Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

And to All a Good Night

This is Meredith, who I was telling you about, with her latte at Cafe Driade today. She's as amazing as she always was. Oh, and, she made me a sweatshirt for my iPod. She's so DIY.

Although the forecast predicted rain for the entirety of my visit home, this is what the sky delivered instead:

This is my mom on her new horse, Tweed. Tweed is blind in one eye.

This is one of our sheep in the pond pasture, watching me with staid curiosity.


I want to wish everyone a very peaceful night and merry Christmas tomorrow, if that's what you're celebrating. Everyone I know is flooding my mind tonight. My friends in Boston, in North Carolina, my friends across this country and in various places around the world, my family here in Hillsborough, my family farther away... those I haven't spoken to, for reasons intentional or otherwise... you are close to my heart, and I'm thinking of you even if you don't know it. I am an insanely lucky girl, and I thank you for being in my life in whatever way you are. Merry Christmas.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Familiar Landscapes

The perils of global warming aside, North Carolina is wonderfully warm and damp.

These are of no use to me here, but they look awfully pretty when taken by my new camera.

One of the first requirements upon returning home is going up the road to Underwood's gas-and-grocery for glass-bottle Cokes.

Inside are such gems as decades-old hair pomade and cheap American cigarettes, overalls in all sizes and work boots, rotting vegetables and dusty plastic bottles of soft drink.

The sun came out for real late in the day.

Here's my house at twilight.

And my typical posture since I got home:


Tomorrow I get to see Meredith, my best friend from high school who also went to Oberlin, and soak in some coffee shop culture and trade kid stories; hers from classrooms in New Orleans, mine from a portrait studio in Chestnut Hill, MA.

And isn't it funny how when you're home, you can be at some party of your parents' friends, way, way out in the country, the opposite direction of anyone you know, and among the handful of guests is a person very close to the one person - the one person - you want to avoid? You can feel these things before they happen, so you deal with it better as you get older. It becomes less of a big deal, but it still makes your heart plummet.

More to come from me and my camera during this week home, once the novelty of long naps and staring into space wears off.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Veering from the 9-to-5 is disorienting and strange. Didn't get enough sleep 'cause you were tossing and turning fretting about angry clients and disastrous sittings at the studio? Sleep til 10, even though you have a day's worth of things to accomplish! Don't have to be at work 'til 5? By all means, why not blog?

Really I just wanted to post a few pictures from my "When I Grow Up" party last Saturday. It was a revival of my Pun Party last year, 10 days after I'd moved into the South End. Once again we roasted a turkey from CS, and fired up the yummy pies from Pie in the Sky. This year, the theme was futuristic; what did you want to be when you grew up? What do you want to be when you "grow up"? Kim's graduating grad school in minutes, and I'm sticking a toe (but a big toe) in the photography world, so we figured we better get on it.

The Village People: A construction worker, the head of the Christian Coalition, a pro photog, and an OB-GYN.

Mel readies the stuffed mushrooms.

Oh, and we didn't want to hoard all the cuteness - here's a photo of Zoe, who we kitten-sat for a day while her home was being exterminated for mice. I know, she's not that intimidating, even for a mouse, I guess.

I leave for NC tomorrow after a long day at the studio. Merry merry, everyone.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Slapstick Always Wins

Tonight at work one of the other photographers was teasing me because she overheard me proclaiming ecstaticly to a three-year-old during a sitting, "You LOVE benches!"

We say and do some pretty idiodic things to get the kids to smile. Today, for example, the kid in question was a little, ah, scattered; he was happy to roll on the floor with his shirt over his head, but when it came to sitting still and god forbid smiling in my direction, things were a little more overwhelming for him. Hence the bench idea. I said, in my oh-my-gosh-this-is-going-to-be-so-cool voice, "Hey Jack... do you want to sit on a bench?" And the vocal tone worked, because his eyes got really big and a smile crept on his face and he clapped his hands as I brought the bench onto the canvass. "Yeah!" I cried, "You LOVE benches!"

I had this other one tonight, a gorgeous but painfully shy, bury-your-face-in-mommy's-chest 3-year-old, who I couldn't seem to pry loose long enough to sit on the canvass alone. Gradually I worked my way up from tickling him with our favorite feathered "tickle stick" (a phrase so embarrassing I can't bring myself to say it outloud when the fathers are present, and have finally started calling the feather duster a "tickle monster"), to rolling a ball back and forth (all the while shooting madly, you understand), to, finally, the kicker - banging the ball on my own head as though it were attacking me. He thought this was a riot. If I were allowed to use the images I take, I'd show you the ones of him giggling hysterically, his hands adorably clasped against his cheek. Parents love these photos.

Yesterday, while humiliating myself in similar fashion for an 18-month-old with the old Christmas-ornament-to-the-head routine, I caught myself saying, outloud, "boinky-boinky-boink!" No one but me noticed my immediate flush to the cheeks and clearing of the throat. I wanted to say, "Alright, Junior, seriously, let's get ahold of ourselves. And close your mouth, you look like an idiot."

I'm exhausted. I'm going to return to the adult world now with some rented episodes of Sex and the City.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All Things Bright and Photographic

Variations on Matt with Cup of Coffee

(The lighting in the second one is from the neon sign outside.)

If you're like me, then you methodically check all the blogs you read at once each day, checking for updates and new stories, photos, and adventures. So, two weeks for mine is pretty much the outside window of time I can justify going without posting for my loyal few. Even if all I can give you, really, is crumbs for the birds.

So, here's what:

I left the nonprofit where I worked. Some denial is still in play, I think, because despite how insane it was for the past two months since I gave notice, and the awkward fit of the job for me in the first place, and how ready I am to make this career shift... I still feel like I could go into the office and see everyone any old time I want. The people who work there have been a big, loud, wonderful family to me for the past year, making Boston more "home" than it had ever been, and I can't imagine saying goodbye to them all forever. But they tell me you never really leave CS... you just become a volunteer.

So time now is largely spent at the portriat studio, where I chase children and squeal like a crazy person to get them to look up at me, where I get sneezed and drooled on by babies and overshadowed by parents standing over me calling for the kid's attention. It's insane. But as I get more comfortable and build something of a repor with each family that comes in, I'm learning how to extract something creative and different out of each kid, and just recently have started getting personal requests. People ask for my card, and when they call in for another appointment they ask for me to be their photographer. It's great for my ego.

Yesterday I met with an awesome professional photographer who may have me assist her with some of her upcoming wedding gigs. This means I'll be loading her Hasselblad camera backs, carrying equipment, taking light readings and generally following her around for instruction. I can't wait. She has a big dusty light-filled studio in South Boston, and I get the feeling she's the nurturing type - someone who can introduce me to other photographers, lend me equipment and studio space, instruct me on my work. I have a couple of other contacts to follow up on as well.

Oh, and... the reward for saving off tiny paychecks and putting away money from photo gigs and the studio for the past many months will be trading in my Olympus Evolt-500, a dandy little camera that has served me so well for the past 9 months, in exchange for a Canon 30D, just a little more beefed-up and respectable for me to start calling myself a legitimate event photographer.

And I'm going home to NC for a solid week over Christmas.

Thanks to my friends who are helping me solidify my role in the following exchange:

Random Person: So what do you do?

Jessie: Oh, I just started working in a portrait studio, yeah, it's mostly kids, it's kind of retail-y, but I'm trying to get a foot in--


Random Person: So what do you do?

Jessie: Well I used to work at a nonprofit, but I'm trying to be a photographer, so I'm ya know freelancing a little and working in a portrait--


RP: So what do you do?

JGK: I'm... a... photographer.

[Once more, with feeling.]

JGK: I'm a photographer.