Living Photography

by Michelle Kelly


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I have been a fine art photographer for five years, exhibiting award winning art and teaching alternative processes.  I recently lost three years’ worth of photography and hundreds of bodies of work in a computer crash. Though saddened by the loss of the past, I was consoled by the knowledge that I still have my eyes and always my heart to interact with the visual heaven that continues to bring forth my experience of this world. Still, as a result of this loss I’ve become acutely aware of how important it is to transform my vision into physicality. Being a prolific photographer, I have been collecting moments from my life like fine jewels.  I had believed these were for myself, but as a consequence of the grief experienced over losing such treasures, I came to realize that I had intended these stories and moments for others, to open them and re-affirm the awareness that beauty is all around and life is something to pay attention to.

I am creating this fund raiser to ask for assistance to physically produce an experimental body of work. I have come to see that one reason I resist printing imagery in this digital age is because it is not as fun.  It is fun to discover photography, create it, look at it, sigh at it, but the tedium and expense of organizing it, printing it accurately, and worst of all, framing it for exhibits, turns me off.  For this reason I want to make all of these steps part of the art, to follow my creativity through to the completion of each individual piece.  I take hundreds of photographs a month.  What I want to do is whittle these down to a single ten-piece series.  This series will not just be photography, but mixed media.  It will be photography, not framed, but combined into stained glass in order to give each photograph a new identity and a unique meaning of its own. I am choosing glass because it has the capacity to return the photographic concept to its roots which resides in light itself.

I worked professionally with stained-glass a decade ago. However, I no longer have the supplies I need to fulfill the requirements of the above project. In the past, I experimented with this mixed-media possibility, but I now want to use these funds to purchase the supplies that would allow me to first research  trial methods, perfect the most effective approach, and then create ten individual pieces using these discoveries.

The steps to the completion of this project will be as follows:

•     Decide on (or take) the photographic series I will be combining with glass.  It will be composed on ten photographs. 

•     Discover the best method for transferring the photographs to glass.

•     Design (possibly using Photoshop) the photo-glass combination.

•     Cut the glass to fit the design, merge the photography, and foil/solder the design together.

•     Frame each piece, and strategize the method of installation.

•     Present to galleries, calls for submissions, and exhibitions spaces--some of which will be lined up within a year of funding this project.

As a photographer,  I have a mastery for communicating the essence of whatever I elect my subject to be.  My weakness is in manifesting these into a physical form that is reflective of my full ability.  By the end of this project I will know that I have the capacity to not only “publish” my work (as I have in the past) but that I can use my gathered photography as seeds to experiment, create, and manifest something still greater; a doorway to the mystery within others.

Meeting my minimum goal will allow me to purchase the materials I need for the production of the ten piece series.  If, however, my goal is exceeded, then I will not only be able to create pieces utilizing finer quality, more beautiful glass, but I will have access to a wider range of supplies that will allow for deeper and more far reaching experiments with the photo-to-glass-transfer process.

My greatest hope is that this series will elevate photography back to it’s original state of experimentation, discovery, and possiblity, and all who interact with the finished work will feel what this infinite means from within.

Thank you for seeing the value of this project and supporting it any way that you are able!  I am grateful.