Art and the Adult

Satya

62. I was visiting my best friend and her kiddos a few weeks ago. In the seven year old’s eyes you can see a sparkle, no, more than that. A quiet fire. A spiritual/creative freedom, uninfluenced by the needs of survival, the pressures of time. A talent and imagination that made me yearn to be unencumbered once again. One of her many ongoing projects is in creating these little cards. Scraps of paper (she finds beauty in that they are scraps, so do I) filled, sometimes to the edges, sometimes sparingly, with color and movement and figures so small and intricate that they demand you pay closer attention. I had only been in town for an hour when she showed me these, and instantly knew that, like small things and childhood growth, they would get scattered to the winds before long. So I had her choose her favorites – an afternoon project of sorting and evaluating unto itself – and then help me lay them out on a sheet of paper. She was highly concerned of my motivations. Was I going to tape them down? Glue them down? Keep them? I assured her no. I was going to make art of her art. So we laid them out in rows, made patterns, and I photographed the whole thing from above. She didn’t understand the intention, but played along. I printed the photographed piece, mounted it, and mailed it to her a few days ago. A 12×18 collaborative project with her aunty. I was proud. Her mom wrote me an email this morning, entitled: “Off-label uses of Aunty Stacey’s present”.  After love and greetings, she wrote: “The art photo you sent is so lovely. To my adultish horror, I found that they [her son and daughter] had drawn on it with markers within 5 minutes of taking it out of the box, but then, I guess it’s their art, so maybe it’s all good, and I’m the one with the creativity problem.” I had to laugh out loud. They say that youth is wasted on the young. Maybe creativity is too.

How Light Moves

2461. This image of Karen on her wedding day has always been one of my favorites, not just for her gorgeous expression, but specifically for the way the light wraps so delicately through her veil. That ribbon of light as it flows over her shoulder sort of knocks me out.  How many times have you heard “Here’s a picture of this gorgeous scene I saw on vacation…oh, but it was so much more impressive in person.” That is not a fault of the camera, the technology or the lens. It’s because of light. Controlling light, forcing it to become indirect, to wrap, flow, squeeze through spaces, is what creates dimension within your images. It is what tells the story that our eyes and our hearts can see.

Plans Best Laid

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60. My parents were traveling to China, Singapore and Vietnam a few years ago. Well traveled and flexible, they are also uber-organized. My mom researches fully, and has back up plans for her back up plans. But this trip was different. It was long, it involved planes, trains and automobiles (and rickshaws and boats too), three countries that they had no experience in, languages either. As they were leaving, my mom looked at me and said “I have all of these plans, and nothing should go wrong. But what if it does?” I responded, “Well, then you’ll just make another plan.” That simple statement freed her to believe that even if it doesn’t work out the way you had intentioned, it will work out. One way or another. And often the unanticipated outcome is the most interesting one. I often think of this approach as a greater lesson for life. When we get mired in wanting it to work out the way we thought it would, we become attached to the outcome. Trapped by a perspective of what “should” be. We suffer disappointment by focusing on what didn’t happen, rather than appreciation and openness for the path we did not plan on traveling. I’m not there yet, but am trying every day to live in this space of acceptance. The connection with this idea and this photo? Little newborn JW cried for every last second of this shoot. Which was in 95 degree weather and compressed into 45 minutes before the park closed. But you know what? You can’t hear crying in a still photograph. We just made a different plan.

The Walk

1259. This life is a journey. Of love and of heartbreak. Of success and failure. Of music that calms us, amps us, brings us back to a memory or forward to a goal. And of smells that make us stop in our tracks, breathe in a bit deeper. Pause for a moment. And remember. In my 20’s, I would buy olive oil soap from Kiss My Face, and bring it on journeys that I anticipated would become sentinel moments in my life. Semester at Sea. Working on a farm with my first boyfriend. I tried to wire my brain preemptively, to know that when I smelled that soap in the future, It would sweep me back to the memories of India, Vietnam, Seattle, or South Pulaski, middle-of-nowhere, New York. Much the same, still photos of moments, the ones we perhaps don’t even know were captured, can transport us right back to a memory so rarely accessed, but as vivid as if it were happening in this very moment.

Shifting and Changing

98-Edit58. I met with a close colleague of mine yesterday morning for coffee. We haven’t seen each other in years, but share a similar path. We happened upon the question of posing clients. Not often do either of us do so, but sometimes it’s necessary.  As the young children of my clients grow older, they become aware of how they are perceived, how they look. And as a result, I have a new opportunity to shift with them. To guide a pose into relaxation. Calmness and presence. And a self assurance that we all want to hold onto – forever.

The Flow

AntelopeCanyonSmall57. There’s a lot of talk circling about these days about getting “into the flow”. The flow. The groove of creativity where it just feels easy, almost mindless. When hours can pass and you emerge wondering what time it is, and how long it’s been since you’ve eaten. Harmony and ease, humming along, creation flowing without the hangers on of judgement, edit, competition. Those hours and days, though fleeting are what pushes an artist like me.

Everyday Moments

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56. The simple everyday moments are often the most beautiful.