Tuesday, May 18, 2010
After many months of hard word, I'm thrilled to announce both the new website and new blog for mkc photography!
The "story behind the picture" will still be posted every Friday, which you can find right here. Please come by and visit, or better yet, subscribe to the feed so you never miss a week!
Thank you so much for taking the journey with me every week, and I hope you'll continue to do so.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Now, I'm not really a "big fan of the sunflowers," as my son likes to say - they're all stalk and leaves and look far better en mass in fields than they do on a singular basis. I was born in Kansas, so I feel I've earned the right to this opinion. My husband must have heard me mention my feelings about these flowers once and only heard a few select words. He reassembled them in his head and remembered them as "I was born in Kansas and I'm a big fan of sunflowers." So imagine my complete lack of delight when he planted sunflower seeds. As a surprise. For me.
Me: "What on earth is that big gangly thing that's sprouting in that pot on the deck?"
Marty: "It's a sunflower! Don't you love it?!"
I tried to kill it by sheer neglect, but those things are hardy. I grumbled about the unfortunate color combination of yellow and brown, which reminded me far too much of my Catholic high school uniform colors. Then, one day, I decided to have a closer look at the center, bearing the perfect mathematical spiral of Fibonacci's Sequence, which is actually quite lovely.
I decided to make the photograph a little more magical than average. No color, a bit of hazy mist, and the focus on the miracle of nature's perfect spiral.
Then, one day, I "forgot" to transplant it when it outgrew the planter on the deck. I pretended to be sad when it died, but now you all know the truth. At least we have this photograph to remember it by...
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I took a poll. I asked women what words they would want to hear when facing a battle, what words they would say to their mother, their sister, their friend. I arranged them in order, from the first day, moving on and upward, through the journey. These seven words are for my aunts. They are for my cousin. They are for my college professor. They are for my childhood friend. They are for each one of us, because cancer touches us all.
In honor of May and Mother's Day, 25% of all proceeds from this print will go directly to my dear friend's organization, Phi Mammo Grama, as they raise funds for the Three Day Walk in the hope that, one day, the eighth word will be "cure."
Friday, April 30, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Last night my computer died: literally crashed, burned, and lay in a pile of fragmented-hard-drive-rubble on my desk. The last back-up was four weeks ago, but as you all know, I create a lot of new work in the span of one month. I was particularly heartbroken because I thought this little collage that I created six days ago had been lost forever. Imagine my dance of delight when I realized I still had a copy that I emailed to my dear friends for consideration in their new nursery (is there any higher compliment than to have a friend choose your artwork for their home, especially for their new baby?).
I still haven't decided if the children have captured and are pulling the hot air balloon toward them, or if they are flying it like a kite...the details don't matter as much as the inspiration: don't let a tiny thing like reality get in the way of your dreams. Why settle for a little red balloon when you could capture and fly an aeronautical adventuring machine? Go and fly amidst the twinkling lights and enjoy every moment.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Colleen: "You HAVE to enter this contest."
Me: "What contest?"
Colleen: "The one I just emailed you about. If you win, Bloomimdale's will sell your design as a tote bag. Go come up with something!"
This is my friend Colleen. She calls/emails/Facebooks/tweets with all kinds of crazy ideas for me. She's like a one-woman brain trust for all things creative, and I always nod my head and do as she says, having long ago learned to trust her incredible judgment about these things.
So, Bloomies wants a design for their "Go Green" campaign, do they? I happened to be standing outside, barefoot in the grass, at the time she called me. As Sheba, the resident crazy dog and professional paw model galloped passed, this image popped into my mind.
Have you ever tried to get one dog, two boys, and seven Scrabble tiles to sit/stand/lay nicely in the green grass on a beautiful sunny spring day? Let's just say I'm happy there are multiple "R" pieces in a Scrabble game, because Sheba nearly ate one (and wet, dog-saliva-covered wood tiles are not the same color as the nice clean, dry ones). The boys were, of course, complete angels and never once poked, prodded, or pushed one another. At ALL (please read that last part with all the sarcasm it implies).
I took about five or six shots before Sheba collapsed in exhaustion on top of the words "go green," Lucas discovered there were far more interesting things to do (like dig for ants at the base of a tree), and Danny informed me he had to take a call. On his cell phone. Which was really a twig he discovered in the yard.
Now it seems this little memoir of one sunny day and three marginally cooperative models has reached #4 in the country in the polls. If it wins and you see random women wandering around carrying my bag as they shop at Bloomingdales, you can tell them that the "R" is a replacement letter because Sheba slobbered all over the first. Then, please do come back here and tell me if they enjoyed the story. Or if they called mall security. I'd love to know which one it was.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The tote bag above is a design for the Bloomingdale's contest...the winning bag will be selected based on both on votes and design quality, and will be sold in their stores! You can vote for my "Go Green!" tote here (you'll see my bag appear as the largest thumbnail on the far right).
Thanks so much for your votes, and I'll be sharing the "story behind this picture" on Friday. Yes, those are my dog's paws and boys' feet, so you know it will be a good one!
Friday, April 9, 2010
This was just a little creation that came from bits and pieces of other photographs - a collage in its truest form. I made it because I'd like to think that birds take a moment to enjoy each other's company, that their lives aren't solely about scurrying after worms and avoiding the cat sitting in the garden below.
My husband finds this piece very funny, as I'm always begging him to stop singing (if you've heard him, you would know why). I wonder if any birds out there have less-than-perfect voices, and if their mates ever ask them to stop? In any case, these two seemed quite happy with one another, and I'm grateful for their inspiration.
Friday, April 2, 2010
I had a dream about a moon and a solitary tree. Yet, finding a solitary tree in the city of Philadelphia (and the surrounding suburbs) proved to be a wee bit of a challenge. There are plenty of trees to be had of course, but none that sit quietly unobscured without neighboring buildings. Or power lines. Or "No Parking" signs.
I finally found this tree in Valley Forge Park. I wandered for quite a while, hunting for the perfect tree from which to hang my moon. The acres of grass were heavy with water, and I was grateful for having thought to wear my Wellies. I loved searching for, and finally finding, this one perfect tree. All that was left to add was a dusky sky, a few stars, and a sleeping moon caught unaware.
So then, for whom would you capture the moon?
Friday, March 26, 2010
I never loved Cinderella, Snow White, or any of the other passive, please-rescue-me-types who whistled while they scrubbed floors or wiled the years away waiting for someone else to pull them out of the tower. My hero was always the girl who had the nerve to dive down the rabbit hole, crash the tea party, and stand up to the army of cards dispatched by the Queen of Hearts. She ran fast, ate what she liked, and was never cowed by anyone she encountered during her adventures. Her curiosity inspired me, her bravery impressed me, her black Mary Jane shoes delighted me.
And they still do.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Things I've learned in life:
~ hold on to only the important things
~ have friends who own fabulous shoes, preferably in your size
The suitcase belonged to my great-aunt. It might not seem a likely thing for me to keep around for all these years, but it's the one she carried on the train from Philadelphia to Phoenix as she raced to elope with her fiancee before he left for World War II. Readers here might remember another story about this night, so this piece really could be a bit of a prequel.
My dear friend J, who has stellar taste in footwear, helped me find just the right shoes for this photograph. She also let me take over her foyer with my equipment while our children behaved like crazy people in her home. The story this piece tells isn't just about my aunt. It's for all of us who've ventured out that first time alone. The possibilities, the nerves, the challenge of taking along only what you can carry.
I promise I don't have a shoe fetish - I'm working on a commissioned series, and the only guidance was "shoes." I decided each should be a little sonnet about life - our lives - something to which every woman can relate. What was your first solo adventure? I'd love for you to share it with me.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Many thanks to the lovely Felicia of "Another Bright Idea" who so kindly interviewed me this week! Please pay a visit to her blog and enter for a chance to win my "Love Park" art glass pendant...you can give it away to a lucky gal, or keep it for yourself (shhh...I'll never tell).
Check back here tomorrow for the next "story behind the picture!
Friday, March 12, 2010
It was the first day of my junior year in high school. The physics lab broiled in the heat of the early September sun. I looked around at my classmates (mostly seniors), and realized there was only one other person wearing a skirt in the room beside myself.
Mr. C began his “Welcome to AP Physics” speech with all the enthusiasm of someone whose spare time was filled with accelerometers, calculators, and equations. As I shifted my weight on the uncomfortable yellow lab stool, I head him pause. He looked directly at me, and then to the one other person wearing a skirt in the room, and uttered the following:
“You might as well prepare yourselves: girls traditionally do not do well in this class.”
What I wanted to do was get up off the uncomfortable yellow lab stool, take my newly sharped pencil, and stab it in his neck. What I did do was sit perfectly still, my hands clasped in angelic fashion atop my text book, and gaze back at him with my most winning smile (which, I’m certain, was tinged with discernible malice). The validation to the pulse pounding in my ears and adrenaline flowing in my veins was my lab partner’s barely audible comment of “oh, no he just didn’t...” I’m not sure if he was horrified by Mr. C’s statement, or if he was just concerned I might go on a sharpened-pencil-stabbing spree right there in the lab.
He needn’t have worried. I had no intention of murdering Mr. C. It was far more enjoyable to watch his face each time he handed me my test results. For one year I enjoyed the delicious satisfaction of earning one of the highest grades. Of the entire class. Including the boys.
Fast-forward ten years to the soccer fields where my husband and I coached our team of middle-school girls. “Time for push-ups!” he called, “and just so you know, there are no GIRLY push-ups allowed!”
Imagine, if you will, the sound of 15 girls (and one of their coaches) gasping at the sound of the word “girly” being used as a euphemism for “weak.”
I don’t think I need to tell you what happened next. As he apologized to the girls (many of whom were giving him looks that echoed my own pencil-in-the-jugular expression) for his poor choice of words, I realized sexist comments should always be harnessed for the opportunity-providing-pieces-of-nonsense that they are. Never ignore them. Never pretend they don’t exist, only to seep into the cracks of your psyche when you least expect them. Instead, hear them: hear them for the insanity that they are. Turn it around on them. Relish the look on their faces when you answer every test question correctly. Enjoy the feeling as you complete 30 “girly” push-ups...you know, the kind where your legs are perfectly straight and your knees never touch the ground? Those are the only kind of girly push-ups I know how to do.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Just a quick mid-week update to let everyone know about my April show at Elcy's Cafe and Coffeehouse in Glenside, PA. The show runs all month with a fun opening reception on April 2nd from 5-9 p.m. Would love to see you there!
Friday, March 5, 2010
My mother asked that I share a funny story this week. And, as you know, I always do what my mother says.
I have two boys. I think everyone who follows along here knows this by now. I think everyone also knows that they are not exactly quiet, reserved, timid little children. Lately, my job as mother primarily involves refereeing battles that start promptly at 4:04 p.m. (when the bus delivers my eldest at the end of the school day) and don't end until bed time. Or later. And by "referee" I mean actually pulling children off one another when it starts to get ugly. I should wear a mouth guard and collect a stipend.
So what's with the apples? I was trying to harness a little creativity during the epic snowstorms that have pummeled us since January. After a few days of snow-induced captivity, apples were the only colorful thing I could could find in the house. That and lots of tiny Legos that I accidentally found with my feet. Very comfortable.
As I'm lining up apples on my windowsill, I hear the fight begin to brew:
"No, Danny, noooooooo!"
I decide to continue on with the apples.
"Danny!!!!! Stop it!!!!" *heavy thumping noises from above*
I'm still debating as to whether my referee skills are required, when I hear Lucas yell (at decibel 11):
"Danny! I do not belong in the hamper! I am not clothes, I am SOMEBODY!"
It was, at this point, that I was actually proud of my loud, brawling, scrappy 3 year-old. That's right, Lucas, you ARE somebody. Nobody's going to put YOU in a hamper. Unless it's your big brother, who still managed to get one of your legs in the aforementioned hamper before I reached the bedroom and, once again, had to pull you children off of one another.
Great art is not created while your children are trying to shove one another in a dirty clothes receptacle. The apples, above, are not great art. We ate them later for snack (out of desperation because we were out of cookies and there was 97 feet of snow on the ground). I'm okay with sharing the not-great-art here. It happens. This week was about the story, about my boys who love one another with great devotion, and about always trying to be creative, even if people are shoving one another in hampers while you try to work.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
He was rescued from the streets. He is the first family member of my husband's that I met. He joined us on our first date. He witnessed our engagement. He ate everybody's breakfast the morning of our wedding, when our backs were turned. He was my running partner. He helped train our younger dog. He helped train our children. He unlocked windows, dismantled alarm wires, chewed through wallboard, and performed miracles of canine athleticism to escape....daily. He adored my husband. He pretended to merely tolerate me (but I saw through it). He ate out of the trash can at every opportunity. He howled when he heard an ice cream truck. He howled when he heard an Irish tin whistle. He howled when the children were napping and he woke them up. He sneezed when he was happy. He danced in circles like a circus poodle when he wanted a treat. He would do anything for cheese. He was afraid of plastic bags. He was fearless that day I needed him most. He suffered unimaginable abuse in his pre-rescue life. He found his forever home with us.
I write this as he naps in a small patch of afternoon sun, as he enjoys the twilight of his nearly 15 years. I write this knowing that I won't publish it until the day comes where he no longer greets me with a stiff-hipped tail wag and a gentle lick on the hand, and his favorite blue rubber ball sits quietly in the basket on the stairs.
He was loved.
Friday, February 26, 2010
The Ben Franklin Bridge spans the Delaware River and connects the shores of Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ. My husband once said they only charge a toll in one direction because no one would actually pay to enter New Jersey. I personally don't agree. You've all seen the "Jersey Shore" by now, have you not? Surely everyone in America would be happy to pony up $3 to experience all that New Jersey has to offer.
But I digress.
I shot this from the middle of the Delaware River on a Duck Boat. Yes, folks, we do live in the city, but we still rode the Duck Boat tour. On this particular tour - seated directly behind me - was an incredibly excited family from Austria. Has anyone witnessed the enthusiasm with which Austrians cheer their downhill skiers? It's not unlike the rabid crowds during the Tour de France, or the Dutch during speedskating events. Apparently this Austrian fervor also translates to Duck Boat tours in the United States.
To say they enjoyed the experience would be a severe understatement of the facts. The ringing in my ears - due to the combination of constant duck-bill-quack whistles, cheering, and laughter at decibel 11 - has yet to fully subside. One positive? My children were no longer the loudest things on the tour.
I thought it was just an ordinary day, on an ordinary river, under an ordinary bridge. Then, I let myself see the ordinary bridge through the eyes of the reveling Austrians. I let myself get carried along in the joy of their day. I let myself image this was an enchanted bridge, leading to mystical lands beyond.
Then, they pulled out the cow bell. Yes, the very same type of bell used to cheer skiers as they rocket down the icy slopes of their home mountains. One wonders if they traveled throughout the city with this bell, just waiting for the perfect moment to unleash it on their Philadelphian hosts.
So here it is, folks: the cow-bell-worthy version of the Ben Franklin bridge, where you'll happily pay your $3 to come back home.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Maps are like old friends to me. I pore over them, remembering the airports and train stations, recalling the winding rivers or jagged shorelines, admiring the colors of the elevation.
I used to memorize the terrain and street layout of a new city before I would arrive (when traveling in foreign countries, alone, it's generally best not to look confused. Or lost. Or foreign, for that matter). I would know which elevation changes signaled north or south, which direction to expect the sea, where the nearest pub could be found.
I liked going to unusual places. Hitra, a small island off the coast of Norway, just a brief jaunt away from the Arctic Circle? In March? Only reachable by boat in rough winter seas? Yes, please! Of course, I've gone to not-so-unusual places as well, but I pride myself on having made it a memorable experience nonetheless. Like the time I forgot to put my pepper spray in my checked luggage and, as result, caused a bit of an "issue" at the airport on my way to Dun Laoghaire. Apparently the IRA had made some threats that morning. And then along I came, with my concealed pepper spray. Excellent.
There are breathtaking rivers in Portugal which, in actual fact, are the same color as the ink on the maps. There are reindeer near Lillehammer that will meander across railroad tracks and delay a train heading north for hours, in the dark, as the wolves cry in the distance. There are police officers in England who take the combination of pepper spray and Irish airlines very seriously.
My passport has expired, and I'm none too happy about that. It means my decade of adventuring was shelved in lieu of other things (you know, job, child bearing, all that sort of thing). I'm not concerned. Maps and I have a long history together, and I expect to be using them again soon, and not just for photographing. This is where I am going today - how about you?
Friday, February 12, 2010
As a child, I was never the one who fit in seamlessly with my surroundings, but it never mattered to me. My parents never pressured me to play the same sports as the popular girls, to wear lipstick in high school, to choose a major in college that would make me money (admittedly, my father did try to suggest an MBA, but he dropped that suggestion rather quickly after I gave him one of my infamous dirty looks). They loved me even if I did read the Encyclopedia for fun.
My oldest son is a little different than most. He's been given incredible gifts: he can play music by ear, he can read chapter books, he can compute simple algebra equations. He is only five years old.
Along with his talents, his incredible enthusiasm, and his beautiful singing voice comes a bit of social awkwardness, sensitivity to sound and surroundings, and difficulty making friends his own age. Many terms have come our way in the past few months: Aspergers, Autism, and the like. It doesn't matter to us what label he receives: we will make sure he knows that being different is a beautiful thing.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I'm pleased to announce the new line of functional art by mkc photography! Most of my original artwork is now available as framed art tiles (complete with easel for display) and keepsake boxes (velvet lined, beautifully made).
The selections above are just a few of the available pieces in stock - please visit the gallery on my website to see the full array! To purchase, simply click the price, and you'll be directed to PayPal. All prices include shipping, but if you are local, I'll happily refund the $5 postage charge and hand-deliver to your door.
Friday, February 5, 2010
I love the Wizard of Oz. I love the Wizard of Oz, even though I once had nightmares about a witch's legs shriveling up under a house, and sparkling ruby slippers that were coming to get me.
When I saw these shoes on the feet of my two-year-old niece, I began thinking of my favorite phrases from the movie. If you knew my two-year-old niece, saw her impish smile and clever eyes, ran after her as she tried to repeatedly dart into oncoming traffic, or watched her scale furniture of frightening heights in order to retrieve a cookie from the counter, you would know why I chose this particular quote.
Sometimes the only story I have to tell is the one about the sunny day, the Scrabble letters, and my niece's little ruby slippers. So, I ask you all: are you a good witch, or a bad witch?
Friday, January 29, 2010
I grew up in a place where, on summer evenings, the lowing of cows and the chirping of crickets floated through our open windows. I later moved on to a place where endless stretches of green Civil War battlefields and uninterrupted sky were only minutes away.
From there, I moved on to cities, forever sleepless until I learned to tune out the chiming of bells, the roar of trains, the wailing of sirens. I learned that gazing upward at night brought not stars but the pink haze of light pollution to my eyes. I learned that before sunrise the river over which I silently skimmed in my rowing shell would still be lit by gently arching bridges and yellow sulphur street lights.
I learned to love the constant noise, the gentle rocking motion of the train as it picked up speed and carried me home, and the ever-present lights. I learned to love that I could walk in the cool shade of the buildings or cross the street to stroll in the warmth of the sun. I learned to love that, in the city, I could purchase ice cream at all hours of the day or night.
I love the worn and warm stone buildings built in the years my grandparents were born. I love the gentle decay, the patina, the detail. I love the eclectic mix of styles, assembled by generations, graffitied by the next. These images are my urban hymn, my song that celebrates city life.
Friday, January 22, 2010
"You, and me, and the moon make three."
I thought surely someone else had written this, and my mind was only just remembering a long-lost nursery rhyme. I asked around. I Googled.
It would seem this little phrase was my very own.
I walked around with it. I sat down to lunch with it. I let weeks go by with it lightly floating beneath the more pressing matters of the day. Two days ago, the picture to accompany it finally came to me as well. Each piece is a photograph I've been keeping for no apparent reason, until now. After I finished, I thought the moon, which I've also used in another collage, needed a little personality...I made my first foray into painting and soon his cheerful, peaceful face emerged.
Sometimes it's nice to just stand quietly, in the peaceful moonlight, with someone special.
"You, and me, and the moon make three..."
Friday, January 15, 2010
Danny: "But I love the van."
Me: "I know, sweetie, me too. But a little girl named Vanessa might not. Or her mommy, who is buying the print for her room, might not.
Danny: "Well, that's just silly. Who doesn't love vans?"
I happened to be in the basement later that afternoon, looking for something on an entirely different subject, when I rediscovered my great-grandmother's sewing basket. I lifted the woven lid and saw this pincushion sitting quietly amidst the wooden darning egg (which I still don't understand how to use), a myriad of beautiful buttons, and a jumble of colorful wooden spools. I hadn't remembered this little stuffed heart, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I found my new "V."
I took out all the pins with their colorful glass tops and brought it upstairs to my studio. Danny watched me quietly as I worked.
Danny: "I still like the van."
Me: "I know, sweetie, and that's the one that will stay in the book. But do you like this one as well?"
He walked over and picked it up, examining it in the light. I wondered when my great-grandmother made it, and imagined her smiling as she watched my child holding it in his hands.
"I do like it," he finally decided, a sweet smile spreading across his face as he spoke.
Friday, January 8, 2010
My own husband popped the question with a 10-cent ring from a vending machine. He later upgraded to a lovely diamond, but truly, I would have been happy to wear the original.
Give me a promise made of stronger stuff than pressurized carbon, and you can keep the rest.
I will, however, take a stack of good books and a fabulous pair of heels (perhaps Marilyn really felt the same way, but it would have made for a rather unwieldy song title). I leave you with "A Girl's Best Friend," as seen through my eyes...
Friday, January 1, 2010
I thought it particularly appropriate to share this image today after many a bottle of champagne was shared last night. I created this image for a dear friend (and, if you have the time, you must take a few moments to read her sweet/hilarious/wonderful musings). She wanted something to represent her daughter's new wine consulting business, and this is the image I created. It was a true hardship collecting all those corks, but someone had to drink it, er, do it, that is.
Here's to a year of celebrations, of new-found success, and of creating and chasing down your own dreams!