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


Summer Camp Review: Art in Motion!

My definition of art in motion is anything that moves . . . And so many things in the art world fall into this category! Dance and theatre and performance art and things powered by wind and music videos and inflatable suits! This week in art camp, the students built their own puppets out of air dry clay. They made mobiles themed around hot air balloons. The students learned about movement in photography from The Bascom’s photo resident, Vicki Provost. And, they built their very own circus inspired by Calder’s Circus. It was an amazing week–maybe my most favorite, yet!! Find out more about our camps here! And remember: you can purchase a collection of all of these lesson plans here. Have a great week ahead!!

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.


Summer Camp Review: Recycled Art!

As mentioned in my previous post, I switched up weeks 3 and 4 of camp. Whoops! So this week was RECYCLED ART! To me, recycling in art means making things out of found objects, using actual recyclables (plastics primarily), and deconstructing and reconstructing previously made things. So this week, we did a little bit of all of that! For the first project, students created handheld play masks out of reclaimed matte boards (generally used for framing). For our second project, students used our wonderful collection of donated National Geographic magazines and a wide variety of other publications to create characters and self-portraits. The third day of camp was focused on robot creations. I set each student up with a kit of various recyclables, and their challenge was to fashion a robot out of all of the collected things in their kit. On our last day of camp, students were introduced to improv costuming, a phrase I coined a few years ago in graduate school. I laid out two tables worth of gently used fabrics and pompoms and hula hoops and cardboard and various other materials. Then, the students were tasked with creating impromptu costuming out of these simple objects, working in pairs and taking turns to costume each other. A photograph of their finished work was their take-home for the days work. We had so much fun!! Next week, we are creating artwork all about kinetic art. Have you seen Calder’s Circus? (I’m a huge fan . . . ) Find out more about our camps here! And remember: you can purchase a collection of all of these lesson plans here. Happy weekend!!