My photographic journey has been a lifelong one, much of my childhood being spent in front of my father’s large Graflex camera. Dr. Irving Bennett Ellis was an early California pictorialist photographer, a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, and the recipient of many photographic awards. His work appeared regularly in photography books and magazines in the 1930s and 1940s, and he exhibited widely in photographic salons across the country. Photographic images filled our home, and I spent a great deal of time in his darkroom, watching his images magically appear. As a young girl, I was also able to meet other photographers, among the most notable of whom were Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.
My embrace of photography as a creative art form came later in life, in the 1970s, with studies that began at the Maine Photographic Workshop and continued in California, Colorado, Maine, and elsewhere.
Over the years, I have traveled extensively, cameras in hand, following the light, the landscape, the people, the atmosphere, and the feeling of a destination. My most intense and life-changing photographic experience has been the years I spent delving into the actual sites of the Holocaust period of history. Witnessing the enormous evidence of man’s capacity for evil was earthshaking. I felt at one with the suffering and the loss. I also felt the need to record these experiences photographically and to share my feelings with others. We live in a dangerous world, and our ability to destroy has only grown manyfold since World War II. We cannot allow hatred and injustice, power and greed to gain a foothold—anywhere or towards anyone.
In the early 1990s, I was asked to go to Denmark to locate and photograph many Danish World War II rescuers and survivors and to record their stories visually. It was a privilege and honor having contact with these heroic, courageous, and modest human beings.
Recently, my work in color has sent me in another direction—one of exploration and of introspection. Throughout all of these years, a great love and ongoing theme has been the beauty and timelessness of Maine, particularly Great Diamond Island, where our family resides each summer.
My images are meaningful to me. They all tell a story. I have tried to be open and intuitive in my work, using simple equipment and allowing myself to be guided by what presents itself—a momentary reflection, a shaft of light appearing mysteriously. To this end, I use only natural or available light. At times, I use film that also records the infrared rays of light existent in our atmosphere.
My hope is that one would sense an inner presence in my work. From the purity of light itself to its deepest shadows, photography has allowed me to express myself. For this I am deeply grateful.
– Judy Glickman Lauder