Living Room Sessions – August

I have always fantasized about taking empowering photos of women. So many messages in our culture tell us that we aren’t enough or that we need to be fixed.  The mass media (i.e., television, magazines, billboards, movies, websites, blogs, etc.) … Continue reading

It is National Doughnut Day: Meat on a Doughnut is Where It’s At!

I love the State Fair for many reasons. Here is one of them: The junk food. Anything can be fried and/ or served on a stick. Anything. And it is only in the spirit of the fair that you suspend … Continue reading

Stinson Beach

As we were leaving San Francisco, the sojourn was impossible to prevent. This is the one part of my trip I stood up for. I knew my husband didn’t understand why it was such a big deal and I was … Continue reading

Stacey and Jenny

I was flattered to be asked to document the sweet friendship between two bohemian Americans who met in India while studying Ayurveda. Not many people can cause me to feel boring. This reunited duo had my inner goddess all revved up … Continue reading

My Year in Pictures: 2012-2013

I have been going through my work from the past year in preparation for the SCNPA (South Carolina News Photographers Association) Pictures of the Year Contest and enjoying the exercise. Self-critique is important and it is always a good practice to have … Continue reading

Chinatown

Meat, laundry and tourists. That’s what I saw the most of in Chinatown. This is the second in my photo series from my California trip. I was a sightseer in San Francisco for three days before resting in my sister’s … Continue reading

Mission San Francisco de Asis

Mission San Francisco de Asis

I am going to be posting a series of photos taken in California in December. I am starting with images from a morning spent touring Mission San Francisco de Asis, popularly called Mission Dolores. We toured it on our first morning in … Continue reading

Photobooth

We walked in to Photobooth from Valencia Street. It was a simple gallery-type setting. The clean white walls and podiums were covered in photo art and retail. On display were plastic fish-eye cameras, cameras on keychains, refurbished Polaroid Land cameras. It was a candy store and I was the proverbial kid. I wanted to supermarket sweep the whole place.

I came to see the process and I was not disappointed. To our left, there was a live portrait session going. Straight ahead, a woman was finishing some plates. “We need music,” someone said. Cue music.

Michael Schindler is keeping alive a photographic process that dates somewhere from the 1850’s. He creates wet-collodian tintypes. The photo is created from his camera right onto an aluminum plate.

But, it is more than that.

Antiquated, dead, obsolete? You only have to walk inside the shop or, better yet, take a look at one of the tintypes to see why we still value this. You are looking at a singular moment, crystallized. One unique expression of yourself. Never to be duplicated. Living like a breath. Bathed in silver. Corporeal. Spectral.

“I realized right away, ‘Ah, this is what I’ve been looking for,’ ” Shindler, 40, says. “With a tintype, there is no negative, and you can’t reproduce the image. The plate gets changed by the light coming off the person. It’s direct physical evidence that the plate and the person were in the room together, like a thumbprint.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Photobooth-shop-offers-tintype-Polaroid-shots-2439116.php#ixzz2HPJRRJ00

The tintype marked a time in history when photography was accessible to the working class. The previous Daguerreotype being affordable only to the wealthy. From the method to the storefront, Photobooth gives equitable access. Well done.

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not Cry: Pictures with Santa

Having your picture taken with Santa is a rite of passage.

You are never too young for Santa's lap but I think there might be a cut-off at some point...probably about fifteen-years before this was taken.

You are never too young for Santa’s lap but I think there might be a cut-off at some point…probably about fifteen-years before this was taken.

Not everyone has the same traditions, sure…

…and we don’t all celebrate the same holidays…

…and I’m not saying everyone should have to promote ideas of charity and unconditional love coming from a jolly old man with fur-trimmed boots…

…but I sure do!

Keeping this household as magical as possible is one of my maternal obligations. It goes sciatica, labor pain, Santa. In that order. And if you don’t believe that I get up every morning to walk the unicorn before I have tea with the gnomes in the garden, well then, I think you are boring. I still totally support your uniqueness so don’t be mad at me. Call me later.

Photos with Santa don’t always go well. They often end in tears. It is an idea ranking somewhere in the realm of birthday-party-clowns. A classic reminder of the distance between childhood and adulthood.

I have no hard data but I am giving us all a fifty-fifty chance that the event will go down like a mug of toasty hot chocolate, with all the warm fuzzies of a towheaded toddler in a sweater vest with a penguin on it.

The rest of you will just have to take comfort in the fact that your child has misgiving about sitting on a strange person’s lap and find a way to laugh about it. There are plenty of online galleries. There is even a book on the topic. Google it!

If you are a gambler, there are some fine local Santas in Columbia, SC!

Check out:

I know firsthand that Cynthia and Grookett are quite capable of creating a beautiful, tearless shot!

This is not a definitive list. Feel free to comment with your favorite.

One Must Imagine Sisyphus Happy

I have spent so much time in school learning how to use equipment. That was the first really big goal. Getting to know my F-stop, shutter speed, ISO. Manual focus vs. auto. Aperture priority or program mode.

Then I was learning about chemicals in the darkroom. What to leave in and for how long varies depending on paper type, brand of film and temperature of the developer…among other things!

Once I felt pretty confident about all that, I turned my attention toward other details. What is the best way to photoshop out an “exit” sign? How on earth do you pose a model? Where did I put my lens cap this time!?

Then, I was searching for the light…

Golden Hour
golden

Blue Hour

Blue Hour

Happy Hour
Happy Hour

A hallmark of photography is that you are constantly learning. If you think you have plateaued, it is really just your brain taking a break from the Sisyphean pursuit of achievement.  You have probably just produced something really great looking, something you are really proud of. Congratulations, my erudite friend, but get back under that boulder because there is always more work to do!

I am constantly thinking about my work. When I am not shooting, I am often planning. Lately, I have been thinking more about what I am saying and, more importantly, what I want to say with my work. When I am more in control of the message I feel I will have accomplished the next big thing.

Recognizing that you have a long way to go can be a very frustrating thing.  It also means you have come pretty far.  Mastering all those other skills gives you the freedom to be an artist. At least, this is what I tell myself every time I look at someone else’s wonderful photo and know I am not quite there…yet.

I have spent some time pondering a sneaky collaborator: the influence.  Sometimes I seek it out and sometimes it pops up on me in ways I never expected.  More insidious than the artists you admire are the pieces of popular culture that actually creep into your aesthetic. I grew up in America in the 80’s. Popular culture was the aesthetic. Try as I might, I can’t “take the mall out of the girl.”

As an homage to my precarious perch on the next great foothold on this dang mountain (…to belabor the metaphor, a.k.a., The Myth of Sisyphus), I am linking you to a youtube video that is an amusing amalgamation of my influences. Before he was spit-shined into a reality star, Ozzy was just a simple Rock God in a leopard-print robe, serving up breakfast for his family and a documentary film maker. At the intersection of rock-and-roll and domesticity. Suburban artist. Complete failure at normal. Scrambling eggs.