Stella Kramer

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Category, Stellazine

One Year Later: Sandy Revisited

Posted on October 28th, 2013

It’s been almost one year to the day that we were slammed by Hurricane Sandy, plunging most of us into darkness and uncertainty. The damage was massive and a true harbinger of the effects of climate change.

The Museum of the City of New York was inundated with thousands of images after an open callout to all photographers. The selection of 200 shows just what our city looked like during and after the storm. “Rising Waters” opens tonight at the museum, and as someone involved with the selection of photographs, I have to say this is one terrific show.


Posted on September 16th, 2013


Making it’s triumphant return to Brooklyn Bridge Park is Photoville, and I couldn’t be more excited! I believe this year will be even better than last, so I thought I’d write about the things I am most looking forward to. The exhibits this year feature work from all over the world, and the breadth of subjects is fantastic. I can’t wait to see Donald Weber‘s Interrogations, Jim Motram‘s Small Town Inertia, Captive from Gaston Lacombe, Disco Night Sept 11 featuring…

Photographers And Their Tattoos

Posted on September 2nd, 2013

The summer is over, and once more it seems like it almost never happened. I thought it would be fun to do a post about photographers and their ink. With so many photographers tattooed, I wondered if they had photo-related ink. Here’s some of what I found. They are in order: Meg Griffiths, Roger May, Jason Landry/Panopticon, Hye-Ryoung Min, Clay Patrick McBride, Trent Nelson, Jacklyn Michele, Gabriel Thompson, Christophe Dillinger, Zak Neumann, Destry Jaimes, Jordan Baumgarten, Heather Oelklaus, Markus Hartel, David Rangel, Brian Espinosa, John Frenzel

John Frenzel tattoo

I love what Hye-Ryoung Min wrote to me about her tattoo:

“I got it as a birthday gift to myself in 2008. It has two meanings.

First it is a box with a pinhole, which is the basic form of a camera. Second, my tattoo is a reference to the box drawn by the pilot in Saint-Exupery’s “Little Prince.”  As the Little Prince is free to see the sheep in any way he prefers, a camera is simply a box to contain my imagination.

 I see this tattoo whenever I photograph. It is on my left arm and its shape becomes perfect only when I hold my camera with the right hand, and my left extends to support the lens barrel.”

If I didn’t get a photo of yours, send it along and I’ll add it in.

#Sandy Still Needs You

Posted on August 14th, 2013

Ben Lowy Rollercoaster

Do you remember Hurricane Sandy? If you were a downtown or edge-of-the-water New Yorker, how could you forget? We got smacked. For some New Yorkers the damage is still present, even 10 months after the disaster. Benjamin Lowy – Sunken Roller Coaster, NJ #SANDY is a book of iPhone photos of Hurricane Sandy by acclaimed photographers to be published by Daylight Books later this fall and will be distributed in 2014. 100% of the royalties will be donated to Occupy…

Dara, Life With MS

Posted on August 7th, 2013

Last week’s experiment in blogging went pretty well, except for the battering I took for asking if anyone was shooting health-related stories in NYC. Well, I heard from a couple of people, including Edward Brydon, a PhD science writer with an ongoing project about a woman with MS.

Here are Edward‘s answers to how he came to photography from science, in his own words:

“Since the age of 16 I had concentrated on science for my education and career, dropping all other subjects to concentrate on it. The chance for the re-emergence of my artistic side came when I met my wife in 2004. She was studying for her poetry MFA at Sarah Lawrence College at the time, and being with her awoke the dormant, creative part of my brain.

When I then gave her a framed photograph of mine as a gift, it really sparked something I hadn’t known was there. Her reaction to that photo, as well as those of a few other people who saw it, made me I realize I had found my medium.

It’s been a long process going through the learning curve; finding out what I like or don’t like and digging deeper into what I want photography to be for me, which is certainly not a superficial practice.

In 2011 I realized I could combine photography and my background in science and health. For me that has so far been about storytelling, and after finding someone willing to collaborate with me I have committed to this long-term story about Dara living with MS.

My scientific background is in the study of viruses, so I am very much interested in pursuing more stories about human health, particularly around the concept of One Health, which is the intersection of human health, animal health and ecosystem health.

But everything comes back to connection for me—connection to land, place, and people, and the intersection of these things.”

And here’s Edward’s statement about this body of work:

Dara has multiple sclerosis, but you wouldn’t know it to look at her. She is a tall, attractive woman, with an easy laugh, a radiant smile, and a confident demeanor. But behind all that she suffers from occasional bouts of extreme fatigue, numbness in her hands and feet, burning sensations, mild confusion. All classic early symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). The first indication something was wrong came when she woke up the morning after Christmas Day, 2003. Dara immediately noticed her right pinky and ring finger were numb – “like, fell asleep on them trying to shake it awake, numb.” Within 5 days the feeling had progressed through her right arm and into the entire right-hand side of her trunk. After rushing to the emergency room the Doctor there told her to see a neurologist. That was New Year’s Eve 2003

Nearly ten years later she visits an MS practice one weekend every month to receive intravenous drug therapy, spending between six and eight hours each day hooked up to the slow drip, drip, drip, of the IV. So far the therapy has managed her MS well; well enough she was able to have two children, leave a job she disliked to start a freelance make-up artist career, and enjoy her time with her family. In her words “Nowhere in this journey did I experience denial. I immediately knew something was wrong and I needed to get it managed and wouldn’t stop until I had answers. The integration of my symptoms into my life overall is well managed now as I’ve become an expert on my own triggers; physically, mentally, and emotionally and am better able to help myself.”

Dara now wants to share her life with MS so that others who have been diagnosed with this disease know there are options and hope. My long-term project with Dara aims to bring the private side of her life with MS into the public for the sole expression of this purpose.


I do want to say that in a big city there are a lot of health issues that relate to all of us. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, mental illnesses and more plague our neighbors. It does us all a favor to humanize these abstract (I hope for you) diseases. And I don’t think you need to go overseas to cover these issues.

I’m going to keep asking questions and looking for projects that I will hopefully be able to feature here. So if you have a project you want me to see, let me know. In fact, I have some wonderful photography coming up soon.

All photography’s courtesy of Edward Brydon


Posted on August 2nd, 2013

This has been an interesting week for me–both positive and negative. I wanted to end this week of blogging by writing about a disconcerting incident that raises some basic questions about how we treat each other. I put a query out on FB last week looking for photo projects about health issues in NYC. I had been wondering what people were shooting in NY, since I had seen health-related stories in other places. The curiosity came out of a talk I…

Portrait Photography From Venezuela

Posted on August 1st, 2013

Carmen Graterol 2

Earlier this year, Janette Beckman and I went to Caracas, Venezuela to teach at the Roberto Mata School of Photography. We had a spectacular time, and were so impressed with the school and our students. So I thought I would take this opportunity to show some of their work here on Stellazine. All of our students are hobby photographers—although that in no way diminishes their talent. Their enthusiasm, talent and energy made working with them one of the best experiences…

It’s Important to Think About These Things

Posted on July 31st, 2013

One of the most difficult things for most photographers to do is to edit and sequence their own work. While you may love a particular image, it is often not the photo itself you love, but the emotions and experience associated with it. You are too close to your own work. And sometimes you’ve just been shooting so much that you’ve lost perspective on the work itself. That’s why photographers are well served by having someone unconnected to them look…

More About Helping Each Other

Posted on July 30th, 2013

Ocean Beach Douglas Ljungkvist

I’ve used this space before to try to raise visibility of photo projects, especially when photographers are trying to raise money. Before I ask others to chip in, I make sure I do. But what makes some project’s successful and others not is a mystery to me. Especially when the projects are so strong, so singular, and done by photographers who have been shooting for quite awhile. They have put their sweat, their dreams and their hard work in to…

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