Week 35: Half & Half

Quite an open theme I had on my hands this week — half & half.  With my coffee? No, thanks, I’m talking something a little bit different.  What I automatically think of is a divide, more like an opposite type of project, but that wasn’t quite checking the “half & half” box in my mind.  So I went out in search of things that could fit the bill, and just so happen to find them in my back yard.

Summer is starting to fade…

It was literally just a few days ago that I was talking about a hot summer day, but with the slight change of the weather, and the fact that I was at the beach more like two weeks ago, things have started to take a turn for the worse already.  It’s also Labor Day weekend — the official end of summer.  While I haven’t received the notice, and have still been enjoying some hot, sunny days, other elements of nature apparently have.  I’m going to hold on to this nice weather for as long as I can, and will try to ignore the things changing around me.

It does prove for an interesting time of year, as well as some unique garden aesthetics.  While some things are in bloom, others have completely died.  Even within the same plant — parts are trying to grow, while others are giving up and conceding to the slowly cooling weather.

I’m enjoying both the literal and figurative expression of this theme.  Literally speaking, these plants are half dead, half living.  Plain and simple; a great example of a single object being split in to something which would be considered “half & half”.  Figuratively speaking, I see these as examples of life and death; new beginnings, closure for old issues.

I’m sure you all know by now that this has been a pretty interesting year for me, full of many changes and new beginnings of my own.  I’m sure you also know I like to work with opposites, and thoughts of life and death are often projected into my work.  Though I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted for this week, I did go out with a small intention to locate something along these lines.  Over the past few days I’ve started a new job, completed my first week at MICA, and have scheduled to begin my second new job in a few days.  It’s been overwhelming; I’ve been nervous, unsure, self-doubting, uncomfortable, and just plain scarred.  It’s also been the best week that I’ve had in a long time (except for vacation — the beach wins, hands-down, no matter what is going on in my life!).  I’ve also been happy.  Really, truly, eyes watering up, feeling excited, butterflies in my stomach, chills, engaged, inspired, motivated, happy.

For the first time in a long time I feel as if I’m within a group of like-minded individuals, and that I have contributed something of meaning.  I’ve also been able to let go of a lot of old ghosts haunting me by taking these steps in moving on.  It’s truly hard to grasp when I catch myself in the middle of it, but I’m at the begging of a journey that I have been wanting to take for as long as I can remember; a journey which I never though I would embark on.  Though I was unhappy, I fought for a very long time to hold on to the life I used to have.  I was afraid of change, and terrified of failure, both of which kept me in an unhealthy yet comfortable position.  I’ve made some extreme changes, and have taken some chances that even shocked me at times.

So while you may be viewing these pictures as I initially had, as images of the summer beginning to fade, remember that for the blooms to return next year, they have to start over, and let got of the seasons before.  In this case, life will come from death, and things that are half living now will be in full bloom again in a short while.  Letting go of old things will allow for new opportunities.  My life, which was being half-lived, will be in full bloom before I know it, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

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Parts of Me

Don’t you hate it when your phone runs out of memory?  I sure do. But the one good thing from that is I’m forced to do a clean up — deleting old apps, messages, and cleaning up my photos. Once I got started on my phone, I ended up organizing and cleaning up really old pictures from previous cell phones when I realized how many little memories I had captured and totally forgotten about.

People often say that it’s the little things that count in life, or that make the biggest impact or difference. With the convenience of technology, it’s becoming increasingly easier to snap away, and not really pay attention to the moment you’re in. Going through all these little memories has me thinking about that, while at the same time I’m grateful that I have them, because apparently, my memory is terrible. When I sit back and reflect on the past year, which I have been doing more often than not lately, I often come to the result that I haven’t done anything with my time, and feel a little sad and guilty. Sure, I went to school, and started this blog, and have been working on my photography, but it feels a little empty still. I’m happy to have these little reminders that there have been many funny, happy “little things” which have occurred over the year. So check out these little part of me, the part of my whole, for this week’s theme, and remember to enjoy the little moments. They are, after all, what life is made of.

Week 22: Parts of a Whole

Well, this seems like a pretty fun task for the week.  “Parts of a whole” could be interpreted in a number of ways, so I’m happy to have the flexibility.  Though I have completed some work in the past that would fit in to this category, I may revisit these styles, since some of my favorite pictures came from it.

The first is a couple of projects which, in my photography class, we called “big picture” projects.  I had two along these line.  One was in my first photography class, where we shot a series of images in a specific order, organized all of the negatives and printed a contact sheet to compose a large image.  The next was in my second photography class, where I shot the images in the same manner, but then actually developed each image, which when put together, compose a complete scene.  I really like the result of working like this, where each individual image can be interesting on its own, but is a part of a whole, lager, photograph.  The images also don’t match up perfectly, which if you’re working with moving subjects in particular, can give you some really interesting overlap, and allows the viewer to have enough information to fill in gaps when needed.  The funny thing about this assignment….I thought I only had to do one “big picture”, to which I put a lot of thought in, went out and found a great location, waited until sunset, and so on, to get this great picture.  When I got to class….I needed two…oops.  So I took my camera around campus, looking for something that wasn’t going to be as mundane, and appear as rushed, as a picture of the parking lot.  I went up a set of stairs to check out what was on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building I was in, when I decided to take a pic of the stairs themselves.  You be the judge, but I like the unexpected second project better than the first, thought out results.  Check them out!

The next example that I have for “parts of a whole” are some images that I did just for fun.  A friend was house sitting, so I stopped by to keep her company while she was working from (someone else’s) home.  The home had a pretty interesting style, filled with some pretty neat objects, one of which was an entire vintage hair dryer chair.  I was immediately charmed by the chair, and when I visited her the next day, I came prepared with camera in hand.  The part which I most enjoyed was the actual dryer head, which sparkled in the sunlight.  So, knowing that a picture of just this chair sitting in the corner could be a little boring, I waited (…and waited, and waited…) on this cloudy day to catch the sunlight reflecting in the sparkles of the dryer head, and lighting up other parts of the vintage metal labels.  I didn’t think much of the images while I was working on them, other than that I liked them, but as people started to view them, I realized they were a little more interesting than I had thought.  In my attempt to make a less boring photograph, of just having a chair in a room, I photographed very close up elements of this chair.  I thought I was simply capturing the aspects which I found really interesting about the chair, but I had also abstracted it in such a way that people didn’t realize what they were looking at, and really had to think about it, making it that much more interesting.  So, with that final result, I was truly happy. Going forward in this week, I’m not sure how I will be working this theme.  Maybe I’ll revisit these two tried and tested approaches once more, or maybe I’ll think of something new, and work on a more conceptual level.  Guess you’ll just have to wait and see!

Week 21: Humanize

Often times, when faced with a set of closely outlined directions, and told to make something creative from it, I get stuck.  I can’t get away from what I’m told and just think creatively.  This was one of those weeks.

With the task “humanize”, and the suggestion to find faces in inanimate objects, and make things come to life, I spent the whole week (and then some) trying to look at things from a different perspective and find faces.  Now, two points – 1, I’ve always found faces in weird things, wood grain, fabric patterns, food, whatever…. and point 2 – it’s always been just by chance.  So while I set out looking for faces this past week, I was incredibly unsuccessful.  So after much thinking, another idea finally arrived.

To humanize something doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you can see a face in it.  It can mean to give something a more human like quality, to see a person when you look at something, or to perceive something to have more human characteristics than it actually does.  Now, that’s something I can work with.  As someone who is deeply sentimental, I have been mistaken to have too much love for material items when in actuality, I’ve attached a different meaning to certain items other than them being “just something nice to have”.

Personally, I think I do this in two ways.  The first, is just that — something meant something to someone who I loved, or it was from someone I loved who is gone, so I’ve attached this unrealistic feeling to it.  There are certain items in my life which I have obtained through these means, and I would be crushed if anything ever happened to them.  Not because of their value, or cost, or because they’re nice.  Simply because I’ve attached a memory of a person or place to these objects, and removing them would be like removing that person or place from my life all over again, well, at least a little bit.

The second way in which I attach too much meaning is with places.  When I was growing up, my family had a little vacation trailer just outside of Bethany Beach, Delaware.  We would go there every summer, sometimes more than once, sometimes with friends, sometimes with my grandparents, and it truly felt like home to me.  Once we could no longer manage it, we sold it, and that truly saddened me.  Thinking that we had abandoned this place that we have loved for so long made me feel guilty that I couldn’t do anything to keep it for us to have for years and memories to come.  So, every so often, while at the beach during the summer, I would drive through the old neighborhood to check on the trailer.  Someone had fixed it up, and it seemed to be doing well, until one summer.  It was gone.  The place where I felt I practically grew up was gone, just like that.  I would picture the little trailer being so sad, as I was.  Seriously though, I know it’s silly, it’s just a trailer, but it was The Trailer.  The guilt that I had when we gave it up was nothing like I felt when it was gone.  Someone just tore down something that meant so much to so many people in my life.

Now, I know that I have mentioned that I’ve moved several times in my life, so don’t worry, I don’t have a crisis ever time I have to go, but there are some places which stick with me.  The trailer was one of them, so was a few of my apartments, including the one I’m currently living in, which I’m preparing to move out of and mourn shortly.  The other was my house.  I was 23 when I bought my house with my ex.  Just think about that….we felt like it was such an achievement, I was only 23, and had done something some people only dream of.  After a ridiculous amount of hardship, some caused by the house itself, others caused by work and relationships, we had to part ways, and leave the house.  Now, this little place wich we lovingly called home stands abandoned, just wondering what is going to happen to it next.  There was only one previous owner, who actually built the home with her husband, and lived there until we bought it.  Again, I’ve attached this persona to the house, imagining it feeling saddened and betrayed that we would treat it in this manner when the previous owner didn’t want to give it up.  Again, guilt.  Again, regret, but there was nothing that I could do.  Not many people understand that, or the circumstances of why the house now stands vacant.  Since I technically still own it, and can access it, I’m prone to the same behaviors as before, checking in on it from time to time, but in this instance, I’m actually able to go in and look around.  If you’re as sentimental as I am, I don’t recommend it, but what can I say, I suppose I’m a glutton for punishment.  Looking around, remembering how things used to look, I feel like the house has this anger towards me, spite, misunderstanding.  I remember the things that we did, were going to do, and the fun that we had.  If these walls could talk.  A saying often referencing gossip, really has multiple uses.  I think I have a pretty good understanding of what that statement could stand to mean — I could imagine my house saying a lot to me.