Jane Fulton Alt: Fire and Water
Jane Fulton Alt is the perfect photographer to follow our post on the Women’s March yesterday and to continue our celebration of women in photography this week. She’s a passionate and concerned mother, wife, sister, friend, mentor, photographer, and human being, who I greatly admire. Jane has a new series, Fire and Water, that is an extension of her well-celebrated project and book, The Burn, where she connects the human experience with the natural world. Her new series speaks to the unknown of the future and past, where worlds collide and certainty falls away to reveal new paths, new joys, new concerns, and new worlds revealing the essence of life lived.
Jane Fulton Alt began exploring the visual arts while pursuing her career as a clinical social worker. She received her B. A. from the University of Michigan and her M. A. from the University of Chicago. She is living and working on the shores of Lake Michigan in Evanston, Illinois, and in close proximity to the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Alt is a three time winner of Photolucida’s Critical Mass for her Katrina and Burn portfolios. She has authored Look and Leave: Photographs and Stories of New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward, The Burn, and her Crude Awakening portfolio was printed in multiple publications worldwide. She was awarded an Artist in Residence 2017 at the Sunnhordland Musuem in Stord, Norway and is currently preparing for a show, “Personal Structures,” sponsored by the European Cultural Center in partnership with La Biennale di Venezia 2017. Her work can be found in many permanent collections. She is looking forward to sharing her love of the creative process this summer while teaching at the Santa Fe Workshops.
“Eventually, all things merge into one…” Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Understanding the human condition, our universal need for connection and the inevitability of separation, has been the primary focus of my photographic life. I spent the last nine years photographing controlled burns while simultaneously watching my first grandchild and sister follow their individual paths of rising into and falling away from life. The summer of 2015 was spent in the waters of my beloved Lake Michigan as I trained for a 24 hour relay across the lake for a cancer research fundraiser. What complicated the training was carrying a small underwater camera. My keen curiosity resulted in spending more time treading water, attempting to capture the magic I experienced just below the surface.
This past summer, while on a long train ride, I started playing with the images. Fire and Water is the outcome of that serendipitous moment, when what is known is reconfigured, creating a field of ambiguity, a new reality, or dreamscape. The work has most recently taken on a political significance as our government strips away policies that address the pressing challenges of climate change.
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