Archive for the ‘News+Happenings’ Category

Like Mother, Like Daughter

It isn’t very often that I enter juried photography exhibits. In fact, I can’t think of a single exhibition I’ve entered outside the Red River Valley.

However, I seem to be all about doing things I’ve never done before. I thought it was a trend, but I think it might have morphed into a way of life. Or something like that.

The photography community in the Midwest has a fabulous resource in the Mpls Photo Center. The organization seeks to make a difference in photography by encouraging photographers to meet, socialize, learn, grow, create and exhibit. The only thing I don’t like about the Mpls Photo Center is that they are located in Minneapolis, which is four hours [or so] from Fargo. That said, I’m grateful for the center’s existence.

I’m also grateful to be participating in a fabulous group show at the center with other women photographers. My photograph [above] “Like Mother, Like Daughter” will be exhibited as part of “Woman As Photographer: Documenting Life As A Woman,” which opens one week from today. I’m planning to attend an evening reception, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 11, and not just because they promised great food and music. [The exhibit closes on April 17 so there is plenty of time to check it out, if you happen to be in the Twin Cities.] The exhibit was curated by Christina Chang, assistant curator at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, and is featured in the current issue of the Mpls St. Paul Magazine.

The young girl featured in “Like Mother, Like Daughter” skipped an afternoon nap to join her mother, grandmother, aunts and other women for an outing to a nail salon as part of wedding day preparations. I also photographed the wedding, which was a lovely backyard affair that was held the following day.

Happy Friday! – Ann

P.S. I stand corrected. I just remembered I had two photographs exhibited in 2009 as part of the Women in Photojournalism conference exhibition at the Las Vegas Flamingo Hotel.

The Bottom Line

Today marks two years since the big L. That’s “L” as in layoff.

That’s right. Here’s some paperwork and the door. You are done. Effective immediately.

Never mind the wedding at the courthouse in 30 minutes. It’s the one I’d waited more than a year to photograph for my weekly photo column in the paper.

Never mind the awards and accolades I won for the company over the past five plus years.

Never mind how hard I worked. I still remember the night I finished an eight-hour plus shift only to come home and receive a call from an editor about a possible train-pedestrian fatality. I was back on the street within minutes and filed photographs on deadline for the next day’s front page.

None of it matters. In fact, nothing matters except the bottom line – as in the company’s bottom line.

For the past few years we’ve all heard about this glorious place called Fargo, North Dakota. It’s a city where a couple of special bubbles exist. First, we heard about the housing bubble. More recently, talk and media reports have focused on the unemployment bubble. Boy, you sure are lucky to live and work in Fargo. I’ve heard that comment – or something like it – from a lot of folks who don’t reside in the upper Midwest.

You betcha I’m lucky to live here, but I’m not immune from unemployment. I’m not exempt from layoffs just because I live in a place where the economy isn’t as bad as another place. I too collected unemployment, filed weekly eligibility reviews and navigated a bureaucratic process that is both humiliating and humbling.

I am not alone. The numbers assure me there are lots of folks dealing with layoffs, cuts, reduced hours, reduced wages, furloughs and other economic-based unpleasantness. Yes, even in this ice box of an on-the-verge-of-another-record-breaking-flood place unemployment and underemployment exist.

That’s what this – not just my this – but lots of folks’ this is all about. Someone else’s bottom line.

How many people in our community received The Letter and The Talk. Perhaps, your letter said as mine did, “Due to economic reasons, we are doing a reduction in workforce. Effective today, you are being laid off from … .” Perhaps, not.

I know it isn’t personal or about my performance as a worker. It’s about money. It’s about being profitable. However, it is also about my life, my livelihood and – as I’ve come to learn during the past 24 months – my identity.

Effective today, my colleague Sarah McCurdy, who also experienced the reality of her employer’s bottom line in 2009, and I announce The Bottom Line.

This bottom line is a documentary project. It seeks to tell the stories of 29 individuals whose employment in Fargo has been or is being impacted, reduced or eliminated due to economic reasons. Our intent is to give a face and voice to people in our community who know all too well about the bottom line. We believe a community conversation about the recession, recovery and economic realities is valuable and worthwhile. We believe stories about real people are important.

We invite anyone interested in submitting their story for consideration to complete an informational questionnaire and submit it by May 10. Copies of the questionnaire are also available in the lobby of 417 Main Ave. in downtown Fargo.

We encourage everyone to join us on facebook and spread the word about The Bottom Line.

If you have questions or comments, post them on The Bottom Line facebook page or email us at thebottomlinefargo [at] gmail [dot] com.

We believe these stories matter and deserve sharing.

Thanks for reading. – Ann

I’m very excited to announce my first annual holiday print sale. Four photographs – each created in 2010 – are available for purchase.

Uneditioned 8×12 prints are $34 each. Add $6 for shipping. Pick up is available in downtown Fargo.

Interested?! I sure hope so. To purchase your selected photographs, send an email to annarbormiller [at] gmail [dot] com with “holiday print order” in the subject line. Buy one for yourself and three for your best friends.

I am a fan of giving art – specifically photographs – for gifts. Two other great sources for original creations are Fargo photographer Robb Siverson‘s Holiday Bargain Bin and the 50-some fine photographers included in the Third Annual Fraction Magazine Holiday Print Sale. Wow.

Happy Shopping! Ann

P.S. North Dakota sales tax is included in print prices.

Women's Way Calendar Project

Awards are nice. Unexpected awards are even nicer.

It turns out the Women’s Way calendar project recently received the National Public Health Information Coalition 2010 Gold Award for Excellence in Public Health Communication in the outsourced print/graphic specialty project category. The 18-month calendar, which features my photographs of North Dakota women, is being distributed by the state Department of Health as a tool to promote regular screening for breast and cervical cancer.

What’s great about this award is that I didn’t even know the folks in Bismarck had submitted the project for consideration. And, neither did our project manager Anita Hoffarth over at Reach Partners, a Fargo-based consulting firm that specializes in health communication.

That’s what I call a nice surprise.

Happy Wednesday, Ann

P.S. More photographs of the beautiful women of North Dakota and more details about the project are online in a previous journal entry. Feel free to take a look.

Women's Way Calendar Project

'You Make My Heart Sink'

Good causes appear to be in abundance around Fargo-Moorhead lately.

Count me among the 80 or so creative types who have contributed work to the fifth annual Bras on Broadway, which raises money to support those fighting breast cancer. This year’s event is set for Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the fabulous Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo. Tickets are $65 per person and last I checked there were just 40 spots left [here’s where you go online to get a ticket].

My contribution is a black and white photographed titled “You Make My Heart Sink” [pictured above]. I’ve been intending to contribute to Bras on Broadway in the past, but never seemed to get around to it. You see artists can’t just donate any piece of art. What makes this event special is that everything [and I mean EVERYTHING] has a bra or breast theme.

I had a concept for a photograph that I wanted to create. Kind of an illustration that used old thermostat dial plates. The problem was I couldn’t find the parts I needed. It didn’t help that I put off working on the project until just a few days before it was due. Anyway, I had a plan B, but that photograph – which involved a uniquely-shaped carrot and a pink breast cancer awareness pin – didn’t really work out either.

When I was running around town looking for old, used and/or cheap thermostat dials I stopped by the Habitat ReStore store in Moorhead. They often have fabulous finds and I was hoping to locate what I needed. Anyway, I noticed the old double sink in the parking lot at ReStore. Someone had probably dropped it off as a donation. I looked at it on my way in and then again on my way out. I kept staring at the sinks and wondered if they might do the trick. Figuring it couldn’t hurt I photographed the sink and moved on with my errands.

I’m reasonably happy with the photograph and am grateful to a friend for coming up with an appropriate title. But, if anyone has a couple of old thermostat dials sitting around I’d be happy to take them off your hands. I have a feeling that next year’s Bras on Broadway event will be here before we know it.

Happy Friday. Ann

P.S. Bras on Broadway raised more than $40,000 last year. Here’s hoping people are feeling even more generous this year.