Personal History, Part II 2012-present

Part II:  A  Personal  History  of  Photography : 2012 - Present
An Illustrated, annotated chronology of 
photography projects and related remembrances
Continued . . .     

click here to go back to Part I


2012  Exhibition Spectrum Gallery, Rochester, NY I exhibited my work at Spectrum Gallery in Rochester in January-February .  This is the first exhibit I've had since retiring from teaching and leaving Milwaukee-Chicago area and living in Canandaigua, NY and the Rochester area.   See the online version of the exhibition click here.

2012  Travel to Spain Gloria and I traveled to Spain in the spring to see more Islamic Art and architecture.  Visit Crystalline Paradise.  

2012  Hydrofracking Suite I created the Hydrofracking Suite  which consists of 4 projects including the Meadow Series, Screenshots, Transformed Hydrofracking Photographs, and the  Four-Fold Symmetrical Hydrofracking Photographs.  

The Hydrofracking Suite came out of the website I have been continuing to update weekly with the newest research and essays, etc: visit  NoToHydrofracking.blogspot.com

2012  Radio Interview I was interviewed by Tish Pearlman for her radio program Out of Bounds.  You can find the interview by searching my name  - Steven Foster -  in the site's archive: visit http://www.outofboundsradioshow.com/shows.php

2012  Music Video My old friend from Milwaukee, Hen Hanson has created a new band Panalure and has written a song "I'm Not Thinking about You" which he turned into a music video using my images from my project Triadic Memories.  (Look for the music video image with all the red dots.)

2012  Islamic Sacred Art Inspired Projects   I began applying the four-fold symmetrical photograph construction process to earlier project material (Abstract Photographs, Meadow, Windswept Landscapes, Studies, River Songs).  Also at a Commitment Party in Mass. this summer I took pictures of three paper globe lights hanging in trees . . . and from this material another little series of symmetrical photographs emerged entitled The Tree of Life, which is project #5 in the Islamic sacred art inspired projects.   Then in October, 2012 I completed the sixth of the core projects entitled Infinite Beauty.  These images, repeating pattern image fields, are related to my Chromatic Field photographs.  In October I also posted my Preface  to "An Imaginary Book" the larger title I have given the entire group of Islamic sacred art inspired projects.  At the end of November, 2012 I posted the seventh project Ta'wil.  All the Islamic sacred art sacred knowledge inspired projects have been collected under this one link:  "An Imaginary Book"

December 25, 2012  David Travis used one of my Visual Poems for his ongoing series of video poems entitled Ta Theia Orao.  He zooms into my image (Swan, leaves, light on water) as a poem is being read and music is being played in the background.  Simple, Haunting, Beautiful.  The poem is John Koethe's "Chester."  I knew John in Milwaukee where we both taught at the University.  All David's video poems are collected on a Tumbler page.  You may need to sign up and login to get access to his webpage.  Here is the link:     http://davidbtravis.tumblr.com/

2013  Islamic Sacred Art Inspired Projects  In early January, 2013 I posted the #8 project entitled The Light of Creation, inspired by the writing of Henry Corbin.   A week later (!) I posted what very well could be the last (#9) of the Islamic sacred art inspired projects, The Green Light of Sufi Travel.  

2013  February 14,  Valentine's Day.  Book Project  I mailed off a hand bound artist book I had made back in 1966 for Nathan Lyon's Home Workshop to the Visual Studies Workshop.  The book is returning as a gift to it's "source" after 47 years of sitting in boxes in attics.  I had edited some pictures out and re-sequenced the book and added an Afterword before sending it off.  It's all explained in my Afterword, and the book with all its 31 pictures can be seen at this link:  Click Here 

2013  April,  Completed An Imaginary Book by adding one last project page entitled Epilogue: Visional Recitals.   I hated the thought of being done with this project.  It has been a very important project to me that has lasted two years in the making.  I got up the courage to write about my spiritual journey that included encounters with the sacred art of Islam.   But my epilogue includes many stories of encounters with the sacred in many other forms.  I feel complete with this project and will miss working on it deeply.  It has been a sustained contemplation on my creative process as it relates to the sacred and sacred art.

2013  May-June  Created online project   Studies III : Color Photographs   After completing An Imaginary Book in May I began the always anxious period of wondering what I would work on next.  I decided to look back through all my digital files I had collected since 2006 when I bought my first digital camera looking for interesting pictures that might suggest a visual or conceptual theme I could consider pursuing.  I found many images that I liked and decided to collect them into a project based on the idea of Studies, of which at that time there had been two earlier projects under that title.  Studies III includes images from 2006-2013.  Visit Studies III Color Photographs.

2013  July - April 2014   Began new online book project: Still Life: Photographs Inspired by Giorgio Morandi  In July I found myself asking the question again, what to do next.  I got an email notice from Amazon.com about a new book on one of my favorite artists, Morandi.  Seeing his work again and reading new essays about his work sparked my desire to do still life photographs inspired by his work.  For the next nine months I was on fire with this project, producing what would turn out to be my second online "book" consisting of ten chapters, each with it's own sub-title, except the first chapter which I titled Introduction to the project as a whole. Visit  Still Life: Photographs Inspired by Giorgio Morandi for a complete explanation and links to all of the chapters.  

2014  April  Just completed Chapter 10 of Still Life, and the project as a whole.  Once again I am looking for the next project . . . I really dislike this part of my creative process, but what can I do?  I am making photographs in hope I will be lead to the next idea.  I have some conceptual notions, but I have not yet committed.  Beaumont Newhall, the famous photography historian, was one of my MFA thesis advisors.  He called this part of the creative process something like "swimming in the dark waters of the unknown."  He said it was a necessary part of the process.  

2014  May-July  Completed the project entitled The Creative Process which is a meditation on the symbolic photograph and the relationship of my practice of yoga (meditation, study of the yogic scriptures) to my photographic practice.

2014  July-August Completed the project entitled The Space Between Color and Black&White.   The brief project is an extension of the Creative Process project and a transitional project to the next project which will be about Angels, inspired by the art of Paul Klee and the philosophical writings of Henry Corbin and Tom Cheetham.  

2014 August-November  Completed the project The Angels.

2014  September-December  Completed the project Acadia--Arcadia ?

2014 October  My work appeared in the publication  Sites of Performance: Of Time and Memory, by writer Clark Lunberry.  My photographs were used in Lunberry's essay 'Staring Sightlessly' : Proust's Presence in Beckett's Absence  Anthem Press, London
2014 December-February 2015  Completed the project  The Photograph as Icon

2015  Mid-June   Spectrum Gallery, Rochester, NY closed.  I am once again without gallery representation and I am content to remain so.  I will continue to post new project work (and a history of past projects) on my website The Departing Landscape.

Note: A complete listing of my projects, contact info, resume, etc. are provided on my website's Welcome Page. 

2015  June 18  I posted the first part of my project Photography and Yoga.  I had completed this Introductory part of the project in late May, but was taking my time to go over it, correct and revise it, etc. then on May 28 my wife Gloria fell and broke her pelvis bone in at least three locations.  I stopped work on the yoga project for over four weeks while I was caring for her.  She has improved over that time enough that I now feel comfortable enough to begin spending some time getting back to the yoga project.  I imagine Photography and Yoga to be yet another large project with multiple parts.  It could also very well be the concluding project in an ongoing series of projects that began with "An Imaginary Book" 2011 which explore sacred art and the sacred in art in relation to my creative process in photography.   We will see . . . 

2015  November    As Above, So Below : Mirror In the Temple

2015  December  Field of Vision  symmetrical photographs of the colorful leaves of Vermont. 

*************  2016  ****************

2016  January   The Center of Being  symmetrical photographs

2016  March   The Blue Pearl  symmetrical photographs

2016  April   There Is No Thing To Know

2016  May  Babysitting Photographs

2016  June  The City of Souls

2016  July  Zoo Photographs

A note:
After completing Photography and Yoga an entire series of "Sacred Art" projects followed.  These include, most certainly, Field of View, The Center of Being, The Blue Pearl, There is No Thing to Know, and The City of Souls.  I have never before been so prolific, so engaged with my creative process.  The work is flowing gracefully.  As you can see above, I have been creating new projects almost every month!  Being retired has been a blessing for me; and my continued practice of Yoga has helped to keep me intimately in touch with my creative process. 

With the project The City of Souls a new kind of project emerged that is a cross between what I have called "Studies," which are series of straight photographs on visual or subject theme, projects not directly addressing spiritual-philosophical themes--in other words, not purely "sacred art" projects.  

Other projects that belong in this new "cross" category should include Babysitting Photographs and Zoo Photographs.  The title makes it clear that thematically the projects deal with non-sacred issues, at least on the surface.  Nonetheless, the projects truly are "sacred art" projects, they are just less overtly addressing the sacred at first glance.   

2016  Spring  Hyperion Records published one of my Feldman project abstract photographs on the cover of their new Feldman/Crumb recording  CDA 68108.  (They are planning another Feldman project for 2017 that may use several of my Feldman inspired photographs.)

I revised my Welcome Page  in May to reflect my commitment to to the Sacred Art Projects, and then later I decided to create a page dedicated to The Sacred Art Photography Projects.  

The new sacred art projects continue the work begun in 2011 when my wife and I traveled to Turkey and I encountered Islamic Sacred Art and began contemplating the question of sacred art within a contemporary art practice.  I have quite consciously brought the focus of my photographic practice back in direct relationship to my spiritual practice of Yoga.  My photography and my Yoga practices are inseparable, now.  In fact they probably always were, I was just too concerned to admit it openly within the worlds of academia and art galleries and museums.  Now that my blog has taken the highest precedence in my creative process I feel free to write and say what feels truest.  Speaking of the spiritual or the sacred in art is not easy, or comfortable for me nonetheless.  I catch myself falling back on what  sounds like cliche's even though I speak from my own experience.  It is hard to write about the ineffable: period.       

I am also feeling somewhat uncomfortable dividing my work into "Music" projects, "Studies" projects and "Sacred Art" projects.  Truly speaking, all of my projects are a form of soul searching, trying to see God in everything.  I can imagine another revision of my Welcome Page in the near future to try to straighten all this out.

In August I published a project which directly corresponds to the concerns I have about "Scared Art" involving the sacred poetry of Hafiz and other Poet-Saints in various traditions.  Visit:  Illuminations: Photographs and Poetry   

This year has turned out to be incredibly productive and there was a new development in my creative process that involved the production of smaller projects in created in a very brief time.  I have written about this in my new project published New Year's Day (2017): Time  Time-Changes  Sacred Time.

Here are the remaining six projects that I completed in 2016 (in total there were 12 projects!) :  

Illuminations:  Photographs and Poetry of Hafiz and other Poet-Saints
       Published August, 2016
Studies : Sufism
       Published September, 2016
Broad Brook Photographs 9-10 & 9-11. 2016
       Published October, 2016
Death - A Meditation
       Published November, 2016
Snow Angels~Rilke's Angel of the Elegies~Khidr, Angel of the Earth
       Published December, 2016
Time  Time-Changes  Sacred Time
       Published New Year's Eve 2016/New Years Day 2017

*************  2017  ****************

In August, 2017 The Alice Wilds, a contemporary art gallery, began representing my work.

August, 2017 Photographs for the CD front cover, back cover and multiple booklet images were published by Hyperion Records for their album: Morton Feldman : For Bunita Marcus,  Mark-Andre Hamelin, piano and author of the booklet essay.  CDA68048  (click here)

The following projects were published in 2017 and early 2018  on my photography website The Departing Landscape:

The Rising Sun ~ Prelude To An Exhibition
Coming Soon March , 2018
Completed February 1, 2018  
October 31, 2017
October 21, 2017
June 1, 2017 
June 1, 2017 
May 1, 2017
April 2, 2017
March 12, 2017
February 14, 2017
January 27, 2017
New Years Day, 2017

*     *     *     *


In August, 2017 The Alice Wilds, a contemporary art gallery, began representing my work.     

Spectrum Gallery, Rochester, NY  I was represented by this gallery in Rochester until mid-June, 2015.   Spectrum Gallery, Bill Edwards Director, was located inside Lumiere Photo, 100 College Ave.  For over 40 years, Bill presented over 400 exhibitions of photography in Rochester, NY.  It is sad to see it close its doors.  Thank you Bill for all that you have done for the Arts community in Rochester, and the the larger world of art photography in general.  ~  My first and only solo show at Spectrum Gallery (my first exhibition since 2004, three years before leaving Milwaukee and moving to Canandaigua!) opened January 6, 2012 - February 25.   To see the online version of the exhibition click here. The first show in Bill's new space opened in July, 2011, with a retrospective of Ralph Gibson prints..  (The Gibson show was great show.  I was very happy to be invited to join a gallery that would show work of that calibre.)  Other shows of note that followed have included the work of Nathan Lyons, and Carl Chiarenza.  Both are very important figures in the history of photography, to the Rochester area,  and to me personally.  


Digression: Eastman House is of course in Rochester, and an important place in the history of photography.  I took the History of Photography Course at George Eastman House in 1965, when Beaumont Newhall was teaching it there.  It was a required course for my RIT photography program.  I loved going to Eastman House for Newhall's lectures, the exhibitions, all the newest photo books to browse through, the print collections.  I remember lying under one of the big trees on the front lawn of Eastman House, looking up at the overarching tree limbs, and having the fantasy of one day having an exhibit of my own photographs there.  At that time Nathan Lyons was curating ground breaking fine arts photo exhibitions for Eastman House.  It was such an exciting time.   

Interestingly,  two of my photographs (made in Chicago after I left Rochester to finish school at the Institute of Design) were included in a George Eastman House exhibition, curated by Nathan Lyons entitled  Vision and Expression.  There was also a catalogue which included one of my images from the show.  (To see the image and learn more Go back to Personal History part I , and look in the section dated 1968-69.) 


Other Past Gallery Representations 

Carol Ehlers Gallery, Chicago  represented my work in Chicago from 1978-2001 first via the Frumkin Gallery – Chicago, and then later via her own Ehlers/Caudill Gallery.  Finally it became the Carol Ehlers Gallery.  She closed her gallery in 2001 and became director of the LaSalle National Bank Photography Collection.  My Lake Photographs sold well in her galleries.  Everything else didn’t.  My last show with Carol was the Garage Series, coupled with the Harry Callahan's architectural facade photos.  

The Fassbender Stevens Gallery, Chicago represented and my work from November 2002 through March 2003.  The gallery closed in March, 2003 after an exhibition that highlighted my work in a large group show with other artists of the gallery.  The economy was causing lots of gallery closings.  The director of the gallery was thinking of moving to Berlin to start a new gallery there.  I never heard from her again.

The Michael Lord GalleryMilwaukee represented my work from 1983 through 2005, when the gallery closed.  Michael was very generous with me.  He paid for all the framing and announcements, allowed me to have shows whenever I felt ready, of whatever I wanted.  He always had very elegant New York City quality gallery spaces. 

End of Personal History

To see a collection of stories, essays, and remembrances of  extraordinary show openings & life events, philosophical and artistic ideas, visitSelected Writings: Remembrances.

Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.