NJ Historical Society: Risking Life & Lens Exhibit (extended to August 31, 2017): http://www.jerseyhistory.org/news_detail.php?recid=227
2017 – 12TH ANNUAL BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS HONORS PHOTOGRAPHER Helen M. Stummer FROM USA.
LOS ANGELES 10/24/2017 Professional photographer Helen M. Stummer of USA was presented with the 12th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee title in the category of Children of the World and People at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photo Show streamed Saturday, October 14, 2017.
“It’s an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 8,121 entries we received this year” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. Helen M. Stummer’s, “Asking for Food and Imitating Mommy” exceptional images entered in the Children of the World and People Category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present her with the title of Nominee.”
Stummer is an award winning social documentary photographer who has many prints in the Library of Congress and is honored in many other permanent collections. She has exhibited widely and her next showing will be at the International Center for Photography Gallery at the Mana Art Contemporary complex in Jersey City, N.J. from November 2017 to June of 2018. Her book Risking Life and Lens: A Photographic Memoir has recently been published by Temple University Press.
“The innocence and trusting nature of children “Children of the World” image and the injustice and cruelty of poverty always breaks my heart,” Stummer said, “and this image shows the combination as clear and as stark as I have tried to portray.”
CAPTION: Nominee: Children of the World Category. USA
“Asking For Food” was taken in a third floor tenement building in Newark, NJ. I was sitting by the door talking with a family who I had just finished photographing when there was a light knock on the door. Tanya called to come in, as the door was slightly ajar. Standing in the doorway was Denise, who lived a couple of apartments down the hall. Tanya got up and went to the kitchen without saying a word and came back with some food for the child. “Her mother often sends her here for food,” Tanya whispered to me.
CAPTION: Nominee— People Category: USA
“Imitating Mommy” was taken in Nancy’s apartment on East Sixth Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
in 1978, around the time when the NY Times called the area one of the meanest in America. I was focusing on Nancy when her daughter jumped into the frame. I thought she wrecked the composition, but instead she totally made it work.
Two 2017 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards go to State of the Arts and PCK Media!
The State of the Arts story “Risking Life and Lens: Helen M. Stummer” has been honored in the “Arts & Entertainment” category. Photographer Helen M. Stummer discusses her new memoir, Risking Life and Lens, in our Emmy-winning story. You can read more about her on our blog. Congratulations to producer Susan Wallner and director of photography Joe Conlon!
Lobby of the NJ Historical Society Exhibit; photo by: John Bathke
What Is This Website Used For?
To educate — to see below the surface — to think about people who live in a low social economic status–to illustrate lectures, publications, exhibits on photography, art, sociology, history, psychology, health and living conditions, lead poisoning, housing violations and above all survival.
As a socially concerned documentary photographer in the tradition of Dorothea Lange, Lewis Hine, and Jacob Riis, I try to capture images of the dignity, elegance, and suffering of people who are trying to survive on nothing.
Any explanation of what my work is about, what I am doing, or why I am mostly compelled to communicate the struggles of people in despair, is elusive. Each time I think I find an answer and begin to write about the connection within me, the answer changes. As each theory becomes old hat or dry, I begin, again, the search to find a new explanation.
At times I am sure my works are self-portraits; but then I also think that they are protests against stereotypes that picture poor people living like “Queens” of “high on the hog.” At times I see them as exposés of some of the myths of poverty that say being poor is synonymous with being a criminal or undeserving; sometimes they reflect my reaction to those endless comments about bad neighborhoods being equivalent to bad people. Theses reasons shift in priority, but are all basically true. Protest I think, is always at the crux of my work, protest against injustice.
My quest for truth is the journey—the passion—that ignites my energy. It is a continuous process of “not knowing”—to know and then not to know, then letting go and beginning again. Following my heart as a guide, this journey remains the inspiration that enriches my life, making it meaningful and keeping the eternal light of hope alive.
Helen M. Stummer