Monday, March 30, 2009

Artisans Challenge - Please Vote!

Hi y'all!
I'm part of Blockhead Radio's artisans challenge this week! Everyone can vote for a special photograph by yours truly...I'll keep you all in suspense until you have a minute to pop over to the site:
For all you artisans, everyone is welcome to submit their work to the challenge, so have a look at the rules while you're there. Voting for me :-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: "Alexandria" and "Alexandria 4"

Anyone who has visited my website or my Etsy shop will recognize her right away. Of all the countless images of angels in my portfolio, she is my singular favorite. She has graced my mantel for many years and has hung outside Mayor Nutter’s office in City Hall. This statue stands in a cemetery along a busy section of Route 1 in Alexandria, Virginia where the hum of the traffic and city chaos is almost palpable. Once inside the iron gates, however, the noises fade peacefully to the background.

My sole focus that afternoon was on the shadows falling over her face, how the light illuminated different features and expressions. The sculptor who created this angel was a genius, and I took care to capture the depth of detail he or she so lovingly articulated into the rock. I shot two rolls of film that day, both devoted entirely to this angel.

When my great aunt saw these photographs, she didn’t tease me about my obsession with cemetery angels as did the rest of my family. Instead, she told me that my great-grandmother’s grave had once been sheltered by the shadow of a lovely angel statue that was later destroyed by a bolt of lightening – when her family went to visit the grave, the stone had been decimated by the impact: nothing remained but tiny pebbles scattered for hundreds of yards. Perhaps it is her deep and unwavering Irish superstition, but she is certain this is why I am so driven to photograph angels. I, for one, am inclined to agree.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: "Two Little Birds"

I took this photo during a glorious morning row, a day where I brought my camera (and the patience of my teammates) out at sunrise to capture the sights we tend to overlook on a daily basis. They promised to hold the boat steady and not to splash water on my equipment. They promised to help me find things, ordinary things, that they thought to be lovely. I nearly missed these little birds, perched atop the wire that spans the river from Kelly Drive to Peter’s Island and holds the lane markers that help to guide racing crews. I’ve passed under that wire countless times, both as a rower and a coach in accompanying launch boat. I’ve even touched the large yellow lane markers that swing freely from the wire: the river was high enough one day in practice that I could stand on the foot-stretchers of my boat, reach overhead, and tap the metal marker for good luck. But I’ve never paid attention to the little birds that regularly perch atop the wire and bear witness to the rising sun and the sparking water below. Until this particular morning, that is. We passed under the wire just as the sun crested the tops of the trees and one of my teammates pointed them out to me. I caught these two little birds in their morning reverie, enjoying the dawning of another clear, spring morning: each time I see this image, I think just how nice it is to have company while watching the sun rise.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Featured Today!

Hi All!
Just a quick note to tell you that the incredibly talented (and funny!) Robin has featured me in her blog today - come check it out!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: "Old School"

This is the vintage Remington typewriter that belongs to my mother. It sits on her shelves, is lovingly dusted each week, and is the instrument with which she typed all her papers in high school and letters to my father when he was in Vietnam. I used to play with it when I was little, sneaking over when I thought the heavy "ca-chink" of the keys striking wouldn't be heard. I would marvel at how anyone could write page after page, pushing down against the heavy metal keys, using correction fluid to erase mistakes (or worse, starting anew). "Are you playing with that typewriter again?" her voice would call out from upstairs, her "super-sonic mom ears" able to detect my quietest movements. I smile now as she scurries over to keep my oldest son from playing with the Remington when we visit her in Virginia. I have hopes that he'll be as in love with the written word as I was, and am. Perhaps he'll see his work published one day too. Perhaps my mother will finally realize this typewriter is indestructible and simply let children enjoy drafting their imaginary novels. Perhaps, in honor of my mother, I'll be chasing my own grandchildren's mischievous hands away from the keys when it adorns my shelves many years from now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Paws for Charity

I'm so excited to announce that my photograph "Sandy Paws" has been chosen for the 2009 "Paws for Charity" art book!

Sara Harley created "Paws for Charity" several years ago to benefit breast cancer research. Her mother lost her battle with the disease when Sarah was just 21, and I'm honored to help continue her mission to raise funds for breast cancer charity.

The book is 40 pages long and features the artwork and photography of 36 other artists from the US, UK, and Canada, and 100% of the proceeds go directly to breast cancer charity. As soon as the book has gone to print and is available for purchase online, I'll post a link...what a fantastic mother's day gift this will make!

For more about this project, please visit Sara's blog:

Friday, March 6, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: "Cheltenham"

This week marks the fifth anniversary of my father-in-law's passing, and this particular angel watches over the cemetery in Cheltenham where he rests. He was a joyful, vibrant, optimistic man: the most jovial, kind soul one could ever hope to meet. He made us laugh until tears flowed freely, he offered his hands and heart to anyone in need, and he welcomed me into his family from the first day we met. This sculpture, although present long before his death, seems a particularly appropriate figure to reside near his grave. Most cemetery statuary is mournful, pensive, sorrowful: while the event of dad's death was one which exemplified heartbreak, his legacy is one of joy. This angel, with her upward gaze and hopeful nature, reminds me not of what our family lost, but of all the joy that still remains as a result of his influence and love.

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