Monthly Archives: May 2011

savoring

beginnings and endings and everything we make of the time in the middle. the days go by, filled with alarm clocks and appointments, schedules and deadline and endless meals to prepare. laundry and playdates and kitty litter and gas prices and weather forecasts and illness and oil changes.

life.

i photograph the details as an exercise in being present in it. all of it. of course there’s the technical benefit of shooting every day, no doubt. but the real lessons started to come when i stopped rushing through my days and started looking for things to see. the faces of the strangers in line at the market became beautiful and their stories drew me in. the rain stopped being a nuisance (mostly) and instead—transformed the grass into refracted light—ripe for my camera. seasons never slip by me without notice anymore.

savor is the word that hangs on my tongue.

on this day, the last one of the fifth month of this project, my eldest completes yet another milestone. he grows just a little farther from my nest and i feel the need to look back and savor. during the course of the past 151 days we have moved forward and laughed. there has been light. oh so much light. and many colors. so many vibrant and beautiful colors. there have been moods, all of the moods. and skies of all sorts. there have been friends and family and, yes, lots of cookies. we’ve had snuggles and arguments and a little time away. we’ve struggled and persevered and learned. we’ve been tired and we’ve played and we’ve tried new things. we’ve succeeded and failed and we’ve started again. and tomorrow we’ll do it all again.

this life of ours.

(best viewed with the setting set to 720p HD and full-screen)

project soulshine :: tara

i see beauty in every woman. the corniest marketing slogan ever, right? thing is though that it’s the complete god’s honest truth. help me come up with something less cliché if you don’t like that one. i’m open.

women are taught to hide our lights under all of the other things we do. it’s just another paradox of being a woman in this society. if we admire ourselves, if we like the way we look? well, then, we are vain or narcissistic or self-centered. have you ever looked at a photograph of yourself and liked it? actually thought: ‘wow, that’s me? i have a great smile.’ or ‘i forgot what awesome cheekbones i have’. but quickly tucked that thought away behind shame for the feeling? messed up, right.

we’ve talked about this before. if i could make a portrait of every woman, doing what they do, being who they are, to show them what i see—give them a beautiful portrait to help remind them that they are beautiful when they forget—and we all forget—i would.

the concept isn’t new. this movement to embrace your beauty—the idea that barbie-doll perfection has harmed our society and our collective souls—that women need to feel good about what’s beautiful about themselves. it helps to stop watching television (or at least, advertising). it helps to be your own healthy (not the healthy of a twenty year old woman). it helps to wear clothes that fit your body (not clothes designed for your teenage daughter). and you know what? it helps to see a pretty picture of yourself.

just ask tara.

ordinary grace (show recap)

there’s a sweet little shop in the town where i live. downstairs is a gift/candy/coffee/snack/toy shop and upstairs is a wonderful space which the owner has transformed a few times over her tenure as shopkeeper. in it’s most recent incarnation it is a consignment furniture shop with lots of wall space. on april 29th we had a reception to celebrate the opening of her most recent project: an art gallery, and the opening of my show ‘ordinary grace, a celebration of everyday beauty’.

it was no easy task choosing the images to show. while i shoot a lot of people (both for work and in personal projects) i opted not to show portraits here. i carefully considered my goals and decided that, while it was certainly key to gain exposure and portrait and commercial clients, the ultimate goal had to be to sell the prints. so i went with showing images which i thought people might like to hang in their homes. not easy. and i asked for a lot of help. from a lot of people. thank you to my friends who gave me their honest opinions about what you liked and what you didn’t like.

after all the work was done (printing, matting, framing and hanging 32 images) it was time to let go and enjoy the party. but before i tell you about that, i have to shout out to my husband, niall. if there is ever a time to be married to a perfectionist architect with a long history of working in technical theater and a great understanding of production, lighting and strong math skills – it’s when you are trying to hang 32 pictures. it looked wonderful.

okay, the party. in a nutshell: awesome. people came out to support me. friends, neighbors and strangers who like photography and wanted to support the idea of an art gallery in our little town. it was good. everyone told me what their favorite images were, and i loved that. and you know what feels really validating? when people spend their hard earned money to purchase your art. (especially when it’s not your mother.)

here is the statement i wrote about the collection:

This collection presents images of the ordinary details that surround me as I move through my days—the details I might otherwise overlook as not being beautiful or worthy. I notice the way the light falls on the kitchen table at snack time or the promise of dough rising for bread. I photograph colorful flowers picked from the garden or a quiet moment found for a cup of tea.

I first started making photographs of these moments to help myself see what was lovely during a time in my life when it felt as though nothing was—and it changed the way I saw the world. Instead of a mess, I began to see beauty all around. Instead of chaos, I saw sweet moments that I wanted to etch into my consciousness. So I make photographs of life’s simple pleasures and the process makes my life sweeter.

I’m honored to share my images with you and it’s my hope that they bring a little bit of light to your day as well.

If you are nearby I hope you’ll come see the show – it’s hanging until June 11th.

Credit for all the lovely images in this post go to Bill Scherer.