Body: My Photograph Juror's Choice in Budapest Exhibition
(cross-posted on Body Impolitic)

I was delighted when I heard that my photograph Debbie Notkin and Tracy Blackstone from Women En Large was the juror's choice in Body, an international photography exhibition at the PH1 Gallery in Budapest, curated by Zsolt Bátori. One of the reasons in that the overall quality of the exhibition is thoughtful and excellent.

From PH21:

It is always inspiring to see how photographers approach an exhibition theme from different creative angles. Photographic depictions of the human body range from the aesthetic through the documentary to mystic uncertainty, renewing, commenting on or criticizing received modes of expression…

The human body has been the central subject of various photographic genres. From documentary, event and street photography to fashion photography and the nude, photographers have always found ways of constructing images in which the specific portrayal of the human body gains significance. That significance may stem from the rich layers of meanings emerging from specific socio-cultural contexts, the visual interaction of the human body with the surrounding physical space, or the intriguing compositional possibilities offered by the body itself. Some explore movements, study expressive gestures and postures, some concentrate on the anatomical beauty, some narrate whole lives through the depiction of the human body. Others may offer stern visual criticism of our normative conceptions of the human body and the ways it is portrayed in mainstream Western media.

I read the juror's critique of my photograph this evening and it's one of the most sensitive and perceptive commentaries I've received on a photograph.

Laurie Toby Edison’s Debbie Notkin & Tracy Blackstone is the juror’s choice of this exhibition. This complex image incorporates several layers of photographic meaning. Our initial reaction to the calm composition might be to contemplate the symmetry of the image and the captivating texture of the curtain that takes up a significant portion of the photograph, providing an excellent nonfigurative background for the shapes of the two women on the couch. The lighter inner part of the two sides of the curtain lead our eyes down to the two figures emerging from the darker shades of the blanket on the couch. As we are drawn to the faces, it might even take some time to realize that the two bodies are in the nude. Indeed, it is one of the most powerful aspects of this image that nudity is portrayed in such a “natural” and subdued manner that it goes without saying – almost even without registering on our perception. It may take some extra effort to understand why the nudity of the figures is not more salient, despite also being an identifying thematic and visual feature of the photograph. The secret might lie in the bright serenity in the look of the two women. Their expressions are filled with such joy and peacefulness that the image simply washes all received – and often oppressively reinforced – social conceptions of the human body light years away. Social criticism is delivered in a serious, beautifully composed but at the same time effortlessly cheerful photograph.

Back From World Fantasy and Not Quite Invisible Dragon
World Fantasy Con was particularity special this year. Had an excellent time and got some marvelous commissions including the turtle from Julie Czerneda's new novel A Turn of Light. I'm excited about doing it.

Photo below is a pendant set with a metallic stag jasper of the "becoming invisible dragon" from Tanya Huff's Emporium Series . We ended up taking the photo at World Fantasy under less then ideal circumstances, so there are light reflections in the stone. Actual stone is richer and more beautiful. But the photo does give a good sense of the design.

Working out the design aesthetic while conceptually creating the sense of "turning invisible" was challenging in a really good way.

Pendant is about 2.5" high. From the collection of Marsha Jones.

Off to World Fantasy in the Morning
Really looking forward to World Fantasy and seeing my friends.

These are the final photographs from the World Fantasy ebook "Unconventional Fantasy".

Here are 3 views of the Great A'tuin. The turtle that holds up the world with the elephants on his back. Disc World is the boulder opal with the water flowing off it.

Great A’Tuin (from Discworld by Terry Pratchett)
Sterling silver and boulder opal - size approximately 3" x 4"
From the Collection of Jerry Chilson

Jelly Fish Photo from the World Fantasy Ebook
I was so wrapped up in making work earlier in the month that I wasn't posting much.  So I'm making sure that all of the images in "Unconventional Fantasy " are posted before I leave for DC.

This a boulder opal jellyfish .  It was Elyse's idea.  I was really surprised that using a boulder opal for a jelly fish had not occured to me since it's so perfect for the creature I need to make another different boulder opal jellyfish soon.
It's sterling silver, boulder opal and ruby - size approximately 1.5"
From the Collection of  Elyse Seigle

Ammonite pendant from World Fantasy's Ebook
Here's another photo from WFC's Unconventional Fantasy ebook.

The pendant is an "Ammonite with Tentacles Grasping Opal". It's sterling silver (antiqued black), fossil ammonite (Cretaceous), Ethiopian opal, and Australian opal -approximately 3.5"
From the Collection of David and Pierce Ludke

Finished packing the second group of amazing stones from my lapidaries. They include some exquisite lace agates, some of the most beautiful plume agates I've seen since LLoyd Eschbach cut then for me many years ago, and a stunning tiger iron.  Had a lovely time packing them.

World Fantasy Ebook Photo "Chinese Landscape"

  • All of the polishing is finished for World Fantasy and except for one pearl ring all the stones are set.

The poppy on barbed wire pendant that I've made as my commenorative for the 40th World Fantasy (1914 theme) has worked out beautifully.

The pendant below from their ebook is "Chinese Landscape".
Sterling silver, plume agate with marcasite, cinnamon diamonds, and faceted marcasites  - approximately 2.5"
From the Collection of Marsha Jones

I'm too tired to write more tonight.

World Fantasy Ebook Jewelry Photo Two
First I want to thank JeanMarie Ward who was wonderful to work with in getting the images and texts together for the ebook. I really appreciated her help.

This was inspired by an exhibition i saw at the Met in NY of work by the 17th century Chinese artist Liu Ping.

Chinese Cherry Tree

Sterling silver, watch gears/parts, agate with marcasite, and rubies - approximately 3"
From the Collection of Bayla Fine

Today I've been working on polishing smaller pendants (lace work, gear work flowers with antique beads etc.)

Life is getting dense.

Sojourner Truth/Underground Railroad Sculptures/Detroit
I posted this on Body Impolitic. It's the final chapter on my amazing visit to Battle Creek and Detroit.
"Sojourner Truth and Underground Railroad Sculptures" I think people will find is interesting.

A sculpture below is the joyous one when the slaves have arrived across the river from Detroit to Canada and freedom.

Opal Earrings and World Fantasy Pendants to Come

Several of the new pendants for World Fantasy should be finished this week and I'll hopefully be putting up photographs.  They include one with beautiful botroiydal opal and one with vivid green garnet crystals.

Tonight I'm working on a wedding ring comission with a peridot, a diamond and an amethyst.  And I'm thinking about a phoenix pendant I've been working on a lot.

These are opal and diamond earring in gold.  I worked on them for a long time and I'm delighted with them and with how they look on Rebecca. Actual size is about 1.25"  (Opals are more vivid in reality)

From the collection of Rebecca Burgess

World Fantasy and Tektite Pendant
I'm back from a very restful and much needed vacation and working at my wax bench.

I'll be at World Fantasy Con in Washington DC in early November.  It's back in the US after 2 years abroad and I'm especially delighted to be going.

As part of this years 40th anniversary World Fantasy they have made an ebook for attendees of literature and original art.  They asked me for work. The ebook includes 8 photos of my work. It was really hard to decide because I needed a very limited number of images of my very best work, that showed it's breadth and were also excellent photos. It was a very difficult decision and there is a lot of equivalent quality work that could just as easily be here. It's all relatively recent work because I didn't start photographing my work until I began this journal.

I'll be putting them up this month before I go.

The first one is Exoplanet with Satellites. It's sterling silver, tektite, cats eye moonstone, and pearl - size approximately 4"

From the Collection of Beth Zipser:

I'm working on designs for World Fantasy right now including a pendant for their WW1 theme.  It's a pendant in silver of a poppy on barbed wire, from the poem "In Flanders Fields ..."

And I have a photo of a pair of opal and diamond earrings I'll put up after next Monday when the woman I made them for comes to my studio.

You are viewing laurieopal