Friday, December 31, 2010

people in my neighborhoods

these are some of the people in my neighborhoods... renting dvd's, bowling, and relaxing on a porch swing. we seem to get involved in the most numerous number of activities ever know to man (or any other species for that matter.) in talking about this project to a recent house guest, i spoke of how it is close to unfortunate that this project is not funded... thus, these subjects are simply people that i happen to run across in my regular daily comings and goings. that often amounts to a regimented series of routes that i travel... one daughter to pre-school, maybe a stop by a coffee shop, to a clients house to paint walls, trim, and ceilings, or to the studio to paint canvases, then back to the pre-school to pick up the daughter, and back home. if i don't catch someone on this well traveled path, i meander on to a random route to hunt and capture the portrait of the day. so, the people that populate this project are possibly not the most diverse group... i am lacking in the realm of "business suit" folks, teenagers, ethnicity, and the elderly. i could work harder to seek out these groups, but, i work plenty hard already, and, there is something about keeping it as simple as using the people that i naturally cross paths with during the day that i desire. this project was not originally intended for the general public to view... it was for my own personal growth as a photographer and human being. so, when the blog began, and you became the audience, i started to investigate how this project would look from an outsider's perspective, and not just mine. i have tried to maintain some allegiance to the original idea while also organically shifting the concept as i learned more about the bigger picture. that being said, this fine looking trio represents those that i have naturally crossed paths with, and those who i have hunted. this is the last post of the year... not the best year, not the worst. i look forward with much anticipation to the coming days and months. happy new year to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

don't say "cheese"... say "cookie"

so, some of you may know that as an artist/painter ( ) i utilize civil war era photographs as a starting point for my paintings. it is a peculiar niche that i have found, and aside from the fact that they do not sell extremely well (yet), the experience with the work has been wonderful. if you didn't know, there is a large subculture of folks that do reenactments of the battles and other events surrounding the war; it is also quite peculiar. for several years, i have wanted to photograph a reenactment to use as source material for my work. i finally followed through with that desire when there was a reenactment at fort negley, about a quarter of a mile from my studio. it was just about all that i expected, and i will do it again soon. i am now within days of beginning the first round of work based on the photographs that i took, and i am as eager as i could be... itchy and twitchy, actually. this particular woman was part of an encampment that was one of the first scenes that i saw upon entering the reenactment. she was posed and poised perfectly for my project, and she was quite willing. she shared with me that she is not supposed to smile for pictures, and i thought that was proper... what else is in the details?... you would likely never guess, but, nicely hidden in her left hand is an oatmeal raisin cookie. deeeeelicious, whether your from the north or south.

Monday, December 27, 2010

friend since i was five

i have known this young man for about 33 of my 38 years... and, oddly enough, it is his birthday today. these photos were taken at our alma mater's homecoming this past fall... our 20th reunion was held the next night. it is a bit mind-warping to consider the duration of our friendship... mainly because i now have a daughter in kindergarten (which is when i first met this friend,) and to consider the fact that in 33 years she may still be connected to emily, or lula, or catherine is beyond the reach of my present moment's thoughts. so, i won't think about that. at the time of these photos, the sun was setting, and a storm was blowing in, so, i scurried to find a willing alumni to coerce into this type of photo shoot, and this fellow student was up for the task... though he was a slight bit stumped about how to "pose." it worked out well for me as i shot pictures while he sort of casually squirmed and quipped and laughed for the duration (three minutes) of the shoot. the colors are sort of mystical, as is the inclusion of the bounce house's blue horse. happy birthday old friend.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

green is not just a color

(if you haven't noticed, posting here has really slowed to a crippled pace, and i hope that that will change soon... i miss sharing these wonderful people with the rest of you wonderful people.)

i have painted a lot of interiors over the last ten years, and in those years, i have amassed quite a collection of "leftover" paint... and until recently, it was stored at my studio. thanks to this local artist who uses house paint to create works of art, i have been set free of approximately fifty gallons of unnecessary paint... and he has been gifted with a jackpot truckload of necessary material. i originally came into contact with this budding artist at an opening of his paintings at a downtown gallery. i noted that he was using house paint to create interesting works... maybe, he pours the paint onto a "nonstick" surface, and then cuts it into desired shapes/strips, and then stacks and molds many layers to create a variety of effects with the malleable material. so, i approached him, introduced myself, and i told him that i had just resolved to get rid of a ton of house paint, one way or another; he was very interested. not long afterwards, he got in touch with me, and he told me about a documentary project that someone had asked him to be a part of that was following different ways to be "green," or something like that. because of his use of "leftover" paint, that would usually end up in a landfill, he was asked to be part of the film... and because he would be collecting my extra paint, i was asked to be included in his story. the day that he picked it up was a little bit odd because there was a small amount of "acting," which i was not expecting or accustomed to doing. i have no idea when or if the documentary will air, but i do know that he and i contributed to "greening the planet"... with more colors than green.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

dog kisses

this unsuspecting gentleman was a bit confused when my two daughters and i stopped him and his dog as they casually strolled through a park near our house. we were on our way home for the evening, and i was in that place again where i knew that i was not going to want to get back out once i settled in, so, i was needing his portrait bad. i don't think that in his entire life had a stranger stopped him in the middle of his day to take his portrait, so, as one might imagine, he really didn't know how to respond to my random request. luckily for him, and i guess me too, he had his beloved dog friend with him, and that created the perfect distraction from the slight discomfort within the situation at hand. he eventually seemed to grasp the idea that my daughters and i were not up to some perverse prank, and he smiled freely... the kisses from his sidekick surely set him at ease.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

don't try this at home

i felt a little bit sorry for this "stylists" client, but, my self-serving interests won out to get these photos and contribute to this project. the stylist did not seem to be affected at all... i don't know how the client felt the next day (about the hairdo,) but i did ask for her consent before i began snapping away at the scene, so my side of the street is clean. ( my posts here have dwindled to a slower than crawling pace, so i must apologize to the gazillions of you who have been left wondering the empty blogosphere, wandering where to find an updated post on a portrait of the day project... ) ????

Sunday, December 5, 2010


the connection between texas and tennessee is big... it works in a mysterious way. the $10,000 question: is this gentleman a texan or tennessean?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

gambling with hearts (and diamonds)

to the few of you who regularly keep up with this little blog, i apologize for being absent for a while. i had a large art show to tend to, and then a wonderful thanksgiving holiday... and evidently, keeping up with this blog did not make it to the top of the priority list. i have still been shooting a portrait a day, and it is still adding a little extra to every twenty-four hours. so... this happy woman here is gambling; she is newly engaged. life itself is somewhat of a gamble, and getting married sure throws some odds on the table, with much to win, and thus, much to lose. men and women of all kinds are both lifted to great heights and dumped into great depths because of the opening up of the heart to another. it is one of life's greatest dramas played out in homes across the land... knowing other's stories has made my heart sing and bleed. i am often amazed at how well rounded this experience can be, and, thankfully, my gamble has paid great dividends. i hope that love continues to win in this woman's life, and that fear is discarded.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

lolli pop prop

i still have no idea how many licks it takes to get to the delicious center of a tootsie pop, but i can tell you that a tiny little dum-dum can last at least 36 minutes if eaten at a regulated pace. this little curly-topped friend of my daughter's enjoyed his sucker for most of an afternoon visit to centennial park, where we "fished," listened to live music, and played in the dirt. let it also be known that such a tiny little lolli pop makes for a great photography prop.

Monday, November 22, 2010

this is what i believe...

i believe this to be true: we are all miracles. without the miraculous, how do we get bones and brains and skin and emotions out of the tiniest sperm and egg?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

now that's something beautiful

WARNING: this post is about my wife and may contain romantic, love-inspired gushiness... proceed with caution. today is actually the 7th anniversary of our first date... a slightly uncomfortable evening, but quite perfect (she and my sister are close friends, and that dynamic flavored both our sushi dinner and the Lyle Lovett concert at the Ryman.) over the next months we both worked through the issues of... dating "my sister's friend" and "my friend's older brother." and over the years, we have learned to love stronger and more unconditionally. she is a saint (or if there is a more appropriate female word, then she is that.) regardless, i nominate her for the best. she is a pediatric occupational therapist; that means that she helps children with special needs learn how to "manage" themselves better in the world. she works with children that require a patient person to guide them for months or years through the arduous process of learning living skills... and she is tops in the town in her field. she cares a lot. she is also married to an artist... and this amazing feat of patience and acceptance is much like working with a "grown-up" with special needs. there are fits of self-centeredness, lapses into absent minded-over occupiedness, and downright idiosyncratic, creative lifestyle behaviors that she weathers, and then, somehow finds a way to love me with more fervor than before. she is the rock upon which this little family is built, and not only are my girls and i blessed by this, but those that we encounter every day also benefit. that, my friends, is the true sign of something special... that her love and support of us is so abundant that it sneaks out into the world through us and permeates others like some sort of love osmosis. (sorry about that, but i warned you about the gushiness.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

from "careless whisper" to warrior

when i first met this woman, i was an self-conscious, pimply, seventh grade, girl chasing, sarcastic little version of myself; she was spirited and ambitious. with the help of Wham's "Careless Whisper," she taught a bunch of middle school kids how to slow dance, and there was probably some other kind of dance lessons, but i have successfully deleted those from my accessible memory... i think i need to change the subject now to get Wham out of my head. so, now, she is a warrior... not the version of yore that would slay members of opposing tribes or clans, but the new brand that fights fear with the forces of love. for the past couple of months, i have been watching her (mostly on a social network) as she has battled various forms of "bad news," and she has done it with honesty and guts galore. i have a real appreciation for people that are real; she is real real. she may be 5'1", but her spiritual size is gigantic, and i am sure that she will continue to do battle with every fiber of her fight.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

halfway there

yesterday marked the halfway point on this project, and all is well. i am still on track with my mission to get a portrait a day of a different person for an entire year... this blog is another subject all together. it was not in the original plan. trying to write a new blog post every day for a year is nothing that i want to be a part of this year... maybe, another time. but, i am doing my best to be fairly consistent with these entries. i just discovered that i am eight weeks behind from the time i take the portrait to the time that it is posted... only sometimes does this fact seem to work against my interests (maybe, today is one of those times.) at this point of the quest, i am still not at all sure what, if anything, this project will become... luckily, i am very pleased with what it is. but... as a creative type, it is a natural part of the process to constantly be considering the steps ahead. i am hoping to steer the portraits in different directions as the next six months unfold. this project began as a tool to hopefully help me become a better photographer, and it is a desired result of the process of learning to apply that which has been learned. i am eager so see how i step into the next half of this marathon, a little tired but plenty determined. the girl pictured here is the face of what i imagined this project would look like... a quick trip to the neighborhood library to return some movies, i made it back to my car and grabbed my camera to begin looking for a portrait (as there was an evident stream of all kinds of people filing out of the library,) and as soon as i turned around, the flowered shirt caught my eye, i hesitated as she and her friend passed, and then i called out with a simple, "excuse me..." she and her friend turned, and the rest is portrait history. thank you, and good night.

Monday, November 8, 2010

the joy of bowling

in our culture, there are subcultures. at a nearby bowling alley, a particular one of these subcultures can be found on any given night of the week. though the opportunity for portraits there is plenty, this is only the second one that i have pursued (i do my best to keep it fresh.) this spirited woman was one of two who happened to be hanging out in the parking lot before packing up their bowling bags and heading home. she and her friend were a riot... unsuspecting but ready for my proposition. some of the people that i have approached with my random request strike the stoics pose, while others beam with a joyful, playful radiance. this woman (who hammed it up nonstop,) laughed and carried on with her friend like she was in fourth grade, and i thoroughly enjoyed my brief time with the two of them on this random evening in a fairly strange parking lot. when i walked away, i felt like i had caught a contact buzz from the pure joy that my subject and her friend were sharing. if you get a chance, i highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

kinds of kids

kids. some use tree swings like bomber planes while little brothers below fend for their lives from hurled sticks. some (much older,) go to mom and dad's house to do their laundry and get washed themselves by the love of parents. life is good being a kid.

Friday, November 5, 2010

giving extra

some people naturally seem to make the best of any given situation... giving extra positive energy to the world when it would be easier to slouch and leech off the available life. this guy right here is one of those giving extra. several days a week, he is responsible (at a local elementary school) for corralling the hundreds of cars that come to pick up kids into the two proper lines. easy it would be to stand there unaffected and routinely gesture over and over and over again to the approaching automobiles... but this is the music teacher, full of song and spunk. he is marching to the beat of a different trumpeter, and the world is a more colorful place because of a decision that he made. i am quite pleased to know that he is out there adding song to a situation that could be extremely drab... waiting. thank you, trumpeting traffic director... well done.