Category Archives: Blog

Zigzagging into the Roaring 2020s

I photographed this image of myself last June.  It was the day before I suffered a pulmonary embolism. (a blockage in the lungs)  One out of three people dies from embolisms.  Mine peaked in a swollen leg.  I had walked five miles on that day and was feeling fine.  The next day my leg began to swell. 

I wound up in the hospital with a clot in my thigh and, because I had fainted at home, a CT scan revealed a piece of the clot had traveled into an artery in my lungs. 

The docs were miffed.  I was an active person. 

They monitored me and eventually took me off estrogen (hormones) – the power drug for women that helps with skin, joints and brain health.  I was on the medication for 22 years.  One risk was clotting.  The docs halted that medication and six weeks later, while my heart was healthy, my knee became stiff from an old injury and basically collapsed. Rehab began and remains a very slow process.

On that fateful walk, as I approached the word heal on the sidewalk before me, I placed myself into the image and photographed it.   Somewhat of a foreshadowing – being blood red and reflecting my shadow back to me.  I was feeling the impact of the image on my being.  I didn’t question.  I just kept moving.  My body took over from that point. 

I was soon forced to realize the impact of that message.  I made changes.  

I retired my 35-year-PR career and stepped fully into my true calling – my art/my photography.  

I am recalibrating.  I’m anchoring myself into a safe place where I go inward and feel the unsteady essence of who I am and what’s to come.  

Luminous Emptiness.  To quote the Buddhist view…” nothing is permanent or fixed.  The entire world of our experience is constantly appearing and disappearing at every moment.”

My dream, my life, is my work.  I move with mindful physical ease as I greet this new year with camera in hand, and begin to step further into a deeper work full of purpose and service.  I was given this gift of seeing beyond through a lens at age 13.  It’s been patiently waiting for me to fully embrace it.  Respectfully I do now, with gratitude and confidence and uncertainty and unknowing.   I am alone and I am in the community of a family of friends.  I walk ever so gracefully.   

Also posted in Creative Process, Story of a Photograph Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Textures of Life

I was gifted tickets to the Symphony yesterday and reminded of another huge presence in my life.  Music.  As an artist, I have loved so many genres of music and feel so grateful for digital access to almost any artist or tune I seek.  This concert was to be San Francisco’s Symphony Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas’ last concert prior to undergoing surgery before returning for his final season next year leading up to his retirement after 25 years.

He conducted Mahler’s 9th.  No intermission.  And I understand why as I was being transformed through each of the four movements.  The last one, Adagio, was weighted…“Grief gives way to peace, music and silence become one.”

I’ve always believed life is textured;  and as I learned early on about texture in photography, I became more aware of how this word so brilliantly illustrates movement in all areas of my life.

I am teaching a Mindful Photography class at a hospital where patients, (clients) can heal through various methods of occupational therapy.  We spent one entire class on texture and how it layers our world.  I suggested to the students to open their eyes further to feel and soon see how texture reveals itself through various forms.  As I walked home afterward I passed this amazing tree trunk just whistling through to me of its multi-layered texture.  I think of what this magnificent being has endured.  And how in its evolving age is still shining brightly through its passages of life.

It beckoned me to approach and raise my camera to photograph.  My heart was and is still full.  Yesterday at the concert I was reminded of the parallels of music and photography.  Both frame my life and cause me to stretch deeper into the creative process.    And, as a teacher, to pay it forward, purely and simply.  Such abundance abounds.

Also posted in Creative Process, Live, Story of a Photograph Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Darkness of the Morning

I make my way into the darkness of the morning –  it’s 4:20 am.  I have been writing and writing and writing.

In the darkness of the morning, I feel the aura of the unknown. I welcome its mystery.   I reach for my trusty oh-so-classic, weighted-by-its years laptop.   It sits on a pillow on my lap with blanket and cat bordering me.

Cat duties done. Coffee made.  I am here with my blank palette to spout where I may.

What is this luscious landscape I’ve embraced?

I awaken to the force of this new day as I write my first thoughts.

In the darkness of the morning, there is possibility. There is newness – an untapped potential of whatever I wish.

I gaze at the blackness outside the window.

Dark.

Sip coffee.

Back to writing –

Darkness triggers my mystic. It gives me permission to dive into the parts I treat sometimes as wickedly demonic.   Just write. Let the words be my shelter on this page of a new day.

Again, I look toward the window and notice that the

dark is becoming gray-like.

Coffee is also in the middle ground – lukewarm yet still beckoning me to sip.

I feel my own wholeness in these moments. I am free of judgments and self-critic banter. The page is my partner to this momentary evolution – a discovery trek to acknowledge and articulate the composition of the inside layers of my divine self.

Cat growls.

Time to stretch, meditate, make my daily call to my 94-year-old Mom. We chitchat and talk of nothingness. I treasure her acknowledgment of my voice.  “Hello, Susie.”

The vibration of her voice nestles inside of me.

I hold the sounds of her lingering words ever so gently.

Heartthrobs.  Hands to heart.  Breathe into that feeling of pure mom love.

I know these calls will soon fade.

Just as I know

there will be a new day

every day.

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Creative Process, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , |

This is What’s Up

Rain this morning.  Delicious.  Now the sun.  It makes me glow.  Heightened awareness.  Okay so what’s that about….oh I just had an epiphany yesterday and suddenly — profoundly –realized in a somewhat much clearer way than ever before….that all I need to do is show up for me.  No matter how desolate things can be, no matter how tremendous the challenges of every day health, work stuff, relationship fluctuations, etc etc etc  — My real work is simply me.  And once I put that front and center I truly believe I can do, achieve, create whatever I intend.    It’s freeing to live in accord with my own true self.  This is where I begin front and center and this is where I may serve through my art.  May I open my heart wide to those closest and those on the street — to begin again and again.

Also posted in Creative Process Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Staying Inspired to Speak Up

My first photo essay column on Medium.com on the impact of Gloria Steinem’s actions and words. I shot one photograph 45 years ago and the others a few months ago. Her impact remains powerful. Thanks for taking a look and following me for future words.

Gloria Steinem’s Indelible Impact on Me

Also posted in Creative Process Tagged , , , , , |

Being Okay with the In-betweens of Spring

Spring has so many different faces. This morning the sky is not quite ominous due to streaks of light coming forward to frame parts of my vista.

I am learning – goodness me – over and over again – to experience the complexities of my life on different levels.  Perhaps that it because I rise and fall and wallow in the in-betweens and then shift and move again in a new direction.

The rumbles are part of the big messy-like picture – and my mirror is spring with its unpredictability.  It echoes the curvatures of my inner landscape.

All I need do is buckle up for the ride.

And continue to recalibrate so I may dive deeper in a new arena with the knowledge that creativity is my arsenal of pure energy.  I need only to tap it gently to get the wheels in motion.

Life is fascinating in a myriad of ways. Probably my biggest lesson of late is the companion of my breath and its miraculous powers to settle me. (take five)

We’re in for rocky rides these days. My camera shoots what it will and sometimes it’s a blur of unsettledness and I know when I witness the image I just shot,  it is a container of currents awakening me to new tunes.

And so is this season of Spring.

Also posted in Creative Process, Story of a Photograph, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , |

And into the New Year….

So much chatter going on these days in all areas of our world.  I read the other day how important it is to sharpen our “response abilities.”    Respond in a fashion that takes us to a different place rather than reacting right away.  It’s so easy to just react.   I find I’m hitting that pause button more and more.

The ocean is such an anchor for me. I give so much gratitude for being able to witness the mighty sea at almost any day I choose.  And it helps remind me to be okay with all the changes.  There’s an ebb and flow to everything.   I grab my camera and just go.

Also posted in Creative Process, Story of a Photograph Tagged , , , , , , , , |

It’s the In-between time

blogsidewalk guy

 

I feel Autumn inside and out.  The wind is not quite warm and not quite cold.  it just is.

I trolled Market Street with my camera seeking subjects that called to me.  I was on assignment documenting as opposed to being an observer.  How will I reflect my own story as I illustrate the tales of others via my camera?  It’s all illusionary and I know I’m just part of my own waking dream.

I got a dose of reality recently through a recent photography documentary class — address the issue, keep your feelings out.  I note my own evolution and admit with time and age I do feel less attached.  I hold the important boundaries of everyday and relationships and yet, in a sense my detachment is what is saving me from recoiling into false illusions.

There is no there.  It’s here.  And I reflect that through my lens.  I shoot what I see and as I step to the side for a better angle or move in closer for more detail, I am noting my own desire for deeper clarity.

Autumn has always been my favorite season.  The days, the air, keep changing.  My frizzy hair reminds me of the unknowingness of what’s to come so I keep it short.  And I laugh more.  A new companion adorns my shoulder – lighter, more free-ing – this camera moves with me together in sync capturing the now.

Living spherically

I was drawn to these words recently – living spherically — validating where I am and my commitment to self to live in all directions inside and out.  And when things get out of control, I bring in humor.   I reach out to someone who needs a smile.

As I trolled through my photos I thought …hmmm.  water … sphere ….. can I find an image to compliment the words.  And yes, here with the jagged edges and decaying tree and water that is what it is.  Like we all are.  Beings with edges of many facets.  True gems we truly are.
2

Summer’s comin

DSCN4494_Thrice_LegsSoon, Summer Solstice will be upon us.  We are reaching the longest day of the year as the light stretches close to 9pm.  I think of swimming, being lazy in a meadow and heading away from the cool breezes in San Francisco to warmer climates across a bridge or southward.    Having just been in North Carolina I got a preview of warm temps and I was reminded how fleeting the season is…for here in the city the summer fog creeps in and puts me back into the mystical place of the unknown.  I’m getting better at it.  I plan my escapes more diligently.  And I welcome and as always, photographically capture the changing moods of the season.