Friday, May 13, 2011


This is one of Mary-Claire's cats, Ponyboy. He is kind of creepy and talks a lot but I still love him.

Monday, May 9, 2011

King Of The Hill

I grew up across the street from a cement factory. To most adults this wasn’t ideal as it was messy and loud during the week and not the kind of view people aspire to have when they gaze out their window with a cup of tea. However to a kid, or at least to me when I was a child it was a fantastic playground. On weekends we spent a lot of time playing there despite my mother forbidding us to do so after I once stepped on a nail and it jammed up into my tiny right barefoot. Yes, not only was I playing at a cement factory, but I was playing at one barefoot. It actually didn’t hurt that much and I didn’t cry until I saw the bent nail stabbed up into my foot and then coming back out at an angle along with all the blood. It was visually a lot more horrible then it felt. I let out the kind of horrific scream that sent four mothers, including my own, sprinting out of their homes toward me. One of our neighbors, a woman in her 50s, made remarkable time getting to me. After one hospital visit and a lot of Epson salt foot soaks later I was fine. Even after that and a lot of people telling me that I not only shouldn’t, but wasn’t allowed to, I loved playing over there and did it anyway. There was an old train track bridge with a creek under it that was great for building dams, there were old cement trucks that we made into our forts, and about a zillion things to climb on and places to hide while playing cops and bad guys. I was a tomboy. One of my favorite games though was King of the Hill. I believe others may have known it as another name and I don’t know what it is, but it’s the game where a group of kids fight to be at the top and keep everyone else down. The cement factory had an enormous sand pile that made for the perfect place to play that game. I was often the only girl that played so I very rarely made it to be King of that sand pile, and the few times I did, it did not last long. Regardless of never winning, the scrapes and bruises, the kicks and punches, and occasional hair pulling I endured, it was still one of my favorite games.

Now that I am a lot older and trying to survive as an artist I often am reminded of that game. Trying to succeed as an artist feels a lot like playing King of the Hill, unfortunately. Not only is everyone trying to get to the top, but for whatever reason, also believe that the best way to get there and stay there is to push others down. I am still getting kicked and punched, just not in the literal sense.

Photography is not at all completely male dominated anymore, but there are still times that as a photographer I feel like I am the only girl playing a boys game. I suppose you could argue that playing that game helped prepare me for this kind of life in that it made me tougher, scrappier, and more resilient. All qualities someone needs to have if they want to work in an artistic field. I think it is because I see so much of this competitive, everyone for them self type of attitude that I have such an appreciation for collaboration. Artists working together to support each other’s causes and joining forces to be stronger, it’s refreshing and inspiring. I’m not sure if its something that is becoming more common lately or if I am just now personally starting to notice it more, but either way I hope it continues. As much as I do enjoy the times when it’s just me, my camera, and my ideas, I also thoroughly enjoy being a part of something larger then just me and what I’m capable of creating. Artists coming together, bringing there strengths as well as weaknesses (I think that it is an artists weaknesses that often make them distinct and original) to the table and creating something from beginning to end often results in something spectacular. How could it not? Instead of pushing each other down to get to the top, l say we link arms and walk up together. If I wanted to end this little story in a cheesy way, I would point out that at the end of that game, when someone wins-they may be at the top, but they are all alone. I don’t want to end it like that though, so I’ll add that I don’t know why I loved that game-it really hurt when someone threw sand in your eyes but it was wonderful when someone helped you up after you got pushed down.

Sorry there is no picture to go along with my thought today. I guess lately I am feeling more wordy then imagey. I do think it would be amazing to get a group of artists together to play that crazy old game and make a photo shoot out of it. If anyone is interested and wants to play, let me know and maybe I can set it up and take pictures of the whole thing. It can serve as a reminder that we should all work together and not against each other-plus it might be a pretty awesome way to network. "Hi, remember me? I'm the girl that clotheslined you earlier. Here's my business card-let's talk!"


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