Monday, May 09, 2016

Notes from the Road Day 2 - Peeling Paint Nirvana

Come on now, who does not love a really good blue door? This is one of the early shots from our property walkabout today. What can I say about that? I know I have not been tweeting and facebooking as much as usual. This is because I've been working it, folks. I've been out shooting. We toured 12 properties today, each one fabulous in a different and exciting way. I used only iPhone and it held up fairly well considering what I put it through. Good stuff in these abandoned playgrounds. It's like peeling paint and old couch nirvana and you know, you just know, how much I love that kind of stuff. Heaven!

Biggest note so far is a feeling. I feel oddly energized. Those of you who know me know I always do this kind of work, I started doing this kind of work, architecture done differently, lots of abandoned spaces and big, empty rooms. I cut my teeth on this kind of stuff and I still eat it up for breakfast (yum!) So, yeah, it feels like going back to my roots but then also, BAM! new environment, change of place change of scenery. Old but new, fresh and I feel so invigorated. I really feel alive on days like these. Good times, good shots, good food, good people, good places, and the work just seems to fall out like it should. I hope I can keep up the pace.

Had breakfast at our hotel, got an early start, felt like I could have used about three more hours of sleep but seem to be holding up ok. Morning was spent going to the properties and getting a feel for the locations. Wonderful stuff. We had lunch at Rockin Relics in town (good eats there as well) and now it's a bit of rest while the light sucks but also gearing up for late afternoon shoot. Back to some of the properties, back to the fun. Here we go, wish us luck.

So, yeah, it's what I do, it's what I always do but somehow better. Wish you were here but hopefully I'll have some shots to share real soon now. Let's hope the light and the weather and our aching backs hold up as best they can, eh?

Until next time...

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Greetings From Dakota

Continuing in this series of "Bed" this is the bed I'll be sleeping in tonight. I'm currently hold up in the small, rural town of Rugby, North Dakota shooting abandoned homestead farms and out buildings (think barns here, folks.) Trip promises to be different, a lot of fun, slightly different shooting from what I'm used to and also some new scenery.

So far the trip has been going pretty well. Had to get up in the middle of the night (3:30 am!) to catch the blue van to the airport. Didn't hit any traffic and got to see parts of Austin I had forgotten exist. Flight to Minneapolis was bumpy (storms afoot!) but otherwise ok. There is a tram in the Minneapolis airport, so chalk that up to learn something new everyday. I had to take a smaller "commuter" jet and it was most cramped and bumpy but luckily only about an hour of flight time. Pretty crazy how they have small jets like that flying out of Minnesota but then I guess not that many people find themselves in North Dakota now, do they? Besides, I'm so over transportation. This photography thing has trained me well. I don't care if you stuff me in a rickshaw, if I ride a pony, an elephant, an emu, or whatever else happens along. I'll ride anything. OK, that didn't exactly come out right but, like, you get the idea. I'm over transportation, just get me there already.

The airport in Minot is brand, spanking new and we were in and out pretty quickly. Got a nice rental car, grabbed some grub at an Irish pub in town and then headed to do some grocery shopping, just to pick up supplies for the rode. A little strung out from the trip, we then headed into Rugby which is going to be our base for the rest of the week. Found out they have white trees here. Didn't know I missed them so much until I saw them again.

There are some auroras afoot but the recent (giant) fire up Canada way might be blocking our view. Might try to do some night shooting, depending upon how things go. Got a lot of properties lined up to check out so might not make it into the evening hours.

Also found out we made the local paper. "Photographers descend on Rugby!" is what they are saying about us. Yes, um, we're here, ok? Thank you for the welcome.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Have some and want more? Don't have enough? Today my world is all about money. Paid taxes, getting a new roof, getting a new fence, need a new laptop. It's all expensive crap but I have to do it. Oh that giant sucking sound. Oops there goes my wallet! I hope you have better luck with the stuff than I do! 

Until next ca ching.....

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Flower Power

"Time and tide waits for no man." "Seasons change." We've heard the old adages until they become cliche. But, there is more than a glimmer of truth to these old sayings, in particular (as of late) the wisdom that seasons are in fact changing. I can see it on my morning walks, I can see it in the afternoon sunlight, I can see it in the way the sun hangs in the sky just a little bit later each and every evening. Spring is starting to bloom its way into our hearts and minds.

I've been visiting my garden center as of late, paying attention to the subtle differences each day brings this time of year. I've spotted new growth trees arriving, awaiting planting in the fertile soft soil. I've seen the wheelbarrows full of flowers arriving too. First the early arrivals, the pansies and the like, then, slowly, the spring blossoms are starting to arrive, as if by magic, showcasing the vibrant colors this season has to offer. Bright reds and oranges greet me in my garden center now where once barren and dark landscapes did appear mere weeks ago. It's starting to come alive in there, and I must confess, I'm loving it.

Yes, spring is on its way to my little neck of the woods. I have to say I've been enjoying the blooms, although not as much possibly as I should be. I really should get out more time time of year, as it can be nothing short of magical. The red bud trees give way to black eyed susan's and eventually, if we're lucky and rain and weather cooperate, fields of Texas bluebonnets grace our landscape. It's a wonderful time spring is, I hope you get out and enjoy it as best you can. I know I am trying my best, even if I feel at times it's not good enough, I still try, I still manage to get out as much as I can in this fleeting season. Even a short time in the outdoors is a reward to me these days. It feels so magical and light just to be outside this time of year.

Spring is springing up all over the land. Are you starting to feel it yet? Starting to enjoy it? Here's hoping this season brings you magical colorful blossoms of your own.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Me, Myself, and Her

Got an email recently from the good folks over at Artsy who are putting together a collection of Cindy Sherman's work. From their description,
"Our Cindy Sherman page provides visitors with Sherman's bio, over 65 of her works, exclusive articles, as well as up-to-date Sherman exhibition listings. The page even includes related artist & category tags, plus suggested contemporary artists, allowing viewers to continue exploring art beyond our Sherman page." 
They invited me to check out the page and I thought I would share it with you.

For those of you who don't know, Cindy Sherman has been a big influence on my work. Her exploration of self, her ability to redefine herself and play with her own self image has not only made her a titan on the photographic stage but has left quite an impression on artists both currently working and for many decades to come. The notion that an artist can play or experiment with one's own self image makes for compelling artwork. If you don't believe me, you can ask countless artists who cite Sherman as an influence, probably most recently Madonna and Lady Gaga, although there have been many others. The notion that a woman can redefine herself, can change not just her appearance but her role in society, that she can play up or experiment with facets of herself is probably most directly attributed to Sherman more than any other contemporary artist. It really makes for compelling artwork, this notion that we all have facets of ourselves. The modern notion that a woman can change from this to that, can explore who she is and actually play with or present certain facets of herself is very empowering as well.

This image is from a series I did, inspired in part by Sherman's work, called "Pieces of Me" where I insert myself into previously photographed images and rephotograph the images, each of which plays up a facet of how I see myself. It was a great project to work on, challenging at times, but most rewarding.

I would encourage you to go and check out Sherman's work if you have not seen it already. It's worth a second look and that artsy page is a wonderful collection for you to explore.

Until next time...

This image from the archives, previous series "Pieces of Me" it's called "The Horrified."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Vote for Me Please: art prints - Pointed Iceberg at

Asking for Some Help with This - Please Vote for Me

Vote for my
design on minted.
Smoke Over Earth
see more from Carol Schiraldi
vote for me!
Check out my competition in Christmas cards and birth announcements at Minted.

I seldom ask for help. Heck, I don't even often ask you to buy things or pimp my work all that much. Today, however, I am asking for your help.

Some of my work is up for voting as part of the Minted/West Elm challenge and I would like to ask that you vote for me. It won't cost you anything, it's totally free, and your vote could really help me out. Voting like this is a great way to support the arts without it costing you anything in terms of cold hard cash so, please vote if you are so inclined. Vote early and vote often, if you would, as it would really help me out.

I'm going to try to paste in this link that will allow you to vote on the Minted site. Please vote for me if you can as it would make a world of difference to me to know that I have your support.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 07, 2016

A Week of Wondrous Celebrations

This week marks several wondrous celebrations. For starters, tomorrow is Chinese New Year. Welcome, my friends, to the year of the monkey. If that were not enough, Tuesday is Fat Tuesday or the height of carnivale in New Orleans and other points. This year, I would be remiss if I did not send a special shout out to Bobbi Lane and David Nightingale (aka Chromasia) who are off photographing the Carnivale in Venice. Following these two on Facebook and social media has really demonstrated how lovely the celebrations in Venice can be, as they are producing some fantastic work documenting the festivities. I really wish I were off shooting with them and love seeing the subject in these very capable hands.

What is it about celebrations such as the ones this week that make us take out the cameras? There's something very appealing about pageantry and costumes. They allow us to both hide parts of ourselves and to reveal plenty. In this image, you can tell there is a man inside that puppet. There's a man in there and, quite frankly, he's almost frighteningly familiar with a cigarette lighter (of sorts) as he was able to make lots of fire on short notice. All well and good, as I did not get too close, but you can guess a few things about him, even without being able to see his face. For starters, you can probably guess he is either Chinese or of Chinese origin, as he was participating in a Chinese new year celebration in Austin. Next up, tradition is import to him-you can tell by the way he works the puppets. There's just so much revelation under that puppet and yet you have no idea what his face looks like.

In some ways, you don't have to know. I think it's more powerful to not know, to actually imagine what he might look like or what his life might be like. Can you imagine him going to work or to school? Do you think he has children? Do you think he practices his puppet working skills (I can tell you for certain, he does in fact do that but then, I cheated and actually spoke to him.) Even without me telling you the details you can fill in the blanks.

Celebrations do this. They give us our heritage, our history. It's the same history that helps forge us, helps make us who we have become and defines who we might be. We get a lot of traits from our upbringing, from our family, from our culture, and celebrations put this on display. It's little wonder they are photographed so much, as they help define who we are, who we might become, who our children are going to be, and the like. Family, traditions, heritage, culture, it's almost too easy to commit these things to film (or digital camera sensor as the case may be, though that does not sound nearly as romantic.)

So, yes, this week we mark celebrations of all sorts. I hope you have your camera ready and make the most of these treasured celebrations.

Until next time...

(This image from the archives.)