Cora Jacobs Fine Art Photography photography Mon, 23 Jun 2014 22:01:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 In Memoriam Sat, 31 May 2014 16:31:44 +0000

For Steven Mayer

What can I say about my dear friend? That he and I met at the Arboretum in a photography class, that we slowly introduced ourselves on the field one morning at the Visitor’s Center, that he offered his philosophy on his photography, and from there we shared but a few years of great friendship. Steven was a chef at the Riverside Golf Club, and remarkably talented. I learned too that he once created ice sculptures for a time. I know he would have liked to have opened up a small pizza restaurant (a pizza crust recipe he developed was always in demand at the Club).

We exchanged ideas, critiqued each other’s work, inspired and encouraged growth. Steven received awards, and last June had his first solo exhibit at Gallery 7. Steven had just finished his website: before his passing.

I have missed his kind and thoughtful words, his advice, but mostly his presence at meetings, outings, and the occasional rendezvous to sit and talk. I wrote the following poem when I heard the news.

Home Safe

I sat in a green striped chair looking up Pat Mann—she wanted me to friend her. And earlier at Trader Joes I bought white and peach/yellow tulips to photograph. Steven emailed me yesterday to ask about the conditions at the Garden. Happy by the report he would be heading up on Monday. I would’ve surprised him had the call not come in.

Now, still sitting in this green striped chair, the breeze comes into this room and reaches me. The curtains flutter quickly and wave. I don’t want to answer another call. The music is silent. The Velvet Hour was the last CD I burned for him. The clock is too loud.

The bed is a soft place, this pen too black, this paper too white. Ink spreads beyond the words I write and smear from wet drops. What moments do I remember? The long walk at the Botanic about our private lives was one. The prairie was in a yellow glow of wildflowers swaying to a rhythm of waves. The meet-up at the Starbucks on LaGrange Road was another. Outside on a bench Steven just back from meeting Sydney and dropping off a book—the two of us talking photography while strangers passed and said hello.

Looking out my window, the sky is filled with cumulus clouds in varying shades of grey. It’s the kind of day that might work well for macro but not so well for the intimate landscape. That intense black and white image of tree roots with a couple of fall amber leaves was something only Steven could have seen. I remember our email whether to keep that corner leaf in or not and leaving it in was best. It was best.

I’ve spoken to Diana and we are saddened together. She understands loss—a freshness that pricks her heart at moments especially like this. Monday without Steven we’ll celebrate the chef, the artist, the friend of many. I will drive home and before I get into my car I will hear his words to me: take care and home safe. And to you too Steven, now home safe.

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A Sensual Touch Tue, 11 Feb 2014 19:18:36 +0000
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Upper Peninsula Wed, 01 Jan 2014 20:13:18 +0000

Reflections of . . . Hiawatha National Forest

A Quiet Lake Shadows & Reflections Early Morning Fog

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It’s early morning and I listen as our footsteps crackle as we walk up to the lake’s edge. The forest is awake with little critters and birds calling out. The mist hovers gently against the shoreline and the quiet, almost still water gives me a reason to pause–taking a deep breath in. I am far from the city I come from–the city girl that I really am. This is Will’s world, his true appreciation of nature and its beauty is written all over his face–he walks off to another place close by to study his subject and to photograph. As the sunrise light moves in, with the mist, the reflection, and the color so appealing, it’s easy to lose yourself.

* * * * *

My husband and I drove up to the UP to meet up with Willard Clay (well-known and well-respected landscape photographer)–a special opportunity to photograph with someone whom most of us, if not all at the Morton Arboretum, admire and who has given so much back to his students.

Will puts out a newsletter to photographers he knows and in that newsletter he talks about a number of photography subjects. In his newsletter about his trip to the UP he talked about how places like the UP have become inundated with photo tours and how it has become increasingly difficult to photograph alone as well as photographing without a tour group at your heels.

Here’s a sound-bite from his newsletter along with his images of Lake Superior and Half-Moon Lake.

“Lake Superior: Other photographers would shoot this scene perhaps, but what made this so special? It is a fairly long hike to reach this location. No photo tours here. In fact, I saw only one person there and it was a woman backpacker gazing at the incredible scene. When she saw me and my camera, the radiant smile she gave me is indelibly etched into my memory forever. “Ah, someone is going to photograph this incredible beauty!” And I had it all to myself!


Halfmoon Lake: Again, perhaps other photographers might shoot this scene, but what made it special is it is a four-wheel drive road (very formidable if wet) getting to this lake and I had it all to myself….”


Thank you Will.

My time up in the UP was spent taking intimate landscapes rather than any true macro shots–mostly because I was up in the UP and it would have been a waste of some very beautiful landscapes. It’s just sad that back in 1989 when Will took the photographs he shared in his newsletter–pristine in every way and healthy–well, it’s not so much so now. Almost every place we visited Will was picking up beer cans and asking why would anyone do that to the forest.

Coming on Sunset The Slant of Light Lilypads An Autumn Brushstroke Fall Reflection

We shared some good conversations: fear of photographing alone (what’s out there scares me–okay I admit it) and his no fear attitude (Will and his camper days driving in the middle of nowhere and settling in for the night–this is just amazing to me), and sea salts, sugar, a chef with some helpful tips, how far is too far when you post process, photography as a career (perhaps extinct), photography friends, and how passionately he enjoys photographing his favorite places — his “hidey holes” as he calls them. He was a real joy to listen to.

This was an experience I’ll treasure always–thank you Will for letting me tag along!

Here’s a url to Willard Clay’s website where you will find the most beautiful images!


Will’s Bio: Former Professor of Botany, Willard Clay has been a full-time photographer since 1982. Specializing in large format photography, Willard Clay has been the primary photographer for nine coffee table books and has been published in a myriad of calendars, magazines, books, and advertising agencies. Portfolio consists of large format film and high-resolution digital files ready for publication.

NOTE: The images and text from Willard Clay’s Newsletter have been reprinted here with the permission of the photographer.

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White Into Infinity Wed, 01 Jan 2014 00:38:24 +0000
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Texas Shell Pink Sat, 26 Oct 2013 21:55:26 +0000
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Blushing Pink Sat, 26 Oct 2013 21:25:35 +0000
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Reflections in Water Sat, 26 Oct 2013 20:56:05 +0000

October 26, 2013

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I attended a Water Portfolio class at the Botanic Garden late summer. Dianne Kittle, a fine art photographer taught the class. Dianne comes from California, travelled to many parts of the world, and very artistically talented as a photographer. The Botanic is certainly fortunate to have her teach photography in their program. Each week proved to be more challenging than the previous–seeing the world differently and training my eye to look for beauty beyond the flower.

I’ve taken many classes, especially Master classes, formally structured and focused with one idea in mind. The Water Portfolio class offered many ideas and approaches (or tools) in order to find that spark that inspires to work toward a completed portfolio. Added to the mix each week was a mentor, a photographer that either Dianne had the pleasure of attending his/her workshop, or a photographer she admires–giving the class a taste of the photographer’s portfolio either through a gallery or an interview online. I don’t think the class was long enough–when you’re having so much fun, when is a class long enough?

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The Ginkgo Montage Fri, 21 Jun 2013 18:53:14 +0000

June 21, 2013

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It was just several years ago that I produced my first montage (seen above). I attended a class entitled “Turning Fall” (taught by a friend of mine, Chris Aquino, professional nature photographer and educator). It was a five-week class in which the objective was to produce a portfolio of the changes in nature as the season progressed. One night during lecture Chris projected images of the changing season and casually mentioned the “mundane-ness” of the ginkgo leaf. A mundane ginkgo? That peaked my interest and my inner photography goddess saw it as a challenge. How can I take what is perceived as mundane and make it different.

I spent four days straight–shooting early morning at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois photographing the ginkgo leaves in various stages of life. It wasn’t enough–none of the images had enough impact and I started to think that Chris might have been right.

One night, looking through all of the images and the different angles and shapes, it prompted me to try a montage.

The process was easy. Three images layered, applying different opacities to each layer in order to achieve just the right color and depth.

Thanks Chris for awakening the Imagist in me. Ezra Pound’s words ”Make it New!” continues to resonate.

. . . .

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