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Hersteading: a One Woman Farm

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romais_-0483
Hersteading.

a photo project about Cold Antler Farm by Miriam Romais
On view at Saratoga Arts, June 11 – July 31, 2016

July 9, 6-8pm
Opening Reception for 10×10 and Hersteading exhibitions

July 18, 6-8pm
Artist Talk • Book Signing • Reception
Artist talk and slide presentation with Romais and homesteader and author Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm.  Exhibition catalogues will be available for purchase and signing, as well as Jenna’s books thanks to Northshire Books. The Reception (7-8pm) features a delicious tasting from Bon Bon Brazil, with Druthers providing beer and yummies.

The Theatre Gallery at Saratoga Arts 
320 Broadway • Saratoga Springs NY
www.saratoga-arts.org

Hours: Mon-Fri, 9-5pm + Sundays in July, 11-5pm, with extended hours on performance nights (check events calendar for evening hours)


 

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images  logo for Bon Bon Brazil NY       30th Anniversary Logo

 

A HUGE thanks to support by Saratoga Arts, Northshire Books, Druthers Brewing Co, Bon Bon Brazil, Canson Infinity and Archival Methods. Saratoga Arts has made part of this program possible with a Community Arts Grant funded by the NY State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature. 

Celebrating… winning a grant!

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romais

Heading over to Saratoga Arts tonight (April 7) for a Reception in honor of the 2016 Community Arts Grant Winners. I am very exited and grateful to be receiving one of these grants – it was their most competitive year with over 200 applications! Thirty four grants were awarded, and four of those went to individual artists. I am loving being amongst those four!

In the meantime… more photographing, editing, and writing. I have been sharing my work with trusted colleagues, curators and friends – it feels good to stretch the wings of this new project.

Nourish

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One of my images from Cold Antler Farm was accepted into a group show (February-March 2016). What excites me the most about this, is the show’s complex theme:

Nourish: Food as Sustenance and Pleasure

Here I am documenting Jenna, a former vegan that now raises animals as food. Complicated? You bet. The food industry and its politics constantly feed us ideas (pun intended) about what food should be, or what it should look like.

Our society –in the U.S. for example–is vastly disengaged from the reality of where our food comes from, how it gets to our tables. I am quite certain my image in the show (below) will be appalling to some – but it doesn’t change the truth that human beings consume living things in order to survive, and some of that happens to be animal meat.

“Traveling Butchers (Sam, his father and his son) make quick work of the harvesting; Jenna feels this is much more humane than having the animals taken to a slaughterhouse, scared and stressed until they are dispatched days later. She says her animals have only one bad moment in their lives (ie, when they are put down for harvesting)”

Jenna and I have spoken at length about this, and because she writes and blogs about her life – she has been questioned about this for years, sometimes aggressively (see Huffington Post article). Her switch back to eating and raising animals for food is her way of not ‘buying in’ to the factory farm industry which is horrid to animals, people and the environment.

Jenna tells me, “the truth is there is no meal we can eat without killing. None. A trip to your local grocery store for tofu and spinach leaves may not include a single animal product, but the harvesting of such food costs endless animal lives.”

I eat animals I raise myself, because I want to eat local food
that causes less animal suffering and empowers my local community.

If I take a step back and look beyond my backyard, I think of the deforestation in the Amazon that made way for cattle ranches (thanks McD‘s), and commercial crops that destroy the habitat of countless wild animals. Birds and bees fall prey to pesticides, and fertilizers are being made from petrochemicals. I had no idea that vegetables were such voracious beings although I often wondered about the “organic materials” and bone meal ingredients in plant food… then I think back a hundred years to what farmers did before current technology and practices. They had to use what was on hand, not some chemical imbued concoction.

Being a vegetarian/vegan will remove oneself from participating in the factory farm cycle, but might not be an effective mechanism towards changing it (which was one of Jenna’s goals). Some people don’t have an economic choice and opt for processed food which are filled with chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, or steroids. Others will rely on packaged beef or chicken in the market without considering how it lived or died. Few are afforded a choice of where their food comes from, and I devour stories about urban gardens and programs that are teaching kids to grow their own vegetables. Cue young farmer, stage right.

Maybe I tend to think about how food is made because of childhood memories on my grandmother’s farm, where pigs I knew as piglets eventually became the food on our table (and I also maaaaaay have named all the chicks after they hatched). Or maybe it comes from understanding hunger. Frederick Kaufman, author of Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food, says that hunger may be the most horrible symptom of the global food malady, but it is just one symptom. “The price of basic farm goods drives world hunger, but it also drives the push for sustainability, the rise of long-distance food from nowhere, the scourge of cheap and unhealthy foods, the single-minded drive to own the smallest molecules of food, the declarations and pledges of the politicians, the global mania for markets and the profit margins of many of the world’s largest corporations.” They very people that raise our food often can’t afford to keep it or their farms.

Food choices in general, start with a personal preference but are so much more. I say “choices” deliberately, because food decisions are often based on hunger, not the privilege of choice. After all, “worrying about tomorrow can be a luxury if you don’t know how you’ll survive today.” Food is our nourishment, yet it comes embroiled with questions of ethics, socio-economics, geography and politics. I can’t help but respect the practice and ideology of raising one’s own food. A complex issue? Hell yeah, and one of the motivators behind creating this documentary (solo show coming this summer at Saratoga Arts).

Until then, enjoy the exhibition and accompanying catalogue Nourish: Food as Sustenance & Pleasure, the 15th Annual Joyce Elaine Grant Photography Exhibition, curated by Dr. Rebecca Senf, Center for Creative Photography & Phoenix Art Museum.

On view: February 15 to  March 9, 2016
East/West Galleries, Texas Woman’s University
Fine Arts Building, corner of Texas & Oakland St, Denton, TX 76204
Gallery Hours: M-F 9-4pm, and weekends by appointment

Click here for a list of participating artists.

Image: © Miriam Romais. Pig and Sheep Become Food, 2014. Homesteading: Cold Antler Farm series. Archival pigment print, ​10″ x 15″   “Traveling Butchers (Sam with is father and his son Josiah) make quick work of the harvesting; Jenna feels this is much more humane than having the animals taken to a slaughterhouse, scared and stressed until they are dispatched days later. She says her animals have only one bad moment in their lives (ie, when they are put down for harvesting).”

Cold Antler Farm Note Cards

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Snow Mustache, 2015

Snow Mustache, 2015

Some of you know that I have been photographing this amazing young woman that owns Cold Antler Farm in upstate NY, near the Vermont border. She’s the definition of moxie. Like many artists (she’s also a writer) Jenna Woginrich is making a go of it, doing what she loves. Which is why we came up with the notecard idea.

The set of 8 cards are printed on archival paper, and are signed on the back by Jenna and myself. The images show the sassiness of some of her animals and the serenity of the home she has made at Cold Antler Farm. Those of you that have read her books or follow her blog will instantly recognize Merlin looking like a hairy mammoth with a snow-mustache, Ida giving attitude, or Sal with his Einstein-hairdo.

Snag your set of cards  while they last, and mail them to someone that deserves something a lot more special than a mass-produced hallmark card, gift the set (’tis the season!), horde them for yourself or frame them!

And if you want to learn more about Jenna, the geekiest down-to-earth techie-homesteader I know…check out her books and her blog. You can also follow her on Facebook, TwitterYouTube and read her articles in the Huffington Post or The Guardian.

 

I’m Ready… now what?

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MindMap for planning submissions and marketingIt was a lovely event last night at Exposure Saratoga. I was told to give a 15-20 minute presentation, so I came up with The “Other” Art: Submissions and Marketing for Photographers. It went a bit longer since we had such great questions. Besides, with wine and snacks no one really wanted to leave anyway!

A few folks asked about the resources I mentioned, so thought it would be helpful to have them posted here for reference (in no particular order). If you would like to share a few of your favorites, please do so by making a comment on my Facebook page.

MVSwanson – Mary Virginia Swanson, Author, Photo Marketing Consultant

CallforEntry – Submission opportunities

NYFA – NY Foundation for the Arts; Submission opportunities and job listings

CPW.org – Center for Photography at Woodstock

Saratoga Arts – An arts center and arts council in Saratoga Springs

LARAC – Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council in Glens Falls

PhotoShelter – Websites, tools and great ‘how to’ resources such as free business guides, webinars, blog.

ASMP.org – The American Society of Media Photographers; a trade association focused on spectacular member benefits, advocacy and a great resource for the business of photography.

PhotoReview – Journal, competition, exhibitions and submission opportunities

The “Other” Art: submissions & marketing for photographers

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What it Takes

On Friday December 4th,  I will be presenting The “Other” Art: Submission and Marketing for Photographers at Exposure Saratoga Photographic Guild, in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Whether your New Year’s Resolution is to have more exhibitions or get your work published, this Open House features a talk where we’ll discuss the often overlooked art of preparing submissions, resources and practical tips to help you get noticed.

The Open House and the Talk are free, so stop on by Exposure!

Know Thyself: The Art of Self-Promotion

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What am I doing that is different than any other artist out there? Why should anyone care? These are questions that keep us up at night – or at least they should, if you really need to find your niche.

Screenshot 2015-10-28 11.51.36

Know Thyself: The Art of Self-Promotion is a workshop I am pleased to facilitate for NoMAA on November 7th, as part of their 2015 NoMAA Technical Assistance Institute.

This is a hands-on, dig-deep kind of workshop. You will ponder what makes you unique as an artist, have a chance to hone your “elevator speech,” and take the necessary steps in finding your marketing niche. We all have a place in the world.

Additional workshops that day (it IS all day!) are Meet the Funders: Current Trends in Community Arts Funding, and The Third Act: Creating after 50. 

Register Online by: November 5th
Location: Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion (St. Nicholas Ave @ 168th St), NY, NY
More Details: NoMAA

Animal World: a NYC exhibition

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Jenna & Italics (still hungry), 2014

Animal World

Opening Reception:
Thursday, November 5th from 6-8pm

Join me and 42 other photographers for Animal World, an exhibition and book launch at Umbrella Arts gallery in NYC. The exhibition conveys an appreciation of the joys and difficulties experienced by animals in the intertwined yet essentially absurd predicament of domestication and freedom.

Umbrella Arts is located at 317 East 9th St (btwn 1st & 2nd Ave), NYC, NY 10003.  212-505-7196. info@umbrellaarts.com
The exhibition will be on view through November 28, 2015
Gallery Hours:
Thurs-Saturday, 1-6pm
Curator: Harvey Stein

Twitter:
@UmbrellaArts
@romaisphotos

Facebook:
@umbrellaarts
@miriamromaisphotos 

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Download Flyer Invite

Antlerstock 2015

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Antlerstock 2015 is a small two-day Homesteading Festival held at Cold Antler Farm in upstate NY, on Oct 10 & 11th. It’s a great way to meet people and learn a lot!  I’ll be there and will have some of my new work for sale.

Cold Antler FarmIt s a celebration of like minds, music, stories and skills – a really unique learning experience with speakers, authors, demonstrations, workshops, talks and events such as beginner’s archery, raised bed gardens, and soap making as well as traditional woodsman skills and primitive crafts.

“In the past trees have been felled, draft horses had moved logs, axes were thrown at targets, herbalism tinctured, sourdough bread started, bees and beer and more discussed.”

Jenna is the gal to contact if anyone is interested in attending, there are only two spots left!