Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Indecision City: Don't Go Alone!

Help me decide, will you?

If you choose "Something else altogether," drop me a comment and suggest something. I'm making new business cards with my new number on them, and I can't choose a site name!

Thanks for the help.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Love a (Slightly Bigoted, Overtly Alcoholic) Parade!

Just wanted to share some images from the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade, which Kim and I attended despite the frigid weather and intermittent snow. My wedding photographer friend Judy hosted an awesome brunch in her studio, so when our fingers and toes got too numb we could escape inside for warmth, food, and music. It was a good Southie time. I managed not to have to see anyone vomit (and only had to step around it Saturday night), which is nice.

I love parades dearly, but I went to this one without the warmth in my heart that they usually provide. While I understand that it's frustrating when a celebration gets co-opted by groups that have nothing to do with its original intent, I have trouble feeling all gushy about a parade that stops taking public funds solely for the right to exclude any group they want to, namely gay people. And whose founders felt so strongly about the matter that they took it to the Supreme Court. And won.

I don't know. I just wasn't as into it.

...But not to ruin your fun. Here we go!

Check out this stand-off between photographer and Jedi, or whatever this guy is.

After a while, I felt like every photo had been done before... so I started concentrating on feet marching.

And just a few more... this is Susan Passoni, a city council candidate whose photos I did a couple weeks ago. It was cool to get handed a piece of campaign literature and think, Hey! I did those photos!

Other people were campaigning as well:

A sidelong glance:

And my awesome host, Judy, who kept introducing me to people as HER assistant.

Lots more where those came from. For more photos from the parade, click here.

After the parade, Kim and I cleaned house.

After which I started playing around with my macro lens.

Which is when I discovered that you could see the cityscape in my eye, through the fire escape out my back window. See?

Okay, now see?



In other news, I finally got around to visiting the Frog Pond a couple of weeks ago, and leave it to the kid from Buffalo who's a huge hockey fan to need skating advice from the North Carolina girl.

Actually, neither of us fell on our bums and we dizzied ourselves going around and around on the tiny rink to hits from the '70s, '80s, and '90s.

It was one of those beautiful, oddly warm late-winter days when you barely need your coat. I'm not sure where those went, but this is the time of year I start to get a little desperate to be warm. I'm even looking forward to the inevitable blustery Boston spring that'll leave broken umbrellas strewn across the city for me to photograph. It's a great excuse to wear my red rubber boots.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Post Script: Anniversary Season

As of yesterday, Boston's been my home for 2 years, and what a better way to celebrate than St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston? Judy, the wedding photographer I've assisted, has invited me to a brunch party in her street-level studio to watch the fun on Sunday, so expect pictures early next week.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Long Way Gone, A Long Way Come

First of all: did I miss a meeting? Why has everyone slowed their blogging down so suddenly? Have we found some other means of blatant self-absorbsion I should know about?

Speaking of which, it's another long-ass day here in photographer's assistant/studio manager world, after racing to a press junket to photograph M*rk Wh*lb*rg to no avail because the press credentials didn't include photographers. But I saw ol' Marky Mark in the lobby as he came in, and we caught eyes and I managed to smile. I think it was a smile.

Yesterday I went to see my college Creative Writing workshop classmate Ishmael Beah read from his new book, A Long Way Gone. I should mention that Ishmael and his book leapt to #2 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardback nonfiction. And that I first found out he'd finished the book (of which I remember workshopping chapters in college) by opening the Sunday Times a couple of months back and finding his (very attractive) face on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. Funny, how you stumble across old friends. (Do you like how he went from classmate to friend in the blink of a bestseller?)

Ishmael and I had the same advisor during our four years at Oberlin, and took several workshop classes together. In addition to being an eloquent and deft writer, I remember him as being sort of the epitome of a good guy, and not half-bad to look at, either. Dan Chaon, our advisor, says there's no more deserving person than Ishmael for this success, and I was so proud to be there in the crowd in Somerville as he read and handled questions. When I said hello, he asked me if I was still writing, and with some amount of relief I said I wasn't. Because how do you compete with #2 on the bestseller list? Besides, I mean, being #1.

I'm reading the book now, and last night I rolled for hours with nightmares, not of rebels in Sierra Leone, but of intruders of all kinds - in my apartment, in my parents' farmhouse, in the woods as I ran and threw myself in ditches to hide. My nightmares are self-fabricated, induced from Ishmael's documented real ones. Read the book. Maybe in the daylight. Okay, cue the Reading Rainbow music: "But don't take my word for it..." Watch John Stewart fall all over Ishmael here.

Who wouldn't be blown away by a human like this? Makes you want to step it up a notch, in whatever way that means to you. Which I'm pretty sure is his greatest success of all.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My Heart Belongs to Dixie

You can't ask for a much better friend than my childhood pony Dixie, who came to live with us on our farm in North Carolina when I was around 2, and died this past weekend on the farm. No one's exactly sure of her age, but we surmise she was pushing 40 - quite impressive for a pony.

I learned to ride on Dixie, and we were a team in many horse shows when I was a little kid. But my strongest memories of her are from around the farm, like when we used to hitch her up to the little pony wagon and go riding through the paths connecting our farm to the other houses in the woods. One Halloween, we dyed her mane and tail neon pink, a punk-rock pony. Another time, she took a sharp turn and dumped us kids right out of the wagon onto the path. More than once, she got a little feisty while I was on her back, and bolted out of pure energy for a long stretch down whatever path we were following, until I could dig in my heels and regain control. In my memories, she flew like lightening through the forest when she bolted. In reality, she probably reached a brisk canter at best, bouncing me like a spring in the Western saddle.

Below is Dixie in the Caldwell Fourth of July Parade. Though my face is hidden by my lantern (construction paper on a flashlight), you can see I was the Statue of Liberty.

Her registered show name was "Dixie the Fat Pony." She was pretty round, but incredibly spry and spunky. She won us a whole mess of blue ribbons, too... sometimes I think just for cuteness. For years they lined the perimiter of my sister's bedroom.

This is me, winning a new feed bucket as first prize.

She put up with a lot and was considerably patient. Here she looks like she's about to buck me off... see the layed-back ears? Not a good sign. The good thing about falling off Dixie though (and I did, many times), is that you never had far to go.

Dixie was a best friend to a lot of little people... my sister stuck with her til the end, even after she moved on to "real" horses and competitive, serious riding. They shared the same gusto, the same fearlessness and disregard of bumps, bruises, and falls.

She still taught lessons on Dixie to littler kids, like Ruby, who fell hard for Dixie and wrote her forlorn love letters after she moved away.

Ponies are such a sweet constant in childhood if you're as lucky as my sister and I were. They know you by sight and sound and smell.

But I'm telling you, it's not every lifetime you come across a pony is as special, as loyal, as legendary as Dixie was.

'Bye, Dix... we'll all miss you dearly. You were a really great pony.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Good Things Come to Those Who Kick Ass.

I had a feeling 2007 was going to be an amazing year.

A huge, hearty congratulations, Melissa.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Go, Go, Go!

Off to NY again to assist another shoot, this time for a handful of famous and important people. I'll have to leave you guessing, but one of their names sounds like "Toby" but with an "M" in front, another is a famous actress, another was a star tennis player known for his temper ("You cannot be serious!") and yet another is from one of the more influential families in the US starting with "K". I may even get to powder some noses on top of my usual equipment schlepping and light-setting-up.

Yesterday was one of those days where, while it's clear that good things are coming to you and you're getting the work you've hoped for, it's a liiiiiiiittle much. I got picked up for a shoot at 7am and worked my ass off until around 2:30, being driven to various locations and setting up photo ops with the candidate and various (preselected) extras. From there it was straight to the portrait studio for my last night closing, or ever - and I had two trying sittings and a night to myself waiting for the mall to close, trying to keep my eyes open. And then, once home, instead of going to bed, I had one of those long, important and heady conversations that leaves your brain reeling and your emotions a little wracked. It just seemed like the right time, for some insane reason.

So, once this crazy week is over I'll try to get back to writing that's a little more thoughtful and/or entertaining. Hang in there. Hang in there. Hang in there.

(I'm talking to myself.)