Photo Book Works

in the Reading Room October 1 – 30, 2010

Merck’s Manual 2


Photo Book Works is an international exhibition of artists’ books incorporating photography as a primary element. Photo Book Works was juried by Mia Semingson whose exhibition 39+ is on view in the main gallery. For this exhibition, Semingson selected the work of 31 artists from the United States, Great Britian, Switzerland and Australia.
Images of the works in the exhibit can be viewed here

Included in Mia’s statement are the following remarks:

“The artists included in this exhibition bring their images back to the tangible realm and weave visual stories not just with images, but with the materials they have chosen and the structure that houses their work. All of these ingredients deliver the artist’s concept to the viewer.
As technology changes and upgrades, as we reach deep into our pockets to purchase the next version of Photoshop, one thing remains and will remain a constant – the book. And I will defend books to my death – they are a technology that is here to stay, a wonderful constant presence in a rapidly changing world.”

Oneiro 2


Photo Book Works includes work by the following artists:

Adam Milner, Boulder, Colorado;
Aileen Bassis, Jersey City, New Jersey;
Al Rodríguez, San Diego, California;
Anna Mavromatis, Houston, Texas;
Bessie Smith Moulton, Falmouth, Maine;
Charles Hobson, San Francisco, California;
Cristina de Almeida, Bellingham, Washington;
Elizabeth M. Claffey, Denton, Texas;
Elsi Vassdal Ellis, Bellingham, Washington;
Ginger Burrell, San Jose, California;
Jill Timm, Wenatchee, Washington;
John Watson, Springfield. Oregon;
Judith Hoffman, San Mateo, California;
Kelly O’Brien, Alexandria, Virginia;
Laura Russell, Portland, Oregon;
Lauren Henkin, Portland, Oregon;
Lee Steiner, Pearland, Texas;
Louise Levergneux, Salt Lake City, Utah;
Mary Jane Henley, Tucson, Arizona;
Mary L. Taylor, Marshfield, Massachusetts;
Megan Adie, Basel, Switzerland;
Monica Oppen, Sydney, Australia;
Paula Jull, Pocatello, Idaho;
Philip Zimmermann, Tucson, Arizona;
Sabina U. Nies, Ashland, Oregon;
Sally Waterman, London, United Kingdom;
Scott K. Murphy, St. Joseph, Minnesota;
Steve Kostell, Chapaign, Illinois;
Thomas Finke & Jean Buescher Bartlett, Denver, Colorado & Ann Arbor, Michigan;
Victoria Bjorklund, Tacoma, Washington

39+ What Comes Around Goes Around

October 1 – 30, 2010

Days into years, Day 39



an exhibition by Mia Semingson
39+ presents 366 images from a year-long photographic project.

“I turned thirty-nine on May 7, 2009 and I documented my 40th year of life by photographing every day. I used a “point-and-shoot” style digital camera to collect a series of snapshots to visually document and communicate the progression of this year of my life. As part of my project each day’s image references the previous day, either visually or conceptually. The project ended on my 40th birthday, May 7, 2010. The entire project can be viewed here.

Prior to my 39th birthday I had confronted myself many times with the concept of living in the present moment instead of looking to the past or the future as the present moment ticked by. I have since decided to change my thought process, to slow time down with the aid of a digital camera, and become sensitive to the present moment by literally seeing and photographing what is in front of me.

This old house, Day 145

The idea of the snapshot aesthetic is often considered to be amateurish or imperfect since snapshots tend to be shot quickly or spontaneously, formally lacking artistic or journalistic intent. Eastman Kodak first introduced the concept of the snapshot in the 1900’s by putting the Brownie Box Camera into the hands of common people. Kodak marketed the camera by encouraging users to capture moments in time without being overly concerned with producing perfect imagery. “You press the button and we do the rest” is their familiar slogan.

The new digital snapshot camera continues this democratic idea of easy photography for the average consumer. According to a recent study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), 77% of American households now own at least one digital camera.

Losing, Day 36

The other aspect of this project that I am exploring is the idea of the “third effect.” A visual dialog occurs when one photograph is visually paired with another. Although the meanings of the individual images are preserved, a third meaning that is highly subjective shifting and enigmatic is produced. It can be compared to the relationship between mise-en-scene and montage in film. Gestalt psychologists have labeled this cognitive experience to seeing isolated parts connected to a larger whole as “closure.” I am pushing this idea by exploring what happens when the viewer is confronted with 366 “paired” images. I see this visual connection as a metaphor for life itself- a build-up of experiences over the course of a year represented by the relationship of the images I have chosen each day”.


Not a girl, Day 21common object, common site, Day 6

The resulting series of images, particularly when presented in book form as they are in this installation, successfully walk the line between presenting Semingson’s personal vision and images that have universal appeal with their evocation of sensations both comfortable and familiar. Also on display is a selection of framed digital inkjet prints.

Mia Semingson works in a variety of media including photography, video, performance, sculpture, and artists’ books. She received her MFA in photography and electronic media from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was an instructor in the department for 11 years. Currently she is the new owner of Two Hands Paperie in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and France.