From my series Mid+West
(A visual essay on adaptation and acceptance in relocation/immigration and migration)
Some say we are all immigrants but many indigenous people have lived in one
location for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. In this series I am addressing
the more recent acts of relocation.
The place of one's birth greatly influences who they are but through moving, new
foods, cultures, languages and landscapes await to reshape their very being.
I was born in the Midwest, but now reside in New Mexico. Even though I didn't
really encounter a great deal of differences in people there were subtle language
differences, definitely food differences and some culture shifts that required
adjustment on my part. The most profound change for me was the landscape.
Here I am blending photos from my years in the Midwest (mainly rural Missouri and
Illinois) with current photos I’ve taken while living in New Mexico.
I feel that one's landscape, whether rural, suburban or urban, can utterly reshape
them and how through relocation they grow and flourish. They become, in essence,
a blending of all former homelands with the present.
Author: Ellen Jantzen was born and raised in St. Louis Missouri but moved to Illinois after meeting her husband, Michael at Southern Illinois University. Her early college years were spent obtaining a degree in graphic arts; later emphasizing fine art. After a move to California, Ellen spent two years at FIDM (the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in downtown Los Angeles. Here, she obtained her advanced degree in 1992. After a few years working in the industry, including several years at Mattel Toy Company as a senior project designer, she became disillusioned with the corporate world and longed for a more creative outlet. Having been trained in computer design while at Mattel, Ellen continued her training on her own using mostly Photoshop software.
Not considering herself a "photographer" but an image-maker, Ellen Jantzen creates work that bridges the world of photography, prints and collage. As digital cameras began producing excellent resolution, Ellen found her perfect medium. It was a true confluence of technical advancements and creative desire that culminated in her current explorations in photo-inspired art using both a camera to capture imagery and a computer to alter, combine and manipulate the pieces.
Ellen is being recognized as an innovator and her work has been shown in galleries and museums world-wide as well as numerous web-based sites. Ellen is represented by, among others, the Susan Spiritus Gallery in Newport Beach CA and the Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis MO.
Ellen's work can also be seen on her website: http://www.ellenjantzen.com/