I have work in the 2016 Berlin Foto Biennale.

Mississippi State University Department of Art Professor Marita Gootee will exhibit seven works from two series in Emotions and Commotions Across Cultures.

The exhibit is part of the Berlin Foto Biennale, which is being held during the seventh annual European Month of Photography, the largest German festival for photography, which takes place throughout October.

Emotions and Commotions Across Cultures will present 1,230 photos by 446 contemporary artists from 41 countries of all continents – among them 65% women who have received the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers.

Overall, the works represent a wide spectrum of styles ranging from documentary and wildlife to portrait and experimental photography.

Four works from Gootee’s “Talking to Ghosts” series and three from her “Recreation of Memories” series will be included in the Berlin Foto Biennale.

Recognizing a wide array of artistic expression across diverse cultures, the Biennial presents a contemporary overview of the different schools of thought emerging from across the world. It also captures international trends in photography and presents a kaleidoscope of sentiments and perceptions. In this way, a photographic chronicle of our time emerges with all its emotions and commotions, visually expressed by hundreds of photographers across many cultures.

Part of the revenue from artwork sales will be donated to Save the Children.

A catalogue published by Kehrer Verlag accompanies the Biennial.

…to photograph someone…

Smitty at the Colorado Mountain  Hat Company in FairPlay CO was one of my subjects at the Anderson Ranch  Workshop with Amy Arbus. He is a totally awesome fellow and excellent hat artisan.

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It's hard to beat a person who never gives up. -Babe Ruth

It is hard to keep forging on when the ‘Energizer Bunny’ is next to you. Sometimes it can be pretty tiring creating new ideas and visualizing the present ideas. None-the-less it is important to continue moving forward so that you become the one no one can beat.

How does one keep up the pace? One way is never become complaisant in your work. This is why reflecting on the reason for creating the work is so important.

Create artwork that you love. If you do not enjoy creating the work you do it is less likely that you will look forward to working on the project. The work needs to be relevant to you as well as to others. Your love of the creation can be seen in the imagery and presentation. Take pride in the work you create for it is yours and no one else’s. Be true to your inner voice.

There will be many things that will keep you from creating work. One could be the frustration that no one but yourself is interested in the body of work you have created. This might be true if you ARE the only person who sees the work. There is no magical gallery director out there surfing the web looking for you. You have to search for them. You have to place the work out for others to see. In this day and age art is everywhere and the competition is fierce. But remember it is your voice – your artwork is unique to you and it will be noticed. This will take effort on your part but there will be more rewards than just keeping the work in storage. You created it to be seen and it will be up to you to bring to the world through social networking, entering competitions, having exhibitions and more.

Being the artist who never gives up is tiring. So renew your energy by learning new techniques, visiting museums/galleries, and reading what other artists are thinking. The more you know the stronger you become as an artist and as person.

You have selected a career that is very demanding. Being an artist in today’s world is a challenge for now you are the image maker, the business person, the public relations staff just to name a few of the hats that you will wear in one day. It is also very exciting for there is never a dull moment.

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~ Socrates

To me this is a call to reflect on why we create art in the first place. Who are we as artists and what is our work saying to others? 

So take a moment and reflect upon an individual image that you have created or maybe a series. This could be old work or new image. If you can have it in front of you that would be ideal so you can easily reflect upon the image. Then write the answers to the following statements. 

Remember the answers do not have long. You might use only one word or a phrase but despite if it long or short be honest. This is for you and not the world to see. 

1]  Describe the image in words.

2]  How do you feel when you see this image or this series?

3]  Write a history of the work. When, where and why was it taken. 

4]  Is this the best format or technique for the image or series and if so Why?

5]  What are the strengths of this work?

6} What are the weaknesses?

7]  Finally if you could do it over again what would you change?

It is important to note that even through art history has crowned masters in each field all artists strive for more. We create work in the moment. It is important to look back and know in the next moment we could have created something even better.

There are no right or wrong answers here - only failure is not asking more of yourself or your work.