The Long Way Home


Snowbound
February 23, 2015, 6:32 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , ,
January: Gem Way

January: Gem Way

The world stops when it snows, and with it, I nest. I have felt low, trying to figure out where my art is going and what, in general, to do next. And I recently received heartbreaking news about a dear old friend, which I’m trying to process. I’m being vague, but it’s something I don’t want to go into detail right now (to protect her privacy as well as my heart). In short: I’ve been in hiding.

Gem Way to Penn Avenue

Gem Way to Penn Avenue

I remind myself that it’s okay to take these small breaks from life and tune out for a while. One of my biggest dreams is for one solid week of peace without distraction. It’s funny how years ago, I wanted bigger and bigger things, and as I grow older, my desires become much less complicated.

snow days

snow days

We’re in the thick of a deep-freeze which has made it difficult and uninspiring to go on long adventures, so instead, I wake early and bundle up, tucking my pajamas into boots, and trek out back through Gem Way, circling around to Penn. Morning snow crunches underfoot, the occasional car drives past, reminding me I’m still in the city. It feels as if I’m the only one awake on this well-traveled road, snow falling, camera clicking. I realize I don’t have to go far to get what I want.

fences

fences

wonderland

wonderland

when the world stops

when the world stops

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Winter’s Edge
December 19, 2014, 6:18 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , ,
Abandoned houses in East Liberty. l. by me r. by Jeff

Abandoned houses in East Liberty. l. by me r. by Jeff

For the past nine years we’ve been together, Jeff and I make the ordinary an adventure. A trip to Home Depot becomes a photo opp across from the parking lot; a stroll down the Big Lots “international foods” aisle provides us a basket full of spongy, coconut-flecked cakes from Spain. Driving home from work, we’ll take a left turn instead of a right one, just to see if there is something different along a route that we’ve taken hundreds of times before, and there usually is: as early darkness softens the turns of season, we get ready for the first real snow. Colder days, thick black nights – we fill them with old movies, warm simmering stews, and plans for the coming new year. We are full of light.

East Liberty: A tree in an empty lot across from Home Depot.

East Liberty: A tree in an empty lot across from Home Depot.

l. Point Breeze c. Garfield r. Bellevue

l. Point Breeze c. Garfield r. Bellevue

Found while walking: Strip District, Friendship, Garfield.

Found while walking: Strip District, Friendship, Garfield.

l. Old farmhouse, Neville Island r. Diamond District, Downtown

l. Old farmhouse, Neville Island r. Diamond District, Downtown

l. L r. J

l. L r. J



(Snow) White Wedding
February 14, 2014, 6:39 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , ,
Snow Queen (I had to sneak  in an instant film shot).

Snow Queen (I had to sneak in an instant film shot – PX600 Color Impossible Project)

Each time I go to complain about the cold, I think back to last month on January 4, when these two lovely kids exchanged vows on the Clemente Bridge at 9 in the morning. Jeff was my assistant, and the two of us layered up to brave the cold, clear day – nine degrees and just as we parked the car to walk over the bridge, Kendra and James emerged from the parking garage, holding hands, and as she lifted the hem of her gown to cross the street, revealing blue velvet shoes, I started to tear up. James is an old friend from high school whom I haven’t seen in over 20 years, so yeah, I got a little sappy, and felt honored that they asked me to capture the quiet moments in their big day.

From the North Shore

From the North Shore

Ft. Duquesne Boulevard

Ft. Duquesne Boulevard

Clemente Bridge

Clemente Bridge

Grandview Park, Mt. Washington

Grandview Park, Mt. Washington

Boots!

Boots!

Grandview Overlook

Grandview Overlook

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love

love



Frozen
January 2, 2014, 6:39 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , , , , ,
Route 22, Delmont

Route 22, Delmont

It’s been a little quiet here on the blog since we had computer problems sometime in mid-December. We fixed that problem, updated some software, and hell: I feel like a new person all ready to kick some new year’s ass! I used that time to work a lot over the holidays, but also take a small break from social media. Sure, I peeked in each day to see what was going on, what people are up to – but I tried not to get sucked into the vortex. I’m starting off the year doing three things that put me out of my comfort zone: pitching a magazine article to a publication I admire; shooting the wedding ceremony of an old friend; and writing a TABLE article in a week while working full-time. This is the year I turn forty, and if I make one resolution to myself it is this: proceed with fearlessness. 

Christmas Eve Day, Neville Island

Christmas Eve Day, Neville Island

Quality Cleaners, McKees Rocks

Quality Cleaners, McKees Rocks

Gem Way, Garfield/Pittsburgh

Gem Way, Garfield/Pittsburgh

Frozen, Neville Island

Frozen, Neville Island

Christmas Day, Downtown

Christmas Day, Downtown



Notes From a Pittsburgh Winter
February 3, 2013, 9:59 AM
Filed under: Pennsylvania | Tags: , , ,
l. the ghost of my nagyi. r. snowbilly

l. the ghost of my nagyi. r. snowbilly

A lot happens in eight years’ time. Grad school and travel, a marriage and a death. All the ordinary moments in between that you track through the seasons, all the people who have come and gone  – the people who matter most. This is what really stays with me, and how grateful I am that they are still in my life. And photography, – which existed before in my mind, but I was afraid to pick up a camera because the technical aspect of it scared me. Some of it still scares me, but I take photos anyhow because I have too many images in my mind waiting to climb out. Winter is difficult in this city: it’s bitter cold, and we don’t get many sunny days to begin with; toughing it out makes me feel stronger. If I survived an Osijek winter pretty much alone, I can take on my city. Some people love a rural winter landscape but give me a city snowscape any day. The snow softens a building’s hard edges, hides the street scars – the intense overcast sky makes all colors that much brighter.

l. found while running errands. r. found while walking home from work.

l. found while running errands. r. found while walking home from work.

looking up

looking up

through the car window

through the car window

l. allequippa st. r. a stranger's backyard

l. allequippa st. r. a stranger’s backyard



Osijek Winter
January 21, 2013, 11:42 AM
Filed under: Croatia | Tags: , , , ,
drava river

drava river

Before I married or became an artist, I quit my job of seven years, cashed out my 401K and took off to Croatia to do volunteer work at the Center for Peace. People thought I was brave, stupid or crazy and looking back, I’d have to agree with everyone. Most people turning 30 were planning weddings and buying baby strollers and there I was, giving up everything. I had spent time visiting my pen pal in Slovenia years before, and taught English to Bosnian refugees in Pittsburgh, so I had developed an interest in former-Yugoslavia and its politics. I wanted to give up everything because I felt burdened with the usual 9 to 5 routine. I was also having difficulty with my mother, whose mental state was becoming so painful to deal with, I felt I had to move thousands of miles away from home to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My plan was no plan: I’d go, find teaching work, see what it’s like to live day-to-day instead of with routine, a challenge for someone like me who plans everything.  I mostly experienced solitude, peppered with surreal interactions and relationships  – it’s been hard for me to write about. Indeed, it took me years to even look through the photos I had taken with my Canon. I spent a lot of time documenting my everyday world there, and in some of these shots, I see my eye just beginning to show signs of a photographer emerging through the lens. These photos were taken during a snowstorm in January 2005; I’m sure I was on my way to one of the kinos (for some reason Osijek had two movie theaters flanking each end of one block, playing the same movie for weeks), my lunch of kulen and grain-bread wrapped in a napkin in my bag, the finger tips cut off my gloves so my hands were free to shoot or write. These prints are the only copies since I lost the negatives somewhere  along my journey.

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waiting for the train to pecs, hungary. it never arrived because of the storm.

waiting for the train to pecs, hungary. it never arrived because of the storm.

the number 2 train

the number 2 train heading west

i walked everywhere in this city with a giant skeleton key to my apartment tucked away in my bag.

i walked around in this city carrying a giant skeleton key to my apartment in my bag.

outside the national theater

outside the national theater

snow-ladened grapevines

snow-ladened grapevines



Sunday Afternoon
January 13, 2013, 10:37 AM
Filed under: Art Gallery | Tags: , , , ,
sunday afternoon

sunday afternoon

I’ve mentioned this before, but I keep a photo journal to sketch out concepts or images that pop into my head when I’m doing something else (more like diagrams and text – my drawing talents are nil). What I’ve learned from this process is that the ideas serve mainly as the starting point for a photo shoot – rarely do my first ideas ever come out on film. It’s part of my orderly nature to go in armed with a plan, but the unpredictability of film is teaching me the art of letting go. Last Sunday I went to Sarah‘s, thinking she had a window seat in her new apartment. And that the day was going to be cold, yes, but sunny. And that my timer wouldn’t be a bastard as I hooked it on the camera. None of this was true, and Sarah was patient through the afternoon as I worked with what the day gave me.

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