Thursday, December 18, 2008

how winter makes me reconsider it all...

Today is one of those days that the air is so still and cold and full of winter that you can see it. It blurs out the edges of trees and pulls the world in close. Everything slows down, becomes mystery, any kind of movement seems like a transportation between worlds...makes me think of Avalon this morning.

Its not terribly cold though and after brushing off my car this morning, I stood there for a while watching my breath hang in the air and counting the seconds before it started to disappear. Sometimes I really like winter.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

since it's christmas let's be glad...

Today my bangs got dragged through my wrap. I didn't notice it until I was back at work and supremely confused about where the thai sesame smell was coming from...washed my hands a few times, checked my clothes and my face.

It was my hair. I'm going to get it cut tonight.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i once knew a girl in the years of my youth, with eyes like the summer...

okay, i've been a bad blogger. Its been well over a week since I last said i would post regularly. To be honest, work has been so ridiculously crazy busy in this christmas rush that I've had no time to slack off and write blogs. So rather than berate myself for it, I'm going to post another photo to talk about. Actually, I'm posting two. I had another photo in mind, but yesterday I saw different one and it got me to thinking.
I live on a farm in the city and it is beautiful. My front yard leads out to the paved city street while my backyard stretches out into fields of flax and wheat and tree lined gravel walks. I like wandering out along the gravel road behind my house because the trees are dramatic. Dark black trunks against the greens and browns and oranges of the earth and the wiry black branches so stark against the western sky. I love it. And I take lots of photos out there because the sunset always looks so beautiful out there. I took this one earlier last month. Just home from traveling for months, glad to be resting in the places i love best here in edmonton, but also leaving pieces of me spread across everywhere I'd been.

This is a photo I've taken 100 times, but every time the sun turns a certain colour of gold, or the shadows stretch out to a specific length, or the trees look a particular shade of impossible dark, I feel compelled to shot it again. and again. and again. Each time its a different moment for me. Its different from the last time I took the shot, because I am different. Its always interesting for me to see this image again and again because to me, the moment is always changing. I know something about the photo that no one else does. I know what I was doing before I went to shoot, I know what I was thinking about, I know what I was trying not to think about, I know what I was wanting and needing from life in that moment. I know all these things that are so intrinsically linked to that specific photo for me, that any other viewer would never guess at.

Which is why, when I see this same moment through someone else's eyes, it catches me off guard.

Patrick took this photo yesterday while I was at work. It's strange to see this moment and know it so well and know my own experience in it and then see his and wonder about what was going through his mind. Where he had been before he went out to shoot. What it was that called him out of the warm house into -30 degrees to capture this.

It reminds me that every image has so much more inside of it than we are every able to know. The complexity of someone attempting to capture their own experience is incredible.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

we'll call it christmas when the adverbs begin...

I am still here and alive despite reports of me falling off the face of the earth. Though, I'm sure the 5 people who read this blog will have long since stopped checking for my updates. I think I resolved a while back to write more entries, more often. Well, I suck.

I've been throwing around this idea lately about starting a kind of photoblog, but I thought that I might end up abandoning it or this one or both, so instead I've come up with a compromise. I am going to post a photo every week on this blog...maybe it'll be something recent, maybe something old...but I've decided I want to be more aware of my work. Better able to speak about it, to defend it, to understand it. So I'm gonna start here. I don't plan on writing about technical stuff or even really critiquing it - mostly I just want to talk about WHY I took the photo and what it looks like to me...and hopefully this will inspire me to write more frequently about other things as well.

I like taking portraits. A lot. Not set up ones, but ones that just sort of come out of a moment. A space that can't be recreated. It's something I usually don't think about. I just see it. The light, the colour, the all seems to come independent of anything I do. I'm not a creator, I'm a witness. There is a portion of text that Dryden writes in his "A Song for St Cecilia's Day 1687":

From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.

Its this beautiful image of the whole of creation being created by harmony and music and the whole of the entire universe comes together in humanity. When I take a portrait of someone in the context of one of these impossible to recreate moments, this is how I feel. Like, what I am capturing is just this tiny glimpse of something that is massive and overwhelmingly complex and infinitely important. And what I capture of it is tiny and fleeting: the edge of a smile dipping in at the corner, the smooth line of light along a cheekbone, eyelashes peeking off the edge of a profile, a stray hair blown outside of a hood. Things that just hint at something so much deeper, so much more.

Today I want to talk about this portrait:

I took this one of Jamie while I was walking with her in the playground across from our house after it had rained. It was one of my favourite afternoons of last summer. What I like the three pieces of hair around her face in the background...two falling forward, one still clinging to the inside of her (actually my) hoodie. I like how her eyelashes are super dark here, but not without detail. I like the way she has her mouth set while she's thinking and how the zipper creeps up at the bottom of the image, but what I like BEST about it is the piece on the close side of the hoodie that is being pulled out of the frame. It makes me think there is something more to this image, this moment that just shows itself for the briefest instant before the wind lets that piece of hair fall back into place. That's what I see when I look at this photo.