Jennifer Hudson

"I just wish I could take the pain from your body, and put it into mine." How many times have we felt this with our loved ones?
What is so incredible to me is that Jennifer Hudson has actually created a body of work that was inspired by this thought. Jennifer was in the Critical Mass Top 50 this year and her work is haunting and mesmerizing. Her imagination is fertile and we are all the beneficiaries.

In Jennifer's words...

"Medic is a sensitive, intricate glimpse into human relationships during times of need and recovery and a complex, heartfelt exploration of sacrificial love. The work began wholly on one sentence whispered by my husband while we were enduring deeply frightening times together. He held my hand, lay close to me and said softly "I just wish I could take the pain from your body, and put it into mine." I have been fortunate to know incredible love all my life, but at that moment I became suddenly and intensely aware of the magnificent power that exists between people who care for one another. When I was anxious and fighting to fall asleep each night, I began to invent miracle machines; contraptions that heal, deliver hope, legacy, remedy, and redemption."

"Each image from Medic is a thoughtful invention, strange and tender, revealing facets of the delicate human heart. In ten isolated chambers we are witnesses to emotional happenings, exchanges, confrontations, and life decisions. I became particularly fascinated with illustrating the depth of a love relationship by portraying only the individual in many images, exploring the weight of partnership, the sacrificial life perspective, and the burdened, selfless decision-maker."

"In some chambers, we witness life changing moments; mercy, healing, humbling choices, memories recorded and legacies written. In others we see an exchange; affection, tenderness, and sacrifice. In the making of this work, I sought to begin to understand some of the most rare and beautiful relationships in the world, to expose their most frail, vulnerable moments, times of great intensity, and most cherished inner workings."

"Medic is a dark and sentimental collection of stories about great tests in life, purpose, and the most painful, but also the most glorious times to love."

Jennifer has a wonderful blog with more of her work AND an amazing video where she describes the creation of the space in which she photographs this amazing body of work. Click HERE to see it.

Thank you, Jennifer, for putting our heartfelt thoughts into the visual realm.

with love and gratitude

The Burn, Fall 2009

As my time is coming to a close at Ragdale, I am so, so grateful to all the people who make a place like this exist. Friday I stopped by the Barn house to retrieve some items from my room and the dining table was filled with staff. I was initially very surprised because usually it is the residents having a delicious dinner there created by chef Linda. As I left, I marveled at how many people it takes to support this endeavor. And what an endeavor it is! I have been working on several projects. Yesterday was an undistracted 10 hour day of culling thru images. What an incredible luxury. NO DISTRACTIONS! And I got to listen to Paul Simon all day (thanks to Alden's play lists). A deep, deep appreciation to the staff, the board of directors and all who contribute to create such an amazing, magical place.

The Burn, Fall 2009


How does one reconcile the perfect beauty of a new life with all its purity, innocence and joy with what one reads in the daily newspapers? When an artist thinks about creating a work, do you consider making something beautiful or socially significant, so as to help make the world a better place? (I suppose one can also make socially significant beautiful art but that is another discussion).
So I returned a month or so ago from visiting a new grandchild. What, you might ask, does this have to do with the creative process? Well, it raised a very tough question in my mind which I had difficulty resolving.
Being in the presence of a newborn baby is an awe-inspiring experience. There is something so magnificent and flawless about this little person. It is life in its purist, most uncontaminated form. It is how we all entered this world and is universal to mankind.

And then there is this other world one confronts when reading the news, stories on every conceivable evil that man is capable of… the fundamentalists who feel justified in killing women who do not conform to what they believe is the correct dress, famine, the debates about abortion, the repression of Burmese citizens by one of the most cruel dictatorships in the world today. How does one reconcile these extremes?
This was a question I posed while at a residency at Ragdale. One of the residents, Patty Patterson, (a wonderful writer) left this for me in my mailbox the next day…
“In a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.” Louise Bogan

The following day I found this in my mailbox…
"….what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” Don Pedro Arrupe

Happy Thanksgiving!

525,600 minutes, how do you
measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In
inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.... how do you
measure a year in the life? MEASURE IN LOVE.
(revised) Lyrics from Seasons of Love - Rent