Lauren Pett is the brainiac behind the deliciously decadent Rich Chocolates in Chicago. Not only do I get to shoot her unique and quirky inventory of candies and chocolates, but I also get to eat everything after pushing them around for hours to get the right angle. My favorite is the Whimsy Collection which is a take on childhood favorites like mint chocolate chip, bananas foster, pecan pie, and smores. I need a napkin for my pile of drool.
26 February 2008
20 February 2008
17 February 2008
I've been reading "Letters to a Young Poet", a book about a young writer Franz Kappus. He wrote Rainer Maria Rilke looking for guidance and critique on some of his poems. The result is a five year correspondence on what it is to be an artist and person. I will end the evening with a quote from Rilke written exactly 105 years ago today (and I would like to put the word "photograph" in place of the word "write"). I paired it with one of my favorite photographs by Francesca Woodman, "Self Portrait at 13":
"...No one can advise or help you–no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: MUST I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet the solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I MUST,’ then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose."
-Rainer Maria Rilke, February 17th, 1903
14 February 2008
These were taken in Beijing in 2007, when I went with my assistant / friend / photographer extraordinaire Gia. She and I shot this incredible wedding and after the ceremony, all the guests got their own rickshaws to get to the reception (88 to be exact). I can't remember the last time I had that much fun shooting - I was standing on my rickshaw backwards, yelling in mandarian 'slow' (chi) and 'fast' (ju) so I could keep in line with the bride and groom. The reception was at this beautiful, colorful, elaborate old chinese opera house full of gold and red detailing. The food was incredible and I ate that entire sweaty 1000 year old egg right after I shot it.
My favorite shot I came back with was of this old woman casually pushing her glasses up with her index finger in the Forbidden City. I love the way it was taken and I still marvel at how everything seemed so fluid as I shot: I was slowly turning 360 degrees with my camera at my chest, attempting to be as discreet as possible, and as I was turning, there was less than a second when that woman put her finger to her face. In that half a second, my finger pushed the shutter once, all the while I was still turning back to my original spot. It was like a little dance that she didn't know she was a part of...
A few years ago I helped my parents clean out my grandparent's house after my grandfather (Papa Doc) passed away. Not only was this interesting because we got to see everything my grandfather left behind, but I think it was nice closure for my parents. I often find myself snooping through other peoples' medicine cabinets, closets, and kitchens to see what kind of story they have lived (I know you snoop too), so this was really super because I had a personal connection to much of the stuff in the house. We found a lot of old love letters that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother before they were married. What better what to celebrate Valentine's Day than to read my grandfather's scandalous thoughts from the 30s and 40s. I love the picture of him above; he looks like a happy-go-lucky Lenin. Below are some excerpts from a few of his letters:
One week from today we will be well on our way. Whether north, or south, or east, or west, which direction is the best? Keep on guessing Katie dear, and before very long I'll be near...Freddy and I went to the movies early this afternoon and saw Primrose Path. It made us lonelier...I really felt lonesome about 8 o'clock Saturday night when I usually called you, and I knew you were thinking of me too Katie. I really have missed you so much. All the clothes in the store windows remind me of the things you like and the dresses I hope you can wear. Katie dearest in less than a week we shall be with each other and will have so much to say...I'll write you again before I leave. If you get a chance write me a note in Rochester, a last line for your best boyfriend. I love you dearly. Your, John.
13 February 2008
My friends Vanessa, Rebekka, Lauren, Liz and I decided to make a sketchbook years ago because we all were tired of having lots of ideas and creative energy but no outlet where we were free to do whatever we wanted. Even though this book has taken a slow turn we still manage to muster up anger, happiness, sadness, altruism, love, hatred, nausea, inspiration, indifference, hunger, etc. etc. every month and pass the book on to the next person. Liz Allen included the third one down, which is really beautiful and reads:
The way my heart has felt in the past year:
-like an avocado
-like a hallowed out avocado
-like a little sprout was forming
-like grass was tickling the walls
-like weeds tickling the walls
-like dried leaves and dead wood chips
-like a solid block of ice
-like a dirty ice cube in warm water
-like a hallow plastic replica with branches
-faded away or a ghost
-absent vs. thin air
More sketchbook images to come...