Friday, April 23, 2010


I love visiting cemeteries, not because of any romantic notions of death, but to read the headstones and try to piece together a story of family and society from these remnants of the past. I visited Greenlawn Cemetery recently and was moved by how poetically Victorians memorialized their deceased loved ones. One can find the graves of small children, young soldiers who fought in the Civil War, famous business magnates who gave their names to businesses and skyscrapers downtown, famous writers, and elderly gentlemen who apparently enjoyed fishing.

Because of the mature trees, dense undergrowth, and a pond, Greenlawn Cemetery is also know as a nature refuge where exotic migrating birds can be spotted on their way north or south, depending on the season. It seems like a nice place to spend your afterlife, doesn't it?

Searching for Order

The other night, my husband and I were listening to music together (Beethoven, to be specific), and he said, "Listen ... he's searching for order." And then it hit me - that's what I'm doing when I take a picture. Searching for order. 

And I'm sure it's different for every photgrapher, professional or amateur. What is it that you are doing when you take a picture?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Line, Pattern, Texture, Rhythm

Years ago, as a first year art student, I remember leaving my first oil painting class with something of an epiphany. I walked around seeing the whole world differently; infused with qualities I hadn't noticed before. I saw bands of light dragged across a green lawn, and the curly darkness of leaves against the sky. Photography provides some of the same heightened sensory experience. The difference, in my mind, is that photography isn't so much an art of creating, but an art of seeing and editing.

Last week I was asked to focus on line, pattern, texture and rhythm. Once I get into a project, I see the things all around me and try to fit it into a visual framework. But then I'm asked to focus on something else entirely and want to protest because I still have all this line, pattern, texture and rhythm to explore. The idea, I suppose, is to incorporate all of these ideas into a single vision.


I worked on some pretty serious projects this week. Long hours and tight deadlines had several people scurrying to get things done. At the end of it all, a colleague asked if she could ask me a personal question. I nodded. She said, "Amidst all the chaos and madness, you've reamined calm the whole time. What is your secret?" I was flattered, but I felt, wrongly. She must have heard me blink three times. I hadn't recalled feeling anything close to calm all week. I can't remember my actual response, but it was something like, "What does drama get you?"

I listen to music. I put on perfume. I step away from my desk.

How do you remain calm in a storm?

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