Noteworthy Nellies

Artist uses photography to find “personal truth”

Self Reflection by Linda Troeller (1973)

By Ramisha Farooq

Best known as the “spa and wellness” photographer, Linda Troeller’s erotic and artistic photographs have appeared in Oprah magazine, the New York Times, Spa Management and Marie Claire – just to name a few.

Her artwork has been described as inspiring enthralling peacefulness, sensuality, energy, sexuality and amazement in viewers.

“My parents gave me the gift of a bus tour to European art museums when I graduated high school. It was also my birthday so they gave me a Minolta SLR camera. I took photographs on my trip, which started my interest,” says Troeller.

Troeller became a professor at major design universities, a recurring guest lecturer at several different schools of art, and won dozens of awards for her work including the Women of Achievement Award and the New York Foundation for the Arts award. Her work has also been archived and housed by the French business district, La Défense, and several world class museums.

Troeller founded the Art Photography Department at Stockton State High School, where she taught until 1980.

It is said, by the well-known lifestyle website Examiner, that Linda Troeller is the best at being able to capture the poetic ecstasy of Wellness by evolving artistic shoots for spas and product companies and also with her books “Healing Waters” and “Spa Journeys”.

She, as a photographer and journalist, has gained international recognition thanks to her provocative and atmospheric imagery and art. Her projects range from TB AIDS DIARY and Erotic Lives of Women to Chelsea Hotel where she has lived for the past 18 years.

But before all of this, Troeller was a small town girl to whom photography was a second nature.

Linda Troeller grew up in the east coast township of Toms River in Southern New Jersey. This ocean country town is known for former residents such as Brian Geraghty, an actor appearing in movies such as Jarhead alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, and comedian Demetri Martin, appearing on The Daily Show. Troeller’s most vivid memories of her hometown and family include the water and waves of the ocean.

During Troeller’s college years, she was an actress at Ghost Ranch Conference Center in New Mexico where Georgia O’Keeffe, a long time American artist, lived. Every year, O’Keeffe invited the students for a luncheon. She saw Alfred Steigliz’s photographs for the first time and was enthralled. Steigliz was an American photographer and activist who, over his fifty-year career, made photography an accepted art form.

Later that summer, a director at the school gave Troeller his Rollei 2 1/4 camera to take photographs of his plays. She instantly fell in love with the drama in the viewfinder. The budding photographer then went back to college and changed her in the journalism school so she could take photography courses, all while getting a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in photography from Syracuse University.

Nowadays, Linda Troeller has been shooting Goddess Portraits with fellow photographer Kat James.

“I held Total Transformation workshops for a week in North Carolina with women after they underwent spa therapies, and hair and makeup application. I aim to bring out the soul and the best energies of the women,” says Troeller.

Troeller has also traveled to the Abano Spa, Italy where she photographed five towns in their region which included the water city of the world, Venice. They planned to make an art brochure of Troeller’s images to guide spa guests in how to explore the region.

Ever since Linda Troeller began asking women their views on the body, healing, abuse and recovery, she has received worldwide recognition.

“My book Healing Waters, on spas and hot springs around the world, Aperture, and exhibition was edited in Room 832; and, Erotic Lives of Women with the Swiss publisher, Walter Keller, was planned in 319,” said Troeller.“These photos are a way of finding my own personal truth.”

Although she has traveled the world and back, she’s never completely left the comfort of her Delta Chelsea.

“The hotel provides a safe haven and artistic acceptance that allows me to work as though I might be attending an art colony. Living here is also convenient for editors to stop by and has led to publication opportunities,” she says.

Her work continues to inspire students across the globe; she has become an avid mentor for young photographers. M

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