inspiration

FAVORITE RECENT OLD PICTURES

It seems lately that I am finally able to catch up with myself in the strangest of ways. I am slowing down, thinking about and doing only what is most important to me, spending time with those I haven't crossed paths with in years or those who have just crossed my path and stayed firmly in it for whatever reason. 

And in this process I am examining vernacular artifacts, ephemera long-enough outdated to qualify as "old pictures." Some rolls just never got processed, some film never scanned, some simply forgotten in a box, only resurfacing because I am spending so much of my time in studio practice, allowing myself to be slow and thoughtful, remembering being given permission for my studio practice to be whatever I was doing in the studio at that time, in that moment, right then. Right now, my studio practice is in the taxonomy of memory with regard to human interaction and geography. 

  • Vernacular photography is the creation of photographs, usually by amateur or unknown photographers both professional and amateur, who take everyday life and common things as subjects.

.. here are some of my favorite, recent, old, pictures:

the Black & Whites: Ilford 100 Delta Pro damaged by salt water / the Color: CR100 (both rolls Summer 2012) / unedited

 

Farewell, Molina. Again and Again.

I am without armour at this juncture. And yet I feel protected, prepared, Jason's music so prevalent every step of my journey, his spirit an apotropaic force in my life.. Every corner I turn, there he is.

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My Full Heart on Blanahassett Island

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Marshall High Studios on Blanahassett Island in Downtown Marshall, for the Marshall Handmade Market. I met some lovely artists, saw some familiar faces, and truly enjoyed every moment spent inside that completely captivating building. I was lucky enough to catch up with Beth of Quill and Arrow Press (7 Ton co.) at her booth, and also to meet Amber of Sketchbook Crafts who has the most darling, ochre-saturated studio. It was so nice to meet such creative, dynamic business-lady-artists, and I left with a heart full of inspiration.

Here are a few shots of Beth's booth and Amber's studio, toward the end of the day as the light fell and became buttery.

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Fly Home, Everybody's Waiting :: Tyler Ramsey in Asheville

[this post originally appeared 9.27.2011] Tyler Ramsey has a formidable presence. Though outwardly regal and composed, when he sings, all the tiny and beautiful creatures come pouring out of him, amongst their stories, and wind their way out from behind the mane of chestnut curls which swing freely across his face while he plays. His arrangements are humbly alive, even the softest notes are electric, the absence of sound is heavy and substantial.

Ramsey has a singular sound, somewhere between Jason Molina and Mark Kozalek, and is able to hit notes on the higher end of the spectrum that could sound labored when sung by a less-resonant voice. Ramsey’s vocal mutability is characteristic of a seasoned musician who exercises his strengths while challenging his weaknesses. His Americana-infused finger-picking walks the line between delicate and complex, mathematical and fluid. The more complex his composition, the more effortless it seems, and yet, when playing the simplest of notes, there’s a strained beauty, a haunting quality to the sustained notes.

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The Valley Wind proves Ramsey’s skill at arranging sparse yet effective compositions to accent his uncanny ability to tell stories through suggestion. The title track features a heart-beat courtesy of Seth Kauffman, and the cascade which mirrors this rhythm feeds the image of long road-trips and borders on anthemic, while “Nightbird,”** with it’s layered tracks of increasingly incandescent guitars is monumental in it’s subtlety: “is it the ocean, the ocean or the sky that you are seeing, I know sometimes our eyes can be deceiving. Is there a reason for these disconnected feelings you are feeling? Everybody knows you should be sleeping.. you should be sleeping.”

The Valley Wind is out today.

Buy at iTunes

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Fat Possum Web Store

or at any stops on tour, info. can be found at tylerramsey.com or on facebook

11/21/14- The Grey Eagle: Asheville, NC http://bit.ly/1vXU8Jn 11/22/14- The Evening Muse: Charlotte, NC http://ticketf.ly/11ZnWc9

Here are a few shots from the Tyler Ramsey show in Asheville on November 18th 2010.

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**(“Nightbird,” is particularly resonant for me as I heard it the last time I visited Asheville, sitting in Tyler & Joti’s kitchen. The morning I left to drive back up North, we listened to the beginnings of this record, just after Tyler had shared a few of the newer songs at a show at the Grey Eagle a few nights prior, and for some reason this one stuck in so many ways. And now, eight months later, he is releasing the record as I am flying into Ashevile.. “fly home, everybody’s waiting.”)

edit: I've moved back to Asheville, and it's even more timely now, somehow.

supermoon

A few weeks ago I took a walk in Maudslay State Park under the supermoon with some old friends and some new ones. I'm never quite prepared for how exquisite a very full moon is, and how the silvery light casts chiaroscuro shadows and illuminates everything. I was also unprepared for how immensely full the Merrimack River was. So swollen from the pull of the close moon, the river was high and fast, carrying huge branches and whole trees and debris. Ever a fan of night exposures, I made some long exposures on our walk.

 

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Nonna Italiana

I met a woman on the bus from Rome to Martina Franca who couldn't have been less than 80 years old and was so enamored with my embroidery that it prompted her to chatter non-stop for hours in Italian to me knowing that I could only understand about a tenth of what she was saying. She told jokes which had punchlines I couldn't translate, held my hands emphatically, and grasped my face while saying "bella, bella" over and over. After losing two grandmother figures in the last month, this love found in the most unexpected place was nothing short of miraculous.

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List #2 – to be completed by Saturday August 3

LET IT BE KNOWN: I did, in fact, drop off three rolls of 120mm color film earlier this week and scan in all three of those rolls (the only undone items from the last list before Paris..) 1. Set up new scanner and scanning area of studio now to spend the next 398709348 hours scanning film!!! (7.29)

2. Take Paris film to Colortek done! And picked up and scanned! (7.29)

3. hand-process BW 4x5"

4. Figure out what to do with slides

5. buy more resin to finish cicada pieces

6. write: new thesis, proposal, etc.

7. POST pictures, writing, new list for next week!

8. since I got off brunch today, GO TO SOWA! done! that was easy!

9. Plan Cailin's Bridal Shower and Bachelorette (papergoods &c done by Thurs.!) papergoods done by Tuesday! I am awesome. // invites mailed, RSVPs pouring in, menu in the works! (7.29)

10. think about ESB's housewarming suggestion does two friends and three bottles of prosecco count? (7.29)

11. plan out the three-month calendar... UGH. kind of done... At least wrt Ryan, work, and school. (7.29)

List #1 - to be completed by Saturday July 13

1. Go to NY but only hang out in Brooklyn done, June 30 - july 5 2. Shoot some Lady Makers who are inspiring to me done, B.IMPRESSED, letterpress extrordinaire

3. Finally shoot Dead Horse Bay and collect some stuff done, and damn did we collect some stuff.

4. Finish moving into our apartment we've been in since May 1 i did it! almost.... i think esb is right about planning a housewarming to force me to finish getting settled. Adding that to the aprés Paris list.

5. Hang all clothes, put away all Laundry, wash all dirty laundry sheets, towels, clothes, dishrags, everything has been washed. we will come home to a pristine home. The putting away wasn't as thorough as i would have liked but hey, I am feeling pretty good right now.

6. Pack for Paris - decide which cameras I'm bringing and stick to the plan (buy new backpack?) 4x5", 120mm 6x7, polaroid 660, fuji instax wide, holga, canon 5d 50mm 1.4f, and the new pack is a gorgeous archival rucksack in a nice gray waxed twill. So. Fine.

7. Drop film at Colortek .. nope

8. Scan some @$%^& negatives .. nope

Well I can't win them all but at least i completed everything that was relatively time sensitive... er whatever.

Motivation :: and the Art of staying productive

How many times have I said "This Summer I am going to _____ " or "This weekend I am going to knock _____ and _____ off my to do list.."  ?

There are all sorts of organizational and motivational guides and jump-starts, from Apartment Therapy's January Cure to the ubiquitous Martha Stewart's Good Things for Organizing, but realistically, even if I get a good foundation, I rarely follow up. 

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This is my desk right now, a dozen rolls of un-conquered film from California to the left on my lightbox and in the window, my lunch, coffee, piles of photographs, a moleskine filled with lists and one filled with ideas. 

Whether writing, archiving my photographs, or finishing a to-do list, managing my household and life has never been something I felt adept at - it always seemed so overwhelming. Recently, however, I have been trying to tackle those feelings of enormity, that the task at hand is too immense to complete. Because you know, in order to write, my desk has to be tidy. And in order to tidy my desk, my outdated mail has to be opened and filed. And in order to deal with that mail, I have to get online to pay some bills. And then I get stuck in that rabbit-hole... 

But realistically, if I can set my mind to one task and complete it, I feel a whole lot better, and ready to move on to the next, as opposed to half-finishing a bunch of stuff. 

That said, I'm focusing my energy this summer into #summerprojects in the simplest of ways. Every week I'm going to be listing the projects I aim to complete, and crossing some off. Some weeks might be as simple as a cleaning project or buying flowers for our home, then other weeks might be more involved: working through my archive chunk by digestible chunk or building something for one of my installations. 

It is my hope that by putting my intention out there (where I can hold myself a little more accountable because other people have seen it) will light a fire under my ass, motivate me to not only begin to be more productive, but complete the tasks I set out to do, rather than leaving a whole slew of half-finished ideas around. The year I did a 365 Photo Project I took more photographs than ever before. They weren't always the best, but the frequency kept me moving, progressing my skills and my understanding of how I work with the camera. I think Stevie Wonder said something about how he wrote every day and most of the songs sucked but every once in a while he'd write a good one (I just googled it and can't find a quote so maybe it wasn't Stevie Wonder... but still) and Pablo Picasso said "Inspiration exits, but it has to find you working." So yeah. 

Let's get this party started. 

Inspiration in the Rabbit Hole

the follen house Right now I should be writing about Rinko Kawauchi. Specifically Illuminance and her ability to offer the most intimate and poetic 6x6 images of the mundane, the macabre, and the tiny beautiful gestures which pepper our daily existence.

Instead I am getting myself deeper and deeper into what I lovingly refer to as an "internet rabbithole."

We all know the feeling. You start by checking your reader, (right now I'm using Feedly to replace the doomed Google Reader, but  if you have a better suggestion, please share!) which leads to a series of twists and turns and suddenly, you're at the end of a choose-your-own-adventure novel which has to have had a beginning, you just can't seem to recall it.

Sometimes this seemingly endless accidental consumption of more information inspires me, but more often it just makes me feel guilty. Guilty for not producing enough. For not publishing enough. For not being more inspired. It's a shame spiral. And that shame, while it could most definitely light a fire under my ass, mostly just makes me feel sad.

I'm a collector. I'm a magpie. But it isn't enough to be attracted to these wonderful, beautiful, shiny things; great art, impeccable style.. I want it all. I want to do every awesome DIY project, buy every great print, make more in general, and I think constantly "damn, why don't I do more of... I should write about... that isn't as good as my..." and of course, in the words of The Jealous Curator: "DAMN I WISH I THOUGHT OF THAT."

The thing is, though, that it's hard to absorb all this visual information and not immediately compare it to your life. It's not enough to apply bits and pieces, for me it has to be an all-out transformation or nothing. To clarify: if I'm writing a blog post about something, I can't just post it, I hem and haw over every detail until I'm convinced its stupid or boring or pointless and I don't post it. As if I have readers. As if anyone is judging me. And regarding my own artwork, I am a terrible editor. I can't, even after 10 years of considering myself "an artist," actually figure out some sort of statement-portfolio-identity which I feel is accurate and authentic to my aesthetic.

I digress. the reason I started writing was to point out that tonight, something changed. Maybe it had something to do with an email exchange with Vincent Serritella after reading about him on The Jealous Curator. We wrote about the state of the Art World and the necessity of giving art away for free. We thanked each other. We were transparent. In a world where emails are often unrequited, I felt held. Maybe it had to do with moving into our new apartment, or Spring finally coming to Boston. Whatever changed, I felt a little lighter.

I then comfortably spent the next few hours clicking: through Autumn de Wilde's amazing photographs without feeling jealous that she is Beck's go-to or had an intimate photographic relationship with the late Elliott Smith (OK maybe a liiiitttle jealous of that), which led me to Shirley Kurata, which led me to Nothing Major and so on and so forth. And the only thing I felt, other than admiration, was inspiration. No sinking feeling, just read, learn, go, do.

And so I wrote this post. That counts for something, right?

three weeks

When I set out to go back to school a few years ago, I had an abstract idea of how it was going to work. This was while I was still in Asheville, had a stable job, car, apartment, and boyfriend.

[CHELSEA]

Things change.

As I write this, I am still out of breath from running from the North Station Green Line stop to the Commuter Rail. The 4:25 train was luckily running two minutes late, and as I sprinted

[RIVER WORKS]

toward Track 2, out of breath (literally panting), slightly dizzy from the two Lagunitas IPAs that I imbibed with my steadily growing

[LYNN]

group of lovely transfer non-trad student friends at the Pig,

[SWAMPSCOTT]

I took a second to think about how absurd this whole thing is. Meaning: 2 years ago, I could not have possibly designed this life. It continues to be baffling, frightening, and slightly sickening to be where I am compared to where I was.

[SALEM]

To be clear, every day there is a bigger knot in my stomach which reminds me of what has been lost. I miss Asheville immensely. I miss certain individuals who have either passed on or passed out of my life

[BEVERLY]

for some or no particular reason, more than words can possibly explain. In the light drizzle, while I am walking down Huntington or Mass Ave. I think of things I want to tell you, each of you, all of you, and it’s impossible.

[NORTH BEVERLY]

Exactly 2 years ago, I was living on Cumberland, contemplating a move though I didn’t know where. I still had certain aspects of what I considered at the time to be identifying factors of who I was as an individual: a fully formed person. Flash forward

[HAMILTON/WENHAM]

one month: I was broke, packing my life into a 5′x10′ storage unit on Tunnel Road. Flash forward another month: deeply mourning the loss of a lover, of my innocence, the shattering of whatever semblance of a life I thought I had built,

[IPSWICH]

the family who had substituted for my.. well.. difficult family, everything fragmenting and breaking apart. Then, before I knew it, I was gone. And here I

[ROWLEY]

am. Finally healing from the insurmountable expanse of change, still battling the same bad habits, still trying to keep myself from splitting at the seams while being surrounded by such immense beauty and

{oh god the mist over the marsh right now, could quite possibly be one of the most heartbreakingly exquisite.. and then when I discovered how to ride my bike to the train tracks which cut through the marsh, that night with the sunset and the supermoon..}

and

and

[NEWBURYPORT]

it has been three weeks since I started relying on Public Transportation, and the Romance is still alive and well.