Monday, March 30, 2009

Déjà Vu or Stranger in A Strange Land

I was a stranger in a strange land
Biblical Saying
We've all had the feeling of déjà vu, to quote: the experience of déjà vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and also a sense of "eeriness," "strangeness," or "weirdness. Well looking through my lens and finding this plant echoed that the theme of the strangeness or weirdness. It's a plant you expect to find on a third rate science fiction movie from the fifties. In this case lots of trees and flowering plants and then this enormous mass of weirdness. It's as if it's a stranger in a strange land. Kind of a good theme for today...that is ever feel that way about life's landscape some Mondays? If so, come on tell me all about it....I know I can't be the only one feeling like today was about being a stranger in a strange land.

Leon Russell, "Stranger In A Strange Land":

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Time, Art, And Money

Our lives seem to live us, to possess their own bizarre momentum, to carry us away
Sogyal Rinpoche

A busy unusual week with many things happening. Art, work, and time are all themes that have been swirling through my head this week. Art in that I've been in the deep of making it again. Work in that it is no longer about my professional career and advancement. Rather now I find satisfaction in it because it is the means that allows me to pursue my art. Finally time and what it means in finding the balance between working/doing art.

Interestingly enough when ever I talk about my photography, mixed media work or music, the topic that most often comes up is how will you use it to make money and there in lies a dilemma. I've come to realize that I don't want to do my art based on others expectations. That is I want to share the world as I see it and if at some point I'm lucky enough people may want to buy the representation of what I am trying to share. However, this isn't my goal.

Believe me, I am not putting down artists who make their art through the process of trying to interpret what others want from them and filtering it through their vision. If I were in a different phase of life and not long in the working world, I would have no problem pursuing that path. But I have been in the working world for many years and at this phase of my life I am more about the sharing the vision I have with others. In other words my work is a means that is allowing me to create because I can earn my income there and said income allows me to purchase things I need to create art and to take care of the mundane realities of life.

I was inspired by a paragraph in a book I'm rereading entitled "Marry Your Muse" by Jan Phillips....

To be an artist it is not necessary to make a living from our creations. Nor is it necessary to have work hanging in fine museums or the praise of critics. It is not necessary that we are published or that famous people own our work. To be an artist it is necessary to live with our eyes wide open, to breathe in the colors of mountain and sky, to know the sound of leaves rustling, the smell of snow, the texture of bark. It is necessary to rub our hands all over life, to sing when and where we want, to take in every detail, and to jump when we get to the edge of the cliff. To be an artist is to notice every beautiful and tragic thing, to cry freely, to collect experience and shape it into forms others can share.

The photo I took today seemed to represent collecting experience and sharing it. That is a few weeks ago I shared a fresh new flower in the blog. Today I took the time to look more closely at it and somehow found it more eerily beautiful then it was then. And it reminded me about time passages, life and the making of art.

Al Stewart, "Time Passages":

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It Was Time To Say Good-Bye

It is not death that one should fear, but rather one should fear never beginning to live.
Marcus Aurelius

From a playful post to a more somber one. I don't talk that much in this blog about the specifics of my job or my past work experiences. Well today I feel the need too and share some things. My passion for living life has developed in part because I have worked hospice in my past and have been with people when they die. People always respond to this revelation with it must have been so depressing. Not that often, rather it taught me to affirm life.

We lost 3 people in my clinic in a 24 hour period. One had to leave and go have a procedure after a problem with her treatment. A couple of hours later we received a call she had died of a heart attack. The other 2 were also unexpected, but happened at their homes. It shook many of our staff up. My office becomes a refuge in times like these. Probably because it is filled with photographs I have took to celebrate life, a harp, plants and treats. Not to mention some very comfortable chairs. After these things happen, the question is why them? The only answer I have is that for some reason it was their time to say goodbye. There is no special knowledge I that I have developed about why people suddenly leave us, only their time has come. The only thing I do know is that they have taught me to celebrate the time I'm given, never take it for granted and to not fear death when my time comes. Without getting into a dissertation on my ideas and beliefs, I'll say simply that I think it's a transition in being and that it is a change. We fear change, but the things I have experienced with people before, the moment in which they die and even the aftermath have taught me there is something bigger then us and it's not to be feared. People ask what about sadness....the grief. Of course there is sadness/grief when we've been separated physically from someone we cared about and/or loved. The lesson is to work through it and again value the time we still share with others.

So enough for tonight. Hug the ones you care about, celebrate the time you have here and go learn, live and love.

Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis, "Eternal Source of Light Divine":

Monday, March 23, 2009

Just Having Fun

My close-up was magnificent!
Bela Lugosi

My HP B8850 printer arrived and over the weekend I played with it and printed. It's fine to send out your work when you have a big load to labs, but I love the the flow of a photo from start to finish. With all the rain we had, it was a perfect way to spend the weekend. I also went to have my hair done and ended up taking playful photos of the salon owner's dog. Also got together with a photo friend and she helped me play with some of our recent photos from a trip to make fantastically saturated works. It was great to kick back with and have fun with other creatively minded females.

What can I say when I was a kid, it was crayola crayons and play-doh. Now I'm a grown up it's photos and paint. When I stop having fun and playing, I'll know I'm really in trouble in life.

So what did you do this weekend to play and have fun?

Cyndi Lauper, "Girls Just Want To Have Fun":

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Scattered Polaroids and sprinkled words around your collar
In the long run, you said you knew that this would happen
Maximo Park

Last year in February, many of us who loved our Polaroids went into mourning when Polaroid let the world know it would cease making Polaroid film. Maybe we should have known it was the first sign of the coming apocalypse other wise know as "the recession". Well as I keep telling folks there is light at the end of the tunnel or in this case a couple of lights.

If you aren't one of the close to a million people who have downloaded the program, then let me introduce you to the "Poladroid". A program developed by an individual who mourned with the rest of us, but came up with a way to handle his grief. Go to his website and all will be answered. All I can say is, I turned the almond and apple orchard photos I took a couple of weeks ago into something a good deal more fun. And for those of us thinking of spending our tax return on the last stock piles of Polaroid film, there's even more hope: "The Impossible Project". A group of people determined to bring back integral film for vintage Polaroid cameras.

Let me know if you have as much fun with your Poladroid as I'm having with mine and support "The Impossible Project" with whatever you can.

Maximo Park, "Books From Boxes":

Monday, March 16, 2009

Life Is Its Own Journey

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.
Don Williams, Jr.

I'm renewing my photography journey as I've drifted away over the last year in view of the workflow I used to do. I've replaced a printer, have gotten a 24" monitor and am finally cataloging some far over due photographs. Also in review is Photoshop CS3. I started working on it before surgery last year and now am resuming lessons. I've also picked up Tai Chi again and am progressing with the harp. So there is much going on in the journey right now. I just don't have any enormous words of wisdom. Just enjoying the process and enjoying life's essence.

Lucinda Williams, "Essence":

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Precise Moment

To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.
Henri Cartier-Bresson

Yesterday I returned to Preston Castle to shoot yet again. As I climbed through the building I wondered how I could capture a scene to make it unique from my other trips. I entered into the open tower area not expecting much. Suddenly there was a rustle of feathers and a great white wing span over head. Startled I thought a seagull had gotten in. Then I realized, I was looking at an owl. The poor creature tried to get out, but there wasn't an easy escape route so he returned to the rafters. My camera was on a large tripod and as luck would have it I had my 600mm lens on. Ever so slowly I tried to bring him into sights. Unfortunately there were tours going on so noise was constant and he started again and again. But I quietly waited, sitting on the ground and gently refocused the camera every time he moved (thank goodness for Olympus' live view). Finally he settled overhead and looked down at me. Holding my breath I pressed the remote release again and again. I was rewarded with two good photos. One is above. I understood, really emotionally understood for the first time in four years of study what Henri Cartier-Bresson meant by "the decisive moment". Having experienced it, it's like a high that I want to experience again and again. For a moment I could see the world through my subjects eyes and it was perfect.

Aicelle Santos, "Make Me Believe":

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Was

History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.
David C. McCullough

My friend and I went to shoot what we thought we going to be almond trees and blossoms. Well we found in addition all of these old cars and history left on the farm. The people I go out to photograph with know that I have a love of these old rusting things. I think it's the textures because they photograph so phenomenally. Not to mention I have a love of history (plus being an child of the auto industry). We didn't have much time and the sun was bright, so we're going to go back and shoot at the "golden hour". We did get some almond blossom shots too and I'll share those, but these were what caught my attention. But at the end of the trip my friend and I agreed we might love shooting these old things, but we wouldn't want to live around them. I loved the GMC union one and think I'll do it up for my father. He is in the dark ages and doesn't own a computer so it will be a surprise when I send it.

The Beatles, "Baby You Can Drive My Car":

Beginning Yet Again

  "Never feel guilty for starting again." -Rupi Kaur These days being a flaneuse has been more mental than physical. I moved to Ar...