Photography and Art

Reflections on Ferndale

Victorian Twist
Victorian Twist
Copyright, 2004 - Ellin Beltz
Black-and-white photography by

Ellin Beltz

Art from the Hart, the Gallery at the
Ferndale Repertory Theatre
Ferndale, California

May 23 to June 24, 2002

Artist's Statement

I am the fourth generation photographer in the Beltz family.
My great-grandfather used the earliest methods to record his brothers and sisters; my grandfather took family photos and landscapes of the windswept coastlines of southern New Jersey. My father was a Miss America and convention photographer for many years from around WWII until the late 1950s when the family moved to New York City.

I learned photography by being photographed.
At ten months I began modeling full time, a career which lasted until the late 1960s. I never knew not working and I didn't know anyone who wasn't "in the business." I used my camera on the streets of New York, and many of my friends and acquaintances from jobs let me take their pictures. My other early pictures were taken "on location" around the world. My father and grandfather taught me to process film and print photos.

I have always been fascinated by photography's influence on our own memory.
Do we really remember events years later as they happened, or rather as we recall them from our pictures? We know that the camera records only what it sees, but we also know photography has also been used to influence our understanding of reality. The fantasy nature of the reality in which I had been raised was revealed when I was sent to "real school," where my pictures were the only way the other kids would believe where I had been, and what I had seen and done. So I became aware of documentary photography at an early age.

I have lived in Ferndale only a short time but find it an endless source of images.
I am fascinated by the shadows and reflections here. The images in this show are intended to be both concrete and abstract for they are of solid things; in many cases reflected or refracted in some other solid thing - sometimes only in our minds. What is real? What is reflected? (And for long-term Ferndalians - "Where is that?")


No digital enhancements have been made. The materials include 35mm and 4x5 inch photographic film and light-sensitive papers. All the prints are hand made.


  • Color printing -- Philip's Camera, Arcata; Dot Dotson's, Eugene, Oregon; Bobbi's Quality Photo, Fortuna.
  • Black-and-white printing -- Ken Mierzwa, Jon Meyers and Ellin Beltz.

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Ellin Beltz
June 23, 2004

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