Photography by Ann Arbor Miller

On a fine October morning last fall I headed up to photograph at Red Goose Gardens, located outside Shelly, Minnesota. My family has supported the farm through its community supported agriculture [CSA] program for several years. The farm is beautiful. I’ve always intended to photograph there, but somehow never seemed to have the time. My autumn photo outing was motivated by a local arts organization’s call for entry. The Arts Partnership is interested in doing what CSA farms do, but with art. So, art enthusiasts will be able to buy a share and receive a box brimming with work by different creatives. Anyway, the proposal deadline was adjusted so I’m back to working on my proposal and considering that first set of images.

Initially, my intention was to select pairs of images – so two complementary photographs would be printed side-by-side on a single piece of paper. However, I’ve been studying some of my selects from the October outing and am seeing ways to physically connect the images. I’m sharing two examples here. I don’t know that I consider either one of these a finished piece. My latest thought is to look for additional pieces or layers to include. For example, the working title of the image below is “Pepper Chicken” so I’m considering overlaying a recipe or a photograph of a recipe card for pepper chicken in the vacant space.

Regardless of what I ultimately come up with, I’m excited about the evolution of this little project. Best, Ann

Photography by Ann Arbor Miller

Creative Goals for 2012

Well, friends. Here are my creative goals for 2012. I tried to be a bit more realistic this year. You might notice a few repeats – or variations – on tasks that appeared on my 11 goals for 2011 list. I’ve found this exercise very helpful and think most everyone would find it useful.

Thanks for stopping by. – Ann

Just over a year ago I drafted a list of my 11 creative goals for 2011. I shared them online in hopes of making myself more accountable. In all honestly, I did review them a couple of times during 2011. However, reading them appears to be just about the only thing I accomplished [that’s not entirely true, but still]. The previous exercise was inspired by the endeavors of two photographer friends/colleagues. Well, one of them recently decided to publish a retrospect of sorts based on her goals and related accomplishments. Now, I feel compelled to do the same. Without further ado here are the results:

ONE  Practice patience. Stop trying to force images. Accomplished, partially. I now consider this one a life-long goal for image making and human existence in general. I will share that I often [but not always] found myself pausing during assignments, pausing to look, think and consider what kind of photograph I wanted to make. The photograph below was made while on assignment in Moorhead, Minn., for Minnesota Public Radio News as part of ongoing coverage of the lockout of union workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa.

Union worker lockout at Amercian Crystal Sugar Co.'s Moorhead, Minnesota plant

TWO  Exhibit my work. Accomplished! This goal was by far my most successful of the year. I had photographs exhibited in both “Woman As Photographer” and “Where In The World” at the Mpls Photo Center. A small selection of aerials of 2011 flooding were included in an interactive display as part of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s “The Raging Red and Mighty Mississippi” exhibit. And most importantly, I collaborated with the lovely and talented Britta Trystad [pictured on the left below] to create “Parallels: A Curious Pairing of Photographs“. Parallels was on display for the month of August at DK Custom Framing @ Gallery 14 in downtown Fargo. Thanks to Mr. Dave Arntson for the photograph below.

Parallels: A Curious Pairing of Photographs

THREE  Attend a documentary-based workshop. Fail. My intention was to attend the Mountain Workshops in Kentucky. However, cost, distance and time away from home just started to feel like too much. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. I haven’t given up on attending this – or another similar workshop – in 2012, but I need to do a better job of planning to make it happen. I did attend a one-day workshop for creative entrepreneurs in Minneapolis in early October. My attendance at Giant Steps was made possibly by a scholarship sponsored by Springboard for the Arts. The photograph below was created through a window at the Guthrie Theater, which hosted the workshop.

View from the Guthrie Theater

FOUR  Knit a scarf and a pair of socks. Fail. I got as far as partially knitting a scarf with the most beautiful purple yarn, but those efforts were short lived. While the scarf remains unfinished, the socks are a mere dream.

FIVE  Build a searchable image archive online. Fail. The only thing that needs to happen is for me to make the time to sort, caption and upload files to my PhotoShelter account. Every year I tell myself I need to do this, usually a few months before spring flooding arrives in the Red River Valley. Watch for this goal to return on my 2012 list.

SIX  Experiment with video and share the results. Fail. My poor 5D Mark II has never even had its video capabilities turned on. How sad is that!?

SEVEN  Pursue and publish a personal project. Fail. Of all my failed goals this one is the most troubling to me. I had a solid concept in The Bottom Line and did pursue it to a point, but then spring flooding [and an abundance of assignment work] hit. Shortly thereafter, I struggled to get caught up on work tasks that were ignored during the flood. Then, my family purchased a new house and moved across town. After that, I’m sure there was something else that came up and kept coming up. Clearly, I did not make this goal or project – which remains a concept only at this point – a priority.

EIGHT  Volunteer to photograph for NILMDTS. Fail. I did attend a training workshop and activate my status as a volunteer. However, I have not been able to take on any actual sessions for the organizations [primarily due to scheduling conflicts].

NINE  Contact photo editors at 11 national publications. Fail. I sent a couple of emails, but that’s about it. On the plus side, I did work with several new publications in 2011 [Midwest Living, High Country News and Indian Country Today Media Network] and organizations [The Humane Society of the United States, West Central Initiative and Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]. Another goal to repeat in 2012.

TEN  Design a set of postcards and thank you cards. Fail. I did create a postcard to serve as our family’s seasonal greeting card [see below]. We mailed it in an envelope because I wanted to use two photographs and not give up space to mailing information and a stamp. The printing and paper quality were excellent so this is another goal that might come back around. Thanks to Britta Trystad for photographing our little family.

Our family

ELEVEN  Create images that rely on emotion. Accomplished, sort of. I thought it was emotion I wanted to capture, but after looking at images from 2011 I realized it’s really more about reaction and interaction. This could be one person interacting to another or it could be how a person or object relates to a particular place or scene. Like goal No. 1, I think this endeavor is more of an ongoing effort. The photograph below was created in recent weeks for Minnesota Public Radio News during a Kurdish language class in Moorhead.

Kurdish Class

That’s the official [and rather lengthy] year-end report on my 11 creative goals for 2011. I’ll be back with a list of a dozen goals for 2012 next week.

Happy New Year. – Ann

Scotty & Princess in New Town, North Dakota

The folks at the Mpls Photo Center continue an impressive string of group shows with the “Where In The World” exhibition. This show features images by dozens of photographers from across the United States. The show juror was Toby Kamps of The Menil Collection in Houston.

I’m pleased to share that my photograph of “Scotty & Princess” [above] is among those in the exhibit. This photograph was made last March in New Town, N.D., while I was on assignment for an editorial client. This is the second time in recent months that I’ve exhibited in Minneapolis as part of a juried show. [More details are here.]

The opening reception for “Where In The World” is set for tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. I’ll be there and can’t wait to see the entire show. Best, Ann

P.S. If you don’t happen to be in Minneapolis tonight, feel free to stop by to check out “Where In The World” anytime before Nov. 27.

Fargo Senior Photographer

It’s funny how connections work. You meet Person A who knows Person B and suddenly you are having coffee with Person C and photographing Person D’s wedding. Oh, and Person E, who went to high school with Person A, needs photography services for her marketing materials.

A more visually interesting example would be McKenna [pictured above and below] who just happens to be the BFF [that’s best friend forever] of Callie, who I photographed a couple months back. You can see Callie’s photographs and learn more about her portrait session here.

I’m pretty sure McKenna and I wouldn’t have met if I wouldn’t have already photographed Callie. McKenna was admittedly putting off having her senior pictures created. She liked Callie’s photographs and what Callie had to say about the experience. So, we connected and spent a lovely evening with spectacular light at a nature center near Buffalo River State Park. What made the session extra fun was having Callie [pictured with McKenna below] help out.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a referral over an advertisement in the yellow pages [or seemingly random Google search] any day. – Ann

P.S. Yes, McKenna is holding a snake in one of the photographs. She assured us that it was a common and very harmless Gardner snake.

Fargo Senior Photographer

Fargo Senior Photographer

Fargo Senior Photographer

Fargo Senior Photographer

Fargo Senior Photographer

Fargo Senior Photographer

Fargo Senior Photographer

Fargo Senior Photographer