Short lived, the cherry blossom season in Seattle brings people out of their caves to celebrate their beauty and the beginnings of Spring. Here are a few snaps I took around the neighborhood. The thing about cherry blossoms are that majority of Seattle goes to the University of Washington Campus, where the Quad has these gorgeous cherry blossoms that just burst with the most gorgeous blossoms in a beautiful old setting. This year, they came out in full force, like they were screaming “LOOK AT HOW PRETTY I AM!” That said, they draw huge crowds, and it’s difficult to take photos without running into other people taking photos, or getting hit with a selfie stick. I mean, it’s a marvel, but I tend to get a little claustrophobic in those settings. But you know what? Cherry blossoms grow wherever here. So, all I have to do is walk down a few streets to appreciate them.
The tulips I had that were so tightly budded up have spread out their petals to the sun (what we have of it). Some opened up just enough to hold the classic tulip shape, but others, not so much. More than a few petals have dropped. Some, entire heads have fallen and I have been picking up the pieces (*cough* metaphor *cough*). At maximum droopiness, I decided to trim what I could and place the survivors in a shorter vase. I’m drying and collecting the fallen. The stems, however, could not be heartier! So, I subjected them to my dark editing ways.
It’s been a long, dark, and damp (if not, drenched) winter in the Pacific Northwest. Many friends have expressed everything from annoyance to pure hatred toward our recent weather behavior. They’ve questioned their decision to move to this far corner of America, asked for advice about the best “happy light”, expressed wanting to fry under said happy light, and explained how this winter has brought out a level of S.A.D. we just didn’t think would exist. It’s so bad people are almost self-diagnosing themselves as depressed. So far, the people I know are okay and are managing as best as they can.
Though I consider myself a native, I have never really fully appreciated the grey season (which is about 6-9 months of the year, depending on science). I have expressed a spectrum of emotions about how it feels like I’m in a rain cloud prison. With what little energy I can muster I’ve found that reaching out to friends is good. Getting together with them is better. Sun lamps can kind of help. Taking a vacation to the desert is better. But this is all a roundabout way to say that creativity can take a back seat to pure sadness and lethargy (bears get to call it hibernation). This is all to say that my editing process has be skewing more dark and delicate than usual.
These tulip petals say a lot about how I’ve been feeling both physically and mentally: drained, dropped, and working in a shallow-depth-of-field. March 13, 2017
In a rush to catch a bus, I stopped to take pictures of some stone benches and art that I’ve walked passed for years. Clicking away, falling into the bending light, a man yelled and told me that he had helped the artist who made them. Unfortunately, in my hurry, I did ask his name, but in a quick search I found out the work was done by the sculptor John Hoge.
While pushing and pulling the tones, I felt the images taking the shape of human muscle; the glow and reflections that came through are the energy and strength our muscles give us. Coincidentally, these stones sit in front of a hospital.
For four days I accompanied my good friend on a road trip. She had just finished up an artist in residence position at the Mojave National Preserve and was looking for a friend to make the long haul back home to Seattle. I flew into Las Vegas, where she picked me up, and immediately whisked me off into the nearby desert. Here are some photos I took from our journey. For more, visit my Flickr album!
As I sit with a heating pad in my lap, a blanket over my shoulders, and listen to rain pour down all clickity-clackety on our roof, I stopped to visit this sequence of shots of a bubble artist we saw on the river front in Porto, Portugal in May 2015. Bubbles are so great in that they produce these beautiful shapes and a rainbow of colors that come from items you probably already have at home: water, dish soap, rope, sticks, and a bucket. They are simple creations that bring smiles to faces and a sense of wonder to the mind.
About the above image: The influence of painter Edward Hopper guided me to snap this as quickly as I could (This volunteer moved right after I took it). It reminded me of many of Hopper’s paintings and how they illustrate lonely and quiet postures, and long dramatic shadows. The portrait on the wall is Johnny Jones by Marti Corn.
The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is on display at the Tacoma Art Museum. If you are in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, go and spend a couple of hours and treat yourself to a fine exhibit.
Candidly speaking, portraiture is not my strength when it comes to photography, but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it. And perhaps I’ve only been asked to do portraiture in the sense that someone needs a headshot or holiday cards made, as opposed to a photo where I collaborate with a subject to tell a greater story, which is what this exhibit does so very well. With each portrait, I found myself asking “Who is this person?” before the next question, “What choices did this artist make when considering how to present their subject, and why?”.
In the car ride home I unraveled my thoughts on the collection, about what I felt made it successful. In the end, the portraits that were chosen transcended the usual technical excellence and mainstream/popular visual aesthetic. With each, I met a person through their gaze, through their hair, or through how they held their hands. With each person, I became curious, my empathy and wonder feelers turned on high. Unlike viewing portraits that were commissioned hundreds of years ago to flatter a person in a high position, these were not just pretty portraits; these were lives. They are lives that are examples of many others like them that exist in this time, now, experiencing things I could experience or can relate to, or at least try to understand. They are not about status, but human existence.
To pique your curiosity, I decided to crop these phone pics of some of the work I saw on purpose. Seeing them in person is just more powerful, and they are totally worthy of your personal visit.
In an experiment to transfer a photo onto wood, I was left with the paper I had to rub off to expose the print. It was fairly successful, but not perfect. Of course, I then found the shreds more interesting.
Middle | Left: The sign on the left says “No Human Being is Illegal. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal? – Elie Wiesel.” And if the photo isn’t clear, that sign says: “Black Lives Matter.”
Right: Volunteers distributing water to marchers
Bottom | Left: PRIDE flag used as a cape
Right: A pretty simple statement by an awesome 4-year old is “I Love All Humans”