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Archive 2    April - June 2000
Galleries


Gallery One

Featured Artist
Pam Mendelsohn

Gallery Two

Member Profile
Vicky Baze

Gallery Three

Historical Profile
by Peter Palmquist



Professional Gallery One

Profile of Pam Mendelsohn, Photographer and writer

Arcata & Emeryville, California

Until a decade ago, Mendelsohn's primary mode of expression was writing. She is the author of two books for women returning to school: Happier by Degrees, in 1980 and Degrees of Success, in 1989. Pam has also written an assortment of articles for a variety of publications. Throughout her career, Mendelsohn has continuously incorporated photography into both her personal and professional life. It is known that her kitchen in NYC (1969-71) produced more photographic prints than it did brownies!

Mendelsohn quips that her undergraduate degree in philosophy enabled her to feel perfectly at home as a sophist when she took on the role of publicist for Macmillan Books (NYC 1968). Pam has thirty years of experience in media involvement and fundraising, including working as the development director of a public radio station, a museum and a nonprofit organization that dealt with issues for parents with disabilities. Between 1993-1996, her job at the World Institute on Disability took her to the former Soviet Union 13 times to lead workshops on how to utilize the media to affect social change.

Pam is best known for her images of found objects, street "seens" and still lifes. Her lifelong fascination with mannequins, cemeteries and blatant incongruities encountered while moving from Point A to Point B, are the three areas she has been focusing on with her camera.

In 1999, Mendelsohn and her 25 yr. old daughter, Rebekah, (also a photographer) found a female mannequin at a yard sale. Thus began an extraordinary series of adventures with "Bridgit" which Pam has been recording with lens and pen ever since. Pam reveals: "What is endlessly fascinating is the way in which people relate to her (the mannequin) and how it is that she fits into situations." When asked to comment on her all-consuming involvement with Bridgit, Mendelsohn explains: "Bridgit is a blank page. Believing that my art is about making connections, Bridgit is allowing me to move from one art form to another∑propelling me into performance art with an utterly engaging conduit". Photographs of Bridgit have already appeared in three juried shows: Women Photographers of Humboldt County, Behind the Redwood Curtain and the 13th Annual Emeryville Art Exhibition. Future exhibitions and a Bridgit book beckon!

Mendelsohn's partner of 23 years, Peter Palmquist and her daughter, Rebekah are also immersed in the realm of imagery. Peter Palmquist is a well-known photohistorian, curator and the founder of the Women in Photography International Archive. He has written a staggering number of books and features concerning photography's history. Following in her mother's footsteps, Rebekah is going to be curating a show at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston this fall.

More of Mendelsohn's work can be seen by visiting her website: www.pamslens.com.

You may contact the artist directly via her email: pamwiltravel@compuserve.com.

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Gallery Two
Vicky Baze

Member Profile & Portfolio - Unavailable

Although I am a jockey by trade for almost twenty years, my other passion has always been photography.

As my father was in the military, my mother and I followed him to bases around the world, living in a different country practically every year from the time I was born. At 15 years of age, I began the process of creating a photographic diary about my life which continued as I began my career as a jockey.

Whether training in Leatherhead, England, breaking babies in southern California or competing in races in the Pacific Northwest , my camera is always with me. This allows me a type of self-expression that melds perfectly with my life with the horses! Whether I am riding a race in Washington State, Arizona, California, Canada or Japan there is always time after the race is run, to take off with my camera and capture the beauty of the people and the scenery around me. If thereČs no time to leave the track, then walking around the backstretch is a picturesque world unto itself! Just watching the trainers and grooms as they care for the horses - soaping them up and bathing them - is always a visual treat! And the photo opportunities are endless.

Lately, the gift of a Fuji Film Digital camera from my husband, jockey Gary Baze, has got me experimenting with the camera in ways I never imagined. Self-portraits, scenics, still lifes ö the possibilities are endless! My bones may get creaky, and the racing may slow down ö but as long as I have eyes to see and a steady hand to get the next shot, IČll be out there somewhere, prowling around waiting for the right light, the perfect angle, that special mood Š making more photos and more photo diaries for years to come.



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Gallery Three

HISTORICAL PROFILE

California's Earliest Photographer May Have been a 12 Year Old Girl!

By Peter Palmquist

Her name was Epifania de Guadalupe Vallejo and she was the daughter of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo and Francisca Maria Felipa Benicia Carrillo Vallejo. Mariano Vallejo is best known as the Comandante General of Alta California before statehood. "Fannie," as she was called, was born at the San Francisco Solano Mission on August 4, 1835. Her brother, Platon, later described Fannie as a child who was "beautiful∑with hair the color of a canary bird, large brown eyes and a complexion of pink and white with no freckles." [1] The position of Mariano Vallejo permitted him to provide his children with European tutors, including Andrew Hoeppner, a German who had previously lived in Alaska for a number of years. He signed a contract with Vallejo to provide piano lessons to the entire family for a period of five years in exchange for a large concession of land from the Vallejo land grant. Fannie was known as a gifted child who later developed into a gifted amateur painter. [2]

Around 1847, at about the age of twelve, Fannie somehow came into the possession of a small daguerreotype camera and the knowledge of how to use it. Nearly a half-century later, her brother Platon Vallejo, in a letter referring to one of Fannie‚s early daguerreian experiments, recalled: " I have a small daguerreotype picture [of their mother, Francis a Vallejo], the size of a ten cent piece in a ring and if I can I will have a copy to send to you. It is a daguerrotype taken by my sister, Fannie, who was than a girl of about 12 years of age∑Fannie was learning to take pictures for her own amusement and had all the machinery belonging to the art. One day when my mama was sitting sewing or mending our clothes, Fannie took her picture Ų codacked [Kodaked] her unawares (for she did not like to have her picture taken.)∑" Platon concluded by referring to "a copy of that picture which I have since kept as a relic Ų for our history."[3]

Adding credibility to Planton‚s account is an extant, miniscule daguerreotype likeness of Francisca Vallejo set in a ring that belonged to Mariano Callejo; family tradition holds that this image was the production of Fannie Vallejo. [4] Exactly how Fannie Vallejo came by the daguerreotype camera and the ability to use it is unknown. She is believed not to have traveled outside of California until her marriage in 1851. It is possible that a tutor, such as Andrew Hoeppner, may have introduced her to the art. On the other hand, it is equally possible that an unknown daguerreian traveling in California in the pre-Gold Rush days may have tarried in Sonoma long enough to impart the techniques of daguerreotypy to Fannie. It is unknown if she continued to dabble in the art after her initial experiments. Fannie married Captain John Frisbie (1823-1901) at the age of fifteen and they had at least eight children. Fannie Vallejo Frisbie died on February 15, 1905 at the age of seventy-five.

[1] Madie Brown Emparan, Vallejos of California (San Francisco: Gleason Library Associates, 1968),p.255; Platon Vallejo to Mrs. Eva E. Dye, June 16, 1894, Vallejo Family Papers, Bancroft Library.

A photographic portrait of Fannie Vallejo appears in Emparan, Vallejos of California, opposite p.255. Two additional portraits of her are found in Thomas Lucy, "General John Frisbie, Solano Entrepreneur," Solano Historian, (December 1985), p.3

[2] Emparan, Vallejos of California, pp. 249-250, 256.

[3] Platon Vallejo to Eva E. Dye (June 16, 1894); information courtesy Martha McGettigan, a Vallejo descendent. Dye had written to request photographs of Vallejo family members.

[4] This ring was exhibited at the "Silver & Gold" exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California in 1998. A photograph of General Vallejo wearing the same ring is in the possession of another Vallejo descendent.

 
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