This book is a long-term project in two contexts: one, it spans 30 years of my fine art photography; and two, the book is now finished after nearly 10 years of curation, editing, assembly, and refinement.
My photographs are like stories retold over time: the images change and evolve as one returns to the image again and again.
At various points I thought the project was complete, only to discover I had to re-evaluate and begin again. Did I give up hope? No, that is not my nature. This book represents 30 years of struggle, renewal and re-discovery. I am honored to have the opportunity to share this work with you, and grateful for your help to make it more widely available. As a registered professional art therapist, I’ve witnessed the transformative healing power of making and interacting with art.
On both Coasts, and here on the Third Coast (Austin, TX), the work has garnered glowing reviews, and I’ve been encouraged and inspired to raise funds for broader publication. “The photographs invite us in with their call of intimacy, and taken together, build to something far more expansive than the individual.” -Carrie Kenny, Director, Prizer Arts & Letters, Austin, TX
Contemplating a Kickstarter project, my book’s editor, T.M. Gill, wrote:
“It is ironic that we now look to the digital world, via “crowdfunding,” to complete publication of this analog work. In film photography, particularly with multiple-exposure work, there are elements of risk-taking and faith integral to the process, that exist beyond skill, technique, and experience. In photography’s digital world, there is always a “delete” option, or a vast array of ways to manipulate an image. A good photograph is a good photograph, true, but there is something special about the analog world of film: so much can go wrong, that when it goes right, more magic within the moment either survives or is created. There are no pixels manipulated to refine or dilute an image. Perhaps in film photography we are closer to both visions seen, and unexpected visions revealed?”
The title of the book is Collected Works- Volume I: Thirty Years of Photography,1987-2017. It is a joy to have Volume I completed! Volume II will include my artwork in other mediums such as assemblage, collage, fiber-art, drawing, painting, and sculpture. I’m lucky to be an art therapist by trade, because I am firstly an artist that has the opportunity to interact with art everyday, and watch it be a positive force in people’s lives. I have always made art, and will continue to create, regardless. Volume II is up next!
Collected Works- Volume I: Thirty Years of Photography,1987-2017
Deanna Miesch, multi media artist and Art Therapist, is publishing her first book in a series of select photographs spanning three decades. Miesch retains her command of film in a now digital world. Nearly half of the 229 images are multiple exposures created “in-camera” and without further digital manipulation.
The result is a thematic and contextual complexity that still embraces a clear stylistic vision and aesthetic. Miesch’s photography reveals unexpected, enchanting stories that seem to arise from nature’s, and our own, dream-states. These images have the unique ability to entrance both the studied and casual viewer. Visual journeys take us from Mamou, LA with men making gumbo from stolen chickens; to the dark and light sides of Mardi Gras in New Orleans; nuns both at the Vatican in Rome, and making lace on the beach in Lido, Italy; the turmoil of a Klan rally protest in Austin; a West Texas lightning storm in the Davis Mountains; the middle-of-nowhere Utah; the natural grandeur of Big Sur and Bolinas, CA; a magical and remote topography in Sonoma County, where Mars research teams collide with microscopic “extremeophiles”.
The artist’s multiple exposure work give both her portraiture and landscape photography otherworldly dimensions constructed from ordinary elements. Many photographs are presented in Miesch’s “signature prints:” as if they were Polaroids or postcards with accompanying text, typed from an old Underwood typewriter and allowing a rich and intimate perspective on her body of work.
Deanna Miesch is a multi-media artist and Art Therapist hailing from Austin, TX. Though a native Texan, she has lived in Algiers, Algeria, New Orleans (Algiers again), Dallas, Austin, and Chicago, She has exhibited her work in Texas, Illinois, and Rome, Italy and has had her work reviewed in various Texas publications and Art Forum International.
“The film or analog approach accepts perfection or imperfection, cause or effect, and nature or nurture as inevitable elements of the human experience. There is a sense of release and acceptance within the processes of analog photography that relates deeply to the human condition, the unexpected, and triumph over obstacles.” - Deanna Miesch
PUBLICATIONS: Deanna Miesch’s work is featured in the book “Open Boundaries” in February 2018, LoosenArt Magazine and Gallery, Rome, Italy. www.loosenart.com
REVIEWS: I have three positive pre-publication reviews from San Francisco, New York and Austin. Unfortunately, I can't reference them here until the book is published and these reviews are posted on their respective websites: I will say the reviews are glowing and significant!
The Director of Prizer Arts & Letters here in Austin, TX had this to say about my book:
“In Collected Works- Volume I: Thirty Years of Photography 1987-2017, artist Deanna Miesch covers a lot of ground, both in time and in physical distance. The three decades worth of images presented here were taken in places as far from each other as the American Southwest and Rome, Italy. Though geographically separated, Miesch connects them through her deeply personal way of seeing. The images in this book have an intimate and dreamlike quality often associated with memory. As with memory, many of Miesch’s photographs are filled with overlapping images and shadows. The words Miesch types directly onto her photographs mirror this imperfection; individual letters sometimes slip on the page like a mind struggling to place a moment in the past. Miesch embraces these imperfections, making the typewritten words feel as personal as handwriting. It is worth noting that Miesch used film to create these photographs. The lush colors she achieves with film hint of a loss inside their beauty. Film, like the typewriter, is practically a forgotten tool. This sense of loss is felt most clearly in her images of children, but it also resides in the photographs of the natural world. In this time of rapid environmental change and species extinction, it is hard not to look at these images without a tinge of bereavement. She makes us want to hold onto the beauty. It is fitting that the cover of the book features Rome’s coliseum. This building stands like a memory to a former time well beyond the scope of any human life. What Miesch offers is decidedly human-scaled, full of shadows and imperfections. The photographs invite us in with their call of intimacy, and taken together, build to something far more expansive than the individual.” -Carrie Kenny, Director, Prizer Arts & Letters, Austin, TX
Art in America. Annual 1993. “1992 In Review-Alternative Spaces” Women & Their Work Gallery recognition for “Slouching Toward 2000: The politics of gender”, group exhibition, including work by Miesch.
Gerald Burns, Austin Chronicle, November 13, 1992, “Deanna Jane Miesch types all over her photos of Italian nuns, I’d say the most effective use of print in the show. It reduces the (often illegible”) message to postcard status and the informality wins you.”
Patricia Johnson, Houston Chronicle, January 20, 1993, “In the images by Deanna Jane Miesch, added text alters the apparent meaning of the image. “Rape Isn’t Beautiful,” a tiny black-and-white photograph of a Bernini marble depicting a woman struggling in the arms of a disguised Zeus, loses its beauty when Miesch forces us to realize that fact.”
Therese Lichtenstein, Artforum International, March 1993, “...in Deanna Jane Miesch’s 1991 black and white photograph, the words, "Rape isn’t beautiful” are typed across an image of Bernini’s17th century sculpture, The Rape of Proserpina, questioning the tendency of art historical accounts to iconize and estheticize without examining a work’s ideological implications.”
Rachel Levy, Austin Fit Magazine, Nov 2006, “Another photographer who is sure to impress is Deanna Miesch. Her work, which also includes painting, collage and mixed media, takes a more inward approach, relaying personal and psychological thoughts and emotions that stem from her work as an art therapist.”
Limited Edition Prints:
Below is a small selection of images that are available as signed limited edition prints. They are available printed on 8" x 10" photographic paper, with text hand-typed from my antique Underwood typewriter, making each collector’s print unique. These are available in limited edition runs of either 30 or 50, depending on the image.
Most images are also available in larger sizes, without the typed text, as the old Underwood is only “so-big.” Larger prints are available on standard 16" x 20” photographic paper [metallic is my personal favorite as it gives a rich depth, but other options are available within reason], or Duratrans paper, in signed, limited editions of 15. [Duratrans paper is a plastic paper used in advertising and can be backlit, which is a lovely display; it is difficult to determine the longevity of Duratrans, but most people believe it to be very durable. While it is plastic, it should not get wet as it will effect the print.]
While the film is 2 1/4" square, the images are printed in a similar manner to the smaller prints, mimicking Polaroids, with a larger border at the bottom. I am offering select prints from these editions as elements of the “Rewards to Backers” program within the initial 30 day Kickstarter window while supplies last.
Risks and challenges
Although I of course welcome ebook sales, there is something special about holding a book in your hands and turning pages: more contact, more interaction, more intimacy. Books of fine art, at their best, are both tactile and visual experiences.
The search for the right self-publishing platform to deliver these experiences was exhaustive, and production is expensive. To keep the hardbound edition price low for future buyers and backers, while still maintaining good paper quality and sturdy binding is very important to me. It is a fine line to walk, but walk that line I did!
It is a challenge making fine art affordable, while still being able to afford making the art itself!
By reaching the November 2018 Goal, I can reward my backers by the end of the 2018, as the work is in completed form and I’m just seeking funding for distribution. While I can make no guarantees, my hope is to deliver all hardbound copies to backers before Christmas, and limited edition prints as quickly as possible thereafter (hopefully by the holidays as well).
I am not asking for full funding for this project. As with most personal ventures, one must be prepared to step up to their own plate. Whatever funding I receive beyond the goal is so very welcome, and will certainly decrease my personal financial burden.
This goal makes backing the publication attainable, makes the rewards to backers diverse and unique, and makes future distribution of the publication possible. If the goal is reached quickly, the backing incentive and rewards structure guarantees I will be able to provide all backers with their chosen reward(s), understanding that quantities are limited as stated in the rewards descriptions.
If I receive more funding beyond the initial 30 days, funding for printing will only be strengthened, which is greatly appreciated. I will do my best to get available rewards shipped as best as I can, though they may be received at a later date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)