I was born in Augusta, where my father was in medical school. My parents took me home to Appling, Georgia, where a giant German Sheppard promptly took to guarding my cradle. We lived in little yellow house with a tin roof, upon which it rained audibly. To this day I love to listen to and watch the rain.
When I turned 2 we moved to Athens, Georgia. In 1980 my parents purchased 170 acres of land in Penfield, Georgia. Growing up I had the best of two worlds, the energy and culture of a college town and the grandeur and solitude of nature. While I have spent most of my life in Athens, I have had many adventures living elsewhere. Just before my 16th birthday, I crossed the Atlantic in a freighter called the MeeMay to live in Helsinki, Finland. My freshman year of college I attended The American University of Paris and Parsons, Paris, arriving in France without a word of spoken French. At the age of 22 I moved to Columbus, Ohio with nothing but a Honda, twenty dollars, and a pair of cowboy boots. In 2002 I graduated with 2 B.F.A.’s from The University of Georgia, one in Photography and one in Digital Media. I jumped on an opportunity to move to an apartment off of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, to become a full-time activist in New York.
I became interested in art through books as a child, one of Leonardo da Vinci drawings and one of Paintings in the Louvre. As a student in Paris, I studied art history the best way, going and looking at the original works of art. In New York City, I spent time at the Whitney, MOMA, and the MET, along with visiting the many galleries showing photography. Perhaps most bizarrely, I participated in a trash-worship ritual, wearing an elaborate headdress made completely out of garbage and leading people in a circle to sniff milk cartons from the trash.
While I found I took good pictures, and created beautiful images out of them using the computer as a tool, my career was missing a big piece, income. I met with my mother’s financial adviser, Todd Emily, who gave me this advice: When there is someone who makes good art and who also has a head for business, they usually make money. I took that as direction to learn about business.
As a businesswoman I am mostly self-taught. My approach to creating a business has been rather holistic, sometimes I work on the exterior and sometimes I work on the interior. Often my newsletters are about some inner truth’s that I have discovered, but I make those truth’s exterior via my newsletter, my blog, and my art. My intention is to provide insight into me personally and to tell the story of my life’s experiences, which are my muses. Thus, when a collector makes a purchase, she has an intimate understanding of the work and where it came from in me.
While working on my B.F.A. in Photography, I concentrated in landscape photography. I recall that my professor told me I was going for the high bar. I have never once regretted it. I love to photograph landscapes and nature for many reasons. I find peace in moving through an ecosystem with my camera. And the earth is always there, always available, all I have to do is walk outside. While I think of myself as a landscape photographer, a recent inventory of my negatives reveals cityscapes, landscapes, waterscapes, crowds, political marches, community gardens in the heart of the city, portraits of street people, gardeners, live music, a birthday party, and a funeral. Basically anything and everything that captures my gaze is fair game for my camera. Yet the skills I learned in photographing the landscapes of Georgia supply the common thread through the seemingly diverse subject material. Wide angles, composition, and depth of field, plus a sense of spontaneity, even with a tripod, characterize my photographs.
My art, newsletter, and blog appeal to a wide audience. Author, activist, and leader in women’s spirituality Starhawk says: “Beth’s work is powerful–mystical but strong images, never clichéd but always original. She makes me look at the archetypes with fresh eyes. Did I mention beautiful? ” Jennifer Louden, best-selling author and creator of the Savor & Serve Project remarks: “They are beautiful! …Very loving and grounded and REAL. The whole thing is just fantastic!” Glenda Goss, world-renowned Sibelius scholar, author, and editor said: “Your work just keeps getting more fascinating. I absolutely love the red maple picture.” Anita Heady, fiber artist and teacher remarks: “Beth, your Skidaway Summer Kaleidoscope (movie) is beautiful! I love that there was no sound because it was peaceful to watch.” Monty Kohli, businessman, wrote: “I like the new website. Your work keeps on getting better.” Visual artist Patricia Hamalainen working in Helsinki, Finland said: “No doubt about it in my mind, your work is brilliant and unique – brainy, complex but approachable.”
For a more detailed and illustrated life history, please see my “Graphing my Geography” series: