The Long Way Home

To Disappear: the Stasia Project

mirrors are like finding your twin

I’m most inspired by places when creating photos. It could be a grassy field, a brightly colored house or in my recent Stasia project, the mostly-empty third and fourth floors of the art gallery downtown where Jeff and I curated a show this past September. When I first saw the rooms, it was a sunny day and the natural light coming through the windows was just insanely beautiful. I didn’t know what project I’d do in those rooms, but I wanted to take advantage of the space and the light.


a meta shot from 'to disappear'

My friend Anastasia is a great model. She’s easy-going, incredibly patient and willing to do most whatever I ask of her in order to get a shot.


from 'to disappear'

Initially, I thought I’d use some of these photos for a Day of the Dead project that never happened (Jeff was going to take one of my images and do something with it in Photoshop as a collaborative project). But I didn’t want to be confined to a specific project — after working on the fairy tale series, my main goals here were working with natural light, negative space, monochromatic backgrounds with pops of color, and experimenting with long exposures since the day that I took these was rainy and grey. 


debating the physics of flight


portrait of stasia

I tried different filters in photoshop on this photo and finally settled on ‘deep yellow,’ to give it a warmer hue:



I love photo shoots like this because I allowed myself the freedom of doing whatever the hell I wanted and not worry about being perfect. I was also excited when my friend Kim came in from downstairs to shoot off two pictures – she’s an amazing, talented photographer and it was fun to work with her again, even if for just a few minutes. 


photo by Kim Rullo

Now I have a batch of photos to work with over the next month or so and a new-found love for long exposures. 


the red elevator

One of the photos featured on Utata.


Dividing the Goose and the Art of Leisure

wojojlizcardslargeJeff and I are co-curators of “Dividing the Goose,” a multi-media fairy tales exhibition at Future Tenant in downtown Pittsburgh. The opening is September 18 and the show runs through October 17 featuring artwork by: Stephen Boyle, Alexandra Etschmaier, Kyle Ethan Fischer, T. Foley, Linnea Glick, Roya Hamadani, Ben Hernstrom, Michael Lotenero, Jody Perigo, Laura Vincent and Michael Vincent. Working with Kate, the FT director has been awesome  and I’m so excited to see all the pieces in one room, finally! 

The title of the show is from a Russian fairy tale — a peasant man must find a clever way to divide a goose among many people when there is only one to go around. After reading through all the artist statements, I can pretty much sum up in one sentence how fairy tales affected the artists’ works: Fairy tales scared the shit out of us as children. 

We haven’t been able to travel much all summer because Jeff received a Sprout Fund grant to paint a city mural in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Morningside (I’m so proud of him!).  And while my hubby is busy away working on various freelance projects, I’ve been sitting on the couch watching deliciously terrible films, not feeling inspired much to do anything. It’s summer, right? I’m allowed a creative vacation.

But this past Monday I finally picked up my lazy self and started working on the fairy tale photos I took at the beginning of the summer. It’s amazing how distance makes you see your artwork in a whole new way. I remember taking the photos in June and thinking a lot of them weren’t what I intended. After flipping through them the other night, a whole world opened to me, much like it does when I write stories and let them sit, then go back to them months – years sometimes – later. I should learn to apply what I know from writing to photography, but I still have a hard time making them connect. 

I want to thank Erica Stratton for finding my photo “morning ritual” on flickr and including it on The site has really beautiful, inspiring photography, so I felt honored to have one of my pieces on there. And thank you S. for encouraging me to submit my photo to the Silver Eye self-portrait exhibition – that helped get me back into photo stuffs again.

You can also find some of my other photos along with the secret Toboz-family stuffed cabbage recipe in issue #’s 8 and 9 of

Now that I’ve completed my shameless self-promotion, I’m going to watch more crappy movies this afternoon. I need a break from all of this typing.



The Girl with the Silver Hands

This September, Jeff and I are co-curators for a fairy-tale themed show at Future Tenant gallery in downtown Pittsburgh. Stasia was the guinea pig for my fairy tale photos. I found it a challenge to interpret fairy tales through photography — we more often see the tales depicted in paintings and illustration. I wanted to do “The Handless Maiden” and considered ‘dissolving’ her hands in photoshop to give the effect of a handless appearance (which I  still may do), but having limited props, a beautiful sunny day and a lovely model were all I needed to create another version of this tale, “The Girl with the Silver Hands,” reminding me about the magic in the limitations of photography. I need to do some shadow and highlight adjustments on the black and whites (and she may even end up in sepia), but here is a preview of what I captured yesterday: (‘final’ versions can be found at flickr.)

8X8 color stasiastasiaupsidedown

An amazing photo by Jeff:


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