Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Many Lives of a Rose

While on vacation I purchased this rose at the St. Petersburg Saturday morning market. The market was full of all different types of venders and it was my first time there. When I saw this rose I thought it was one of the most beautiful salmon colored roses I’ve ever seen. My big surprise was that it also smelled wonderful.

I took it back to the place I was renting and put it in water right away. The next evening I was looking at it and thought I need to get a photo for my scrapbook of the trip. The photos I took that evening were okay, but I’m not a big fan of flash and I only had my point and shoot camera handy for color images.

The next morning I used the beautiful Florida sunshine that was streaming in though the windows to light the rose a few different ways. I took quite a few and decided that I would choose which one to keep when I got home and was able to see a larger version on my computer. I love having large memory cards!!

When I down loaded them and really started looking at the photos, it was hard to believe that it was the same rose. It was as if the rose had many lives. It was also difficult to choose just one. I’ve loaded them on onto Flickr to see which is the most popular.

The darkest one I think is my favorite artistically. It reminds me of a quiet or secret place. My next favorite is the one titled Bloom 05, which I added to my etsy store, because it captures the rose that I remember from the trip.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Film or Digital on Vacation

Recently I went on vacation to visit some family and friends. I wanted to take photos while I was there, and couldn't decide on which camera(s) to take with me. I flew with my two year old daughter across the country without my husband to lend an hand. Flying with a two year old adds extra baggage and no help carrying it, so I have to be choosy about what I decide to bring. I don't like to put my cameras in check-in luggage, because you can't lock your luggage, your bags just get tossed around, and if you have film in your camera, the x-ray machine will kill it. At minimum, for my daughter I had to carry pull-ups and wipes, small toys to entertain her, her car seat, snacks and a drink, her blanket and sleep bear, and a change of clothes.

I wanted to bring more then my small digital point and shoot. I have a nice Nikon CoolPix P3, but I like the control of an SLR. My digital SLR kit and extras can take up a lot of room and the cost of replacement if something happened to them would be a lot. So I decided to take my old film SLR, a Minolta x-700. The cost would be higher with all the film to develop, but that would still be less then replacing a damaged Nikon D200 body or lenses. For the space I could fit an extra lens and flash, so I think it was a wise decision.

After going through the security lines and dragging two backpacks, a car seat, and a two year old thought the airport, I was glad to have taken a camera that, while I love taking photos with it, I wouldn't be heart broken if something happened to it. Funny, but before I became a mom, I flew as light as possible, but I would have packed as many cameras as I could, so I had what I needed when I wanted to get a photo. Priorities really can change.

I did enjoy using film again. It had been almost eight months since I used my 35mm SLR. I'm glad I took it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Trying to Caputure the Moments of Motherhood

This past year I started a new series of photographs, "Study of Motherhood," about the overwhelming emotions, the overflowing love and the worry, fatigue, and compassion, of being a mother. In this series my focus is on the mother.

Like any artist, the events of my life effect the direction of my art, and that is very true of this series. It started with a friend calling me about an exhibit for the La Leche League, with a theme about the Maternal Bond. She asked if I would submit some work, and that my landscapes would be fine, as they could represent mother earth. At the same time I was a new mother and a member of my local MOMS Club. I had been taking my camera to many play dates and photographing the group just for fun. I have always avoided taking staged portraits, but I enjoy taking candids. I decided to ask a few people if I could use them as models, but I wanted the photos to be real and candid. I asked them to invite me in to their lives to photograph them with their child(ren) participating in commonplace activities, in intimate settings, in hopes of capturing beautiful, everyday moments. These photos came out great and I decided that I wanted to do more then just a few images, thus the start of the series.

The subject of motherhood in art is older then recorded history itself. Women are the creators on the earth. The creation of new life, although it takes place thousands of times a day in just the US, is an amazing thing. It is an experience that a woman can never fully describe to someone else and something you can never fully understand until you become a mother yourself. Three years ago as I first became a mother, when I could feel my child grow inside me, my perspective of the world changed. I always thought I knew the meaning of love, sacrifice, joy and selfless acts, but what I thought those words meant paled to the way I feel now. This series is to celebrate the mother, her emotions and the beautiful experience that often gets reduced in meaning in our modern culture, especially in a decade where it seems trendy, rather then a beautiful and joyful act.

Here are some quotes from real mothers and friends:

One of the greatest joys of parenthood is hearing the
laughter of your child.
-B. Schoening

"Profession: Mom. I am not awarded with a big paycheck; instead, my compensation comes in the form of smiles, snuggles, and tiny fingers reaching for me. In lieu of bonus checks, I get to see all of my baby’s firsts. There are no accolades in my line of work, but private moments of recognition when my little one mimics my behavior. I am no longer the professional “Mrs. Kennedy,” but I am the all-important “Ma-ma.” In my chosen profession, I will never be a millionaire, nor awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. My treasure is the unmistakable, unbreakable bond I share with my daughter. There is no greater prize."

"Motherhood can be summed up in two words for me, unconditional love. No one truly understands unconditional love until they've had children. It is this invisible thing that binds me to them, making them the most beautiful creatures on earth. Being a veteran of the US Army, one thing stands as proof. The name that soldiers dying in combat call out the most is 'mom'. That unconditional love goes both ways. There truly exists a real bond in motherhood."
--M. Heap

“My journey through motherhood has been much like childhood. You start out not knowing at all what you are doing and, day by day, make new little discoveries of better ways to parent; one step at a time. You learn how to nurture your baby, then how to teach your toddler and later to guide your young ones through the ups and downs of life. Along the way you have your own moments of pure joy, exhaustion, and tears. You grow with your children, ultimately becoming more than you ever expected you could be.”
-J. Huntoon

“Motherhood to me is: late nights and early mornings; special days and exhausting days; love with no conditions; an extra set of eyes and ears to hear every conversation; always having someone to talk to who will still love you no matter what you say; and having a little look alike or in my case two. Watching my children grow is priceless!!!!!”
-S. Ridgley

Friday, January 4, 2008


I am often asked about my artistic influences, and, in general, what photographers I enjoy. These are great questions to start conversations at art shows, but people generally are surprised when is say that my favorite photographer is Man Ray, and that he and Marcel Duchamp are some of my influences.

I love American Dada, but you can't really tell by looking at my artwork. Dada was a reaction to the First World War. It origins of the anti-art movement can be traced back to artist/poet Tristan Tzara and Zurich. Both Zurich and New York were refuges for artists and the American form of Dada took on an American flair. Unlike in Zurich, the New York movement was not well organized and did not issue manifestos, rather they challenged the art establishment with a sense of humor. While there are many wonderful artists associated with the Dada movement, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, along with Francis Piabia were the fathers of the American movement.

Marcel Duchamp was a French artist who had a great influence on the modern art movement in America. He's early work is mostly impressionistic, but it is not his early work that fascinates me. I love the "Nude Descending a Staircase #02", "The Large Glass", "The Green Box", and his readymades. It is not just these pieces of art that draw me to Duchamp, but his love of puns and how he lived his art. His work seems so simple on the surface, as one slowly deciphers the clues there are often multi-layered puns. His work is not just visual, but mental. I love that he makes me stop, think, and laugh.

Man Ray was an American Dada/Surrealist artist and a very interesting photographer. He started out photographing his paintings and the work his friends, and eventually became one of the best know photographers of his time. His work includes fashion, portraits, and fine art photography. It can be argued that he was the first to fully utilize darkroom manipulation techniques such solarization and photograms, sometimes termed Rayographs. While photograms were around before Man Ray discovered them, by varying the objects and adding shadows and layers, he created a whole new kind of photogram. While best know for his portraits, some of my favorite works are his collaborations with Marcel Duchamp. "Dust Breeding", a photograph of the dust that accumulated on "The Large Glass" for a year while Duchamp was in France, is one of my favorite photographs.

May Ray: Dust Breeding (69.521)".
In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year Resolution

My new year resolution was to start a blog. I have been thinking about it for months, but had not sat down and started working on it until now. So, today is the first day of the new year and a great time to get started.

Hello, my name is Lorissa J. Longfellow. I am a photographer and work at home mom who lives in the high desert in Northwestern Arizona. Before becoming a work at home mom, I lived in Florida and worked in the arts. My degree is in Humanities concentrating in Art History, but college seems like another life time. I love to travel, my husband and daughter, and photographing things that interest me.
I have loved photography since I was a young child with a brownie camera and basic basement darkroom. I purchased my first 35mm SLR when I was 14 and my love for photographing has always been a part of me even when I pursued other thing in my life.
Moving out west prompted me to give my love of photography a larger part of my life. It is Wonderful!!
Now that I am a mom and can't easily do art shows to promote my work, I am trying the internet. I have had a website at for a while, but did not have it set up to sell. Recently I changed that by adding a shopping cart and I also opened a shop on the site etsy,

My work up until this last year focused on Desert Landscapes, Ghost Towns, and Route 66. This last year I started a new series focusing on Motherhood. It is a celebrations of the joys, emotions and trials of being a mother.

In this blog I'm going to ramble about my influences, traveling, art and artist I love, and motherhood. I hope it will give my readers an unique perspective into my art, life, and something interesting to read once in a while when they sit down at the computer with their coffee in the morning.

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read. Please come back often for updates.

more great quotes

Don't bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.
- Salvador Dali

Living is more a question of what one spends than what one makes.
-Marcel Duchamp