Archive 4 - September - December 2000

For articles, see f2 eZine Archive 4 - Sept - Dec 2000 includes Book Reviews
WIPI News, Marketing and Industry News

also see Gallery Highlights


Gallery One

Stephanie Sinclair
Featured Artist

Gallery Two

Winifred Meiser
Member Profile

Gallery Three

Mary Eleanor Browning
Historical Profile

Gallery One

Stephanie Sinclair -PRO Member Featured Artist
Chicago, Illinois

Stephanie Sinclair, 27, was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She moved to Chicago two years ago to join the Chicago Tribune as a staff photographer. Since then she has photographed assignments ranging from the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia to community journalism projects including a piece she did on courthouse weddings. She is also the editor and publisher of an independent online magazine for women photographers called Photobetty, which earned an award of excellence this year in the NPPA Pictures of the Year competition for Best Use of Photography.

Stephanie's interest in documentary photography was an influence of growing up around her mother Paula's realist painting. She has since tried to make thoughtful images that provide the viewer with an intimate look at the different types of issues and people that make up American society.

In her short career, she has earned several awards and scholarships including the Chicago Bar Association's Herman Kogan Meritorious Achievement Award 2000, for her involvement in a series that the Chicago Tribune produced on the failure of death penalty in Illinois. As a student, Stephanie was awarded the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar 1996 First Place Student Portfolio.

Stephanie Sinclair.


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Gallery Index

Gallery Two
Member Profile & Portfolio

Winifred Meiser
Los Angeles County, California

Since the sixties, I have traveled and lived in numerous locations, sometimes by choice, but more often by fate's dictation and my husband's career: First with the U.S Navy and now as an aerospace employee.

I love talking with people, which made my foray into photojournalism a natural extension of my life, since we were moving around so much, and frequently found ourselves involved with new people in new settings. We often joked that if we knew where to go in town to get whatever we needed, it must be transfer time.

Wherever I am, I like to have a camera nearby. Several places have been a photographer's paradise - others less obviously photogenic, but photography is more than snapping pretty pictures. It's looking and seeing, a taste of the world around you. With a roll of film you can express yourself and share your experience with people of any culture, language, or age group. Everyone loves a photo of themselves or a loved one.

While living in Italy during its' turbulent "Red Brigade" days from 1975 to 1981, I wrote free-lance for American military publications, including a column for military families with my perspective and tips on living in Naples. I also wrote a piece about being stationed in Sardinia - where going grocery shopping meant taking a boat to the store! This was when I began to get serious about photography. I needed photos to accompany my stories.

After returning to the United States in the 1981, I exhibited my work at the World Trade Center Gallery in Los Angeles. Then, a chance meeting with a Issa, a Gifted and Talented elementary school teacher at the , completely changed my life. Issa invited me to her classroom to talk to her students about photography. I felt that the children needed a hands on experience, not just someone to show them pictures and talk about photography. This meant cameras and film.

Naively, I thought What company wouldn't want to donate for such a worthwhile purpose?" Thus was planted the seed that prompted me to develop a nonprofit educational organization which uses photography and writing programs with elementary age children around the world. As anyone in the nonprofit sector knows, it's a long leap from good idea to operational program. But with perseverance, and the faith and support of individuals at several generous companies, Through Children's Eyes, ČInc. was incorporated in 1984. Using equipment and supplies donated by Fuji Photo Film USA, Vivitar, Nikon and Kodak, local volunteer photographers have been conducting children's workshops ever since. The children's images been exhibited at sites across America, ranging from local libraries, photography centers, children's museums, and the United Nations in NYC. In March, 2000 we had our first Internet PhotoGallery exhibit, sponsored by Ememories. com.

Our current project is "Seeing America - Through Children's Eyes", and the future project "Seeing Our World - Through Children's Eyes "which will include work by children who have already participated in the United States, Russia and Indonesia , and from additional countries.

Most of my time these days is spent amid the hustle & bustle of running Through Children's Eyes.Inc. However, I still find time to occasionally exhibit my own work and participate in projects that are dear to my heart, including writing children's environmental educational materials and tobacco use prevention.

I just returned to my current roost in the California high desert from our family reunion in my homeland, Scotland. What a contrast between photographing those lush green fields and the high desert's bright orange poppyfields in springtime, its' monochromatic brown hues of summer, and the snow-capped mountain range behind the Joshua trees in the depths of winter.

It's hard to select a specific area of photography that I prefer, and harder still deciding which three photos to include in the gallery! I hope you enjoy these Three Slices of Life".

Winifred Meiser.


Gallery Index

Gallery Three
HIstorical Portfolio by Peter Palmquist

Mary Eleanor Browning
New York


Written by Kenneth Wright and published in Popular Photography in June 1951, this essay may well be among the strangest photographic accounts of all time! Mary Eleanor Browning made photo-medical history as she produced a 108 picture series of her own hysterectomy while the surgery was underway. The essay has been slightly abridged. [P.E. P.]

When free-lance photographer Mary Eleanor Browning learned that she had to undergo major surgery she did not bemoan her fate but decided to make an adventure of adversity by attempting something no photographer had done before-a picture story of her own operation, the removal of a dangerous tumor.

Could a woman photograph her own operation without blacking out? Some of the doctors and most of the nurses at the Kew Gardens General Hospital in New York where Miss Browning made photographic and medical history did not think it could be done. The assistant surgeon took a dim view of the whole idea and predicted that her proposed project wouldn't get beyond a couple of trembling exposures. But if he thought he knew the female of the species he certainly didn't reckon with the indomitable genus photographer. You just don't know the meaning of "determination" until you've gotten in the way of a photographer on assignment.

Mary Eleanor Browning was a photographer on assignment-a lens[woman] hell bent on making a picture story of her own operation from the first incision to final suture. She had three good reasons for her fantastic plan, two of her own, and one fortuitously provided by the operating surgeon who apparently didn't share his assistant's skepticism. He was co-operative from the outset.

"He told me," she said, "that if I succeeded it would be a tremendous moral builder for nervous surgery patients. Naturally if I could remain calm enough to use my cameras I would prove that a major operation is not a fearful ordeal."

That certainly added moral support to her other two reasons: Number one was the plan to sell the resultant pictures to a magazine. Her other reason was to prove that she was not a nervous type.

Come hell or high water nobody could stop Browning. She planned the job, although warned of the serious state of the tumor, as thoroughly as she would any important magazine assignment. In order to watch and photograph the operation from a prone position she purchased a round, framed mirror 22 inches in diameter which was wired to one of the big overhead floodlights used in surgery rooms for illumination. The mirror added weight to the boom-supported lamp, which had to be counter-balanced with two small sandbags slung over the boom. With this mirror in place she could command a full view of the operation.

Such was the co-operation she received that she was allowed to bring into the hospital the following lighting equipment: One Bardwell McAllister 750-watt spot, one 16-inch reflector with No. 4 floodlamp which she intended to use for indirect overhead illumination, and a 12-inch reflector with No. 1 flood for use as a fill-in light. She set these lights up carefully two days before the operation when she went in to take her test shots, and explained to the hospital photographer how they were to be placed during the operation. The were to serve the dual purpose of providing illumination for the operation-replacing the big light which was now blocked off by the mirror-and correct lighting for the photographic job.

Needing an assistant, she called her friend Florence Harriss, in charge of the photographic files of the Association of American Railroads, in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Harriss, cool of nerve and a photographer in her own right, had photographed-without flinching-an earlier minor operation on Miss Browning...

On the morning of the day of the operation, Miss Browning busied herself going over the photographic details of the job, thus keeping her mind off the impending surgery. She had asked the anesthetist not to give her a sedative so she could be as alert as possible. He promised he would give her "something special" that would calm her but also keep her awake, and the surgeon promised to "keep things lively" if she got too drowsy...

At 1:45 p.m. the nurse announced "the pie-wagon is here for you, honey," as she give her a shot of the "special formula" which turned out to be morphine. At 1:50 p.m. Miss Browning was wheeled into the operating room where she got her first (photographic) jolt. Only the 750-watt spot was set up. Through her morphine fog she griped about this but nobody paid any attention. She realized that she would have to make the best of it and use only the single spot.

They rolled her over, gave her a spinal. That was a real shock; she recalls an intensely sharp pain, but it shook off to some extent the first effects of the morphine injection. "Then they roller me on my back and as my foot went to sleep, started giving me the blood transfusion," she says. It is interesting to note that the transfusion was given through the foot rather than the arm (the usual procedure) in order to leave her arms free to handle the cameras.

"Florence then handed me the exposure meter and I directed the setting of the mirror in place and took a light reading. With the original set-up I would have shot1/50 second at f/8 using Kodak Super-XX film and I was extremely disappointed in having to halve the speed to 1/25. To have opened the diaphragm to f/5.6 would have reduced the depth of field to an impractical extent," she recalled.

Florence handed me the Rolleiflex and I set it and handed it back. We did the same with the Leica.

"The surgeon, who was now ready, waited until I finished. 'Ready?' he said. 'O.K., go ahead,' I said, taking up ;my Rollei which was focused through the overhead mirror. I watched and intensely and thought 'if I can get through the first shock I'll be all right.' I pretended that I was looking at a television screen."

Few ordinary people would have much success with such pretense, but Miss Browning said that she had no trouble watching herself objectively. "Quickly, the surgeon's scalpel made a deft thrust and I watched the long red line open ten inches. I was momentarily surprised that I hadn't passed out. I raised the camera and took the first picture.

"I was impressed with the surgeon's speed and wondered whether I could stop his hands in motion. I thought 'people won't blame me if I can't do it' and instantly thought 'well, if I can't do it I shouldn't have started this in the first place.' I rechecked my focus and went on calmly shooting. Before the operation, I had anticipated that the sight of blood would be the big shock and I was surprised that it wasn't revolting to me. I was fascinated by the wonderful speed and teamwork of the surgeon's hands.

"They worked with incredible speed as the assistant picked up the blood vessels, tied them with thread and clamped the hemostats. For a long time no one spoke. I did not notice the flashes of the other photographers (the hospital had supplied one). I kept on fighting that morphine. I kept shooting with the Rollei and had taken twenty-four pictures when I started to hiccup and gasp for breath. I thought I was getting sick and felt as though I was floating away. The anesthetist grabbed an oxygen hose and clasped it to my nose as my blood pressure took a terrific tumble. The assistant surgeon said 'she's through,' but I didn't know what he meant. The voices sounded far away and seemed to take a long time to reach me, but after four or five breaths I said, 'no, I'm all right now.'

"Except for those few moments when I thought I was really going under, I kept on taking pictures and asking questions about what the surgeon was doing as I watched his skilled hands in the mirror. I told jokes to keep awake, for the drowsiness was getting worse and the cameras were getting heavier and heavier. Even the little Leica felt like a big studio camera.

"Finally, the surgeon finished and began stitching the incision. I returned to the Rollei and got all the details of the stitching and bandaging operations. When they wheeled me out of the operating room it was 3:25 p.m. For an hour and a half I had been shooting steadily and had exposed three rolls in the Rolleiflex and two in the Leica-a total of 108 shots. Florence had taken 72, the hospital photographer 14.

[Then]....Miss Browning was returned to her room and given another shot of morphine. That night she was delirious from shock and pain and was told there wasn't anything that would help kill the pain because she had been so keyed up over taking the pictures.

Three days later she was up and walking around. A week later she made pictures of the surgeon removing the stitches.

Thus Mary Eleanor Browning made photographic and medical history by completing a picture story of her own hysterectomy, proving that major operations aren't as bad as most people think or that she has the strongest nerves in the world.

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fourth photo

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