JANET RUSSEK: The Tenuous Stem

 Janet Russek: The Tenuous Stem (Radius Books)
Photographs by Janet Russek. Essay by MaLin Wilson Powell

 Beets on Paper, 1994

 Squash in Bowl, 1993

Twin Porcelain Dolls, 2008

The poignancy and promise of the life cycle informs Janet Russek’s long term photographic project, The Tenuous Stem. She began this work expressing sadness over loss, while noting the possibility of new life carried by a seed or a stem. In 1989, Eliot Porter—her mentor and friend—gave her a monorail camera which was too unwieldy for anything but studio work, and although she has always worked with 4 x 5 cameras, she set up still lifes for the first time.

Using only natural light she started photographing ripe squashes, peaches , and pears, alluding to the fullness of pregnancy. She then worked with vegetables and roots, and finally, the maturing plant, whose lush ripeness harbors will spiral into decomposition and decay. In subsequent years, Russek has expanded the project to include portraits of dolls that explore the darker, more psychological side of childhood and parenting, and a memory series that includes photos of significant personal objects that harken to the past, and take this volume full circle—like the life cycle itself. (Radius Books)

This book is a gorgeous collectors edition; beautifully printed by Janet Russek and classically designed by Radius Books. Look for a copy! – EA

I attribute my renewed love and appreciation for Photography to Janet Russek and David Scheinbaum. Their educational evenings, generously given in their Gallery on the fine art of printing and the history of photography, were highlighted by the most extraordinary examples of vintage original prints by Eliot Porter, Ansel Adams, Atget, Callahan, Kertesz, among so many other great photographers. Check out the Scheinbaum and Russek Gallery on your next visit to New Mexico. 


Meera Rao said...

these photographs are beautiful! thanks for sharing.

Meera Rao said...

these photographs are beautiful! thanks for sharing :)