Back to

Changing of the Seasons

The start of fall always seems to creep up with early sunsets, cool nights, and the changing of the leaves. One of my recent photo assignments here at the IMA was to document the Fall Equinox: Hungry Ghost event.  I knew there would be great photo opportunities because of the beautiful weather and long evening shadows. This year’s activities included lantern making and music by members of Butler University’s Orchestra. The musicians played their instruments while in canoes and on the land surrounding the lake in 100 Acres.

As the sunlight faded, the music started and the lanterns were lit. The large crowd gathered on the south side of the lake to watch the lanterns be released. Some had messages written on them to honor a “ghost” such as, “We miss you Grandpa,” while others were decorated with colorful illustrations. I documented this animated GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)as the lanterns were being launched into the blue night.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Photography, Public Programs


Spring Comes Early at Miller House

Typically at this time of year, I am planning April and May photography dates for our historic grounds and gardens, 100 Acres Art and Nature Park, and the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana.

The absence of any substantial winter weather in the state, combined with spring temperatures ten to twelve degrees higher for the month of March, has produced an accelerated blooming and photography season.

The transition to daylight savings time on the 11th, in conjunction with the vernal equinox on the 20th, and summer like heat of the past two weeks, has created a perfect storm of urgency for photographers.

The most pressing concern was the quick budding and blooming of our lovely magnolias on the east and south locations of the Miller House. A missed blooming season, albeit a short one, means waiting another year to capture these lovelies at their peak and the threat of a cold front or good spring rainstorm made my decision an easy one. April be damned, I’m all in.

Timing, patience, and good light are everything in photography, and my early morning visit to Columbus this week provided another uniquely pleasant experience to photograph a visually diverse residence, inside and out.

Each visit is more compelling and interesting than the previous and I can’t help but imagine how wonderful it must have been to live and flourish as children in these spaces.

These images of the magnolia blooms were captured on the first day of Spring. The Miller House and Garden is now open for tours, so get down there and experience this all-too-fleeting moment for yourself.


Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Miller House, Photography


Photo Policy Turns One

There are two important first birthdays this spring – my son, Theo, and the IMA Photo Policy. As the “mother” of both, I take a lot of pride in their reaching this milestone, but as any good parent would say: “I don’t have a favorite; I love them both equally.” That said, I do have to say Theo is cuter than the Photo Policy.

As a birthday present to IMA photographers, we are giving those of you purchasing a one year pass the gift of FREE parking! Did you say FREE??? Why, yes, yes I did!!

We know that the first year had a few bumps and bruises along the way, so, we’ve listened to your feedback and are making changes that we hope will make the second year run smoothly. Many photographers noted how inexpensive the one year rate was and that they would be willing to pay a higher rate for the opportunity to use the lovely backdrop of the IMA. Crazy talk, I know, but in comparison to many other locations across Indianapolis and the country, $250 for the entire year, with virtually no restrictions on when or how many times you could be here, was a steal. A number of photographers also expressed concern when paid parking was announced this past fall that you would have to pay not only for your photo pass, but also pay to park every time you had a shoot here. With both of these points in mind, the one year fee has been increased but will have the added benefit of FREE parking.

A few highlights and things to keep in mind about the Photo Policy:

  • One Year Photography Pass rate is increasing to $400.
  • The pass will still cover two named photographers from a single company.
  • Each additional photographer will still cost $100 to add.
  • Badges will be changing to include a head shot of the pass holder.
  • FREE PARKING: With the rate increase to $400, one year pass holders’ badges will now include a barcode that permits them to park for free in the pay lots. Your clients arriving in separate vehicles will still have to pay for parking, unless they are a member of the Museum or are utilizing one of the over 170 free parking spots at the Museum.
  • One Day Photography Passes will remain at the rate of $50 per day.

As always, please feel free to contact the Rights and Reproductions Department if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to send a birthday present to the Photo Policy (it particularly likes chocolate).

Happy First Birthday to the Photo Policy (and Theo)!

Filed under: Photography


Beyond Documentation

As a museum photographer, I get asked on occasion what is involved with my work.  What do I do?  My response is fairly straightforward, “I document the objects and exhibitions at the IMA.” But the specifics of my work are rarely detailed. And that is what I intend to do here. If you feel the intricacies of museum photography are best left unwritten then stop reading at, “I [just] document the objects and exhibitions at the IMA.”

For those of you who have a taste for the technical and an appreciation of process, begin reading here:

Art Directed Photography

Unfortunately for me (and I would argue the patron), this is what I get to do the least.

Art Directed photography requires a fair amount pre-planning and time to explore an approach to photography of an object or setting.  It requires the input of multiple parties, is of high quality, and has a distinct “look” to the final image.  These images are generally intended for more targeted uses in magazine and catalogues.

The images below of Alberto Meda’s Light-Light chair were taken with a Mamiya 645D and a Phase One P45 digital back. The inspiration came from our Senior Curator of Design Arts Craig Miller, who wanted to focus on the texture of the material. The silhouette of the chair legs emerges from the darkness to reveal the back and the carbon fiber texture.

Alberto Media, "Light-Light chair (prototype)," 1988, carbon fiber and Nomex composite. Purchased with funds provided by James E. and Patricia J. LaCrosse.

Here’s another example of an art directed photo shoot:

Allesandro Mendini and Alessandro Guerriero, "Side chair from Ollo Collection,"1988, plastic, laminate. Frank Curtis Springer and Irving Moxley Springer Purchase Fund. © Alessandro Guerriero.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Art, IMA Staff, Photography


Trapped in the White Cube

Ahh, finally, my first blog post.  This post actually started weeks ago.  I’ve been patiently awaiting the return of some questions I had sent out in relation to my Flickr galleries “Trapped In The White Cube.”  The galleries are a series of images that have been captured by various photographers visiting museums around the world.  Sometimes the galleries appear to be captured in solitude, other times they are alive with a visual cacophony.

As one of the two photographers here at the IMA, I am responsible for capturing the IMA galleries in a similar fashion.  At times I capture galleries alive with its patrons.  At other times I document for posterity the space free of human distraction.  I, as those participating in my questionnaire, enjoy seeing the galleries in various degrees of these states – the sole visitor reflecting on a work of art, the mass of humanity flowing between its walls, the gallery alone asking us to reflect on the images presented, or the gallery free of any artwork or person and completely desolate.

Below are a few of those images and the responses from the photographers.  If you are interested in the photographs presented, please follow the gallery series on Flickr.

 Witold Riedel:
Witold Riedel is a creative director at one of the largest advertising networks in the world. He is responsible for a worldwide campaign, which “involves a good amount of travel.”

This image was included in the “Trapped In The White Cube” series. An excerpt from Witold’s responses to the questionnaire is below:

(via Flickr)

 What made you capture and share the image you created?

Are we talking about the picture of the nun and the dinosaur? Oh, it was just a very sweet moment at the Museum Mensch und Natur in Nymphenburg, in Munich. I had missed my flight to Moscow on that day and after visiting the BMW Welt, Nymphenburg felt like the perfect contrast. The room was very small, I had to be close to the nun to take the picture. I only had one chance to expose the photograph without disturbing the composition. I was lucky. I had set the exposure and aperture and the focus on my Leica correctly. I like that there are some parallels in the expression of the dinosaur and the nun. The picture is certainly not intended as cultural criticism. I have nothing against dinosaurs or the Catholic Church.

What type of museum objects do you enjoy the most?

I like to return to some not very loved paintings, just to discover that I have changed more than they have. And I also like to see that they are still there, in their own place. Or maybe in a new place.

I  used to stand next to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre sometimes and just look at the people coming to visit. I actually have two photo series about this on my old website. It was interesting how many visitors were not actually interested in the work, they were more interested in having a picture taken with the work. It really is about that connection sometimes. The Mona Lisa is now in a different place within the Louvre. It is now easier to take pictures with her. But it is much more difficult to see her. That might be one of the reasons why I prefer the not so loved paintings sometimes. Though they obviously must be incredibly special already, just to make it to the galleries. What percentage of the work never makes it out of storage? Some museums have created galleries that feel almost like open storage. I like that idea quite a bit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Around the Web, Art, Photography


Recent Flickrs

College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?College Night: What do Museums Need Most?