Category Archives: Photographs


It’s hard to believe that three weeks have passed since we returned home from our Ecuador adventure. I had hoped to get some images posted sooner than this, but a long, particularly vicious bout of food poisoning (courtesy of the Mexico City airport) and a couple of upcoming exhibitions, which required my immediate attention, threw sand in the gears. Also, by choosing to travel without my computer, my normal process of downloading images everyday to manage my work flow was severely hobbled, and by the time I got home, with two full camera cards, I felt completely overwhelmed by the task of dealing with all those images.

Yet, I made a start.

Here are some of the colors of Ecuador and the beauty of the indigenous people that caught my eye on the streets of Cuenca, a beautiful colonial city in the Andean highlands; in the coastal town of Puerto Lopez; and at the archeological site of Ingapirca, ruins that were originally used by the Cañari people as an observatory.

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Windbreak, a photograph by Jane Alynn

Windbreak. Photo © Jane Alynn.

I’ll be showing new work at Embellish, 223 S. First in Mount Vernon during the month of July. Please stop in to take a look. And I’ll be there at the shop for First Thursday Art Walk, on July 6, from 5pm to 8pm.

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As Boxx continues its journey of bringing artists’ work to our Valley, this next show is a fabulous example of two sensitive and nuanced photographers at work. Jane Alynn’s black and white film-based photographs are reminiscent of Pictorialism’s soft-focus, its diffuse and ethereal light and shadow. These lensless images tempt the imagination to see beyond the literal. M R McDonald photographs the poster scene he finds in Seattle. In his “found art”, as he calls it, the literal gets lost in the rips, tears, and unfinished imagery. Both are worth a trip to Tieton, where Spring is bursting forth, optimism is returning and the gallery with a big heart is up and running. See you this Saturday from 11 to 4 for the opening and every Saturday the rest of April. Here’s to art and Spring!

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Exhibition Announcement


Jane Alynn | M R McDonald Exhibit Photographs at Boxx Gallery

Tieton, WA – April 1, 2017 – Boxx Gallery is pleased to present The eye has its reasons…, a two-person exhibition featuring photographic works by Jane Alynn and M R McDonald, two artists who will make you see the world differently. They share an affinity for visual perception and a shift from the literal. But both use the medium differently.

Jane Alynn’s black and white film-based photographs are reminiscent of Pictorialism’s soft-focus, its diffuse and ethereal light and shadow. These lensless images tempt the imagination to see beyond the literal. M R McDonald photographs the poster scene he finds in Seattle. In his “found art,” as he calls it, the literal gets lost in the rips, tears, and unfinished imagery.

The eye has its reasons…
BOXX Gallery
APRIL 1 – APRIL 29, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 1, 11 AM-4 PM
Gallery hours: Every Saturday, 11 AM-4 PM

Jane Alynn lives in Anacortes, WA, but has family roots in Tieton. Among her awards, she was selected in 2014 as a finalist in Photolucida’s Critical Mass, and received in 2013 a Women in Photography Award. Also a poet, she delights in the intersection of these sister arts.

M R McDonald was born in Yakima. His photographs have shown throughout Washington. In addition to photography, he has exhibited his non-representational paintings. He has been an artist at Gallery 110 in Seattle, since 2015.

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40th National Juried Photography Exhibition

Snag and Grass, gelatin silver print, 17 x 21" framed

Snag and Grass, gelatin silver print, 17 x 21″ framed

I’m immensely honored to have a print selected by Juror Julia Dolan, Minor White Curator of Photography of the Portland Art Museum, to be part of the 40th National Juried Photography Exhibition.

This is a national juried photography exhibition, held every two years, in the Larson Gallery on the campus of Yakima Valley College.

Larson Gallery
Yakima Valley Community College
E. Nob Hill Blvd & S. 16 Streets
Yakima, WA 98901

Exhibition Dates: March 9 – April 15, 2017
Opening Reception, Thursday, March 9, 5 to 7 PM

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Perry and Carlson Gallery in Mount Vernon, Washington, is thrilled to present: SKAGIT WOMEN PRINT, the work of 18 women artists of Washington’s Skagit Valley. Printmakers, painters, poets and photographers, each has produced a limited edition of 25 prints in a range of methods, including: lino and wood block, solar plate etching, vitreograph, mezzotint, chine colle and serigraph.

“The scale of these prints is small and their messages often subtle. They honor the past and what has been lost even as they trace contemporary patterns of change and delight. In every image you’ll find a tribute to the heart-stopping beauty that remains eternally Skagit.” Sheila Farr

Please join us for an opening reception with the artists on Saturday, March 4, from 3-6 in the gallery at 508 S. 1st Street, Mount Vernon.

The show is dedicated to the late Eve Deisher, whose print: Danger Zone is shown.

Contributing artists are: Jane Alynn, Jean Behnke, Eve Deisher, Heidi Epstein, Kathleen Faulkner, Jules Remedios Faye, Jessica Gigot, Kathryn Glowen, Nicolette Harrington, Theo Jonsson, Ellen Jane Michael, Kris Ekstrand Molesworth, Natalie Niblack, Ann Chadwick Reid, Sue Roberts, Stella Spring, Twila Tate, and Kristin Loffer Theiss.

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Artifice, a photo by Jane Alynn.

Artifice. Photo © Jane Alynn.

It’s Throwback Thursday!

The photograph above is a very early zone plate image.

This week, in the process of updating my website’s ABOUT page, I recalled my beginnings with black and white film-based zone plate imagery.

I was living in Edison, Washington, in a dilapidated building that once had been a lumber yard and hardware store. It was cheap—affordable for us—and we had a dream of creating a live-work space there. It was large enough to accommodate our living quarters, our separate studios, and even a gallery.

Though that dream never came to fruition, and we eventually sold the building, another beginning took root there.

I saw some photographs made by a friend. They were diffuse and mysterious, and the highlights glowed. They could have been out of the early twentieth century Pictorialist movement. It was like looking at the ineffable. I fell in love with those images, and I wanted to explore those lensless creations myself.

Gratefully, our friend sent me a zone plate to fit on a camera, so that I could experiment with it.

I mail-ordered a Lubitel, a cheap Russian-made camera priced at that time, as I recall, under $25—it had to be cheap, so that I wouldn’t feel badly when I crashed the lens out of it—which I did, and then fit the zone plate over the aperture. I couldn’t wait to expose my first role of film with a zone plate.

I’ve never looked back.

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Remains. Stumps at Baker Lake. Photo © Jane Alynn

Remains, 2012, gelatin silver print.

If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves.  ~ Edward Burtynsky

The Project

My fascination with trees has followed me from childhood. Surrounded by woods, my daily life centered on exploring every nook and cranny of the forest, observing, attentive to its vicissitudes, its breath. I inhaled its stories and silence, order and great energy, flexibility and persistence. The power of these life-giving experiences instilled a deep reverence for the natural world and a profound love of trees.

In my early photographs, trees claimed their rightful place in my work. Their beauty and mystery, form and spirit were, and still are, visually irresistible.

But themes of degradation of our planet have seized my consciousness. And trees are canaries in the coal mine. The alarmingly rapid escalation of tree deaths—26 million trees in the Sierra Nevada alone over the last eight months—as huge numbers of trees succumb to drought, disease, insects, wildfires, and sea-level rise, much of it driven by climate change, has brought an urgency to this ongoing project.

“Who Will Speak for the Trees” is the first line of a poem I wrote in collaboration with Ann Chadwick Reid’s exquisite cut paper triptych, “Cedar, Sage and Pine,” about our vanishing forests. Her artwork and my poetic response were exhibited together in 2011 at Graves Gallery in Wenatchee, Washington.

The Poem

In a Fleeting World

Who will speak for the trees?
The Giant Cedar, Sage, Ponderosa Pine.
Of the vanishing forestlands and steppe,
they are innocent.
They don’t even know they are
condemned by an old legend
of destruction
they cannot escape,
and may not have time to prove it.

The trees have no voice.
They are beyond expression,
heaped into gray-splintered rubble,
bulldozed slash, pyres of the ravaged.
Oh, the indescribable losses.
Grief unthought of.

The sorry truth is we go on
believing these soldierly stands
were felled for good reason.
For the peace of mind of human kind.
To satisfy hunger.
So in place of the timber,
already forgotten
we put our faith in abundant crops,
raw materials, rolling pastureland
with whitewashed estates,
an expanse of sky, unrelenting summer.
A vagueness covers everything.

Meanwhile this paradise lost
is apprehended in form,
the woods cut with clarity, naïve force,
as if to give what is otherwise evanescent
a second life, an exquisite reply.

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Collapsed cabin along hwy 20

Collapsed cabin along Highway 20. Photo © Jane Alynn.

Certain events in life tend to shake the ground on which you stand, upending carefully cast beliefs and habitual states of mind.

Think of losing a loved one, a serious accident or diagnosis, a breakup or job loss, things that happen in life that we neither choose nor can anticipate. These events can precipitate tectonic shifts.

Then, there are the changes we choose, such as having a baby, moving, or changing jobs. Even travel can challenge your usual way of being in the world.

Pico Iyer, in “Why We Travel,” writes: “It [travel] cracks you open, and so pushes you over all the walls and low horizons that habits and defensiveness set up.”

My recent journey to the Okanagan Country in Washington and Canada and to the Kootenay Rockies was just such an experience.

I left with a pledge I would go unplugged. Except for a few posts to Instagram, I, indeed, was disconnected from my network.

Instead, I engaged with people and place; and I made photographs.

I made photographs every day. I wasn’t checking my email several times a day or obsessively viewing posts from Facebook friends or responding to intrusive messages on my Facebook page, reminding me I haven’t posted in 25 days.

In short order, my pressure cooker mind slowed down.

Interestingly, the project I was working on was of ghost towns and the structures that remain. There’s nothing like being among old ruins to remind you of the passage of time!

So, now that I’m home and back in my studio, reflecting on my experiences, I have made a vow to reset my life, honoring my priorities above all other distractions.

Vital and thus deserving of most of my time and attention are photographing, developing projects that I love and that say something; reading and writing; giving space to thought and silence; being with family and friends; traveling; staying healthy; and making a positive contribution to the world.

That’s enough, isn’t it?

Abandoned barn along Old Toroda Road, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.
Abandoned homestead in Bodie

Abandoned homestead in Bodie, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.

Abandoned building in Bodie

Abandoned building in Bodie, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.

Abandoned building in Bodie

Abandoned building in Bodie, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.

Abandoned building in Bodie

Old building, young birch in Bodie, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.

Window in an abandoned building in Bodie

Window in an abandoned building in Bodie, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.

Abandoned cabin in Old Toroda

Abandoned cabin in Old Toroda, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.

Collapsing barn in Malo

Collapsing barn in Malo, Okanogan Country. Photo © Jane Alynn.

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Abandoned house with red door, Loomis, WA

Abandoned house with red door, Loomis, WA. Photo © Jane Alynn.

“The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.”
⁓ William Least Heat Moon

tasting the berries
greeting the bluejays
learning and loving the whole terrain
⁓ Gary Snyder, from The Old Ways

“Most of us have a fire in the belly, a passion or desire that burns brightest in us. It’s the heat and energy from this fire that moves us forward, gives momentum to our projects, and authenticity to our voice…. Don’t you dare neglect feeding the fire in your soul; don’t for a moment allow the embers to grow cold. It’s never worth the sacrifice.”
David DuChemin, from “Tend the Fire,” posted April 1, 2015

Shortly after this post hits the ether, we’ll be on the road again. Some recent events woke me up to the fact that life cannot be taken for granted. If the things that stoke the fire in my soul are traveling and working on photographic projects that excite me, then now is the time. Not tomorrow, not later—now!

As a blogger, I know that consistency matters, and that long absences will lop off most of your readers. To my mind, the greater urgency is making the work. Doing work that matters imparts new vigor to the work and to your mind. And if that means being unplugged for awhile, so be it.

We’ll be traveling for about four weeks, exploring northeastern Washington State and the Canadian Okanagan Valley. Those old towns and abandoned mining sites have interested me for some time. Mostly, I’ll be using my medium format film camera fit with a zone plate to capture their place in time and timelessness, the ephemerality of dreams and memory, the dark beauty of decay.

There are certain images, of course, that are better conveyed as “straight”: the odd juxtaposition, the absurd, the ironic, the out-of-place-out-of-time characters, structures, and details. So I’ll be bringing a digital camera, too.

Just so you know, I’m still a bit of a simpleton about digital file management, and I have no experience in getting my photographs into Lightroom while I’m on the road. So I cannot promise any posts. However, I just opened an Instagram account and will at least try to post some iPhone images. You can follow me on Instagram at janealynn_photography.


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