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    Photography and Paper Craft 


    My dad gave me my first camera when I was 15, which sparked a life-long interest in taking pictures. After 20 years of traditional darkroom black and white photography using Nikon SLRs, I began shooting with with paper negatives in handmade cardboard box pinhole cameras in 2001. As someone who loves all things handmade, I like photography techniques that let me indulge that interest while getting back to the way photography started: as an effort to understand and capture light. (Photo above: Bow Bridge, Central Park, NYC, pinhole photo)

    A few years after that, I started with medium format film in plastic Diana cameras. There's nothing better than an ultra-basic camera with a mind of its own. The best thing about pinhole and plastic cameras is that they have their own ideas on how to interpret light. With both types of cameras, it’s very hard to know for sure how the image will turn out (or even if it will turn out at all), and that’s what makes it interesting and it's what makes the images so mysterious and unearthly. Plus both are developed by hand in a traditional darkroom, an art that's on its deathbed. (Photo above: Sunrise at Uluru, Ayers Rock, Australia, Diana photo). 

    Portraiture is another interest. I like the total trust and openness that's part of a good portrait, that window in. So hard to capture, so obvious when you do. For portraits, I use a digital Nikon D3000. Favorite subject? My beautiful nephew. (Photo above, Lukas at 6, digital SLR)



    Paper Craft

    Continuing the handmade theme, I’m obsessed with gorgeous handmade decorative papers. I like to combine their beautiful colors, textures and patterns with all kinds of paper ephemera, such as old stamps and encyclopedia pages, maps and postcards, and with organic materials like feathers, metal leaf and dried leaves. Now and then I’ll add my own drawings and photographs as well. It's the play of colors and textures that fascinate me. And new papers are being invented all the time, so there's a never-ending supply of possibilities. (Photo above: Pencil Holder, made with old Audubon print and decorative papers; photo below: Bookmarks, made with old prints, rubber stamped images, decorative papers and old postage stamps)

    Paper crafting started about a decade ago with bound note books, notepads, picture frames and papering wooden boxes, then moved on to bookmarks (and bookmarks and bookmarks), then paper bowls, papered pencil holders, sets of note cards and so on. I opened a shop on in 2009, selling only bookmarks (hence the shop name, Monica Marks), and eventually expanded the items offered. Etsy is a fantastic site for handmade art, a collection of wildly inventive and beautiful work. I closed my shop in 2013, but still craft when the mood hits.
    (Photo below: Feathered Bowl, made with tissue paper, decorative papers, guinea hen feathers and gold leaf)



    On my blog,, I talk about my big three: decorative painting, photography and paper craft (link in right sidebar). More info about these topics is covered in the blog, as well as documenting painting jobs, sample making, painting tools and techniques, photography tools and techniques, handmade paper projects, family art and craft, and other bits and pieces.