“You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” ~ Max Ehrmann
Portrait Series Documenting the Journey of a Group of Silicon Valley Teens to Graduation in 2020 (and Beyond)
Part 1: “At 13, A Letter to My Future Self”
I have been planning for this photo series for many years and could not wait until the magic number “13”. I wanted to make portraits of my daughter and a group of her peers at the age of 13 and ask them each to write a letter to their future 18 year old self; their 2020 self. However, the project wouldn’t end there. Each participant has agreed to meet me again in 2020 for another portrait/letter session, and perhaps again in 2025.
I began this project last summer, during their 13th year and asked that they write their letter before turning 14. I have known most of these kids since their pre and elementary school days. And, while 7 middle schools, 9 towns, and a countless number of sports teams, music groups and art programs now separate them, they have all remained friends or have become acquaintances. The kids of the Silicon Valley all seem to know one another.
I’m thrilled to introduce this group of teens, each of whom I will have the privilege of documenting with photographs on their journey to 2020. After each child’s name I’ve included one word their parents were asked to use to describe them when they entered preschool. I look forward to watching them grow and witnessing the young adults they will become. Godspeed!
“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” ~ Oscar Wilde
My black and white work is what fulfills me the most as an artist. I feel somewhat indifferent to how others view these photographs. Black and white energizes me … touches my soul. The same does not necessarily hold true of my color work. With color, I feel much more vulnerable and judged and the work feels a little more commercial and contrived. And, of course it would (and probably should), because I am commissioned for much of my colored work. Don’t get me wrong, commissions and publications are a VERY good thing. It’s just that I have recently been recognized for a few black and whites. I can’t explain the joy it brings because it is in black and white where I feel and find my truth.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” ~ Pablo Picasso
I dreamed of one day going to Spain. I had the opportunity to join my best friend after graduating from high school. I opted to stay home with a newly scored boyfriend, while she and two other girls traipsed around Spain and Portugal with their backpacks. BIG MISTAKE! This is the time in your life for youth hostels, Eurail passes and free spirits NOT high school boyfriends and lousy summer jobs.
Lucky for me, opportunity knocked again last summer. “Where would you like to go to celebrate your half century on this planet?” Bryan asked. Without hesitation, “Spain”. So, almost 32 years to the day, we headed to Spain. No backpacks, no youth hostels (thank you Airbnb); however, I opted for the Eurail pass rather than a car or flight from Barcelona to Málaga.
The trip was remarkable. We were free spirits in Spain, me, Bryan and Ally, each of us having a dear friend by our side. It may have taken awhile to get here, but, it sure was worth the wait. I will have an apartment in Barcelona again, one day. I will travel back to Málaga and Marbella and sit with a sangria in hand, a flower in my hair and watch the sun set over the Mediterranean.
With Thermal just a few weeks away, I have been mostly shooting horses and barn candids. Thermal – the HITS Desert Circuit Horse Show begins today in Thermal, California and continues through March 17. Ally and the Oak Haven crew will be competing during the second half of the circuit and our horses, trainers and riders head south in just a few weeks. That means, I head south in just a few weeks and will be enjoying the warm desert sunshine while dedicating my next posts to Thermal. Not to fear flower children, the gardens bloom and the garden shows gear up in March. But, for now, let’s catch up.
My goal this year is to post more pictures, shorten the stories and continue with the intended theme of documenting Ally and my journey to 2020.
2012 ended with the ten year old saying goodbye to two dear furry friends and a stuffed pony named Smores. But, as the saying goes, “every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” Two new furry friends have joined our extended family and she continues to ride the real pony named Mickey (along with her beloved, best friend Charly). As she approaches the end of her 10th year she is gracefully saying goodbye to a few of her childish ways and hello to her tweens. Fear for me.
I am saying goodbye to an old friend, my Nikon D70. Great camera that simply hit the pavement too many times (thanks to the 10 year old mentioned above). My tried and true Nikon D5000 will travel with me to Thermal for the dirty, dusty work. He will be joined by a new friend who is en-route to Woodside as I type.
I dedicate this post to Layla and Darwin Murray. We miss you, we love you, may you rest in peace. xo!!
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” ~ Dalai Lama
It’s been a long week. Life can change on a dime. All you can hope is that your faith in humanity will always maintain and hold you. Twenty four hours ago I was losing some faith. My child was on the receiving end of some very unkind and ugly behavior at school. Behavior that, of course, had no merit, no foundation and that should never, ever have been tolerated. But, ugliness happens….life happens. Between the time of her explaining her heartbreak to Bryan and myself, and us sorting things out with teacher/parents/etc., we got a call that Aunt Re was failing. Bryan had to catch the first flight to the East coast, immediately. He stopped by school at lunchtime today to tell the Bean he was leaving for a while. He didn’t explain much and she didn’t ask.
As I sit here at 1:00 a.m. and wait to hear whatever news I can receive, my heart breaks for the journey that Bryan is taking with his/our beloved Aunt Re. Prayers for a peaceful journey are all I can wish and hope for. However, through this heartbreak, I must share that my faith in humanity has been restored. This evening I have received an outpouring of e-mails from parents from the Bean’s class wanting to know if she is okay and if there is anything they can do to help. Apparently, after Bryan left her at school, she had a difficult time masking her emotions from her classmates. They all knew, immediately, something was wrong and surrounded her with hugs and kindness. She found comfort in her friends. Many of them told their parents and the parents took the time to send me an e-mail. It’s amazing to know that despite the road bumps and tragedies in life’s journey, humanity really does always prevail.
I dedicate Journey to 2020 to Re/Aunt Re/Sharon Frasier. You have always been my biggest fan and cheerleader, and for that I am forever grateful. You are kindness. You are courage. You are wisdom. We love you are with you, hand in hand, on your journey.
“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”
― Diane Arbus
I had intentions with the photo. Frame was set. I was going to capture a moment. I think we all know where I was going with this. Caption would read “When I grow up I want to be just like her”. However, every good photographer/artist knows you need to make sure the composition is just right. I knew it was all wrong; but, I went ahead because I love the two beings so much I just had to take the shot. I would see if I could “weed out” the noise in the background later.
After uploading the photo, I decided, it’s just one of those shots you need to leave “as is”. DOF is good in the foreground, but, the rest is just a hot mess. I leave it and share it because every photograph has its own story. The dude in the background is always by my side at the hunter rings. We stand together on the same line and our clicks are in sync 99% of the time. I still have a few fails. I can see that he is wondering what I’m up to at this moment. Well, my friend, I have little secret 🙂