JAN CHRISTENSEN 

Welcome to my Sanctuary.

From my earliest memories as a child, wrapped in a blanket & being carried to the car
at 3:30 or 4 o’clock in the morning, my family (parents/grandparents/brother & I) drove out
into the countryside
at every opportunity to see what could be seen, returning later that night.

My Grandfather immigrated in the early eighteen-nineties to Nebraska as a child of two
with his parents. grandparents, aunts, & uncles.  They sustained themselves by hunting,
fishing, & growing their own food.  Self-sufficiency was how you survived
in the early days of Nebraska.

Going out every week, walking the fields/riverbanks and shelter-belts, it was
a visual education in the sanctuary to be found in the wild.  My father knew the names of
trees & grasses, could identify animal tracks, sounds, & bird calls; & made friends with many
farmers who allowed us onto their land, ponds, & riverbanks.  He would ask us, what
do you see, what do you smell, & what do you hear — to heighten our awareness of our surroundings,
the weather, & what direction we were facing.  “Who created all of this,” he would ask?
He taught us how to move in silence so as not to disturb the natural inhabitants of an area.

It was always my job to see:  sharply, accurately, at great distances; & to read maps & navigate.
Being deaf for some time before grade school made my eyesight more critical & made me a more careful
observer of the nuances that happen when you wait for the unseen to be seen.

These excursions trained my eye to see “it” in the click of a camera shutter – to see the whole composition;
what belongs, & doesn’t belong; adjusting the point of view in order to get the
“decisive moment,” as Henri Cartier-Bresson described it.

To this day, it is my habit to charge the camera’s batteries, fill the tank with gas, pack some food in a cooler,
read my maps, take a road I’ve not traveled, & pay attention to the nuances of what can be seen that day.

Jan’s panoramic photos of Nebraska, the Adirondacks, Maine, & East Coast were
continuously displayed in the Discovery Room of the George Eastman House International
Museum of Photography for more than seven years, published in the New York Art Review,
and have been seen in multiple Nebraska, New York, Florida, & Massachusetts locations.

Her photographs are in the permanent collections of
Sheldon Art Museum, Museum of Nebraska Art, & Great Plains Art Museum,
as well as in numerous private & corporate collections.

She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of Nebraska-Lincoln & a
Graduate Diploma in Art Administration from Harvard University School of Business
(international pilot program for Arts Administrators) on scholarship from Massachusetts Arts Council.

“Art is not to be looked at.  Art is looking at us.
What is art to others is not necessarily art to me, nor for the same reason and vice versa.
Thus art is not an object but an experience. To be able to perceive it we need to be receptive,” Josef Albers

 “Photography is the easiest medium with which to be merely competent. Almost anybody can be competent.
It’s the hardest medium in which to have some sort of personal vision and to have a signature style,” Chuck Close