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Heart Work: A Selection of Photographs Capturing Love

photo-eye Gallery Heart Work:
A Selection of Photographs Capturing Love
photo-eye Gallery Associate Juliane Worthington curates a Valentine's Day collection featuring work by Carla van de Puttelaar and Brad Wilson.

Valentine’s Day is often lost in a sea of pre-written cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and other merchandise schemes that claim to express the abstract idea of love and attraction we feel for those dear to us. The day can end up feeling like pressure to perform or to find the right gift—to say the right words. Over the years I’ve tried to embrace the holiday as an opportunity to pause and be grateful for those who love me and support me through all the joys and pains of my life. Maybe you have someone you share romantic love with, or maybe you come home to the beloved pup you rescued (so he could rescue you right back). Either way, you have love, even it’s the love you have for yourself.

Sometimes when these sorts of holidays come up we focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have. Working with art and artists reminds me daily of how blessed we are as a human race that our lives lend themselves to creativity. It’s something we give to ourselves as a gift each time we participate in the perspectives and colorful interpretations of the world around us.

I’d like to share two artists who’ve really impacted me in my short time at the gallery. They remind me how much love is coursing through the veins of our planet.

Carla van de Puttelaar, Rembrandt Series, Archival Pigment Print, 18×12" Image, Edition of 8,  Price Upon Request
In her book Adornments, Carla van de Puttelaar, a Dutch photographer, connects sensual depictions of flowers and trees with the faces and bodies of women. She focuses on the imperfections of the skin of things—the beauty to be seen in the lines and marks of time. The collection of her images are bound together with a recycled paper cover that feels somehow both rough and smooth, like skin. The thick pages are full of deeply colorful, sensual photographs of her subjects in varying stages of life and age. The book is heavy and large—the weight of it encapsulating her appreciation and intrigue with the figures she studies. Van de Puttelaar’s work is a tribute to women—real women with real bodies, who have real reservations about their vulnerability and who they’re allowed to be. This image from her Rembrandt series illustrates the quiet, often hesitant, openness she admires about women. When I think about how I want the women in my life, my daughter especially, to feel loved by me, this is how I imagine it: To be truly seen in all the ways and from all the angles as one would hold up a flower on a warm summer day with awe and appreciation.

Photographs by Carla van de Puttelaar
Fw: Books, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2017
In English. 270 pp., color illustrations, 9¾×13¼×1½"

$71.00 Hardbound

» Purchase

» View More Work by Carla van de Puttelaar

Brad Wilson, Lion #3, Los Angeles, CA, 2010, Archival Pigment Ink, 20×29" Image, Edition of 15, $1500

The second artist whose work has brought tears to my eyes at times is Brad Wilson. The animals Wilson photographs are inhabitants of various sanctuaries who house these precious, endangered lives and redirect them into a close relationship with mankind. Wilson uses a portrait style format, getting so close that the reflection of him working can often be seen in their eyes. The result is a very intimate encounter with these creatures we long to know and be close to. What I love about Wilson’s work is how he can portray this lion, dangerous and unpredictable by design, as capable of great feeling and emotion. The lion has symbolized man for ages; as our country and culture strives towards redefining how strong, good men should behave toward the world around us, it’s important we allow for a bit of wild and untamed nature. While we cannot tolerate predatory behavior, we need to allow our boys and men to roar. It’s the balance and bay of masculine and feminine energy that makes our world so beautiful. I see in the wild eyes of Wilson’s lion a bit of sadness, of longing for understanding and respect—wanting to be seen and loved in all his power and might, and not feared. I give my boys, now 11 and 15, the space to be both gentle and strong for me and with me. As a single mom, they guard me like a lion and also look to me when they’re broken and sad like the cub who will always live inside them. This portrait of Wilson’s lion reminds me I both need to respect the strength of the men in my life, and know when to sink my hands into their hair, look in their eyes and assure them of that same strength.

Wild Life 
Photographs by Brad Wilson
Prestel, Lakewood, 2014
184 pp., illustrated throughout, 10×11¾"

$45.00 Signed Hardbound
$250.00 Limited Edition with Print

» Purchase

» View Additional work by Brad Wilson

I hope wherever and whoever you’re celebrating this holiday of love with you can look beneath the commercial layers and find the raw, realness of what you truly have. And, I hope these images bring you the same reminder they do for me: we are an artful embodiment of creation and life. In the imperfections of love and relationship between human beings, there is also great beauty when we trust and let down our robe for another to see us as we are: alive and here. May there be a reflection in your eyes of one who sees you in all your strengths and weaknesses and loves you for them.

If you’d like to see more work like this please come by the gallery or visit our website.

Some other pieces I’ve selected that make me feel a sense of love, which are available for pick up and can be shipped in time for Valentine’s Day if ordered by February 10, 2019, are listed below. Let the gift you chose to express your love this year be one from the heart—one that will inspire you to love more deeply each time you see it.

—Juliane Worthington

Juliane is a freelance writer, editor and the gallery associate at photo-eye Gallery in Santa Fe, NM where she lives with her three kids, two cats and golden retriever.

Additional Selections by Juliane

Steve Fitch
Las Vegas, Nevada, August, 2002
Archival Pigment Print
12×12" Image
Not Editioned

Michael Lange, Wald #6678
Archival Pigment Print (3 sizes available - check add. info)
37×28" Image
Edition of 7

Maggie Taylor
Looking glass house, 2016, from A tale begun other days II 
Archival Pigment Print
8×8" Image
Edition of 15

                    Richard Tuschman
                    Green Bedroom (Morning), 2013
                    Archival Pigment Print
                    24×18" Image
                    Edition of 9

                            Photographs by Michael Kenna
                            Nazraeli Press, Paso Robles, CA, USA, 2019
                            In English. 64 pp., 41 duotone plates, 8×12"
                            $75.00 – Hardbound
                            $1,500 –  Limited Edition with Print

David H. Gibson
Double Rainbow, Hondo Mesa, New Mexico, 1996
Gelatin-Silver Print
8×23" Image
16×32" Mat
Edition of 48

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All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. 
Prices will increase as the print editions sell.

For more information, and to purchase prints, 
please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or