22 December 2009

Thanksgiving for Christmas... What?

Each year brings on different forms of thanksgiving. One would think, once I list some of mine that all might seem negative, but really they all are VERY positive. Each experience brought me that much closer to what has brought me some peace. Though, I will admit not without bumps and scrapes along the way. 
The beginning of the year started with me very unhappy in a position that I thought might push me to a permanently unhealthy state.  To the point that my body was literally breaking down on me. In real and painful and in some cases hard to treat without other repercussions. One day, before coming into my full time day job (I had a part time job working with an international artists' association which I enjoyed and I was also an adjunct professor) I went to an early morning Dr appointment making me late. I sent an email to my boss. Upon walking in the door, before I was settled, I was asked if "we could chat". Well.. of course... the false caring chit chat into the conference room where lo and behold 4 others I have never worked with in the office before and one of the HR "directors" were sitting. I giggled internally. But, I also had my cell phone with me, so I sent a txt to my director at the international group and secured that position prior to the end of this meeting (in which I was not listening and was looking forward to getting home to relax and get some lunch) So, as you can gather... Laid off and hired within 15 minutes.
Imagine this... my health changed immediately. During this experience, I began to meet more artists in Boston and from other countries and learn how they work and how projects were created. It was a wonderful experience. I also took on a Temp position at Adobe doing Quality Assurance. IT is hard to let go of something you have been doing for 12 years even though it makes you miserable. I think I always thought it was the companies, and then this last one, prior to Adobe, I thought maybe it was because I was such an awful miserable person (but that was their passive aggressive tactics, as I have seen in another friend's plight in another company almost to the letter). This is not the case. I no longer enjoyed QA. I NEEDED to get out of a toxic environment for me. My project was coming to an end, and finally was terminated. A way out.. Scary as it may have seemed at the time.. it is the BEST thing that EVER happened.

During the summer I took on teaching a lot of courses all at once. Thoroughly burned myself out, so I took a lot of trips all over the US.. a few to CA, and one to South Beach then back to MA to sit and reevaluate what my next plan was. 
Elisabeth Neville Photography began... for real this time. The backdrops that were leaning against a wall for 3 years, the lights I purchased and only used for my thesis, the skills I had learned from so many talented professors and artists, I finally had the opportunity. I have worked towards showing and starting a business. to this date I am doing both.
Now, there have been a few issues, for example last week, I had an accident. Not only was it an accident, but it was one for the papers, and I found out also briefly on the news. 
Yes, well I had a rollover accident on Rt 93 southbound in the Tip O'Neil tunnel. Not only did I have a rollover, but I had a 5 roll - rollover. This is where the end to the thanksgiving story comes. 

Yes, I know... you were waiting for the answer to :
"Why is she writing about Thanksgiving when it is CLEARLY Christmas time?"

Answer: I am BEYOND Thankful for ALL of the following...

1. A company that was toxic paid me to leave, and I had another job before I was even out of the meeting telling me I was being paid to leave.
2. My health got 99.9% better
3. Got closer to my Artistic Goals
4. Removed the 12 year burden that was holding me down and back
5. Two shows coming up in the new year. Both Solo
6. I survived a significant accident with bruises, cuts and concussion

7. Most importantly, throughout all of this the support I have received from my family, from my Northeastern family and all of my loving friends who have helped me, and allowed me to photograph them, and now.. The friends and family that are driving me around and helping me out while I recover.. (You all know how hard it is for me to ask for help.. thank you for just dealing with me and helping me regardless.)


I am SO thankful for you ALL! Have a wonderful Holiday!!!

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13 December 2009


The importance of Advertising is becoming more and more clear to me as time goes by. I am realizing that simply speaking the words that I have gone out on my own is not quite enough. I must now actually SHOW that I have done the deed. Well. Here it is. I have done it. I am now, advertising my site and my work and I am off to the races on the first steps.

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02 December 2009


Here are a few images of wedding portraiture. The beautiful bride and groom on a fun but, rainy day in New Hampshire. She could not have been more beautiful and her family was wonderful and the group was fun. The portraits of the bride and groom are the most enjoyable and happiest parts of the shoot for me.

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01 December 2009

New Cameras

Something I realized through teaching digital is my love of film. Inters tingly enough as much as I used to complain about the film and the processing and the time required, I am missing exactly that. 
Recently a friend of a close friend handed down bags and bags of camera equipment. Within these many bags were studio lighting packages, and 2 beautifully maintained medium format cameras.

I am inspired and now working on a new project. Getting the subjects to pose for this cause that I feel so very strongly about will be the challenge. Not only will I be opening myself up to vulnerability but also those who have faced a similar life experience. 40x50. What a challenge. Off I go...

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22 November 2009

Storytelling through photography

Something that I try to do with my photographs is tell a story through the eyes of the subject. How they are feeling and just grab a slight glimmer of who they are. 

Today while I was searching for something completely different, I ran across an exquisite website and story that moved me to my core. I thought it would be something that should be shared.
The artist, and writer who so eloquently captured me is Phillip Toledano. If you click on the image, you can follow the link to this site. I hope it is enjoyed equally.

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18 November 2009


Head shots are always interesting. Trying to capture the basics of a person's looks for function, while still adding my special personality capture in there also.

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12 November 2009

Digital Output and Light Magenta

Something I have noticed of late is the blinking of the "out of ink" light on my printer, and the necessity to visit Hunt Photo and Video Store on quite a frequent basis. Now,let me put this in a realistic light...

I am able to print my images the way I want them. And I do not need to repeat 15 times to the clerk behind the counter that I have already color corrected them, and they need to simply print to matte paper and be SURE there are no scratches or streaks. Only to find streaks and my images bound so tightly into a box that I need a blow torch to release them and then return them to have them reprinted the day they are to be framed.

But, the down side.. I am funding every print shop, ink jet and paper company on the east coast to get my work ready for this potential show.

In NO WAY am I complaining, this is my FIRST SOLO show that will NOT be in a coffee shop, liquor store, or friend's home. I am beside myself with excitement. But, who would have thought... Light Magenta... Light Magenta... would be the bane of my existence..

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28 October 2009

Global Focus: Media and Communication Technology

Last week I was asked to speak on the copyright laws and rights for new media to the Global Focus: Media and Communication Technology class in the Graduate program at Northeastern University's College of Professional Studies. Other than the obvious honor in being asked to lecture on such a relevant and contentious subject in these times, I was also a bit intimidated at such a task. Where to start? Where to end?

There is really a loophole to every single law that is out there. Register your work with the copyright offices though the US government (Something I have done with many series of my photographs). It is inexpensive and fairly simple to do, though once this task has been completed.. there are a few things that need to also be considered.

  1. The creator is not always the owner of the copyright. For example if this media was created on a school campus, or it was created at a company, the school or company may own the rights to this media.
  2. To actually take action, the first thing the owner should have is their work registered with the copyright office (this is where the ® comes from). They also they copyright information "copyright - year of publication - name". In my case.. ©2009 elisabeth neville and I may or may not add the ® depending on if the specific series HAS been registered with the copyright office yet.
  3. There is the "orphan works law" which is still pending, as of 2008. If someone uses someone else's media, and shows that they have made enough effort to look for the owner's permission but has not found them, they all bets are off. What is enough effort? That is an objective question. I could Google® somone's name, call the first phone number I find, realize it is a wrong number, write down 5 more Google® searches and that may be considered enough of a search.
  4. The laws that apply in the USA with copyright, do not necessarially apply in any other country. I may have all of my artwork copyrighted and registered in USA under the copyright office, but if someone in Iran surfs the web, finds an image, downloads it and uses it in a compaign, I could TRY to fight it, but chances are, our government will have absolutely no leg to stand on there.
YouTube is an entirely separate subject. This is a site where there is the capability to post video, audio and any number of other new media and link to it and repost it and add it to your own site. Should there be questionable content in this posted media, such as a recording that is already owned by a recording studio, then it is immediately pulled down and the poster is alerted to the reasoning.

Here is where, one of the loopholes comes into play. Should this SAME sound track be edited, or a certain about of time (possibly seconds, I do not know the laws of the Amer Music Assoc), or it is spun differently and it is put onto the same audio or video that was previously posted, it may be approved. Why is this? It is now.. LEGAL. Why? It has been edited, and it no longer is the same piece o new media that was copyrighted. (loophole). This would be why, upon surfing that site many times there are funny clips, for example the audio clip of President Obama supposedly calling Kanye West an idiot (or whatever he called or did not call him). As fast as a few people possibly downloaded it and heard it and passed it around and the White House intern was fired, the sound byte was taken down. Whatever office it leaked out of made the legal request, and YouTube as quickly took the link down. With this, they are complying. No legal action need happen.

So, long babling story short... yes, I am at the end.. What did I learn? Copyright laws scare the heck out of me and make me VERY paranoid about every piece that I put out on the web. Every peice I put in a show, and someone could bring a camera to. But do I assume that I am so famous, and good that they would be trying to sell it? NO. I am not so Narcicistic. But, I am finally beginning to feel the paranoia that others have felt for years.

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26 October 2009

Taking Stock in it

I have now found myself in a different place. I have moved to the world of Stock Photography. My work may be found for purchase. TheMedicalFile.com or PeterArnold.com will be selling my work for the next two years. (run a search for my name on either) How do I feel about that? That is a good question.

If it was badly, then I would not have done it. Purely and simply put. But, it is a strange idea to have people shopping on a site, mulling over images that I created as an art form in the same fashion one would a melon in the local grocery store. Nah.. that one is too firm at the navel.. that one is too soft.. I cannot smell the fruit.. and so on.

Why do I feel it is a good thing? I need the exposure. I am making a real go at the photography "thing". It has been in my blood since the first time my dental hygienist brought me in to "help" her process the images of my 4 yr old teeth. Ohhh Mary Jane. The days of playing with and sometimes jamming my father's cameras. This is what I want to do!

The contact was a woman I met through social networking.. Linkedin. I joined a group of Women in Photography, and asked for some feedback on my website redesign. From this I got a great critique. Most of which I worked on and made some changes and updates and I feel they will benefit me in the end. But, Social networking to the positive, one of the women from this group happened to be form The Medical Files site, and she enjoyed my "expecting" series on my site. I have to say.. Where I was VERY against social networking and thought it would never catch on, much like those new fangled microwave contraptions, I find myself eating my socially networked words.

If starting with stock, is where I start. With a company such as Peter Arnold and The Medical Files behind me, then I think that is pretty great. Which pictures did I use for this? See below.

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20 October 2009

Simple Color Portrait

A friend of mine asked me to shoot her portrait, and she wanted a simple image. I got my lights and white background and went down to my little "studio" and set up. A couple of things I needed to work on was shooting on a white background and also shooting in color, and also not going for the moody lighting. I so enjoy the moody lighting.

One of the things that I have found to work the most with my portraits is having the model there while I set up. During this time I am able to talk and get to know them more and get more of a feeling for what they really want. In
this situation, it was actually a friend of mine so I set up prior to her arrival. This was a shoot working on color more than the capturing of the being, since I know this being.

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Eugene Richard

I am very excited to be able to hear a wonderful speaker, Eugene Richard. Since joining the ASMP New England. (American Society of Media Photographers) I have had many opportunities to go to artists' talks, but this one is thrilling. E. Richard has a wonderful documentary eye that captures the honesty of the world, starting in Dorchester, MA. The first work of his I saw was his work called "Dorchester Days".

He documented the racially fueled times of busing which ultimately became the basis of Boston's reputation to this very day. I remember being in Atlanta and being asked how I lived in such a racist city. I thought.. aren't I in the south? I thought I was in the racist area NOW not when I am home..

E. Richard went on to document the plight of many more world wide and was determined to make sure the word was spread. his work is brilliant and very moving. I learn something new with every image of his I see. I think they are beautiful, yet at times I am brought to tears with what might seem to be a political bash over the head. I think the Eugene Richard talk should not be missed!!!

All images © Eugene Richards from ASMP New England Chapter Site

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17 October 2009

Artistic Love

There is much to be said for doing what you love. My father began drawing again and I cannot express how proud I am of his talent and his desire. It seems that no matter what he touches he seems to excel. With this, he has been going to Colorado to the J.D. Hillberry workshops. This man has such skill and realism that his illustrations are photographic like.

Recently I received an email alerting me to take a look at the student work .. and lo and behold what did I see.. Before and After work of the students' works. What student is one of them? My inner pride beams even more.. Yes, Joseph Neville is among one of the students. Not only is he one of the students, but he is shown multiple times. To see his work shown and to see that he is one of the best among many. Again.. my pride is busting out.

Now, this leads me to my next thoughts. Drawing an image to the point of realism vs photography. Which is considered to be more artistic? What is art? This also leads to the next question. Film vs Digital? I think these are the questions that I need to answer before I can move on. I think that is something that many are questioning at this point in time. Digital has such a stronghold on everything. I am not the first to come up with this question.

Here is an example of my father's work. Also, an example of my puppy Milo who I also love!:

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16 October 2009

The Medical File

This week is the week, my work goes up on "The Medical File" website. I have officially sold my work to a stock agency and it will be up for all to see. There is a small insecure piece of me that wonders if anyone will be interested in my work and want to purchase it. I think that they are nice images and that they show the model in a good light.

What makes a good image though? Is it the lighting? Is it just the subject matter? When it comes to stock images, is it a matter of my selling out? I would like to think that this is an expansion of my work, and that potentially I will have more exposure.

The pictures I used for these were the "expecting" series of images. The model was in approximately her 32 week and she is absolutely gorgeous when she is pregnant or not. The baby, a boy is also just as gorgeous. I have not had the opportunity to photograph him yet, but soon, soon I hope. All I can hope is this will open up some new avenues and not close doors. Upward and onward I say!

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15 October 2009

First post

I must say that as a first post I think I will write what I hope to achieve in both this blog and in the future. I am a portraiture and fine art photographer. What are my inspirations? Oh so many..
One of the first is sitting on the floor looking at the Vanity Fair portraits. All the beautiful actors and actresses. Posed, and also some in seemingly natural positions. I wanted to be one of the people who could capture that. I wanted to capture the essence of each person.

The irony of this, should you actually know me, is I am a fairly shy person. Sometimes taken as intimidating, and often covered with harsh sarcasm. People are a mystery and I enjoy watching from a far, but not necessarily engaging. Herein is the difficulty in capturing a true feeling and soul of each model.

I find my own emotions in each person and I engage in that fashion while drawing on their strengths and build a piece of beautiful art around them. In the end I find myself with almost anything. Sometimes a surprise.

Here I found rage, I found sadness, I found great beauty. This model brought out so many emotions in me that I found myself asking her to model for numerous different situations and shoots. The lighting was drawn from the lighting I loved of the 1940s and 50s. The original work and simplistic lighting used and seen in the Vanity Fair magazines that I had strewn all over my floor when I was younger. I must admit. I still now find myself on the site, or on a web browser searching for those images and clicking through them amazed at the beauty of them. Or in a book store purchasing books upon books only to pile them up in the corner of my studio. (Which is really just a small cramped room in my apartment filled with everything and ANYTHING I can get into it.)

What do I hope to accomplish in the future? My own style that still calls to the beauty of the Vanity Fair images. I want there to be a day when some young artist is sitting with books on the floor and wondering who is that photographer who shot that image, as I often do. What was the lighting and How can I reproduce it to get the dimensionality? What kind of props might I use to achieve this style yet make it my own?

As I go through these learning processes and potentially have the opportunities to meet other artists and see their work and have the opportunity to share upcoming shows. I will try to keep updated and share as much as I can.. I will leave this with an image that I have always loved and I found this morning during a random search online. The image is by Edward Steichen (1879-1973) who was a Pictoralist. He was known to have been a controversial artist for shooting his work for a more commercial purpose. He became one of the top/ lead photographers for Conde Nast and Vanity Fair. From this comes this image of Gloria Swanson. I think this is absolutely breathtaking and I remember attempting to emulate his style in highschool, yet failing miserably...

Edward Steichen (1879-1973), Gloria Swanson
owned by: Condé Nast magazines

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