On November 23rd I woke to a chilly storm, coating the roads and my car with a thick sheet of ice. Normally, I would take this as an opportunity to stay inside and avoid getting out of my pajamas, but today was a special morning, because I was asked by a friend to photograph her family as they all gathered at her home to celebrate Christmas. For the first time, Kathy's three daughters would be coming together with all of their children and all of her grandchildren would meet for the first time. Adorable twin babies, and a fun and active four year old are exactly what I needed to cheer my spirits on this cold winter day.
As I sit here writing, during a January blizzard, my husband and I took our own Christmas tree down last night, and we are headed into the dark days of winter. I find myself reflecting on the beauty of the holiday season and how every family has their own traditions that evolve over time, with new generations of grandchildren and spouses, time is a fascinating thing when it comes to how families choose to come together and begin to weave their lives into one another.
Getting dressed up and prepared to spend quality time with those closest to you is such a beautiful way to recharge and prepare to head into the days of winter.
It brought me such joy to see this family enjoying the wild spirits of both young and old, Whether that be playing baseball inside with grandma, or racing trucks around the kitchen, these are the days that you treasure and embrace the perfect imperfections of each piece of the puzzle that makes up your own unique family.
I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and that you enjoyed every moment of restoring your joy and love for one another.
Peace & Love,
This past year I have spent a lot of time producing work. Finding the balance between my teaching curricula, being an active parent as well as developing my own conceptual ideas has been a journey but I am finally feeling content in all three of these areas. When I say content, I mean I am inspired and happy as well!
This past year I challenged my Symmetry of Light work in refining it's craft as well as experimenting working with a variety of different speeds of film to see how the patterns of light would change through the grain variation in film. I began exploring presentation through printing on metallic paper and mounting the images between wooden rails that I crafted and designed from reclaimed barn wood. Always searching for the best way for my viewer to understand the importance of the tactile relationship I have with my imagery, The work has transformed into almost a sculptural experience.
Craft has been drilled into me since my days of art school and I am so thankful for those experiences and tough critiques that challenged me to think about how to make my work stand out through presentation. There are a total of 10 pieces in this series right not. As I continue to move forward with this series, I am going to shoot 120 medium format film and actually downsize the overall final print, but obviously upgrade the quality of material through larger film. I loved the way the ISO 50 film came out in the image below and the depth created by the glowing of light in the tree fractals.
I began the summer with an Alumni exhibition at Watkinson School and then was featured at Bau Gallery in Beacon New York their Beacon Room along with the sculptural work of David Link. This was a wonderful experience. I look forward to continue to explore and push the craft of this work. beginning to work not with 120mm and 4x5 large format film.
Moving back into shooting, developing and printing black and white 35mm film this year, I have rediscovered my love of light and shadow and the exciting happy accidents that present themselves through the limitations of film. This recent series of imagery is my exploration of light, symmetry and landscape. The image below is titled The Symmetry of Light and was recently acknowledged by the the New York Center for Photographic Art with an honorable mention in their Geometry 2016 show.
I have been purposefully shooting film at the times of day when the sun creates the strongest shadows. Shooting directly into the sun, I capture the shapes, shadows and glares that tend to fog film, creating sometimes unwanted accidents. In the case of my work, I am embracing the grain, glare and fog of film and exploring it further by scanning the negatives and drawing connections between these rays of light.
"The Symmetry of Light" 26" x 40" Metallic Print
"The Symmetrical Web of Light and Shadow" 13" x 40" Metallic Print
"The Weeping Willows" 16" x 20" Metallic Print
As I develop these ideas further, I am beginning to mimic the fractals created in nature. Pushing the composition to imply a creasing of material directed by the rays of light. Seen in the images below, I am eager to continue to explore the geometric overlay and modifications of more negatives.
"Forest Fractals" 16" x 20" Metallic Print
I feel as if everything in my life now really relates back to being a mother. When I photograph these images, my son is always by my side, whether he is being pushed in a stroller, or walking around and exploring, he is constantly talking with me about the "birdies" that he is hearing or he points to the sky and giggles and smiles to acknowledge the leaves and the trees around us. My son is the reason why I am taking a second chance to explore the beauty surrounding us every day. Time moves so fast, unless you slow down and take the opportunity to really embrace the beauty of life and the wonderful light that we walk in each day.
There is a place up in the woods where time will always move slow.
When I visit here, I don’t think about when I will need to go.
When morning breaks, the light comes through and brings back memories, of times past and gone with good company.
In such a sacred place your imagination can run free. To a place where your creativity can wander endlessly.
While certain things may change, there is much that stays the same. It is here that I can always find myself.
It is here that my heart will remain.
Thinking back to my trip to Tuscany two years ago, I find a calm in reflecting on the pace of life in the small hill town of Orvieto, Italy. Both the buildings and the people in this town speak so loudly of the strong history embedded in this special place. There is a connection between people and place that creates a strong fabric woven full of culture and pride.
Those who belong sit and watch travelers pass through and begin to look like the buildings, plants and art that surrounds them.
The comfort and confidence that comes with the ability to sit and watch the world pass by is a true sign of home.
Getting back into printmaking has become a calming therapy for me. I love how the tools take on a life of their own and give my vision a whole new life. The way the ink interacts with the linoleum and layers onto the paper to create texture and depth to the image further pushes my love of the media.
This specific print was inspired by one of my sons favorite books, Llama llama red pajama. He loves asking us to read it as he just repeats "LLAMA MAMA? LLAMA MAMA?!" over and over. It is the sweetest! In this book, the mother llama puts her baby to sleep and when she leaves the room, the baby llama begins to panic and worry that his mama will not return. He goes through the stages of weeping and whimpering to screaming at the top of his lungs! All while llama mama is downstairs doing the dishes, picking up the phone and working on keeping a home. All of the same routines I go through overnight after my son Declan goes to bed.
As soon as she hears his painful cries she sprints upstairs to calm her child. Explaining and telling him "Baby Llama don't you know that Mama Llama loves you so? Mama Llama's always near, even if she's not right here." This is what being a mother is all about. We are the reassuring and comforting nurturer that helps our children grow more independent. No matter what obstacles have come my way during a day, as a mother, I have learned how important it is to push it all aside to call on my inner calm and patient Llama Mama and in comforting and teaching my baby boy how to be strong, he has shown me so much strength as well.
This print is a homage to the strength within all mothers. The strength to remain calm and patient and be an inspiration to one another. There is a balance in such strength and I am constantly reminded of this each day. In order to be the best self for my son, I must balance and take care of myself personally, professionally and physically. These three elements are what help me remain calm. On the days when I am not my best self, I know it is because one of these elements is out of order. Lately, in these days of winter, I have been unable to spend as much time as I would like exercising. Today was a beautiful day in New England- almost 60 degrees... in January! I enjoyed spending the day outside walking with my family with my camera by my side and capturing these fleeting moments.
So, to all of the strong mothers out there who have to call on their inner Llama Mama. I hope that you are making sure to keep your balance and remember, in order to be your best self for those that you love, you need to make sure you are doing your best to take care and love yourself as well.
Recently one of my students asked me the question:
"What is your favorite image that you have taken?"
I was completely caught off guard by this question and I froze and told him, I don't know...
When I went home that night, I told my husband, Matt, about this question and he seemed surprised that I couldn't answer the question either. This got me thinking about photography to me- and it has never been about getting that ONE perfect image. It has always been about how I translate the world around me. I see and then I capture to create a composition. Sometimes, this creation is more than just taking the photograph. When in Art School I became fascinated with the surface of the image and pushed my ideas of the world into manipulating and changing my imagery to create a visual experience with multimedia.
Since becoming a mother, I have returned back to film and spend many of my days getting messy in the dark room. Continually smelling of stop bath and seeing more of my clothing beginning to have brown fixer spots emerge, Since becoming a mother, I am more concerned with stopping time. Fixing a moment, Seeing the light in an image. Considering how to create a time capsule. This doesn't have to be just the image though. I still love going beyond the image and adding lines and connections onto my imagery.
Measurements of the media, drawing my visual connections for my viewers to see the world the way I see.
So, my answer is still "I don't know". With every day I see a new favorite moment, A new favorite composition. I can't commit to one and that is why I create. To love each and every image for different reasons.
Do you think you have a favorite photograph that you have taken? Please share I would love to see it and hear why you create!