I name my hats. Or, rather, they tell me their names. Meet (top) Bette and Matilda, (middle) Fiona, and (bottom) Brad and Bianca.
I am not a portrait photographer by any means. I’ve just learned over the years that I am my best model because I do what I tell me to do. I have also learned over the years that I look best smiling. Serious expressions make me look quite frightening, like I’m dead or something.
It’s not often that photographers include themselves in their own photos. It makes sense since they are usually behind the camera and not in front of it. It takes forethought to create a photo with the photographer included. I set out to make these photos of my hats and I had a lot of fun doing it so I am pleased to show them.
I received a fedora as a birthday gift back in 2008. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it as I hadn’t worn a hat in decades. My friend said, “It screamed your name.” I thought, “It probably screamed, ‘DON’T GIVE ME TO DEZRA.’” But I graciously (I hope) accepted the fedora and wore it on that hot August day for the rest of the day. As the months passed and I kept looking at it, I asked myself, “Why did my friend think this hat was ME?” I was totally flummoxed. I felt totally awkward even having it in the house.
Then I changed the question and asked, “Well, if she thought it screamed my name, then what about ME says I wear hats?” So I challenged myself to wear it to see if others thought the same. Apparently they did.
What I think happened is that in American culture, hats weigh in as counter-culture (we are not a hat-wearing nation) and counter-culture is equated with creatives. Because of my love for art/photography/design, I am considered a creative. So hats fit me. (I also look good in them!)
Unfortunately for the fedora, I left it at a restaurant and failed to realize it so I lost it. But fortunately for me, I have picked up a variety of other hats. I even name them. (Actually, they tell me their names.) This one’s name is Bianca. Tomorrow I’m considering posting Gertrude.
I wander lost in thought along a trail in a cold, leafless wood when I’m caught by the glistening snow of this frozen side path. The snow slowly melts around the edges, dampening the clotted leaves around and under it. I could almost hear the crunch of the upper crust as I mentally trudge down it to see what lies beyond the bright woods ahead. In spite of the intrigue, though, I don’t follow this snowy path on this cold day. My journey is elsewhere.
Paths are journeys waiting to happen. I look into the distance and wonder what is around the bend. Is this a journey I want to take? Is this a mystery I want to uncover? I have a fascination with paths because of the unknown, the mystery, the possibility that exists at its end. But I also love paths because of the journey itself. And some paths are not meant to be taken. This path is one of those.
(I do love paths and roads. I have a Flickr set devoted to it. Please check it out: “Pathways, Roads, and Just Around the Bend.”
Ahhh. Be careful what you wish for. This morning I woke up to snow on the ground. I feel much better. As much as I like warm weather, I get nervous when the season really should have snow.
That being said, this photo is where I used to live in Irvington (subdivision of Indianapolis). It was my first “home” after my divorce and it has…interesting…memories. The landlord was really a slumlord and I could tell you stories of robberies, guns, police, and drugs, of holes in ceilings, holes in the roof, ghostly basements and fires. But I could also tell you stories of five newborn kittens, the nostalgic rumble of trains passing within feet of the property, having friends over, and the first taste of freedom being on my own. And perhaps someday I will as I uncover more photos of this place.
On this day in 2009, the snow entranced me. I shuffled through the white blanket to relish the transformation of the property from winter grunge to winter quiet. I am standing in a weed-filled section with the train tracks right on my heels looking back at the house that I called home. In spite of all the horrors surrounding this house, including the house itself, I have fond memories of this place.
How delicious! One morning back in 2009 on a cold, snowy day I went walking through my Irvington neighborhood and discovered the neighbors had hung apples and oranges from an evergreen tree. It was beautiful and fresh, just like the snow that day.
Today, when I look out the window, I see gray skies and dark, wet pavement. No snow. Not yet. Will we see it this year? Before the turn of the calendar? I have never longed for snow like I do now.
I apologize for not keeping up on my photo blog posts! I got sick with some kind of flu and that threw me off my game. Then the hectic season preparations claimed my time. I was able to maintain a simple upload to my Flickr account on a daily basis, so I have kept my personal goal of posting a photo a day, thank goodness! Anyway, I have curated the last 12 days into a slideshow. I like to think of this as my 12 Days of Christmas collection. (p.s. I can’t control the speed of the slideshow. If you want to view any of the photos, you’ll have to use the pause button.)
You can also see all the photos on my Flickr set “365 Days Journey Through the Past.”
My sons and I did a lot of walking, even in the winter. I loved how the sun caught the snow and made it sparkle and how my boys trudged through the snow to make a path for me. They’re in their 20′s now, making their own paths.
I had upgraded from a Canon PowerShot A75 to a Canon PowerShot S2 IS by this time (2005). I was thrilled with my camera. It was bigger and more substantial than the little pocket camera AND it had manual controls! I was still working on understanding how to make a good photograph, though. My camera saw all that white snow and compensated for it so the original photo is…well…grayish. I used curves in Photoshop to regain the whiteness. I’m still working through my snow issues, though. Unfortunately, today (2011) there has been no snow this year. I miss it.
Aw, man! I know. Here they are again, the inflatable outdoor decorations, except up-close and personal! How could I NOT include one in my 365 day project?! I like how the elves are wrestling over a package. Please, someone, save me!
This time of year is a visual delight. People go all out in decorating their homes with lights so that the night dazzles.
When I was a child, I loved the night dad announced, “Let’s go look at Christmas lights!” My siblings and I rushed to bundle up in our winter coats and ran out to the old Buick. I loved driving in the cold with mittens on my hands, snuggled in the back seat with my brothers. We frosted up the windows with our breath as we searched out some of the most beautiful (and probably outrageous) Christmas lights. Dad always knew where to go. My eyes grew big as we slowed down and passed by the colorful lights strung around eaves and windows and wrapped around trees. We especially ooh’d and ah’d when we’d see deer ‘grazing’ on the lawn. What a delight! They weren’t lit up back then like they are now and were rather scarce, so it was always a treat to “catch” sightings of deer on the lawns.
Once we exhausted all the decorated houses, we then went home where my mom turned on the stove and heated up milk for hot chocolate (this was also pre-microwave era).
I carried on the tradition with my kids. We wrapped ourselves up and drove around town at night to see how others decorated their homes. Many times we ended at a park where we drove slowly along the winding roads and marveled at the twinkling outlines of moving Santas and “flying” reindeer, at the green lights of the Grinch smiling his grinchy smile, and at the simple glow of the Nativity in the dark night. There was even a dragon at one park!
Nighttime is magical at this time of year. I love it tremendously!
But then something happened. Someone came up with new decorations, decorations that were clunky and tacky and unsophisticated. Decorations that took their cue from the rounded, colorful, and safe baby toys. The inflatable lawn decoration was born. At first I shrugged it off, thinking they would go away. But over the past couple of years they have been taking over, like a fungus.
I ignored them until one day while driving, I was assaulted by a slew of these things stuffed into the backyard of a house. (The backyard faced the road.) I travel by this place constantly and every time I pass by I wrinkle my nose and shake my head. Then I smile. Whatever possessed them? Finally, I had to document the absurdity of this place, so I stopped and took photos. These photos don’t do it justice. These photos look small, but the house is actually large and these things are enormous.
Curious, I drove into the subdivision looking for the front of the house. I wasn’t disappointed. I stopped my car, grabbed my camera, rolled down my window, and…well, I had to wait while a car drove past before I took the photo. Aaack!!! That car drove into the driveway! I debated about taking photos with the owner knowing I was stationed in my car with a camera, but the debate was short-lived. I figured since they put that crap out for public display, I can take a photo of it. I wondered what they thought of me sitting in my car, grinning, and taking photos. It didn’t matter. I snapped away.
Later, ON THE SAME DAY, I passed by THIS place! I turned onto a side road across the street and noticed that a couple of other cars did the same thing. I pulled over, the other cars made u-turns. I pulled out my camera, the other cars turned back onto the main road and drove back by the house s l o w l y. Yep, others were just as dumbfounded as I was. I got out of the car and tried to find a decent angle to take a photograph (I wish I had my wide-angle camera with me!) As I did, more cars drove by, slowing down. I was curious. Were they impressed or amused? I saw one woman stifle a laugh as she drove by. Amused. We looked at each other and grinned.
I am not a woman of excess. Too much clutter makes me nervous; I can’t focus on what’s important and therefore I don’t focus at all. My stylistic tastes are different. So when I see things like this, I turn…no…run away. But then I smile, because oddly enough, it lightens the moment. Laughter does that. And so, even though I am glad I do not live next door to these folks, I do appreciate the smile on my face every time I pass by their stuffed yard. But I still hope that one day it will all go away.
Winter’s blessings, you ask? What are the blessings winter offers when all is frozen and cold?
Winter offers a cold beauty seen in no other way, the beauty of ice-encrusted evergreens glistening in the sunlight. Winter offers a cold backdrop to the warmth of the spring, summer, and fall times of the year. Winter offers hot chocolate and warm eggnog, piping hot soups, and animated conversations. Winter offers warmth in a fire, in a friend, in a lover.
When I drink a hot coffee in the brisk air, I appreciate the coffee more. When I sit near a fireplace with a friend, I feel the glow of the friendship. When I walk through a park, I marvel at the white-cloaked trees and frozen ground.
I do not deny there are negative associations with winter, but this isn’t about that. This is about winter’s blessings.
Christmas is the time when Western traditions celebrate the Magical Child. I love this time of year, of the hope and love and promise. So when wandering through Goodwill I found this discarded photo of a child born in 1992 with all the hopes and aspirations of family written on the white mat surrounding the child. I stopped, picked it up, and gazed at it in wonder. Who throws away something like this? Who no longer cares about that baby? Who throws away such hope? It’s as if the adult of the future gave up on the hopes of the past. Or perhaps a parent gave up on the child. Or the child died and the parents didn’t want to be reminded of loss. I don’t know! I’m at a loss! And yet….and yet, there’s still hope, for the photo was not sent to the dump, but to Goodwill, to be recycled…perhaps with the hope that someone else would save the child.
I didn’t save the child; I didn’t buy it. But I brought the hope forward. There are moments in life when hope dies, when what we expect does not come through. I know this. I’m living it. But I also know that today is only a moment and there is still tomorrow and the frustrations of today can be dispelled. At least…I hope they can.
I used to attend a church, not because I’m religious, but because I love the rich, complex music that I only find in a church (and only in the traditional worship services). This particular church loved flowers and they loved their Christmas tree. At Christmas-time, no matter who you are in the Western traditions, the sentiment is about love. I wanted this to be softer than the the usual vibrant reds and greens. I wanted gentleness. I wanted to surprise so that, when viewed, “Love” becomes meaningful—if only for a moment.
In keeping with the postcard/greeting card theme, I added simple text to a photograph that I took a couple of years ago. I own a black Christmas tree that I decorate with silver balls. I totally love it! Joyeux Noel!
I should have known better. Designing is not as easy as it seems. I am quite capable of creating something within a short time frame. I gave myself boundaries…or, at least, I thought I did. I told myself, “Design something that has to do with Christmas.” Hah!
I should have known better. Even that boundary is too broad. You wouldn’t believe the various concepts I have worked on regarding this. And I eventually trashed them. Finally, I stopped and said, “Look, Dezra, give yourself some boundaries. What do you want to accomplish? What CONCEPT are you working towards?”
I thought long and hard about what direction I was working towards and in the end, I decided that for the next couple of days, since I have no photos from which to draw, I would follow my initial post from December 4th and create postcards. I don’t have the time to go deep into a design and yet I want something that has some meaning to me. Therefore, postcards, or something along the lines of greeting cards. Something that could possibly be sent to family and friends at this time of year.
For the next three days, I will continue along this concept. Then I will once again revert back to the photos. So I hope you follow along for just a couple of days. Thanks!
I found this photo. It is white against a black background. Tiny holes have been drilled into it, and there is writing stamped on it. It looks like a microphone, but it isn’t. It is boring, whatever it is. But this is the best I can do for today…and for the next FIVE days!!! I have nothing in my photography stash for the next five days!
I must have been busy during the first weeks of December over the years, too busy to take photos. Perhaps I was attending holiday parties or perhaps the weather wasn’t cooperating. For a number of years, I know I was busy with end-of-semester projects and finals as I worked through my graduate program, which leaves my photo imagery unimaginative. Because of this, for the next couple of days I will break with the photography and instead engage in my other love; design. I will use photos from anytime throughout the year and turn them into some kind of design that celebrates this seasonal time of year.
With that in mind, I took this rather boring image and played with it in Photoshop. Nothing fancy, just an inversion of color and then saturating some colors and desaturating others to get the bronzed look. I like to think of it as an ornament getting ready to be hung on a tree.
P.S. I know, this isn’t a design, but it can be a design element. Who knows? It may end up in an upcoming design.
This is my wish; that the window into the heart is clear and that peace is found therein.
My first month complete! I started this project on November 3, 2011. It includes photos from as long ago as 2004. It is quite revealing to me how my photography has evolved over the years. It has also been a wonderful journey through my past! I am glad that I opted to go through my photography history rather than take a photo a day. I would encourage anyone interested in seeing themselves through their own eyes to do something like this. On to December!
Liquor displays fascinate me. The hard, smooth glass of the bottles; the hard, smooth glass of the mirror in which they are reflected; the organized chaos of the line-up. And at night, when the lights are low and you can’t really see the people around you (and maybe don’t want to see the people around you), the bottles gleam under the lights, tempting you to have another drink. But the night bar is reserved for another post. This photo was taken during lunch on a Saturday and all I wanted was Fish and Chips because you get the best Fish and Chips in a bar. But I also sneaked in a shot of the bottles, because they fascinate me so.
Brush strokes swirl across the canvas, crosshatching a little here and there to produce an abstract painting. I held no brush, just a camera, and with a single click of the finger impressionism entered my life.
I sit alone in a bar looking out the dirty window at a stormy sky. A golden lamp hangs suspended in the window. But the lamp is an illusion. Like a rainbow, it can’t be touched. Going beyond the window destroys the lamplight and I’m left with mundane darkness.