some delicious natural food. Simply foods of stew, whole grain rice, quinoa, and vegetables that were so easy to cook. Of course, I filled my tummy right away, but should have taken pictures of the delicious food first!

In this image I played with focusing and creating a different depth of field. Blurring out the bottom and top of the picture, only focusing on the center chips.

I am not much of a landscape photographer, but this image caught my eye.

Finding the Motivation

Lately, it has truly been a battle to pick up my camera and photograph. Something that I love to do so much, has suddenly felt like a job. The relationship that I have with my camera was so strong, yet these days it seems as though we just fight. There are even days were I let the batteries die, so I have an excuse not to photograph. There are some days were it feels completely forced.

Where’s my motivation? Did it leave once Savannah left?…

Applying for an MFA, Masters in Fine Arts, was so exhausting that I lived in dark hole. Is that were my motivation left, once it felt like a job instead of something I love. Does it need me as much as I need it? I guess a little like my relationship with my daughter…. do I need her more than she needs me. Oh the challenges of life and the path that we take. I truly believe that life is journey, not a destination, but these days, I don’t like my journey. I want to get to my destination, I want answers. Patience. Something I need to remember. Maybe I will just be sassy like Savannah, she seems to get life. 😉 

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

My advance photography class ventured out to the Elfin Recreational Reserve. I loved the area that we were in! It was amazing to be amongst the beautiful green and stream. The lighting was very illuminate as the sunset began to set. Here are a few images.

Deborah Small talking amongst the students.

Elaine shooting the image. Getting low and pointing up!

We saw some broken glass on top of a hill, I decided to take some pictures of it. However, it wasn’t coming out the way I wanted. I started to play around with my shutter speed and shoot from above and twist my camera. I figured this was my “fine art” piece.


Playing with dead debris and Elaine fancy jewelry.

I loved the sap on the branch and the orange vibrant color from the perfect cutoff.

Art Event #3 – The Art of Photography

When Jermaine (my classmate and friend) mapped out our quest for museums of the day, I relied on him to make sure all the exhibits were up! hahaha, I shouldn’t have trusted him so much, just kidding! We both had no idea that the exhibit closed the day before! I was a little bummed out, not to be able to see this exhibit, because I heard such great reviews about it.  Not to mention, the walk around Horton Plaza is seriously a maze (which it was built like that) in trying to get anywhere! Hence our adventure continued, even though we didn’t get to see the work.

When I checked on the website, I saw some beautiful images that would have been nice to see. However, I was not as impressed with winners though. Maybe I was missing or maybe it’s because I am not that intrigued with Landscape. I also recognized some of the images from Grad students who I met at the Society of Photographic Education, conference about a month ago. I remember seeing their work on the website and at the review for grad students. I hope to make time for another museum, but at this time, it might have to be after the semester.

Here are a few images I snagged off the website.