ABOUT THE ARTIST
began taking photographs at the age of eight. Her first camera was a Brownie
Instamatic. Her first subjects were her younger sister hanging upside down
on a fence and the family dog, Dixie. Today, Janis spends any hours walking
the beaches of Wellfleet, Massachusetts with her two border collies, camera
in hand. She is semi-retired now, having spend twenty-five years in the entertainment
business in New York City where she was a founding partner in SEM&M,
a talent agency representing actors for commercials.
When the agency closed its doors in 2001, Janis began spending as much
time as possible in her beloved Wellfleet. Light and pattern and color
became the focus of her photography. Her photographs “unveil the bountiful
secrets of nature exactly as they are before the march of time
mars their perfect beauty...the secrets they reveal are startling.” (Provincetown
Banner, August 30, 2007)
Goes it Alone
by Reva Blau
as printed in the Provincetown Banner
August 30, 2007
Ekman, who runs the single-artist “The Garage Gallery,” a stone’s throw
from the Wellfleet Council of Aging, stumbled onto the track of abstract
landscape photography when she bought a digital camera to take on vacation. She
went to the beach with her dogs, her daily ritual, and absent-mindedly took
a picture of a wave after it broke on shore.
low pixel quality made the stirred-up water fuzzy, but she looked at it and
marveled at its patterns. Now with her bigger camera, she no longer
needs the atmospheric gifts of the soft focus. She is taking crystal
clear pictures that unveil the bountiful secrets of nature exactly as they
are before the march of time mars their perfect beauty.
that first wave, Ekman took more pictures of the water and then later,
on subsequent walks, the sand. Uploading them onto her computer, she
fell in love with certain ripples, certain indentations.
years later, she is still doing it. Her photo card holds around 260
pictures. Of these, she feels lucky to find one that is a gem. She
blows some of them up large. Others she cuts down to postage-stamp-size
that reminds her of the pictures that she took with the Brownie camera
her parents gave her when she was eight. In one of these, her sister
is hanging upside-down on a jungle gym. In fact, she shot in film
for years and never thought to exhibit her work. It was only when
friends told her that she had to start showing her work that she realized
she could create a studio and even a gallery out of the garage on her property.
“I am trying to do
all sorts of things,” said Ekman last week in
“in the way of light and patterns. When you look at one thing over
and over again, you start to see the patterns.” Clouds, famous for
the patterns that inspire children’s imaginations, are a natural subject
for Ekman. She loves to
catch the clouds right after it has rained, just as she catches the light after
the sun has gone down.
a photograph entitled “Gaia’s Rock,” a lone branch stands
up majestically from a dune, making the scene look more like Death Valley
than Chipman’s Cove or
Duck Harbor. Mostly, her pictures are more prosaic, although the secrets
they reveal are startling. Sometimes it will be a neon red and orange
cloud formation just after sunrise blown up to window-size. Sometimes,
a three-by-two inch photograph will reveal a ripple of the water, mottled cracks
of the sand or three perfect, tiny cumulus clouds above a few shrub trees on
the dunes. You
have to nose up to it to find the many secrets she extracts from her walks.
Even while running the gallery, Ekman still takes her
camera when she goes on her daily walks with her dogs who still like to chase
sticks into the water. When she is focusing on a picture they have figured
out that they need to find someone else on the beach to throw sticks for them.
Garage Gallery, featuring the work of Janis Ekman, is on the corner of Somerset
Avenue and Old King’s Highway in Wellfleet, a block from the COA. Open
daily from 2 to 6 p.m. with evenings hours Wednesday and Saturday from 5
to 7 p.m. when wine and cheese are served. Call (508) 349-3945 for
The Clouds And Other Images
by Marilyn Miller
as published in The Cape Codder August 3, 2007
WELLFLEET-- Ever since
she was 8 years old and got her first Brownie camera, Jan Ekman fell in love
with the idea of capturing the scenes that captivated her.
older now, but still has that child-like delight in the wonders nature puts
before our eyes daily, wonders that can be observed only for seconds or
minutes before they fade away--unless captured on film.
That’s why she can be found flat on her back in the sand on a beach in
Wellfleet, her Canon EOS 20D digital camera pointed up at the sky, capturing
the incredible colors of the sunset on clouds. And when she goes back
home and prints out the images, she’s convinced that if you look closely,
forms of angels can be glimpsed within the clouds.
feels blessed by angels to be in Wellfleet, where the light is unbelievably
beautiful for painters and photographers. And blessed to be able to
turn what once was the garage in front of her house, just off Old King’s
Highway, into an art gallery where she displays her abstract art photographs.
the first to admit “it’s off the beaten path,” but daily
she gets people who stop by after a day at one of the ponds nearby, to take
a look at the 50 photos she has on display. The prices range from
$90.00 on up.
family of five stopped by Tuesday afternoon, beach towels in hand and the
teenage boy talked camera talk with Ekman, guessing at the setting she used to
get her photo of ice on the beach.
were at the pond and saw the gallery open sign and stopped by to take a
look,” his mother said, adding that she enjoyed very much what she
who calls herself “semi-retired,” used to run a talent agency
in New York City where she and her partners got people jobs in commercials
“We were on of the biggest agencies in New York for commercials,” she
she sold the agency in 2000, she bought the house in Wellfleet, and started
to divide her time between Wellfleet and her apartment in New York.
“Photography has always
been an avocation for me,” she said. “I did black and white
photography for many years, but then, when I started to spend more time up here,
I got my first digital camera five years ago, and one day, when I was out walking
the dogs, I had this little Canon digital camera in my pocket, and there was
this unbelievable sunset, and something told me to take a photo of the light
on the water, and that’s how I started.”
photo, blown up to 11 by 14 inches, is on display in her Garage Gallery.
opened the gallery June 23. “The response has been great,” she
sold three on opening day. It’s just a matter of getting the people
of her photos on display shows water lapping over sand that has been rippled
by waves. When she had that photo developed and printed on Elegant’s “Breathing
Color” paper, which is similar to watercolor paper, the printer asked
if it was a view of a tsunami.
did you take it? Were you up in a helicopter?’ he asked me. I
it’s a sluiceway,’” she said adding, “I really do think
there are angels up there.”