Second Place: Ellen Jantzen
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' Second Place: Ellen Jantzen (click on image for larger view)
HERITAGE by Ellen Jantzen
Second Place Winner
(click on image for larger view)

Curator Susan Spiritus: "My choice for the second place winner for the “Root” competition goes to Ellen Jantzen, for her image, “Heritage”.  While it appears on the surface to be a simple image of dense brush, it is truly much more than that when thinking about ‘roots’ and our heritage. Most of us have some basic knowledge of where we came from and who we are, but in truth, ones heritage is quite complex and complicated! 

Sometimes it can even be messy! Ellen’s photograph, “Heritage” speaks volumes to me on that exact subject!  Roots always run deep and are tangled and they can be a mess; sometimes its difficult to know where we fit in on the family tree in that large generational sphere of family and relatives.

Thanks only recently to the internet and to the site,, are some of us able to learn about and decipher our family history, our heritage.  I for one, cannot, because my father emigrated to the US when he was but a small child and the town in Poland where he was born, along with all of the records, were destroyed. I remember my dad telling me that he really did not know when his birthday was because his birth certificate had been destroyed. He remembers his mother telling him that she ‘selected a date’ in April around when she thought he was born and used it to celebrate his birth each year thereafter! 

My question to Ellen Jantzen is this….what were you thinking about when you created this image? Were you thinking of your past history?"

Ellen Jantzen: "Wow… I am so pleased to have my piece “Heritage” chosen for a 2nd place in the Root competition!! Thanks to Susan Spiritus!
“Heritage” is one of my pieces from my recent series, Unity of Time and Space. This work was from the last of my photo shoots on my parents property; taken shortly after they both passed away.
My heritage is rather unknown and complex at the same time. My mother was an orphan who’s parents both died before she was 4 years old so she was raised by her paternal grandmother. Since my great-grandmother passed when I was quite young, I really had no family, no cousins, no aunts/uncles on my mothers side. My father’s mother too passed when he was quite young and his father passed when he was in his 20’s…. so again no real family on my father’s side either. Hence, I had a limited interest in heritage. But since my parents passing I have delved into their belongings and have turned up quite a treasure trove of books, letters and information dating back to the 1800’s.
I spent the last several years of my parent’s lives living nearby in St. Louis, MO. They retired about 60 miles east of here on 5 acres of land and built a house there in the 70’s. I spent countless hours photographing around their 5 acres. I revisited several areas of their property in each of the four seasons and again each year so I have multiple shots of similar nature. This gave me the opportunity of observing the passing of time; seeing how the past is always with us. And, at the same time, I was witness to my parents (and my) aging….After their passing I began to delve into my heritage in a visual way. Having no one left to question, I created my own family tree based on remembrances and letters I found, plus notations in books.

I took this newfound information and started creating my series “Unity of Time and Space” using photos I took over the years at my parents property, sometimes combining similar images from different years to represent the passing of time.
Of course, much of what I create is intuitive… I “feel” a direction that is full of emotion and remembrance and proceed to create work, like “Heritage” that speaks to my complicated past yet invokes the unknown future.
I hope this answer gives you a sense of my thinking while creating “Heritage”.
Thanks again for choosing my piece!!!"

Jantzen shares more about her work, "I create work that bridges the world of photography, prints and collage. Lately, I have been exploring the realm of memory; how it impacts the present and future.
Some say, all time exists at once; the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future are regarded as a whole. As I am vastly interested in reality, this cohesion is mesmerizing to me.

After spending the last several years immersed in the past (tending to aging parents) I am ready to embrace the future. But as I set out, the past is with me, transformed. All the losses are still there but there is a brightness forming that allows me to see the entirety, the unity of time and place.

All photos are amalgamations of photos taken over a six year period on my parents 5 acres in rural Missouri."

FIRST PLACE WINNER (Fine Art, Special Effects Category) Moscow International Foto Awards

LONGLISTED for the Aesthetica Art Prize (exhibited 04/14 - 05/29)
HONORABLE MENTION (Fine Art Category) for my piece “Committed to Memory, 2 - International Color Awards, 9th Annual
WINNER of the 8th Julia Margaret Cameron Award honoring women in photography. Only 15 women were chosen world-wide by juror Laura Noble, UK.
WINNER-Alternative Process Category  in the 8th Julia Margaret Cameron Award
HONORABLE MENTION WINNER at the 10th Annual Black & White Spider Awards with in Abstract Category for my piece “Finale”
HONORABLE MENTION (Fine Art Category) for my series "Unity of Time and Place" in the London International Creative Contest
SILVER AWARD WINNER for my piece, "A Resonant Chill" in Art Forward Contest, #3 
2ND PLACE, MERIT OF EXCELLENCE AWARD, International Color Awards, 8th Annual
GRANT-2014 INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS AWARD from the Santo Foundation, St. Louis Missouri
HONORABLE MENTION (Special Effects), in the Moscow International Foto Awards for my series "Place of Departure"
WINNER OF PX3, Prix de la Photographie, Paris awarded First Prize (Gold
Medal) in Fine Art/Digitally Enhanced category for my newest series "Places of
GOLD MEDAL AWARD, in the San Francisco International Photography Exhibition, curated by Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director and Curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography… for my piece "Let The Others Follow"
HONORABLE MENTION, in Natural World exhibition at the Center for Fine Art Photography for my photo “Harmonic Progression”
HONORABLE MENTION, in The Life/Framer Beauty in Life exhibition for my photo “Remaining a Mystery”