Things on paper.

Seraphim Fire Photography

I absolutely love idioms.
Things like, Stay the course, and Keep your eye’s peeled. I love that they ring out from years and years of consistent historical change, but the expressions themselves never do. I love the random and strange language of them, and that you can tell where a person is from when they use one or another in particular.
And I love  that when you ask someone, “Which one is your favorite?”, they almost always smile…
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Maybe it is because they are remembering when first they heard it, or perhaps they loved the one that taught it to them, but in that moment I can watch them disappear into the depth of a memory.

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I can only assume that these fabulous phrases have stayed so stead-fast because of their truth. Something that we are all searching for, I think.

They suggest some sort of direction from the past; a way to avoid catastrophe, the right way and the wrong way, with a punctuation mark at the end of it.

It was in the first dog days of summer that I started to notice them, everywhere. Like being quietly followed by figures of speech, I was astonished by how often they were used by me, and around me.  And a few weeks into June, as I combed over the calendar & my fast and furious wedding season, I thought of the very best one.        

* Wear your heart on your sleeve.
After a little more than 40 weddings spanning 5 months, I have seen a pretty wide variety of styles and personalities within the amazing spaces throughout Colorado. The truth is, I am getting to know my state better than I ever have.
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Driving to places like Nathrop (Listed as a Colorado ghost town), Beautiful Evergreen, or my most recent personal favorite,  Grand Lake.
(Which I had never visited before July of this year, and now I find myself planning sneaky ways to head west on I-70. Perhaps a milkshake from Dairy King is in order?)
Oh the places you'll go.

The most tremendous thing about all this adventure, other than the traveling  & pleasing visual atmosphere, is the awareness that I have from it.

In turn, I have new gratitude as I watch (& capture) all these people sharing their own thanks, for one another.

Seraphim Fire Photography 
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Like a very bossy fly on the wall, I am given the gift of documenting people’s choices. To show off their style, or their love of music, the outdoors, or God.
And each time, no matter what those choices might be, It is the authenticity of true love that always remains the same.

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Seraphim Fire Photography

Seraphim Fire Photography

* Go for broke.  
In January of 2012 I received a phone call from a woman in the Denver area that was embarking on her own small start up making handmade Polish Pierogi, using her own grandmother’s recipes. 

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Her goal was to keep the food natural and the visual marketing creative & simple. I was hired to shoot a few commercial images for her product packaging, and now more than a year and a half later I have designed her website, and helped her brand and market her now very popular product.
(I confess, not only am I completely hooked on her sauerkraut & wild mushroom pierogi, I am hooked on  her warmth & friendship as well.)

Anna Postek, owner of Bistro Charlotte, is a shining example of what a little gumption & a lot of dedication can do for your future, and for our local community. Visit her at http://www.bistrocharlotte.us  & support local business.
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*The apple of my eye.
Many of my bookings, when I am not surrounded by the bliss of young lovers, are still dedicated to the pretty young;  with no shortage of love either.  And in the last few years, many of my clients also happen to be old friends.
Introducing Hudson Maley, whose parents I have known since 2003…
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I am beginning to think that If the eyes are the window to the soul, then our children are the door. Because as the years continue rolling forward, and more of my dear friends have children of their own, there seems to be a change in their capacity for joy.
Like something opens up, and lets the air in.

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That is not to say that those of us that have not taken that plunge are without joy, because my very large glass of wine right here suggests otherwise…and it’s 3 pm on a Sunday.
What I see instead is that in a new way they are able to see themselves and their impact through small but very clear eyes.
No wonder then, with each chance that I get to spend time documenting a family together, I feel a little bit like a part of their crew.
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* True blue.
A few weeks before Mindy & Levi Davis celebrated their first year of marriage, I received an email request from her to plan a WW2 themed boudoir session for her military sweetheart. So, In the days leading up to our session I searched for a venue that would do justice to Mindy’s delicate features and show off just how perfectly suited she is for the 1940’s pin-up style.

Seraphim Fire Photography

Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography

When the day finally arrived, we chose the Wings Over the Rockies Museum, where in the early hours of morning we prepared Mindy for her close up in a 40,000 square foot hanger built in 1939.

Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography
At the end of the day, I felt that familiar gratitude creeping in under the door. Because I used a very heart felt passion to help someone else express their love, and the opportunity came with a history lesson.
I want to thank all of our service men and women for their on going sacrifice.
Also, thanks to Rachel Seymour from The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, for setting us up with such a tremendous space to work with. 

* A light at the end of the tunnel.
This particular idiom is usually used in times of struggle, but I think that the light is always there. Like idioms or history, trying to give us some direction when things don’t seem so clear cut. Seraphim Fire Photography


Seraphim Fire Photography

Seraphim Fire Photography Seraphim Fire Photography
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For some of us, it is our instinct to follow it…
and spread it all around.

Help us spread the light by sharing this post with a friend.
Or visit http://www.seraphimfire.com to book a session.

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Life of Pie & Corresponding Theories on Memory.

Over the last twenty years, I have collected hundreds of images. And in that time they have started to look different to me or to say something new. Either way, they have defined moments in my life and given me new ways to feel about the things that I could not change. They have even acted on behalf of my memory, kindly replacing the characters from those pictures with the cast of my own life. I have postcards from almost every place that I have traveled, torn pages from magazines that I can no longer remember ever having. And even after the numbers of them have multiplied, perhaps growing out of hand, I always know when one is missing.
I have to go searching for it, and grow sad as each hour passes, and finally forces me to let it go.
Now, I try to photograph all of them (or scan them) whenever possible, and Drew laughs at the concept.
A copy of an image, in order to preserve a memory.
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The human memory, with its web like structure, is an amazing process. If you haven’t read up recently, ideas about how memory works have evolved. When I first started researching the topic I, like many people, treated my memory as just another part of my body. I would exclaim that in addition to near sightedness, I had a bad memory.
It turns out, I was being more short sighted than near sighted right then.
Now, when I smell my mothers perfume, grown thick and sticky around the edges of an antique glass bottle, the path of that memory follows exactly the same one that it did 23 years ago, as I stood leaning hard against a white laminate countertop, short enough to have to squint my small eyes to look up at her. The many different areas of my brain, linked together by the hippocampus, will begin to fire and in a flash I can see her there in front of me, and hear her voice down low in the folds of my auditory cortex.

I was unaware of it, I think, but this concept may have contributed on that first day that I picked up the camera, aiming it all around & feeling assisted by indisputable captures;
the light that stained that film was to be the blueprints to my future.

And because I understood, even then, that things remembered can bend toward the subjective, it was not enough just to remember.

Life must be Documented.
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And then, in the summer of 2007, I traveled all the way to Istanbul Turkey to wander blindly through ancient country.
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I remember miles & miles of olive groves, & cats everywhere, & Incredibly good food. (I love olives and tomatoes.)
I remember sitting way up in a tree, at a meditation camp that we literally stumbled upon, and feeling that things would be changing soon.
I remember drinking red wine with complete strangers, and breathing deeply in all the amazing possibilities ahead of me.
But the air does change, it has to. We change. And thanks to hundreds of images I can return again, anytime I want, to the City of Ephesus, or sit alone in those olive groves.
(Miles of repetition; a comfort to my senses that use to surprise me.)
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Despite all of that, what I remember most was the conversation that my two companions and I shared on our very last night in that amazing Republic.
A conversation that was the start of the change that I had been sensing all the way up in that tree.
We talked about pie. LifeofPie_Blog111

Selim Morelevi is a native to Istanbul and four years my senior. We had never met until the day that I arrived there, along side his long time friend Christopher.
It took us a little over 6 hours to bloom though, falling open like books, spilling stories forth like small children. It was 21 days later, as we sat in the dark at a small cafe table; Selim giggling as I reluctantly sampled beef tongue for the first time.
As much as I remember the test of that strange cuisine, and the various colored lights that speckled the Galata bridge, I can not remember how the conversation started. But Selim illustrated the space in front of him with a concept and Chris & I looked on, shaking our heads in agreement; like a head bangers ball, all enthusiastic.
He said that he looked at life like pie, prioritizing each piece carefully, things like family & relationships, hobbies & whatever career you choose.
“You can have as many pieces as you want, but there’s only so much to go around. Your pieces get thinner and thinner as you try to add more, and frankly at that point they stop fulfilling you.” He smiled and looked down right then, and I knew that he was proud of his metaphor. Christopher sat to my left, distracted. He was thinking about all of his pieces, counting them silently on fingers under the table.

I know that this is no new concept, and there were certainly no theorems to put down on paper that evening, but six years later I still think about it, and I call it memory pie.

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I think what fascinated me most about what I learned in all my reading about memory was the concept expressed by Dr. Fiona McPherson on ‘the role of emotional memory.’
She supports the idea that how we feel directly affects what we see, and therefor, what we remember. It seems to me that if this is true, and in turn we repeat those paths each time, we should treat ourselves and our memories delicately;
taking care of what must last. Like our bodies, or the earth.

Because our memory is always taking pictures.
Copying down images to preserve what was there.
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Feedback is encouraged and as always, thank you so much for visiting Seraphim Fire Photography. finalSFP22

A Travel (B)log: Changing lanes…

The apex of my circumstances these last few years have usually taken place behind the wheel of a car, or in the seat of an airplane; there is always and of course, the lens of my camera too.
It has been a period of transition, as they say. But luckily,  I believe that we grow the most when placed outside of our regular routine.
(It could be that I believe that because I can’t remember last having one.)
So, in both a blessings wake and what would feel at times like a dare, I traveled from one end of the country to the other; changing as I went, my entire life.

September:  Olympia, Anacortes & the San Juan Islands

If W. Clement Stone was correct , and we are a product of our environment, then I am the product of a small green suitcase with one broken latch. In both the state of our living and all the states that we still have to travel through, I have realized what few items are my desert island five, and how to strategically fit them into the suitcase with one broken latch. It is a shame I think, that I can not sift the salty sea air of Washington and some how steal it away in these last days of September; as summer drags her fingertips across the Sound just one more time.


We have been living in one long narrow room for five weeks. The tenants of a local Olympia hotel while Drew will finish what the military calls his ‘ETS’. It stands for ‘estimated time of separation’, one of the many acronyms that I have learned in the last two years. So to break out of the monotony of working and waiting, Drew & I filled the car with our two dogs, his pack and my little green suitcase and headed almost four hours north to ‘Deception Pass”.

(Named by Captain George Vancouver in 1792… “Feeling that he had been deceived by the nature of the inner waterway… he wrote on his chart ‘Deception Pass’.” )

To cross this amazing channel means that you have finally arrived in Whidbey Island, just the first in a long and beautiful string of Islands in the very north corner of Washington. The plan was to spend the weekend on the shore with family, coaxing mother nature into kind temperatures….


She listened so well that we didn’t leave Anacortes for almost three weeks. Instead we combed the beach and made boats, played pirates and always stayed “just one more day.” One of those rare times in life when we followed only our bliss, while we let the rest sit waiting.



October: ‘Our last gasp’, the I-90 stretch and an early Thanksgiving in Mexico.


We finally left Washington in the early weeks of October with two walkie talkies and a dog in each car to keep us company. It took three days on I-90, which meant time to enjoy the way that the color of the sky changed as we passed through Idaho in the early morning, the moon rise in Montana, and
the density of the dry Wyoming air. For me, it was a welcomed change. Like Colorado was waving hello, and I knew it wouldn’t be long.



We only had two days in Colorado before we hopped a plane to Mexico for an impromptu Thanksgiving with my family. (On October 12th!)
It was just enough time to find an apartment and lock it behind us.

 

What a blessing that we should once again find a reprieve from all the change; with only the shadow of love to fall underneath. It was one early morning on this trip that I stole away to simply sit and give thanks.

 


A few days later the reality of my  ‘best laid plans’ surfaced. Seraphim Fire had a wedding booked at the end of the month, which meant that I had four days to get the sand out of my  suitcase and pack for the next flight.

  

Sasha Gil, a beautiful and long ago friend from my days in New York, works in fashion and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her fiance Wallace is from Greenville, South Carolina. For a chance to capture their southern wedding day, I would head East.

           
           

It was my first time visiting one of the Carolina’s, and turned into one of those magical trips that made me want to (despite all odds!) pick up and move again.
I suppose that is the curse of being malleable. Each place I have been, I have left a small but imaginative piece. One that can exist right there, and maybe never go any other place.


November: Coming home.

On the plane ride home, I imagined clicking my heels together slowly.

Like Dorothy would have.

I immediately pictured myself in Drew’s arms, and I thought of the dogs taking up my side of the bed.
I always thought of myself as a gypsy. Someone who flowered along the roadside. I realize now, that  my home is not defined  by which state line I land within, and it isn’t ‘my next big adventure’ either.

Now, when I picture the future, it always has just those few simple things.

And of course, my camera.

I wish you all the happiest of holiday’s, and I remind those that find themselves absent from my photographs to give me a call.
Because I celebrate life through the lens, you (come one, come all!) are always welcomed.

Please visit http://www.seraphimfire.com for contact information,
and if you enjoyed this blog post, please pass it on…

“Let’s stay together.”

There truly is no telling when inspiration will strike. For me, as July just started creeping in, it was on board a 220 heading back to Seattle. I can officially call it a trend now. Whenever I am flying, all those dormant thoughts and considerations are pulled to the top; demanding proper notice. And it is not conversation that I want. I long for clean lines on a page, or the familiar click of my keyboard. (Secretly, I wish it was more the clank and clutter of my typewriter. But TSA would have a field day with that.)

Heading west from Chicago Midway, I sat there in an aisle seat thinking about age and memory. I think that ageing is miraculous because it makes us all collectors of people and things that, thanks to our amazing cognitive skill, link themselves to memory. When I catch a glimpse of my tattoos (a moon and baker’s dozen of stars across my upper back) I always recall how I felt the day that I got them.  I felt brave and independent, but I had support all around me.
Like all the stars in the sky.

Most of you can relate to this, but if you still need proof, think of your senses. Your mother’s cooking, your grandfather’s aftershave, or the combination of the outdoors and a specific bottle of wine. The sight of the label makes you smile all alone in the grocery store, and even though the memories sometimes hurt, the power that we have as humans to transport ourselves back in time…
In that way, we are never really separated from anyone.
It is the greatest trick that I have ever learned.

As most of you know, I have been in the home stretch of a deployment with my soldier. Since very early March we have each learned the survival skills necessary to make it through months of rare and scattered conversations over very dodgy phone lines. The time difference is a fascinating 11.5 hours between here and Afghanistan, and obviously there were weeks that we could not match our schedules.

So, to survive the time and reconnect with myself, I planned a trip for the last half of the month of May. I had work waiting for me in Denver, and then I would continue east to Chicago and for the first time really take a look around. I have driven through the windy city twice before, but this would be my first official visit. While there, I would also have the pleasure of  watching a very dear friend of mine graduate from Rosalind Franklin Medical school of Chicago.
 

Lindsey Ann Long is a stunning woman of extreme intelligence. She has also been my best friend since 8th grade. Although small in frame, her warmth is consuming. And if you could weigh her heart it would read in quadruple digits. I love her more than chocolate. But mostly, I love the way that she can always some how help me see myself in a new way.
A kind and more forgiving way.

And then, while sitting in the Civic Opera house with ‘Pomp & Circumstance’ playing all around me, I allowed myself to pull apart the dense damn that had been blocking some very pushy emotions; holding them back for fear of drowning. I remembered the day that we met, (I wandered into the wrong gym class. A new girl in a new school, a couple hundred miles away from Texas.) The day we separated after high school because we had been accepted to separate colleges (to me it felt like the severing of skin), and now here we were all these years later and not a beat had been skipped. It got me thinking though. What is it about me that attaches so deeply? That feels so passionately locked into a moment? Inevitably, in this fast world, is it a weakness or a gift?

A few years ago I read a quote by Tom Robbins that said:
“I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred.”
I loved it. What a very clear call for balance.
(The funny part is, I had always remembered it as being “I love nothing, everything is sacred, I love everything, nothing is sacred.”)
See that’s the thing with memory. It is subjective and personal, and usually… wrong.

There are certain parts of ourselves however, that we simply cannot change. We cannot change our family or our skin. We cannot force ourselves to see farther than we do at one time, and we cannot against all effort, stop being who we are. We can say for a time that we are not that. We can even lie for so long that we believe it to be true, but in my opinion we share just as much nature as we do nurture. The key, I think, is to respect the fundamentals.
I am a lover. I love the earth and all it’s simple textiles.
I love music and travel, and when I am driving long distances I sometime imagine myself a tour bus.

I see now that my passion gives me power.
It lets me show a child what their parents looked like at their age. I have seen them, in that moment, transform. He see’s a completely new person in his father and in my imagination that change creates new pathways for the child. Hopefully, they will be courage’s enough to keep exploring. Because the truth is, our parent’s growth is tandem to our own and the lead is always changing. There is never a moment when they are not capable of surprising you.

A few days before my departure I sat with a girlfriend at the breakfast table, our plates nearly cleaned. I said that I loved getting older because no matter what, it meant improvement.
“Improvement for me means joy, and the word choice is important. Joy is different from happiness, which is actually pretty easy to achieve. If you have a good attitude and a little perspective, happiness is always there. It can lay low, of course, but if you just look around you’ll see it is blended into the scenery. Birds fly around with it, the sky sometimes let’s it fall, joy however is a little more difficult to spot. It is usually a gift, given when you didn’t know you needed some, and it has this familiar but far away smell. Like childhood. Joy is stronger and lasts for a shorter time.“
She laughed when I said all this, and gave me an adoring smile.
“Oh Rea, I just love you.”
And right there, joy joined us at the breakfast table.

Regardless of our age, we are all getting older, everyday. You can argue that as our bodies and minds are developing, that we are gaining, but we are losing too. Along with dexterity (and ah! elasticity) we are losing the ability to love openly.
We feel silly, or embarrassed by strong emotion. We just grow out of falling. I wonder if it is because we are so much further up?
   Boudoir
 

People usually confuse this tragedy with maturing. So we make fun of people who are uninhibited, and we think we know better about the way some one else should be living.  And the sort of lame thing about it is that some of us are right. Some people are frustratingly careless about their choices, and some strangers are rude for no reason. Some children do need more discipline and the younger generations will always be out of touch. Even though if you really stop and look, nothing ever really changes. (Good one big guy, good one…)
 

The problem is that our focus on those things only personifies them, and then the only thing getting drowned out is the light.  With out light (and love is that if nothing else) we are incapable of seeing where we are headed. It is a substance that can be directed anywhere you want it to go, allowing it to enhance things already present. When you really love someone you allow them the pleasure of being just what they are, and forgiving the naturally dark parts. You do this because you remember that you yourself have them. You  also know their story, their particular struggles and weaknesses, and with patience and understanding you just love them through it. Because you know that really is the only thing.

That’s what the Beatles meant, that is what God is made of (regardless of which one you believe in), and that is what I’m selling here.
Because there are not many living things out there that ever flourished in environments of darkness & containment.

I am setting up the camera now…
Everyone get together.

I am also happy to announce that my sweet heart finally made it home. I want to thank all our friends and family for their support during the deployment. We are blessed.

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Part 2: “For anyone who has ever had a mission” Statement

I’m not sure what it says about me that in early December, on the eve of my 29th birthday, I am swaying to folk music in my pajamas. It is 6:08 AM and I have been awake for over an hour. I am not thinking about how far I have come during this year or what I want for myself in the year ahead.  Not just now, no. Instead, I am thinking about Christmas trees.
I am also thinking about the spelling of Joan Baez, the cold & empty feeling of the house when Drew has left it, and the height of my eye from the ground in its relative distance to sea level.

All of which I would like to address. But first…

Day 1: The sound of the alarm clock breaks into my dreams without actually waking me. It is one of those mornings where I went on thinking that the house was on fire until the coffee makers rough grumble reminded me where I was, and that that foggy look in the room was just the sleep in my eyes.
The clock on my microwave came into focus, 4:12 AM. By eight the entire pot of coffee was gone. Found my old twin lens camera that a very dear friend gave me, and one rogue roll of film in an unpacked box way up in the loft.
Because I can not remember the films age, I assume it is from art school. two year old film. To most people, that makes this roll of film ruined, to me it seems an opportunity for something amazing and unique.
What ends up being most amazing is how long it takes me to load the film into the camera.
Goal one, Shoot more film.

Day 3: The third in a series of extremely early mornings. It is a Wednesday, and I spend almost 13 hours in front of my computer. I love Wednesdays.
My work space is settled on the backside of our living room. A large open space with a bay window where I have taken over our dining room table and made it my desk. At one point, the sunny sitting bench within the bay could be opened, and may have contained some antique treasure.
Now however, because  this house is nearly one hundred years old, and sunk into a damp city in Washington, it has swelled shut. The only things that I can seem to imagine there now are my spooky assumptions of what was lost inside.
This is one of the many reasons that I love this house. This is the one corner of our living room that stays lit throughout the whole day; even when the storm last as long as I do.
Which is exactly what has happened today.  The sorting through of nearly 4,000 images shot in the past month. Some will be used for marketing, and with any luck I will find a new logo for Seraphim Fire in the pile. The rest, far more importantly, will be printed and used at Christmas time.
Goal two, make prints & build something beautiful out of them.

Day 5: When I was a kid my parents had this theory that things readily available to my brother & I would become less appealing. For example, a large drawer in our kitchen sat fully stocked with candy. We were famous for this, my brother & I. While over for play dates, my friends would shamelessly eyeball the candy drawer, while I played on unaware.
I must admit that their theory held out well into my adulthood. While I love sweets, ( I am not immune to Chocolate) I don’t really eat much candy. I do however, implement the candy drawer in my home now. It is an act of nostalgia more than anything, but it also continues to make my house pretty enticing.
The trouble with our candy drawer is this, “it is a place where fortune cookies go to die.”  At least this is what Drew said to me the other morning while searching through our drawers for something. “I am going to throw these away, ok?”
The funny thing about all those fortune cookies is that while I never eat them, I love saving the fortunes. I love giving them to people as a pick me up, or because they just fit. I like finding them on days that I can not concentrate, and just like a cloud that takes shape, I find new motivation in the day. So naturally, I protested like Drew had just threatened to get rid of the dog.
He gave me kind of a funny look and then kissed me before leaving for work, and once the door had shut completely I looked at Carl (our black lab) and said, “Crap buddy, now what am I going to do with like 30 fortune cookies?”

Day 8: My lists have begun to pile up around me like waves. Every once in a while when I am really focused, even the rustling of papers sounds like the ocean. I have had the beach on my mind lately. If this has ever happened to you, then you need no explanation. If not, then it is sort of like the shifting of a boat when the current is strong. It becomes very difficult to anchor yourself down. Figuratively speaking.
I thought of all those fortune cookies, and  all the piles of digital files that needed organizing. My internal movement took me, without thinking, into our kitchen and emptied the candy drawer into a large mixing bowl. The candy was sent back, but the bowl of fortune cookies sat next to me at my computer, and I cracked one open. “Your future is what you make of it, so make it a good one.”
Goal three, open a fortune cookie each day.


Day 12:
Call me crazy, but the fortune cookie idea really works. It is so easy to get weighted down in the monotony of a job, or a routine. The trick is to make it fun, or to give it a fighting chance. That is exactly why things like fortune cookies exist, right?

Some days my fortune doesn’t really apply: “You have the uncommon gift of common sense.” (Heh heh heh).
Some days it rains, and I clearly get someone else’s fortune. “Your day will be filled with sunshine.”  (Not if you live in the north west.)
But then Some days I accomplish even more then I set out to. “Your path is arduous but will be amply rewarding.”

And that was the night I finally finished the logo, and then some.

Day 13: We finally got to the beach.


Day 17:
Late in the afternoon I Drive to Seattle to shoot an event for PROVAIL and make some amazing new connections.
Back in 2004, during an afternoon art history class, I made a friend in an awesome girl who made her reputation as a screen printer.
Kelly now works with PROVAIL, a company based in Seattle, that is dedicated to meeting the needs of people with disabilities. (www.provail.org)
Tonight they are hosting a wine tasting event and silent auction inside the McKinstry Innovation Center. (www.mckinstryinnovationcenter.com)
The building itself is artful, and huge at 24,000 square feet, but also take into account the art work, free raffle give aways, and the six booths of wine from all over Washington State.
Thanks Kelly, for all the art & the history.

Day 19: “I realized something today,” I am leaning over my plate and I can’t see him, but I know that Drew is laughing at me. He is letting his mind skim blindly over all sorts of things that I could have realized. (That I’m a lousy driver, but will never admit it? That I listen to the t.v. too loudly?)
“I never shoot horizontally. Or if I do it is really rare. I had a hell of a time designing an album today because of it. Stupid templates.” I mumbled that last part.
“Well, you should start. People like horizontal shots and those templates are there for a reason.”
There was 2 1/2 minutes of silence before Seinfeld cut to a commercial and Drew looked at me, still smiling, lips pursed.
It was like he was trying to give me a head start before I launched into a passionate run-on sentence about how vertical shots were so much more interesting, and something about cropping.
It was such a thick excuse that I lost track of it.  The next morning when I sat down at my computer I reached for a cookie.  “Bad excuses are worse than none.”
Goal four, stop making excuses.

Day 20: I finally applied to a gallery downtown. ‘Childhood’s End’ besides being a co-operative space, (something I will forever support) is located on a corner directly across from the marina. It looks to be almost 1000 square feet and houses not only pottery & hand made jewelry, but a range of specialized pieces done by local artists;
Artists that I would love to learn from. It didn’t take a fortune cookie to motivate me today, this is the place that I want to be showing my work. I turn my portfolio of Love Letters over to a lovely dark haired woman at the desk and share a short conversation, resisting the urge to ask her a million questions.
She does explain though that I had just barely made the cut off, as they take a three week break from Jurying new work during the holiday’s.
When I got home I opened a cookie, just for good measure.
“People find it difficult to resist your persuasive manner.”

Day 23: I leave for Mexico at 6AM. As is the tradition in my family, we spend Thanksgiving together (the only time all year that I see my siblings and their children) at a little place an hour south of Cancun called Puerto Adventuras.
We have been going there for 13 years. 

Allow me now, to introduce you to my Clan. My dad, Robert, is a sixty something dark & handsome, with exceptional math & vocabulary skills. Pam, my step mother, is equally stunning.
A grandmother to now five grandchildren that fill our home during the holidays, she wanders behind them kissing and cleaning up skinned knees;
egging the children on as they grow. This has become one of my favorite things to watch since the arrival of the first grandchild to grace us.
Pam will light up around children, just like a Christmas tree, and I must admit I share her warmth for them. (The unfettered showering of affection, their candidness, little socks….)
Besides the babies there are four of us, all siblings, but not necessarily by birth. Now each of us have families of our own, ranging in size & development.

Needless to say our family holidays have  also been growing.

Day 29: While south of the border and away from my station in the bay window, I focused on the simplest changes to my photography. (Like shooting horizontally. A change that has made the most difference in my work.)
But it was during this vacation that I started to think about this entry and all the time that continued to pass. Right then I said breathlessly and more loudly then intended, “…What the heck am I going to write about?”
My father was working on the Sunday crossword and made a very familiar face as he looked up; his eye lids pushed together in a purposeful squint. “Hm?”

I rambled as his head sat perfectly level over the page, about my impending mission statement and all the progress that I felt I was making but with no real clue of how to illustrate it. Just then his squint softened into recognition.
I waited for him to speak, but he had just figured out another piece of his crossword.
Now folks, for the past year (as long as this blog has existed) my dad has not only taken part by reading each entry, but he usually lets me know that he has by sending an email, a few hours or even days later, with grammatical corrections and a few suggestions. That is his love letter. The deep desire to see his children succeed and act with ambition.
This time though, it only took about twenty minutes before he looked up and cleverly motioned out to the horizon line directly in front of us. “How far do you suppose the horizon is from sea level?”
Assuming this was something to do with the crossword, I guessed. Thirty something? Maybe more? He didn’t know either, so we all sat there, Pam, my sister Michele & me, taking guesses. Looking out at what was now the sunset.
It turns out we were all wrong. The formula for calculating the distance to the horizon is essentially the same old pythagorean theorem that we all learned in school.
So the height of the individual person, their geographical location, and the arc in the earth are all considerations in the formula.
For me, the distance is roughly 3 miles. Only 3 measly miles!?

Once the sun had disappeared I finally stood up & brushed my legs clean, swatting away the mosquitos. “It just seems so much further.”
Just then my dad’s face softened.

“It’s a little like life, isn’t it? It would be nice if we could always see that far into the distance, but what we can control is how high we stand.”
His smile was almost wicked when he added,
“You know what else sweetheart? It’s never as far as it seems.”

Goal five: Keep growing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The space between romance & reality.

There is a space between, open like a green belt, in the midst of all our choices I figure. It is a space to first be quiet, and then make a move forward or back or to the side. In this space, we are free to remain still however, with reality on one side and romance on the other. Both are possible in this open space, and no decisions need yet be made.
But then, of course, life happens and we are thrown gleefully forward…..

he reason for all this forward motion has to be so that we can grow. So that we can fall in love and evolve and be surprised; most of the time, surprised by ourselves, with all that we are capable of.

When I was younger, during the time of adolescence, I would ride my bike all over the neighborhood until dusk would suddenly break, leaving me to rush home, racing the sunset. My pedals would spin so fast that my feet couldn’t keep up, and the strength of this supposed ‘inanimate object’ would fight against me. I admit, I enjoyed that feeling. The somewhat reckless speed made it fun, and after all it was forward motion.

With all of the different ways to approach a situation, I usually chose the optimist’s. I try to activate the more logical parts of me too, but my emotions are certainly driving the bus. So over the years my friends and I have adopted the awesome ability to ‘seesaw’. Long after we have left the playground we still support each other with balance by trying to find a way to stay up when the other is down, or keep the other from floating away when their mind has ascended; daydreamy in the wide open space of possibility. Not too terribly far away from romance & reality.
(Now that I really think about it, our term is much more appropriate than I had realized. If we could only see what we now saw?… or something like that.)

…that’s the underlying sort of poetry.

A few years ago, I found an image by Imogen Cummingham, of an unmade bed full of hair pins. It was seductive but undefinably innocent. In a way this image seemed childish to me, but I could never explain why?
What I did know was that it captured apart of my heart. Then & now, I wanted this to be the snapshot of my life.

The way the scene seemed to change each day from adventure to lazy Sunday. It captured such a simple essence of what made everyday life beautiful. It was not childish at all.

It wasn’t until the other morning, when I woke up nose to nose with my black labrador, Carl, that I realized that I am getting down to the grain of that shot.        (although slightly altered in composition.) Lifes momentum is seductive & innocent indeed, but it is not fixed. The balance is created by all that growth and of course, forward movement.

So we continue watching the woman we call our sisters move into being mothers…and our children change from babies to boys. And we try to capture it, with our cameras or our pens or with the everyday things…. and we hold on to it in that sweet slow space between romance & reality.