...but there weren't many even though it's mid-October.
So my photos are in black and white. Of course, I love black and white so even if the colors had been spectacular my selects might still have been in black and white. These are from Graveyard Fields, an area off of the Blue Ridge Parkway where the colors change first because there was a terrible fire in 1925 that altered the soil, which in turn affects how chlorophyll breaks down.
I took the trail to the Upper Falls this time — this area is pretty close to my house and the hiking is excellent. It's also
I met people from all across the US who, like me, chose Black Balsam Knob to watch day turn into night and then back again in a few minutes time. At an elevation of 6214 feet and within the total eclipse zone, how could it not be extraordinary? Still, we weren't prepared. It wasn't like regular night. It was like magical night. At that altitude we could see edges of light at the periphery so the darkness was a massive swath across the sky with glowing borders. Audible gasps. Hushed voices. Awe.
I didn't take pictures. I just stayed in the moment and let my GoPro shoot video. When it was over we didn't know what to do with ourselves. We all kind of looked around a bit more and at each other then slowly and quietly packed up our stuff, respectful of what we'd just witnessed and aware that we were now a little different than before.
While sitting in my vet's waiting room today the people next to me were talking about one of the founders of Eyedrum, an avant garde art space in Atlanta, who had died recently. My heart sank — my favorite art teacher was a founder. A quick Google search confirmed that, oh no, it was him. Woody Cornwell.
In one design class he taught me more about how to use line, shape, balance and value than I would've ever thought possible. It clicked — the way he taught, the way I learn. He was fun, funny, patient, a rebel, a huge talent and a tireless advocate for artists and their visions. He wanted us to learn the rules so we could break them and then defend why we did it. Notes from his class are in my bookcase and a cutout shape of a chair from one of his assignments hangs on my studio wall.
Mostly he's in the photos that I take. These are a few random shots that probably wouldn't exist had I not known Woody. And here are a few more. I have hundreds, maybe thousands.
Woody, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. Way too soon, my friend. Rest in peace.
Shining Rock Wilderness Area. On the most perfect fall day, midweek.
My grandparents lived very simple lives in very simple homes. Both sets. They all lived into their 90s and all but one died at home.
(I had written a lot more but deleted it this morning, on 10/6/14. After rereading the post again, it sounded so callous to me. Not at all what I intended, which was love and compassion and admiration for my grandparents who I cared so much about. I don't know where my head was when I wrote it or maybe my head was in an overly sensitive place last night when I read it again for the first time in five months, but either way, it didn't accurately represent what I feel. I'll try again with it soon.)
There is a beauty in things that you have fixed, and a wide "fixed" spectrum.
There's fixed so it's almost like new. Fixed so it functions. Fixed as much as I have time for right now. Fixed as it's ever gonna be. Fixed for now until I get the right parts. Fixed to last until company leaves. Fixed after oh-my-god how many tries? Fixed so it's more interesting than when it was perfect. Fixed enough. Fixed in the nick of time. Fixed forever.
Fixed so that when the sun catches it just right in the morning, you remember all the times you've shared with the fixed thing and don't want to let it go, even if it is worn and tattered and not truly fixed.
It's the actual Blue Ridge Parkway, the road, that feels like home. Winding up the mountain to get to it feels like I'm getting closer and closer to being able to breathe deeply again...and then there it is! The first vista, whichever one it happens to be depending on my access point, and the first deep really deep breath. Simultaneously. My entire chest expands along with view and it stays that way the entire time I'm up there. I'm breathing deeper right now just thinking about it.
Well, unless there's "weather." Fog, rain, snow, wind, fog again. Which is often. I don't mind. Weather is interesting. But the expansive breathing part disappears when I'm crawling along at 5 MPH through a pea-soup cloud, focusing on the white line on the right so I don't drive off the edge. Many miles of the Parkway have no guardrails.
These pics are straight out of the camera and were all taken on the same afternoon. My apologies for the spots on the lens! Did not check before heading up.
Wandering through this massive 1M+ square foot building that used to be a Sears store and regional headquarters (and built on the site of a former whites-only amusement park, which I just learned) was like stepping back in time. So quiet, so heavy, so permanent, with signs written in fonts of decades past and the same kind of solidness you feel when you slam the door of a classic sedan. Nothing tinny here. It almost feels haunted, but like bustling-ghosts-of-retail-past and not mean-dead-Johnny-wants-you-to-join-him.
Lucky for me, it's also very close to my house, as it will soon be a "vibrant urban centerpiece" (oh, that marketing copy). The tour was courtesy of Atlanta Green Drinks — love them. The photos are straight out of my iPhone.
Got Instagram this weekend — what fun (late to the party). These are 24 images taken in 24 hours...4 images within about a foot of each other in 6 different places that I happened to be while going about my day. They were: family room, treadmill, bedroom sitting area, stairway, ATM, Mac's b-day party, loft party. Yeah, that's 7 places. Somewhere along the line I miscounted ;)
Thanks for inspiring me to "see" today, Alvin, by asking about the exhibit. Without even moving my lazy self..... Try to make the APG show, if you can.
These are straight iPhone pics.
A mini travelogue of my trip to 2011 Greece — check out the shipwreck beach beginning at 2:19...one of the most breath-taking places I've ever been. In all, 1005 km traveled driven around the Peloponnese and islands of Monemvasia and Zakynthos. And Athens, which is a story onto itself.
I was 11 or so when I took this photo (the original — this is Photoshopped). I was on a road trip with my dad and grandparents who were visiting from Greece. We were heading to Iowa City to visit my birthplace and where my dad had completed his residency — a boring trip with lots of opera in the background.
But I took some interesting photos with a medium format camera my dad had given me. It had been given to him about 20 years earlier as he boarded the ship to emigrate to the U.S., a spontaneous gift from an uncle who had rushed down to the port to see him off. In those days, you had to go to the port to see if your visa had been approved for that day’s ship. If so, you had to hurry!
I drove for hours, overshooting my original destination, until I reached the edge: Tybee Island. I had to see the water, feel it on my feet, breathe in that life-affirming air. Oddly, the dozens of seagulls standing on the beach let me weave among them. They weren't scared of my outpouring of emotions, or my camera. And the show in the sky? Had the sunset not been so spectacular and those gulls not so welcoming, I may not have had the courage to jump. But they said jump! So I jumped.
A couple of weeks ago I went to my friend’s office, an acupuncture center, to snap some detail pics for the website I’m redoing for her. Wasn’t sure if we’d end up with anything we’d want to use but I thought it’d be fun to play around. It was! Wonderful to spend time in her space and use only available light. I’m pretty sure we’ll use some of these.
My first Pride parade, if you can believe it. What a happy crowd — had no idea it was such a chipper event. Not as many surprises as during the festivities yesterday in Piedmont Park, however, where the theme of the day seemed to be drink until you fall down. One man dropped his flip-flop at the top of the stairs and I watched him fall half way down the flight in amazing slow motion — right hand here, left foot there, twist, repeat — like a beautifully choreographed disaster that in the end was averted when he landed right on his butt. Bravo, wasted bear! His partner was unfazed.
When I left the parade on my Vespa I was wearing all the beads and bracelets the paraders had tossed at me and people I drove by thought I had somehow gotten off the route.
Especially light at the end of the day, and especially when it surprises me. Ordinary things can take my breath away.
Tonight at an auditorium in the High Museum I sat right behind Norman Seeff. What’s left of his shoulder-length hair jutted every which way and when he rose to go onstage after being introduced, I was surprised that this was the photographer and documentary filmmaker I had come to see. His talk was about insights into the creative process and until this night I had known his work but not his name, or his trademark hair.
His talk reminded me of the same things that talks by deeply creative people usually remind me of. I find it a somewhat Jungian experience, and one that fills my heart with the joy of human potential while making me a little sad about wasted time and the impossibility of living long enough to let loose all our talent and ideas.
Norman’s work is mostly black and white portraits of celebrities. Here’s a portrait I took of my favorite celebrity.
These are iPhone photos taken during and after seeing an exhibit of cell phone photos. The photographers had been given a shot list and it was wonderful to see the all different interpretations in that teeny, limited format. Although one photographer said she was disappointed that others had enhanced their photos before printing them, making hers look washed out. In deference to her, I left these straight.
In another room of the gallery, a "working" room, were clay pieces in various stages of production and condition. Covered in plastic to stay moist, fired but not glazed, glazed but not re-baked, finished, perfect, sideways, broken. Dozens and dozens of pieces by various artists on dark, industrial shelves. The place was a mess, really. Very few lights were on and the warehouse-high ceilings gave it a horror-flick feel.
In the center of the biggest room, a huge open-bay working room, was a bed. Above the bed hung balloons. I lay on the bed to take the balloons’ picture, of course.
Afterward, on the way to dinner, the fog was so beautiful and the street was so empty that my friend suggested I capture the city lights right there, in the middle of the road, standing up through the sunroof....
Today I stayed for the rain at the pool. Just moved to a table under an umbrella that mostly shielded me, my book and my iPhone camera. I was disappointed when it tapered off because it was such a different pool experience but then the light afterward... magnificent.
(I was taking a look through random images to see what I wanted to put here tonight and this one jumped out as the one. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was taken exactly four years ago today.)
I was so happy to have caught this moment in time. I took it through a second-floor window after having come inside with the rest of the bridal party (except for the bride and groom). It was distractingly windy and all the time that the bridesmaids had spent on our coifs....poof, gone. Then the humidity finished us off. By the time we all walked down the aisle (inside) we looked remarkably natural for a fancy NYC wedding at a swank facility right on the East River. In between the weather and the ceremony, Brenna asked me if I’d be the person from her side to sign the ketubah. Which I did, at a round small table with a special pen the rabbi gave me. I was, and am, deeply honored.
I made this video for my grandma's memorial service. I loved my grandma. And she loved me.
When I was four we moved a block and a half away from my grandma and grandpa on the south side of Chicago. They lived on Wallace and we lived on Parnell — 115th and Halsted was the closest major intersection. I went to the same kindergarten as my mom and she and I would walk there. I did not like the teacher (too grouchy) but she did teach me to color in the faces of animals just like their bodies, which made my giraffe look much better. And for that I was thankful.
For first grade I started going to Morgan Park Academy. My dad would drive me there and I would take one of those small school buses home in the afternoon. A few days a week it would drop me at my grandma’s house because my mom was at the University of Illinois studying psychology.
My grandma would make me a grilled cheese sandwich almost every day because that was pretty much all I’d eat. She also made about half of my clothes (I got to choose the fabric) and once she stuck up for me with such passion when a neighborhood girl wasn’t nice that I thought, wow, my Grandma’s a hero. Sometimes I’d sit next to her when she played the piano. I’d watch her profile and her hands and think that she’s the most talented person I know even though she complains about needing more practice. I never heard her make a single mistake.
(Photo taken August 17, 2008. More here.)
My cousin Danae (who is actually my niece but “aunt” doesn’t work for us because we’re friends) came from Greece with her friend Galini in 2008 to find masters programs here in the states. They’re now enrolled in Northeastern in Chicago.
This photo is from a series we did at my place in Atlanta around two in the morning with the overhead recessed lighting plus a single light source....my reading lamp because that’s what was handy. She is an athlete and a superb model. At age 16 she was recruited to play professional basketball in Greece and helped lead her team to one or more significant championships in Europe while going to college and, later, working as a customer service rep at the same time. It was during this crazy-busy time she began to discover who she really is. But in some ways, I don’t think she’s even close yet.
Update — here's what she's doing now. Translation: changing the world. Not kidding.