Friday, October 30, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: A Magical Night

There is something magical about trees. Maybe it's the way their branches and leaves rustle and speak when the wind rushes past, or maybe it's the way they filter the sun and create a shady carpet on which we can rest. The most magical trees are the ones that create an umbrella with their branches that touch the ground all around, yet leave a secret hiding place close to their trunks.
"Mommy, come look what I found!" called Danny during a walk on a beautiful September evening. "It's a faerie house!" I crawled under the branches with him, and saw this beautiful little spot he had discovered. We could hear the footsteps of passersby, but they could not see us, nestled quietly under the canopy of leaves. "I think the faeries come out and dance when they think no one is looking," he whispered. I nodded quietly as we watched the glow of the sunlight together, waiting for the faeries to appear.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Midweek Update: "Alphabet Soup!" Blog

I'm just popping in mid-week to let everyone know I've started a blog dedicated entirely to the books in the Alphabet Soup! series. Stop in to read more about the Stitch Your Heart Out Campaign and other updates as they come. I'll be taping a radio interview about the original Alphabet Soup! this weekend (eeek!) and will post the link as soon as the show airs.

I'll be back tomorrow with my "Story Behind the Picture." In the mean time, have a lovely Thursday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Story Behind the Pictures: Alphabet Soup for Cross Stitchers

Every Friday I have a story to share, and this one is no different. Rather than just one photograph, I'm sharing the on-going process of an entire series that is incredibly meaningful.

A little background: Loose Thread Stitchers (LTS) and mkc photography have partnered to create a gorgeous coffee table book dedicated to the art of cross stitch. Twenty-six different letters, twenty-six different designers and companies who have supported this project, twenty-six different beautiful pages that even non-stitchers will love. Why are we doing this? Colleen (the CEO of LTS) and I are dedicated to championing causes that support women. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women world-wide, and CAROL for Heart works to educate women about heart health. When Colleen saw my original "Alphabet Soup!" book, she knew this was a concept she wanted for the "Stitch Your Heart Out" (SYHO) campaign.

When these beautiful pieces arrive to me, I can't help but marvel at the time and love poured into each one. Some are actual stitched designs, some are creative tools to make stitchers' lives easier, but all are little pieces of art. Little pieces of art that connect generations of women who teach one another and keep the traditions their mothers and grandmothers taught to them. It was once forbidden for a gathering of three or more women to stitch or weave together: the churches feared the power of such unchaperoned meetings, feared the agency and power associated with creating such elaborate and bewitching designs, feared the outcome if too many women were united in their single pursuit. Silly, isn't it, to think that something woven or stitched by a women would be dangerous? Yes, I suppose, unless you've read the story of Medea...

These images are a tribute to the beautiful art of cross stitch that should be treasured - and taught - for endless years to come. Keep stitching, ladies!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: View from the Hill

I would never have said that landscapes are my strength, but when I was hired for a commissioned piece (a landscape, no less), I decided to take on the project because it would be a happy challenge. It was a beautiful day at the arboretum, and I shot for about two hours as I walked the grounds. The trees were gorgeous, but nothing really gave me that "ah-ha!" moment when I looked through the viewfinder. Until, that is, I decided to look on the top of a hill. There was something lovely about the space between all those glorious green leaves, a welcoming path across the top of the hill, looking out to endless miles behind. This photograph makes me think of the way I like to live my days: enjoy and revel in the present, yet look forward to the journey beyond.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: Clocks

Well, given my post a few weeks ago about "Dandelion," I figured I'll continue with my love of photographing weeds. Or, more accurately, laying on the ground and low-crawling in order to get the shot. In public.

This particular invasive species was the only spot of white on the otherwise perfect green lawn of the Morris Arboretum in the middle of March. I thought it a very special dandelion - it alone had weathered the winds, rain, and freezing temperatures. Most visitors that day were admiring the statuary, the ivy gently climbing the stone walls, the swan gracefully swimming in the pond. I think I may have been the only one laying on the cold ground with my camera, photographing a common weed.

Marty: "Boys, have you seen your mother anywhere?"

Lucas: "Why are you on the ground, mommy?"

The softness of the dandelion clock against the dreamy blue sky was too pretty to miss. In the end, it was worth getting my jeans dirty and embarrassing my family, don't you think?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Story Behind the Picture: River at Sunrise

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 - even ordinary things - that they thought to be lovely.

This is the view we rowers see on clear mornings, the mornings when the rising sun turns the sky into a watercolor painting of soft blues and pinks. The streetlights on Kelly Drive have yet to dim, but the hum of daily traffic is just audible over the chirping birds and gentle splash of the oars as they enter the water. Sometimes you’ll even catch the mouthwatering smells from the bakeries in East Falls and Manayunk as they drift downriver. This view is from the Twin Stone bridges in East Falls, where most boats spin to begin their journey back toward the boathouses.

Some people ask why rowers choose a sport that requires us to rise at unimaginably early hours, launch from the dock before dawn, and endure often unpleasant weather. This photograph is my answer.
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