It has been a long, strange winter filled with hard work and many odd twists and turns. I am particularly grateful to Frank Walker for his feature on my recent work on the Adorama Learning Center website https://www.adorama.com/alc/meet-a-pro-tama-baldwin I specifically appreciate the connections he made between my different bodies of work. I would never have thought to refer to myself as a documentary photographer, but when I told Frank Walker that he just let out a big laugh. Sorry, he said. You are. Maybe, I said. But I didn't mean to be.Read More
When I collected medicinal tundra plants for a cyanotype series during the summer of 2013 it never occurred to me that I would ever rely on those plants to heal myself. I had attended a wonderful workshop on how to prepare medicinal salves and tinctures using arctic tundra plants at the National Park Service office serving the Western Arctic National Parklands in Kotzebue, Alaska. As much as I had enjoyed collecting those plants and learning the processes of making tinctures and salves, I mostly intended to add those botanical images to a much larger compendium of arctic sun prints consisting of found objects--bits of net, bones, gloves, trash on the beach--my attempt to be a visual gatherer I suppose.Read More
I'm so happy to have one of my photograms included in this year's Flower Power 2013 exhibit at the 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles. The image included in that show is from a series of photograms of medicinal and edible tundra flora I worked on during my downtime in Kotzebue this past summer. As photograms require ultraviolet light for development I thought perhaps I might put the nearly 24 hours of sun I had to work with to use, and so I had shipped the chemicals and papers I needed ahead of myself last July. Between our trips into the Noatak Preserve I took long wandering walks in the tundra with my colleague the wonderful poet Andrea Spofford and our new-found K-town friend Norma. We collected for tinctures, teas, and balms, gossiping about people we barely knew and eating more than our fair share of cloudberries and blueberries as we went. Now that winter is closing in I finally have time to work through the images I made this past summer. I find myself waxing nostalgic over those long bright sun-filled nights I spent in that red house on Grayling, listening to KOTZ, catching up on local events through Tundra Talk, marveling at musical selections so insanely eclectic and disparate the playlists opened up a whole new dimension of coolness. I'm still figuring out the intricacies of the process, and though I am acutely aware of how this project speaks to its originator Anna Atkins' magnificent work on the flora of the British seacoast in 1848, I am trying to find new ways of exploring the medium. Most of the images I made last summer were first drafts of what I hope will become a far more layered project, but for now I am happy enough with some of this preliminary work to start sharing it.
I have the great good fortune of spending a month this summer in arctic Alaska working as a photographer as part of the Aldo & Leonardo project,a wilderness science and art collaboration. The work produced this summer will be featured next year as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Wilderness Act. All the artists participating in Aldo & Leonardo are posting blogs from their respective wilderness biomes. My occasional posts from the field can be found through the Aldo & Leonardo blog: