Glyphs of Time :: a blog by jarvis grant

February 17, 2017

Legacy, The 2017 African American Art Exhibit

Legacy Exhibit Invitation Image

It’s my pleasure and honor to be a participant at the Friendship Gallery at Friendship Heights Village Center exhibit,  Legacy, The 2017 African American Art Exhibit. The exhibition will be on display from February 6 until March 4, 2017. This group exhibit comprises a wide variety of art mediums encompassing painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography. These artists offer a visual narrative of African American experiences through their journeys in American history and American culture. Reflecting and interpreting aspects of contemporary life. You can view the digital version of the exhibition catalog here.

Curator Llewellyn Berry states; “The artist stands on the shoulders of many who have come before, providing technique, context, and reason. It is Legacy. They are generations of talented, visionary and gifted artisans. That instinctive sense of beauty, place, and purpose, coupled with a compelling need to produce and display it, adds to the never ending conversation about the inherent beauty of the African American experience.”

I’m exhibiting five prints from my Botanicium series. All images are pigment prints using the Epson K3 Ultrachrome ink set. I used Red River Paper’s Arctic Polar Satin luster paper. This paper yields a very luxurious and luminescent image quality that I want when printing these particular images. You can view the series at my website by clicking on the link above.

If you’re in the DC metro area, please come by to visit this wonderful exhibition. The Gallery at Friendship Heights Village Center hours are:

Monday – Thursday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
301.656.2797, Information Desk

The Friendship Heights Village Center is three blocks north of Friendship Heights Red Line Metro


January 13, 2014

Citizens We: Humanities Council of DC Showcase

At Showcase1A

Project scholar Terry deBardelaben discuss aspects of the Citizens We project to Anacostia Museum curator Dr. Ariana Curtis ©Jarvis Grant

The Humanities Council DC Community Showcase was a fabulous event! Although I was under the weather, being at the event was simply wonderful. What I enjoyed most was listening to strangers speak about how much they enjoyed the images. I had three 17 x 22 exhibition prints along with a copy of the Citizens We: Portraits of Communities book on display. What was also fabulaous was witnessing the other project presented at the Showcase.  I felt that each of the other grantees cloud be a macro community for Citizens We. Okay, that a little self surviving, but still so many opportunities avail themselves for collaboration.

The main issue for the next iteration is, I  want to have writers become part of Citizens We. Poets, essayists, and curators speak to the significance of community and the individuals who are members of those communities will be the next step. At this moment there are so many ideas racing through my head  and heart, it’s a bit over whelming, yet attainable.

Thanks again to all those who’ve supported this project. This year will produce great moments for Citizens We.




August 5, 2013

New Works and Exhibit

Green Leaf Purple Petal

Green Leaf & Purple Petals, ©Jarvis Grant

Well it certainly has been awhile since my last post. Not to make too many excuses, but I have been pretty busy and I’ll update you about those activities in future posts.

What I’d like to inform you all about now is simply some blatant PR on my part. A colleague and friend, Lew Berry, invited me to participate in an exhibition he was curating at the Friendship Heights Village Center Art Gallery. This is a group show of painters, printmakers, and photographers. I’ve been doing a lot of photography with my phone over the past year, and this was a perfect opportunity to assemble some of this work. It also offered me the chance to make prints from these files. While the camera is 5 megapixels, its sensor is rather small. So it was a challenge making files that look as vibrate as the they appear on the computer’s monitor

This exhibit also afforded me the opportunity to work with a couple of two technologies, MailChimp and a new feature with my portfolio service, Foliolink.  I’ve been working with MailChimp for a couple of years now, and it’s a great email service. I use it to help my clients get the word out about their activities and events. Most of the time they’ll use a “dirty email List”. A dirty list is one with  old email addresses or emails not associated with a person’s name. I had exported my LinkedIn contact into MailChimp, which a very slick feature. All of my email addresses were clean, but I needed to segment these names into categories. The paid membership allows you to do this, but I have the basic free membership, so I had to do this manually. A bit of a drag, but it’s done.

With Foliolink they introduced a new feature, Promo Pages. A Promo Page is like a mini web site you use to promote current projects. I thought this would be a perfect time to announce my exhibit with my social networks. In fact, I’ve embedded  it in this post.  To see it in a scale-able browser window, click here.

So check out my new work. I’m still adding images as I write this. Idf you are in the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia) area, please stop by the exhibit. Here’s how to get there.


September 14, 2011

Amtrak Northeast Regional: Part 1

Amtrak Northeast Regional Map

My route from Washington, DC Union Station to New Rochelle, NY.

I’ve been traveling on Amtrak since I was in college in the early 1970s. During those days the train only stopped at New York Penn Station. Now Amtrak’s Northeast Regional,  stops a little closer to my hometown of Mt. Vernon, NY at New Rochelle, NY. So, for the past three years I’ve been going up to New York on a more regular bases, about 5 times a year. Checking in on my Mom and my daughter, Maya. Now, Maya grew up in DC, but has recently moved up to New York to live her dream of being an artist and helping her Grandma. She’s really making a go of it and is doing better at it then in DC. I find that interesting because DC is a smaller creative market than New York, and a bit easier to break into. But New York is more progressive and a real art town.

Okay, now during all those years of riding the train, I would a photograph here and there, no big deal. Spent most of the ride sleeping. During the past three years I got a really nice point & shoot digital camera, the Panasonic Lumix LX3.  The camera is small, fast and pocketable with a wide angle f/2.0 Leica zoom lens. This camera allows me to shoot more pictures, about the equivalent of 7 rolls of film, on a two gigabyte memory card. I love it. Very surprised with the images I’ve been producing with during my mini train journeys.  I also carry an extra memory card and battery. That’s almost a brick of film, for those who remember film bricks!

Now a few things have been happening. The first is that I’ve been becoming more familiar with the scenic’s of the trip. Though I’ve become familiar with the views, I’m not familiar  enough to setup and be ready to take a shot. A lot is still hit and miss. A little more miss than hit it turns out! Still I’m learning how to get better shots. After all, I can’t ask the conductor to stop the train or slow it down. So I’ve worked out a methodology for shooting. It goes something like this. I tend to anticipate a photo. As we approach the scene, I’ll ten decide to push the shutter or not. If not and I feel I should have, that composition I missed will go into my mental archive of possibilities. As this archive grows, the potential of making a good shot increases. So I’ll miss “that” shot, but the possibility of something similar appearing again down the track or during another trip increases.

Conductor on the Amtrak Northeast Regional

Conductor on the Amtrak Northeast Regional, leaving New Rochelle, NY on to Boston. ©Jarvis Grant

The next thing that happens when photographing out the window is camera handling. When a stretch of scenery seems promising I turn the camera on so it will be ready to go. Hey the camera is fast, but it’s still a point & shoot. When I firat point the camera out the window, it takes the sensor/light meter about three seconds to adjust to the change of light and become operable, and another 2-3 seconds to focus (if I’m lucky). A lot can pass by in 6 seconds as the train speeds on. I also set the camera to “Burst Mode” so it can keep taking pictures and give be more options of a scene. The downside of Burst Mode, is the camera takes time to process those photos. During that processing time the camera can’t take any new images. Finally, if it’s bright, I put the camera on “Program” so I don’t have to think about exposure and other camera stuff. As it gets darker, I go to Manual Mode or Shutter Priority. More techno thinking and a little less esthetic thinking. Still, it’s all good fun, which is the bottom line along with having new photos.

Within this body of work there are a few thematic series. Below are a few sample images. I’m still working all these images out, sifting and sorting them out. So, in future post, I’ll share what I’ve been doing with these photos as I continue to ride the rails on the Northeast Regional.

Crossing the Bay between Philly and Wilmington

Crossing the Bay between Philly and Wilmington. ©Jarvis Grant


Traveler checking the time board at Newark, NJ Penn Station. ©Jarvis Grant

Traveler checking the time board at Newark, NJ Penn Station. ©Jarvis Grant


New Rochelle Station at Twilight. ©Jarvis Grant

New Rochelle Station at Twilight. ©Jarvis Grant


July 16, 2011

Scared Reflections: An Exhibition

Sacred Reflections Announcement
Sacred Reflections at the Driskell Center, University of Maryland

A couple of months ago, I heard a call to artist for the exhibit Sacred Reflection. The theme of this exhibit in the words of its curator Tonya Jordan, “… is inspired by religious and spiritual traditions of the African American community in Prince George’s County (Maryland) and the African Diaspora.” This exhibition features many of the ‘iconic imagery, spiritual verse and biblical references of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Africa’s derived religious practices, and themes metaphysical and esoteric. My works are in that last group, the “metaphysical and esoteric”. While I do believe that the Black Church is an significant element of the African American community, I also believe that the spirituality of an individual transcends the religious dictates of organized religion.

When I saw this call for entry, I thought of several images that I thought would work. Two were already framed and ready to go. These days I’ve got to think of the economics of exhibition photographs. Then there were a couple of images that have been swimming in my head for a while. This call was just the thing to help me flush out them out. Now I usually don’t think in terms of producing work just for a particular exhibit, but since this exhibit was going to be in the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, I felt it was a great opportunity and venue. Now, I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of these photographs. I’m simply going to present them. In the near future I’ll get into pre and post production of how I created them.

What I found of great interest is that over the course of several years I found myself using the same model, Ava Sheffield. Ava is a great model because she gets into the atmosphere of what I want the subject in the photograph to convey. This makes the image more believable, like an actress on stage. The earlier works were 100 Words and An Ocean’s Song. 100 Words was shot for the cover of the book 100 Words of Wisdom, by Niambi Jarvis. The photograph for An Ocean’s Song was from the same shooting session.  The latest work, Sojourner: The Awakened Dream and The Sojourner’s Quest, comes from the idea of the power of dreams. Or more the power that is found within the dreamer.  Normally I need to live with the work before I start thing of titles for it. At first I was thinking about the subject of the images as a sojourner or temporary resident. While this is very true, after the work was up in the exhibit I began thinking more of the locations she was occupying. So, after this exhibition this series of images will go by the theme title of Dream Chambers instead of The Sojourner. Of these four images I submitted, Tonya selected 100 Words and the Sojourner’s Quest. They always choose 100 Words!  My personal favorite from the submissions was, The Awakened Dream. This reminds me of something my friend and mentor Ed Love once told me. “When you give people the opportunity of choice, they’ll always choose the one you don’t want them to!” Oh well.

Sacred Reflections will be on view at the Driskell Center until August 5, 2011. If you are in the Washington, DC metro area, please stop by and experience this wonderful exhibit.



July 9, 2011

Revisiting the Gigapan

A few weeks ago I pulled out my Gigapan EPIC. This is a device developed by Gigapan Systems which allows the creation of large scale gigapixel panoramas. That’s right Gigapixel panoramic images. It does so by stitching together single multi shot megapixel images. I explained this in more detail in my blog post, The Gigapan Pano Portrait. The reason for this renewed interest in my Gigapan EPIC was a project, Nearby Nature Gigablitz, sponsored in part by the Fine Outreach for Science program and  their partners at Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab. The project asked people who were members of to make panos of nature that was near where they lived and worked. Since I live in walking distance to the Rock Creek National Park, went down there and setup near the edge of Rock Creek and its Bike Path.

As I shot the “still life” of the landscape I hadn’t any real problem, other than remembering the regiment of using the equipment with my Panasonic LX3. This is my “carry-with-me” camera. The LX3 is a ten megapixel point & shoot with a very nice 24mm wide 2.5x optical zoom LEICA DC F2.0 lens.  So like I said no problems, no worries. But, when I decided to have the Bike/Runner’s Path in the scene, that when I started to have some issues. Since I was by myself, I did the best I could in scouting up and down the path trying to look out for bikers & runners. I was trying to avoid traffic because the Gigapan shoots a series of aligned images that are stitched together. As much as I tried, I always got someone in the scene! Then while swatting away all manner of little flying bugs and sweat, I decided just to shoot very small panos of the Path itself, and figure it all out later.

When I got back and processed the images, converting the RAW files to TIFFs. I first worked in the more classic landscape images. Gigapaners have a tendency to create these great big panoramic images with lots of detail. Creating a very interesting image because you can zoom in and see minute details found with in the scene. That’s what happens when you have a five gigapixel image. My approach was to produce an interesting photograph first.  Light, color, composition, and what Jay Maisel calls “Gesture” are more important than the curious details I’m not even aware at the time of capture. Here are two examples from that shoot. Use the navigation controls to pan and zoom inside of the images. You can also use your mouse wheel to zoom, click & drag to pan.

Okay, now that Bike Path shot. Well I did it! I was able to create a panorama that had a clean clear path in it. To my surprise, I didn’t really like it. I mean it was a good image, but I started to think, maybe having a human element would actually be good. Since I had several “sub-sets”  of the panorama, I began to look at them. To my surprise, there were a couple of good shots in there. I had used a fairly fast shutter speed of 1/400 so the runners & bikers were all frozen in stop action. I had a couple of shots with a guy in a red shirt. With all of the lush green in the images that little spot of red was a great color contrast. Once I had the full “empty path” pano completed, I placed the single frame with the runner in the scene. His tonality was a bit off, so I adjusted his frame to match, but the runner himself, was too dark. So I made another tonal adjustment. He looked great but his frame was now off. To address with issue, I made a  Layer Mask and erased everything in the scene but him. In the words of chef Emeril Lagasse, BAM! It was done. Here’s that panorama.

One of the things I learned from this episode with my Gigapan EPIC is that you can’t let the equipment dictate your creative vision. Now don’t get me wrong, equipment dictates a lot of stuff during a shot. But it’s not the master. I guess all of those little bugs swarming around me (along with the high humidity & temp) helped to break the equipments pull on me. So that during all that the landscape itself had an opportunity to talk with me. Alter all that’s what the whole thing was really about anyway. Capturing a sense of place.


January 13, 2011

2011 New Year’s Night Queen

Filed under: Gallery,Observations,Photography — Tags: , , , — Jarvo @ 1:59 am

Night Bloomimg CereusOn New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t exactly surprised to see that around 9:00PM, my Night Blooming Cereus was starting to open up. From the first sighting of the bud to the final bloom, takes about 10 days.  I always know when it’s blooming, not by sight but by smell. The Cereus has a distinctive mild, sweet, aroma. I have always had the belief that my Cereus bloomed at special occasions. Sometimes these occasions are happy and sometimes not. Yet, the Cereus’ flower presents itself at some magical interface. So I look for 2011 being a magical positive year!

These photos were made with my Panasonic LX3. This camera has an incredible macro mode. It’s small and light enough to hand hold in awkward positions. Plus its superb Leica lens is a beautiful piece of glass. yet to make these images I had to use an ISO of 800. I wanted to use a somewhat fast shutter speed to minimize blur and an f/stop that wasn’t wide open. The noise was lowered using Nik Software Define 2.0.

Roy Tanck‘s Flickr Widget requires Flash Player 9 or better.

Get this widget at


Click on an image to view it larger.


July 24, 2010

New York City: Above & Below

Filed under: Gallery,Observations,Photography — Jarvo @ 3:32 pm

Last month I went to visit my Mom and my daughter, Maya in Mt. Vernon, NY. Mt. Vernon is the little town were I grew up. despite the sound of its name, it’s right next to New York City. When I was a kid, I could walk to the #5 IRT train. I had a chance to hang out with my buddies Roger and Stan in the Village Saturday night. Then on Thursday night,  Stan and I went to check out Herbie Hancock at Carnegie Hall for Herbie’s 70th birthday celebration.

The day before I left NY to come back to DC, I went to an event sponsored by NAPP, Photoshop CS5 Summit. It was pretty cool, but no Photoshop World!  At any rate, when walking back to Penn Station I saw the scene of the monks and the NYC citizen on a bench waiting for a bus. Man there was so much color I could just pass it by. With all the foot traffic I was surprised to get such a clean shot.


This other shot was on the way back to DC from the New Rochelle Amtrak station. The train makes a brief stop in NYC at Penn Station. This shot was made right before the train picked up its NY passengers


May 19, 2010

A Few New Botanical Image Ideas

Filed under: Folio,Gallery,Observations,Photography — Tags: , , — Jarvo @ 2:34 pm

I’ve been working on some new work from scans,. Mostly from dried flowers that I’ve had laying around. Photographing them has allowed me to at least throw them away! For the past month I’ve also been using my scanner as a macro camera. I amazed at how much detail there is to objects. I’m looking froward to doing more this summer on this idea.

I wasn’t thinking about Dreams, when I was taking those photographs. That idea came later, and was in the moment.

Get this widget at

Click on an images to view it in Flickr, or view as a slideshow here.


May 14, 2010

Queen of the Night

Filed under: Folio,Gallery,Observations,Photography — Jarvo @ 1:18 pm
Night Blooming Cereus: First Discovery

On First Discovery

Last night while in my studio, I could sensed a familiar sweet faint aroma. I thought, “Hmmm, I didn’t see any pending blossoms from my Night Blooming Cereus, yet when I looked up, there it was.  I’ve had this plant for over 30 years, and it still fills me with a sense of wonderment. This cereus, which is a member of the cactus family, blooms for one night only.  I have often photographed these blossoming events, from the the first beginnings, to the finality of  its dried pods. Since my Panasonic LX3 was on my desk, I took several snaps. With its small size and outstanding macro capabilities, I was able to manuever it to get shots I couldn’t with my big Nikon.

I wish this camera was able to take time lapse automatically. It would be nice to make a video from the stills. I’ll just have to wait for a bloosm to be in the right place for me to use a tripod or even my little Joby Gorillapod, so I can do the time lapse manually.

Night Queen: The Morning After

Night Queen: The Morning After

I enjoyed making these photos. I started out just to take a couple of quick reference photos, then just really got into it. Winded up taking a liitle more tha a roll. (I still think in terms of rolls of film – 36 exposures+) The shot to the left is looking up from my desk.  The shot to the right was made the next morning.


Older Posts »