Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jessie at the Crossroads

When you're in the full-swing of a new life pursuit, intentionally hurling yourself into untravelled terrain and the company of all different kinds of people and circumstances, it's an unexpected jolt to go back several years into the familiar.

On Sunday I took a train to visit my high school friend Johanna, toting a considerable amount of guilt that we have lived within 40-minutes of each other for two years and not come face to face. We'd talked about the trip for a while, but it was spurred by the fact that Johanna is 9-weeks pregnant, and just now feeling well enough (barely) to have company. I took the opportunity and (being by no means exploitative) couldn't squash a measure of excitement at having a pregnant friend to potentially take pictures of.

Johanna is meticulous and soft-spoken and endlessly kind, and we have almost nothing in common. Even as I caught up with her and her husband Nathan (of almost 5 years! Jesus Christ, where does the time go, and oops, forgive my language, Johanna...), I really felt it; we have both changed so much. Our priorities, our lifestyles, our mannerisms. And all the differences that existed when we were friends came to memory because of their pronounced continuum; in each other's presense, we remembered all the things we forgot.

And yet even knowing how far away, despite the geography, our lives and inherant selves have taken us, you can't help but wish happiness for the other, and take comfort in watching good things come to good people. It's just as simple as that.


I saw the most amazing broken umbrella for my collection yesterday, driving out in Taunton from a shoot.

And I finally got a new bike, even though I'm still somewhat in denial about my last one being stolen. I looked for it for weeks, convinced that I'd just forgotten where I'd left it, despite how uncharacteristic that would have been of me. I brought the Schwinn home on the T tonight, which was exhausting. Just when I was worrying about how I was going to make my way off the train at Downtown Crossing through the thick crowds, a friend happened to get on at the stop before and helped clear me a path. I thought: my angel!

...And I say I'm not religious.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Like a Ton of Bricks

No, really. Like a ton of bricks.

Contrary to the misleadingly metaphorical-sounding title of this post, I have no great epiphany to report, no heart-stopping news. I literally remain unscathed by a literal ton of bricks by a matter of minutes.

I was leaving for work a few minutes later than I'd planned when I heard a big crash outside my bedroom window. I figured: melting ice. But a moment later my street was full of firetrucks, and when I came down I saw (once again) police tape blocking off my street.

So what happened? A chimney protruding from the fourth floor of the building next to mine became detached, and crashed on the street (and car) below, ten feet from my door and exactly where I would have been walking. As I watched in awe, bricks were still raining down.

Never a dull moment on Montgomery Street. I called my boss and said I was running late for work, and it was a damn good thing, too.


I'm back in town after my first NYC shoot with Mark. Being blessed with relatives and friends in the city, I'd never had the luxury of staying in a hotel until now, and it was amazing. You know it's good digs when they leave Aveda products in the bathroom for you.

Here's me, helping out with test Polaroids on the shoot.

I'm sort of amazed. It's been just a few months since I decided to get serious about working in photography, and suddenly I have the kind of job I dreamed about landing. In the past week I've paid for the rented studio in New York, made inquiries about hair and make-up artists for an upcoming shoot, set up lights, gels, and backdrops, and even given suggestions during shoots that have actually been used.

And then there's my own work, too. On Sunday morning Georgia drove me to Worcester for a few hours of campaign photography for a state rep candidate. I shot in a handful of locations, arranged big and noisy groups, staged photo-ops, laughed and joked with people. And miraculously I got paid to do it.


I got home late last night on a Greyhound, which was... well, an annoying ride. Which brings me to this: I'm trying to find ways to be less annoyed by things. People, public transportation, noise, cold. Because in the end, people are jerks, trains run late, luggage gets lost, and Boston is f'ing freezing in the winter. I'm asking myself: why should I pull out my hair about it?

It's just that sometimes I can't help but let stupid things get under my skin. Like the two guys behind me on the bus last night, who talked and laughed at full volume for 4.5 hours, and who couldn't be blocked out by my iPod. Or that when I flew home from Key West they ran out of all the food products on the plane, so I couldn't even pay an overpriced $4 for a bag of chips or something. Or don't even get me started on the T. Or my landlady, who won't fix the broken radiator even though there's a 15-degree temperature difference between the two common rooms of our house, and shrugs her shoulders and says, "it not work, it not work." Yes, I know it not work. That's what I said in the first place.

Last night, as the two guys jabbered behind me, I oscillated between complete fury during which I pondered all the things I could turn around and say to them about their unjust and inconsiderate behavior, and breathing deeply and thinking, "I'll be home in a couple hours and they'll never bother me again." I find it helps to try and slip outside of myself into the third-person, which serves two purposes: one, to see my life in a pseudo-romantic-comedy-esque way, and two, to make me realize: Hey, I don't want to be Annoyed Girl. I want to be Easy-Going Girl. Nobody likes Annoyed Girl. Except Pissed-Off Guy and Irritable Lady.

Also, sometimes grinning and bearing it pays off, like when, after smiling and saying, "Oh, that's okay," when there was no food left on the plane, a friendly flight attendant snuck me two mini-bottles of red wine, which rendered me calm, happy, and (embarrassingly) drunk upon being met at the airport.

I'm going to get some coffee... but I think I'll wait a few minutes, lest a piano comes tumbling down on my head.

(Perfecting my "God, life is so annoying" expression.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Front-Page-Below-the-Fold Valentine's Goodness

Hello my dears,

As you can see, I did make the paper yesterday (you can see the rest of the article here, but no pictures). And though this Valentine's Day may have been the most disgusting, slushy, step off a curb ankle deep in half frozen mud Day, I raced home from work in the best mood, two Boston Globes under my arm, my hair a frozen, matted mess, and dashed into Filene's Basement for a cheap, fantastic Valentine's Day dress. I had about 10 minutes to go home and change, decompress, and head out for dinner, and then I was back in it, laughing the whole time and I slipped and slid to the T station. A complete stranger offered me a piggy-back ride over a particularly daunting puddle (I declined, opting to leap instead). By the time I emerged from the blustery steam of the Holocaust Memorial, after the T died a smoky death at State Street and left me to run through the rain-mixed-with-sleet (a weather term I never really understood until yesterday), I was a shivering, still-smiling, Jessie-pop.

At the table next to us, as we were finishing our gazillion-layered chocolate cake, a man was suddenly on his knee, being hugged by a crying, grinning, tan, blond woman from Revere. We clapped. She cried. I maybe cried (just a little). I mentally beat myself up for not having my camera on me (I've almost let it go). I gave them my card. They gave us champagne. It was Valentine's Day.

As the waitress watched them hugging and viewing the newly engaged's extended, diamond-weighted hand, she gave us a dry look and said, "You get so jaded after a while." I think she was talking about in-restaurant proposals, and not her own life.

Anyway, Matt liked his t-shirt, which I made on Zazzle.com. You can see it here. I might make some other (more widely applicable) ones, too, which you can buy!

Even a little underslept and chilly and busy, I can't stop smiling.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Chagmion Antoine is a journalist/correspondant for CBS News on LOGO, and one of the co-hosts on the online lesbian talk show, "She Said What?" Check her out, she's amazing. She swung by via Fung Wah to see me this weekend from her digs in NYC, and I managed to sneak this photo in before we headed out to be thrifty.

We all need to break free of our cities once in a while. Next Sunday I'm heading to New York for a two-day photo shoot with my new boss, and I'm looking forward to seeing my fabulous Aunt Karen and paying a visit to Chagmion herself. My life is chock-full of amazing individuals.

I myself am off to the laundro-mat so that I won't wind up naked in this alleged snowstorm we're getting tomorrow. Snow on Valentine's Day... Matt will be giddy. I'll grin and bear it.

Speaking of V-Day, you can try to out-do the amazing gift I came up with, but you might as well go the roses 'n' candy route, 'cause you won't come close. Curious? Yeah.

And on that note, here's a project my new boss is working on for the month of February as his first foray into video. Yesterday, interviewing a famous chef and her architect, I got to wear headphones and carry a boom mike as we rushed around the restaurant with a hand-held. I love my new job.

Got to go scrounge under the couch cushions.

P.S. Check tomorrow's Globe's Living Arts section. I may be in the paper. Possibly front page. Possibly even above the fold. Possibly.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Oh! Oh! And?

...I forgot to show you Genevieve, who I photographed a couple weeks ago. Apparently, after the couple of hours I spent in her home taking pictures, she napped harder than she ever had, out like a light for hours. The truth is, I went home and did the same. We completely wore each other out.

Anyway, here she is, takin' a bath:

The Karma Gods are Out to Get Me

I don't know if you've been checking Accuweather.com for Key West lately, but ever since Saturday it's been Florida's equivilent of a blizzard. Last night as we hurried into a waterfront hotel bar where a jazz pianist and his miscellaneous musician friends were holding down the joint, just our opening the door sent menus sailing and everyone's hair askew. It's cold and damp outside, and the sun only peeked out for about 10 minutes yesterday, all of which found me shivering in a bikini by the pool giving mean looks to the impending clouds.

It was the bragging, wasn't it? Or the audacity of taking a vacation before I've put in any time to earn it? C'mon, Karma Gods, cut me some slack. (Of course, it's, what, 12 in Boston? And, clearly, the weather on an island in the southern US is all about me. Hey, it's my blog.)

I've decided that if I had to, given the ease of life down here and the sponge-like acceptance of entertainers and artists, I could make a go of it between singing in bars, taking pictures, and mooching. A lovely life, but I think I'll give the masochism of winter up north a little more run for its money.

Kim's birthday was this past weekend, and the party's this Friday. Somehow, we're going to have to out-do her amazing cake from last year, and any ideas are welcome. Should we just make them bigger, better, and more boobaliscious? What do you give the lactation consultant who has everything?

Friday, February 02, 2007

All You Have Are Your Experiences

For those of you concerned about the questionable nature of this picture, it is with no choice that I tell you this story, because it's just that good. My incredibly wonderful significant other can rest assured that he has nothing to worry about from the boy with the weird genie pants. It's just that this street performer, Orien (I think is how you spell it), happens to be a kid I (sort of) befriended back in Boston almost two years ago when I was living in the North End. We would chat when I was walking home from work and he'd just finished a show with his family, and though I once offered to take him to dinner we never got around to actually going out. In part because he's a good four years younger than me. In part because our lives are so different I can't even imagine what we'd talk about. But here I was in Key West yesterday at the sunset carnival, thinking about how the best street performance I'd seen was right in Boston from an adorable young British acrobat and his traveling act, and I look up mid-sentence from expressing this sentement to my sister, and there he is.

I just had to say hello. He remembered me - even that I wanted to be a photographer - but then he was attacked by a swarm of freshmen college girls thrusting digital cameras at him, and I waved goodbye and left.

And I thought Boston was small; turns out it's the whole world.

Click on the picture above for a Flickr slideshow of my photos from Hemingway House. Melissa, this is especially for you. Expect cheesy postcards, too.

Back to the sun.