Location: United States
Elisabeth Ladwig is an award-winning photographic artist living in the New Jersey Highlands. Her work is the convergence of photography, graphic design, and collage art. Fueling her creations is a grade-school revelation connecting science, nature, and magic: the idea that all of life’s mysteries fall within the parameters of scientific explanation, that science abides by the Laws of Nature, and that all of it is magical. Today, she offers viewers a variety of metaphors for the miracles all around us, and for humankind's relationship with the Earth and with the Cosmos.
Once an idea is born in her sketchbook, Elisabeth sets out to take the photographs she needs to create the image. Her process is variable and spiritually instinctive; often, an image is well on its way or even completed before its concept is fully understood, and that meaning may vary from one viewing to the next. All of her scenes have a strong natural connection, set completely or partially outdoors, often with an anonymous subject. "Anonymity allows the viewer to take part in writing the story," she says, "and that story is going to be different for everyone."
After studying Graphic and Digital Design at Parsons School of Design in NYC, her artistic career began in the music industry where she designed for the likes of Liza Minnelli, Barry Manilow, Patrick Stewart, for Broadway, and for major motion pictures. Her current photo artistry has been seen on magazine covers, in exhibitions from Scottsdale to Rome, and on digital displays in Times Square and at the Louvre.
Age 11, I think. That’s about the age when I decided adults were wrong: magic does exist.
As I lay in the grass watching pre-tornado skies, I realized it was all around me, hidden behind the sciences of meteorology, botany, astronomy... the warmth of miracles overshadowed by experiments and equations and proofs. It became clear that the beauty of science, nature, and magic was one and the same, and it saddened me that the miraculous nature of it all had been dismissed so irresponsibly over time. Photo compositing allows me to create metaphorical reminders of the magic and miracles all around us in an attempt to bring humanity back home to its roots: kin of the Earth. So with a nod to Mother Nature and her fairytale existence, I work to seek out equal beauty in the storm as in the sunrise.
I once took a field trip with an artist friend of mine to the little town of Sugar Loaf, NY. To say it rained would be a gross understatement. Unsure of how we'd get back to the car without getting soaked, we decided to let Mother Nature just be. We tucked away our umbrellas and, laughing, we walked out into the torrents for a casual stroll. From a storefront porch across the street, people applauded.
There is an undeniable oneness to the beehive. It is a social colony of communication and food sharing, each member working tirelessly toward common goals. If you've ever spent time just listening to a hive, it is really quite beautiful and meditative. Sometimes you can hone in on the individual notes beneath the hum, then zoom out again to appreciate the collective a cappella. She is the flower, the hive, its bounty, and the sweetness of Spring. She is the Hum. Oooommm...
Healing can come in endless forms. Each requires special attention, space, acceptance, and often a shift in mindset in order to welcome in peace. Even a personal revelation can set one free ~ free from old patterns, undesirable habits, or from feeling entrapped by limited options. With a walk along the beach, feet sinking into the sand, and the cleansing of the ocean, we can escape what was and welcome in new hope.
This dryad, or tree spirit, began one Winter when my husband and I were hiking. I came across a tree covered in turkey tail and all I could think was, "That would make such a beautiful dress!" I took some shots and drew a sketch when I got home, saving the project for warmer weather to complete it. The Dryad of Kinship is a gentle reminder of the home and family we too often forget ~ the one outside the window.
I remember when a former co-worker of mine introduced me to Shel Silverstein’s poem “Somebody Has To”. It introduces us to his community of flying friends and, in light of our irresponsible neglect, leaves us with a call to action: to polish the stars. I was immediately intrigued. Infatuated. The idea of polishing stars can mean so many things, and for me, it begged the question: What needs polishing in my life?
Somebody has to go polish the stars. What does that mean to you?