Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 1950s

This is a photograph my uncle brought with him Christmas day for me to archive digitally. I am not sure the exact Christmas. I wasn't born yet. Maybe it is 1955.

Momma is the sexy blond with the cigarette in her fingers and Daddy is the broad shoulder cocky man with his arm around her waist. You can barely see their hands clasped. They are in the 30's in this photo.

My mother's brother, Clarence, is to her left and her sister, Lois, is to Dad's right.

Christmas makes me so nostalgic. I would love to be able to recall some detail from every Christmas.

On the back of this photo is a ink stamp that reads
Tom McGee
Staff Photographer
The Nashville Tennessean

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't Wake The Baby

This is a still from the short film by Elvis Wilson, shot by yours truly. It has been accepted in the Derby City Film Festival. Yeah Rah!

Bodega Bay

Alfred Hitchcock filmed "The Birds" (mashed by Kyle Johnson) at Bodega Bay. It hasn't much changed since the 60's, I'm sure.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Public/Private World of Photography

This photo was made maybe 1939 or 1940. It is right before my father and mother married.

I love this photograph. It is one along with many other photos of my mother that are some of my favorite things. The value of a portrait of someone you love is priceless.

A friend of mine was telling me about a self assigned portrait she'd taken of a man who sold wood by the side of the road. Only months later the family of the man had contacted her for more prints of that portrait. It happened to be the last portrait of him. He had died a young man, unexplained in the middle of the night. I was so moved by that story. I know the value of a portrait of someone you've lost. The photo of this man was perfect. It was just him casually standing, comfortably engaged in the moment of the photograph, in his element. It is a pure portrait; simple, direct and honest.

This takes me to the topic of public vs commercial photography. I am a commercial photographer. I am mentally and technically set up in my business to work with the commercial industry. It is difficult for me to shift my operation, work flow, my emotional investment to deal with the public directly. I used to be resentful whenever I did. My skills of communicating were lacking and my ego hadn't separated from my work (I still have difficulty here tho). From time to time I will photograph a person or family for them directly. I don't know why but it never fails - it is so difficult for me to get into the grove of the work that comes along with the project. Their is a quick turnaround in the commercial world. The explanation and education isn't necessary with each job, neither is the coaxing, comforting and convincing. Then again maybe it is. We have to estimate (educate and convince), write a job proposal (explanation), send promos by direct mail, buy space in source books, send out email blast (coax), draw up production book, have pre pro meetings etc...(comfort). It is all there. It just looks different.

I believe decisiveness is unique in the commercial world though. And that is huge for me. If I had developed my photography in the public arena I'd be better prepared to communicate and maneuver myself within that world. Maybe I'd be more patient. Maybe I'd learn to see the value of being slow. I appreciate thoughtfulness, thoroughness and diplomacy, I just really like being fast with it. Right now I see myself as pretty decisive. You should see me behind the wheel of a car. There is nothing I hate more than someone who won't make a decision. They are afraid to be rude, or pushy or they're just scared. I see that as possibly getting someone killed, holding up the world and, yes, inconsiderate.

You know this post may have more to do with me breaking line last night at a dinner than about photography or frustration with the gov't.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hotel Chelsea

Last month I spent time in NYC and to save money I chose to room at the Hotel Chelsea. Paint peeling from the walls, rug stains and a lonely sink was greeted me when I arrived. I was prepared. I even opted for the shared bathroom. It was all good. I felt like I had gone abroad.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doing vs. Being

A conversation last night started my head reeling on a problem many of us suffer, and that is fear driven activity spent on trying to achieve admiration and control. As I mentioned earlier in my blog I spend way too much time worrying over what others have and what I don't have in comparison and I am keenly aware of it when I see it in others (I'm working on becoming more aware of seeing it in myself-a difficult thing to do). There is nothing sadder to see than frantic, fear driven activity spent on gaining a sense of self based on how others view you. What is particularly sad is to see the activity being presented as altruistic. It is doubly Self defeating. And I mean that from the kindest place in my heart.

For some time now I have been reading Thomas Merton-No Man Is An Island. This morning was amazingly appropriate. The quotes are a reminder of the destruction of ego driven desires.

"The value of activity depends almost entirely on the humility to accept ourselves as we are." And this, "...the purity of our conscience has a natural proportion with the depth of our being and the quality of our acts." And then this is huge; "The deep secrecy of my own being is often hidden from me by my own estimate of what I am. My idea of what I am is falsified by my admiration for what I do."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fashion Model & Photographer - Elle Muliarchyk

I wish I could get away with this. She reminds me of a dutch roommate I had once. Check out this and this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Robert Bergman

Opening at Yossi Milo Gallery. Love the story at WSJ (here). It is a fairy tale story. What is so pleasing to see is the simplicity, honesty and respect of the portraits. I get them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anne Noggle

As I work on files alone in my dry darkroom/cave/pit/ I explore the web on my laptop checking up on other photographers and what they have in their lives that I don't have (that is topic for a post on another day. You see, I get a bit carried away spending too much alone time in the dark). I was thinking about Anne Noggle and one particular image she had of her mother. I discovered that I am 4 years behind; she died in August of 2005.

I first learned of Noggle at a SPE retreat/conference in 1981 held in Valle Crucis, NC. She was the guest lecturer that weekend. There was that one particular image she had of Agnes standing in a doorway in her nightgown waving goodbye (or was it hello) that captivated me. I have not found or seen this image since that weekend but was so moved by the feeling behind it that my first fine art photography book purchase was Silver Lining.

I fell in love with her mother and their relationship. What good friends they must have been and what fun that had together. In that book we watched her mother slowly age till no more and now Anne is gone too.

I have had difficulty finding much on her on the web but here are a couple of places such as her obit or MOCP .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wonders in a Small Package

Genius vs Industry, Enough Is And Annie

Genius is a gift. Industry is earned. I fall within the second category.

When things come too easily I fear I've done something wrong.

Enough is difficult to accept.

With that said, I finally got the chance to watch the PBS 2008 documentary on Annie Leibovitz-Life Through A Lens. She epitomizes these concepts. Her perfectionism is a curse/a disease. I relate to her motivation of getting the right image rather than getting large sums of money. I love my work. It is what truly makes me happy. The money I get goes right back into my photography. After reading the article in the New York Magazine about her financial situation this morning (I became interested in reading more about her after seeing the documentary) I feel compassion rather than disgust. I'm not condoning it, but I get it. The documentary is aptly titled. She was only looking through the lens.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Into Great Silence

Having spent so much of my time researching for my show, I've found it hard to just stop the search for religious similarities and, of course, I have to continue the search for that ever elusive serenity. So I am reading "The Joy of Living" written by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche while practicing to be more purposeful. I'm reading Thomas Merton "No Man Is An Island" and trying to let go of the ego. I am meditating a little each morning and I throw a little yoga in every once in a while for good measure. To top it all off, I just finished watching "Into Great Silence" , a documentary by Philip Groning. As my friend, Ginny, says, " living as if I'm hedging my bets."

After finishing these projects (DWTB and The Nashville's Soul) I found myself a bit depressed and lost. "Into Great Silence" wowed me. I expected an informative documentary but it became a meditative practice watching it. I don't know if I could have watched the whole 2 hours and 45 minutes in one sitting. Being a type A person I might have blown a fuse. If you choose to read this article it explains that the experience of seeing it in the theatre was like "floating." The point is that the documentary put a fine point on what I've learned in the process of the aforementioned projects. Interestingly it has given me an impetus to continue the soul project and explore new ways in sharing the experience.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gallery Space

This is for those living out of town and unable to see the show in the gallery space. My work looks very sophisticated here. I am quite honored to be exhibited in a place as beautiful. And since it is in such a well known building in Nashville the show will be visited by many people. First day the show was hung, there were over 400 visitors.

Yesterday I spent time with a very supportive group of women photographers. It was safe for me to accompany them since I feel like I am out on a limb in my underwear.

Thank you for joining me in our quasi opening - Susan, Andrea, Angela, Mary Claire, Donna and Sheri (how the hell did I forget). You were all very kind and gracious.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Nashville's Soul: Images of the Sacred

Tomorrow my show opens to the public at the Parthenon East Gallery and it hangs till October 31st. I love that is closes on Halloween. How fitting a closing date for a photo exhibit on Spirituality.

Today it was announced in the Nashville Scene. More on my approach and more images to been seen are on my other Blog set up for the exhibit. I hope to post a movie clip of how it looks in the gallery space later. It is a wonderful space and I am quite honored to be invited by the curator Susan Shockley. I would love for many of those having received announcements that live out of town to see the wonderful gallery.

Susan and Brenna Cothran, Assistant Curator, are hanging it now and I have been banished from the procedure. Fine by me. They know best and I am looking forward to the surprise. After 3 years in the making/thinking/planning I am more than willing to let go of it.

My show was printed by Chromatics, framed by Ambiance by Parker and film was donated by Dury's. I am flattered by having been supported by these very successful, well known businesses. Thank you Mike, Ginny and Ron for your generosity, expertise and commitment.

The project has been a wonderful adventure that I will continue. There is so much more to explore visually, emotionally and psychologically in this subject and many topics can arise out of it. I plan to delve deeper into the project. Things are a brewing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don't Wake the Baby by Elvis Wilson

Elvis Wilson, DCFF award winner among other awards for his documentary Being Lincoln, is interviewed tonight by Kris Rommel at Derby City Film Fest. He came to me to be the DP of his new short, Don't Wake the Baby. I am excited and so very proud to be a part of his creation.

If you want to hear his interview, it starts about at 35 minutes into the recording. Around 45 minutes is Elvis talking about the Don't Wake the Baby. He is entertaining as always and so complimentary to me.

Thank you Elvis.

The beauty of the film was made possible by our Art Director, Chris Long. He could become an interior designer if ever he got the wild hair. I still think about the warm, cozy and believable bedroom he created with a very limited budget.

Above is a photo from the film that we hope tells a little bit about the story. We had the privilege of working with Teri Duchaine as our lead actress as you see here. Every time I watch the clips of her in emotionally packed scenes I get chill bumps. We will be seeing more of her, I am sure.

And our precious children...what can I say. They were fabulous; us adults could learn a little from their amazing patience.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 4th Remembered

Summertime has proven to be a time of scarcity for diary entries and I guess it is true for my blogging too. I think once I have images processed and scanned from San Francisco I will have something to show and tell.
I treated myself to a west coast visit for my birthday. One thing I don't want to forget, that I was unable to photograph and my skills at drawing in my journal are lacking, is the bonfires on the beach at Carmel by the Sea. I have never seen this before - maybe I've seen it in movies and I've heard people talk about crab boils and such. This experience was special. There were so many. As we were climbing the dunes from a full moon walk on the beach, after watching dolphins and sea otters playing in the surf, heading for our cozy little beds, I glance down the beach towards the southern end of Carmel. Far off in the distance I see glowing yellow specks everywhere. Even though I was exhausted from a long day of driving, and walking, and playing I had to push on. So we returned to the beach and roamed among the parties of families and friends gathered around their respective fires. Each fire was unique. Some were buried in the sand with sand benches circling it, elaborately fashioned into a sort of lounge like setting and others simply thrown together to be blown about by the wind. Some families where either gathering things to head home, or eating or preparing dinner while the kids darted about playing tag. Some parties where quietly talking while they sipped their drinks. Others were not so quiet-laughing, teasing, yelling for something they needed. And then some groups just stared into their fires. I liked the simple and quiet ones the best.
I want to always remember the feeling I had as we meandered by. We were surrounded on all sides and it was magical. I had such a nostalgic feeling. It was perfect fireworks for this 4th of July. I like this holiday to be wholesome and simple. Hold the big bang and bring on the sparklers for me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Living Young

This could be me.  I think my fascination of photographing children, particularly little towheaded girls, is my desire to recapture my youth.  Or is it my refusal to grow up? Or is it evidence of the dysfunctional family and my lost childhood?  Whatever it is, I am forever Living Young.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Living Old

As I work on the computer I watch different things via the internet. One show I entertain myself by are episodes of Frontline on PBS.  The "Living Old" I just finished and why I watched it for a second time is puzzling to me.  It is as if thinking hard enough and long enough I will change the outcome of  the inevitable-growing old.  The experience I had with Mom yesterday has got me suffering again with her aging.  I am so sad that there is nothing I can do to fix this part of her life.  I can't do this for her and it is not just a passing faze.  I can't carrying it; I can't take her away from it; we can't throw it away; we can't ignore it; the weather won't make it better.  It is the hard final agonizing lap; it is death coming;  it is the deterioration, pain, isolation, boredom.  Mom is going out slowly.  And somedays I just hate it.  Somedays I loose hope.  My biggest fear is she has lost hope too.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Normandy 1944.  My father was a war hero from the WWII.  Each June 6th I like to spend some part of my day honoring his bravery and his simple acceptance of duty.  He hated the war and/but he loved it.  I grew up listening to his war stories.  So WWII photos, movies and stories are romantic to me.  Here is a link to Life Magazine Great War Photography in honor of one of the greatest plans, collaborations and duty of our countrymen.

I've recently discovered this photographer through Hey Hot Shot 2009 First Edition Announcements.  I thought Patrick Lyn's war reenactors would be appropriate for the day.

And tonight on CBS news with Katie I am so happy to learn that we have Witness to War.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Concept

Amazingly I've been busy this past month.  Now I find myself without work for, well I guess as it is in the freelance world, the rest of my life.  I was across the board on all genres of photography this month from editorial, to private portraiture, to advertising.  It is the advertising work that seems so weird to me still.  After doing it for several years I am still stunned with the ending.  Depending on the job, there is so much of the work done before the actual photographing comes into play-the thing I went to school to learn, the thing I apprenticed for under countless photographers.  And then the thing I love to do is over in a matter of an hour or two.  

While discussing this very thing with my rep she shares comments from her other photographer who believes while in the estimating period of the job (mind you he hasn't even been awarded the job) he has shot the job in his mind over and over.  That is true;  you have to shoot it in your head to estimate it appropriately.  I get caught up though.   I have big ideas mostly that never seem to make it to film/file.  Art Directors are kind enough to let me have my pipe dream but in the end the concept from the illustration, focus group tested mock up, the agreed upon/client approved idea is what goes.  And if you have the time, the budget, the skilled talent,  the patient crew,  the willing AD,  the relaxed AE, and the stamina to carry forth that extra mile  you can get those wonderful, creative surprises and the reason for the excitement of the job.  Not that the concepts are uninspiring for me.  I just have a hard time feeling like the photo is mine when I'm not involved in the concept.  It seems to me I become a technician.  I know that is a lie I tell myself being the struggling optimist that I am.  Its just I have such big ideas and an ego to satisfy.  And maybe I'm not seeing what I do bring to the concept.  I am part of the concept.  Yes, yes....that's it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

burn magazine

David Alan Harvey is now showing the finalist of the Emerging Photographers Fund over at burn magazine.  What is so great is the artist statement is available.  Today there are five posted.  Look for the other five to be posted periodically.  

I love this blog because David is so open in sharing his feeling, fears and hopes.  It is educational as well as comforting in seeing the humanism of a great photographer.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Business of Business or Not & American Photography 25

Sometimes I am forced to wear too many hats.  Whatever happened to taking pictures.  I struggle with this business of photography.  When I'm over extended and far from my reason for it all I feel like I am skating on thin ice.  Is it being a woman or being terribly codependent that I feel as if I must try to fix and try do everything. I can't do everything.  I can't remember everything.  I can't know what I don't know.  I can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.  I take pictures.  And the quality of those pictures depends largely on having time, money and team work.  And then sometimes it rains.  Well, a lot of times, it rains.  

On another note...while tic tic ticking through websites I came across the Selected images for American Photography 25.  The imagery this year seems amazingly fresh to me.  Take some time and enjoy.  You might be inspired.  Clemence de Limburg is who caught my eye and in particular her home page image of Gitty and her daughter Esther Miriam having tuna salad on toast.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Look3.  Limited time to blog, but must show.  If your looking for inspiration check out the Festival in Charlottesville.  Let's get a photg. group together for a road trip to support fellow photogs. and get much needed fun.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hey Hot Shot

I know this is a bit late.  I meant to post this for those photographers who do drop by from time to time.  Hey Hot Shot is now accepting entries for an opportunity for emerging photographer artist to have their work reviewed by top curators, photo editors....have their work promoted online and  have an exhibition in a nyc gallery.  Good is an international competition and going on it's 5th year.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bidding and Quoting and Communication

Being a home owner I am given a lot of opportunity to learn more about my business.  This week I have been getting quotes from gutter companies.  Each time it rains I cringe because I know the gutters I have now are lacking in the water distribution ability.  In the past I've gotten estimates/bids from driveway paving, exterior and interior painting, electrical rewiring, roofing. If it isn't one thing...  I've come to appreciate the position that Art Buyers are in when presented with an estimate.  Price is important  but what I've discovered was communication and personality make a huge difference to me.  I once hired a guy not only for the fact his price was good, his demeanor was comfortable,  he was respectful and he answered my questions with patience and thoroughness.  The money became secondary.  Most bids bounced around the same bottom line.  But the kicker was that as we were going over his approach to paving my drive a hawk flew just behind his head, low and slow.  That was my sign; a nod from my dad.  "Hire him, Sugar Face."   I suppose luck, timing and persistence could play a part too.  

Thursday, April 9, 2009


For years my lawn has been over run by chipmunks and I was talking about the problem with my cousin.  He said his wife hated them because they ruined her garden.  He told me she'd "hold their little heads down in a cup of water."  I was shocked!  But, bing....I thought, you can catch those things.  So for the next few years I've been scheming.  

Now that I have a hen (coyotes got my roosters) I keep feed in my greenhouse.  One day as I am puttering around the patio I spy a munk in the house.  Stealthily I tip toe to the house, doing a body block at the door, I shut myself in and the race is on.  Luckily I was smart enough to get a jacket and gloves after accessing the situation because when I did finally run the chipmunk into the proverbial corner she was like a tasmanian devil.  First thing she did was bite me and then the next things she did was bite me.  When I tried to sweet talk her into calming down, she'd squint
her eyes in anger and bite down really hard.  It was amazing her bravery and anger.  Needless to say I didn't get my picture.  But the next chipmunk was much more agreeable.  

Notice my death grip.  

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Yesterday I was with my mother at dinner time at WMP.  The staff have her with a couple of women now that are so enjoyably sweet, particularly one of them.  I learned yesterday that she is 93.  Her brother comes to visits her weekly who is 94.  He drives himself.  Now that might not be all true.  The minds of many of the residents aren't what they use to be.  Every once in a while during yesterday's meal this sweet lady would announce an observation about her surroundings.  If you stay open you can have quite a good time listening to what the residents say.  One woman was thinking that no one was bringing her meal and she was being ignored that she was "goin' to call the police."  It is hilarious once you get past the sadness of the place.  You have to keep your sense of humor.  Back to our dinner party.....So our 93 year old makes this observation "how wonderful it is to see all these young people helping these old people eat.  I never was that kind."  I said that she helped feed her children.  "Oh yea, sure I fed my own, but I never went around to restaurants and helped other people."  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Urban Chickens

A couple, three weeks ago I obsessed on a prop for a test shoot and before I knew it I had driven a hour and a half to buy chickens. I thought I'd return them , but I didn't want to do that drive again.   I now have a use for the dog house my beloved, Murphy, wanted nothing to do with.  Three times I've moved that doghouse trying to make good use of a bad idea.  The chickens seem to be liking it just fine.  And here is where it will stay.   

I have always wanted chickens.  As a kid I had several chickens - pink ones, green ones, purple ones.  They just never made it past the stage where all the dye had grown out of their feathers.  Stories of doomed Easter animal are plentiful in my family.   One year we had a drowning in the toilet.  The chick was getting big enough to fly out of his box.  And I naively kept him in the bathroom.  I found him face down in green water.  One I literally loved to death.  I carried the chicken everywhere I went and finally rolled over on him while napping.  He lasted a day.   The only one that got nearly out of his Easter dye and into his big chicken feathers was gobbled up by my dog, Attila, in one stealth slurp.  

The chickens I have now are about 3 months old.  I have a red rooster, a black and white speckled rooster and a black hen with a necklace of brown tipped feathers.  I am keeping them in my defunct garden plot.  I brought them home to acclimate in my defunct greenhouse.  Next year those two things will be as they should be and my hen should be laying her eggs.

I have been getting my education on raising them from a host of internet sources.  I was amazed that there is even blogs on Urban Chickens.  One is here at Urban Chicken Underground .

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Well, I am a Twitter now.  And if you are interested you can go here to follow.  I've got much more to do now.  Am I creating more work for myself?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Omnicom"s New Payment Terms

For any of you Advertising Photographers you might want to take the time to read the latest in PDN here about the new payment terms with some of the biggest agencies.  This is yet another way the economy changes are playing out in our lives.  There is something we can do.  Act right and act appropriately.   ASMP statement here.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I like to think I am not competitive, but once when I shared that feeling with a friend she glanced over at her boyfriend with a smirk and smugly laughed.  Well anyway, I have embraced the identity and now I am methodically paying the dues for competitions this year.  My reps have been pushing me to do this for years.  One I recently entered is the PDN Faces Contest.  If you are a portrait photographer, go for it.  I have learned something that has taken this hard head to finally accept is you have to pay your dues for recognition.  What that dues is is up to you, but it is necessary.  Things rarely fall in your lap.  One must "dig their ditch".  Recognition and the need for or necessity of it will be a topic another day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Center-(formally known as the Santa Fe Center for Photography)

2009 Project Competition winners announced here. And singular image winners here. I am looking forward to seeing the artist statements and imagery of the Projects.  I hope to be a part of a review one day.  Alas, not this year.  Try, try again.  Congratulations to all the winners.

Cc at the Monkey Grass

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Seventh Seal-Ingmar Bergman

I can't remember why I queued this film but last night I watched Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal."  I guess it was to begin my study of Ingmar's artistic lighting and dramatic cuts.  Or it might have intrigued me because it is a film dealing with death.  Quote that has shaken me spoken by the distraught knight Antonius Block during his confession to death.... "We have made an idol of our fear and called it God."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Is Faith Possible?

What's it all for?  I listen to "Fresh Air" whenever I have the time, but I am a bit shaken by the last episode.  Terry Gross interviewed Bart Ehrman this week.  His new book "Jesus Interrupted" was discussed.  Without going into too much detail, Bart Ehrman is a bible scholar  who was once an evangelic Christian now turned agnostic.  All of this is discussed here.  I am not shaken by the contradictions of the bible or that we are not sure who is the true author of the books.  It is one of the books of the New Testament that has scared me.  It is in the book of St. Matthew where Jesus is mocked, in shock and frightened of death while hanging on the cross that has saddened me.  I like the books of St. Luke and the others where Jesus embraces death and doesn't question his belief.  It was also Bart Ehrman's summary in the interview that left me somewhat empty today.  "Is Faith Possible?"  

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Some words just repeat themselves in my head over and over until I just have to say them out loud.  This morning "congruent" is the one.  My mind is so weird.  It does things without my consent, one of which is the mantra of a word.  I also find myself reading things, anything, along the highway while driving, standing in the checkout lane, riding the elevator.  The thing can be as simple as "the license for the operation of the elevator is in the Management Office."  What the kicker is, I'll read it over and over.  Anyway I am having one of those mornings and "congruent" is spinning around in my head like a pair of jeans in a clothes dryer. 

I don't know what set this off this morning but the word "congruent" is quite fitting.  For the past few years, 2 or 3, I have been working on becoming more congruent in all aspects of my life.  Easier said than done.  Contradiction is a word I'd use to describe myself in the past.  Even though some may say I contradict myself, I like to think now I am just changing my mind or having a bad day. 
So what is more congruent in my life, specifically?  I truly believe in myself now.  I don't just say it.  I feel it now.  Yes I know I have blogged about how I have lost sight of my worthiness in the world.  Today and just today,  I see it really as a behavioral relapse.  Deep down and without false modesty, I truly believe in myself.  

Sunday, March 1, 2009

On Turning 50 (not me yet)

What is age?  It meant so much when I was young, but with each year I am surprised with the idea of time being relative.  I am thankful of growing older.  I am embracing what aging means.  Who gives a s--t what the outer appearances are and who decided what beauty is anyway?   

 I am guilty of appreciating youth.  It is fun and easy as a photographer to photograph the smooth, dewy complexion of the young.  What is it about our society that is driven by youth, pop, new?  Oh, how I do know now that my youth was wasted on my youth.  My life becomes more deeply meaningful with each passing year.  And here it is, that worn out saying, "oh if I only knew then what I know now."  I didn't want to say it , but there it is, I did.  I want to start a movement for growing older and being beautiful.  Remember "Black is Beautiful."  Well, I want all to join in on an alliance for "Aging is Awesome."  (and please ignore how I titled this post.  I was setting my age back at 5.)  

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

I'm back in the boat.  Even though I need routine, I resist.  I've returned from the Alps and slowed down enough from a miraculous deluge of work that came in after my return from Europe.  So I am here to blog once again.  

It is Ash Wednesday and for those who aren't Catholic or unfamiliar with the meaning, it is the first day of Lent.  You won't know what that is either, I guess.  Well anyway, lets just say it signifies the anticipation of spring for me and the observance of Jesus's final days on earth. I think the 40 days of Lent is a symbol of Jesus's 40 days in the desert too.  Many good Catholics repent, fast, contemplate their existence and offer themselves in humble service during this period.  There will be a Mass or prayer service for those observing Catholics and Ashes will be distributed upon the forehead.  "From ashes we come to ashes we return."  Kind of a scary thing for a young girl growing up Catholic.  It just dawned on me how much the Catholic faith drives home the death thing.  No wonder I am so preoccupied with dying.  I was exposed to the grotesque, mangled and bloody way too early.  I remember being mesmerized by the religious paintings of Caravaggio.  In particular, the crucifixion of  Christ.  If you've never seen this painting look here.  I'd torture myself with these images. My mother had these art books laying around the house and I'd spend hours testing my courage.  I'd jump over the pages with the scary paintings and then slowly, like I was sneaking up on it, I'd turn back to them peeking over the edge of the page into the dark, shadowy mangled body of Christ hanging on the cross.  I guess this is where I might have developed my morbid sense of humor too.

Today I will participate.  I want to shoot the observants and the ceremony for my show and maybe I need a little touch of humility myself.  One can never have enough.

Greg Miller, a fellow Nashvillian and a Guggenheim Fellow has a series on Ash Wednesday here.  I had forgotten how big the Catholic population of NYC was.  

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sally Mann: What Remains

Last night I watched  What Remains:  The Life and Work of Sally Mann.  I am always reluctant to meet the artist whose work I love in fear I'll not like them personally.  I braved it with this documentary.  I have a deep respect and compassion for this person.  She is humble, honest and kind.  I got the sense that even though she is a driven artist she is a wife and mother first.  I highly recommend people to see this film.  I will have to admit I was not interested in her later series of images but after having seen this I have a deeper appreciation for it.  It is a film that has educated me more about the art world and how we all struggle with the same fears no matter what level of the social/professional rung we're we have achieved.  Her courage to allow filming of her rejection from Pace/MacGill and her allowing the documentary to show her fears of becoming passe in the art world was healing for me.  Any artist struggling with fears of rejection and the like will benefit from this heart warming insight into this artist's life.  

Also her series What Remains brings to light for me how fascinated I am with death.  Her philosophy behind the series is worth exploring and facing.  After all, none of us gets out of here alive. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The F Blog

I have images at F-Blog. Here is the link.  These are images from my upcoming show to be exhibited this summer at the East Gallery at the Parthenon.  (no, not the one in Greece)

Erin, Tennessee in the Summer

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Bitter Photographer

I came across a post today at a blog I frequent left by The Bitter Photographer and had to go check him out.  Wow.  I have to say it was so refreshing.  He is blogging about things so many of us are afraid to say out loud or we share only in the safety of our inner circles.  Of course he blogs anonymously.  Why not!  Who cares who he is.  The point is he is saying things that most of us photogs think- maybe the well balanced, spiritual giants don't think this way.  I know I am working on staying positive but sometimes I just got to let it out.  One of the post was particularly hilarious (all of them are hilarious).  It was about Kwaku Alston and his similarities to Jay Silverman.  Why I find this particularly funny is people rave about this photographer's ability.  Yes, he is good, but he has taken some pretty ordinary photos, just like us all.  So why do people rave about his work as if it was fabulous and worthy of adoration.  Not long ago I had the privilege of meeting with a particular photo rep turned photo consultant who took a considerable amount of time oohing and ahhing over KA.   At that time I had no idea who he was and I was like...."what is this all about?"  I felt like I was in the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale "The Emperor's New Suit."  The Bitter Photographer is probably not a blog I'll go to everyday, and well he isn't really posting anymore,  but somedays I will have to check in to see if there is someone out there seeing that the Emperors is in his underwear.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Stop Motion Video

You've got to check this out over at A Photo Editor Blog.  It is so much fun and it is worth the 2 or 3 minutes of your life.(here)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lisa Kereszi - Photographer by Default

I am so glad to find her.  I love her personality.  " I think I have this mild, depressive personality....  My uncle saw one of my shows......And he came up to me and said, isn't it the most depressing thing in the world to try to have fun."    I relate to her on many levels.  This is just a short little interview of her walking around Governors Island where she had done a series of images for a special artist group show.  Its is a short 1 or 2 minute film that is paradoxically fun and light considering the story behind her photography series and the defunct project at Governors Island.  Check it out here.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lorrie Turk - Nashville Make Up Artist

Check out this interview with Lorrie Turk.  I work with her whenever I can.  Having a good makeup artist on a shoot makes all the difference in the world.  

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"To Thine Own Self Be True."

I straddle a crevasse of confusion.  These past days I have lost my footing.  The floundering economy has put question in my life.  Where do I go from here.

Yesterday I spent time with my mother on an outing. And returning to WMP she balked. Somedays she just doesn't want to return.  She wants to go home. (my mother needs care 24/7. When she stays with me it is non-stop attention, even throughout the night.  I wake every three hours to check her.)  To take her home, the expense would be enormous.  We've been down this road of price comparison and practicality.  And I have batted back and forth the idea of bringing her home with me too many times.  It's killing me.  So this is again on my mind.  The slow economy is creating questioning in my life.  What is my purpose.  What am I doing.  Spending money when money isn't coming in, for what, an ego trip?  "Why don't you bring your mother home.  Possibly save the family money.  Make your mother happy. "  In reality, this would mean giving up my career, giving up my life.  Resentments towards my siblings would  possibly develop.  I'd be fearful of not being caring enough.   The guilt of not being willing is what is eating at me these last couple of days.  Usually, I have my head on straight and I know how impractical and unrealistic this would be for me and I am ok with it. There is no guilt and I have true understanding and love for myself and really everyone else.  Dale, who is very experienced in home care,  said "your mother has the best of both worlds, good care and lots of family attention. "   

So back to yesterday, as I've struggled with this issue, a woman out of nowhere, I'd never seen her before,  approached me. While I am busy getting mom out of the car,  she asks me after having told me how she knows my mother and how sweet she is etc, that "why don't we take our mother home?"  Like a push-over, I attempt to answer her. She goes on to say in her country blah, blah, blah, they care for their elderly at home. When you don't do any thing important in your life, why not take her home?  You'd be with your mother all the time." All the while mom is getting more and more wide eyed over this conversation.  I look to her and my heart breaks.  

So here I am... 

I'd like to tell you what Dale said about that woman.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Winter Monotony

I am bored with my life.  I am tired of getting up each morning.  My dreams are much better.  The shaky economy, the scrutinizing over this artist statement I've been writing, researching other  artist then overvaluing them and undervaluing of myself is making living hard going for me lately. 

I finally watched "Man on Wire". Philipe Petit is an incredibly passionate, charismatic man and I was totally taken by him.  I wanted to have what he has.  There I was measuring my passion against his.  If you have seen this movie you will see how laughable this comparison is.  There are people in this world who are just superior in achieving dreams; their brains, their discipline, their passion is beyond normal.  When I am not in a good emotional place I struggle so with mediocrity.  The other day I was at a couples home taking photos for an artist friend. The husband ( a doctor, a marathon runner) and wife had returned from a book store where he had purchased "Atlas Shrug" to read.  After talking with him about other books he had read and sharing the love of stories etc, he brought me two books to lend me that he had just finished reading.  I was surprised he had read them; I questioned the fact.  These huge books hadn't even had their spines broken.  The books I've read look as if they've been through the spin cycle of the washing machine.  I cannot seem to get this off my mind.  How can one person be so......, something, so...., amazing.  And he was good-looking, he had children, he was happily married, he had a beautiful home and he wasn't socially retarded.  Its killing me today.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New York, New York

I have recently returned from NYC and haven't had the time to review my experience in writing.  It was diverse, weird, and as always educational.  I really can't go there again just yet, but for a quick reminder for later I can list my highlights
-the orchestra pit at the Majestic (No.1)
-the Diamond District Xmas light decorations in diamond shapes
  my one purchase of The Hyena & Other Men-Pieter Hugo book
-the epiphany at St. Patricks Cathedral
-private elevators

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I am looking forward to learning more, seeing more, loving more.  Thank you for 2008!

Just received a link from my friend to a beautiful story by photographer Philip Toledano-Days with My Father.  It put her in mind of mine and my mom's story.  It has given me the impetus to continue photographing mom.  Reading how Philips relationship is with his father is heart warming and real.  I love the idea his wife had,  to get a Hooter's Girl to come read stories to his dad each week since his dad is still very much appreciative of women.  How kind and respectful and fun.  It is a reminder that we are not gone until we are gone.  Nothing sad about that...