All images and text on this blog are copyright Gabrielle Fine unless otherwise noted. Use without permission is a violation of copyright law. Please contact the artist to obtain permission for any use (commercial or otherwise.) Thank you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

In memoriam

So here's the thing: The show I put up recently, which I had an opening for last Saturday, is supposed to be dedicated to a friend of mine who died 10 years ago this month. I put a lot of thought and effort into this, particularly in a piece of writing I have posted next to her picture. The problem is, due to the location of my show (in the hallway of a restaurant), it is not an ideal locale for people to read all my writing and ponder the meaning of life and death. So, because I have this wonderful internet access and blogging tool, I can bring to you my intention by posting the picture with my full statement. I love the internet.

Jean, 1992

This show is dedicated to a close friend of mine who passed away 10 years ago this month. I knew her when I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, between the ages of 13 and 21. In fact, I met her on my 13th birthday, and her memorial service was held on my 21st birthday. This was a coincidence, but I found the symmetry to be comforting.

Jean was a role model and mentor to me during my teen years (she was about 30 years my senior.) She was one of those rare people who are genuinely kind and thoughtful. She had a great enthusiasm for life and enjoyed many aspects of it-especially the outdoors and music. She was involved in several choirs and music groups in the Bay Area. At her memorial service, per her request, the choir of which she was a longtime member sang Mozart’s Requiem in its entirety. I correlate the images in this show with a lot of the music she liked-Mozart and other early classical music.

Jean also liked to explore the outdoors, and we went camping several times. We went for a few jaunts through the Mountain View Cemetery, a large cemetery in Oakland. She enjoyed walking and looking at the old graves. During that time period I was just discovering photography. I had my first “real” camera and one of my first rolls of black and white film was taken on such a stroll.

The picture I have included in this show was taken in 1992. I feel it captured Jean in a perfect moment-her interest and open curiosity in life, her fascination with beautiful and unusual findings such as this gate. I have made other images of this very same gate, which is striking in its circular design and intricate ironwork.

The theme of this show is “Memento Mori,” which is often translated as “remember that you will die” (or more gently, perhaps, “Remember that you are mortal.”) In its origins it is related to the phrase “Carpe Diem” (seize the day.) For myself, knowing someone like Jean inspired me to try to live life to its fullest as she did. She died relatively young, but she lived an amazing life and touched many, many people. Her memorial service was thronged. Many people spoke as I felt, of her thoughtfulness and the lively interest she took in others and the world around her. It sounds like a cliché, perhaps, but there are really people like that in the world.

Jean was genuine. She struggled with cancer for a year. In our last conversation, which was brief, I had called her after her surgery, not knowing that she was unable to talk. She must have been in a lot of pain, but she still thought to tell me, “I love you.” She died a few days later.
I want to dedicate this show to her, and to her spirit, by which I refer to her zest for life. I hope I can carry that on. She taught me a lot of things, and it still pains me to think of all the things we will never discuss. But I think she would have loved this show.

Gabrielle Fine


Thursday, November 02, 2006

el dia de los muertos in Ballard

el dia de los muertos in Ballard, originally uploaded by ellafine.

On Halloween I witnessed a large celebration which appeared to have spilled out of la Carta de Oaxaca and onto the street on Ballard Ave. (Click on the picture to view more.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Opening 10/14

Opening 10/14

The opening went smoothly, with a steady artwalk crowd for most of the evening. Not as much initial interest generated as in previous artwalks, but the show will be up for the rest of the month.



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Photokina exhibit

Somewhere on this wall is a picture of mine, in this show in Cologne, Germany.

The Analogue Counter-Revolution
The Rebirth of the Lomo LCA
and the Future of Analogue Photography in the Digital Age

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mission San Carlos de Borremo, CA

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

oregon, june 06

jason 2, originally uploaded by ellafine.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Musings on art and inspiration

So last night I attended Artist Trust's EDGE program presentations. I'm not sure EDGE actually stands for anything, but it's a professional development program for Washington artists, and you can read more about it here. As an EDGE graduate myself, it's always fun to go see people present their art after going through this intensive 50-hour program. I remember when I presented my work it was quite a high, because I had put so much effort into my presentation materials and applying all the things I had learned, and seeing your work projected larger than life on a big screen in a darkened room is always a high. Anyway, going to this event got me really inspired and excited about art in general. There was so much good work being shown that night!! So many talented people, all different media, different approaches, each great in their own way. It's so inspiring to see what people do when they're creating from their own resonance. It got me thinking of how many different creative inspirations there must be just floating around on a given day, and how many of them are actually harnessed and made into something by someone with the skill and imagination to bring it forth. I know that I have hundreds of ideas that pass through my brain and, if I remember them, never get carried out for a myriad of reasons-time, resources, lack of skill or know-how. When I do really get on a creative roll, it astounds me what comes out of me. Imagine if I could produce like that all the time (boy would I be tired!) I would be so prolific, my work would be all over the world by now. Heh heh. (So it's probably a good thing I'm not.)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

All this digital stuff is fun and all, but...

...dammit, I need to print!
I'm going crazy here. The last time I was in a darkroom was in January. I keep having visions of things I want to print. I have stacks of negatives untouched. There is a darkroom 2 blocks from my house that offers 24/7 access for $100 a month. I want to do it. I really want to. But I don't have an extra $100 a month. And I have to be practical...I'm receiving financial assistance already for going back to school, essentially, to learn all this nifty digital stuff and some illustration, so that I can become an even more self-supporting artist with an even broader range of skills...But I wanna PRINT! I want to mess around with smelly chemicals in very subdued light. I want to stand in one place agitating a Lith print for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. I want to do "the hard way" all the things I'm learning to do with just a click of the mouse in Photoshop.
(Ok, it really takes more than one click...but that sounded better in the flow of the writing. Sue me.)


Originally uploaded by ellafine.
i am actually quite fond of gazing upon crucifixes

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Store window dress models

dress models 2
Originally uploaded by ellafine.
An eerie nighttime shot of some old-fashioned dress models. Using the "Color Accent" feature on my Canon digital.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ramblings on photography, Part 1

One of the reasons I love shooting film (and therefore one of the reasons I loved shooting pictures, before all this new-fangled stuff came out) is the anticipation and surprise factor. Developing a mystery roll of film can be better than Christmas. You don't know exactly what you'll find. Even if you do have an idea of what was on the roll, the longer you wait to develop, the less you will remember of the shoot. I had one photography instructor who actually advised us to wait a while before developing our film, so that by the time we looked at it we would be free from the expectations we might have had immediately following the shoot. If it wasn't necessary to get the film back right away, then let it sit for a month, a few months, even.

Well I have taken this advice to the extreme, out of a mix of budget constraints and some laziness (after a certain point, I think it was about 5 years ago, I decided I was not going to develop my own film anymore, because I hated it. I was shooting a lot of color anyway, and you don't commonly develop that in your home darkroom, as it involves really nasty chemicals.) Anyway, the result is about 50 rolls of backed-up film from the last 3 years, and a few scattered rolls, mostly b/w, that are between 8 and 13 years old and I just never got around to developing (because I lost interest in whatever it was I shot, and/or it was some weird kind of film, or I had pushed it, and the lab would charge me extra to process or I'd have to do it myself, and we've already outlined my views on that.) Recently I did some research on developing film that is over 10 years old. A lot of people agree that it can be just fine (black and white; color tends to shift) depending on the storage conditions. Wellll....I can't speak to the exact storage conditions for the entire time, but let's just say they've probably been at room temperature for most of it. Not ideal, but better than a hot car glove compartment, right? Anyway, I'm looking forward to eventually seeing what is on those mystery rolls (and yes, I may have to do them myself, or maybe pay the lab extra.)

As far as the other 50 rolls, they are mostly color, and they are mostly snapshots (as opposed to Art-which I mostly define as the difference between when I am just shooting whatever comes by versus going out on A Shoot. The former always involved my beloved Lomo, the latter usually a combination of cameras, including whatever heavy SLR I was lugging around at the time.) Out of necessity (budget), I have sort of replaced my Lomo with a digital for everyday shooting. Yes, I, the girl with the "Film Is Not Dead" t-shirt-I have gotten a digital camera. This does not mean I have "gone digital" like so many photographers do in this day and age. I still have all my darkroom equipment (just no place to use it), my film cameras, and I have every intention of using those when I go out on a deliberate shoot. Plus, there are just some things the digital camera can't replace-like the aforementioned Lomo or the Holga, one of my other loves.

But I realized the situation was ridiculous because: I was carrying my Lomo around all the time for on the spot shooting, which it is very good for because it has the smartest little automatic settings of any camera I've seen and it's small enough to carry in my purse. But the result: I was shooting (and buying, of course) rolls and rolls of film, and then paying about $13 a pop to get them developed and scanned to CD. Because once I started doing this I became addicted to being able to see my shots on the computer, upload them and share them with people, and I needed some way to view them anyway and it's a better deal than getting a set of prints and takes up way less room. (I stopped getting sets of prints about 3 or 4 years ago.) If any of you have ever gotten your film processed only, and then tried to see what was on it-I don't find that to be a very satisfactory way to view my shots. You can't really tell whether they're good or not until you see the positive.) Anyway, the film would get all backed up because I couldn't afford to keep up with my shooting rate, basically. So despite the letting film sit theory, I realized I gotta put a lid on this-at this rate, by the time I pay for developing and scanning those 50 rolls, I could buy myself 2 digital cameras. (That doesn't take away the fact that I still have to process that film...but at least the pile won't grow at such an exponential rate.)

I like the digital camera I've gotten; it's a good compromise between a "big gun" SLR (like the pros use) and an "idiot-proof" point and shoot. It has some cool effects and manual settings so I can have more or less control when I want it. And it's not the smallest of the batch, but it's small and light enough to fit in my purse.

Anyway. I recently had a purge and took about 10 rolls in for processing; I'm doing them chronologically because they all end up on the same CD and also because I'm trying to do the oldest film first so it doesn't get any older. So this batch was all from '04-mostly fall. None of these were labeled, so it was all mystery film. And there were some surprises!

Below are a few I found especially pleasing. The first two are from Halloween of '04, and the rest are from a trip down to CA-I think it must have been in the fall.

This is me the halloween before last, with a little photoshopping to make it look like an old silent-film still.

Look at my HAIR!! (That was a pain in the ass to do, by the way.)

Jason napping on the Coast Starlight

Self-portrait on train

My mom's cats, sitting pretty

Some graffiti down by 4th street in North Berkeley

View of the Jack London station at night

My dad, waving goodbye to the train as I depart

Pic taken from the train with a fisheye lens

Friday, June 16, 2006

Todd of Nervous Nellie's

nervous nellie's 002
Originally uploaded by ellafine.
Photos from the Nervous Nellie's parade day. (To see them all, click on this photo, then go to "Nervous Nellie's (Set)" or "View as slideshow" to the right of the photo.)