Jane Lena Schulman: Family Inheritances I and II
Photographer Jane Lena Schulman uses traditional methods in the wet darkroom to produce stunning silver gelatin prints of her various projects, including today’s featured work, Family Inheritances I and II. Both series explore the psychological and metaphorical world of the self. In Family Inheritances I, she uses a dress form in conjunction with long exposures, to investigate the idea of transformation and persona. With Family Inheritances II, she considers not only her place in her family and the generations before her, but her place in the world. Her slow, methodological approach to image making and her years of understanding the human psyche add to her nuanced and layered photographs.
Jane is a fine art photographer, educator and practicing psychotherapist.She received a BA in art with an emphasis in photography from San Francisco State University in 1978 and an MA in Clinical Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University in 1982. While for many years her career as a psychotherapist and university educator allowed her only intermittent periods of photographic activity, she has returned now to photography in a dedicated way “for it is in creating photographs,” Jane has written, that she can “experience moments of grace, feel transported, and perhaps be transformed”.
Her photographs have recently been included in group exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography, PhotoPlace Gallery, the Mpls Photo Center, the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and Photo LA.
Jane is also actively engaged in designing and facilitating participatory photography programs that provide an expressive and meaningful voice for those who’ve not previously had an effective and reliable one. Her ongoing project, From Latent to Visible: A Photography and Writing Program for Adults Living With Severe and Persistent Mental Illness, continues to demonstrate that the study and practice of photography can contribute to positive psychological, emotional and behavioral change for individuals living with chronic mental illness. Jane is very grateful for the continuing mentorship of Brenton Hamilton and Steve Moulton.
It was light that first drew me to photography, and it is natural light still that inspires and enlivens me as I photograph. Along with the human form and vintage props, light is almost always a featured element in the images I create.
Due to personal inclination (I’ve always asked “Why?”) and professional activity (I’ve been a psychotherapist for many years) I am interested in exploring and representing in my photographs the internal landscape of human experience, especially the psychological, emotional and interpersonal influence, from generation to generation, of our primary family relationships. I photograph from deep feeling, and so it is the feelings associated with these experiences and family inheritances that I seek to express and impart.
I’ve used traditional tools and materials in making these images, as I customarily do, and have employed methods, including multiple exposure, juxtaposition, and movement, to facilitate the expression of the unconscious in this work. While I welcome the “happy accidents” that occur with this letting go of some control, the images are presented as “straight” photographs – in the square format for its balance and containment, in black and white for its symbolism, contrast, and beautiful tones, and most often with maximum depth of field for its clarity and directness.
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