Last week, Trudi and I met artist and photographer Julia Blaukopf during a cocktail party at the studio of SoHo artist Alex Beard. Julia was discussing her recent trip to Ghana.
Julia was invited there by Women in Progress, a group who defines their mission as "working at a grassroots level to develop small, sustainable women-owned craft jewelry, clothing, and batik businesses, and, at the same time, establish mutual understanding among people of diverse cultures." Julia's photograph (above) shows an example of their work .
Julia's website gives further information about this project. "With the support of fiscal sponsor, First Person Arts, Blaukopf worked in Ghana for four months. She photographed and designed the 2007 Global Mamas catalog. Her images will become a promotional tool for Women in Progress. In November 2007, Blaukopf will exhibit the images as a part of the Annual First Person Arts Festival."
If you go to Julia's website, click on Gallery to see her portfolio. I am particularly intrigued by her sepia toned pictures, which exude an aura of antiquity. They remind me of Matthew Brady's work. His American Civil War images took photography out of the parlor and transformed it into a fundamental component of journalism.
Sepia photographs evoke a powerful emotional response. The brown hue transports these images into another world. I imagine that I am looking through a time portal. Considering how fast paced and stressful modern life is, they make me nostalgic for a time when we didn't have to deal with cell phones, websites, computer passwords, e-mails, and TiVo.
This simpler life, although not ideal (no antibiotics or pre-natal care) was far better suited to human biology. Our bodies haven't evolved fast enough to keep pace with the quantum leap in technology.
And even though Julia's Ghana portfolio was created recently, the sepia overtone reminds us that we are viewing a part of the world that we have known for a very long time. Africa was our first home, where we became human.
During the cocktail party, Julia showed us some of her mixed media work, where she applies photographs to non-traditional surfaces - like shells. It was interesting to see an art form that blends natural materials with a modern technology.
Julia's work can currently be seen at The Center for Emerging Visual Artists. They have a show called Small Wonders, which is running from June 14 through July 12. The address is:
There will be a reception on Friday July 15, from 5:30 - 7:30 PM.
I am certain that this talented young artist will continue to produce perceptive and compelling photography!