I've been eager to offer a different kind of experience for the kids, immersing them into an introduction of art; one filled with nature and light, laughter and memory. And imprinting this as a picture.Read More
This year's project with Cohen Hillel Academy, Salem Academy and the Peabody Essex Museum: We Wear the Mask.Read More
it was the beginning of the end of the beginning. a photograph taken the first day of the month at the end of a workshop and the beginning of what i think might be a long walk ahead. i'm thankful to have had a handful of pictures from this day that cut to the quick pretty deeply for me. this was one of those.
two hands in different poses speak to different sentiments, temperaments and personalities. hoping the boy would pull that bandana to the place he did. waiting for it to happen. seeing it all before it unfolded; realizing the space feels a bit crowded but knowing there was no other way to take it. i will leave you here at the end of a beginning and invite you forward ... to one who always surprises me with depth and grace - January Skye photography, Melbourne.
an evening at that time when a warm sun is starting to fall with a neighbor spending time with her daughter and grandson in the backyard. a mama who soaks up each moment as if it were stolen from the future - here, chasing the boy around the yard. something that appears mundane on the surface, yet one that's filled with divine magnificence.
it is pictures like these - the ones that are so much a part of our day to day - that fill me with reverence. while i admire photographs where the lighting, the clothing and the environment are pulled together in some near form of perfection to convey a mood and/or a lifestyle, i'd take one of these over those any day of the week for they are ones i feel. and they're the ones over time imprinted on our memory.
on a day at an arcade with my nieces, i noticed these two kids with a rather large pile of tickets. considering each game turns out like maybe four of them, seeing a pile of them en mass all connected together was odd. even stranger was their casual contained excitement - like no big deal here. so, i moved a little closer and looked for the right angle to photograph them and the pile of tickets when they picked them up, placed them on their heads and posed for their father and grandfather (who were off to the right) taking an iphone picture for their mom. i was going to pass until the one kid turned to me and smiled.
while i'm mindful that the image quality is lacking (this is when film would have delivered a more exacting result), i like the story going on here, particularly as they left a strand of tickets coming out of the machine.
and so next in our little group which always leaves me inspired is January Skye, Melbourne photographer.
a narrative of a community
It's been said that the "Point is Salem's most diverse neighborhood, home to places and people that you won't find anywhere else. To outsiders, it's also one of the most mischaracterized and misunderstood."
When I moved to Salem in 2006, I heard bits and pieces of the Point neighborhood and in honesty, none of them were positive. Yet the times I walked through the area, I noticed children who played outside, people who talked to one another, and parents who seemed to engage with their children.
A few years ago, I met Claudia Parashniv who reached out to me to photograph her wedding. We quickly became friends and talked long and hard about our interests as artists. As she was just getting started with Salem Public Space Project, I've had the opportunity to document her work including (re)Framing Lafayette Park, Share a Chair and reImage a Lot. In between, I've spent my own time meeting residents and photographing, and what I've experienced is warmth and openness.
While the photographs below are sketches for a larger project Claudia and I are developing, they represent a greater narrative - the people's stories and experiences. While neighborhoods like the Point are vulnerable to gentrification, our real hope is to help preserve the richness and community that exists there today.
this is one that pointed the way forward. i remember the day - what i was seeing and what i wanted to photograph. what i felt. the moment i wanted to remember. the story i wanted to tell. i didn't understand how or even what i was after at the time, as up to this point (and into the next year), i'd fallen into "following" rather than creating from my own insides - mirroring what i saw others liked rather than what i liked. i was twisted in conflict - one part trying earnestly to be "successful" - to photograph in a way that landed clients, attention, acknowledgement, comments, likes; the other struggling to surface - to show another way, to create art.
i couldn't for the life of me feel things that i saw others creating and was fairly miserable in my attempts. i remember that feeling of dread and disappointment and confusion.
and then i photographed this.
...a complex composition formed by inverted parenthesis; in a way, it's two pictures in one connected by hands: the girl on the left sliding out of a dark tunnel draws my eye to her face, then her hand to her leg. but then i catch a hint of a person exiting on the right - part of an arm, a bit of leg. it's a tension of entering and exiting. of colliding shapes and yet, the emotion on the girls face tells the story of being a kid, of a playground. it is a first understanding of a decisive moment.
at the time, i had no idea really what all this meant...i just knew i liked it. and so did others. it was the beginning of a new path that i walked. guided by work that was great work; maybe not popular or trendy or commercial, but work i could feel in my heart admire.
so i revere this photograph. i understand its significance. and i honor its gift in gently pointing the way forward.
as i mentioned yesterday, i was asked if i'd be open to documenting a segment for a "Drums for Funds" event at the newly opened Ames Hall in Salem...one that told the story of the kids and what this facility and guidance mean to them. i admire the commitment and dedication that others put into this program (namely Aaron Katz & Callie Lipton) and how their contribution inspires and alters lives as you can see...
at ten years of age, there is nothing sweeter or freer than the beginning of summer with what feels like many days ahead to fill with swimming and snacks and sleepovers and playing outside with what feels like forever friends.
three years ago watching my nieces in the pool playing a synchronized jumping in together with a friend, i remembered all those feelings i had at their age and wanted to pay homage to that. this photograph is the result.
as for the image, i liked how the girls stood out against the woods - framed by tall trees and wild growth. i have clear sense of the season and with the light shimmering on the pool, i know it's later in the day (it was actually after 4pm). but it was their individual pose - the different jumps - that made this particular image work: the two on the ends reach towards left and right and frame the one in the center who's stretches upwards.
while our weather didn't quite cooperate enough for this kind of day, it is right around the corner. and anyone with children know what i'm talking about.
after a long hot sunny day at the beach...running, jumping, digging, laughing....exhaustion takes hold of tangled windswept hair and sun sweat skin. for this little one, she collapsed onto her mama who rubbed her back. little girl turned and looked at me with bright tired eyes and a mass of ocean spray hair. while looking at this now i wish i'd had the sense to pull back just a little to get those little hands, it still works for me. i like her mama's soothing hands covered in sand enveloping her. i like the light in her eyes and the sheen on her face. but more than all that, it's THE moment of delicious exhaustion that somewhere within, i think we all remember.
and so we begin that time of year when days are long and skies are bright. when for a moment on a particular day, i can almost remember that feeling of being a kid on the last day of school with the long stretch of summer days ahead. when i can look forward to days with my feet dug into warm sand and occasionally in water that's warmer (relatively speaking where i live).
while this photograph wasn't taken anywhere near memorial day, it's light and bright. the lines of the swings and the girls riding them caught mid-air hold my attention with feet flying and ponytails riding in the wind. i like that one turns to the water and the other to the sky for their gestures within the composition hold that feeling of being a kid in summer & the freedom of wearing a bikini and swinging high.
i like pictures that make you stop and wonder what's going on outside of the frame which is exactly the theme of this photograph. i liked the two groups ranging from toddler to grandparent broken into a group of three and four. i waited for the littlest one to turn the way she did, mirroring her mama's stance. and in looking at all three little girls, i was particularly taken with their hands and their pose. while there's activity going on behind them, their presence is strong enough to hold my attention.
and then there are close up's with hardly anything at all that tell all you need to know - little hands and painted fingers tell me this is a little girl who loves her lineup of cars. i made a decision to hone in rather closely as i liked all the whites and light gray shades. i also liiked the circular composition...the arm to the hand to the cars to the other hand and out and back again...which in ways, mirrored the action going on.