If you follow my Instagram or Facebook you probably saw me post about the street photography meet up I hosted. I held it in honor of my first gallery exhibition for my small town street photography series coming up on November 15th. I wanted to connect with other like minded photographers and get to know people who follow me on social media more personally. It was also an opportunity for me to use a lens I love, but never get to use during sessions, my Lensbaby.
I had so much fun just being creative again without the pressures of client work. It's a must for any photographer to do their own work and fill up their creative cup. I hope to host another one soon. So if you're not keeping up with me on Facebook or Instagram fine me at kellyhowellphoto.
Join me at my first gallery exhibition "Small Towns" on November 15th from 6pm - 8pm at The Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom, California.
Below are my favorites from the meetup that I took.
Today I finished finalizing the photographs from my small town series I am including in my gallery exhibit (opening reception November 15th 6pm-8pm at the Gallery at 48 Natoma). As I was looking over the photos in my moms kitchen I started to reflect on these truly unique places. Why because I am sitting here writing this blog post in the dark. I am one of those millions of people in the California power outage. So are all the towns I visited. Also a lot of small towns in rural California areas are one fire right now too.
I won’t get into the politics of it all, but I can’t even access my photos right now, since this is a photography website. So this the one and only post that will be without photos. Sorry. Anyway, the only time we have had power in the past week is Friday. Placerville, where I live, is engulfed in darkness. It’s the weirdest thing to drive up highway 50 with no street lights, only headlights and not see any house lights on either. The other small towns I photographed are all in the same situation. Thousands of people not being able to do their household chores, throwing away all their groceries and loosing money all because PG&E didn’t do what they were supposed these past 30 years, fix their infrastructure in a timely manner.
Small businesses thrive in small towns because it’s based on tourism and locals. When you cut that off people suffer. Their livelihood suffers. In my opinion PG&E needs to be held more accountable. No where else are these things happening, not even in other states that have just as many intense wildfires. But there’s nothing I can do at the moment except complain, right?
For now the power is off. I am hoping to get out in between all this craziness and document the whole thing. It’s the weirdest and eeriest thing to see your town go from a busy town to ghost town. I imagine this is what it would look like if a major doomsday type of event happened. Here’s a better idea do what it all looks and feels like.
The very first day PG&E shut off power people weren’t panicking, but they were definitely on edge. People also were confused. For awhile the stop lights blinked red and then just completely went out. Some drivers knew the rules (treating it as a four way stop) others just would blow through the intersection when they saw it was flashing. Driving my son to school that was incredibly scary!
All the gas stations are closed except for the Express Fuel that Red Hawk Casino owns. Every time I drive by it the lines are 10 cars deep at each pump. Most businesses are closed in Placerville. There are a few open like Raley’s, Home Depot, and the Bean Barn. The Bean Barn has a huge generator parked right outside of it. It’s a drive thru coffee shop only, so the line is 20 cars deep every morning spilling over into the other businesses nearby parking lots. This is the only time I have ever seen their line that long. I went into Raley’s before the outage and people were stocking up on canned food and ice. I was there at 9 in the morning and the ice was almost gone. Today I went into Bel Air in Folsom they had sold out of ice.
There’s not a generator to be found near this region. When I walk outside that’s all hear and smell. When I drive down to Folsom to get some supplies and hang out at my parent’s house every one from up the hill is in the city. I have had to go to Costco three times this week. I constantly over hear conversations about the apocalyptic power outage while shopping.
Thankfully I have parents that live in Folsom and are helping us out. We go down there to cook food and hang out. We drive back in the emptiness of the dark. When get inside we turn on our camp lantern, light candles, turn on our solar lanterns and make sure everything else has batteries. Thank goodness we have propane so we can make breakfast. However, my dishes are starting to smell and laundry is piling up. Oh yeah, I forgot we have to conserve water as the water plants are only running on generators as well. If anything happened to the running water it would really be apocalyptic.
So hopefully the power is going to be restored soon and life in these small towns can go back to normal. What about you? Are you one of the millions without power? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Art is a strange thing. There are so many opinions about what is good, what's not, why would someone buy that, and that's just ugly. But art is completely subjective. That's why it's strange. What may be ugly to you is beautiful to someone else. So I often wonder how do people pick art? Is it by process, is it connection, is it representative, is it trendy?
For me buying art is about a few different aspects. I think these aspects are important for picking any art that hangs in your home.
When buying art connection is the key player. I only buy art if I emotionally connect with the painting, photo, sculpture, etc. Sometimes knowing more about the artist as well helps make that connection. Maybe you relate to their story or just like them as a person. Whatever it is there has to be a connection with it.
2. Giving Back
I often base my decisions on any purchase, especially art, if they give back to the community and who they give to. The reason for this is because I know they have the same values as me. I like to donate sessions to fundraisers in my city. One because I know it helps that fundraiser's bottom line and two it makes me feel good to know that I can help even if it's only a little. If someone sees my name there and wants a session with me because of it, I'm all for it.
3. Sustainable Quality
There's a lot of cheaply made products out there now that are convenient and easy. Sure you'll save a bit of money, but in the long run those cheap products are just going to get tossed. Art is something that should last a lifetime, if not longer. Treat it as a collectible, an heirloom, so for me it's important that it's high quality, but also made with sustainable materials.
I try to buy all sustainable products so why should art be any different. You are not going to see Walmart "hand painted" signs in my house or Target canvases. It just doesn't align with my values.
The next time you buy art consider your top three values and does it conform? Art you going to end up throwing it away a year later. Make sure you'll like that art not because it's trendy, but because it's truly valuable to you.
And an extra tip buy from an artist you love and collect their pieces. Connect with them and be their friend. They will cherish you forever for making their dreams come true!
Examples of Art I Love and Connect With
What's funny about this selection is that there are no photographers! I purposefully try to steer clear of other photographers for inspiration just so it feels like I'm not copying. Sometimes are subconscious does that unintentionally, especially when you see a lot of other photographers work.
On another note I hope you'll join me for my own gallery exhibition for my Small Towns series on November 15th from 6pm -8pm at the Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom, California. If not you can always catch my work here on my website.
For the past week or so I have been preparing for my first gallery show. I have been working on my Small Town series for the past year trying to come up with something worthy of swanky white gallery walls. Little did I know I would have plenty of photos that I love! I also discovered that I have a pretty distinct style as well and several themes emerged in my work. Not only can I tell stories of places with people and buildings, but with color, texture and pattern. Texture prominently emerged in my photos and it's one of the smaller stories within the series that I will be displaying.
Small old towns are covered in texture. You'll find texture in local art, decaying buildings and building material. Below is a few from the texture part of my series. I hope you enjoy!
Want to see the rest of the photos? Join me at the opening reception on November 15th from 6pm - 8pm at the Gallery at 48 Natoma in Folsom, California.