The Long Way Home


Quiet Among the Chaos
September 17, 2014, 7:19 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , ,
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It’s been an eventful few weeks: preparation for a job interview (which happened today), publication in Optiko and Pryme Magazine (excited. proud!) and I finally have a website, which I promised to have finished before summer’s end. This blog though is my baby and my writing home, so I’ll be back in a few days to post more. In the meantime, check out my instant photo site. I’ve wanted to have one for so long, and I’m finally glad I got around to it. Now I’m off to curl up with The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton and a bowl of pork dumplings: gifts of nourishment and solitude.

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The Last of the 779
March 26, 2013, 5:03 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , ,
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So this is it: my last pack of original Polaroid film for the SLR680. I purchased it from my friend Juli, vowing to use it for a special occasion. But when I realized that special occasion wasn’t happening any time soon, I had to use it up before it faded to nothing. The detail is pretty good, but I wasn’t happy with the almost-pastel color quality. I like my colors bold, saturated and slightly off-kilter to real life. Here’s the other thing I do a lot when photo-venturing: I get these ideas that a place I’ve been to once in my life looks a certain way, and when I go back to it, it’s nothing like I remembered it. We originally set out to Oakmont to take photos at a park near the Hulton Bridge; but as we weaved in and out of dead-end streets and cul-de-sacs, I gave up and settled on these trees along the Allegheny River, next to a water treatment plant. I set up my tripod near the entrance gate, positive the guy heading into work thought I was a total weirdo taking pictures by winter-dead trees. That’s the beautiful fiction of photography – you usually only get a slice of the story. The rest you’ll never know unless we tell you.

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January’s Gift
February 17, 2013, 9:18 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
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January gave us a near-seventy-degree day which gave me a chance to use an expired pack of film that I originally planned to use for our Halloversary photos.October though gave us a few January days, which were too cold to shoot outdoors. I didn’t want to waste film, so I waited. There is a point where I admit that I have to shoot before it goes to shit, so I grab the camera and head to our backyard: a concrete parking slab with the much-talked-about abandoned building to our left (or right, depending which way you look at it). Black and whites remind me of Sunday afternoons with my sister watching Abbot and Costello movies in our pajamas – our mother wanting us to take advantage of sunny days,  but the two of us content to stay indoors focusing on TV static and crackle.

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Focus
January 11, 2013, 5:17 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , ,
a winter's tale

a winter’s tale

This past summer, I put my Spectra camera in our living room trunk, forgetting completely about it. Sunday I discovered it while cleaning and was happy to find it with fives frames of expired instant film, expanding and contracting through August heat and December cold, now come to light through perfect imperfection. The last few months have been difficult – the holidays, very much so. It’s hard to keep focus when I get depressed, so I try to keep busy, and in the process, I become too busy – I overbook projects and commitments. My day job is really stressful; I’ve developed an ulcer, lost 10 pounds since November. It could be this, or it could be that I knew I had to face a long, dark winter without my mother. It’s been almost two years since she passed away, and I spent 2012 not talking much about her, to anyone. Acceptance arrives at ordinary moments. The other day after getting the mail, I locked the door and leaned my head against the glass thinking holy shit, she’s gone. My breath catches. I tear open the electric bill. The world keeps moving.

I feel as if the first year, I shared too much and so I became guarded. I trusted people I should not have trusted (this, I chalk up to the delirium of grief). Some friends seemingly vanished from my life; loss is much harder for me now. I want to say, hey, I’m no longer death-contagious, it’s safe to come back. I’m learning to live without those people. I concentrate on strengthening  existing friendships, and sharing more laughter (and love – always this) with Jeff. I’ve also grown more afraid – of taking risks, of having regrets if I don’t take those risks. It’s a daily challenge to strike that balance of responsibility and dreaming. So the point is: I drifted away from film, a self-imposed exile to give myself mental space, but I couldn’t stay away. Photography is one thing that will get me through this winter, the rest  of 2013 . It brings me happiness and gives me life.

cat's cradle

cat’s cradle

the necklace

the necklace

bellevue

bellevue

accidental exposure

accidental exposure



Reflections 2012
December 30, 2012, 10:10 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
in our studio window

in our studio window

Mirror shots for me are like bowls of tuna casserole on a cold, wintry Sunday afternoon – familiar, comforting. I never tire of them, no matter how cliché  or overdone they can be. Each project I do, I usually get a chance to sneak one. They’re perfect on-the-go shots, and catching an awesome image while you’re doing something else is the best gift of all – the surprises of photography, oh how they make me happy.

water is the first mirror

found reflection walking home from work

at Lord Amherst Motor Hotel

at Lord Amherst Motor Hotel

breakfast at Bellevue Diner

breakfast at Bellevue Diner

date night

date night

haunted house of wax in niagara falls

haunted house of wax in niagara falls

to sheryl and rebby's we go

to sheryl and rebby’s we go

portal

portal



What We Found Along the Way
November 29, 2012, 4:12 PM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , ,

behind the neville hotel

Before I took up photography, I wrote fiction.  I finished my MFA and went to do volunteer work in Croatia. I spent time there writing in my journals, and emails (letters, really) to friends back home and I took a lot of photos. I carried my camera everywhere with me. This was before I did anything artistic or conceptual. I didn’t think of photography then in terms of story; I documented my days there, and when I tired of finding the ‘right words’ to describe what I wanted people to see, I took pictures. When I came home, I started working in the darkroom and saw how I could tell stories with photos. I’d spend hours in that room, secure under the red light, lost to the outside world – feeling guilty that I was moving away from fiction. Because for years I identified as a writer. Was I betraying this part of me? Why didn’t I know I was a photographer before I turned 30? I felt like I had some catching up to do. In grad school, my writing peers would comment how ‘visual’ my fragmented stories were, like snapshots, and now people tell me that my photos are stories. When Jeff and I walked around Neville Island at the beginning of the month, I took these photos to use up expired film. It wasn’t until later, after I had scanned and cropped the borders, then arranged them side by side that I saw a story – telling what, I’m not quite sure yet, but the blue cast over the film, and the shifting sunlight tied the five frames together.

self-portrait in found mirror

november sunset

what we found along the way

this road reminds me of the film The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane



Cathedral Stories
September 17, 2012, 6:40 PM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,

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You wouldn’t know it, but I took these shots in a church: Saint Paul’s basement in Oakland. I was shooting more church-like photos for another project, and caught sight of that checkered-tile floor as I leaned over the bannister of a staircase. I haven’t shot digital for months, so it felt strange to click off a bunch of frames instead of economizing them like I do with instant film.  I’ve been more cautious with photography this year; I’m hesitant to take risks. I’ve been more protective of my grief, and talking about my mother’s life, and I wonder if this is affecting my creative life as well. Also, Jeff and I haven’t traveled much lately — a typical impetus for picture projects —  but we planned a few road trips for fall which I’m excited about visiting through my lens.

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