Artist and Photographer Wendy Monahan …shoots us.

We start a series of photography posts on eCharta Blog. It is a great honor for us to start with this great photographer Wendy Monahan. 

Born into a 1960ʼs rural existence, Wendy was raised in a continuously moving matriarchal household of a riding-instructor mother and piano-teacher grandmother. As a child she raised domestic animals, caught wild ones, collected stuff and made bug houses. While living in a rural solitary existence she dreamed of being a scientist and spent days reading science fiction novels. At some point she began to worry about the passage of time and became fascinated with the process of photography. Armed with a Kodak Brownie and a Polaroid Instamatic, she documented all of the family pets, livestock, and anything or anyone else that would sit still for her. Somehow she survived teen angst and went to college, forgetting photography and choosing to study anthropology at UNLV. After completing the degree, her intention was to continue an academic education. She began to work on a Masterʼs Degree in Public History while at the same time taking a beginning photography course at the community college. She knew about halfway through a semester of medieval history, that she was on the wrong path. She had a great interest in history and art, but also needed some sort of scientific grounding. She studied commercial photography instead and has spent the last ten years as a photographer in Las Vegas. While she enjoys the work, digital capture and computer editing do not satisfy her need to make tangible things. So, she is happily back in the darkroom. She has an obsession with photographic contraptions and employs all formats of vintage camera and darkroom equipment. Her goal for 2013 is to learn to make photographic emulsions and coat her own papers.

So we took some time with Wendy to talk about her passion for photography.

Q: Hello Wendy! You didn’t become a riding-instructor as your mom or a piano- teacher as your grandmother. You got involved with photography. How did you get introduced to photography and to your first Kodak Brownie? 

A: Oh, that was so long ago now. I must have been 7 or 8 years old when I started using the Brownie and I do not know where it came from. What I remember most about the camera was the sound of the shutter going off. Something about looking into that box and the sound it made hooked me. I was a shy child and found my rural existence incredibly boring. I read a lot of different things, but sci-fi was the most prevalent genre. As a kid, I would see moments that seemed to have some kind of interest or promise of something less than mundane. I was desperate to capture that.

Dune Enigma c2012 selenium toned silver gelatin print. Mesquite Flat Dunes at Stovepipe wells, Death Valley, CA

Dune Enigma c2012 selenium toned silver gelatin print. Mesquite Flat Dunes at Stovepipe wells, Death Valley, CA

Q: Did your early photographic goals include earning a living from photography, or did it start as a way to express yourself creatively? I’m talking of course after the College years.

A: When I started taking photography classes, I just wanted to be able to understand photography, learn how to operate the camera, and print in a darkroom. It was all very mysterious to me. I was considering grad school and what my major should be and was unhappy with how things were progressing. I began to realize the potential of photography as a way to earn a living and as a way to realize my artistic nature. Everything just started to come together.

Q: When did you know you finally “made it” as a professional and when did you make your first photography sale? Do you remember it?

A: Photography is such a huge field of study. I am constantly studying new techniques. There was a point in my career that I was doing a lot of  portraiture. I was setting up my studio one day and I didn’t look at any lighting diagrams or wonder what would happen if I set the light this way or that. I just knew. When I was editing after the session my exposures and light ratios were right on, my model looked at ease, and we made some great images. I thought, ah, this is what being a professional photographer feels like. It is funny, but I do not remember my first sale as a commercial photographer, but I distinctly remember my first sale at an art show. I had just joined a local art guild and was participating in my first show. My patient and wonderful husband had spent weeks with me matting, framing, making signs and such. A young woman came by, browsed through my photos, left, and came back later to buy one. It seems silly but that small sale was very exciting to me.

Electricity Series: Hoover Dam III c2011 digital image. Hoover Dam photographed from the Mike OʼCallaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Electricity Series: Hoover Dam III c2011 digital image. Hoover Dam photographed from the Mike OʼCallaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge

Q: What do you like MOST and LEAST about running your professional photography life?

A: What I like most about being a professional photographer is connecting with a portrait client. There is something intimate about photographing someone. They show themselves to you. When you make a great portrait together it is very rewarding. What I like least about being a professional photographer is the amount of time I spend running the business and not taking photographs.

Q: I’m sure that you have at least one turning point in your career. What was it?

A:  Absolutely the decision to go back to traditional photographic methods for my art work has been the turning point in my career. It was a costly and time consuming decision.  When I first decided to do it I did not quite realize what I was getting myself into. I forgot how difficult and time consuming traditional photography is.  I have learned much more than I expected to, both from a technical standpoint and also from a personal growth standpoint. When I get a good image that I exposed, processed, and printed myself, it is so rewarding.On a side note, I also really love the smell of the emulsion on the paper.I had never really done much landscape work previous to my re-emergence in traditional methods. I started going out alone to different locations carrying all of my equipment and a tripod with me. I found myself searching for the  unusual and surreal in whatever landscape I had put myself in. I was particularly drawn to places with strange sounds. One day I was driving over some mountainous terrain between two valleys and I came across some burned out yucca trees lit by the late afternoon sun. The wind was blowing hard and there were some telephone lines strung up through the area. The sounds were  so loud and creepy. I forced myself to get out of the car and immerse myself in that environment. I ended up with images I was not completely satisfied with technically, but I will never forget that experience. It was so exhilarating. It is the search for something, that drives me to keep doing it.

Sand Enigma c2012 selenium toned silver gelatin print. Mesquite Flat Dunes at Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley, CA

Sand Enigma c2012 selenium toned silver gelatin print. Mesquite Flat Dunes at Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley, CA

Q: Best piece of advice you ever received about photography?

A: My firsts photography instructor was an artist. His advice was to be patient. Do not take photos, make photos. I did not completely comprehend his advice at the time, but it has proven to be true.

Q: Many people ask about profound features and explicit details about your job. I want to hear from you some quick advice for someone who simply wants to improve their photography skills.

A: Photograph everything at different focal lengths and use manual settings. Study your exposures and learn from them. Study exposure and exposure value. Learn to edit your work. The technical stuff may seem boring, but do it anyway.

Q: You say that you prefer the “dark room” instead of digital photography. Actually I do too. Why? Do you think there is room for the “traditional” film shooting in our days?

A: I absolutely believe there is room for “traditional” film shooting! Let’s keep doing it and keep this great tradition alive! Right now, I use digital for commercial work and only traditional photography for my fine art work. I made this rule for myself almost two years ago. I was finding digital photography uninspiring and unchallenging. The amount of digital imagery, good and bad, being made was lowering the value and expectation of digital imaging in general. It was (and is), getting more difficult to get good prints made from a lab. I do not like the look of inkjet prints for my photographs, nor do I enjoy the digital printing process. I believe there is much more value in a handmade photograph on traditional paper made by an artist. I want to remain a viable photographer and artist, and I see traditional photography as the truest way for me to do it.

Phantom Limbs c2012 selenium toned silver gelatin print. Hwy 158 near Toiyabe National Forest, Mount Charleston, NV.

Phantom Limbs c2012 selenium toned silver gelatin print. Hwy 158 near Toiyabe National Forest, Mount Charleston, NV.

Q: Many pro photographers aren’t sharing their secrets. Are you currently serving in some sort of mentor capacity to younger aspiring photographers?

A: I have done so a few times without success. My mentees have not wanted to learn the technical aspects of photography or make the financial commitment to equipment. I start them off with the classic notion of compromise between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. I have yet to get a mentee off of program mode with a digital camera. There are a lot of variables that need to be tended to and it is easy to overlook or forget something important. Eventually it all becomes second nature, but at first it can seem overwhelming. Most recently I was approached by a young woman who wanted to learn from me, but she did not want to actually buy a camera until she knew how to use it. I tried to explain to her that photography does not work like that. Digital technology has changed photography to a much greater extent than I had anticipated, and it is not stopping. If I choose to have a mentee again, it will be to show them traditional processes and not digital imaging. I do hope for that at some future date.

Q: What’s not fun about your job? We know that even great jobs have aspects that aren’t wonderful.

A: Sometimes the schedule can be grueling and there is a lot of equipment to lug around. If a client is not organized or does not know what they want, there tends to be a lot of “hurry up and wait”.

Torso IX c2011 digital image. Image IX in the torso nude series

Torso IX c2011 digital image. Image IX in the torso nude series

Q: Could you describe your most challenging and your favorite shoots you’ve been on?

A: The most challenging project for me was photographing nudes. I was a fairly reserved person. I was very uncomfortable with nudity. I am not necessarily uncomfortable with nudity in print or film, but that is a different matter than being alone with a naked stranger or mild acquaintance. I wanted to do a  series of images that involved shape and form, with my female subjects wearing masks. I still distinctly remember my first session. My subject was a model and makeup artist whom I had worked with on a few occasions. I think it scared both of us, but we had a mutual trust. We got through that first session together; grinning and baring it. Pardon the pun. After that, each session became a little easier. I ended up working with five different women. I finished my photographic work and was unhappy with the initial results. I started working with the images and discovered that the masks completely conflicted with my initial idea. Once I changed my perspective and got rid of the conflicting elements, it started to work. I am really proud of this series, which evolved into “Torso, The Human Landscape”. It was a great learning experiment for me, both as a human, and an artist.

Q: What is your process for gaining people’s trust? How do you get to the core of what you’re going after?

A: When I photograph people, I check my ego at the door. I try to spend some time talking with them before I start to photograph them. Most people do not know what to do in front of a camera and do not feel comfortable. It is my job to gain their trust and make them feel at ease. I do not force them into uncomfortable positions. I just wait until they show me. It is really amazing to look at the evolution of a photo session with someone who is shy or reluctant to be photographed. You can see their confidence come forward. I love that.

Q: You say that you want to learn to make photographic emulsions and coat your own papers. But what’s really next for you?

A: Yes, I really do want to start making emulsions. I have given myself a deadline of December 31, 2013 to successfully coat paper and film. Part of the enjoyment of traditional photography for me is its hands on nature. It really is a great meshing of science and art. What’s next for me? I plan on expanding my creative body of work and continuing my search for unusual experiences that I can create images from.

Q: What do you think of eCharta as a design, as user interface functionality, and as an online auction/exchanging PAPER ONLY platform?

A: I really love paper and different printing processes. I make photographs, but I also collect old photographs and all kinds of vintage prints. I was really excited when I discovered eCharta. I had been wanting to connect with other paper collectors, but did not see a viable platform to do it. I like hunting for things at antique stores, but not on the internet. Large auction sites can be difficult to navigate and I do not have the time to do that. eCharta is simple to navigate and use for both the buyer and seller, and it exists for the niche market of paper lovers, collectors, and makers. Many uses for paper have become obsolete and as paper is used less and less I believe that its intrinsic value will increase. I am really thrilled to be involved with eCharta and I think it can grow into a really great place to connect and collect all things paper!

Wendy already has listed some of her beautiful photos on eCharta for sale.

We also hope that we’re going to convince her to write for our blog photography tips and tricks quite often.

List your Photographs for Free. For EVER!

Dear photo mates,

We’d like to announce that eCharta runs an offer for FREE BuyOut listing FOR EVER!

Don’t miss it! Register now on eCharta!

Then drop us an email at to enroll the offer on your account!

Upload all your artistic PHOTOGRAPHS, your postcards, your prints and anything made of paper for sale with no listing charge!!!

That simple! Nothing to lose!

Offer expires: May.31.2013


eCharta is an e-commerce website focused on paper made items. These items cover a wide range including labels, ads, paper money, art, photographs, paper toys, stamps, postcards, comics, entertainment memorabiliasports cards, paper handmade crafts, books, magazines, newspapers and so many other paper items that surround us.

Thank you all again for your active participation in eCharta website!

Don’t forget to tell your friends!

Thank you all again for your active participation in eCharta website!

Best Regards,

eCharta Team

Sir Hannibal Anthony Lecter Hopkins

On 31 December, 1937 in Margam, Port Talbot, Wales was born a kid who became a sir: Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins best known as the actor Anthony Hopkins.

This Welsh actor of film, stage, and television, is considered as one of the greatest living actors.  Hopkins is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, its sequel Hannibal and the prequel Red Dragon. But his movies have spanned a wide variety of genres, from family films to horror.


Retaining his British citizenship, he became a U.S. citizen on 12 April 2000. As well as his Academy Award, Hopkins has also won three BAFTA Awards, two Emmy Awards and the Cecil DeMille Golden Globe Award.

The son of Muriel Anne (née Yeats) and Richard Arthur Hopkins that he was a baker was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for services to the arts. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003, and was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2008.

It’s really hard to tell just couple of things about this actor…

Enjoy the paper memorabilia with his scary and his soothing face.

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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Christmas Jewelries by Thomas Edison

During the 1880 Christmas season, Thomas Edison strung a line of electric lights outside his Menlo Park, N.J. laboratory, enchanting travelers on passing trains. And on December 22, in 1882, Edison’s partner in the Edison Illumination Company, Edward H. Johnson, hung the first string of 80 electric Christmas tree lights, an Edison’s creation, from a spinning tree it the parlor of his mansion!

This is the first time that the Christmas gained their lights!


A century and some years ago, Christmas lights were an extravagance item! They were equivalent to Tiffany windows and Faberge eggs, mainly due to the high price of electricity. Some estimation put the cost of lighting a Christmas tree at $2,000 in today’s dollars. The public could enjoy the lights, but only at a distance.

A visitor in the mansion told Detroit Post and Tribune paper the following: “all encased in these dainty glass eggs, and presented a most uncanny and picturesque aspect; the result was a continuous twinkling of dancing colors—red, white, blue, white, red, blue – all the evening, like the tree laden with lambent splendor that sparkles above the fountains in Aladdin’s palace. I need not tell you that the scintillating evergreen was a pretty sight – one can hardly imagine anything prettier.”

Of course it would be couple decades later before Christmas tree lights became affordable for ordinary Americans.

Well, sometimes it is a lot of work, but the Christmas lights have to be finally up!!!

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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Through paper we travel with Frank Sinatra to New York!

As today, December 12 in 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey a star was born. The name was …Frank Sinatra!

Sinatra was the only child of Italian immigrants Natalie Della (Garaventa) and Antonino Martino Sinatra.

During the Great Depression, his mother Dolly provided money to her son for outings with friends and expensive clothes. In 1938, Sinatra was arrested for carrying on with a married woman, a criminal offense at the time. For his livelihood, he worked as a delivery boy, and later as a riveter at a shipyard, but music was Sinatra’s main interest, and he listened carefully to big band jazz. He began singing for tips at the age of eight, standing on top of the bar at a local nightclub in Hoboken. Sinatra began singing professionally as a teenager in the 193’0s, while he learned music by ear and never went to a music school to learn how to read music.

In May 1941, Sinatra was at the top of the male singer polls in the Billboard and Down Beat magazines. On December 30, 1942, Sinatra made a “fabulous opening” at the Paramount Theater in New York. Jack Benny said, “I thought the goddamned building was going to cave in. I never heard such a commotion… All this for a fellow I never heard of.” When Sinatra returned to the Paramount in October 1944, 35,000 fans caused a protest parade outside the theater because they were not permitted to get in.

And a great career started that is going to last about five decades!


Sinatra had three children, Nancy, Frank Jr., and Tina, all with his first wife, Nancy Sinatra. He was married three more times, to actresses Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow, and finally to Barbara Marx.

Sinatra used to love glamorous surroundings and he appreciated to have people always around!  He acknowledged this, telling in an interviewer in the 1950’s: “Being an 18-karat manic-depressive, and having lived a life of violent emotional contradictions, I have an over-acute capacity for sadness as well as elation.” In her memoirs My Father’s Daughter, his daughter Tina wrote about the “18-karat” remark: “As flippant as Dad could be about his mental state, I believe that a Zoloft a day might have kept his demons away. But that kind of medicine was decades off.”

Apart of his personal life no one can forget his big hits as an actor or as a singer.

Autumn in New York, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, April in Paris, Three Coins in the Fountain, Someone to Watch Over Me, Love and Marriage, Stardust, Strangers in the Night, Somethin’ Stupid” (with Nancy Sinatra), My Way, Something, Theme from New York, New York, Teach Me Tonight, Mack the Knife …we could write forever…

This is Frank Sinatra, our Frankie!

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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With few wise words Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement

“When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game, and so, I’ve played my last game.”

With these words Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement on December 11, 1951.

A three-time MVP winner and 13-time All-Star, DiMaggio is the only player to be selected for the All-Star Game in every season he played. During his thirteen years with the Yankees, the club won ten American League pennants and nine World Series championships. He is perhaps best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15 – July 16, 1941), a record that as of today still stands. DiMaggio was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.


DiMaggio made his major league debut on May 3, 1936, batting ahead of Lou Gehrig. The Yankees had not been to the World Series since 1932, but they won the next four Fall Classics. In 1939, DiMaggio was nicknamed the “Yankee Clipper” by Yankee’s stadium announcer Arch McDonald, when he likened DiMaggio’s speed and range in the outfield to the then-new Pan American airliner.

In January 1937, DiMaggio met actress Dorothy Arnold. They married at San Francisco’s St. Peter and Paul Church on November 19, 1939, as 20,000 well-wishers jammed the streets. Their son, Joseph Paul DiMaggio III, was born at Doctors Hospital on October 23, 1941. In the September 1949 issue of SPORT magazine, Hank Greenberg said that DiMaggio covered so much ground in center field that the only way to get a hit against the Yankees was “to hit ’em where Joe wasn’t.” On February 7, 1949, DiMaggio signed a record contract worth $100,000 and became the first baseball player to break $100,000 in earnings.


Marilyn Monroe? Yes of course! According to her autobiography, Marilyn Monroe originally did not want to meet DiMaggio, fearing that he was a stereotypical arrogant athlete! Their marriage was filled with “violence”. One typical forceful incident occurred immediately after the skirt-blowing scene in The Seven Year Itch, the very known Marilyn’s pose. The couple had a “yelling battle” in the theater lobby. A month later, she filed for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty. That was exactly 274 days after the wedding.

DiMaggio was a heavy smoker for much of his adult life. After a lung cancer operation he returned to his Florida home on January 19, 1999, where he died on March 8.

Joe, “Joltin’ Joe” or “The Yankee Clipper” was an american baseball hero. You can find tones of memorabilia about him. And people love them!

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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Red, green, yellow! Who cares about traffic lights?

First traffic lights were installed on 10 December 1868.

We use them every day in our contemporary life. We stop every day in one of them! It’s a routine that we get used to it. No one cares about their history anymore. But everything we see in our everyday existence has one…


That happened outside the British Houses of Parliament in London, by the railway engineer J. P. Knight. They looked a lot like railway signals of the time, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for night use. The gas lantern was turned with a lever at its base so that the appropriate light faced traffic. It exploded on 2 January 1869, injuring or killing –we don’t exactly know the policeman who was operating it!

The modern electric traffic light is an American invention. As early as 1912 in Salt Lake City, Utah, policeman Lester Wire invented the first red-green electric traffic lights. On 5 August 1914, the American Traffic Signal Company installed a traffic signal system on the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio.  It had two colors, red and green, and a buzzer, based on the design of James Hoge, to provide a warning for color changes.


The first interconnected traffic signal system was installed in Salt Lake City in 1917, with six connected intersections controlled simultaneously from a manual switch. Automatic control of interconnected traffic lights was introduced March 1922 in Houston, Texas.  Toronto was the first city to computerize its entire traffic signal system, which it accomplished in 1963.

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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Jesse James robs bank in Missouri, kills one!

jesseIn December 7, 1868 Jesse James and his gang robs bank in Missouri. One was killed probably from Jesse’ s bullet!

Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847 – April 3, 1882) was an American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber, and murderer from the state of Missouri and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang. Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death.

Jesse and his brother Frank James were accused of participating in atrocities committed against Union soldiers during the Civil War while they were Confederate guerrillas. After the war, as members of one gang or another, they robbed banks, stagecoaches and trains. Despite popular portrayals of James as a hero kind of Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, there is no evidence that he and his gang used their robbery gains for anyone else.


The James brothers were most active with their gang from about 1866 until 1876, when their attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota, resulted in the capture or deaths of several members. They continued in crime for several years, recruiting new members, but were under increasing pressure from law enforcement. On April 3, 1882, Jesse James was killed by  “…the coward Robert Ford.”, who was a member of the gang living in the James house and who was hoping to collect a state reward on James’ head.


This was an outlaw guys and gals, wasn’t he!

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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DuBarry Was a Lady. Porter said…

In December 6, 1939 , a musical, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, premieres in New York City.

The musical DuBarry Was a Lady opened on Broadway at the 46th Street Theater, transferred to the Royal Theater on October 21, 1940 and closed December 12, 1940, after 408 performances.

In the show starred Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman and the gorgeous Betty Grable with her million dollar legs, and among many beautiful Porter’s songs, “Friendship” was one of the highlights. Because of the huge success the musical was made into a 1943 film, DuBarry Was a Lady, starring Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, and Gene Kelly.porterA great performance from a great musician  and a great cast! Exactly 73 years ago…

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

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Duke in Cotton Club Premiere!

In 1927, a band started to perform at Harlem’s Cotton Club. With a weekly radio broadcast, famous white clientele nightly poured in to see them. The Band belonged to young Duke Ellington and the first night at Cotton Club was on December 4, 1927!

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, this American composer, pianist, and big-band leader wrote over 1,000 compositions. According to Bob Blumenthal’ s of The Boston Globe opinion, “In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington.” A major figure in the history of jazz, Ellington’ s music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical.


In Cotton Club period “Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra” grew to a ten-piece organization; they developed their own sound by displaying the non-traditional expression of Ellington’ s provisions, the street rhythms of Harlem, and the exotic-sounding trombone snarls, high-squealing trumpets, and muggy saxophone blues licks of the band members.

Amazing Duke!

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

KO for eCharta