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The Art of Being a Mother

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Message Libby Lancaster

In this day and age, so many mothers have full-time careers. It is inspiring to learn how they juggle it all. I recently met up with two mothers who are also involved in the arts. Pamela Schoenberg is the owner of dnj Gallery in Santa Monica. She has had a long career as a photographer and a gallery owner, but she has always been a mother first. Her schedule keeps her busy, between gallery events, school events... she also gives her time to helping nonprofits, and educating students.

Pamela Schoenberg at dnj Gallery
Pamela Schoenberg at dnj Gallery
(Image by Pamela Schoenberg)
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When asked about her three children, her face lit up while giving me an update. "Dora is 21, Nathan is 19, and Joey is 15. They are all creative," said Schoenberg. "Dora is majoring in creative writing and psychology. She's definitely in the arts. Nathan has combined programs in sports law or sports management, and has his own radio show (and podcast on the internet) with predictions about sports teams and various types of music. Joey loves cooking (and arranging the plate) and makes food that is as pleasing to the palate as well as to the eye. He was a finalist and was almost chosen to appear in the television show 'Chopped Junior' a couple of years ago."

Schoenberg Family from left to right Joey, Dora, Randy, Pamela, and Nathan
Schoenberg Family from left to right Joey, Dora, Randy, Pamela, and Nathan
(Image by Pamela Schoenberg)
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These day's Schoenberg's photography consists of taking photos of her family. She continues to support other talented photographers such as Karen Amy Finkel Fishof.

Like Schoenberg, Finkel Fishof is also a mother. Finding time for her art can often be hard, but she would not have it any other way. She has two children (a 14-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old girl), three step-children, and seven step-grandchildren. Many of her works have been inspired by her children as well as the grandchildren. She credits one of her works, "Amen," as being inspired directly by her son. "He recently became Bar Mitzvah and is now able to be part of a minyan. That's where the ten numbers come in. The boys in his class also are able to be part of the minyan. Post Bar Mitzvah they wear hats. The older man is leading the service and the Hebrew letters are flying out of the prayer book. The boys are responding 'Amen.'"

Finkel Fishof's family was a big influence on her. Her father (an amateur photographer) encouraged her. He also gave her two cameras which she has kept all these years later. At college she took up painting and photography as an elective. It was her time abroad at St. Martin School of Art in London, that sealed her fate. She started creating photograms (silhouette photograph made by placing an object directly on sensitized paper and exposing it to light).

Karen Amy Finkel Fishof with her work
Karen Amy Finkel Fishof with her work
(Image by Karen Amy Finkel Fishof,)
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"I worked with the same guys that worked with Gilbert and George. They were also a big influence on me in just the scale of their photography."

Finkel Fishof's show will feature photograms both on the wall, and on the floor that the public can walk on. When asked why she named her solo exhibition "Radiate," Finkel Fishof replied, "Because I want my message to radiate. It has a double meaning because the work looks somewhat like X-rays, which are photo exposures made with radiation."

Two additional exhibitions will be opening alongside "Radiate" by Finkel Fishof. Ryan's photography will also be featured in a solo show entitled "Aquatic Figments."

The photography of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Louis C. Stoumen will be on view in the Collection Room. The works are borrowed from MOPA's permanent collection and curated by gallery owner Pamela Schoenberg. All three exhibitions run thru October 26th 2019.

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A freelance writer, Libby has been been writing for the past five years. She has been published on Hollywood Today, the Santa Monica Mirror and more.

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