"Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882. American lecturer, philosopher, essayist and poet.
On her sixth birthday Charlene Edwards was gifted a small black box – a Kodak Brownie camera. From that day forward a lifelong passion to live creatively through the lens of a camera blossomed.
Today, Edwards is a professional photographer, guest lecturer, award-winning author, world traveler, environmental advocate and an explorer. Edwards’ work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, museums and galleries including the Museum of Natural History, the International Center of Photography and most recently in the Umbrella Arts Gallery in NYC. More than 50 of her photos have been used by American pop artist Peter Max. She has also worked as the set photographer and photo-coordinator on the twelve-hour Ace Award winning documentary, The Class of the 20th Century.
Edwards’s photography and words are more than just art, they are social commentary. Her award-winning book Voices From Vietnam was a work of passion that took ten years, thousands of miles across America and Canada and three trips to Vietnam to complete. Part of her journey included a visit to Massachusetts to meet with Robin Moore, a prolific writer of some eighty published books. Probably his most notable are The Green Berets and The French Connection. He thought so highly of Charlene’s work that he wrote the introduction to her book Voices From Vietnam.
Her honors include the America’s Heroes Freedom Honor, ForeWord Magazine and Benjamin Franklin book awards, the Photography Book of the Year from the American Authors Association, and the Gold Book Award for best photography book from the Military Writers Association of America.
Charlene Edwards’s recent work, “Up Close & Personal,” is a culmination of a lifetime of capturing images across seven continents and edited down to just a few examples to celebrate life’s remarkable, meaningful details.
For the most part we live our lives in organized chaos and do not take the time to stop and smell the roses or to even observe the details of the rose – its sepals, the leaf-like covering that protects the bud before it blooms, its petals, the colorful exterior that attract insect pollinators, or its stamen and pistil, the reproductive parts of the flower. Instead, on a daily basis, we live our lives focused on the big picture, or our cell phones, and do not allow ourselves the time to appreciate the magnificent details of our graceful world.
Edwards’s exhibit, “Up Close & Personal,” was created to open the eyes, minds and hearts. To hold time still and cherish life’s special moments in a way we might not otherwise do so. It’s a way of interacting, of asking questions, and seeking and honoring the splendor of our world. Hopefully, we will never again pass a rose without stopping to smell, touch and admire the magic of its intricate details.
Charlene Edwards’ current work, “The Art of Messaging - A Photographic Journey Thru the Ages” is an accumulation of five decades of image making from all over the world. In the end, chosen were over a hundred unique examples of “messaging.” Many in ways we might never have thought of before. This exhibit captures a variety of human communication across the globe, from thousands of years ago to the present day.
Charlene Edwards lives her life by her motto: “Photography, my passion. Traveling, my oxygen. Living each day creatively, my choice.”