Jamie Nelson, Talented Photographer

I was able to grab an interview with Jamie Nelson the photographer published in popular magazines Zink, Linie De Luxe, Plaza, and Highlights. Her work is also shown in art galleries across the globe.

I was absolutely in love with her pictures the first time I glanced upon them.

She uses bold color and graphics that really pop out at the viewer. Vivid is a great word to describe her art, and yes it is much more art than fashion, it’s the kind of pictures you would hang up on a wall to enjoy daily.

Her work is very distinct as quoted by Anti-mag “Well, I dare say she is pushing the envelope in that genre of photography and she’s doing it very well.” Another great article at

http://www.anti-mag.com/jamienelson.htm

I hope you enjoy the article as much as I do.

What are your inspirations?

Jamie: I have never been very inspired by other photographers. I have always drawn inspiration from life experiences and my deep urges to share my passion and vision with people.

I am mostly inspired on the day of the shoot when the entire creative team pulls together to create.

I am inspired by the chaos of shoot days and the beauty of the final result that is created by several artists.

When did you realize you wanted to do what you’re currently doing and when did you begin?

Jamie: I was in my senior year of high school, getting ready to apply to Stanford for the pre-med program.

Ha ha, thank god that didn’t happen!

I took an art class and fell in love with photography and completely changed my direction.

What are your favorite items to use in your art?

Jamie: I enjoy bold, colorful clothing that makes a graphic statement and transforms the model.

However, lately I have been obsessed with shooting beauty and cosmetics.

In the same sense, I am inspired by bold, colorful makeup that creates graphic statements on the model and transforms her.

Do you have any favorite products or equipment you use when creating your art?

Jamie: I really don’t like to stress importance on equipment.

It has never been about what type of equipment I use.

I was always the poor kid in school with the junkiest camera.

Everyone likes to ask this question, but really, there is no special magical equipment in my opinion.

Are you a part of any artist communities online or offline?

Jamie: My favorite online community lately has been http://www.iqons.com.

There are some really amazing talents on there.

Do you have a favorite piece that you have photographed?

Jamie: I enjoy shooting with taxidermy animals for some reason.

It was a phase I went through for awhile.

They have been frozen in time with their one last movement or action in life.

They are still, quiet, yet bold. They seem to be an overall metaphor for my imagery.

I would like my models & imagery to hold the same tranquility and timelessness.

What themes do you have in your art?

Jamie:The work tends to be bold- whether colorful or colorless, there is always an element of boldness.

Each image is glossy and perfected, even if the content is rough, raw, or grungy.

I carry a lot of vintage aesthetic into each image- a juxtaposition of several eras of time that inspire me.

Do you see yourself moving in any new directions?

Jamie: I see myself moving into the commercial field quickly.

After I gain success in advertising campaigns, and top magazines, I’d love to be able to settle down a bit and focus on going back in the fine art direction.

Where can people view and or buy your work?

Jamie:My work is usually featured in internationally distributed magazines carried at Barnes & Nobles and Border’s. Although some are obscure foreign magazines that may be difficult to find.

I also am doing more art shows locally and internationally. The most current will be one in Rome in May.

What experiences or training has helped you grow as an artist?

Jamie: There are so many elements that have assisted my growth over the years.

School was very important to develop the technical aspect of my photography.

Having a solid team of other creatives around me as really made the artistic vision and flow easier to perfect.

Shooting consistently and practicing always teaches me something new.

When shoots go horribly wrong, I love it and get excited- I always learn so much from those ones!

Did you attend School or take any classes to get started?

Jamie: Yes, I went to Brooks Institute of Photography in CA for 4 years.

I also took an art class in High School, which initially piqued my interest for photography.

What advice would you give to beginner photographers?

Jamie: Develop your own style. Stay true to it. Try to get your work out to as many people as possible.

Be persistent. Be willing to make sacrifices for what you want

Gifted American Photographer Documents Grandeur, Plight of Mali’s Fabled Timbuktu

Timbuktu is a city that has long gripped the Western imagination. It sits on the Niger River, that clearly marked dividing line between the sandy deserts of North Africa and the green, moist, fertile lands of tropical and sub-tropical Africa, the iconic jungles we associate with Congo and a blazing equatorial sun.

Timbuktu is also rooted deeply in the English language. Even young children speak of Timbuktu in the sense of “as far away from where I am now as it is possible to get.” And some of its charm, too, derives simply from the euphony of the word: “Timbuktu” slips off the tongue. We also speak definitively of “Sub-Saharan Africa” as though that were itself a name. Is that not an odd thing to do? Would we ever call the United States and Mexico “Sub-Canadian America”?

Timbuktu has an importance belied by its geographic isolation because it has served now for millennia as the doorway between the deserts and the jungles of Africa. It is the passage that one had to walk through, when camels and canoes were the principal vehicles of African travel, to get from North Africa to Sub-Saharan Africa — and back again. It maintained that role well into the 20th century, and it maintains it still today, at least symbolically.

Because of its critical position as the gateway to the south, Arab traders and evangelists from the seventh and eighth centuries onward made Timbuktu a way station of very special significance. Its two principal mosques are magnificent works of architecture, and Timbuktu’s Islamic libraries have been compared in stature to those of Baghdad and Cairo.

Though it has been no stranger to conflict over the centuries, Timbuktu today is in acute, grave danger, a sort of danger it has not faced before. Timbuktu may actually risk being destroyed because Islamic militias are battling over the surrounding territory and the very city itself.

These militias, with fanatical zeal, have already damaged ancient tombs which commemorate the final resting place of Sufi saints, now deemed to be “idolatrous” by Ansar Dine, an extremist group. A dozen sacred tombs have already been vandalized.

Worse, Timbuktu’s ancient libraries, housing priceless collections of ancient Islamic texts that the UNESCO World Heritage Center estimates may number 300,000, (including books on early Islamic studies of mathematics and science — the treasure trove is not limited to religious tracts), are now at risk of being burned or destroyed.

These priceless texts cannot be replaced. Some of them exist solely as one-time, unique calligraphy on scrolls. Destroy the single copy in Timbuktu and there are no sister copies in Cairo or Baghdad to preserve its intellectual content. Though some manuscripts have been moved to safer repositories, too many remain in Timbuktu, where imams have preserved them for centuries. But the imams have never faced the threat they face today.

And yet these books and scrolls could be saved both in actuality and as digital copies — if there was a will and a way expressed by the greater international community that made this a focus of global concern. Part of the problem is that the calamity facing Timbuktu is not widely known in Europe and America.

And now comes a brilliant young American photographer and writer, Alexandra Huddleston, who has given a substantial portion of the last eight years of her life documenting, in magnificent images and moving words, the dire threat that faces Timbuktu, both its living people and its living treasures. She has put all her work into a book, a volume that will hold you prisoner.

Her 96-page text is titled “333 Saints: a Life of Scholarship in Timbuktu” and it tells the story of a city under siege — there is no less blunt way to put it — by Islamic fanatics who think nothing of killing people and less of killing texts. Supported in part by her Fulbright, Alexandra Huddleston tells in photographs and words the story of Timbuktu’s long lineage of Islamic scholarship, and of how that scholarship is now imperilled as never before.

In a short piece she wrote for the development group Kickstarter, Huddleston says that her book “tells a story of discovery, a rich and beautiful African intellectual culture that remains largely unknown in the West. It is a book about men and women who love books — scholars of all ages who seek knowledge and wisdom through learning. It is about a city that has built its identity around a culture of scholarship.”

Alexandra Huddleston is a native of Africa, the daughter of Foreign Service parents then stationed in Sierra Leone. Though she spent time growing up in Washington, D.C., she has traveled extensively all over the world and she fell in love with Mali, that mysterious home to so many elegant peoples that is so deeply hidden in the southern Sahara, a nation that gently touches, too, in its southern precincts, Africa’s moist, green lushness.

Alexandra was introduced to Mali by her mother Vicki Huddleston, who had two tours of duty at the U.S. Embassy in Mali, first as a staffer in the political and economic section early in her career and later as ambassador. Vicki Huddleston began her overseas journeys as a young Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, so Alexandra’s affection for remote and difficult places appears to be deep in her DNA.

Alexandra Huddleston’s work 333 Saints: a Life of Scholarship in Timbuktu” must be approached by American and European readers with a sense of urgency, for there is a real risk of cultural extinction here, the permanent loss of treasures that help inform us of who we are. There are scientific treasures here, too, dating from that period when Islamic science eclipsed the backward European scholarship of the Middle Ages.

Many in this country were aghast when the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan a dozen years ago, using precisely the same “logic” (that they are idolatrous) now being directed against Timbuktu’s Sufi saints and Islamic libraries.

But what is happening in Timbuktu is arguably much worse, because manuscripts encode vastly more human thought, history, emotion, and knowledge than stone statues are capable of doing. Where is the sense of outrage that is now needed?

Anyone who loves Africa will cherish this book. And by focussing attention on the dire predicament in Timbuktu, perhaps a solution can be found that will preserve this human heritage for those who come later, who may treat these treasures more wisely.

Read more about Alexandra Huddleston and her “333 Saints: a Life of Scholarship in Timbuktu” at:

http://www.alexandrahuddleston.com

Buy the book at:

http://kyoudaipress.wordpress.com