Living Art

Daily Prompt from the daily post at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/living-art/ asks:

One day, your favorite piece of art — a famous painting or sculpture, the graffiti next door — comes to life. What happens next?

Perhaps because I’m a photographer I’m more drawn to photographic images than painted ones.  That’s not to say that I don’t  enjoy walking through a beautiful display of paintings but there is something about photography that has always attracted me.  So to answer this question I must first present the piece that I’ve always been attracted to.

 

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There were many public kisses that were captured on, V Day, August 14, 1945.  But this one caught by Alfred Eisenstaedt with his Leica camera in Times Square became famous.  It was published as a full page photo in LIFE magazine the following week.  Because of the mass confusion surrounding the announcement that the war with Japan was finally ended, Eisenstaedt never got the names of the two who were caught in this amorous pose.  In the ensuing decades many came forward claiming to be the man or woman in the photo but it will always remain a mystery.  Perhaps it’s best that this photo remain so because it’s become iconic of WWII and will always rise above any individual person.  

Growing up I believed this was a romantic photo of a couple in love.  When I studied the history of photography in college I learned the truth of Eisenstaedt’s photo but the truth never rid my mind of the image I had long held.  The one where this couple jitterbugged off to a lifetime of happiness and a house full of kids. 

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Alfred Stieglitz – PHOTOGRAPHIC DREAM TEACHER

You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you? 

The Daily prompt from http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/dream-teacher/ raises a tough question.  It’s always been a toss up for me between Stieglitz and Adams photography.  In the end I have to choose Stieglitz because of his artistic bent.  He pushed for recognition of photography as an art form long before there were hand held cameras or rolled film.  And his images of Venice and his portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe rise above what we think of as photography today.

 

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Stieglitz,_Georgia_O'Keeffe,_1918-colorized

Using a lesson from http://www.skillfeed.com called “How to Quickly Transform Photos into Beautiful, Romantic Images in Photoshop” I feel like I have committed an atrocity.  Just because in today’s digital world we CAN does not mean we should.  When photographers were just starting out in the medium they had what we now think of as primitive tools.  But compare the two photos…how does the digital enhancement in anyway romanticize or improve the incredible beauty of Stieglitz’s original of his beloved Georgia.  Sometimes I think we all need to unplug, untap, put away, untouch all of man’s advancements and just BE.  See the world with only our eyes and capture it with the simplest means possible.

 

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Breathing Room

Breathing Room
Today’s daily prompt from http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/breathing-room/ asks:

An extra room has magically been added to your home overnight. The catch: if you add more than three items to it, it disappears. How do you use it?

An oasis from a life that is sometimes too real. In it I would put the following:

1. A comfy leather recliner from Raymour & Flanigan

easy chair

2. My Kindle Fire reader with its 3500+ selections

3. A wall of south facing windows from Pella.

That to me, my friend, would be my taste of paradise.

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Mission to Mars

The Daily prompt from http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/longing-for-gravity/ asks this question: “You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?”

Just reading that question made me sad but I immediately knew the answer…FLOWERS!

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And even the weeds would be missed with all their ethereal magic!

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But in missing the flowers I’d also miss the one thing that brings me pleasure on this side of the camera…my books!

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Containment of self-confidence

Today’s writing 101 prompt at http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/unsafe-containers/ asks what is the most difficult emotion for you to contain.  It lists joy and rage, obviously on opposite ends of the spectrum but for me it’s self confidence which is probably more of a thing to maintain and not contain.

Growing up in a small community as a fat, flat-chested girl I was bullied.  In today’s society they would be doing it via impersonal social media but in the 60s it was face to face and sometimes brutal.  Since I spent most of my early childhood with a maiden aunt who believed in piety I was already primed to believe that I was unworthy and like members of a pack who seek to rid their numbers of the weakest I was shunted aside.

By 5th grade it was obvious that I was a victim ready and unfortunately willing to be the brunt of their jokes and pokes.  I had an incredible teacher, however, who recognized my strong points.  While she didn’t see the taunts that took place on the playground she could tell that I was unsure of myself in a social situation.  I will remember forever the day she called me to the front of the class and whispered to me that I was the most artistic member of the class and she had a special assignment for me.  Then she stood up, turned me toward the class and said that we were going to have an Easter Egg tree that year.  Each student could decorate one blown out egg to hang on the tree but before it was hung it had to be inspected by the coordinator.  This, she said patting me on the shoulder, is your coordinator.

I would love to say that moment changed how others viewed me but it changed only me.  Having my creativity finally recognized gave me something precious to hold onto…a sort of lifeboat to cling to when the water was too deep for me to stay afloat.  That Egg Tree was my defining moment!  Forty-five years later those three decorated eggs with their straw hats & lace shawls came back to me when my mother moved from the family home.  Three fragile blown eggs with faces had survived decades in a china cabinet, hidden away to protect them from harm while their creator learned to weather life in all its annoys and joys.

Since I’m not one who lives to wallow in self-pity I’ll make this short if not sweet.  The 83 of us moved to the district High School and those who had taunted me moved into the cliques of cheerleaders, twirlers and football stars.  Mostly I was forgotten as others weaker moved in to fill my place.  But one day in 11th grade while the Spanish teacher was delayed and class had not yet begun, one of the clique stood on a chair and asked for attention.  The room went silent and she made the announcement that “Carolyn Brown has a hole in her girdle”.  I laugh as I write this because at the time of the incident I was 5′ 6″ and weighed 118 lbs.  But she was spot on…I’d put my long fingernails through my girdle in gym class and she had seen it happen.  I KNOW that there wasn’t one kid in that class who expected the reaction that announcement brought…It was the moment I SNAPPED!!!!  I shot up from my chair, headed straight to the back of the room and told her that if she didn’t step down from that chair and shut her mouth I would gladly shut if for her on her way down.  The room went totally silent.  She got off the chair, and never again was I the brunt of a joke, a taunt or a cruel aside.

I still do not have any self-confidence in social situations even after 40+ years of gallery openings and speaking engagements but I have learned to hide it well.  While having to endure the bullying during my young, formative years was an unspeakably difficult thing to do, it helped me develop talents that might have lain dormant for a lifetime.  In writing this I realize that in today’s society there is a segment of our youth who chose to end the torment by ending their life.  It makes me unspeakably sad that even after decades of social enlightenment there exists the need for cruelty among our youth.  I wish I had answers that could save even one life but the only thing I can assure anyone of is that the secret to survival lives within each of us.  Look within.  Find your passion.  Ignore the bullies and learn to love even that smallest portion of your self that is worthy of survival.

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Texture Tuesday

I’m being particularly chatty this June.  Hope y’all don’t mind that I’ll be stopping by more often than usual.  The Daily Post challenge for June has me writing a blog post every day this month…but how can I stop participating in Kim Klassen’s Cafe Texture Tuesday?  This week’s challenge is Nature.  This is a shot taken with my Nikon D90 set to ISO 200 with my 70-300mm lens set to macro at f5.6 at 1/125th of a sec.  I tweaked it in Lightroom5 and finished the edit in Photoshop CC using some of my own Bokeh layers and Kim’s kk_pieces set to soft light at 55% with an adjustment layer over the buds.

Buddha

Linking up to this week’s Texture Tuesday

“Texture

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The Patron Saint of “Just One More”

Being named the “Patron Saint of Just One More” is NOT an actual goal of mine but when I read the writing prompt today: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/leaving-legacy/  I wasn’t actually considering what I WOULD like to be remembered for but more what I would PROBABLY be remembered for if those who knew me lingered on.  It has been a mystery all of my life as to why I NEED just one more of…just about anything.  

In childhood my Dad would take the family out for a weekly Sunday afternoon ride.  Mom and my sister would climb in the car as I struggled behind them, arms filled with reading books.  Mom and Dad would just look at each other as I stacked them at my feet.  In reality I guess I knew I’d never be able to read them all before we returned in 90 minutes but that ‘just in case’ mentality had already taken hold.

I do believe I come by it honestly, however.  In our family, Grandpop was known as the ‘sugar hoarder of 16th’.  It started during WWII and continued for years beyond.  There was nothing weird about PopPop…he was just a good ole boy who loved the sweets his Scottish wife was famous for making.  His solution was ingenious and practical.  His backyard shop was heated with a pot bellied stove …two of them actually.  The one that kept the shop warm had a blacked  pipe that went to a vent in the roof.  The other sat behind the shop door with a stove pipe that ran up to the ceiling and along the 20 foot length of the shop.  I’m not sure if anyone noticed it or not during those days of rationing but one stove never was hot and the pies and puddings kept coming from Mrs. Thompson’s kitchen.   In the mid-50s he showed me what was left of that hidden stash. He popped off a section of pipe and lifted me up to see the endless bags of sugar running the length of that stove pipe.  I wasn’t old enough to count but certainly old enough to realize that this wasn’t where the sugar was kept!

Through my childhood and teen years there were other instances where just one more reared its ugly head.  The most memorable was the secret stash of cosmetics I started collecting long before I was allowed to wear lipstick.  I’m sure Mom realized she had not sanctioned red lipstick for my 8th grade picture!  During my years of marriage it has been a problem only when it effected our way of living as in the case of “Nine Lives”.  

My husband and I are devoted pet lovers.  While we’ve always had a dog or two or three we are really cat lovers.  Our first cat arrived 13 years ago after my daughter tried to sneak a kitten into her dorm room.  It has been added to slowly by kittens who have stumbled out from under woodpiles meowing pitifully when Momma cat took off for parts unknown. And then there have been the injured strays and kittens in boxes left to starve.  Each one has brought its own kind of joy and our tribe has grown to eight indoor cats. Looking back on how they arrived at my door I should probably be applying for sainthood in the Save a Cat category.  But an instance of “just one more” finally made me realize that even I had to set limits on my collection.  She arrived in all her princess-glory waving her big fluffy tail and blinking her gorgeous aqua eyes.  When my friend showed her to me and begged saying “Nine Lives”…I folded like a cheap umbrella.  But her stay was short and she left missing a part of her left ear.  At that point I did learn that ‘just one more’ cat is not a good thing when the balance of personalities is stable!  

Still today I struggle with that “Just One More” mentality as witnessed by my 3500+ books in Kindle and my 20,800 pins on my 93Pinterest Boards. Even with my Photoshop & Lightroom I have an excess of brushes, presets and gradients but at least that only required me to add 4 TB of memory…and they do not take up space in my physical life.  So just kick me in the can and call me the Patron Saint of Just One More.  I don’t personally know anyone who deserves that title more. 

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