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Monday
Aug032015

Onion Eater

This is my second try for this shot--today with Cornelia. First version was shot a few months ago with a very giggly Chloe as model, and they came out well, but I like the colors better in this version. This image file has not yet been touched with any kind of post treatment. As usual, Cornelia was really helpful not only in modeling but also in talking through some of the decisions for the various scenarios we shot. I also did a large paper moon reshoot--I made a new, much bigger moon and then had to revise some of the other props. I discovered an amazing art supply store in the neighorhood where I bought the paper and some other stuff. 

I have had a really productive couple of days: Sat, Sunday and Monday were dedicated to shooting my work and making my own art. Joel's loft was empty for most of the weekend, so I worked over there for long hours. Part of the time Oliver was there, and part of the time I was alone. I tried to make the most of it--but I averaged only one final shot per day. I will post them in the next few weeks. 

Having this big chunk of time to dedicate to my work has been great. A boyfriend of mine explained that as a freelancer he keeps different days of the week for different projects--one for paying work and one for his personal work and so on. Which makes sense, and I've tried it, but it is pretty great having a long run. I was able to prep for shots as well as shoot, and revise and redo along the way. It seemed more efficient and is certainly more satisfying!

Saturday
Aug012015

Paper Moon

Still working out this idea. I like the way the camera reads the surface and creates that glow around the paper. It helped that this paper was very reflective. At the time I liked the lopsided shape of the moon, but now I don't think it works. I want it to look just on the edge--with some signs of being handmade, but only noticeable upon inspection..I think I'll reshoot with a bigger and rounder moon.

Early morning lap swimming at the Red Hook pool is doing a lot to keep me sane in the heat and funk of August. I love all of it--the bike ride, the clear water, the sunlight, the oak leaves on the bottom of the pool, the strange currents that seem to change throughout the hour I am there. I am still thinking of escaping to California for a few more weeks, but I have had interviews every week, and it seems like I do need to be here in NYC. 

Tuesday
Jul212015

Moon Pour

Above is a recent experiment with something I've been working on. Oliver helped with this one. I am trying to explore some 2D/3D experiments..more to come. I have been testing the camera on its limits, and I am finding it does some things that I like, like low light and this oversaturation on the highlights in the image above that creates a fuzzy glow. 

We are just back from two weeks in California, inclduing one full week at above 10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada, which was totally mind blowingly great. If you want to see a little multimedia I made of the Sierra trip, click here. So far its been tough readjusting to NYC and the relentless heat and stink. We are spending a lot of time at the public pools and that is helping.

Monday
Apr062015

Apple iphone shot

I am hoping I can be forgiven for posting such a decadent photograph, but this time of year the light really is spectacular. The impact is greater because we are so light deprived for the last half of winter. The winter sun rays can be bright, but they do not warm the skin.

Oliver went with his dad to North Carolina for Spring Break, so I spent Easter working in my studio. The studio is mainly a mental construct, as it is the same physcial space as our dining room, but it still works. I've been very productive before with just a kitchen table, so I won't let the lack of space stop me. It is always hard to start again after a long break, but it went OK.

Now that I'm not making polaroids anymore, and not updating my sketchbooks with polaroids, they have stopped being as useful to me. I also feel distance from the ideas I found in them. Hopefully this distance is a good thing, and it might make room for some new ideas. I have started cataloging inspirational images I come across into my Google docs folder--maybe something digital will replace part of the sketchbook function for me. 

Thursday
Mar052015

Wild Pigeon Essay is up on Daylight

I was captivated by photographs from Carolyn Drake's project from Xinjiang for the first time years ago, and the interview with the Uyghur grandfather that Carolyn had recorded (and now published on the backcover of the new book). It made a strong impression, and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to write about it, and to do it on a new multimedia platform that allowed us to incorporate some ambient sound from Xinjiang. Above is a photograph of jade miners from the book.

The essay/book review about Carolyn Drake's new book, Wild Pigeon, is live on Daylight. Building the multimedia story was work for both of us, but it was really great to be able to edit together in real time, and fun to be working together on a project. The platform, fabl, was user-friendly for audio, video and photography--but not so much for text.

Because I finished it over Christmas, I also had time to discuss ideas with my father--an archeologist--who was really engaged with the images and themes. He is interested in how environments and landscapes become encoded with meaning through use and habitation--and the Uyghur old towns and images were rich source of both.

 

Sunday
Feb222015

Snowpocalypse 2015



This week I had two shoots and one scout--video and photography. Both shoots were out of town and required a 4 AM wake up time for me. I was so tense by Friday that my shoulders were bunched up around my ears. I decided I needed a drink, so I met up with a friend and had some cocktails, then met up with a bunch of friends for more drinks and dancing. When I woke up in the morning no water would come from the faucets. The pipes had frozen overnight in my building, and all the water I could find to drink was a small bottle of water in the back of the fridge.

I cancelled all plans except for a run in the thickly falling snow down to the Red Hook pier. I watched the ice moving in the thickened and stilled water, and looked in vain for the usual landmarks like the statue of liberty. All was obscured by gray--you could hear the boats, but not see them. The landscape was mystical, stunning--like another planet or an arctic shore, underscoring the feeling that this is a winter of the new climate.

Sunday
Feb152015

Still Life Interlude

 

Three days this past week I was in the studio of a still life photographer, Adrian Mueller on a shoot for an Amercian food company. It was a daylight studio, with a wall of windows on the 9th floor of a Soho building. Adrian used big wall sized bounces of foam core: white on one side and black on the other to use as needed. I really enjoyed being there and seeing Adrian and his stylists working. The prop stylist, Alex Niki, was especially generous and fun to work with. I asked her for advice on how to shoot something I've had in mind, and she told me all about styling a scene of "exploding" rope. She is a problem solver with a lot of what archeologists call "environmental intelligence". In more than one way, her work is similar to what artists do. Above is a photo of Adrian and the stylists working. 

I've been shooting the past two weekends, and Chloe came over again last weekend and modeled for me. I had to gently ask Oliver to leave us alone for a little while, so I could concentrate and try to get into the zone. There is no question that I miss my studio. Not having a studio where I can shut the door makes transitioning from my day into trying to make art that much harder. But it is not impossible--and I should not allow myself any excuses. I just need to get it done. 

I have been thinking over why I got out of the habit of writing my blog regularly--and a lot of it had to do with moving to California and becoming a completely solo parent, 3000 miles away from Oliver's dad, my co-parent. I also had to give up trying to stay in touch with friends via phone or email, and instead tried to keep our life moving along, and the paychecks and groceries coming in. 

But it is more than just those reasons that got me out of the habit. It is the persistent knowledge that I can't really say what I want to most of the time. Partly because of my jobs--first, at The Wall Street Journal, I felt a responsibilty as a writer working for them--that most of what I might want to write about relating to my job was off limits. I also signed something to this effect at The WSJ and at Addison, where we are not allowed to say who our clients are. 

So, the reasons for this dampening of the blog are real and sometimes just percieved. I often feel like what I can say is so limited that it feels futile. When I first started blogging I could be more personal, because no one knew about my blog. Eventually, it was being read, and sometimes by up to 100 people or more a day, when I was blogging once a week. Of course it made me happy that people were reading it, and that was great, but the feeling that I was keeping an online journal had to be modified. 

Saturday night, I had a sweet Valentines day dinner making my first risotto--all on Facetime with Jonathan. We chatted, drank wine, cooked the same recipe, and then ate together by candlelight. We had a great time, and it was almost as good as doing it in real time. 

Sunday
Jan252015

All That Glitters

 

This photo was made a few weeks ago with Chloe Beck modeling. I'm still getting used to the D800, but I liked the way these came out. Hoping to shoot more soon. Work has been stressful and extremely busy with the long hours of busy season kicking in. When the weekend arrives, there's not that much of me left over for new projects. Today is Sunday, and while I have a few moments to myself this morning,  I'm making some sketches for a new shot I have planned.