As someone who lives and walks this city daily…my blog is all about delving a little deeper, seeing what it has to offer, and capturing the true essence of New York City. Whether you live in Gotham, or just visiting…feel free to look around my blog. Bet you might find something new to do!
P.S. As of the end of April 2013 my more personal postings will now be at The Next Few Years.
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Tag Archives: Susannah Conway
Wow, it’s August already! And I’m in MY city for the entire month! Yeah! So nice to wake up to a little rain shower this morning…windows open…listening to the chirping of NYC with a cup of matcha tea*! As much as I love the desert, the farm and of course travel, I always feel as if I’m going to miss something happening in MY city when I’m gone. Do you ever have that feeling when you’re away?
And speaking of happening…there’s so much going on this month…thought I’d take a cue from Susannah Conway (remember my unravelling class?**) She has an August Break “no-rules community photo project” to use our camera lens as a way to be more present this summer and the gals over at Shutter Sisters have Elevate the Everyday. As they say…what better way to spend the whole month of August than to turn our attention toward all the details of our daily life and elevate them to a photographic art? They’re sharing a daily prompt to spark the inspiration in discovering that special something! (I really love photo prompts and today’s is my morning – how appropriate for my first morning back!) as prompts give me a touch of purpose while I’m out and about on my artist dates*** with MY city!)
So I thought I’d do both, but with a little twist! I’m calling my August…Summer in the City! Remember that song from the Lovin Spoonful? Or am I showing my age…hot town, summer in the city…back of my neck getting dirty and gritty…oh well, if you need a reminder or if you don’t know it…you can click here…but please tell me you know it!! I won’t feel so “advanced” in age!
So there, it’s declared. August will be summer in the city! Besides spending time getting all sweaty, dirty and gritty by walking the streets of NYC… I’m so looking forward to the upcoming Montage class with Miss Vivienne (yep – telling your story with video!) as well as continuing to learn my lightroom photography software. So much to learn! Plus, I’ve gotta get going on my postcards for the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap with Kat! Oh, and did I mention I’m working on another blog called Street Wisdoms? Lots of ideas there…more on the introduction of that later…
* Look for a future post on matcha tea from Physical GraffiTea in the East Village…
** I must be honest and say that Susannah’s book – this i know – spoke to me much more than her Unravelling class…but it’s all good…love, love, love the book…hmm…another future post…
***One day…yes one day…I’m going to really sink my teeth into Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way…one day…
So welcome to August! But what’s most important this month is to have fun, learn, share with others and live in the moment as much as possible! See you tomorrow!
Let the Sunshine In is this week’s prompt for Bella’s 52 photos project…It could be light, seeping into the dark…shadows…still life…lines…as it dapples and fades…golden or bright…capture the sun shining in your life…even in our darkest moments, the sun – the light, can find its way through the cracks. This also leads me into my Unravelling class this week as well. We were asked to notice treasures in our life. Something that has meaning and an emotional value, taking the focus off ourselves and taking a look at the inanimate objects that hold stories about ourselves. Something that will catch our eye and perhaps bring a smile. As I read both of their posts there was a touch of shininess that caught my eye and it immediately provided the answer to both prompts.
This hand blown glass paper weight captured my attention some 50 plus years ago. You see my parents bought this paperweight early in their marriage as they passed through Natural Bridge, a huge gorge in the mountainous terrain in Virginia. An area famous for honeymooners back in the day. I can remember being a very little girl and climbing up in the desk chair in my parents bedroom and turning it, rubbing it and thinking about what it would be like to run around in that magical kaleidoscopic forest inside. How elated I was when my mom gave it to me a few years ago. It’s so precious to me.
Before signing off for today, as mentioned in my previous post it was incredible to be in the thick of the protests on Tuesday. It gives me the opportunity to play in my fantasy world of being a photojournalist, ha! But in all seriousness, these opportunities are a dream for photographers as there’s absolutely no concerns from people about taking their photograph. Finishing up the afternoon with “occupy” and all the chaos, afterwards I attended my first weekly dharma gathering at the Shambhala Meditation Center. What a change from all the megaphones, the pushing and shoving into a tranquil meditative paradise. A perfect ending to my evening. I had the privilege of hearing Sangyum Agness Au talk on “The Pain of Pain: Not Leaving Well Enough Alone.” But that’s a story for another time…
I hate my feet. Ever since I remember my feet, they’ve been ugly to me. My guess is this all started around those teenage years when you really start caring about those kinds of things… But anyway, several years ago, my dad and I were chatting about who got what in the family and so the discussion ensued about our feet. If there’s one trait that I received from my father, it’s his feet. Wide feet + Hereditary Bunions = Ugly Feet, in my opinion. (Now don’t start thinking…oh your feet aren’t that ugly…I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, ha!)
But let me back up so you understand why I’m posting about feet. Recently, I signed up for an on-line course Unravelling with Susannah Conway. A way to use journaling and photography to get to know the “me” that is hidden inside, a way to reconnect with “myself.” I love these kind of exercises because I think we can all learn something about ourselves that will help us as we move along in life. So here we go. Assignment – Week One: FEET. Oh god, I’m down before I even get out the gate! But then I think how lucky am I? I could have missing toes, a club foot, or no feet at all!! Your feet have carried you through all these years! Stop your whining! But then I easily return to…I hate my feet.
This past week was quality time on the farm in Virginia with my parents. Bingo! For my first assignment, I’ll take photos with my dad’s 86 year old feet beside of mine. My dad thought this was so funny and couldn’t understand why someone would want photos of their feet! Of course he doesn’t remember that discussion years ago because he now has Alzheimer’s. But when I looked at this photograph, both the stair steps and our feet really spoke to me. It made me realize how special my feet are because I do have my dad’s feet. I’ll be able to take this with me until I can no longer remember…and what a wonderful thing that is! Now when I look at my feet, I’ll think about him and all the long days he spent working the farm and standing to sell our fruits and vegetables to make our family a living.
Will I ever hate my feet again? Probably so, but I do know this exercise has given me a new outlook and now when I look at my feet, I’ll think of him and how proud I am to be the owners of these feet…a symbol of an incredible legacy within my family. Thank you Dad!♥
Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb - where a collaborative group of like-minded women
from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.
Take a big deep breath and think about the aroma from lots of tulips. Perhaps you’re thinking…but tulips don’t really have much of a fragrance! True, but…did I happen to mention 15,000 tulips? Yes, it’s that time of year again for the annual tulip festival at the West Side Community Garden. Beautiful, warm, overcast day…picture perfect for photography and that aroma! Pure heaven!
Tomorrow I head for the farm and by the time I return all of these lovelies will be gone, but quickly followed by irises, bleeding hearts and more peonies. It’s one huge candyland with a never ending supply of beauty all summer long!
This week be looking for a couple of updates…one, my discoveries of some very unique community gardens in the East Village AND two, my adventure to Philly to photograph in the Eastern State Penitentiary! Plus I’m starting a new course this week about becoming best friends…with…guess who? MYSELF! Combined with photography, we’ll be honoring our memories, seeing our own beauty, thinking about our hidden dreams, and seeing where we are in the world. Susannah Conway promises eight weeks of unravelling (and who doesn’t need a bit of unravelling once in a while?) and it would be my pleasure if you’d follow along with me!
This week I had an epiphany about my photography!
But, let me back up. I mentioned a few posts ago that I’d started an on-line photography class, Susannah Conway’s Photo Meditations. Besides her incredible teaching style (and UK accent!) the fabulous part about this class is sharing photos from our weekly assignments and receiving feedback from other classmates. Every day I carve out time to view and comment on the work of others and since there are so many, one can’t take the time to study them all. So I click on a photo and only if it immediately speaks to me do I comment. (And as mentioned before, receiving comments on your photography in your in-box throughout the day is SO uplifting!)
Well what I’ve found out about my photography is that I’m finally honing in on what I love to photograph and what I love to look at.
Wabi – Sabi.
If you’re familiar with the term then I applaud you. I on the other hand, had never heard of it. The term and short write-up in Catherine Anderson’s book, The Creative Photographer, caught my eye. She explains that wabi-sabi is all about seeing beauty in the old. As she mentions, we often pass right by old things, not noticing the beauty in the color of the patina on an old pipe or the peeling of paint on an old door. She goes on to talk about how society emphasizes the beauty of the young, but often fails to notice the amazing beauty of an elderly person whose experiences are shown in their wrinkles and wise eyes. The page in her book stopped me dead in my tracks. I realized for the first time, I see with wabi-sabi eyes. The beauty in the elderly, the vintage pieces I collect, the photos I love to capture of old wood, rust patterns, and peeling paint. So much beauty comes with age.
But I needed to learn more. So this week time was spent on the internet to research wabi-sabi to better understand the term and to make absolutely sure it’s a word that will apply to my photography.
Now let me back up even more. My love has always been for old stuff; vintage, worn, used, rustic, primitive, handcrafted. I’ve collected so many items from my parents and grandparents; quilts, dinnerware, knitted sweaters, hats, and many household items too numerous to mention. Several years ago after spending a long time visiting an elderly man, his daughter gave me his black leather chair when he passed away. Every time I look at that chair I think of my 96 year old friend sitting and reading his New York Times. There’s no trading any of these items for the world. The list goes on and on.
But I hadn’t connected my love of old stuff with my photography until this class. You see wabi-sabi is the ancient Japanese art of finding beauty in things that are imperfect, old and worn. Salvaged materials, handcrafted, vintage. There’s a subtle spiritual side to it as well, as its roots lie in Zen Buddhism. (Can it get any more perfect?) In Robyn Griggs Lawrence’s books (writer and speaker on topics ranging from green building to spiritual design to organic gardening) it’s all about “appreciating the simple and letting go of the superficial – the perfect antidote for a society in recovery from a decades-long consumerist binge.”
Now let me go a step further. How nicely this fits in with my desire to help with Alzheimer’s through reminiscence photo therapy. Ahhh…it’s all coming together!
So much to say, so much to learn, so much to do with this new found direction! Now it’s off to spend a day at the New York City Public Library to learn all about wabi-sabi because there’s nothing better than turning the page of a real book! Stay tuned!
Wabi suggests freshness and simplicity. Sabi describes a beauty that is burnished by age…It’s a zen notion, a fleeting, imperfect accidental beauty – unpretentious, simple and intimate. Wabi-sabi is akin to the inherent beauty within, something you can’t put your finger on…to open your senses to every detail, every glimmer, every breath of the breeze. That is all part of wabi-sabi. Daisuke Utagawa