Several months ago, I contacted the head of the Public Relations of this magazine and after looking at my site, he was eager to meet with me at a photographic convention that was coming up. I arrived there to meet him and the editor in chief who already knew my work and were very enthusiastic to publish the newest series, Allegory. So, lo and behold, the edition is now out. It’s interactive and what is also great is that they promote with the world so many different styles of photography today and all of the happenings here in France. The magazine is in French and I don’t see a translate button, unfortunately but the photos and photographers are all interesting to regard, anyway. I am very happy and proud to be part of this.
Unfortunately as I do not want to pay a fee here, embedding the link visually is not possible so you will have to simply click on the URL.
For those of you new to reading my blog and knowing me, I am a photographer who photographs herself, often nude and for my job, I am an artists’ model who poses, yes, nude.
In the arts, the term nudity is used as opposed to naked for the most part. Why? The word nude implies an intellectual and sensual but not sexual observation of the undressed body while naked can have more “vulgar” implications. I put vulgar in quotes because it’s all subjective anyway. The word naked can make the state of undress be more sexual or pornographic but it can also be used for how someone feels – a vulnerability which does not have to do with being physically nude.
But in the end, a nude or naked body in art is still censored in social media. Someone posting photos of nipples alone can cause that person’s account to be shut down. This has happened to me so often that now I have to put little blurry circle over them….yet there are photos of half naked women and men with thongs and see-through shirts that are meant to be seen as sexual and pornographic everywhere with no reports whatsoever. I see this on Instagram all the time.
And this sort of censorship is not inclusive only to online. I did an artist residency in New York 9 years ago and had an exhibit of some of my images in the public space of the arts council whom hosted me. And because children entered the public space, one of the staff members, without telling me, did this to 2 of my photographs. (Sorry for the small low-res image. I could not find full size ones on my computer). The staff member even went to such lengths as to cut the black paper to the size of my image. Wasn’t that professional of them? (sarcasm here)
The whole censorship in art is a subject that has been exhausted for years so I have given up the fight simply because I have a website that I pay for that allows me to share my work freely without the worry of being blocked, etc. and I have found and will continue to find venues to exhibit my nude works. However, it’s sad that when you look at my work, not only do I not have a pornographic intent, but nothing of the images suggest that at all.
But angry words/fights of politics and religion, violence, sex, etc. is everywhere without anyone taking responsibility of that…What a twisted world we live in.
I will end this post with a sneak preview of something very new. Blurred circles around my nipples and all…
The other morning, I was on my way to a model gig. I was sitting in the train looking out of the window at the beautiful fast-moving clouds that we had. We had a lot of wind and some rain that day but the sun was peeking through and creating bright outlines around the clouds and I was in awe as I usually am when I look at clouds…which are often. It was at this time that a thought came to me.
Normally, I don’t like taking public transportation as it usually is required to go to work and be in a crowded train, bus, or tram. However, I have lived in France for 4 years now and the town that I live in, is near all of the modes so it doesn’t really make sense to own a car and all of the expenses that comes along with it but I have to say I miss having my car very much.
I have been driving since I was 16 years old and I always equated having a car to freedom and escape. When I had to leave my toxic home life, I got in my car and drove. When I wanted to go photographing somewhere, I got in my car and drove and when I just felt the need to go on an adventure, I got in my car and drove.
Since I am here, I have taken some train/bus trips to gardens, chateaux and other places..alone. Yes, my husband and I take really wonderful vacations together all over but there is something about going on an adventure alone that fills me with a feeling of childlike curiosity. “Ooh, where will this train take me if I keep going? What secrets will I discover that are only mine to discover?” These thoughts are not new to me and perhaps it is because of that great need and desire to escape for a time. Some people do it with reading stories and putting themselves in them. I like to create my own story in the visual sense by experiencing and photographing.
In a few weeks, I have some time off and I have planned a new adventure not too far from home but far enough for me to wonder what I will discover. I also have ideas for a new project and maybe the place I will venture to will provide some ambiance and inspiration for that. I can’t wait.
Website is back online and the only theory I have is that the server was doing maintenance. You would think that a warning should be issued, no?
I want to thank some new followers that I seem to now have. I have to admit that I am not sure how to navigate all of this yet. WordPress seems the “real deal” in internet presence and even if you can Google my name and come up with pages of stuff, my socializing online is at a minimum. However, having said that, I will do my best to read your blogs as well.
I would like to close this post out with a request to subscribe to my monthly newsletter if you are interested in my art. My newsletter provides updates, news and sale offers exclusive to my subscribers. I am not a business, so I don’t do anything with your contact info other than send you newsletters.
The last couple of weeks, I have been preparing un dossier de la présentation for a possible exhibit I would like to have at La Galerie d’école des Beaux-Arts de Versailles. Sure, it’s a small gallery attached to an arts school but I think it would be a great first show since I am one of their resident models. I think the students might be interested in seeing my work as well as the faculty and others and why not Versailles? It’s a beautiful town.
Well, the process is that I have to create a PDF presentation with my intent, statement, bio, CV, etc. as well as JPEGS of the images I would like to show. I was told no nudes which I truly laugh at here because, excuse me, this is an ART school, not a library and I assumed it was a private school but there are children’s classes and when I pose for them it is dressed…seriously, I will never understand the problem with nudity in art, especially here in France. I was always under the impression they were more open-minded with that. Seems I was wrong. In fact, overall, the French are more conservative than I thought.
So with the French…yeah I am here 4 years now and my language skills are coming along although they are still at the basic level. I can understand a little more when someone speaks and reading/writing is coming a little easier but it’s really difficult. Add to that, “art-speak” is a whole other language even in English.
Luckily, one of the teachers that I work for, offered to help with translations. My darling husband tried and was able to give me translations based on his knowledge but it really does take another artist to understand the nuances.
I also decided to keep my titles in English. Over the years, visiting museums and galleries, it seems all of the artists do that but some do get translated, mainly by the curators, I imagine. I will check with the professor at Versailles on her opinion though but if I can, I will keep the original titles.
The positive things here are that I have a possibility of my first show here and if not, I have a dossier ready to send elsewhere.
If anyone is interested in seeing my dossier, you can have a look at the PDF presentation.
I have begun to make a move from Blogger to WordPress for various reasons. I will need time to navigate and learn how everything works and you will also have to forgive me if there are missing images from previous posts. I will have to see why they didn’t import over from Blogger.
Ack! In the meantime, I am preparing some exhibition proposals and printing out my work. And for those of you new to my blog, I will lead you to my website here: www.annmarietornabene.net
This month marks 4 years that I am living in France. Upon reflection, it feels like I am here already for a longer time than that but in some ways, not long enough. I am completely settled in in terms of working and living. I have the transportation system pretty much down pat, but then again, that came to me pretty quickly. I have a lot more work than I thought as well. It amazes me and I admit, I am pretty proud of myself to have been able to do so with the fact that I have moved to a new country. I admit also though, that we are struggling so much, financially that even as I am working so much, at the end of each year, I see that if I was on my own, I would be homeless with the income I receive. Thankful I am not!
Indeed, I have made progress albeit constantly struggling as I learn the language but I am comfortable enough to not care so much if I make mistakes. However, the difficulty to understand makes me frustrated quickly when I can not or even respond correctly quickly. The worst of it is on the phone but I no longer fear it. At the beginning, I was so scared to even talk on the phone or to try and explain that I am still learning French but now it is the first thing I tell the person on the other end and ask if they speak a little English or if they can at least speak slowly. I am told this is all natural and normal so I have to allow myself that and I do make fun of myself all the time which is something that one has to do anyway to get through life!
There is a bit of isolation here, too, and perhaps most of that is self-imposed. I prefer my own company (and my husband’s) to others and though I have met some friendly people whom I see on occasion, I have not created solid connections yet and I do hope there will be one or two in the future. It must happen organically though and it is tougher given the circumstances.
Autumn of 2019, I will receive my 10-year residency card. When my husband and I embarked on this journey/process back in 2014, before I even got here, we were lost. We had zero understanding of how it all worked and I was naive to think that I could just obtain a work visa or that I should just go back to school in order to get a student visa. Silly us! Well, our marriage is a true one indeed but thankfully it made things easier (a little) for me to obtain residency. Once I receive that card this year, I can focus on some other things, like obtaining my driver’s license here.
During my first year, if I lived in certain states, I would have been able to do an exchange but since I was from New York, it wasn’t possible as it’s not one of those states. I will have to go through a very expensive process to do so and since the residency card is expensive enough, the license will have to wait. In addition, we do not have the money or means to get a car right now anyway and it only makes sense for vacations, some shopping trips and maybe less than a handful of jobs that I have outside of Paris that would make more sense by car. Having said all that though. my body is suffering for it. My back, hips, legs and feet are chronically in pain from all of the traveling by public transportation that I have to do, and physical therapy only seems to alleviate the pain temporarily. So it will make more sense for me to be able to drive again in the future.
Aside from the everyday life, I have been able to travel with my wonderful husband, to different regions here and really be able to experience all of what France has to offer and I am going to say again that I am blessed. Between the walks through Medieval castles and towns, photographing the landscapes, eating the different foods and meeting new people, I am truly happy and overjoyed to be able to experience all of this. And this past holiday season, we traveled to Switzerland to visit my husband’s dear friends for several days where I saw the Alps for the first time and oh my – photos do not do them justice at all. One just has to look at and be one with the environment to appreciate all the beauty.
So, yes, the challenges of living here are many – the language learning, the transportation, the difficulties with my body, and with making a living, but I would not trade it in for anything else. As I sought out, without knowing, places in the US that had the quality of an Older World filled with history and meaning, and to not just photograph but to explore and to experience, I can now in hindsight say that I was craving this inside. This type of environment that is so rich and romantic even surrounded by things that are not. I am now so fully content with my life here and I look forward to seeing what the next 10 years (plus) will bring me!
Here is a photo from one of the places that I work for. It’s in a nearby town named Orsay.
After almost 4 years, I am finally able to slowly begin printing my photographic work that I created over this time. Finally! I would like to see one in-life exhibit of some kind in 2019 instead of only online ones. They each have their advantages, of course but my images in print and framed are a sight to behold, more so than staring at a computer monitor or worse, an image that can easily be scrolled past quickly without it getting a second thought.
And speaking of 4 years – it’s amazing to think that I am living in France for this long and how quickly time has passed. Mon Dieu! This year, I will receive my 10-year residency card and comme j’apprends encore le français, j’ai fais beaucoup de progrès.
I would lastly like to remind you to subscribe to my newsletter via my site. This month, I am offering a free print for orders over $150 exclusive only to my followers, so go: http://www.annmarietornabene.net/
The free print in question is of this image that I created inspired by my recent trip au Musée de Luxembourg to see the Aphonse Mucha exhibition. I adore his work.
The end of 2018 and on to the next. This coming year sees several things. I finally have my printer so I should be finally able to print works and seek out some live (meaning not online) exhibition opportunities. It will also see my 10-year residence card here in France. Looking forward to not having to get a new card every year at least.
I am working on something new right now but in the meantime, you can go to my site and subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I share more news, updates and print sale offers only for my followers.
And here is a new promo video I made with my recent works from the last few years.