on a day that was freezing & cold & snowing (and in truth, another day of a very long winter) it felt good to be out in boston despite it all. with each gust of wind, each drift of snow, i smiled thinking maybe just maybe this would be the last day of the year for that (though sadly it wasn't). regardless, as i took time out to assess, the downside of that was not photographing as often as i have been. and it felt good to simply look around and discover....
i had a dandy of a portrait...perfectly unplanned & totally brilliant. one that told a story of a day and a place and a time of year. the only problem? i didn't take it. and realized the mistake in hindsight. so i spent the next few weeks kicking myself in the ass for a missed opportunity while presumably missing more of them and then i lost my nerve. i kept hoping i'd feel it or find it or DO something but i didn't. which is ok cause i learned a lot from the experience. i was pretty close to bailing but ... as i had this session planned, and as i'd scouted for this area which was perfect for this person in telling their story...i opted to share this.
while this is not a pure use of negative space, it tells the story. and now...onto the next - the ever enchanting ginger haddock in casper wyoming.
"photography is about appreciating parts of your life, and then documenting them. it's the process of stopping and saying ah...this is really special because this is only happening in this moment and this moment will be gone." ~ george lange
I happened to catch a segment "the unforgettable photograph" on the today show last week with a photographer talking bout his new book: the unforgettable photograph. And my mouth fell open as he began to talk about the importance of documenting moments, of capturing feelings and telling a story of how a moment feels rather than how you think it should look.
Let me say this again: here was an accomplished photographer telling a "today show" audience that it’s important to document life and how it feels; to tell your story and impression of life with photographs.
As this is the essence of why I photograph and the very core of what I offer, I sat with that for the better part of a day…actually for many days. Validation aside, i was deeply moved for my choice to stand by this vision even though it’s not always been easy or understood or in demand. i've been encouraged little by little to see more and more people interested in documentary and expressive work, choosing real life photographs over staged, retouched, photoshopped unrealistic save idealistic pictures.
I will continue to go rogue; to break free from ... to be shaped by the story of a moment...to be inspired by expressing how it feels and sharing that in a photograph.
“During the times we think we’re being “unproductive,” the seeds of new worlds are germinating within us, and they need peace to grow.” ~ Martha Beck
On the advice of photographer I admire (david carol), I spent the better part of 2013 photographing. In hindsight, I had a lot of expectations that I’d magically “come to” some great awareness. That I’d understand how to choose the right pictures to present & a handle on a workflow.
Instead I was overwhelmed with a dizzying collection of photographs that when heaped on top of an already un-curated pile pictures taken over many years led to a feeling of getting the wind knocked out of me.
While the hardest part of anything is the starting, the doing - especially when the doing feels difficult - I felt there was a lot at stake and painful as it was, I got into the doing. Not just dealing with the photographs from last year, but every picture I’d taken over the past five years....
bird by bird, folder by folder, picture by picture
Though a deflating process, insights surfaced; patience persevered & gems appeared in photographs I’d over looked the first time around. It was a process that I lingered on and through, giving each photograph the respect of time and care. I began to choose with a more selective eye with choices that formed little collections ... added to larger collections and further refined.
Three months & thousands of pictures later, I felt tighter, saner, clearer and eager to share, but when I refreshed my website at the time with all that was new, instead of being elated, I felt let down - like something was missing.
And another truth surfaced.
The mishmash of websites I’d had were in large part a result of what I thought I had to have - others views, others vision. So at this point - i felt it was time to start over, to refresh, to reboot. Even though it meant letting go of everything I’ve created online before; being ok with expired bookmarks, links, and pictures.
But it felt right.
And so I did - in a new space that feels like home; one i've longed for and earned as it fills me with more inspiration than I can possibly articulate. Similar to finding my own way through curating a collection I’m proud of, I feel I’ve created a little space here that fits my photographs like a little black dress.
While the means to arrive where I’ve landed was an unknown, I’m humbled; and mindful of the shift. All along I’ve wanted to be taken seriously; painfully aware that until now, I hadn’t made that leap in my mind. But here I am. On the other side of another beginning.
month two with a collective called ignite - a creative discovery of art & the first photograph in a new website. one that feels like a snow-globe you'd shake in your hand. yet one that has been very real for those of us who live in new england. this is what we've seen on more days than not. but what gives me hope here is that sailboat in the window as we are but one full moon away from the official turn into the season of spring.
to see the rest of the photographs, i invite you onward...to one who amazes me with her concepts: Susan Gietka, Susan Grace Photography, Hammonton NJ, Fine Art Photography.
my portrait this month is one i’ve longed to create since i first saw this dazzling display of dreadlocks & i’ve been patient in waiting for the right time to ask … for a time when i felt strong and courageous – when that spirit inside couldn’t be contained. so today, it was a feather lovingly placed in a beautiful nest of long locks twisted around in loops of half shape hearts that spoke and i answered. and with that, the grace of meeting hillary … a dancer who creates with fire. (no joke – she’s a fire dancer). so for this month, i decided to pair her portrait with hearts strung on a window looking out on snowflakes. sort of a metaphor of dreams…for in another time & place and with another head of hair… i’d have layers like hers to create with.
next….always a beautiful surprise with Ginger Haddock in Casper, WY.
coming to terms within oneself, with creating, photographing with doing whatever it is that fills you up with a profound sense of connection and loss of self isn’t always a path filled with jubilee. maybe for some it is. in my case though, it’s a ride with ups and downs. low points with pathways to a state of grace. a feeling of blessed bliss. it is in short the presence of gratitude. a subject that a group of us discussed over time and one that led to a collective called the gratitude projects. while my contribution for this month doesn’t bear repeating here, i thought i would share the other photographs around those i submitted – the one that drew me in & the others that arose. fitting as i head to a meeting this morning at salem charter school to discuss a project with facing history — the collaboration between salem charter & the marblehead jcc. a continuation of the shape of gratitude for the coming month.
“gulu gulu means “glug-glug” (the sound you make while drinking) in French. It was the name of a café in Prague where Steve and Marie (the owners) met and fell in love.” ~ courtesy of gulu gulu cafe
tho i’ve been to this little cafe on more than a few occasions and wondered about the name, i never thought to look up the meaning around it. reading it now, i understand it. and the imprint of nostalgia. for this cafe reminds me of la baguette on campus corner in norman oklahoma – a cafe i frequented during the years i spent in art school and one sadly that is no more in existence in that location. sitting in gulu gulu today often brings back the sensations & feelings & thoughts i had at that time… days immersed in photography, pouring over art history books & photo books over an espresso or cafe americano; my whole being immersed in art. & given the context, it felt like a fitting story for this group’s first presentation together in the new year….
as for the photograph. in honesty, this was one of the first i took this year and it signals a way forward. a coming out of a dark space. what appealed to me on the surface – the light. and the shapes: the line of the bench and the rectangles formed by the door & the wall. but what interested me most was a self portrait found in the dichotomy of two faces (the one in the painting, the one of the little boy) and i waited for that little head to turn around as it did. for me, the painting symbolizes the past while the boy with eyes full of wonder & curiosity, the way forward. past/present. as this cafe reminds me of a beautiful time in life, i flew there for a second in my mind. conceptually, the blurred figures in the distance (a result of choosing to expose at f/1.4) work in this way. they’re like ghosts of the past that i do welcome today.
so i begin on a deeper conceptual abstract thinking kind of note only to celebrate photography. taking pictures. creating art.
next in our little soiree is Carrie Hyche in Wheatland, WY.
a few weeks ago i walked into a little shop i’ve longed to walk into for a long time - years actually. i have a slight problem with doing things that i might enjoy. so it took a need for a certain kind of special bouquet that brought me in. and what i discovered on the inside was the inspirational little world of flores mantilla. stepping inside feels a bit like walking into a story layered with color. ones nourished and cared for and loved. it made sense to me for in ways, flowers are a little piece of life that can symbolize joyful memorable moments or mark those times when only the beauty of a flower bursting open can warm a heart and soothe the ache. so yes, i lingered. and soaked in stories & made a friend. actually i made five friends if you could the four other little faces that sat in cozy baskets in the alcove above. and left with a bouquet that filled my heart (and the recipient’s) with lightness. i returned the next week for a portrait. on a day that was not the best timed…though i’d never have really known it. it was a shorter visit than last & one that had a piece of sadness…i was greeted by three doggies not four. nonetheless, as nancy noted, there is more love to give. and that she does a full as a blooming peony. i left this time with a gift of pinkish peach tulips and pictures. two i’ve chosen to show this week. while perhaps not purely minimal, this intent for me is more about portraits. twelve months of them. taking a chance and walking into a story i’ve longed to know more about. if this experience is a taste of what’s in store, i’m in. and inspired. and i’ll be visiting this one a little more often.
next…well i can’t wait to see & if you check it out you’ll see what i mean…child photographer ginger haddock of fernbird photography in casper wy.