Jan 26, 2010

Bon Voyage

I leave at 3 a.m. this moring on assigment in Central America for two weeks. It's right about now that I wonder how the !^*%@$ I got so lucky. Nerves don't come like they used to. I used to worry that MY plan wouldn't happen. Now I know that all you can do is your best. All the rest...duck feathers, let it roll.

I'd like to leave ya'll with something. Here is the first in a series of
 random outakes that stood out because they say something odd, taught me something or make me feel, dare I say, hopeful.

A girl tries to show her her mother that lighting bugs are flashing. But every time her mother looks they aren't there. Despite how enchanted the girl is, her mother is preoccupied.

An oyster farm worker separates oysters from their natural clusters and Mark takes a walk through a graveyard of shucked shells. It's foggy and cool. The scene exudes nostalgia. Consequently I've know Mark since I was 16. He's seen me take every corner including the phone conversation when I told him I didn't believe in God anymore. He knew what that meant to me and said, "Miriam, I don't think you could live long enough to push that love away and why would you want to? What do you love that makes any sense at all? Not making sense doesn't make it any less real."

Steve and Clara -Engagment session Chicago El stop. Love stories, some of the greatest.

I got to Alcala's one night just in the nick to pick up a camera bag they did superior leather work on. I'm usually not one for cynicism but ...is this warehouse of hatless cowboys proof that God don't make men like he used to? Nah.

Miriam, the consta-stand in for location portrait set up. Seattle Washington hunger project.

I photographed a goat slaughter from bleat to meat so Tony insists I hold one half of the trophy before I make an apple pie.

This guy must have thought I was a loon. His name was Mulana Fazari a Muslim religious leader in Lucknow, India. I was trying to be a floating orb of ease and grace because he told me in the beginning, it was difficult for him to separate me, a young and optimistic journalist, from my country's politics. In response I asked him if his beard was real. Since it had to be translated, the timing was perfect and we had a good laugh. He proceeded to feed me a "yogurt cake" that kept me in my room for 3 days. Paybacks. Thanks America.

Waiting for a Rickshaw driver to pass by at the perfect time so the photographer on the roof could get an aerial shot. Failed attempt. Lots of those. Back on the horse.

This was the first time I'd ever played back someones recorded voice to themselves; recipient at a food bank.

Driftwood on Lake Superior, UP. Discoveries of natural design are worth the chaos. They remind me that over time, stories tell themselves.

Oh, and one more thing.
Thank you.

Jan 21, 2010

Teasin and Freezin

D and Jordy dig through a pile of trunk stuff to get invisible. Good thing they're putting on head to toe camo to get inside a camo ground blind where no one will be be able to appreciate their sweet outfit until they're walking back to the car after dark.

Jordy said if I was gonna laugh the whole time that I should go home which I thought was a perfect thing for him to say. They sure were easy to see even though they had so many invisible things on. Maybe I've just got good eyes.

Making fun round two revolved around how bent Dans hunting cap was. So Phi Kappa Retard. I was like "Hey Dan, did you run that hat through the dishwasher and put the bill inside a cup to get it to curl like that?"

Dan said I had to spray this stuff in my mouth so the deer wouldn't smell me. It is so hard to trust him on stuff like this especially when he's laughing on the inside and I have it coming. Stuff is so funny around him.

I'll tell you why we didn't shoot any deer. Because we were having too much fun. The only thing missing was a bowl of popcorn and some venison jerky. We were even texting people about how much fun were having and how many deer we weren't catching.

We did get serious towards the end but it was too late. Every deer in Hickory Corners knew our 10-20 and our punch lines. We were bound to teasin' and freezin'. Dan kept talking about that 15 minute sweet spot right before dark but we'd get to laughin'. Jordy if you're reading this. We admit it, we ruined everything but thanks for a great time.

Jan 20, 2010

You don't have to walk for miles

This post is for Travis.

It's harder to do it alone.

You do not have to be good
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles in the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
-M. Oliver

Jan 15, 2010

Feather and Cap

My Dad's workshop. That tumbler in background is what my Dad calls "three fingers...," as in, how warm do I want my belly to get while I craft a series of custom feather sets for the hat I bought my brother for his birthday. 

I did feather sets for "every day," "traditional" and "an occasion." The "occasion" set (left) had a longer turkey feather tied in that was died purple. Using real feathers helped appearance and movement. When they are lifted by the wind, real materials just look more pimp.

I used feathers from an outdoor sports place for fly tying. Quail, duck, turkey, pheasant, goose and so on. Awesome shopping experience. Once they get taken out of their perfectly fanned pattern, they're tough to get back into a natural form....but worth it.

Fun fun fun til Daddy takes the polish vodka away....I have left overs if anyone wants to try this.

Jan 4, 2010

Old Faithful

While I was home this Christmas, I set up my mother's bible near the bay window in the living room to photograph it. She explains that I tore this page while she was nursing me. Genesis. Sigh. If she was only reading Revelations.

The pages are separating from it's disintegrating spine despite layers of scotch tape carefully creased with perfectly painted fingernails. 

They want to know exactly what God means. I have questions about this but they don't come out of my mouth softly like I want them to.

During a phone interview last week at work, I spoke with a Rotary Cadre member we are profiling for a project in Panama. He said after our shoot, he's staying on a few days to take some pictures. He explains that he speaks the language and knows the people in town so it's easier for him to get access...go into homes and get to know people. Even if he's not connecting or sharing meaning, he can at least get what he needs. This is how I feel photographing these pages.

I was surprised to see how may of these books were marked. How can the onion skin pages hold up under such stress? The tiny writing and highlighting and underlining and white out with the more-right idea on top. The coffee stains and some pages completely missing or torn out by a nursing child. The pages could be yellowed by time or Virginia Slim menthol light 100's or both. How to know history exactly? I try to read her writing. I look very close and squint. I wonder what she is thinking so seriously about. Maybe if the word "and" really means "with" in this particular case and how that changes everything.

One of my new years resolutions is for more questions to come out of my mouth. Easy girl. Softer now.