All Good Things…

All good things must come to an end.  My one year term as Photography Artist in Residence is complete.  But this isn’t really the end: I plan to continue on at The Bascom ( as a member of The Bascom Photography Club, and thereby stay in touch with fellow Bascomites, keeping updated on photography projects and events.  I absolutely intend to visit all the exhibitions here.  The Bascom makes it easy to stay involved.

That being said, it is the end of a phase. The experience of resident artist blasted me into action.  I have not photographed as intensely as I did here since graduate school (a long time ago).  I was included as an integral part of the work force (not merely an appendage).  And I received that which I most earnestly desired for years – to be engaged with a supportive community of artists.

As before mentioned, thanks to all bears repeating, despite the fact that “Thanks” is an exceedingly inadequate way to express the sentiment.  To Teresa Osbourne, who made it a point to poke her head in my door and say, “Well done”; to the “Girls” – Lin Sheffield and Julia McRae – who made life upbeat; all the staff and artists who contributed to the esprit decor; but most especially to Billy Love, whose support of and confidence in me spurred me on, I offer my most heartfelt and humble expression of gratitude.  This has been an experience never to be repeated.



As there are less than two weeks remaining in my term as Photography Artist in Residence here at The Bascom (, I find myself reflecting on the events of the past year.

I am privileged to have been selected for this position by Billy Love, Director of Education and Outreach.  I have been afforded opportunities at The Bascom I would not have had otherwise.

I have documented events here, done some teaching, but a large portion of my time was encouraged to be in the realm of personal creativity and exhibition.

Within two weeks of arriving, I was given a solo exhibition, Daufuskie Days, at Sotheby’s.  In February I had a collaborative exhibition with Grant Benoit, then Community Outreach Resident.  On the very heels of this exhibition followed another solo exhibition, The Life of Trees, and I am finishing up with the solo exhibition, A Walk in the Woods (reception September 19th at 5:30 pm). My life here has been a whirlwind of activity!

With the support of those at the Bascom – Billy Love, Teresa Osborne, the cadre of surrounding artists and the wonderful staff – I was provided the time, space and place to grow both personally and professionally.  Words being inadequate, I humbly say “Thanks”.

Images from The Bascom Exhibitions:

All Hung Up

This past week I installed my exhibition, A Walk in the Woods, in the Education Gallery at The Bascom (  I had, on one hand, a sense of achievement of what seemed at times like a never-ending project.  There on the wall were a finite number of cohesive images,  communicating a spiritual sensibility of humanity in the landscape.  Seeing the photos hanging together as a group made the experience feel complete: But only for a minute.

The trend my work has taken over the past several years has been to continue to explore the same subject , but in more depth.  For now, I would like to continue photographing in the  manner  I have for A Walk in the Woods.  The creative process will determine the destination.  Maybe this project is never-ending…

A Walk in the Woods runs through October 8th.  There will be a reception September 19th from 5:30pm-7:00pm.


Vistas Workshop

This past Saturday saw the last of my workshops, Photographing Vistas.  We met in the Whiteside parking lot – early, to ensure a parking space.  Slides were viewed at the picnic table next to my car, and a discussion of some various ways to approach photographing vistas was held.

A gentle hike of about thirty minutes took us to the first  cliff where we began to photograph.  We walked across the ridgeline, shooting as we went, and descended on the other side of the loop trail.

After lunch we returned to the Bascom (, where we downloaded the images, and edited and discussed them.  It was a full day!

I have enjoyed teaching workshops while here at The Bascom, and am thankful for this opportunity.


Clint Dawkins



The creative process does not exist in a vacuum, but rather has a place in the continuum of the history of creative process.  One’s work is influenced by others’, even if only subconsciously.  Somewhere, somehow, someone has thought something similar to your thoughts.  They may have executed their work differently, but relationships exist. And these are worth knowing.

Though I have been photographing landscapes for several years now, my current project, A Walk in the Woods, involves the human figure, albeit in a blurred form, with the intent of communicating the spiritual connection of humans to the landscape.  Hence, I have been reading, Landscape as Photograph, by Elizabeth Lindquist-Cock and Estelle Jussim, in particular the chapter titled, Landscape as God.

A lengthy relationship exists depicting the landscape as a metaphor for God.  It continues to this day.  One of the factors differentiating the varying appearances of   its rendering is which God is being referred to.  God as Creator, vengeful chastiser, distant master of natural law, machine, and more.

The landscape in my work consists primarily of lush, green forests.  My exhibition, A Walk in the Woods, opens at The Bascom ( in mid-September.  Come see it.  I leave it to you to determine which God is being referred to.


Always New

Though my functions here at The Bascom ( remain fairly constant – primarily teaching, documenting and creating my own work, the activities are never redundant, and continue to be fresh and new.  This week saw two important and fun events – The reception for Frank Vickery’s exhibition, Homage, and the annual Barn Dance.

 To celebrate Frank’s exhibition, refreshments were served up in the Ceramics Barn, which was transformed with tablecloths, flowers, and smock-free guests. The group later moved to the Loft Gallery, where Frank spoke about the intricate process in creating his pieces.

For the Barn Dance, the terrace was cleared to create a dance floor, where a square dance lesson was enjoyed by the crowd.  I found this particularly challenging to photograph, since standing outside the circle gave me a clear view of everyone’s backs.  So I moved to the inside of the circle, to be caged in by the dancers moving forward.  I don’t think I was too much in the way…

The Bascom serves the community with novel and diverse exhibitions, activities and events.  I enjoy the anticipation of seeing what’s next.

Wrapping Up

It went by so quickly.  In less than two months my term as photo resident at The Bascom ( will be up.  But there is so much left to do!

This weekend I made another scouting trip of the Whiteside trail in preparation for my next and final workshop, Photographing Vistas.  I was fortunate enough to catch the fog lifting, and am hopeful for similar conditions for the class.



I am also finishing up the shooting for my next exhibition, A Walk in the Woods, which opens in mid-September in the Education Gallery at The Bascom.



Keeping an eye to future opportunities, I have been submitting work to various exhibitions and competitions, and received an early response from LensCulture, an online photography network based in Amsterdam.

Lensculture Gallery

The Bascom life remains busy for me – and will be right up to the end!

A Day in the Life…

In addition to the documenting and teaching I do here at The Bascom (, much of my time is devoted to photographing my personal work.  The current work in progress involving the blurred figure in the landscape, A Walk in the Woods, is well under way.

I spend a lot of time on frequented forest trails – most just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The objective is to photograph people in a natural setting, and to create a sense of spiritual connection with nature.

The weather is inconsequential – I shoot rain or shine.  Since not many people hike in the rain, I have a model on standby – my husband.

The exhibition of this work will be in the Education Gallery of The Bascom in mid September.



Conclusion of Personal Vision

This past Saturday saw the last in my three part series workshop, Developing a Personal Vision in Photography.  Following a review of the first two sessions, a photo shoot in downtown Highlands ensued.  The resulting images were critiqued and a photographic path forward was discussed.

New directions were taken, and I was excited to see the progress that had taken place.  I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops, and hope the participants will stay in touch – I’d love to see where they go from here!


John Vogel


Decision Made

After several months of exploring different styles of photography for my current work in progress, considering infrared, black and white, selective desaturation and color, I have finally decided to go with full color.  Selective desaturation was a close second, but it had a more somber feel to it, and I want to present nature as a living, vibrant environment to which humans are drawn – both physically and spiritually.  Full color has that vibe.

The forest in particular has a rich history of spiritual symbolism.  From animism, where trees were considered to have souls themselves, to pantheism, where trees were believed to be the homes of spirits, to most religions, which have many references to the sacredness of trees, the view of the spiritual nature of trees – and by extension, forests – has marched through the ages.

Humans’ value of the forest, then, goes from generation to generation, beyond the grave, but keeps a life of it’s own.  My objective is to convey this phenomenon visually, through my photography.