Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Words of Wisdom from A.R. Gurney

  " The older I get, the more fascinated I become with my craft. and with the crafts of the directors, designers and actors with whom I collaborate." 

A.R. Gurney, Playwright 

Photograph © Ellen Wallenstein 2010
from "Respecting My Elders', an ongoing portrait project

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Bel Kaufman

I asked Bel Kaufman if she had any words of wisdom about staying creatively active all one's life. 

"Words of wisdom? Words of common sense: Provided you are healthy (a huge proviso) you can have a long and interesting old age. The problems and insecurities of youth are in the past, children are grown and on their own, this is the time to do not what you always had to do but what you want to do. You  can be creative, productive, helpful, even inspiring or simply content to be privileged to live in a world which is changing every day."
BEL KAUFMAN (by email, December 3, 2011)

Photograph © Ellen Wallenstein 2011
"Respecting My Elders" 
an ongoing project

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber, b. 1911
Journalist. Brave and Mighty Soul.
At her home in NYC with some of her books
and an afghan made by her mother.

Photograph © Ellen Wallenstein
"Respecting My Elders" 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Arthur Jaffe

Dr. Arthur Jaffe,
b. 1921.
Book Collector, Philanthropist, World War II Hero.

Photographed at the Arthur & Mata Jaffe Book Collection,
Wimberly Library, Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida
November 4, 2011

Ellen Wallenstein  ©2011
"Respecting My Elders"
an ongoing project

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Santa Fe Prize nomination

Found out last week I was nominated for the Santa Fe Prize in Photography, for my "Opus for Anne" work. A Big Honor! 
I don't know who nominated me but am happy and grateful for the recognition. Thank you!

(Who knew when I signed up to be a Hospice Volunteer ten years ago how important that work would be, and how much good karma I would earn.)

Dalai, Smoke & Moi 
from "Opus for Anne: A Still Life" 
© Ellen Wallenstein 2006

Monday, September 19, 2011

the other side of the lens

2 portraits of me, by my husband.
i will turn 59 next month. hard to believe & harder to look at.

hope i will live long enough and then some,
to include myself in my project. (only) 21 more years to go.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Making a video for "Respecting My Elders".

I've been working with my husband the past two weekends trying 
to make a short video "sell" of the project  I will be proposing to, to create a website  and a printed catalogue 
of portraits from this series I've been working on for the last few years. 

I've been working on and off; I had/have a very busy teaching schedule (and I was picked for Grand Jury duty for two weeks this past August, which put a crimp in my free time this summer). So I've slowed down a bit on the shooting part while I regroup and organize the future of this endeavor.

I'm the one being filmed; I'm neither photogenic nor a good actress, but I'm trying. We're up to Take 22......hoping to finish it by the end of the month, to post on their website. Making a video is a different animal than a still. 

I hate being on the other side of the lens. It's giving me some extra sympathy and understanding for my subjects. Especially the people who have politely refused my request to photograph them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I am happy to report I have been accepted into,
a national organization that supports artists and helps fund-raise for projects. I am in some very good company!

You will be seeing updates about my photography project
"Respecting My Elders"very soon, - stay posted!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bel Kaufman, writer, b. 1911.

A warm wonderful and with-it lady who is 100 years old/young. She lives on upper Park Avenue in a light-filled modern apartment, with her husband (a younger man of 94). She has every honor a writer can have and then some, and a bookcase filled with every book by Nabokov, in every language.

photos © ellen wallenstein 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

herbert j. wallenstein (1917-1996)

last pages from "book of my ancestors" 1985

i miss him a lot, if not daily; from time to time; often. i wish i could give him a hug, show him my pictures, read him my writing, ask for advice.

last time i saw him was about a week ago: he appeared in my dream holding his hands out and shrugging his shoulders, as he did in life.
i wish i knew the question he wasn't answering.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

spring, archive

just going through the tons of pictures i've taken,
this one jumped out at me.

from below the cherry tree, lower yard, spring 2011.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

al mutanabbi street lament

i have just published a 'zine about the 2007 bombing of a bookstore in baghdad. available from 
it's only $10.

         al mutanabbi street lament        
     al mutanabbi street lament Issue 1:      al mutanabbi street lament    
     20 pages. collages of xeroxes with reproductions of paintings from art history. made in response to the 2007 bombing of a bookstore in iraq. showing in  "the photograph un/framed" a group show at the center for book arts in new york city, july 2011, and will be part of a group show at the baghdad m…    
             Find out more on MagCloud          

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Attended the Platon lecture tonight @ the SVA theatre.
"Power" is an interesting concept.
Platon, (or as some referred to him, Mr. Platon, no need for first names) is quite cute. (Literally; he's like 4'8". We shook hands, he was shorter than me). I understand why people let him get so close.

A slight man with presence and wit, British, so the charming accent always helps. The stories he had about his subjects were funny and touching and told in various voices. 

I gotta say though, I don't like his photographs very much. 
I really wanted to.

They are too fish eye, too stylized, with some awkward cropping -  
Come on, you can get the whole hat in-- don't leave off the left side!
But who doesn't love celebrity, I say? 

His pictures of leaders from the UN were compelling, but not as good as the stories he told about them. But, I do think his heart is in the right place and that is comforting. 

As you can imagine I did not buy the book.

Pictures, Overall - pretty okay. a B, bordering on B+. 
Good but not Excellent.
His Heart, Overall - A+, Bravo. 
Keep taking those photos, Mr. P.

Friday, May 20, 2011

photography book reviews

I have been writing reviews of photography shows and books on and off (occasionally) for many years (since 1981, to be exact.) I continue to enjoy the process though editing is difficult. I usually start with 1000 words that easily come to mind, then spend days (or weeks) whittling them down to the 200-300 asked for by the publisher.
Here are links to my most recent published writings, 2 reviews in Fraction Magazine, an online photography magazine founded, edited and curated by David Bram, of New Mexico
September 2010: 
December 2010:

I intend to write more for Fraction in the upcoming months.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

the woodmans movie

                                (photograph by francesca woodman, ca. 1980)

a troubled artist daughter finding her way in her own way and with her own medium, francesca is the ghost that brought them real fame. 

art as healing: betty stopped making useful ceramic objects. 
george starting making photographs, of nude models creepily reminiscent of his daughter. 

the posturing of both of them, arms crossed and in control. 

thirty years of bearing whatever pain you can bear and guilt you can muster and continuing to make art everyday. 

and allowing yourself to be filmed .
i used to wish my parents were artists. 
after seeing this movie i am glad they were not.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Romulus Linney

Romulus Linney
Playwright, Director, Teacher

I made this portrait on October 29, 2010, in New York City. He turned 80 last spring. He talked about how age just slowed one down, but didn't stop one's creativity.

He chose a Noh mask, one of his prized possessions, which was used in many productions throughout his career, to be photographed with. It was bought from a mask shop in Japan while on leave from the army in the 1950s; a perfect thing. He showed me how the face could change from a hurt to a puzzled look as he varied his gestures.  

Mr. Linney was warm, welcoming, and gracious.
There was a kindness to him, a patience. 

He gave me a book of his plays, enchanting stories told with a singularly intelligent southern-tinged voice. I sent him some photos in November, but never heard back from him. I wondered if he liked them. 

I realize now how sad he looks, compared to the robust obituary photographs in the New York Times. He must have known. 

Mr. Linney passed away January 15, 2011.
Condolences to his family, his friends, his circles.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

radio interview

I realize I have not posted anything to this blog since last summer- 6 months is a long time.
Not that I have been sleeping; I've just been busy with life. I expect to post more photographs from my Elders series soon here, with some stories: in the meantime check out the portfolio "80+" on my website.

I was interviewed about that project (and other things) in an hour long interview with Virginia Reed, on her program "A Woman's Perspective"  on PRN, (progressive radio network) that was taped on December 17, 2010. Here is the link to that interview (just click on it- the typo is theirs). It will be archived for three months. Best to listen while doing something else (watering plants, drawing, etc....) - an hour is a long time.
You will note that I have a New York accent.