Yellow 1, 2, 3

I haven’t worked with many models in the past. For whatever reason, I shy from attempting to translate my ideas with the help of others. It makes me hyper self-conscious. This is most definitely a quirk of mine that I’d been wanting to break. But, when one of my drop-dead gorgeous, dearest friends, Simin, asked if she could model for me, I couldn’t resist.

We spent the afternoon last Friday working through various poses, outfits, and props. She was encouraging, unrelentingly patient, and sweet. Thank you for modeling, Simin, and being so supportive. You are a *gorgeous* creature! More Simin photos to come soon. I’m hoping this series is the start of a new and exciting journey. :-)

Many thanks to Thuy of Hier & Haines Salon in McLean, VA for her hair styling prowess. She’s my personal hairstylist, too. She is amazing.

And a special thanks to Nicole Dube for helping make this happen. She lent me that lovely, navy, retro suit Simin is wearing and was (and continually is) an undying source of inspiration.  You are my rock, lady!

The Corner

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The Corner, Beauty in the Banal: 3/26 inspired by #USETHISPHOTOBOOK

Assignment #3 of my year-long photo challenge inspired by Henry Carroll’s Use This If You Want To Take Great Photographs is from page 15: show beauty in the banal.

Once a symbol of reprimand, the corner has lost its meaning as I age. I pass it every day, multiple times. It takes many forms but serves the same purpose: perimeter enforcement, life containment. But it no longer symbolizes forced pensivity, and for the most part, it goes unnoticed. I take it and its ordinary purpose for granted.

Yesterday, on a school field trip with my eldest to the National Portrait Gallery, the corner reasserted itself, sneaking up to remind me of its original meaning. “This is the spot,” it demanded. “This is the spot where you will sit and think about what you’ve done.” But I rebelled. I stood and stared for a moment, raised my camera in defiance, and ran.

Up Feb 28: “Take a picture that only works in black and white” from page 43 of Use This If You Want to Take Great Photographs.

Question Your Subject: Taking Portraits of Johnny Cash, Obama, and More – Interview with Martin Schoeller | LensCulture

picture of Steve Carell taken by Martin Schoeller

Steve Carell. From the series “Close Up” © Martin Schoeller

Just wanted to share a fabulous interview with super photographer Martin Schoeller, courtesy of LensCulture. In it, he shares the secret to making intimate portraits and some incredibly inspiring advice for new photographers:

“Get off your phones and computers—they don’t take good pictures. Everybody is so obsessed with them now; we are all turning into constant consumers. Original ideas come from experiences and the people around you…produce a lot of work, rather than spending your days retouching mediocre images. Don’t spend too much time looking at other people’s work, it just makes one feel that everything has been done.”

Yes!!

Source: Question Your Subject: Taking Portraits of Johnny Cash, Obama, and More – Interview with Martin Schoeller | LensCulture

Evidence of the Missing

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Re-photograph a photograph: 2/26 inspired by #USETHISPHOTOBOOK

Assignment #2 of my year-long photo challenge inspired by Henry Carroll’s Use This If You Want to Take Great Photographs is from page 47: Re-photograph a photograph to change its original meaning.

My interpretation of the assignment took me into old photo albums to show the life-cycle of the candid family photograph. What was once meant to convey life, love, energy, can now only serve as a record of the past for today’s generations and, inevitably, the evidence of something missing. And so, the meaning of our family snaps change over time, from one type of celebration to another: a celebration of what is to a celebration of the missing.

Up in two weeks: “Show beauty in the banal” from page 15 of Use This If You Want to Take Great Photographs.

Use This 4 Great Photos

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First Childhood Memory: 1/26 Inspired by #UseThisPhotoBook

My good friend, Nicole, gifted me a copy of Use This if You Want to Take Great Photographs: A Photo Journal by Henry Carroll for Christmas. It’s an inspiration book that includes 123 assignments to  prompt photographers who “sometimes feel a little short on ideas and inspiration.” Hello. That’s me.

For a little fun and to just get shooting again, Nicole, Charles Dube, and I have challenged each other to a 26 project: 1 shot guided by an assignment from the book every 2 weeks. I’ll be posting my results via this blog, Flickr, and Instagram. You can follow Nicole here on Instagram and Charles here on Flickr.

Our first assignment was: “Photograph your earliest memory”

Now that is a slippery task. Can you visualize your first memory? Are you sure that was your first or did another memory precede it? And if that was your first memory, is it wholly yours? Or is it a construct of stories and photographs?

I struggled with this one, trying to navigate amongst memories that I thought were mine, memories that were formed via stories of others, and memories that were formed via old photographs. In the end, I realized that my first memories aren’t visuals at all. They’re feelings. My experience of them is still strong but the visual details are fuzzy, much like a dream. This left me figuring out how to translate those feelings into visuals.

So my first memory? We lived in a rural area outside of a small seaside town in South Carolina. My parents raised chickens in our backyard. We kept them in a large, open pen and an attached, enclosed roosting area with nest compartments for them to lay eggs and rest.

As a kid, I helped with general chicken maintenance–feeding them, gathering eggs, mucking the roost, etc. Every so often my parents would slaughter one of them for dinner, chopping it’s head off with a large axe. And every time it was chicken-killing time, I would run into the house, plug my ears, and hide just inside the door, behind the refrigerator until they were done. I couldn’t bare to watch or listen. Once the ordeal was done, I’d help soak and defeather the chicken. The smell was horrific and sickening.

Start a new photog project for 2017? Drop me a note about it in the comments section below. I’d love to check it out!

 

What’s Happening? Merry Everything!

The last several weeks have been a whirl of prep for my second appearance at the Market of Curiosities. If you’re unfamiliar with the Market, back up and click on that link. It’s a hip, happenin’ craft show held every year early December in Carlisle, PA. I know; I know. Visions of crocheted doilies may be dancing in your head when you read “craft show.” But venders at the MoC have sworn to bring you only the hippest creations. Check out the vendor list for yourself.

My photo bestie, Nicole Dube, and I have participated in the market 2 of the last 3 years. Our first year, Nic and I ran a smashingly successful circus-themed booth. This year we wooed the crowd with a hipster-inspired “Merry Everything” booth.

I pulled together the backdrop with a few 1 in. X 3 in. furring strip boards, that I stained, painted, and distressed. (Pictures of this process below if you’re curious.) The ever-resourceful Matthew Bennett, of Plan B Designs, worked out the logistical kinks of supporting our 5 ft. by 8 ft. backdrop. And Nic worked her designer flair by procuring vintage flannels, accessories, and props from the coolest vintage spot in Carlisle, Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb.

The result of all this hard work?

comeaus-2

A totally adorable photo booth, right? Many thanks to our models, Hillary and Jared!

Mark your calendars for the first Saturday in December 2017 because you will not want to miss next year’s Market.

Merry Everything!

Pictures from the backdrop creation process:

purple & teal

workers & cats

workers & cats

Inspired by a photo club assignment (“grit”) and a good photographer friend who gave me the concept (and who keeps nudging me to get off my tush), I egged up to “poop gold” as one of my productive writer friends calls it: just get the damned thing started. I pulled this shot together with three main elements in mind–productivity, movement,  and futility. I also wanted to force myself to shoot a portrait composition, since I do very little of this. Meanwhile, another “grit” shot is in the works!

inspiration

after hours

after hours

More of Flo…the product of our monthly photo club assignment for May: Let it Flow (or FLO). Many thanks to Tim Shumaker of Diabolically Devine Creative Metalworks for letting me romp around his yard and to Nicole Dube of SheSoPhoto who assisted, provided artistic expertise, and offered a truckload of moral support!

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