Mannequins

I don’t know what it is specifically, but mannequins unnerve me.  I have been volunteering at a local history museum for the last year and there are a number of theses silent watchers sprinkled around the exhibits. Most of them are broken, their qualities amplified by the mood of the old building,  the wind creaking against its roll up doors and metal windows, and my solitude while cataloging.  Where once I found them merely offensive to my feminist leanings, these ladies have also taken on — in the moments I don’t keep my imagination in check– the role of weeping angels, and I am reticent to stand too close (or take pictures of them) while alone.  Damn Dr. Who reruns.

Last summer, I found this delightful subject being prepared for a new exhibit and was itching to work with her. The best of the lot, I was fascinated by the lines across her body– not only is she a ubiquitous representation of a generic (and unreasonable) ideal, her malleability to others’ wishes is actually built in.  Brilliant! Knowing I had only a few days to catch her before she was dressed as a WWII housewife and docilely placed in her assigned exhibit, I rallied my courage to meet her gaze through the lens finder whilst alone.

Gracefully I was, at the time, working on an exhibit with a very kind and understanding social anthropologist who was willing to stay with me a few minutes after we finished cataloging one day, keeping an eye on my subject – and my safety, lol- while I played.

Settle

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“How could you ever feel comfortable if no matter where you went you felt like you belonged someplace else?”
― Mark Peter Hughes

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I took this shot on a business trip last year, mesmerized by the tumbling shadows and highlights of the sheets on my hotel bed when lit by the early morning light.  The swells and valleys were like tumultuous waves that belied my belief that I had slept soundly and confuted my confidence that I wanted not.

Submitted this week to Leanne Cole’s excellent Monochrome Madness collection.

Tide Pool Guests

2014_07_27_0342_e_squaredetail“You don’t need to be the tide to rise and fall,
you don’t have to be a wave to touch the shore;
just be a little sand-grain and feel them all”
― Munia Khan

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Last summer, I had the excellent fortune of finding myself at Otter Crest Hotel on the shore of the Pacific – at dawn and at low tide-  with my bare toes buried in the cold sand at the edge of my very first tide pool experience. Moving from rock to rock, I was captivated – the sun coming through the fog still clinging stubbornly around a cliff- the seagulls, stretching their wings and catching some breakfast – the eel grass creating a layered canvas, alternated with the pockets of ocean water- the small sea creatures that carved niche homes in the shallow pools.

I don’t think I sighed so deeply or so often all of last year.

A Palate Cleanser

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I don’t know why, but I was mesmerized by this composition tucked away in our botanical garden- discrete, balanced, and demure- just outside the luxurious, almost ostentatious, wisteria wedding courtyard.

Submitted this week to Leanne Cole’s excellent Monochrome Madness collection.

Cottonwood

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For Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness collection this week, I have submitted an IR shot of my favorite cottonwood tree – she has branches like lightening and tangled bark that suggests the tree has previously met the real thing.

Lily

2014_07_31_0441-1-300pxDespite my best intentions, my son’s birthday and all the social accoutrement that went with it kept me away from my computer most of last week, so I missed a week of monochrome madness. (If you haven’t seen the weekly compilation, you should check it out!)  This week’s image is one of my favorites comes from my trip to Portland Oregon last summer– a beautiful white lily I found in the shade at the Chinese Garden.

In the course of sizing this image for submission, I realized that all of my pictures from Portland were edited prior to my learning much about the process (or even how to work with RAW files- though thankfully I was shooting JPG + RAW by then).  I have been toying with the idea of giving myself an “anniversary” opportunity to go back and reprocess some of the last year’s photos, given the amount I am learning right now, and pulling this picture up for refresh washed away any doubt I had about the value of such an exercise. (though I don’t know that I am bold enough- or mean enough- to post the old and the new side by side, as I have seen done elsewhere!)

Have a great week!

Monochrome Madness

10 years ago, I packed away my beloved home darkroom and moved into the equally dangerous (and almost as stinky) world of mothering.  A year ago, I finally broke down and purchased a digital photography setup and began the long journey back into an art form I thought I’d all but lost.

10 years ago, I worked exclusively in black and white- monochrome- and loved it.  A holy roller proselytizing the virtue of contrast, composition, and constraint. With the DLSR and Adobe, I will admit, it’s too easy  –  I have taken a real shine to color, especially when the flowers are in bloom. But my heart- my deepest artistic writer heart- still loves black on white- words or print.  There is just a depth there that color can’t begin to touch.

To honor that, for the last month or so, I’ve tried to regularly submit to Leanne Cole‘s wonderful weekly Monochrome Madness postings- wholly intimated by the skill and art of my fellow submitters, but in awe of the amazingly beautiful pictures my work sits beside.  Having made my first black and white 8×10 print in a decade yesterday- that of Miss Esther, on my inkjet photo printer – I once again find myself missing the gorgeous depth of my darkroom prints- the range of tone, the texture of the paper, the acrid smell of the chemicals, the breathless anticipation of a print developing in a tray. If you have a good recommendation for a photo print shop, let me know. My home prints are just proofs, I think, and proof yet that my heart is not foolish in it’s longing to set back up the darkroom.

But- at least on the screen- these submitted photos are a few of my heart’s most recent favorites.

Many Blessings!