unconnected, connected.

The blog's been pretty bleak lately. Unlike the ironic comparison to my life which has been a roller coaster ride. And a rough one at that. The only sanity and calm I can find is in my photographs, and at times even that has been tough. I'm thankful though, to finally know what to do when my life feels chaotic and unconnected. Before SI I would take a long drive with my windows down, a hot shower, play my music really loud, cook, go for a run, or write. And although these things still work, I find solace in the idea that my camera alone can provide the same effect, if not be even more rewarding. And that's so comforting, especially right now.

Before you go thinking I'm vain, just know the next two pictures were purely for fun, and a challenge at that. This has unintentionally been a week of a lot of self portraits for me. My good friend Kimber is extremely photogenic, so i was excited when she agreed to do this. We had a blast in "open studio" taking these beauty shots together. After finding fans that weren't broken, barricading ourselves with reflectors, taping up our strapless clothes so the "girls" stayed in place, and working to angle our bodies just the right way to hide our horrific tan lines... we finally managed to get some good shots. I think we should turn them into Dove. What do you think? : )

Ok, so now we go from "so fresh and so clean", to "so dirty and discusting."
Oh, but so fun.

Me and two other guys in my group, Hal and Howie, were assigned to do a photojournalism assignment together. The topic was completely up to us. It was assigned way over a month ago but with our slide show and a million other projects all being due first, we put it to the wayside for quite a while. Hal lives in Missoula and after we all threw around a bunch of ideas, he suggested we cover a local taxidermy business he had used a year ago when he took up hunting. The twist? The "Beetle Guy" who runs the business, Big Sky Beetleworks, uses beetles to eat away flesh and meat and leave noting but the bone. It obviously wasn't my cup of tea, but the unsureness and oddity of the story kept intriguing me to do it. In the end it was a lot of fun, and truly challenged me to do something I wouldn't have done on my own choosing. I really like how it turned out. Pictured here are just three shots, from the hundreds I took. I kept you all in mind and left the grossest shots out. But, I encourage you to give the story a look, captions and all. It's on Hal's website:


Just click on portfolios and then the tab that says Photo J. If you run your mouse over the "Title Info" at the bottom of each image, it will allow you to see the captions. Keep in mind we all three took the pictures. Most of the closeups are mine. I was using a macro lens for half of the visit.

Ok, I've been forced to actually use my external flash lately. I say forced because I feel very uncomfortable with such a new piece of equipment and we've had a couple of assignments. As storm clouds rolled in last night, our class went outside to practice using multiple flashes on each other. Casey, my beautiful model, was perfect for it. Thanks Case. :)

And, of course my final. How could I not mention it? It's been the heaviest on my mind lately. I've been working on it slowly but surely and I'm happy with it so far, but have a lot of work to do during this long weekend. The good part is I feel very connected to what I'm doing. And I think that's important.


chipping away.

I decided what I'm going to do for my final today.
It feels weird to say that. For a lot of reasons.
And now that I know, I have a LOT of work to do in 3 weeks...

I've realized lately that I have a problem. But that it's a problem I hope never goes away. My mind is always on a massive creative overload. The ideas I have are so plentiful, and so varied in subject matter that I have a really hard time bringing myself back down to earth. I want to do them all! And I will, over a lifetime. I'm making a promise to myself today that I will work on all of the projects in my head eventually. Whether anyone sees them or not. It's important that I complete them, for me.

A guy in my class said something to me that really hit home the other night.

"Some sculpture carver once said,'I just chip away the marble surrounding the image I already see in the stone' and from talking with you I feel that's somewhat your process. Don't let the technical babble get in the way of chipping away the noise to free the image you already see."

Thanks Mel, and thanks to everyone else out there that "gets me" and supports me.
Definition: Photographer.


A recipe for my thoughts...

I took my bike downtown today. Bought some spinach and cucumbers at the farmers market and got a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. I found a spot under a tree in the park and just laid there for a long, long time. It was a good time to just ponder about life. What does it all mean? And does it really matter? I wrote, read poetry, and took pictures. And mostly just stirred my thoughts around, hoping to come up with the recipe for some answers to a lot of questions.

I wanted to share a poem. It hits a spot in me that I can't quite describe.

The Road

I have just
caught a glimpse
of what my life
is to become
for a second I could see
around the curve
and wondered where you were
your bright face
no longer
beside the road
your hands
no longer lending
themselves to familiarity

I saw Love
in the rear view mirror
with its red skirt
about it's knees
to catch up
and before the curve
swallowed itself again
I remember
There is all this love
but nowhere for it to grow
each second continually
devours the next
and we're moving too fast
for it to fasten
it's roots
to the wind


other pictures I took today........

Last night after class, I didn't want to go home. So naturally, I took pictures. My goal was to work on this zone assignment for class, but, like always I got distracted. This time it was old buildings and reflections. and Purple. :-)

This week, I had to turn in an assignment that best represented a photograph from a list of eras/photographers from history and try and re-create their style. I chose modernism and the inspiration of photographers like Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, and Tina Modotti. I really liked their style. All black and white photos of things and people that to me felt very sensual. They all photographed quite a few nudes, often in nature. Edward had a thing for making bell peppers, squash, or even sea shells look sexy with the composition and lighting. I wanted to capture that sensual, natural feel in my photograph. I was a little frustrated because I felt the project was something I could see spending a lot of time on, and ended up feeling rushed to complete it. I guess I spent too much energy on my slide show.

My beautiful model and friend, Claire!

The rest of these are just random shots I've taken the last couple days...

"Artists are controlled by the life that beats in them,
like the ocean beats on the shore.
-Dorthea Lange


celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music...

It's been a long, long week. I've been slacking on blogging. With all that has been going on it was very difficult to find the time. Our mid-term slide show was due yesterday and now that that's over I think we can all breath a little bit more. Maybe. lol That's the good news, the bad news is I've tried every way I knew how and can't get my slide show to load onto my blog so I can show everyone what I've been working so hard on. :-( I really want you to see it. I was happy with the way it turned out, and it's a very feel good group of pictures so why not share! My boyfriend saw it and said he just couldn't stop looking at the images. This made me smile. I want my pictures to always have that effect on everyone that sees them. If anyone knows how to load pdf slide shows onto blogger,...let me know!

Anyway, after much hard work, lack of sleep, and stress, and tears... our group the 'E' and 'F-ers' thought we all deserved to celebrate and kick our feet up for a change. Unfortunately, we still talked the majority of the time about photography, but I've found that's kind of inevitable. We're camera nerds. And... now that that's been established...pictures! I couldn't bring myself to bring my camera, but was so pleased when my good friend Bippen brought his! He gave me permission to share some of his pictures on my blog. Thanks Bip! We had a fabulous time. And all but maybe 5 people came. I thought it as about time you see my new family. I spend more time with these people than you can imagine. And they're great. :-)

Hal, me, Kimber, Amy, Claire
Mindy & Susie (oh for funny!)
Casey, me, Kimber, Angie, and Leah
Mel, Chad, Clarence's hat, Jimmy, Kristy, and Papa Frank

And again, Hal, me, Claire, Kimber, and Amy.

We did group shots in the studio last week. Assignments for studio are over, but we can still use the equipment if we need to for personal projects/practice. This isn't the greatest picture, but it's funny.Amidst all the craziness, we had our first dedicated flash class last week. At that point my brain was so full, I don't know if I retained anything I learned that day, but it was fun, to say the least. We had to practice using our flash outside while wearing a hat.

My neighbor, Elizabeth, is a true gardener. She reminds me of my mom, because if she could, she'd be outside all day with her hands in the dirt, even if that meant pulling weeds. I talked to her about photographing her in her garden for my slide show, and she graciously invited me over to photograph her garden anytime I wanted, whether she was there or not. The photograph I took of her turned out just as I imagined (you'll see it later...) and when I was done, continued to wander in her backyard with my camera. I felt like I was in the Secret Garden. I found myself getting lost in the details, as I always do. The tree full of tiny ladybugs, the dew drops on the leaves from her sprinkler, the delicate vibrant raspberries on a bush that nearly takes over half of her backyard. Raspberries are one of those "delicacies" in my mind. Something too pricey to buy from the store, and when you do get to have them, you close your eyes and savor each bite. She has more than she knows what to do with, so it was such a joy to pull them off bountifully and eat them as they grew in the warm sun. Anyway, I loved her garden, and realized too late I could of done a whole slide show on it, if I had wanted to.
"Gardens are for sharing, they grow happier when people get to enjoy them." -Elizabeth. I agree.

And here are just a couple random shots I didn't use for anything, but really liked. This little girl was at the splash park this weekend when I was out working on a project. I had a lovely conversation with her mom and took pictures while her little sun-bathing beauty sat on a beach towel and ate grapes. :-)

I've come to learn the importance of writing and photographing and how they really come hand-in-hand. In our Visual Studies class we've been doing a lot of writing. I love it because writing is just another form of expression for me. We had to write "artist statements" for class. I was surprised, not only that it was harder for me than I expected, but also at the outcome of what I finally chose to turn in. As many of you know, I tend to be a little long-winded. Oddly enough my statements were nothing short of sweet and to the point. We had to write one sentence describing our self and our photography today. And another sentence describing where we want it to go or what we want to do with it. I wrote page after page, and in the process, learned a lot about myself. In the end, this is what I had to say.

1) My life never used to make any sense, and then I looked at it through my camera.

2) I want to never have to work another day of my life because my photography isn't work, it's my one true happiness.

amen. :-)


That lucky old sun...

Summer is definitely here!
I "feel" summer's presence more here in Missoula than anywhere else I've ever been. Bright, blue skies. Green, green grass.

Ice Cream!


Lemonade, for when life gives you lemons!

This is Dudley. He even likes summer. He likes to bask in the sun on the sidewalk. You can find him there on most days. :-)

Fruit for picking.

Bugs being ladies. :-)

Alright, For the 4th of July me and two friends from school went to Holland Lake. It was about 2 hours-ish North East of Missoula. You park your car and hike about 3 miles round trip to this waterfall at the end of the trail. The lake was beautiful. Clear, blueish green water and the perfect temperature for cooling off after a hike.

This is a view of the lake near the waterfall.
And this is Chad, lol, standing next to the falls. Sorry Chad, the only pictures of the falls had you in them. lol The falls was so loud, so beautiful, and SO SO cold. To sum it up in one word I'd say it was exhilarating. The force coming from the water was so powerful you couldn't even stand under the waterfall. The mist coming off of it felt like needles hitting your skin. Very cool. I've also learned twice this past week that I need to invest in some good water shoes.

This is my lousy attempt to do a self portrait of the three of us. What kind of school do I go to? Oh that's right, photography school. Dangit.

We stopped here to swim on the way back. We swam from here over to that island where the little red boat is sitting.

After Holland Lake, we drove South to Seeley Lake to watch the fireworks, eat a hamburger, drink beer, and take some photos. Seeley was a cute little town. The atmosphere of people watching fireworks was so much more enjoyable than what I'm used to back home. The live music wasn't country, everyone was very friendly, and no trash was left behind when it was over. If you've been to the Marlow fireworks in Oklahoma, you'd understand why this impressed me so much.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! School starts back tomorrow full throttle. Wish me luck! There are so many assignments right now. I'm kind of overwhelmed. I think I already need another break. :-)