Ginny Caputo’s Photography


Cardonnacum: A Place of Thistles - photograph

Ginny first began using a camera in the 1970's to take photographs for advertisements for her antiques business and to illustrate articles that she wrote for publications on antiques. From 1995 to 2005 she photographed the Lancaster County Mud Sales that are held every spring on the grounds of the local fire halls.

In 2003 she became intrigued with creative image making using a camera and digital equipment. These images, called scanograms, are photographic in style but are created without a camera. The images that she has created are real representations of objects that appear to be doing impossible things.

In 2010 and 2011 she participated in the online photography project, Sofobomo. Photographers created and uploaded one or more digital books of images with all work on the projects taking place in the course of a 31 consecutive days between June 1 and July 31. This was an interesting challenge.

Her 2010 Sofobomo project was Cardonnacum: A Place of Thistles which was a photographic study of thistles growing along the sides of the roads in Lancaster County. Weeds are a favorite theme in her photography. The Sofobomo project that was online through 2011 is no more. After the original Sofobomo project ended, Cardonnacum: A Place of Thistles was moved to the files for this site and can be accessed by clicking here or on the cover image of Cardonnacum at the top. The size of that PDF file is 6 MB.

In 2011 her Sofobomo project was "How we hung our clothes", a series of portraits of antique coat hangers. Ginny's pdf file of the online Sofobomo book of hanger photos can be accessed online by clicking HERE. It is a 9 MB file.

Ginny has been active in the Lancaster County Art Association serving on their board from 2003 to 2008. She is a past Vice President and President and served as Publicity Chair for 8 years. She continues to serve as the webmaster of their website and administrator of the LCAA’s Facebook Page.

Ginny had a studio/gallery at 114 W. Orange St. in downtown Lancaster until 2008. However, since 2008 she has made the antiques business her top priority. Consequently, she hasn't done anything new in art photography since she closed the gallery. She is hoping to get back to creating new photographs one day.

The Mud Sales

Corner Ball: a photograph by Virginia Caputo

Before spring officially begins in Lancaster County, Pa, the Mud Sales begin.

Mud Sales are the Firemen's Benefit Auctions which are major fundraisers for the volunteer fire companies.

Local people, both "English" and Amish, turn out to support the firefighters by buying crafts, food, horses, farm equipment, buggies, rollerblades, washing machines, plants, kitchen sinks, bales of hay, furniture, kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, air conditioners, mules, quilts, goats, and home made ice cream.

The sales are held both inside buildings and outside but mostly outside. The ground usually is churned up into mud by the feet of hundreds of people. Thus the name: Mud Sales. "English" refers to those who are not Amish, Brethren or Old Order Mennonite. The towns where the Mud Sales are held are Strasburg, Bart, Gordonville, Penryn, Gap, Rawlinsville, and Refton.

Ginny photographed the merchandise being sold: the oldfashioned ringer washers, the horses, the buggies, speedboats with Amish boys sitting in them pretending, farm equipment which has a sculptural beauty as well as a utilitarian use, still lifes of rolled up hoses, children playing with the vendors' goods, Amish teenagers shooting each other with silly string.

She was drawn to take pictures of people from the Old Order groups interacting with objects that are not part of their culture. Young Amish boys always pedal furiously on the exercycle machines. Amish girls and boys pick up and handle the brightly colored plastic toys on the vendors' tables. Boys buy plastic squirt guns and pretend to shoot each other. Everyone watches the horse auctions. Amish men and boys attend the buggy auctions, looking to buy transportation. Children watch Ginny with her camera. Adults converse with each other and bid on the merchandise.

About photography and the Amish

Contrary to many popular conceptions, there are books, newspaper articles, TV programs, and movies which include images of the Amish. However, the Amish and members of several Old Order groups are not supposed to pose for pictures once they have officially joined the church. This puts them in an awkward position when people ask them to pose for the camera. They can be in pictures but they cannot pose. It is a sort of Catch 22.

The reason that they don't pose for pictures is that having photographs of oneself is considered vain and puts attention on the individual rather than the group. The group is of the highest priority in Amish life.

They don't officially join the church until they are in their late teens or early twenties. Before they join the church, they may pose for pictures without being in violaton of the rules.

If interested in reading more on the issue of Amish and photography, there is an interesting article at this link  "The Amish and Photographs" written by Brad Igou and published in 2001 in Amish Country News.


Walking on Eggshels: a scanogram

A scanogram is an image composed of two and three dimensional objects placed on the bed of a scanner. Detail can be exquisite in the areas where the objects are within the scanner's depth of field. What is "up" or "down" or "in motion" or within the depth of field is in the control of the image maker.

Ginny is interested in playing with the depiction of gravity, up, down, space, abstraction, motion, and reality. While a scanner has a short depth of field of a fraction of an inch, the blackness of the space that the scanner sensor can't reach expands the sense of depth rather than shortening it.

In addition to using unaltered three dimensional objects on the bed of the scanner, Ginny creates other objects to be scanned such as drawings or paintings or cut out shapes. The resulting image is part reality, part fantasy.

Scanograms have a historical antecedent in the photogram. A photogram is created by putting objects on top of photo sensitive paper and exposing the paper to light. The paper is then processed normally. Usually this process is done using an enlarger in a darkroom but it can be done without an enlarger using photosensitive materials with objects laid on top and exposing the assemblage to light. The artist Man Ray and other artists of the Bauhaus school are among those who worked with photograms.

Ginny has always loved old things. She loves their patina, their history, their associations to families, to a different time. She has photographed still lifes using old objects such as antique shoes, hats, and fabric. Her goal is to portray these objects in a whimsical way that shows their beauty and creates a visual story. The details of the story are left to the imagination of the viewer.

What she likes about creating images this way is that it offers a different way to tell a story. It is up to her as the image creator to make up the details of the story in a way that is somewhat believable. Since she has been a writer too, this is a process that gives her a great deal of pleasure.

The scanograms are progressing from still lifes to landscapes to explorations of Ginny's feelings about aging, mortality, and limitations.

Selected Awards & Exhibits

Ten Pears, a scanogram


First Place in Photography as Fine Art II, Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA, Juror: Tom Beck, May 17 to September 9.

Women's Expressions 2007 Exhibit, invitational exhibit of the work of women artists, Lancaster Women & Babies Hospital, Lancaster, PA, April 1–21.

The Selective Eye: exhibit of the work of 11 Lancaster County photographers at the Rothman Gallery, Phillips Museum of Art, F&M College, Lancaster, PA, March 8–April 15.


Women Artists Invitational Exhibit, York Art Association, November 5–26.

Night Gallery II Exhibit: “Creepy Creatures” Award, Lancaster County Art Association, October 28

First Place in the Photography Category, Lancaster County Art Association's Annual Juried Exhibit, Juror: Richard Rosenfeld, June 11-July 22.

Honorable Mention, York Art Association Spring Membership Show

First Place, The Garden Show, a membership show at the Lancaster County Art Association, Feb. 19-March 25.


Photography Exhibition, 5 Photographers, Art Association of Harrisburg, Oct. 22-Nov. 23

Alternative Visions, Alternative Processes, Chesapeake Gallery, Harford Community College, Bel Air, Maryland, June 1 to September 9.

Women’s Expressions Art Exhibit, Women & Babies Hospital, Lancaster, PA, March 28-April 15.

The Shapes of Nature & Nurture, Two Person Exhibit, Pearl Conard Gallery, Ohio State University, January 6-30.


First Place, Lancaster County Art Association Members Show, Oct. 3-Nov. 6

First Place Photography, York Art Association Juried Show, Oct. 3-Nov. 6

Fruits of My Flatbed Garden. Lancaster County Art Association, March 28-April 24, Strasburg, PA

Photography 23, Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown, NJ. Jan. 31-Feb. 29. Juror: Ruth Thorne-Thomson.


Philadelphia Sketch Club Photography 2003, Oct. 26-Nov. 15.

First and Third Place Photography Juried All Media Show York Art Assocation, Oct.-Nov.

Best in Show, Fancy Footwork, Art Association of Harrisburg Membership Show Sept. - Oct.

13th Annual New Images Exhibition: A Juried Photo Competition for the Mid-Atlantic States. James Madison University New Image Gallery. Sept. 5-Oct. 21. Juror: Peter Plagens.

First Place in Photography, Lancaster County Art Association Juried Exhibit, Strasburg, Pa. June 15-July 19.

Honorable Mention, Art of the State Exhibition, The State Museum. Harrisburg, June 14-Sept. 14.

Women’s Expressions Art Exhibit, Women & Babies Hospital, Lancaster, Pa, May 9-30.

The Manipulated Image, Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts. May 2-June 29.

Photospiva 2003, April 11-May 18. George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, Joplin, MO. Juror: Robert Parke Harrison.

San Diego Art Institute 2003 46th Annual International Exhibition, May 3-June 15.

Toys & Games in Art 2003-2004 Exhibit, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, Alaska, June 2003-May 2004.

Third Place, Bethesda International Photography Competition, Fraser Gallery, Bethesda, MD, March 14 – April 9. Juror: Philip Brookman, Senior Curator for Photography and the Media Arts at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C..

First Place in Photography/Prints Division, Midland Arts Association and Museum of the Southwest Spring Juried Art Exhibition, Midland, Texas, March 6 – 30.

Mute, National All-Media Juried Show, Cade Art Gallery, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD, March 5 – April 4. Juror: Richard Torchia.

Best Out of State Artist, Arts in Harmony ‘03, Elk River Area Arts Alliance, Elk River, MN, Feb. 3–March 28.

Honorable Mention, Woodmere Art Museum 63rd Annual Juried Exhibition, Phila., Pa, Jan. 25 – March 30.

First Place, Cool Colors Exhibit, Lancaster County Art Assoc, Members’ Show, Strasburg, Pa. Jan. 12-Feb. 8,.

Just Color, ArtForms Gallery, Manayunk, Pa. Jan. 30-Feb. 23.


Peninsula Fine Arts Center Photography First Place Award, Biennial 2002, September 14- November 3, 2002, Newport News, Va. Juror: Philip Pearlstein.

Third Place, Camera Club of New York’s 2002 National Photographic Competition, October 19-November 23. Juror: W. M. Hunt, Director of Photography at the Ricco-Maresca Gallery, NYC.

Third Place, Fall Membership Show, Lancaster County Art Association, Strasburg, Pa, September. Lancaster County Art Association

First Place, PhotoSpiva 2002 National Fine Art Competition, George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, Joplin, MO, May 4-June 9.

Photowork ‘02, 15th Annual National Juried Photography Exhibition of the Barrett Art Center Galleries, Poughkeepsie, NY. Juror: Barbara Head Millstein, Curator of Photography at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NYC.

First Place: A Closer Look: Photography & Photorealism. Art Center School and Galleries, Mechanicsburg, PA, February.


Third Place Elizabethtown College Spring Arts Festival 1995. Juror: Ken Johnson, Contributing Editor to Art in America.

Second Place Lancaster Summer Arts Festival, Photographic Visions 1999.

Art of the State, State Museum, Harrisburg, Pa. 1995

Honorable Mention, Art of the State, State Museum, Harrisburg, Pa , 1994


Susquehanna Association for the Blind 2005 Calendar

Lancaster County Magazine, March 2003, Feature Article about Virginia Caputo and the Mud Sale photographs: Muddied Memories.

Susquehanna Style, April 2002. Parting Shot: Scenes from the Mud Sales of Lancaster County.

Maine Antique Digest. Feature Article with text & photography by Ginny: Robert Kautzman, Vac Hunter, March 2001.

Maine Antique Digest, Feature Article with text & photography by Ginny: A Conversation with Frank Whitson, August 1992.


Lancaster General Women & Babies' Hospital, Lancaster, PA