5th Edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award – Female Photographer of the Year -Nudes

5th Edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award – Female Photographer of the Year, Hannah Kozak

I have been given the humbling honor and exciting news that I have been chosen as the recipient of the Female Photographer of the Year for the 5th Edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for nudes. This is an international award sponsored by the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards. Five of my photographs from my Pain and Loneliness series were chosen to be on exhibition at the 3rd International Biennial of Fine Art and Documentary Photography. Show to open on September 18th – November 9th, 2014 at the Municipal Museum of Malaga, Spain; the home city of Picasso.

3rd Biennial Invitation

3rd Biennial Invitation

Julia Margaret Cameron was one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography. She received her first camera as a gift from her only daughter, one of her six children and began making photos when she was forty-eight years old. Her photos combined an unorthodox technique, a deeply spiritual sensibility and a Pre-Raphaelite-inflected aesthetic.”From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” she wrote, “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.” Julia Margaret Cameron was self-assured in her art, she didn’t waiver even when she was condemned by some of her contemporaries for not following rules, even when her photographs were not universally admired, especially by fellow photographers. Cameron dismissed the condemnation of the photographic establishment. She is proof that it is never too late to find a passion, pursue it without fear and not concentrate on what others think about your art. I love how she purposely choose soft focus and long exposures that allowed the subjects’ slight movement to register in her pictures, truly giving the photos more breath, more life. She also loved literature and poetry.

My father, who survived the Holocaust by not following rules and getting in line with all the other camp inmates who walked down a road and were machine gunned down, gave me his Hawkeye Brownie camera when I was ten years old. I discovered one of my greatest passions and have always believed rules were made to be broken especially in art. These particular images are from my Pain and Loneliness series. If you’d like to see more of this series, please see this link.

http://hannahkozak.com/pain-and-loneliness/

© hannah kozak © hannah kozak © hannah kozak © hannah kozak © hannah kozak

Here is the announcement of the 1st, second and third prize winners in the Nude category:

http://www.call4artists.com/JMCA_PORT_NUDE.php

5th Edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award – Female Photographer of the Year, Hannah Kozak


Michael Jackson: This Life Don’t Last Forever: 5 Years Later on June 25, 2014

Michael Jackson: This Life Don’t Last Forever: 5 Years Later on June 25, 2014

“This life don’t last forever.” That’s the first line of Michael Jackson’s Hold My Hand, which seems eerily prophetic now. Michael’s lyrics were inspired by friendship and togetherness themes. Friendships meant everything to Michael. He cherished, cared for and loved his friends. Michael’s spiritual view of living didn’t allow him to subscribe to duality; making others wrong. “It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right just beat it.” Michael understood loyalty, saying his fans were always there for him.

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0051

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0052

Robyn Starkland organizes "One Rose for MJ". She had 15, 627 roses delivered to Forest Lawn for Michael. Amazing soul!

Robyn Starkland organizes “One Rose for MJ”. She had 15, 627 roses delivered to Forest Lawn for Michael. Amazing soul with a beautiful heart!

Sea of cards

Sea of cards

Not only did Michael Jackson create music that will stay with us forever, but he filled us with hope for a better world. Heal the world, Michael sang and he believed he could, one person at a time. “I am your friend, through thick and thin, we need each other, we’ll never part, our love is from the heart, we never say I don’t need you.” Michael wrote in Best of Joy. I loved him when he was a little boy, when he set the world on fire with Thriller and Bad and all the music he created always.

card from Austria

card from Austria

His light shined so bright that when he left, there were no words that could fill the sorrow in our hearts. Michael kept his light glowing even when his loneliness enveloped him. His music lives on. His passion for life; music, dance, singing, animals, film and art continues to inspire us. Along with his beautiful heart which is filled with grace, kindness and compassion and most importantly, forgiveness. “The only thing that matters in life is having someone who understands you, who trusts you and who will be with you no matter what.” Michael truly understood what it is to be a friend.

From Deine Doris

From Deine Doris

How do I even begin to convey how Michael Jackson changed my life? Through his lyrical content he’s inspired me to strive for good. He’s inspired me to be true to myself and never give up on my dreams. He’s inspired me to hold onto my vision.He’s inspired me not to let the naysayers and negative nellies get me down. I think more than anything else he inspired me to be the best I can be at what I do.

from Germany

from Germany

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0011

Henri Matisse said that creativity takes courage. Michael Jackson was a courageous man. He believed he should study the greats to become greater so he studied every art he could – from writing to poetry to dance, music and film. He studied and he learned yet he never lost his innocence. He didn’t shut his heart down; he kept opening it even though he was hurt again and again by the medialoid’s constant diet of trash & lies about him. Only small minded people accept and believe whatever the media writes on Michael. He was shattered over and over yet he kept his heart open, sending love into the world, over and over again.

From Hong Kong

From Hong Kong

From Hong Kong

From Hong Kong

From Hong Kong

From Hong Kong

From Queenie - Hong Kong

From Queenie – Hong Kong

From Yoly - Hong Kong

From Yoly – Hong Kong

From Yoly - Hong Kong

From Yoly – Hong Kong

From Hong Kong

From Hong Kong

On the 5th anniversary of his departure from the earthly plane, we celebrate Michael Jackson by remembering and honoring his courage and his art. I’m moved and amazed at the outpouring of love that comes from all over the globe to Forest Lawn Cemetery every year. It’s a sea of love because we understand that Michael was love.

These are post cards for Michael Jackson from Italy:

Post cards for Michael Jackson from Italy

Post cards for Michael Jackson from Italy

Yoko from Japan told me “I came 2 days ago. I go back to Japan tomorrow. It’s my first time here. Many countries and people gather. I stay downtown and take taxi to Forest Lawn.”

L to R: Yoku Kimura, Makie Yamamoto, Tomoko Fukuda

L to R: Yoku Kimura, Makie Yamamoto, Tomoko Fukuda

Here is a lovely quilt from Japan:

Hand made quilt from Japan

Hand made quilt from Japan

Some of the individual hand made pieces from the quilt:

Marika K

Marika K

From Jampe - Japanese quilt

From Jampe – Japanese quilt

From Japanese quilt

From Japanese quilt

Made by Yoku Kimura -From Japanese quilt

From Japanese quilt

From Japanese quilt

From Japanese quilt

From Japanese quilt

From Japanese quilt

Another quilt from Japan:

Japanese quilt

Japanese quilt

Insert on quilt:

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0058

From Kayo - Japanese quilt

From Kayo – Japanese quilt

From Kana - Japanese quilt

From Kana – Japanese quilt

Sanae - Japanese quilt

Sanae – Japanese quilt

Japanese quilt

Japanese quilt

Maho - Japanese quilt

Maho – Japanese quilt

Japanese quilt

Japanese quilt

Marry

Marry

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0040

@ hannah kozak

Japanese quilt

Japanese qullt

Japanese qullt

Junko - Japanese quilt

Junko – Japanese quilt

Yuko - Japanese quilt

Yuko – Japanese quilt

Rie - Japanese quilt

Rie – Japanese quilt

Carine (Jadzzia) and Erik came from Belgium to lay out about fifty homemade cards for Michael. I asked Erik about coming all the way from Belgium. He said “The world is small, it’s easy to fly.”

Carine (Jadzzia) and Erik from Belgium with some of the 50 cards.

Carine (Jadzzia) and Erik from Belgium with some of the 50 cards.

From Belgium

From Belgium

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0061

Drawing From Belgium

Drawing From Belgium

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0063

His ability to love unconditionally, to forgive from his heart is a lesson to us all. Michael said that people may refuse our love or reject our message, but they are defenseless against our prayers. For all those who haven’t forgiven, may Michael Jackson teach us all how to forgive, before it’s too late.

Atsuko - Japan

Atsuko – Japan

From Germany

From Germany

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0069

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0070

Louise from England

Louise from England

From Japan

From Japan

Hitomi from Japan

Hitomi from Japan

"Please, forgive all of us!"

“Please, forgive all of us!”

We are Soldiers of Love whose mission is to spread love. We’re an army, a team of L.O.V.E. Just the way Michael intended.

What is so clear to me while wandering at Forest Lawn Glendale amidst the sea of people from all around the world is the desire for connection and the pain that comes from loss. Just like Michael sang about in so many of his songs.

Michael dolls from Japan

Michael dolls from Japan

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0082

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0083

From Ireland

Flower delivery at Forest Lawn

Flowers were coming in a flurry! Flower delivery at Forest Lawn

More flowers for Michael!

More flowers for Michael!

Yet more flowers for MJ!

Yet more flowers for MJ!

More flowers for Michael!

More flowers for Michael!

Lovely artwork everywhere:

If anyone knows the artist, please let me know.

If anyone knows the artist, please let me know.

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0094

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0096

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0100

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0103

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0104

Hannah_Kozak_25 June 2014_A0105

With love from the Hungarian fans

With love from the Hungarian fans

From fans in Spain

From fans in Spain

from Germany

from Germany

Flowers from France

Flowers from France

From Argentina

From Argentina

Hannah_Kozak_ 25 June 2014_A0116

From Vancouver, B.C.

From Vancouver, B.C.

From Miyuki

From Miyuki

Maria Zhdanova -  Came to Forest Lawn in 2013. She made her way back to Forest Lawn all the way from Russia again in 2014. Michael's fans are full of passion.

Maria Zhdanova -
Came to Forest Lawn in 2013. She made her way back to Forest Lawn all the way from Russia again in 2014. Michael’s fans are full of passion.

Dum Dum lollipops

Dum Dum lollipops

"He left the formula behind. The fix for a broken world is in the lyrics of Michael's music. Are you listening?"

“He left the formula behind. The fix for a broken world is in the lyrics of Michael’s music. Are you listening?”

Cards, flowers for MJ at Forest Lawn

Cards, flowers for MJ at Forest Lawn

Michael loved Dum Dum lollipops

Michael loved Dum Dum lollipops

The creativity from Michael’s fans continues:

Beautiful video on Michael’s fans:

Goodbye, Michael


https://vimeo.com/73347333

Michael Jackson’s manifesto, written in 1979 was discovered.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-57585206-10391709/mjs-manifesto-penned-in-1979/?tag=facebook

Michael Jackson: This Life Don’t Last Forever: 5 Years Later on June 25, 2014


Mark Ryden’s “The Gay 90’s: West” – a new exhibition at Kohn Gallery

Mark Ryden’s “The Gay 90:s West” – a new exhibition at Kohn Gallery

Hundreds if not thousands of Angelenos, including myself, waited in line for an hour and a half to have pop art painter Mark Ryden sign his books at the new location and grand opening of the Kohn Gallery on Highland Avenue in Hollywood. This exhibition is a continuation of his show “The Gay 90’s: Old Tyme Art Show” that took place in 2010 at the Kasmin Gallery, New York. The Mark Ryden exhibit inaugurates the new 12,000-foot space and runs from May 3 – June 28, 2014.

I took special notice of Mark Ryden’s art four years ago at Bergamot Station Arts Center. His art kept me up all night.

http://hannahkozak.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/bergamot-station/

Mark blends techniques reminiscent of the old masters along with pop culture themes that gives his art a cryptic, cute yet disturbing archetype of childhood innocence blended with the mysterious recesses of the soul. Just like Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson, Mark has a passion for Abe Lincoln. I think of him as the Alfred Hitchcock of surrealism.

Mark Ryden, The Cone of Memory, 2012, oil on canvas with vintage frame 37.5 x 2 30.5 inches

Mark Ryden, The Cone of Memory, 2012, oil on canvas with vintage frame 37.5 x 2 30.5 inches

Mark Ryden, The Parlor, (Allegory of Magic, Quintessence, and Divine Mystery), 2012, Oil on canvas with artist designed frame. 98 x 120 inches

Mark Ryden, The Parlor, (Allegory of Magic, Quintessence, and Divine Mystery), 2012, Oil on canvas with artist designed frame. 98 x 120 inches

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden, Meat Dancer, 2011, Oil on canvas with vintage frame, 75 x 50 inches.

Mark Ryden, Meat Dancer, 2011, Oil on canvas with vintage frame, 75 x 50 inches.

Mark Ryden, The Piano Man, 2006, oil on canvas with artist designed frame, 29 x 39 inches

Mark Ryden, The Piano Man, 2006, oil on canvas with artist designed frame, 29 x 39 inches

Mark Ryden, Incarnation, 2009, oil painted on canvas with artist designed frame, 86.5 x 63.5 inches

Mark Ryden, Incarnation, 2009, oil painted on canvas with artist designed frame, 86.5 x 63.5 inches

Mark Ryden, The Creatix, No 54, 2005

Mark Ryden, The Creatix, No 54, 2005

Mark Ryden, Tree of Life, No 53, 2007

Mark Ryden, Tree of Life, No 53, 2007

Mark Ryden, Katy Perry

Mark Ryden, Katy Perry

Hannah_Kozak_Mark_Ryden_0484

Mark Ryden, Queen Bee, No 105, 2013

Mark Ryden, Queen Bee, No 105, 2013

Hannah_Kozak_Mark_Ryden_0495

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden

Mark Ryden, The Grinder, 2

Mark Ryden, The Grinder, 2

Mark Ryden, Medium Yams, No. 102, 2012, oil on panel

Mark Ryden, Medium Yams, No. 102, 2012, oil on panel

Mark Ryden, Pink Lincoln, 2010, Oil on canvas with artist-designed frame, hand-painted by the artist

Mark Ryden, Pink Lincoln, 2010, Oil on canvas with artist-designed frame, hand-painted by the artist

Mark Ryden @ Kohn Gallery , 3 May 2014

Mark Ryden @ Kohn Gallery , 3 May 2014

Mark Ryden and daughter @ Kohn Gallery, 3 May 2014,

Mark Ryden and daughter @ Kohn Gallery, 3 May 2014,

Mark Ryden @ Kohn Gallery , 3 May 2014

Mark Ryden @ Kohn Gallery , 3 May 2014

hannah kozak - self portrait

hannah kozak – self portrait

Mark has a unique way of not only painting but the way he signs his books. I brought along my Taschen (one of my favorite publishers) April 15, 2013 – 352 page edition of of Pinxit. At 7.7 pounds, it is a heavy beauty.

Mark Ryden's Pinxit, 15 April 2013 edition published by Taschen

Mark Ryden’s Pinxit, 15 April 2013 edition published by Taschen

Look at the stamp he uses on each autograph.

Mark Ryden autograph & special stamp

Mark Ryden autograph & special stamp

I also brought along my Mark Ryden December 1, 2011, 110 page, gold trim pages with soft faux leather blood color cover edition of “Blood: Paintings of Sorrow and Fear.” It’s larger than the previous edition and contains 16 additional pages. Mark provides his readers an explanation and apology for his outwardly morbid theme confessing it reflected his innermost feelings during a particularly vulnerable depressing period in his life. He was exploring feelings of grief, trauma and loss.

Mark purposely created the paintings in Blood small because he wanted to make quiet things about pain. They seem to have an underlying purpose and have been described as a postmodern version of memento mori , a Latin phrase that means “remember you must die”. In other words, start living your life by whatever means of inspiration you can find. Memento mori is the artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death.

Mark, like most artists, understands that by revisiting the roots of dysfunction and suffering, we abandon the memories that create our emotional barriers. Federico Fellini said there is only the infinite passion of life and Mark Ryden truly embraces his infinite passions in his art.

Mark Ryden, Blood

Mark Ryden, Blood

Mark Ryden Blood autograph and stamp

Mark Ryden Blood autograph and stamp

Last but really not least, Mark handed me a special present. Not only a genuine, warm smile but also a pin called Daisy along with a Limited Edition Dum Dum. Mark likes the same lollipops as Michael Jackson did!

Mark Ryden special Daisy button

Mark Ryden special Daisy button

Creative people

Creative people

Mark Ryden’s “The Gay 90:s West” – a new exhibition at Kohn Gallery


The Magic of Santiago on Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

The Magic of Santiago on Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Wandering through villages around Lake Atitlán is a spiritual respite from the mundane. I didn’t get to choose when I came into this earth nor will I choose when to leave but in between, I get to choose. Spending time with people who are actually living on next to nothing but are happy, is a breath of fresh air. Traveling in Guatemala is a privilege I savor; exploring beauty in every form.

Mother & child en route to Santiago on Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Mother & child en route to Santiago on Lake Atitlán, Guatemala


Mother & child - Santiago, Lake Atitlan

Mother & child – Santiago, Lake Atitlán

Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Four children - Santiago, Lake Atitlan

Four children – Santiago, Lake Atitlán

Self portrait - Santiago, Lake Atitán, Guatemala

Self portrait – Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Woman @ Santiago, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Woman @ Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Preparing tortillas-Santiago, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Preparing tortillas-Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Children inside Iglesia Parroquial Santiago Apostol

Children inside Iglesia Parroquial Santiago Apostol

Santiago, Atitlán

Santiago, Atitlán

Three young boys, Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Three young boys, Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Children, Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Children, Santiago, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Hannah_Kozak_Guatemala_2014_0204

Self portrait, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Self portrait, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Who's your mom?

Who’s your mom?

Mother & child, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlån, Guatemala

Mother & child, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlån, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Hannah_Kozak_Guatemala_2014_0228

Aldous Huxley said Lake Atitlán was the most beautiful lake in the world. I agree!

Aldous Huxley said Lake Atitlán was the most beautiful lake in the world. I agree!

The Magic of Santiago on Lake Atitlán, Guatemala


Return to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Returning to Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan, the womb of Guatemala is one of the prettiest places on earth. The sun and breeze dance on the water. Three volcanoes surround the lake like silent, but dominant bodyguards. Out of these primordial waters the Maya world was delivered. The Mayans are proud but friendly people who greet me with a buenos dias and real smiles. The lake is calm in the mornings – the volcanic peaks evident in every breathtaking direction.

Lake Atitlan is believed to be formed by a series of three violent large eruptions that blew the lid off the top of a super volcanic mountain, which was possibly the biggest Guatemalan volcanic eruption, and perhaps American in a million years. The first was 14 million years ago. The second was one million years ago and the third was 85 thousand years ago. The lake seems to go on for an eternity though it’s only 12 feet long and five miles wide with depths of one thousand two hundred feet.

Laguna Lodge is a quiet retreat, a private slice of heaven with volcanic stone and adobe in the suites. There are perfectly built stone walks overlooking the lake and volcanoes.The reserve trails begin at the back of the building. Rock steps begin on the third floor-the start of one hundred acres to climb. The organic food is exclusively vegetarian and deliciously prepared with love by the local Mayan community that works there. I’m not even a coffee drinker and found myself savoring the yummy, smooth, locally grown Guatemalan coffee. The toasted coconut French toast alone was worth the boat ride from Panachajel. If you need a place to recharge your batteries, or time alone to unwind, this is it. Breakfast with a side of volcano, anyone?

Once on the lake the best way to see the different villages ( My favorite village is San Juan; known for textiles and artists) is to wave down a boat or lancha. You just stand on the dock and wave at a passing lancha. Then, the wandering begins.

San Marcos, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Marcos, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Marcos, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Marcos, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

San Juan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan from Laguna Lodge

Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan from Laguna Lodge

Frijoles, arroz, tortillas de maiz y jamaica: Lunch at Laguna Lodge, Lake Atitlan

Frijoles, arroz, tortillas de maiz y jamaica: Lunch at Laguna Lodge, Lake Atitlan

View from   , Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

View from Laguna Lodge Eco Resort, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Returning to Lake Atitlan


Return to Guatemala

Returning to Guatemala

From the time I moved to Israel when I was twenty years old, my intuition has been a guiding compass in my life. I’ve never been satisfied with only seeking to understand my own culture in America. Guatemala and Israel are places I’ve returned to over and over again.

This is my sixth visit to Guatemala. Each time I visit I know I will experience something magnificent along the way. Twenty-two distinct Mayan indigenous tribes, perfect weather because Guatemala is the most north of the Central American countries, and the weather is agreeable all year round. The climate changes depend on the altitude of the area but it is basically hot. I love it. I started the trip with a stop in Guatemala City for one night before making my way to Lake Atitlan, my refuge.

View from Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan

View from Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort, Santa Cruz, Lake Atitlan


Breakfast - desayuno @ Hotel Barcelo

Breakfast – desayuno @ Hotel Barcelo

Making corn tortillas in Panajachel
Child at Panajachel

Child at Panajachel

Child at Panajachel

Child at Panajachel

Child at Panachajel

Child at Panachajel

Child at Panajachel

Child at Panajachel

Lake Atitlan @ Panajachel

Lake Atitlan @ Panajachel

Child at Panajachel

Child at Panajachel

Little boy - Panachajel

Little boy – Panachajel

Self portrait - Laguna Lodge

Self portrait – Laguna Lodge

Here is a favorite quote of mine from Anais Nin, who was always a source of inspiration for me. Nin challenged conventionally defined gender roles and always sought out travel.

quote-we-travel-some-of-us-forever-to-seek-other-states-other-lives-other-souls-anais-nin-136076

Give the girl a passport

Returning to Guatemala


Sixty Seconds to Escape: How Sarah Jones Lost Her Life at Work

Sixty Seconds to Escape: How Sarah Jones Lost Her Life at Work

Sarah Jones, Assistant Camera

Sarah Jones, Assistant Camera, Photo credit: Darrell Sheldon

Like so many people working in the film industry, I have been thinking about Sarah Jones the last few weeks. Sarah’s job was second assistant camera. Her job entailed the transport of camera and lenses, helping the focus puller get the measurements to get the focus correct and slating the take in addition to other duties. She was killed on train tracks on February 20 in Georgia during the filming of Midnight Rider, the Gregg Allman biopic. As they were setting up to shoot a scene on train tracks running across the bridge, they actually sat down and had a prayer circle. Not a safety meeting, a prayer circle. Now I’ve been in the film business over twenty five years as a stunt woman and also work as a locations person and I can attest to having many a safety meeting before a stunt or a scene with special effects but this is the first I’ve heard of a prayer circle. Not only did they not have permission to shoot on the tracks, they didn’t know the times of when trains were scheduled to pull through. They knew this was unsafe.

This makes me cry and feel anger at the same time. No safety meetings, no medic, no permission. This was doomed from the start and completely unprofessional at every level. Hair stylist Joyce Gilliard, who was severely injured on the film, said there was no call sheet.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-accident-sarah-jones-death-gregg-allman-685976?mobile_redirect=false

I have worked for some of the top location managers in the film business from Scott Logan to Kristi Frankenheimer to Kyle Alexander. None of these professionals would have allowed a film crew to shoot on an active bridge. Even if the location manager did secure the unsafe location,(which is not the case) no level headed department head would have considered a live track to be a viable option. I’ve been on enough sets to know that the call sheet is not always a bible, it can be fluid depending on what the DP and director decide on a camera angle. In this case, there was no call sheet, crew was told it was a test so they were essentially lied to. This is a travesty of injustice.

So the question we have all been wondering is how did this happen? How did the production get to the point where a train is barreling down the tracks with crew members running for their lives towards the train? With bits and pieces of debris being thrown into their faces? Carrying heavy camera equipment? With sixty seconds to get off the tracks? Where was the safety person like the ones that always visit our sets in Los Angeles? Is this part of the “new Hollywood” in the south where financial cuts affect crew members safety? If the location manager informed the people in charge there were no permits, who decided to ignore that and send the crew out to the tracks? Why was there no medic?

This is not an LA vs. Georgia piece. I just want to understand how this happened. I think it’s fairly clear someone tried to steal a shot and their luck ran out. Just wait until the footage is released.

This doesn’t even feel like an accident more like pure negligence. The show must go on but not at the cost of human life. As my dear friend, stunt man Bernie Pock told me long ago as we stood on the roof of a building outside of San Francisco, about to do a double fall, “Hannah, the film negative is small. Your life is not worth a few frames of film.”

David Whyte, in his book, Crossing the Unknown Sea, Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, writes that in our work we find an imaginative treasure that we hope will give us self-respect, independence and the ease we desire. In our work we feel wanted and chosen. He shares that to be excited, to be wanted specifically for work, and to feel that dream come true, helps bring us fulfillment. David’s research helps to convey the multilevel discipline involved in doing good work is the road to happiness and the pilgrimage to self-respect. Sarah Jones, a spunky and determined girl, understood this.

Here is what I saw when I exited Stage 12 at CBS/Radford last week on our comedy show, Brooklyn Nine Nine. One of the beautiful aspects of the work we do is becoming a family, spending twelve to sixteen hours a day together. Sarah Jones, a passionate young woman who loved books and took off to travel when she wasn’t working, always had a camera to record her experiences from hiking mountains to diving in oceans. Sarah lost her life in a day’s work. This tragedy is going to have us look closer at how we make films and what we require to keep us safe. Maybe now it’s time for that prayer circle for we lost a family member.

Sixty Seconds to Escape: How Sarah Jones Lost Her Life at Work

RIP Sarah Jones from 728 on Brooklyn Nine Nine

RIP Sarah Jones from 728 on Brooklyn Nine Nine

Sarah Jones - Warner Brothers

Sarah Jones – Warner Brothers


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