Frankenstein Productions offers the work of Ellen Frankenstein, who has been producing documentary photography and video for over two decades. This site comprises a sampler of her life among transitional cultures the world over and expresses how people create a sense of place and community, and balance lifeways, in a rapidly-changing world. Frankenstein has lived and worked in places as diverse as the Los Angeles barrio and tiny Alaskan villages; her projects have taken her the island nations of Cuba, Barbados, and Tonga as well. Now settled down in the island town of Sitka, Alaska, working with local youths--whom she has taught the techniques of documentary craft--Frankenstein also free-lances as director, producer, editor, cinematographer, and still photographer. She has found a home in her island studio in the shadow of Verstovia Mountain.
She has also crossed the Pacific on an old wooden sailboat with her husband Spencer--camera in hand, of course.
Compassion expressed through the technology of imaging--that's what you'll find in the photos, films, and programs outlined here.
Aside from the award-winning documentaries, Miles from the Border, A Matter of Respect, Carved from the Heart, and No Loitering, you will find other thought-provoking and at times whimsical explorations into the underside of adventure in Uncertain Passage: A Sailing Story, impermanence and public housing in Demolished, and the bumpy and troubled local experience of the global economy in Stuck on Sugar, a documentary about the dilemmas of modern plantation economy.
Her work also encompasses much more than cinema. As one critic has noted:
"Those who know Frankenstein as primarily a filmmaker, however, may find themselves stunned by the evocative power and raw courage, compassion, and intimacy of her twenty years' worth of documentary still photography. Her work--including series on Cuba, Nicaragua, South-Central Los Angeles, and the forest and tundra of Alaska, and deeply personal work such as Artifacts--displays an immediacy and compositional power that will draw you out of yourself and into the worlds, new and old, presented before you.
"Even when they overlap the subject matter of the documentaries, these series are not static versions of the films but profoundly moving works in their own right, exploiting the specific capacities of the black-and-white still image to explore different mirrors of the soul in similar landscapes."