Everything looks better in black and white. 🙂 (I know a few hundred people who’d agree.)
Spring Mill Park- Mitchell, Indiana – a warm day in February, on a day trip with Josh and Brianna- very little editing/Lensbaby Composer/ f/5.6
It’s 6:57 a.m.
I’m listening to Sonata 3 in C Major BWV1005 by Bach and crying over Sylvia Plath.
I’ve been on this Plath kick for almost a year now. I used to be so harsh and judgmental of her. (“Well that’s what she gets for sticking her head into an oven!”) I didn’t understand her, nor did I try to until I read Rough Magic- her biography by Paul Alexander. Sylvia and I share several things in common. We’re both writers (dare I make such a claim?), perfectionistic overachievers, we both lost our children, we both went mad, and we were both locked away in an institution many years ago- having suffered breakdowns halfway through our college majors (and before)- and then immediately dusted ourselves off and jumped right back into the academic ring- no small feat.
I have a new respect for her, and until I began comparing notes, I had no idea how similar our lives were/are. I think she’s one of the most courageous women I’ve ever known. It’s not easy to have a colossal breakdown (pardon the pun) then pick yourself up again and carry on in the faces of all of the inquisitive eyes and naysayers…dream shatterers…
I’ve been reading her recently published (very private) journals, all night in fact. What a privilege to be able to wile away the hours reading her personal diary! I clearly have a fascination with her, but not only that- her poetry is by far, my favourite of anyone’s- Anne Sexton weighing in at close second. For me, nobody can touch these immensely talented and troubled women, who were both personal friends of each other (In fact, they shared a poetry workshop class and Plath admired Sexton greatly) who took their own lives at their own hands.
I read this in Sylvia’s journal earlier, and this is what made me cry:
Remember about the shadow of past knowledge. Write about your own experience. By that experience someone else may be a bit richer some day. Read widely of others experiences in thought and action– stretch to others even though it hurts and strains and would be more comfortable to snuggle back in the comforting cotton-wool of blissful ignorance! Hurl yourself at goals above your head and bear the lacerations that come when you slip and make a fool of yourself. Try always, as long as you have breath in your body, to take the hard way, the Spartan way – and work, work, work to build yourself into a rich, continually evolving entity!
I’m listening, Sylvia. :0)
I received my audit from my University several days ago: my petition to graduate has been accepted and I’m expected to graduate this December on the 7th at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center. It’s been a long four years! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pull off a Behavioral Sciences major- I had to face certain doom and unspeakable tragedy (sexual abuse as a child, institutionalization, the loss of my children, insanity, years of being battered relentlessly by an unforgiving system), but it’s been worth fighting for and I had to prove to myself that I am more than a “label” that has a fancy name of this disorder or that. I will not be defined by a clinical title or even the thought of another person, for I’ve chosen to maximize what I’ve learned in school and minimize the trauma I’ve lived through.
Still, I can’t help but to be heavily influenced by the likes of Plath- she stood up in the face of terror itself and fought as long as she could. But what an incredible talent! I’m going to heed the words in her journal and I’m not going to be ashamed of my past and what I’ve lived through. It’s a miracle just to be alive.
I’ve decided that after I graduate, I’ll transfer over to Southern New Hampshire University, which is a private coed and one of the best schools in New England to work on my BA- not for Criminal Justice- but for Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. Plath has inspired me, completely, and has reminded that I’m an artist and a writer, and have been my whole life. I have the skeleton already- which is the passion- but I need the BA in Creative Writing so I can flesh out the bones.
I’m already a starving artist, what will it matter?
Life has been a blur lately of exams, cramming, writing essays and reports: I have 5 weeks to go!
And, I have 5 A’s in all 5 classes still. Go me. :0)
Josh stands in the golden hour sunlight down at the River.
Canon Digital Rebel/Super Takumar 135/3.5 film lens
And Heidi, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for your introduction to Plath at Olive Garden years ago. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even be doing this whole school thing. xo
Bob’s friend, Justin, came to stay the other night and brought over his little friend, Tibbers. (Aka Fuzzy Lumpkins, and Esper.) He’s only three weeks old and was abandoned in Alabama. Justin’s mom brought him back with her and now he belongs to us.
Josh fed him this morning from a plastic bag with a tiny hole poked in it then gave him a bath. (I’m convinced he’s the cutest kitty in the world.)Lensbaby Composer/ Double Glass/ f/4- ISO 800/natural lighting
I can’t believe I’m still up at 1:46 a.m.
The house is pretty quiet;
Brian Bob is hanging out in his room with is friends, Brianna is sleeping. Josh is in the living room occupying himself and I’m getting ready to fall out of my chair. There is no way I’m getting up at 6 in the morning.
We went down to the river today so I could grab some coloured water shots with my Lensbaby. Try as I might, I can’t get away from shooting in monochrome. The pics that I do shoot in colour don’t stay coloured for long. Everything is prettier to me in black and white (and duotoned). I’m deviating back to my old ways of darker moods, heavier shadows, and dramatic lighting but I love it.
Bob and Josh are chopping up watermelon now. Today would have been my Dad’s birthday. (Technically, it still is, though he is in heaven.) I’m seriously downplaying the craziness that has become my life lately. My mom was hospitalized- near stroke- really, the list is way too long to name. If I were to write about every crazy (weird, sad, bad) thing that happens to me, I swear people would think I’m making it up. Nobody goes through this much crap in one lifetime!
Yes, somebody does.
I know I’m not the only one.
“I think I’m going to do it,” Brianna said to me earlier.
“Why do you talk like that? What’s wrong with you?”
[She went on to explain that Anthem Bluecross Blue Shield had interrogated her on the phone and I suddenly understood why she felt that way.]
“Why don’t you grow some nads and take it like the rest of us?”
This is our typical mother and daughter bonding. She tells me how bad life is, I tell her that it only gets worse. We have grown on each other over the years, she and I, like an old married couple.
“Brianna, you’re an old curmudgeon and you’re only 18,” I say.
She looks at me as if I’m a robot. She looks as if she’s a robot. She doesn’t blink or show any emotion. I laugh.
“Give it another twenty years, Sissy,” I say to her. “The party’s just getting started.”
Bob is dancing and humming as he eats his watermelon. He shifts his feet sideways almost mechanically. It’s 2:04. Time to hit the hay and do it all over again tomorrow.
Lensbaby Composer/Falls of the Ohio
Josh, gazing at the dam
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass
f/2.8 -natural lighting/ISO 100
sh. sp. – 1/4000/Falls of the Ohio
I may or may not be showing several of my water pieces in a “water exhibit” soon. (More on that later.) For now, it’s hush-hush.
I went out today down to the Falls of the Ohio (which I actually named “Fossil Rock” when I was a child, 30+ years ago) and grabbed some water shots with the Lensbaby. Although I’m not exactly a novice with this particular lens, I’d be a fool to be so comfortable to think that I don’t have much room to improve. And, truth be told, the more I learn in photography, the more I feel that I need to learn. I’m always restless and, artistically, never satisfied- always pushing to grow and learn new things. Years ago, I had considered going to art school. I’m glad I chose to study Behavioral Sciences instead. With art (and photography in particular), the world is my teacher, the camera is my canvas, and lighting is my brush.
Josh and I are headed back out to the dam area. The (possible) exhibit allows only 3 pieces to show. It’s a juried exhibition- I’m excited. (But again, more on that later. It’s not quite “in the bag”.) I can rap off 500 shots in under an hour, and I do that frequently. Selecting only three pieces from a day’s shoot of thousands of pics is like trying to find a flea on a mountain.
I’ve also been invited to show several pieces in a Berlin exhibition. (Yeah- that Berlin!)
Again, it’s a juried exhibition and I want to do it, but I have to be selected first: it’s a bit if a waiting game. I’m still pretty behind in some of my classes and I’ll really need to put my nose to the grind because the exhibition deadlines are within the next week. Time to set my alarm to 6:00 a.m. every morning!
Off and running…
Public of your Past/Canon G3/self portrait
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.
Falls of the Ohio/Water
The Hiding Place/My daughter, Brianna-reworked(added film filter + mastered levels and hues)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
Thirty one Hours/ My daughter, Heidi,Reworked
Lensbaby Composer Pro/ Double Glass/Canon Rebel Xti
Times Square/New York, New York
Multiple Exposure/Sigma 17-70
Warhol/ Warhol exhibition (Campbell’s soup cans)
Museum of Modern Art- New York, New York
Warsaw/ Abandoned Government Facility
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.
My daughter, Heidi/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
He’s Leaving Again/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
Interrogation/ My kitchen chair in natural window lighting (my favourite lighting)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
Self Portrait/Long exposure experiment/Canon G3/manual (8 secs.)
Shadows and Leaves/Harvest Homecoming/Canon G3/Manual
This past year has been a hectic one. I sold my Canon Rebel XSI + Sigma 17-70 + 50 MM 1.8 + Canon EF 75-300 + Canon EF 18-55 for rent $ and bills when the recession hit. I was left only with my 4 MP Canon G3. I’ve been shooting with that thing for nine months straight now. (Yes, I have cried tears!) This forced me to become a more creative photographer and artist. I chose to shoot in only manual (RAW), adjusting my aperture and shutter speed (and ISO). Naturally, this is more work, but it bonds me to the creative process. We labour together, the camera and I. I want dynamic lighting and shadows and I want film grain. I want motion blur. I want to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. I have no resolutions for 2012. I only have the desire to be a good mother, an inspiration to others where my work is concerned, and the courage to continue shooting in manual when my new camera arrives in a few weeks. (I have chosen the Canon Rebel Xti. I really don’t need more than 10 MP for my particular style.) Oh. And did I mention that I want to get into street photography? (I believe I’m tapped out in the “apartment photography” genre.)
I took these out in the field the other day. I found that black works well with long exposure photographs. 3 sec. exp’s./ISO100/ F.8
Chai (and my love of film grain)
My kitchen chair- 8 second exposure/handheld/Canon G3/abstract
A splash of colour: previous work
And some tree shots