I awoke yesterday morning to this beautiful sight: shadows on my tent wall. I can’t describe my semi-obsession with shadows, even still- after years of photographing and studying them. When I’m surrounded by them, or even in their presence, I feel as if I’m with friends. They move and change and shift and breathe and swell and grow; so many times I’ve been too full of words to say anything and I’ve sat silently among them- as still as a stone- and they moved for me.
They tell stories. They have seen thousands of years and they speak- but not with words. In pictures.
Lately, I’ve been battling this inner identity war: the artist vs. the academic. My mind tells me that I must finish my degree and then pursue a second one in Criminology and Law. It’s my destiny: I’m going to help people. I’m going to stack up a few more certificates along the way (perhaps) and continue to strive in my work so that I can be of some value to others. But the academic is murdering the artist. The artist is now anorexic and throwing fits and lashing out- and really, do I really want to wait until I’m in my 50’s before I do gallery showings and such? Probably 80% of my closest friends have had numerous juried-in showings, publishings, and commercial successes. I want to work on my “Habitat” series and future showing, probably in New York, but I won’t ever do that as long as I’m in school. I simply cannot do both. I’m the first person to go to college in my family- at least on this side of Texas- and then there is only one who has beside me. I come from a family of women who believe that their roles
do not cannot extend further than the bedroom and the kitchen, and then those roles are still firmly instilled into them by a man, or, patriarch.
My free-thinking, wild, Bohemian daughter (Heidi) opened my eyes to exactly how medieval that all is, and she is my strongest influence and inspiration over the years. She’s had her brow and septum pierced, sports a rather large tattoo on her left shoulder, has died her hair pink, green, yellow and blue (was blue in there too?) and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I know that I’ll probably be in school for another three years at least, and then what? Will I be fulfilled as a parole officer? A probation officer? My “artist self” is throwing a fit. I want to take pictures! I want to edit. I want to write poetry again- something I haven’t done in almost two decades. The artist isn’t dying, only sleeping, but I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. I want to record my songs and produce again- so many things I want to do that will simply have to wait.
And so I will.
I wandered around the streets of my hometown on New Year’s Eve in search of “subjects”. I wanted to shoot people but the place was like a ghost town! I’m so drawn to shadows and still life, I’m wondering how I will ever break out of this pattern if I want to venture into street photography. I don’t want to be a simple point-snd-shooter. Composition means everything to me, as do strong lines. I drove to Times Square once, in New York City, and shot street photography at night. My bags had been packed and waiting by the door to go to Texas (from Indiana). my Aunt had been sick and my daughter and I were on our way to see them. They cancelled at the last minute, and so we found ourselves with packed bags, $1,000 and no where to go. I told my daughter to pick a place, anywhere in the U.S. and that’s where we would go. She said, “What about New York?” And so, the next day, we found ourselves driving straight into the belly of the beast: Times Square. Here are some of my photos from that trip: (All photos are shot in manual + natural lighting/no flash.)
Times Square at night, New York, New york
Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70
Modern Day Vintage w/ film grain- Canon Rebel XSI + Sigma 17-70
A mass of people simming in the city sea. W. 45th St.
Near Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70
I had crawled up to this pigeon in the rain.
The guy was eating. I was watching him. The pigeon was watching me.
Then I was watching the pigeon.
Then the guy was watching me. Then he jumped out of the frame.
I smiled politely. Then I snapped away.
Hurley’s. Manhattan, New York and a little bit of GIMP.
Canon Rebel XSI/Sigma 17-70
Muesum of modern Art
New York, New York
A small crowd gathers to study Monet’s Water Lilies.
Canon Rebel XSI- Sigma 17-70
Overlooking Broadway from the Crowne Plaza Times Square hotel. Nice place! Even if the eggs are $9.00.
Coffee for breakfast.
Hanging out on Broadway at Times Square. Everything sizzled with energy. The smell of hotdogs permeated everything and there really was steam coming out of the sewers. Just like in the movies. Horns honked. taxis were a streak of canary yellow and the rain drizzled lightly. It was another world. Swarms of people hustled about- headphones attached, eyes making no contact- disappearing into the night.
The beauty of motion blur/long exposure. One of my many passions in photography.
Broadway in classic “Old Hollywood” black and white.
I was almost laying in the street for this one. I like wide angle shots, and prefer verticals over horizontals. I’ve been shooting verticals for years- and my eye is trained for this type of composition. I feel so vulnerable regarding horizontal composition, in comparison. I’m hoping to practice up in that area over the next year.
As seen from my hotel window at night, overlooking Broadway. I was sitting on the executive office desk Indian style, lens pressed to the glass- full panoramic view. I could see the people in the buildings across from me working out at their office gyms, after hours. I wonder if they could see me.
I was fascinated that behind all of the glitz and glamour of Broadway, this is what it boils down to. The viewers arrived (on Broadway) around the corner in limousines, draped in diamonds, but the stars came in through this humble stage door, accompanied by the grimiest dumpster I had ever seen.
Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
When I walked into the room, it was as if this guy had been waiting for me.
I immediately sunk to my knees and hunkered down to the floor as low as I could go, loweing the exposure so I could get a good silhouette.
I thought it called for a vintage texture (it’s actually about 7 textures combined) and lots and lots of GIMP. I titled the print “Therapy” and sold a matted canvas to a mystery buyer at Redbubble.com for $175.00.
That put a smile on my face.
Museum of Modern Art. I was in the hallway and saw this guy walking up the stairs. It called for a diagonal composition. (Makes me think of Escher, one of my favourite artsits, second to Van Gogh only.)
New York just wouldn’t be the same without its generous splash of fire escapes throughout the city.
But I digress.
Here are a few shots from my walk-around on New Years Eve. The shadows told me it was the right time to go out and shoot.
Film noir/B&W-shadows- it’s where I live.
The streets were completely abandoned on New Year’s Eve. I loved it.
My mother and I rung in the New Year alone in her apartment. She was tucked into her comfy chair and I read to her for an hour out of my book: Anthology of American Poets. (Poe, Dickenson, Longfellow, Frost, and about twelve others.) It was so old fashioned and simple. I took this shot of her two cats in the early afternoon on New Year’s Day. Both cats are black and white. So, this is a black and white shot in black and white of two black and white cats:
My mother’s lamp.
There’s almost nothing more beautiful to me than film grain with a dash of gaussian blur.
In black and white, of course. Heavy on the black.
Canon G3/natural lighting/manual exposure
Most of my friends are artists, painters, and photographers who have solo exhibitions. Sometimes my artographer acquaintances will title their images with a super-long, melodramatic sequence of events (that should be written in volumes), such as:
Although the Winds Beckon Me to Run High Upon the Mountaintop Nevertheless I Will Walk Along this Broken Trail
(Yes, I just made that up.)
I say, call a fork a fork.
Natural window lighting/RAW/handheld/film grain/GIMP/Canon G3/study in lighting and shadows
I took this shot of my son earlier this evening. This is the look I want to achieve with my digital phtography: low-light film.
Exposure: 1/3 of a sec./ISO 100/F. 2.07/handheld/manual/RAW/Canon G3 (I snuck up on him while at the computer.)
When I walked by him, I saw the glow of light on his face (my mind saw it in black and white) and I knew I had to get it.
This was shot in black and white. I find that after shooting in black and white for a while, my eye becomes trained on shapes and lines, and where the light falls off and where it is introduced. I’m forced to see the many shades of blacks, whites, grays, and all of the beautiful tones within. The beauty of shooting in RAW is having it automatically converted into colour once it’s loaded in my editor. (I use GIMP.) So, I shoot in black and white, and the results are colour- but with far better lighting than if I had shot it in colour.
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