Posts Tagged “Jesseca Ferguson”

By Liz Ellenwood, PRC Volunteer

My work at the 2013 Krappy Kamera Exhibition at SoHo Photo Gallery.

The Krappy Kamera just celebrated its 15th year at the Soho Photo Gallery in New York City, and the theme is simple—you can only apply with photographs that were created using “equipment from the low end of the technological scale.”  That means toy cameras, Holgas, Dianas, etc., cameras that you can pick up at a garage sale or even make yourself. My image was created with a Holga that I have had for a few years now, and it has seen better days. There is black tape on the sides to protect my film from light leaks and apparently something inside it broke off so it can double as a maraca if I shake it. Did I mention it’s also a plastic camera (both body and lens)? Regardless of its musical talent and its durability (it won’t shatter if I drop it), it is SO much fun! As is the Krappy Kamera Exhibition.

I was actually made aware of the call for entry for the Krappy Kamera by Jesseca Ferguson when I was her workshop assistant for the PRC’s “Pinhole Madness Workshop with Jesseca Ferguson.”  Ferguson primarily works with pinhole cameras, which you guessed it, are considered to be “Krappy Kameras.” Her work is anything but “krappy” it is eye catching and ethereal. So with her encouragement I decided to apply with my recent work made with my Holga. Needless to say I did a little happy dance when I received the acceptance email to the Krappy Kamera Exhibition. My selected image was Untitled 002, an in-camera multiple exposure that was then printed as an archival silver gelatin print.

I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful show juried by Christy Karpinski, the Founder and Editor of F-Stop Magazine. Karpinski selected 47 artists from 180 applications and pieced together a fantastic grouping of photographs, ranging in both subject matter and printing processes. I am honored to have been in this show with photographers from all over the United States and from other countries. I even knew one of the selected photographers from Boston, Suzanne Revy.

I was able to attend the opening night at Soho Photo Gallery. The gallery was even more beautiful in person: great lighting, terrific wall space, I could go on and on about the space but lets focus on the show. The exhibition celebrates the excitement of cameras that people have written off as “not good enough” because they are not at the top of the camera food chain. Looking around the room I felt proud to be a part of something so simple yet beautiful. We were taking away all of the fancy settings and digital capabilities and just having fun with photography. That was my favorite quality of the show, the lighthearted exploration of photography.

At the end of the opening, I was awarded the People’s Choice Award and won a GOLD Holga. I can’t wait to take this baby out for a spin!

Winning the People’s Choice Award and receiving the “Gold Holga.”




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(Installation view with a glimpse of works by Jesseca Ferguson and Ron Cowie)

As a curator, I spend a lot of time researching ideas for new shows and jotting down ideas for exhibitions as they come to me. “Doors of Perception…” is perhaps a little bit different because I have been thinking about curating a show like this one for many years.

The seed for this show was planted in a workshop at the George Eastman House in Rochester, a few years ago.  Simply titled, “1839,” the workshop, led by photographer and Process Historian Mark Osterman, served as a hands-on introduction to the historic photographic processes from 1839: photogenic drawing, daguerreotype, and Bayard’s process.  A seamless integration of making photographs (in the gardens and darkroom) and viewing photographic objects in the Eastman House’s collection, the workshop was a thorough and rewarding education in historic processes.

At the end of the workshop, I had the chance to see Mark Osterman’s studio, which he shares with his wife, photographer, and teacher, France Scully Osterman.  Having taught so many students historic processes over the years, France had a lot of insight into students and practitioners of alternative processes. During that visit, she said something that really stuck with me.  She said that a lot of people learn alternative processes and think that that’s it; “but you need to have something to say,” she pointed out. In other words, the historical process is not an end in and of itself. It’s only the beginning. To make compelling artwork, one still needs to have something to say. Read the rest of this entry »

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By Liz Ellenwood, Workshop Assistant

Lets go back to the basics, I mean the real basics. You’ve got a cardboard box sitting in front of you. What do you do with it? Put stuff in it? Maybe break it down and recycle it? Let your cat play in it? How about you make it into a camera? Sounds ridiculous with the digital age that we are in. Why on earth would you spend the time and frustration of dealing with light leaks, over/under exposed images, darkrooms, etc. while you could be out clicking away on your digital camera not worrying about any of these things? Spend a day with Jesseca Ferguson creating pinhole cameras and that question will quickly disappear from your mind and be replaced by “what digital camera?”

I was introduced to Jesseca’s work a little over a year ago and find myself still captivated by it. Her work reminds me of the Pictorialist movement in the early 1900s and how photographers of that time depicted a romanticized world through soft focus, very dreamlike images. After reading about Jesseca and her work, I was awe-struck: she uses a pinhole camera! These stunning, ethereal images were created with literally a light-tight box with a tiny hole poked in the center. Needless to say when I saw that she was giving a workshop on “Pinhole Madness” at the Photographic Resource Center, I wanted to be a part of it.

At the Wednesday night pinhole presentation by Jesseca

The workshop was broken up into two days. The first was Jesseca’s presentation on pinhole photography in the PRC gallery. She showed slides of so many terrific artists: John Wood, Steven Pippin, Eric Renner, Pinky Bass, Barbara Ess, the list goes on and on. Jesseca spoke of how Eric Renner thought of the pinhole camera as a “sophisticated light leak” and how terrific it is because “a pinhole camera is the only camera that comes packed with food.” To explore this thought of food and pinhole, Jesseca brought a tin full of cookies that she purchased somewhere in Chinatown – apparently Chinatown is the place to go for pinhole cameras, big tins filled with food – and we were instructed of our first step of making a pinhole camera: eat all of the cookies. No complaints here!

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This fall, close to 200 vintage and contemporary photographs go up for auction to benefit the PRC. Above is one of the amazing images on which you can bid. Keep checking back to see more auction images. Click here or on the above image for more information.

Image credit:

Jesseca Ferguson, Woman/Two Hands (Constructed), 2001/2001, Collage incorporating pinhole platinum/ palladium print, 8 3/4 x 5 1/2 x 1/8 inches, Unique Collage, Signed Verso.

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