Ellen Wallenstein is a photographer, book artist and professor of art from New York City. She works on long-term documentary projects, visually responding to her daily life experiences. She also photographs daily, as meditation and habit. She is...
Focus:Photographer, Still Life, Fine Art, Documentary, Photography
Covering:USA & Canada
Skills:Research, Adobe Photoshop, Book Layout/Design, Photo Editing, Black & White Printing
Respecting My Elders: Age and the Creative Spirit is a collection of color portraits of creative persons over the age of eighty, photographed in their home and studios. They are the artists and intellectuals of my parents’ generation, whose wisdom and insight are important to our nation. Known as “The Greatest Generation”, and coming of age between the two World Wars, the effect of their contributions upon future generations is evident in their cultural legacies. These include books, poems, paintings, photographs, plays and performances, as well as important breakthroughs in education, philanthropy and the sciences. As these persons enter the last phase of long and productive lives, I believe they deserve to be celebrated. My photographs are meant to capture their spirit and beauty, and to inspire admiration by future generations.
These photographs were made between 2009 and 2012. Of the people pictured here, more than half have passed away since we met.This is the downside of such a project, but the upside of remembrance.
“Accomplishment is different today. They don't know what it takes to be a star. You have to earn being a star. Wanting to be an actor takes hard work, dedication and suffering. You have to be willing to march down that road.”
Professor Irwin Corey, Comedian & Activist 1914 - 2017
"With the beginning of a great & compassionate love, comes the growth of one's heart, and with that, a profound inner change. The way to opening the mind is often first through the heart. And once is the mind & heart are open, so many things become possible."
“…. I think what I feel fortunate about is that I am still astonished, that things still amaze me, and I think that’s the great benefit of being in the Arts, where the possibility for learning never disappears”.
"Words of wisdom? Words of common sense. Provided you are healthy (a huge proviso) you can have a long and interesting old age. The problems and insecurities of youth are in the past, children are grown and on their own, this is the time to do not what you always had to do but what you want to do. You can be creative, productive, helpful, even inspiring or simply content to be privileged to live in a world which is changing every day."
"Keep your passion alive., alert and imaginative. Work at it. Also involve your body. Keep your body moving….. Avoid trends. Think for yourself. ….Think of a project that you would like to concentrate on, and spend time developing it. Time passes. Will it be of interest 49 years from now?"
"... We know what we meant to come about, and we measure it against the way it did come out finally, over the years, and yes, we want the truth about that difference, ignorant though we might be.” (from “Heathen Valley”)
"The practice of art is so intensely subjective, so personal, so seemingly private, it is inevitable that eventually eveyrone gets caught in their own sticky web of definitions. Still one must persist.”
"As a documentarian I happily place my fate and faith in reality. It is my caretaker, the provider of subjects, themes, experiences – all endowed with the power of truth and the romance of discovery. And the closer I adhere to reality the more honest and authentic my tales. After all, the knowledge of the real world is exactly what we need to better understand and therefore possibly to love one another. It’s my way of making the world a better place."
“…Art does not change us- does not make us better persons. Art intensifies, makes us more of what we already are, shows us what we did not know we knew. Art is not real life but a concentration of life.”
"I tried to improve my work each day, read books and photography magazines to become more proficient in my work. I have always been curious and interested in what's going on in the world. I enjoy conversing with other people who are creative also".
“…if you set women against each other then you’re going to be able to dominate them much more than if they’re together. You see our strength now is to love one another and appreciate one another and defend one another.”