Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the Impossible Community

December 7 - Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (#Reverb10)

First Flush

I discovered The Impossible Project this year, along with a group of wonderful photographers interested in film photography. Although I don't remember where and when I "met" these people - it must have happened through the use of Twitter and Flickr! I have been so glad to have like-minded people to inspire me to continue taking photos.

Years ago, I had purchased an SX-70 land camera that I thought was broken due to odd results with my first pack of Time Zero film. I mean, look at this photo:

Laughing Buddha
Laughing Buddha - film weirdness, not camera weirdness
Now I realize the film pack was bad, not the camera. I honestly can't believe I thought the camera was broken for years - but I'm glad I kept it! Oddly, the film pack was not expired - it was a fresh pack (you know, back when they still made Time Zero film).

I am thankful to know so many inspiring photographers and artists.

Making Messes (what i do best, of course)

December 6 - Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (#Reverb10)

You would think that I might have made something recently. Aside from food, I am set up for creating all sorts of trouble. I have canvas, paint, pencils, crayons, glue, paper, rubber stamps, collage supplies, fabric, yarn.... you name it!

Oh, sure, I start plenty of things. Back in the spring, I started knitting a scarf that I was sure would be finished before the weather turned cold. Nope. I'm not even sure right now where I've hidden it. I started putting a rock and shell "collection" into containers to display. I don't have anywhere to display things, so this effort is futile. I have a sewing machine now, too - to do what, I'm not entirely sure. Make curtains? That would, honestly, be really useful!

So, what have I made lately? A mess. Yep, that's about it. I've made a huge, huge mess. My son helps often with mess-making. In fact, he likes to inform me of what he's doing. "Mommy, making mess!" Yeah, great, dude. Now can we clean up the mess? "No, I making mess!"

Usually my messes include papers, instant photos, coupons, rolls of tape, and other items that seem to have no place. I don't think I'll include a photo of the messes currently being cleaned up... who wants to see that?

I would like to make something besides a mess. I have thoughts of making curtains, finishing my knit scarf, as well as a new hat, and perhaps some fingerless mittens. There's also those little notebooks with coptic binding that I wanted to try making...

Monday, December 6, 2010

On Letting Go

December 5 - Let go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (#Reverb10)

Back in August, as part of Bindu Wiles' 21.5.800 project, I wrote about my life as an ambivalent mother. I'm sure you don't remember this, as I never posted it. Why not? Because it's an intensely personal subject, and one that is not often discussed in public.

Mothers are supposed to be supportive, loving, kind, giving, and completely in love with the idea of being a mother. Because, you know, we chose to be mothers. Ok, some of us did. I did.

I'll tell you a little about ambivalent motherhood - it's tough, and it involves a lot of fake smiles and pretending. I can't explain why it happened, but I failed to have overjoyed feelings about being a mother. It's confusing, because the feeling has nothing to do with your child - oh, sure, I loved (still love) my son - but love staying home? Love changing diapers? Breastfeeding? Honestly, not much. I was not the pregnant woman who ran out and bought clothes and toys for my unborn child as soon as I discovered I was pregnant. I did not read up on all the hot new baby-rearing items. I did not decorate a nursery. I felt oddly distant. I never dreamt about having children, nor did I dream of this child. I had trouble even imagining what my life might be like.

It's very possible that my ambivalence stemmed from not having many friends with children, and then being completely isolated after my son was born.  Nonetheless, I was startled one day by an old friend who said,

"I know it's hard, but it's all worth it, right?" 

I stopped. I did not have an answer. Worth what? Obviously I had no choice. My son needed me. It just IS. I never assessed whether I enjoyed it, because it doesn't matter.

But, here's the thing: it DOES matter. I was not enjoying myself. I did not like myself.

As my son grew older and became more interactive, we started to have a lot more fun. There was this shadow hovering, my former self. My former (current?) ambivalence. So I chose to write about it.

Writing about the first 18 months of his life and about my pregnancy helped me let go of my ambivalence. I let go of my past, let go of the difficulties that led up to where I am now.

I'm not going to tell you that I'm one of those perfectly happy stay-at-home moms with a clean house, dinner on the table, and kids with perfectly organized routines. Because I'm not. And I never will be.

Love my New Ride (March 17)
March 2009 - Cute, silly, and loved. Really. Ambivalence toward motherhood is NOT ambivalence toward a child.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

adoration of flowers

December 4 - Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? #Reverb10

Pink Peony
Peonies in our old back yard.

I tried to take the time to smell the flowers. Or at least photograph a few. My son adores flowers - and by adores, I mean he enjoys touching them, uprooting them, and generally wreaking havoc. 

When coming across a flower, the Boy always stops, shoves his nose directly into the center of the flower, and sniffs. "Smells good!" he exclaims, whether it smells or not.

Friday, December 3, 2010

the coldest day of winter

December 3 - Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors.) (Reverb 10 - Day 3)

A moment. A single moment in time. Did time stand still long enough to remember any moment this year?

One cold, January afternoon, as my son napped, my husband insisted I go for a walk. It had been months since I had been alone. The moment I stepped onto the frozen sidewalk, the cloud in my mind lifted. The biting cold wind whipped through my hair, freezing my cheeks, burning my lungs. My boots crunched happily over the packed snow as I walked over the path through the park. Everything was white, stark, frozen - even my breath.

Were there others out that day? I think so. In my mind, though, I was alone, on a mission, giddy to be myself. Myself. Not mommy, wife, daughter, just myself.

All I remember was the cold, cold air, the crunch of the ice and snow, the painfulness of each frozen breath, and the shockingly red stain of a bird carcass on the white snow, bones picked nearly clean.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stopping the Cycle

December 2 - Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta) (Reverb 10 - Day 2)

This is a difficult topic, as I do not think of myself as a writer. Nor do I write everyday. Unless you count twitter, which really should not be counted as "writing." I do very little during the day. I do the same things almost every day, the same way every single time. I need to stop doing this SAME thing. It's very late now as I write this. Every single night, I stay up way too late, trying to catch a moment to think for myself. Clearly. Without screaming in the background (or foreground, as the case may be).

Unfortunately, the cycle of what tomorrow will be begins with sleep, or lack thereof. When I don't sleep well or long, I wake up angry and irritable. And rushed. Can I change it for tomorrow? As I go to sleep, late once again, I realize that no, in fact, tomorrow has already begun and I am still in the cycle.

I must stop the cycle of madness. I must attempt to get out of the rut I have made for myself, and do MORE everyday. Have more fun, more excitement, more to write and talk about. The question, of course, is how to begin? Get to bed earlier, wake up earlier - just a bit, everyday. Baby steps.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 in a word - Muddle

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? (Reverb 10, Day 1)

I only heard about Reverb 10 just two days ago, so I am a little behind on my prompts.

Why "muddle?" The word seems to encompass all that I've felt throughout the year. Muddle has a feel to it. Don't you just feel the plodding, the uncertainty, the confusion just reading the word, saying it to yourself? I do.

2010 began with a whimper, a whine, and a seriously muddled mind. Anger. Lack of sleep. Frustration. I was struggling not to take my feelings out on my husband and son. My son, who was not sleeping more than twenty minutes at a time in his crib, was an adorable, but frustrating creature continually mocking my need for peace, quiet, and alone time.

Somehow, some way, sanity prevailed. We all began getting more sleep.

Although I was less angry, I continued to be frustrated. When do I get to THINK?

The year has been punctuated by brief bursts of energy as I try to jam little bits of something into the nooks and crannies of my days. Everything I did was rushed. Taking photographs, I'd cut corners, forget to wait for the "right" moment, fail to set things up exactly as I desired, and ultimately, end up rushing dinner, yelling at my child, forgetting the groceries, knocking my camera off the desk. You name it. I put off doing important things like the doctor, the vet, making dinner, changing the oil in the car, cleaning the house. I would make grocery lists only to lose them seconds before walking out the door. I would cut coupons only to have them sit unused for months in my bag. I would run out the door without wipes, diapers, water. And often, I would run out the door LATE.

My mind is in a muddle. I am used to remembering all of the little details, but these facts now allude me. It doesn't have to be that way. Next December, I want to know that I've been present in my life. Present for my husband, my son, my cats, and anyone else I meet along the way. I want clarity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bittersweet November

November 24, 2003
My favorite photo from our wedding reception

November 24, 2003
Sadly, the best photo from our wedding of the two of us together!

My husband and I were married seven years ago today. It was a cold Monday evening in Sedona - and I was rather chilly in that strapless gown! I do wish we had better photos from our wedding day. In fact, I wish we had more photos of the two of us together, in general. There aren't many. The reception was small, at a lovely restaurant with beautiful old imported doors (of which we have no photos...) and wonderful food. The blurry photo captures the energy and vibe of that night rather well. It's blurry, and not really a great photo, but it's definitely my favorite.

November has always been rather packed with activity - both my sister and I were born the week of Thanksgiving, then of course there's the Thanksgiving holiday itself. Then we added a wedding into the mix. And my husband's birthday is also in November.

So, my mother-in-law, who was a really wonderful person, died yesterday. The day before our anniversary. She was ill for a very long time, so it was not entirely unexpected. I just wish my son had had the chance to know her better. 


Monday, November 8, 2010

sometimes the day seems dark, despite the sun


Ah, back before the days had become so short, and the trees still had their green leaves. Today was warm and sunny. I am thankful.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Impossible Daisies

Autumn Flowers

Another Impossible Project photo I took of my gerbera daisies before they wilted completely. The reason I took the photo at this angle? Anya ate a large chunk of one of those flowers overnight. Anya would be my demon cat, named after a character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ok, really, she isn't a demon cat - but she is a bit crazy. In a good way.

Just for kicks - what is it with people putting these weird reflective balls in their yards and gardens? I just don't get it. This one is sitting on a bird bath, but somehow, I suspect the birds don't get much out of it.

spectra blue self

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

oh, daisy!


Ah, gerbera daisies! Some of my favorite flowers. I absolutely had to have gerbera daisies in some of the flower arrangements at my wedding, too. These aren't quite as colorful in the photo as they were in person - WERE. Yes, they've already drooped and lost many of their petals. It's possible that I know absolutely nothing about keeping potted flowers alive inside my home.

So this photo was taken a couple of weeks ago with Impossible Project PX70 first flush film. Although I enjoy using the film, I'm definitely excited about the next incarnation of the color film!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stifled by Indecision

found: old sketchbook pages

Last month while I was looking through some boxes (ok, yes, I was looking for something I'd lost), I found an old sketchbook. I started it in 2003, but used it for several years, as I'm not a prolific artist.

Why am I stifled by indecision? My guess is fear and too much stuff. Just saying. I wish I had successful shedding of stuff to report, but alas, I do not! I am working on it slowly, but I get stuck often.

Where do you put the stuff you want to get rid of? When you have a toddler - don't put it on the floor, that's for sure. I don't have any extra rooms or closets (I mean, really, people - if I have a problem with stuff, do you think I have space to organize? nope).

I kind of wish I could have one of those organizer people from The Hoarders show on TLC. She could come over and just ask me what should be done with this item or that, and you know, put it in a pile somewhere that I haven't thought of yet. Or in her car.

Although I'd like to sell some things, rather than throw them out, I'm getting a lot closer to just wanting some of this junk out NOW. Which means it's going to end up sitting in the alley soon unless I feel like spending the time listing it on craigslist or ebay.

Today's Shed Tally:
  • 1 wool coat
  • 1 cotton jacket 
  • 1 down vest
  • listed four books for sale on Amazon
  • listed several books on paperbackswap
Last week: Organized the entry closet (although it could still use some purging)

So - some progress made! I just wish the progress were more... palpable? 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What next?

When I got home that day (yes! it was one day!), I sat at my disorganized desk and had a beer. It was only 4 pm, and I rarely drink before dinner.

I looked around the room. WHAT DO I THROW OUT? I have to throw something out! That weekend I got rid of an entire recycling bin of paper - mostly articles from my stint as an archaeology grad student. I kept them because, well, I MIGHT NEED THEM ONE DAY. Also, I hate throwing out paper.
That blue bin? Yep, that's the size of the recycling bins in Tucson.
Photo by Brian Greer.
After this event, I saw "trinkets" and thought GARBAGE. I have tried very hard to resist buying things that have no purpose besides to look pretty sitting somewhere, as in my case, they will look like dust-collection devices. I stopped "collecting" boxes, too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hoarding and Fear

When I said I met someone, it's probably not what you were thinking.

I met a Hoarder. I'm not even sure she KNEW she was a hoarder. And, in fact, I didn't know either. We often joked about how we were "pack rats" and we were often saving garbage from work that might be useful for some unknown "craft" project at a later date. We worked at a lab so there was LOTS of cool stuff being thrown out! I could paint those valves and nuts and bolts and glue them in a shadowbox collage. Did I ever do so? Um, no. I did paint a bunch of them gold, though. Then I shoved the junk into a cabinet.

Ideas for old contact cases???
Yes, those are contact lens cases that I collected over years. I figured I might need them someday.

And moved on to another project, another hobby. I still have a ton of rubber stamps from that "collage and altered book" hobby. I never finished a single project. Knitting was a bit more successful - I finished multiple hats, scarves, a sweater, several bags, washcloths, etc. My spending, however, was a bit out of line with my knitting speed. I have at least three very large plastic boxes FULL of yarn. Still.

large unfelted tote
This is an unfinished tote bag, photo from 2007. It's still unfinished. And I still have it.

My friend was very creative as well - she always had some craft in mind, loved thrift stores, and was a potter. We also both had spouses who collected books for a living (oh, ok, grad students, but same thing). Well, as it turns out, her husband got a job, they had to move, and someone volunteered to help clean out the house (after they'd packed up the moving truck already).

I was SCARRED FOR LIFE from this experience. You don't have any idea what it's like until you've been there. There was so much stuff left in the house. It might not have been as bad if we hadn't gone through the kitchen - we dumped out ancient spices (while she wasn't looking. she would have been horrified if she knew we threw them out), expired food, and food with BUGS IN IT.

The lawn was full of JUNK she was "donating." If you saw this stuff.... it was trash. Literally. But, she still saw value in her stuff. Apparently she attempted to sell all sorts of trash at her recent garage sale, but luckily, I missed that. In her laundry room: a box labeled "broken sunglasses" that had no fewer than ten pair; a neatly organized box of plastic sheets from toy packages; a box labeled "gluing projects" that had a legless Barbie doll among other oddities; a box of square cardboard pieces (weigh paper packaging, from work); a box of rusty tools; boxes of easter, halloween, and valentine's day treats all labeled, but never used.

Why am I telling you this? So you know where I'm coming from. That's all. I saw myself in this stuff. I was afraid. So, so fearful. Did she know what she was doing? Did she feel weighed down by her things? She said not. She said she loved her stuff. It was clearly agony for her to get rid of so much of it.

I did not want to be her. She wasn't who I thought she was.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ok, but how did I get here?

Many people in western society are doomed to continue collecting things they don't need throughout their entire lives. I don't want to be one of those people. Anymore.

My life revolves around stuff. It always has. I'm not in retail, but I am trained as an archaeologist. Archaeology is all about STUFF. I love it! Not only that, but I've always been intrigued by detective work. Again, stuff is important in determining what went on when, where, why, and who was involved. You see how archaeology and detective work are so similar? Both require the close observation of objects, debris, remains, garbage. I like psychology, too, and am intrigued by how people place their things, how they use them, and why certain objects are more important than others. Why do people collect? Why do people write in journals? Why do we take photographs? Why do we still want to hold those photos in our hands?

Do my interests excuse my own collection of stuff? No, I don't think so.

Even before I knew those things about myself, I collected things. Rocks. Legos (I'd hoard them underneath my bed). Toys (I'd stash them in paper bags and carry them around the house). Stickers (Rarely used - I'd leave them pristine). Apparently I had a great fear that my younger sister would take my stuff and destroy it.

Later, I started collecting boxes. And bags. Absurd, isn't it? I started collecting things used to store stuff! I never threw anything out. I might need it later. Oh, sure, I'd throw out packaging and food remains. But, homework? No, never. Instructions? Nope. Old costume jewelry? I might need it. Can you imagine how many years of magazines I had stashed? No, I doubt you can.

Box o'memories... or something like that.
Stuff I collected, mostly from the summer of 1996 (my first archaeological dig)

Honestly, it never crossed my mind that I shouldn't keep everything. Never. I knew I was a pack rat. My sister teased me about it, but I was fine with who I was. For the most part.

So what changed in my head? I met someone.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Is it time to shed?

 Why do humans hang on to so much STUFF?

And I suppose I don't mean just ANY humans, but those of us in "western society." What is is about our culture that has caused us to collect?

Sedentism, which came about mainly through agriculture and cultivation of plants, is certainly part of the problem. Hunter-gatherers tended to be nomadic, leading to less collection of materials. If a large item were collected it had better be useful - and probably would be used up completely prior to any move. Storage was certainly an option, but there was no guarantee you would ever get back to the same location and retrieve the items (and, generally speaking, these items were usually food or food collection related, rather than junk that we collect today).

But then, how did we start placing so much value on things that have nothing to do with basic necessities - such as food, water, and shelter? We are entrenched in the culture of hierarchical, capitalist society. Our "necessities" have changed somewhat. Survival without money is difficult. Shelter must be purchased. In most cases, food must be purchased. Therefore, we must have jobs. Therefore, most of us must use technology. And on and on and on.

The question is, however, how much of this stuff do we really NEED? Can I be happy with less stuff? Would I be happier with fewer things? I'm going to go out on a limb and say ABSOLUTELY.

Do you know how often I dream of losing most of my things? Often. I think about it at least five times everyday. I'm sure I'm underestimating.

What about you? Can you live with less stuff? Will you? Check out The Shed Project over at BinduWiles.com and start shedding.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Reflections at the Garden. SX-70 Model 2 camera, Impossible Project PX70 first flush film.

Amazingly, this PX70 photograph has been very popular on Flickr. Well, popular as far as my photostream goes! I am quite flattered that so many have enjoyed the beautiful reflections of these trees at the Chicago Botanic Garden. There is something so wonderful, so amazing about the reflections of light in water. It might be a minor obsession lately, trying to capture these reflections. I'm ok with that.

This is wonderful color for the PX70 film, although it has shifted a bit toward the green end of things. Also, I am painfully aware of the Newton's Rings all over the water surface of this photo. It's the first time I've noticed them, but now I can see them on other scans, too. Alas!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Today I am feeling stressed. My cat, who was originally diagnosed with diabetes last August, who went into remission spectacularly in December, now is back in diabetic mode. I went through a lot with him last fall. Vet visits one to two times a week for several months. Money spent - more than we made - and he was never regulated. He was diagnosed with cushing's disease, then acromegaly, then pancreatitis. And I have never been so angry and disillusioned at the incompetence thousands of dollars pays for.

And here I am again. Fearful, angry, and sadly, resigned to my fate. I am imagining months of vet visits with my 2 year old in tow.

His first word, last August, was Chester.

Posted via email from Crumbs of Chaos

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Somewhat interesting sunset this evening. I rarely notice the sunset here - it's never as good as the ones we had every night in Arizona.

Posted via email from Crumbs of Chaos

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Splash of Color!

Today I spent time experimenting with Impossible Project's PX70 film. So far, the photos I took have very little actual color (or colour if you're so inclined). I took this same photograph with my SX-70 Model 2 and PX70 film. This one is LOTS more colorful. We'll see how it looks tomorrow after cooking for a while. Took a few other shots as well - one of which turned out completely white. Bummer - the shutter got stuck open. Silly old camera. 

I see I completely forgot about August Break yesterday! Well, not entirely true - I do have an entry in my Moleskine. I just forgot to take any worthwhile photos. 

Posted via email from Crumbs of Chaos

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stolen moments

Sometimes it's difficult to take photographs with a small child along for the ride. Using my cell phone camera is a start! I'm enjoying having a record of little snippets of my days. This wasn't exactly the photo I wanted, but someone was yanking on my arm.
This lovely green bicycle was found on our way to the car - parked four blocks from our house. I think I want a bike again.

Monday, August 2, 2010

brief interjection. or interruption.

So, hey, guess what?

I've been shooting FILM again. You know - polaroids? Perhaps I was a bit overzealous within the last week or so, but I've shot several entire packs. Sadly, I haven't even left my house. But, I digress.

take a load off
PZ600 - the new Impossible Project film for Spectra cameras.
Check out the tones on the new Impossible Project film! It's absolutely amazing, and if I see another Spectra camera on craigslist for a good price, I'm snapping it up. I hear these cameras crap out quickly, so I need to be ready. This photo was only taken a few days ago, so we'll see in a month how it's holding up.

In other related news: I am an Impossible Pioneer. In other words - I have spent lots of money on my film obsession, despite knowing the film is still in an experimental phase. I love experimenting. Don't you? Sadly, I have not recommended anyone to the Impossible Project as yet, so I won't be able to reach the next Impossible level (Land level!). You see what they're doing? Trying to get me to BUY MORE FILM and recommend that others get on the addiction wagon, too! Good plan.

Knowing that PZ film was in the mail last week, I had to pull out my Spectra System camera and see what she can do. or he. either way.

glass bead game
Double exposure with spectra image film.
Double exposures! Close-ups! Oh, I got a close-up lens for the Spectra System camera a while back, but hadn't managed to try it out (I wasn't feeling the Spectra love). So fun. Loving it.

hidden treasures
Spectra image film, close-up lens, Spectra system camera

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ready? Go!

Today it's August 1st, and I've been remiss in my blogging lately. For more than two months, in fact! So what's been up? Well, we moved across town and I still feel like I'm living in a mess. My mother came to visit, my husband went on multiple trips, and my son turned 2.

The lovely Susannah Conway came up with a wonderful way to spend August blogging: August Break. One photo a day, whatever you want. Perfect for getting back into blogging, right? Right.

I've decided on using my Droid to take photos during the day, and posting a snippet of my day. Today's photos aren't great - but it's a start. So, welcome to my world:

A little moleskine book I've started with prints of my daily photos (yesterday's trip to the laundromat, exciting).
window shopping on Lincoln Avenue

check out this Polaroid display!

And we're off! {like a herd of turtles}

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Visiting the Garden

I can't garden. Seriously, I kill stuff. Once, back in college, I got a job taking care of plants for genetic research. Sadly, although I was interested in genetics, I had no plant-raising skills, and the job did not last very long. I hope I didn't do too much damage to the plants and research.

Perhaps due to my lack of botanic skill, I am fascinated with gardens and gardening. Photographing trees and flowers! Animals in captivity are less exciting than plants in captivity. I've been to the botanic garden here at least a dozen times since I moved to Chicago. I have visited the zoo once {my sister was intrigued by the length of the zebra's... well, that's another story}.

I only brought the Spectra camera and the dSLR - you know, one already feels like a pack mule when bringing a toddler anywhere. Here are a few of my favorite shots {all digital - I am not adept at the use of the Spectra and was underwhelmed by the results}:

14 May 2010

garden landscape

14 May 2010
{wish that couple were wearing something colorful!}

yummy flowers


Sorry for boring everyone with more botanic garden photos! Believe me, it will happen again {probably soon}. Hope you are all enjoying your spring!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fade To Black...

I'd seen some really great images during 'Roid Week 2010 on flickr made with Fade to Black film, and I felt that I should try it out before I lost the chance. Distressing to find out the very last of the film is being sold before you've had the chance to try it out {oh, wait, that happened to me with 600 film also}.

So, today, I managed to take some awful photos with PX100, a few terrible Spectra shots, then I had to pick myself up and decide whether or not to even try one more photo! I took a couple selfies {ok, I'm not even going to say "portrait" because they are also very bad}.

Poor tulips really should've been photographed... but here's what I came up with instead:

His and Hers

I love it. It's exactly what I was hoping for - ok, no, it's actually better. Of course, this is before peeling it, so who knows what it will look like when I'm finished. Fun!

No, I am not scanning the faded selfies. Unless I suddenly look gorgeous in faded form. Not going to happen. I am going to go hide all evidence of other photographs taken today.

I truly hope other people have frustrating moments when they want to throw out all recent photographs. It almost made me pull out the digital camera.

Friday, May 7, 2010

seeking inspiration, wishing to See

Here are my photos from Day 4 of Polaroid Week:

Canon G-III QL

burn like hell {rawr!}

As you can see, I'm a bit low on inspiration these days. I have some ideas that would involve either myself or someone else... but alas, I don't have a timer on the SX70.

When in doubt, photograph one of your vintage cameras. Right. And then throw in a plastic dinosaur (courtesy of Photojojo, actually).

I am pleased with the light and shadows, the focus (on the camera shot), and um, that's it. I need a larger prop to tote around. Like a gnome, maybe? Too kitchy perhaps. I'll think about it. {wait. am i that goofy?}

I have found some polaroid photographers who have seriously impressed me this week. Perhaps made me feel small and crazy for thinking I could take photos at all {i am prone to this sort of behavior/thinking}. I haven't found my niche yet. I'm still learning.

I might add, though, that one of the things I've always found difficult in photography is its tendency toward art and design. I feel that I don't have an "eye" for art or design {or fashion, but that's not what this is about}. Digital photography and photoshop make photography even more about the post-processing "art." How do I learn to do this? I'm not sure what exactly makes a photo wonderful rather than just so-so {although i am usually acutely aware that my photos are in the latter category}.

I love using PX100 and PX600 (and oh, that old Time Zero is what got me wanting to use Polaroid cameras years ago; alas I've never had a pack). I enjoy how those films change reality into something mystical, beautiful, or dreamy, when reality is so mundane. Is it easier to take a photograph when the film does so much work? I find Spectra and 600 film.... less fun. More work.

Photography isn't just about practicing - especially if you aren't sure what others find enticing about photos. Much like many talents - you either have it or you don't. You can certainly learn the technical aspects - but how do you learn to See?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Impossible Reflections

I love reflections, love the way water reflects the light and mirrors what we see. So beautiful, so ethereal. On Monday I attempted to find something wonderful to photograph for Polaroid Week {I might be stressing myself out over something that is supposed to be fun}. Here's what I found:

forest reflections

I took one photo on Monday. That was it. I turned into the short road going to a forest picnic area, glimpsed the water in a clearing reflecting the trees, stopped the car, jumped out, framed the photo, pressed the button... and hopped right back in the car. Honestly, I was absolutely thrilled with the results. It's not exactly what I'd planned to take in the forest. The orange hue was not what I wanted, either, but it was warm outside, and that's what PX600 does. But, oh, that reflection...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Polaroid Week is Here!

So, hello, and Happy Polaroid Week to you. Get out there and shoot some instant film, people! I must admit I was enjoying myself the other day trying to get some lovely photos at the Botanic Garden. I was also quite frustrated, as my plans for perfectly exposed px100 and px600 shots were foiled by sun and heat. Using a bag exacerbated the heat issue, I think, and one of the px100 photos was a big, muddy brown mess. Here are my two Day 1 submissions:

Memories of Springs Past


Both of these were shot with PX100 film with my SX-70 Model 2 at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

I am astounded at the wonderful submissions for Day 1. Already so much to look at and ponder. And wonder why I even bother some days...

My absolute favorite of the day {and many others' favorite as well it seems}.  It's good crazy. And you know how I like a bit of crazy.

Click here to check out the Polaroid Week 2010 pool on flickr. But know you might get stuck browsing for hours on end...

I am not sure how long my energy will last - I don't have a stockpile of unscanned photos, as I haven't been at this very long. I took one photo today. Yep. Well, these photos are expensive! I'm a bit jealous of all the great color photos in the pool - I don't have much color film to use. Oops. Just got sidetracked looking at this photo. You should also check out this fun one.

Off to sleep. When does Day 2 start anyhow? Hope I can manage to find an appropriately wonderful {i would like cosmic, but i don't think that will happen} subject for some polaroids tomorrow.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

oh, happy spring tulips!

Field of Tulips

Crabapple Tree Flowers

Pink and Yellow Tulips

Pink Tulip

Just a few shots from the Chicago Botanic Garden yesterday. Weather was lovely (although a bit windy), and I've still got a headache from the whole thing. School is now over, and summer craziness will set in soon. In case you don't know - that's when you think it's going to be relaxing, then suddenly it's August and you forgot to do all those nice, relaxing things.

What's on the agenda? Visiting my in-laws. Maybe, if we can find someone to watch the cats. And quickly, as I'm not sure how much time my mother-in-law has. I suspect that trip (if it happens) could be... taxing. My husband will definitely be going. Then, he's got a trip to check out some archaeological sites. My youngest sister is graduating from High School, but I suspect I won't make it for that. June we'll be moving across town. Maybe we'll have a visit from my mom (which would be both awesome and stressful because that makes too many strong personalities in one house). Then there's a trip to Boston (again, archaeology-related, and not for me). Then, my toddler is turning TWO. And then, suddenly, it's August and we're back to the school routine. It's going to fly by, isn't it?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

When did you realize the power of photography?

I started taking photos when I was five years old. My parents got me a Kodak 110 camera, and I took many awful photos (you know, headless people, blurry close-ups, weird shots of things I liked). When I was 10 or 11 years old, I took a photography class in Middle School that taught us how to use a camera as well as how to develop and print our own photos. Can you believe the film we used was not 35mm? It looks like 120 film. Weird.

5th grade photos

Those were a few of my attempts. I remember feeling very uninspired, and we had to finish the whole roll (of 16, I think) within a day or two. It wasn't until we moved to Arizona when I was 12 that I held a "real" camera - it was a Minolta X-370. The other day, my dad claimed we lost a lens and had to buy one in Colorado. I remember it as - we bought the whole camera in Colorado. If we'd had it before, Dad - why weren't we using it?

Do you remember the first photo you took when you thought "wow! that's amazing!"?

My sister and I argued over who took this beautiful portrait of our other sister, R. She was 3 years old, had little blonde pigtails, and was holding a purple wildflower. The bokeh (not that I knew that's what it was at the time) stunned me. I'd never seen such a thing before! Her face was in perfect focus. I'll have to find that one and scan it... I'm sure it's nothing special - but to us, it was inspiration to take more photographs with Dad's camera.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

don't we all just need a little crazy?

Sidewalk View

This is my street. Obviously, it looks much more interesting using PX100 film than it does when I walk outside and look at it now. I wonder if I'll remember it as this idealized {sepia-toned} neighborhood, or the bizarre amalgam of families, students, and old folks from Poland that it is. When everything turns green again, as just happened last week {seemingly overnight}, I swear my heart feels like it might explode. Amazing, stunning - and all because of a few leaves. I'm sure it has something to do with living in the Arizona desert for nearly 20 years.

Tucson Sky in August

Photo from right outside my last house. I miss those sunsets! We had a trolley that ran in front of our house, which was interesting. We also had an ugly naked guy across the street. Seriously - I'm NOT KIDDING. He had one of those black screens on his door, seemingly having no idea that people can SEE THROUGH the screen, he would stand at the screen peering out onto the street wearing NOTHING. I mean, I know it's Tucson and it's hot, but dude, um, it's OBSCENE. Ah, the color of life. Sorry - no photos of ugly naked guy!

But I digress. In the last week we found a new flat that we'll be moving into in a month. A different neighborhood, different people, different crazy. This current neighborhood honestly just doesn't have enough crazy. And we need another bedroom (for an office! not another child!).

Monday, April 26, 2010

feeling overwhelmed

feel space {laughing buddha}

It's not that I don't often feel overwhelmed... I do. Sometimes I realize I'm reading too many blogs, following too many people (and I don't follow many, really) on twitter, looking at too many gorgeous photostreams on flickr - and I start hyperventilating thinking about all the things I could be doing that I'm not!  {along the lines of - why am i not sewing things to sell on etsy? why am i not practicing my photography so i take better exposed, better composed photos? why am i not exercising right this second? wait... when DID i last exercise? why am i not outside right now? when was the last time i went hiking? *is* there hiking around Chicago?}

Well, ok, in reality, although I do waste a lot of time, my husband is finishing up the classes he's teaching this week - lots of work - just got back from a conference, and my dad was in town all week for his own work conference. I haven't had much time to myself. Then there was that pile of computer components sitting in my living room (mentioned those a while back...) - my dad and I put it all together! In fact, I should be downloading drivers for the motherboard and video card right now. But I'm not.

The Impossible Project has released PX600 film, and I'm quite excited to try it. Of course, I don't have an SLR680. Have you seen what people have been paying for those things?! I'm not going to list my cameras (uh, today - I'll probably document them all in the near future, though). So what am I going to put that PX600 in?

Oh, wait - maybe I should throw some more photos in this post (now that I've bored y'all to death):

It's a faucet!

Do I have a problem? Why do I keep wanting to photograph fixtures? Oh, hey, there's this cool bathroom over at the park... but anyhow... Here's a sign that I've enjoyed for the last couple of years {but just photographed last week}:

Trim 'N Tidy Cleaners
(this one is 600 film in my dad's SX70, Alpha 1 Model 2 - he brought it for me to use! seems to have a problem with the gears sticking - the mirror got stuck after one shot)

The weekend was cold and rainy, so I didn't take any photos. Sad, I know. This week I'm hoping to get out to the Chicago Botanic Garden!! How many cameras should I take? Oh, and can you believe my mother asked why I couldn't just shoot digital? I'm feeling misunderstood.