Sunday, December 13, 2009
As usual, I am behind... or, behind by my standards. I haven't been taking many photos since the quarter ended. Instead, I have been working 40 hours a week in Undergraduate Admissions, filing freshman college applications in a stuffy office, drinking too much coffee, taking too many bathroom breaks, and listening to too much NPR. The job's most interesting component is that I get caught up in all the application essays and letters of recommendation and ACT scores and early-nineties birthdays. It feels strange to have this job as I am months away from graduating, reflecting back on my last four years of growth. I am still uncertain where I will end up when June rolls around, but hopefully I will not be working a 40-hour-a-week office job, because so far, it's ruined both my back and my sleeping schedule.
Anyway, I spent a lovely and cozy Thanksgiving with Charles' family in St. Clairsville. It was my first Thanksgiving away from my own family -- what seems like a milestone. Though I love the holidays, there are aspects of this time of year that drag my spirit down. The dark little corners and painful nostalgia. The freezing cold hands and feet. The gray morning and the gray evening... and the space in between in which I am cooped up indoors. At least I don't have the opportunity to sleep the day away.
Here are a few photos from the end of November, little low-light moments before winter comes rolling in, full force.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
It's morning and it is freezing in my house. This cup of hot tea has a funny taste to it. It's Saturday, post-holiday, post-Black Friday, post-anything newsworthy. Charles has, in his dedicated fashion, updated his blog with beautiful photographs of his family from Thanksgiving. I brought my camera to his house; unfortunately, I didn't take photos of his family members... just quiet little corners of his neatly decorated home. But, I haven't come here today to post those as they idly reside in my camera. Instead, I will post some photos I took while fall was still technically fall in Athens, though everything looks cold and dead and drab, welcoming a thick layer of snow. I am comforted, sitting in my kitchen in the early hours of the day, eating these store-bought cinnamon rolls. I'd rather not venture out into the world to complete tasks and things.
These photos were taken at Stroud's Run for the annual Dawn 2 Dusk project... they weren't published in the paper, unfortunately. I was a little disappointed. I guess a few other folks got all landscapey for the shoot, so mine were sort of overlooked. And maybe the tilt-shift didn't translate that well on print.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Most of the time, I hurry through my assignments for work. I am the photographer for the School of Health and Human Services, and most of what I have to shoot is completely foreign to me since I am used to directing pretty people in pretty clothes. For work, I point the camera and push down the shutter and it's almost mindless. And I am disappointed in myself for not having this gift of being able to make the most of every photographic situation. I am timid, yes... and maybe too painfully uninterested in every day life.
But every now and then I walk away with an image or two that I like.
Maybe I am too obsessed with an ideal and a fantasy. And perfection that isn't really even there.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
These images were shot for a mock-up article in TIME on the housing crisis in America (a class assignment in which students choose an issue, a publication, and a means of illustrating the issue). I had a blast with the shoot, but it was a lot of physical labor carrying household furnishings into fields and in and out of the woods. Luckily, all of the furniture was donated/came from my home, and I had Charles and his mighty manpower to assist me in all the carrying and car loading. My poor little Sundance barely made it to Stroud's Run and back, but that's another story for another day -- and the general theme of my life, don'tcha know.
The tilt-shift lens makes me drool, but the price makes me cry. It is so expensive to be a photographer, and I have been poor my entire life, even more so now that I am trying to maintain a portfolio, promote myself, and look for work in metropolitan areas. I have never been of the impression that the gear makes the photographer, but I am extremely insecure about my financial resources in this field. I look for a light every day, and I hope the gods are kind to me when I leave the ivory tower of Ohio University.
In other news, I need to stop staying up past my bedtime.
Monday, October 19, 2009
There are several photos I'd love to share, particularly of new class work, but the Lord's truth is that I'm just too lazy for my own good. I am unmotivated to organize and edit new photos. I am unmotivated to work on my portfolio web site. I am unmotivated to study for a mid-term, or to drink my cup of hot tea, to put on my pajamas, or to wash my face for bed. But, here is a glimpse, just to fill up some time and space, as I observe my boyfriend next to me, faithfully updating his blog with fresh new eye candy.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Three weeks of class have flown by and I don't want to jinx myself, but I am rather pleased with my images thus far. It's so surreal to be a senior... to be in my capstone classes (is that even the proper term?)... and, for once, to actually have some sort of "concrete" vision for how I want my photography to look and feel. The second image was for my self-promo... I designed my own flower packet and put sunflower seeds inside. The front of the packet was the image above. I suppose you can't really get the full effect without holding the promo in your hand, but take my word for it -- it's pretty neat.
Monday, September 14, 2009
A glimpse of an update, and a sorry one at that, but my head has been around the block and back for the past few weeks. I'm back in Athens, taking photos of Charles in various rooms of my new house and scurrying off to classes and meetings and other whereabouts at all hours of the day, trying to remember the various tasks I've compiled on sticky notes. Not enough time to sleep and listen to good music. I drink a lot of tea and worry about my future. Despite the concerns, life is good and Athens is beautiful.
Friday, August 28, 2009
"The Green Mill Jazz Club is on the site of a much bigger Green Mill Gardens complex, which was an outdoor music gardens fashioned after The Moulin Rouge Gardens in Paris. It was a sunken gardens area, surrounded by a wall and featured nightly entertainment during the summer months. It also featured a dining room which was later converted to the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge during construction of the Uptown Theatre on the former site of the outdoor music gardens. The club was once owned by "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn, a right-hand man of Al Capone, who was a regular patron at The Green Mill."
I went here Wednesday night with Carrie, who was visiting her mumsy in the city, and Burkle. One of my last Chicago adventures.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This might be my last visual update (though it consists of leftovers from the last two months) from Chicago. I will try to take some photos during my last week here, but I am not making any promises. I am looking forward to Ohio.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I finally got around to having eight rolls of 120 film processed. Today, I spent four hours in Lindsay's studio scanning all of it. Considering I am a Holga newbie, I was fairly pleased with my results. I will post more later... for now, here are some non-Chicago scenes.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I have been a bad adventurer lately. I try to go to the beach when I can because it's free (I'm broke) and it's fun (I love bodies of water). And -- shh -- I am trying to get a bit of a suntan. I've been unsuccessful in so many respects. I have a problem waking up early. Then I have a problem assembling myself, eating breakfast/lunch, and leaving the apartment. By the time my flip flops hit the trails, it is late afternoon. This is nearly always the beginning of my day. And, you know, it's highly annoying that it is nonstop sunshine during the three days of the week that I work and blahish during the four days of the week that I don't. I succumb to hermit-ism, and not even to do productive things like read or back-up my computer files. Instead, I watch terrible television jam-packed with informercials, eat too much bread, and wonder if my thighs or too big or if my hair is too dry.
At least when I do go out, I get to enjoy the fresh air, the sounds, the people, and, ah, the colors.
Friday, July 24, 2009
My boss Lindsay (though I hate to refer to her as a "boss") and I went to Kiddieland today with her soon-to-be two-year-old son Odin. We just went for the hell of it. I would take this opportunity to, in a detailed fashion, report the various tasks associated with my job as a commercial photographer's intern, but they are sort of all over the place. I have to say, I prefer it this way.
Kiddieland is an amusement park that will soon be no more. I suppose an amusement park is a prime location for interesting photos. Photojournalists would drool at the opportunity... so many great little scenes. But, I sort of mulled around with my camera in my incognito outfit, feeling like a detached, disinterested spectator with no family, no little ones to entertain... and I didn't really have much motivation to get close to anyone or reproduce intimate moments. I wasn't up to the challenge. Early on, I sat down at a picnic table and realized that I just didn't fit in. I walked away with a few desolate frames that serve to mimic how I felt... a child stuck in a teenager's body stuck in an adult's life.
And then tonight, after attending a social event for local artists with Lindsay, I realized that I face the same sort of detachment when thinking about myself as a photographer. Where do I fit in? I always wanted to be an artist of some sort, from the time I was young... but now I find myself in an field that can often be much more about socializing properly than about establishing a creative voice. I don't want to produce work that looks and feels so synthetic. I don't have the vision or skill to be a storyteller in the serious sense. I just want to create images that are personal and meaningful.
Maybe I just need to exist and let the rest of the pieces fall where they may.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I went for a walk yesterday. It was the first time I had been outdoors in over 48 hours.
I have been a bit of a hermit, much to my dismay. It makes me angry with myself. I am disappointed with my lack of energy, but I've been terribly lonely. I suppose I should allow myself to feel that loneliness without scolding myself for it. I hate the guilt that comes with taking time out for yourself... time to melt into the covers of your bed to shut out the sights and sounds of the world. But it does feel nice when you come out on the other side. That isn't to say that my loneliness has dissipated completely, but it is hard to feel alone sitting along Lake Michigan, watching the hustle and bustle of the happy waves... and there is some benevolent force... just this feeling of relief from the universe... like everything is okay.
Like there aren't enough silly little pictures to illustrate what I really see.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Another week down in the Chi, residing in the building pictured first. I've battled loneliness, boredom, heat, hunger, exhaustion, frustration, insomnia, and paranoia. All in low to moderate doses. Resulting in a draw toward images like the last. Last week was my slump, but I seem to have come out of it.
That is, despite discovering that I accidentally overwrote portfolio and personal work from fall and winter of this past school year. Poof. Gone from my external hard drive. Gone forever. I tried, for the past twenty-four hours, to recover the lost goods, but to no avail. I might have spent $99 doing so. What a waste. Such things always make my heart heavy. But I suppose there's nothing to do but move on, and keep moving, and keep moving...
Today was sort of a "pivotal" day in my petty young life three years ago. I always stop for a moment to respectively pay homage to the past. I could give you more of an elaboration, but, instead, I'll maintain my allure by avoiding specifics. I will say that I often refer to Oasis's "Champagne Supernova" when revisiting memories of former fondness. "How many special people change, how many lives are living strange?"
Maybe those words are more about me than they are about anyone from my past.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
So, now that the dust has settled, I have been in Chicago for officially a week. Charles helped me move in and stayed with me to help me adjust. I have always thought of myself as a strong-willed, independent lady, but I really needed him to be here. It was an emotional and exhausting experience, coming into the city to live and work for the summer, and I don't really know if I would've managed very well without his support. We had a beautiful time.
I've thrived in small towns my entire life. I've always been a big fish in a little sea. That isn't to say that this is the first time I've felt humbled by my surroundings.
Charles left today to go back home, and, at first, I didn't think it would be very difficult. After we said our goodbyes, and he pulled away from the parking lot, I came back upstairs to my lonely, dorm-sized apartment, and I felt a little lost. Then the tears came. I guess this is suppose to be the point when I realize what a great opportunity I've been given. I have to slap myself out of sadness and coach myself to focus on the positive. So, I will.
I know I am not the only one, but I grew up modestly. I come from a lower-class family in mid-Ohio. When I was little, I became accustomed to my father's frequent bouts of unemployment. Pancakes and grilled cheese for dinner. Thousands and thousands of dollars in credit card debt and bankruptcies and foreclosures. Quaint birthday celebrations. I didn't have friends over very often for fear of their judgement. I have never wanted anyone to look at me as the poor, disadvantaged girl. Luckily, despite their vast irresponsibility, I have completely loving, completely naive parents. I have worked very hard throughout my educational career to ensure some sort of foundation for myself. As an independent, I struggle financially all the time, but I hope that all this discipline leads to some sort light at the end of the tunnel.
At the same time, walking around the city, I realize how I have been so privileged to experience the comforts of family, education, and love. There are so many wounded souls on these streets. So many individuals with all the hope in the world, though they have nothing but the clothes on their backs. They say "God Bless" even if you refuse their pleas for spare change. And when you scrounge for a mere dollar, they are so grateful for your generosity. I guess this post is turning into something rather cliché and mushy. I am sort of lost as to what I originally intended to say.
This journal will be the first of many detailing my thoughts and feelings about living alone in the city this summer. My emotions are pulled in so many different directions. At the end of the day, I am, for the first time, a little homesick, but so, so hopeful.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I am always going.
This is the condition of almost everyone my age, at least in the world of university. Every year, I pack up 95% of my life and relocate it. Now that I've just settled into my new home in Athens, I must venture off into the unknown for a two-month internship. Chicago awaits. Charles and I leave in the morning. He is a doll and is helping me move/adjust to the city. When he leaves next Tuesday, I will be confronted with an unknown fear of facing a foreign city on my own.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I'm cleaning out my folders. I realize I am too much of a perfectionist. I went back and re-edited a few frames from my trip home a few weeks ago. I modified and substituted. Hardee's sort of breaks up the monotony. They have great french fries (pictured) as well as fabulous chocolate malts (not pictured).
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It has been awhile since I have been alone. Not the feel-sorry-for-me type of alone. Surely there is plenty of love in this home and in this town. I moved into my new house last week, and for awhile, it was filled with people. I kept myself busy with unpacking, housekeeping, and random bouts of social activity. But Carrie left a few days ago to prepare for her summer-long trip around Europe, and Charles left today to visit home until the end of the month. Emily is never here because she works/lives in Columbus. I have a big, empty house in which to toss around my thoughts and feelings until I leave for my internship in Chicago. Charles is staying with me for a week, and then, once again, I will be living alone... only, this time, in a stranger of a city. I have not really had so much space in years. During the hustley bustley quarters of the past two years, I rarely found the time or desire to isolate myself. It is healthy, I know, but I got antsy. During breaks from quarters, I avoided the space because I feared delving into self-pity.
I have experienced so much warmth and so much growth this past year that I no longer fear space like I used to. I know the facts: I am loved. I am supported. I am safe. I don't need a room full of people to remind me that life is beautiful.
I don't have a problem bearing all. Getting personal.
I dyed my hair blonde and, after a sort of therapy-influenced epiphany, realized that light hair it is sort of symbolic of how I feel about myself, or how I want to feel, at this point in my life. I had bright and artificial red hair from October to early June. Eight months is a lifetime when you're 21. I wanted to be loud and on fire and in charge. It is easy to put on a costume and instantly transform, I guess, but it goes away. What a curious little juxtaposition to feelings of cowardice. Last year, I fell in-love with the idea of instantly and easily making myself feel better when I seemed an unworthy wreck of a woman and impulsively cut months-worth of grown-out hair off. I started the past school year off in a tender place, and I ended it in a confident place. But now I can be soft. I can be gentle. And all the right people will still pay attention, and I will still feel alright. That isn't to say that I will never be red again, or green or hot pink. My reasons will continue to change, as most things do.
Now that I've confused the hell out of you, goodnight.