MANON HESSELS – Featured Photographer At Carmichael Salon


Sentinel Fine Arts Writer
Judith Kahn © 2009
Photo by Zoe Christopher

Carmichael Salon is unlike other salons in the area in that it serves as both art gallery and beauty salon. Before Mick Aguilera, one of the owners of Carmichael Salon, opened his doors in 2008, this space was a photography gallery called the Black and White Gallery. Today, this space offers both an array of beauty treatments and a display of intriguing works by accomplished local artists every month. Russell Baker, co-owner of the Carmichael Salon, and an artist specializing in mixed media and abstract art, is thrilled to own a space that serves both as an art gallery and a beauty salon. The Carmichael Salon holds artists’ receptions the first Thursday of every month, and the exhibits are usually held for a two-month period. The first artist they featured was Ypao Marital. Other featured artists were Clifford Baker and Robin Wind. Clifford Baker is a photographer who lives in San Rafael and has traveled in Japan and Thailand. His photographic subjects come from his many travels.

CITY HALL STEPS. Manon Hessels

No matter what art is displayed, it is unusual to be in a space where you are able to view intriguing art while pampering yourself with a manicure, pedicure, or possibly a new hairstyle. Be it photography, or paintings of breathtaking views, landscapes, or of people in foreign countries, this is not your usual setting for a salon.

Carmichael Salon is now featuring the photography of Manon Hessels, until the end of November. Until 2007, when Hessels moved to California from the Netherlands, she had not taken her photography further than some snapshots. Upon arriving here, she wanted to share her impressions and experiences of her new home with her people back home. She effectively did this by going to digital photography, and recording these different experiences and impressions of her new surroundings. Hessels thrives on diversity and enjoys exploring different angles and shapes. Abstracts and contrasts, details and angles are what move her. When viewing a subject, she focuses on the specific shapes, lines, patterns, and colors within a subject. She is enthused when she catches the detail of a subject rather than the whole. Focusing on these elements of a subject offers one an abstract image, and allows more space for one’s own interpretations or reactions, says Hessels. She remarked that while blending and integrating different aspects can bring more softness and harmony to a subject, for her it shows less impact. She attributes her appreciation and enthusiasm for looking at objects at a different angle partly to her former experience in social and judicial work. There she was constantly working with people from all walks of life who faced many challenges that other people did not have. In order to help them, she had to push the envelope – think outside the box.

MUSHROOMS. Manon Hessels

Hessels seeks splendor in what most would not consider traditionally beautiful, like a viaduct, or a random city building. She loves finding and bringing out the beauty of simple things, because they are everywhere around us in our daily lives. Many of her photographs are taken in California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. Some of them show images of Australia and her home country, the Netherlands. She often shoots from a moving car during family road trips, and is not comfortable with setting up a frame or posing. Her preference is to catch what is happening at the moment and shoot.

Some of her favorite places are Barcelona and Rome. What makes these cities exciting to her is their diversity, the liveliness, and the possible stories that are happening around you. The shapes, forms, and colors of Death Valley, Monument Valley, and Fraser Island in Australia fascinate her. She “loves to drown in nature.” In areas like Death Valley one feels so tiny, says Hessels. Visiting such spots can make you feel to the bone, which is what thrills her.

SAND DUNE GIRLS. Manon Hessels


Over the years, Manon Hessels has come to respect, and has been inspired by, a lot of different photographers. Annie Leibovitz, Henti Cartier-Bresson, and Ansel Adams are a few of them. Hessels respects the craftsmanship of all three of these photographers – she points out that each have their own way. Hessels enjoys all types of photography: a dramatically posed scene, a complete spontaneous capture of the moment, landscapes with enormous amounts of different tones of grey, and layers. Most recently, she saw a Christopher Burkett print called Blue Melange, a nature abstract with amazing color, depth, and details. It is these types of photographic images that thrill her.

Manon Hessels is starting to make her passion a career. This happened in a very short time and was the result of a series of unexpected events. Hessels had gone for advice about PhotoShop from a person at a store selling Macintosh Computers. When the person saw her photographs, he was quite impressed with and encouraged her to exhibit them. Simultaneously, a friend of hers who is a client of Carmichael Salon told Mick about her photography. Mick was equally enthused about her work and decided to exhibit them. This first successful exhibit will probably lead to several more. Hessels is enjoying the experience of marketing her photography, though she admits that while the experience is exciting, it can be overwhelming.

Visit Manon Hessels at:
Manon Hessels Photography: 1-650-296-7261

TAHOE PIER.Manon Hessels

* * * * * *

For pleasurable dining experiences in the San Francisco Bay Area,
order this guidebook by Judith Kahn:
PATIO ESCAPES – San Francisco & Bay Area Guide to Alfresco Dining

Judith Kahn is an author, radio producer, walking tour guide and teacher who has been featured in Who’s Who in California. She has written numerous articles about the San Francisco Bay Area, its restaurants, events, culture, and history.

Ms Kahn has also written two books: The first, Indulge Yourself, is a guide to San Francisco’s many coffeehouses, originally released in 1982 and later expanded for a second edition. And the recently released Patio Escapes. Judith created a historic walking tour of cafes called “Café Walks,” this grew into a second career. Judith then developed five different walking tours; a hike through North Beach and Russian Hill, a daytime excursion to the Haight-Ashbury district, walks through The Richmond, Seacliff and Pacific Heights neighborhoods as well as the Marina District. Her background as a history teacher, her dedication to walking and her love of the area make her the perfect tour guide.

Following the success of the walking tours she wrote and produced the weekly radio show “San Francisco Underfoot” sponsored by KALW. The show covered unique San Francisco happenings and the backstage stories of community events. Ms. Kahn has written articles for San Francisco Focus, Travel Age West, World Airways Inflight Magazine and Inside San Francisco. She is currently working as a features-reporter for the Richmond Review, Sunset Beacon, and is the fine arts writer for the San Francisco Sentinel. Ms. Kahn works and writes in San Francisco.

Email Judith Kahn at:


Telephone: 415-846-2475




Comments are closed.