Jill Waterman – ChatterArtist June 2013

Our ChatterArtist for this month is Jill Waterman, who ironically introduced me to last month’s ChatterArtist Linda Rutenberg, and they both like to photograph at night! Jill is a Gemini, born on June 5thand we first met when I was still working at PDN and PhotoServe. We immediately became friends, and I will never forget when my back went out and I was stuck in my apartment for several weeks, it was Jill who came by to see me and bring me some of my work from the office!

FYI – I chose this beautiful image of the Aurora Borealis to head Jill’s article because it fits the Gemini theme so perfectly – Gemini is connected with Electricity and your Nervous System!

Nightscape: Aurora Borealis, Iceland © Jill Waterman

You could say Jill is a typical Gemini – she is certainly very smart, like all Air signs, and she is definitely multi-talented and always working on more than one thing at a time! Initially, she was hired at PDN as managing photo editor for IPNStock, but she was quickly assigned numerous other roles, including senior editor of the ASMP Bulletin, contributing editor for PDN Custom Media and Events/Photo Plus Expo and editor of PDNedu (PDN’s student publication).

Miami Doorman, New Years Eve 2002 © Jill Waterman

As a photographer Jill is best known for her wonderful, longtime and ongoing project, where she shoots in a different city every year on New Year’s Eve. I love the idea of this project – so simple and exciting each time she goes to another venue. She can keep doing this one for ever! And it must be so interesting to see not only how the celebrations and cultures differ, from city to city and from country to country, but also how they have evolved over the years, from the buildings and landscape to everyone’s fashions and hairstyles…

London Bobbies, New Years Eve 1985 © Jill Waterman
Edinburgh Castle, Midnight, New Years Eve 1999 © Jill Waterman

From her website: New Year’s Eve is the holiday of anticipation. For more than a quarter century I have photographed this event around the world, annually traveling to a different city to research local customs and record the festivities with my camera. My pictures reveal intimate narratives about ordinary people filled with the spirit of an extraordinary night. The subjects of my photographs are all willing participants, flattered by the prospect of a moment in the spotlight. In every destination or venue for this work, I meet people who respond to my images and find they evoke a connection to a story or memory. I have gathered such experiences, traditions and prophecies to present with my photographs in homage to this great event.

Paris Fireworks, New Years Eve 1984 © 1984 Jill Waterman

The idea for Jill’s New Year’s Eve project was born in Paris while she was studying at the Sorbonne. [Where better than Paris, since it is The City of Light!] She was making the transition from printmaking to photography and was looking for a project with which she could track her progress over time. [Well, she certainly accomplished that!] It was December 31, 1983, and Jill was also curious to see what the year 1984 would bring and how George Orwell’s novel would play out! And what began as a whim has turned into 30 years now and a lifelong commitment! Besides Paris she has photographed in Edinburgh, Scotland for Hogmanay, Reykjavik, Iceland, London and Berlin, Shanghai and Rio, New York and New Orleans, Mexico City and Philadelphia, to name but a few… She has witnessed the Rose Parade in Pasadena and the welcoming of the Millennium in Bethlehem.

Nassau, Bahamas Junkanoo, New Years Eve 2009 © Jill Waterman
Philadelphia Mummer, New Years Eve 2003 © Jill Waterman

In 2008 Jill published her first book “Night and Low-Light Photography: Professional Techniques from Experts for Artistic and Commercial Success.”

From the Amazon website: Author Jill Waterman looks at the work of 30 top professionals, examining their real-life projects as well as their tips, techniques, and unique approach. The result is a beautiful yet practical compendium of every aspect of night and low-light photography, indoors and out, black and white and color, digital and film, fine art and commercial. The moon and stars, atmospheric effects, cityscapes, industrial light, night events, night landscapes – every night effect is revealed in this lavishly illustrated one-volume resource.

Nightscapes: Star Trails, Phone Lines, Topanga Canyon © Jill Waterman

So yes, besides being a photographer Jill is also a writer, a teacher and a lecturer on the topic of night and low light photography. Remember, Gemini’s are communicators – that’s what they do. My Moon is in Gemini, so I should know – look what I do every month in terms of “communication!”

Shanghai Lucy, New Years Eve 1995 © Jill Waterman

Over the years, Jill’s project has been featured in numerous publications, many of which appeared as newspaper features in the city where she photographed. Her television coverage includes an interview with Katie Couric on NBC’s The Today Show, which aired on January 1, 2003 – click here to view the interview!

Her documentation of New Year’s Eve 2007 in Berlin was filmed for a segment on the show Arts Unlimited, which aired internationally on Deutsche Welle TV – click here to view the film!

So where will Jill be as we move from 2013 into the year 2014? You’ll just have to wait and see…

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