light leaks

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Can we just talk about the phrase "light leaks" for a moment? I never really considered it, it's always just been a part of my photography vocabulary. But it's a beautiful phrase, and a beautiful thing to imagine: light, leaking. It makes light seem like something that's liquid. Something that can fill the cracks. (Which, of course, it can.)

It took me forever to finish this roll, almost three months. Which maybe isn't the longest time, for someone. But for me it is. The thing is, I kept forgetting there was film in my camera. So I kept opening it up to put a new roll in, and I would be met with that slippery plastic already stretched across the inside of my camera. 

But I'm actually so glad. In this case light didn't leak, it blasted it's way in, full force. Obliterating whole frames entirely, and coating the rest in a lovely red flare. 

Looking at some of this images, some of which were shot many months ago, I'm so thankful for my life. Outside of school, it's easy for every day to feel the same. Days bleed into each other. But these images have shocked me out of that feeling, for a moment. Reminded me that every day holds it's own small surprises and gifts. They remind me, blessedly, that every day is not the same. 

As long as I can hold onto that sensation, remember to revel in the small moments of surprise, I think I'll be alright. 


The other morning Steele and I got up early for once, and the our neighborhood was covered in fog. While Steele left for work, I went for a walk to take some pictures. Fog erases everything. So when you're walking around in it, you're in your own little world.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's there somewhere. Your selfhood. Somewhere down deep in the belly or tucked behind a lung, bouncing around between your ribs. It's like, I mean, to use a Harry Potter reference here, it's like a golden snitch: your fingers slip around it and the wings stop fluttering, and from then on it remembers your touch. 

The hard part is catching it. Sometimes it seems that it disappears for hours, or days, or even weeks. Just ceases to exist. 

There was a time when I felt my selfhood was a hard fact I carried around in my pocket. I felt it with such certainty. But somewhere it seems to have deserted me. There are small moments when I feel it: when I'm walking down the street in the fall air, or when I'm reading in bed at night, or the moment I lift my heavy 35mm Pentax to my eye. These are just wisps. But more often than not, I'm just here waiting patiently for it to return. 

Taking this photograph helped, a little. It's not a full on portrait like I talked about last time. But it's more than a shadow or a reflection. There's a real person in there, a real self. I just have to find her. 

rambling identity

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oh man you guys.

Every time I open up this blank little square the only thing that comes into my head is silly metaphors.

Like, my life is a puzzle that fell apart and now I'm putting back all the pieces, painstakingly constructing some semblance of a human being.

Pretty horrible.

So instead of that metaphor have this image I shot the other day.

I think I have been drawn to photographing my shadow and reflection for a long while because I don't know exactly yet who I am. It's a silhouette. A cut out with no innards. A human that's nothing. All the person of it is removed. 

There's a truth to them, and that is that I really don't know who I am yet. The past 16 or so years of my life have been taken up with school--routine--purpose--schedule. And now that is all cut off from me. I'm free to start my real life. Only now I have to learn, slowly, what I want my real life to be. 

So here's a simple list, of my observations so far:

> I'm a morning person who has a hard time waking up. 
> I like the act of making tea or coffee, even if I don't drink it. 
> Time spent doing the dishes or cleaning up is not a waste. 
> I'm happiest when I read a little bit before bed every night. 
> Riding my bike every day has made me appreciate the world so much more--even though sometimes gearing up for the ride across town can be rough, once I'm on my bike, I'm happy and grateful that I've been forced to use it as transportation. 
> I need projects to keep me motivated. 
> I like writing stories but it's hard for me to build characters. 
> Cooking is a fun, gratifying hobby. Even though it's expensive, I could never live on cheap food. 
> Reaching out to people, even little comments or texts, makes my world bigger. Human interaction is important.

Maybe soon I'll take a real self portrait. Staring straight in the eyes kind of thing. Like, "I know who I am, and you know who I am."

But not today. Today have my shadow and try to piece me together. 

europe in photographs: pt. vi

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
Flying away from Lisbon, Portugal

From the plane, August 1st, 2013:

This morning we awoke in the cool morning light of Lisbon, people still outside on the streets after a night of drinking. Our bodies were so silently and solidly on the bed in that apartment. My mind was gone up somewhere tinged with sleep and exhaustion. My eyes were dry and my chest felt tight and the only thing to do was focus on your eyelashes. But eventually I found myself on the balcony overlooking the street we've spent the last week on. I let my toes hand over the edge and I tried to see the su peeking around the buildings. Sometimes I don't know my own emotions. Sometimes I feel like I feel emotions that haven't been given a name. What is the title of this--this tightness of chest--this longing to commit every detail to perfect memory? 

And we left, the only hesitation brought about my final photograph--the light through our door. Down the stairs we went and then onto an impossible airport filled with so many proofs of so many places--that is to say, so many people. And finally, as if we had been waiting a month to simple feel the feeling of going home, we were in our seats and we were going home. We had that going home feeling about us. There was that tension that you get before takeoff--that feeling like maybe you'll never actually move anywhere--and then the pure release when the plane lifts off and everything reduces itself to an idea, a living map spread out beneath you. And time is paused and sped up and rewound and nothing exists. 

And this flight--over an ocean especially--you are, I am, I was, in a perfect blue sphere. A perfect blue sphere in which you could be flying over the sea or the sky, upside down. A blue sphere in which you are blissfully allowed to move forward and stand still. And what better feeling? What better feeling. You are going home and not going home all at the same time. You are here. You are in Lisbon. You are home. You are nothing. 

moon story

Monday, October 14, 2013

The moon came out and said hello. It appeared, a great yellow eye, pulling us forward in the dark. 

Between two mountains the moon hung. And it seemed to say, I know you. I know your small clutched fears. I know the precise saltiness of your tears. I know how you lay in bed every night watching the street lamps through the curtains. 

The moon said all of this silently. 

And we were on the dark road. The crackle of music filling the car. Each of our inhales and exhales merging with notes that played from the speakers by our feet. In between songs there was the whirring of tires on pavement. 

Then the moon went behind a mountain and our worlds shrunk. No longer looking past the horizon to that yellow orb, our eyes rested only on the dashing lines disappearing, one after the other, under us. 

fully fledging fall

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A list of notable things from the past few weeks:

-Crisp fall air (Natalie from Hey Natalie Jean described it as the air having snapped and I couldn't have put it better myself)
-Golden crunchy leaves
-Hot hot cider
-Fall clich├ęs
-Setting up the living room with Steele (rug on the floor! rug on the floor!)
-Starting to write letters again
-Bus rides that cost money 
-Downton Abbey Season 4 (Lets be real here)
-Mushrooms, because, honestly
-Also, alliteration
-And commas! Hooray!

a & j

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

In September I had the pleasure of shooting my first wedding. For my good friend AJ (or, Alissa, if you'd like to be all proper :) You might remember I shot their engagement photos last February. Like I said in that post, I'm not sure if this is where my future in photography is headed, but doing it for people I know and love is awesome. (And stressful, oh man is it stressful. Props to all the wedding photographers out there.) 

The images below are a very small sampling. This is not a wedding photography blog and I don't intend to show the whole event. Just a few of my favorites, a little flavor of the day. It was an intimate wedding at his parents beautiful home in Montana, where they're both from. It was such a lovely event, as the photographer and as a guest. As long as I've known AJ she's been head over heels for Jon, so it was quite emotional seeing them finally married. 

europe in photographs: pt. v

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Marseille, France

Cassis, France

Cassis, France
Marseille, France

Cassis, France

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

Cassis, France

At the calanques in Cassis, France, from my journal:

July 20, 2013 

Today we hiked to the calanques. Or, one of them. We found a spot in the shade where I read and Steele sat. After I finished my book, I ventured down the rocks to a smooth spot among the otherwise pockmarked surface, and baked in the sun. When I was hot enough I crept slowly to the edge and looked at the water up close. I dipped a toe in. And finally I thought, there are only two ways you can go--backwards or forwards. And I jumped. 

The water was warm, or only slightly cool. But still my heart clenched at first with fear of being suspended in so much space. For a moment I couldn't breathe. The only cure for this is to float on your back and breathe deeply. So that's what I did. After my heart had slowed a bit, I swam around, waved at Steele, and marveled at the water--so pure and blue. But it seems to me the biggest joy in swimming is making that first jump. Choosing to move forward.

crumbling pillar

Monday, October 7, 2013

I have spoken a few times about my crumbling pillar. Basically, what I mean by that, is that my world as I knew it has ended. Crumbled. And needs to be rebuilt.

I had the pleasure of attending a birthday party for a friend two nights ago and got to be around so many people that I've missed. It was a welcome reminder that my pillar isn't so crumbled as I imagine, and also that it's up to me to rebuild it.

This is all very cryptic.

Being out of school, one of the weirdest things is how little human contact I have. Of course, I am lucky to have so many wonderful people inside my heart. And some of them I do see quite often. The best ones, of course. But I guess I hadn't realized how much I would miss all of the people that I don't see that often. Or just being around people in general. Being known. Talking. Joking. Laughing.

Sometimes I go the whole morning without ever opening my mouth to speak.

It's a strange thing.

So anyways, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really value the relationships I have in my life. Big and small. Often seen, and not often seen. Even though this pillar of mine is crumbling sometimes, I am so lucky to have had a pillar at all. I'm so lucky to have the ability to rebuild it.

And on that note, I'm also grateful for those of you who read this blog. One of the best things I get is the occasional comment or message from someone who has been reading quietly all along. I happened to get a rather nice one the other day and it just made me realize how far beyond my inner circle these words might stretch and touch. That's a wonderful thought.

the homes inside

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Don’t we, all of us, walk into our homes and feel as if a puzzle piece is clicking into place. As if home isn’t a place that we live in, but somewhere deeper, inside. 

debt owed: denial

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I have a feeling a lot of these posts will end in my vowing to avoid denial.

For that is what I have been doing, is it not?

I had been cautiously tip-toeing around this space in my brain, this space filled with growing debt. Avoiding it. Slamming the computer shut when I get overwhelmed by the numbers staring at me on the screen. Finding other things with which to fill my headspace.

It is a strange thing to realize that this debt is not some problem that can be fixed in a few steps. It is something that will likely be with me my whole life, or at least the better half of it. Sometimes that makes my chest tighten and panic bloom in my belly. But other times.... other times, it makes me feel okay. It makes me feel like, I have my whole life to figure out my relationship to this thing.

I do believe I have a relationship with it. As if it's a living breathing entity. As if the whisperings in my ear were real. As if it was sitting beside me as I logged onto the student loans website and could see the way I hesitated with each click.

So maybe I just need to make friends with it ;)


This series is not a perfect view of how to deal with your student loans. It's my documentation of my own experience with it. 

fall adventure no. 1

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It is an adventure, finding a new home, and building a life. This little film feels very hazy and slow. And that's how I've felt, the past few weeks, September. It is strange going into this future. School means a path laid out for you, so you can picture yourself four years later. 
This future is (greyfaced) foggy. I can't picture myself in four years. I feel like I am literally pushing through a wall of fog. And I don't know where I'll end up. Or even if I'll be standing upright, or on my back. 
So I guess this is the time that I build a life. Decide how I'll spend my days and what kind of person I'll be.