One of my 2011 intentions is to try new things. So far this year in this space, I have strayed from my usual format of personal essay interspersed with relevant images and let a series of winter photographs speak for themselves. I’ve showed the results of my first attempt to use a Holga camera whose ways were mysterious to me and I hope will always remain so. I have even turned my camera on myself. This week I’ll be writing a different kind of post in which I give you some quick brief updates on what’s been going on in my life so far this already busy year, without exploring any grand themes or issues, at least not intentionally!
As it draws to a close, I will remember January as the month of deadlines. No sooner had I recovered from the holidays and only partly wrapped up the old year and put it behind me, when all sorts of 2011 business needed to be attended to. Applications for outdoor markets, photography contests and state grants all came due so quickly I even missed a few in the first two weeks. It’s hard to think in the dead of winter about events and announcements that won’t be happening until spring or summer - especially when one of my other 2011 intentions is to “live in the moment!” - but there I was, setting things in motion months ahead of time, projecting who and how I will be in May, when I’m not even sure what will happen tomorrow! For the grant and contest applications in particular, for me it meant creating artistic statements that were written from the point of view not of the photographer I now am, but the one I plan on becoming in 2011, with a body of work I can present on demand, and projects to promote that are worthy of respect and funding. Thinking of myself this way is indeed a big change. A good eye, I have. A good resume full of impressive academic and professional credentials? Not so much.
While this cold season still makes such items marketable, I’ve been working on scarves and wrist warmers to sell over the next few months. The scarf pictured here is a new design in a chevron pattern using an old technique in which I gather all the leftover colors that have been collecting from other finished pieces and put them together in an order that the colors themselves suggest as the piece progresses.
I’m always surprised how well these odds and ends blend, considering they were all acquired at different times for separate projects! Another case of something old creating something new! My next scarf will be a commissioned piece for my father. I was concerned that I would not finish it in time for him to make good use of it this winter, but considering our record snowfalls with no end in sight, I’ve got nothing to worry about!
In April I’ll be switching my focus exclusively to photography so I will be able to participate in Somerville Open Studios this spring with a wall full of professional mounts in a unified theme. In a recent bit of good luck, with our studio lease expiring this summer, Brian and I secured a new studio space in the same Vernon Street building we now occupy, to begin in March. This means we will have a transition period during which we will have two distinct spaces in which to work, and more importantly can each exhibit our work in our own spaces during the Open Studios weekend, perhaps the biggest event of the year for the Somerville arts community!
Meanwhile, back in the present, today we are once again digging out from more snow here in the Northeast, and my monochrome lover’s cry of delight at an abundance of snow scenes to capture is quickly turning into the winter hater’s cry of “enough already!” It’s not easy to find interesting new shots or the enthusiasm to seek them out, but that’s part of the challenge, to render the familiar strange and exciting again. Sometimes it’s not about finding unprecedented new subjects, tools or techniques (as I feared might be the case with my competitors for the grants and awards I’ve been applying for) but simply seeing things with new eyes and bringing that way of seeing to other people. As I began this post this morning, I was once again gazing at heaps of snow collected outside my window from the safety of my living room, but this time I took pictures of what happened on the window itself, instead of what lay beyond it. No two snowflakes are alike; so it is with snowstorms, their aftereffects, and the people who love to photograph them.
Little P is having a wonderful 2011!
This past week, just as I was making good on another 2011 intention, getting back into healthy diet and fitness routines, I came down with the bad stomach virus that has been making the rounds, and spent a few days too nauseated and weak to eat much or exercise at all. Fortunately, I remembered that my mother used to give me Ginger Ale whenever I was sick as a child and how it immediately settled my stomach, so I changed to a diet of bananas, rice crackers, applesauce and this apparently magic ginger beverage. I’m still a little weak, achy and dizzy, but at least I no longer feel as if any food I take in will immediately be sent back. Throughout my illness, and not being the kind of patient who can stay in bed for too long without getting restless, I was still strong enough to sit at my computer – with the nearby attendance of the best nurse ever, the amusing and adorable Little P, whose new favorite place to be is sprawled next to my laptop on my writing table while I’m typing. This is a change for her, so perhaps she has her own 2011 intentions to fulfill! Now that there is more snow outside, and with such excellent company, why would I want to be anywhere else?
I have one more new thing to report: I finally finished reading the Art as Business book that has been occupying my featured reading space at right for several weeks. It had a lot of useful information and I will need a few days to follow through on all the helpful websites and strategies suggested. Now I’m ready for a good novel – and I’ve chosen one of the two remaining novels by Jose Saramago I have yet to read – The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. After this, there will be only Baltasar and Blimunda left to enjoy. I’ve read everything else he has written, and no new works will issue from the silent pen of this departed literary master. Perhaps this is why I have been holding on to these last two novels, knowing when they are finished, I will never again have the experience of reading an unknown Saramago book for the first time. I will have to content myself with the experience of reading them all a second time, for the first time.
Special thanks to followers new to this space, and those who keep coming back for more.