February crept out of here like a wind-whipped sparrow crawling back to her nest. But, that’s a story for another lifetime. March indeed came in like a lion. What better a way to send this month packing than to cap it with a night watching the Old 97s live. This time last year I was excited about the work happening in a certain corner of Texas. Hopefully recording was a great time for the guys. THEY WERE WORKING ON A NEW OLD 97’s ALBUM to listen to on a ROAD TRIP!? That’s a good thing because I have 2 road trips in the next few weeks, then the GRAND CANYON!
Hands Off – because it ends in rounds, like all good car songs
Miss Molly – The kickoff to the trilogy of chick names and good Bethea Riffs
Victoria -The 2nd in the trilogy and you can holler the lyrics anywhere and someone will sing along with you
Doreen – The 3rd and it gets it all said
Streets (of Where I’m From) – because it is true
In The Satellite Rides A Star – I have my reasons
Crush On The Barrel Head – it’s a good sound and it is a road song if ever I heard one
Good With God – this one hits close to home – if you know why, then you are in my inner circle (the video itself pays a bit of homage to 120 minutes
My thing with the 97’s started in 1999. I blame a friend. I thank that friend, too. Turns out the engineer who worked with the band on Too Far To Care has worked with a bunch of other bands I love, too. Best Coast, Blondfire, Muse, Juliana Hatfield. I’m talking about Wally Gagel. The dude kinda rocks. Anyway – I’m sort of winding my way through his work with these folks, which would be easier to find if the digital age had liner notes like vinyl used to have, but whatever. I’m old. I get it. The producer on Graveyard, Vance Powell, rocks because this newest album is super balanced and still edgy. He’s worked on stuff for this chick named Tammy Wynette, maybe you’ve heard of her. The Dead Weather and Melissa Etheridge have used his talents and it shows.
Sidenote: My dog Pisces loved this band. She loved listening to them when we’d trek on I-35 between Dallas and Houston, sunroof open with her nose peeking out. That was her happy.
Here are the albums so you don’t have to look them up yourself…don’t say I never did anything for ya.
Hand-made cameras fascinate me. Richard Learoyd has made an obscura that is amazingly interesting. His camera makes prints of 50×70 inches of fleeting salience that have no source other than the moement in which they were captured. No negatives, no digital file, no copies.
Learoyd questions whether the invention of duplicative processing of imagery allows photographs to retain value (integrity) and I tend to agree: the individuality of an image is partially in it’s inability to be reproduced. Giving over to that acceptance of reality is something few people are brave enough to do.
For my work, even family or senior folios, I don’t take 6 frames of the same or a similar shot. I can’t bring myself to do something that isn’t going to feel unique. It’s bad enough, to me, that I have two cards in my camera recording the same thing and that I have 36 images of the same set. I need and crave the connection to each singular moment, in its unique form, but I don’t necessarily feel like I need to possess them. Holding my strong convictions loosely is a basic way of illustrating this – but I think Learoyd’s camera does a better real-time job of showing what it means to do so.
August is the best month of summer in many ways. Everyone is back from the 2-weeks they took for the 4th of July and everyone still wants to grill out. It’s hot enough to be outside and the nights are cool enough to enjoy. Ocean water is warm enough to swim in, finally. Even though the mosquitoes are the size of cessnas, evenings on the patio are still perfection.
August light is gorgeous. There is no comparison to the easy golds and hazy muted purples in an August sky at sunset. The leaves and grass all glow deeply in that long side-eye from the sun we get right now. Sometimes, on clear nights in Minnesota, some Northern Lights dance with a fuschia and green you don’t find many other places.
In Dallas the cicadas sigh in the Live Oaks and drown out all the traffic noise. In Los Angeles the hummingbirds flit from pine to pine looking for honeysuckle and vine flowers to drink from – impatiently chirping dimensions to their turf.
The fireflies have been de-populated by the birds, but they still appear. Crickets sing and chirp after having spent the entire day eating the garden to shreds. Lilies are dwindling, petunias are leggy and, by now, the wildflowers have gone to seed. Preparations for fall are starting – and not just that holiday and back-to-school creep you see in the stores. Momma earth is settling into a corner of her sofa and deciding what to binge-watch for 6 months. It’s now you can see the progress and the distance between April and August. The kids and the trees are taller.
Below is what’s been playing most of July and this first couple of weeks of August. Caity Copley is favorite. There are a few bands I am revisiting – The National (they just finished a tour) and Adele because I like to sing in the car, and she too is on tour.
Summer goes too quickly as it is, no matter who you are or your age. Seemingly we get 5 minutes of beautiful weather and then it is back to the other seasons. Don’t get me wrong here, I like fall colors and some crunchy winter snow from time to time. I even love the pollen-thick joys of spring flowers. The thing is: I LOVE SUMMER MOST. The bright sun, warmth and the lazy breezes are easier for me to connect with and remember.
Days like today, for instance, when it’s 75 and sunny with puffy clouds dotting the horizon and going by at the pace of a grazing horse are heaven to me. I prefer the warmth of 85, but complaining at this point seems rude. Right now I can see the wildflowers and prairie grasses bending to the breeze and the sun – relaxing one way and then the other – with birds overhead swooping to catch mosquitoes in mid-air. The meadowlark is out there in the grass, singing and defining his turf. His annual return is the mark of spring, his silence the mark of summer’s true start. Once the baby barn swallows are fledged I know I have 4 weeks left of these lazy lounge-chair afternoons before the nights get too cold for the garden to make tomatoes. Then, it will be fall.
All this has a soundtrack of it’s own, but when I am not here, these are the songs that remind me of the love and power and energy of what it is to see these things and feel them. Enjoy. I give you summer:
This month I started a Facebook Group. It’s for the women I know to share 52 Selfies over a year and tell us something about herself she loves in each one. The group isn’t something outsiders can see, but you can join. We support each other and we encourage one another. It’s a lot of fun, it’s also hard. I completely adore the kindness and bravery in that group. I look at these women I know and I think, “Wow!” not only because of what I see, but because of what they share in the caption. It’s been great to catch up and have a quiet place for us to be a little less than Facebook-perfect.
Also, in the last month the summer has booked up with events, weddings and engagements. I think I might have 6 weekend days left between now and September that don’t have anything on them. I won’t dare say I want free time. Because I don’t. I want to be working because it means making things for all of you. It’s what I was meant to do.
This week I made some wonderful prints for clients, wedding albums for a couple and a magazine. It’s been busy, but like I said – I love it.
This weekend I’ll be in the studio with a family who has a fabulous story and lots of laughter. Some of my favorite kids will be here this weekend and I can’t contain my excitement over it. More on that later.
How can you capture all the images people snap at your wedding with their phones? It’s easy. And, you can make a book with them to share, too. Pricing for the books I am suggesting here is found on THIS PAGE.
1. Make a Facebook group for your wedding, add your invited ceremony and reception guests to the group. Then, create a photo album called “From Your Phones”. Make sure the group settings allow others to upload to that album.
2. Get married!! HECKYEAH!!
3. Get people to put photos they take into the group album. Give folks a deadline!
Music is a HUGE part of how I process my thoughts, so when I am in the car or the studio I am listening to something. Everything. Anything. The things that stick make my playlist. The playlist becomes the backdrop to my work. My work changes with my thoughts, my backdrop evolves, too. So, what I put in these playlists is what I was listening to while working the month or two before. Usually about two months before.
This year started out with some heavy emotions and some surprises. In a nutshell, my feels are all over the damn place. That happens in the off-season I think, especially when you are exploring your process and working on a project. So this playlist has plenty of upbeat sound, but it is generally disjointed. January meant the loss of Bowie – that was no fun. Playing his voice in the car or in the studio was not something I was able to do. There are lots of reasons for that – and I suspect when Willie Nelson passes I will be much the same. That’s all I have to say about that.
JANUARY 2016 PLAYLIST
I bet February will be about Funk. Figuratively, emotionally and creatively February has a tradition with me of being R&B and Funk. I have no idea how that came to be, but my guess is it started because every stupid romantic playlist out there has Marvin Gaye and Barry Manilow on them. But I need a little less commercialism than that! So, I headed over to the bins in the corner at Bill’s to dig into the beginnings of those “smash commercial hits”. Which is how I came to love protest rock. February being Black History Month means I’ll have been playing some of that, too. Some of the best funk came from protest rock, but we can get into that next month. But I’m listening to it now. So, you can expect some Darondo, Primus (Yes, they are funk.), Zapp and Roger, Tower of Power, Greg Osby and some other things along these lines. And Lee, rest assured: Prince will be featured. Now, if you would like to join me NOW, head on over to Secret Stash Records and do some homework. I’m about 26 years ahead of you.
The folks I photograph know without a doubt just how important I believe it is to live in photos, to live with photos and to enjoy them. I love capturing the people that mean most to you, so that you can have that moment with them forever. When you are not here, after you can’t be anymore, those images will your legacy.
When I ask how you want to be photographed, I am asking what you want me to preserve for you. I’m asking you who you want to share it with. Ultimately, I am asking you what you love about your life, as it is now.
Lori and Lauren wanted to share a mother daughter session because they have a fun and loving relationship they enjoy very much. They’d be besties even if they weren’t related.
When I look at this photo I am reminded that I don’t have one of my own with my mother, my grandmothers, or even my great-grandmothers. My family lived all over the place when I was young and now most of them are gone. I have a few old prints, but none of me and the person in the photo together. I have always wished I could change that.
Two summers ago I was able to gather my brother’s family and we got a great group photo of us all in Dallas. That was a huge treat. I printed and framed it 16×20, and it maintains pride of place in one of my favorite rooms in the house.
Loving family histories as I do, I can’t help but be passionate about making these images – they get me where I live. So, I encourage you to be in each other’s photos. And I encourage you to think about how you want to be remembered and who you would like photographed with you – sharing your moments. Remember, these moments mean something – they’ll be here forever as a comfort, a gift, a memory, a sound, a laugh and a smile. They are you and they are loved.
One of the questions I hear most is “What should I bring to wear in my photos?” and “Should we all wear jeans and a white shirt? We’d like to coordinate for our picture.” Let’s start with individual photos.
When I am ding someone’s portrait or making a Senior folio for someone I tell them to bring me 5 different tops with varying necklines. This is an example of the different types of necklines to choose from:
Once I have a few tops to choose from I can then begin shaping the shoot by pairing the colors you have brought with my locations and backgrounds. For men it is a little simpler, they usually have button-up, crew and v-neck shirts and I ask them to bring their sports jersey or jacket if they want to feature it in thier photos.
For families and groups the idea isn’t necessarily to match each other but rather to “go together” and connect visually. This can be achieved with color, style and textures. Here is an example of clothing choices that go together but don’t match:
For the above grouping the main grounding element is not color but mood. Everything is within a similar middle-shade of the colors represented. Here is an example of a warmer palette that still coordinates but is not matching:
You can see that the bottoms here are all about the same darkness. That helps the other colors remain grounded. This color palette has Maroon, Dark Navy, Mustard, Chambray and Grey – a total of 5 colors. It looks cohesive because the grounding color is all the same.
This combination below is a little more subtle in the ways it illustrates connection. The overall grounding color is tan/brown. The second color is blue and the accent color is robin’s egg. The unifying element is pattern, though not on Dad. He will likely hold the baby and will not need a pattern of his own.
As a general rule I prefer people shy away from neon or bright colors near the face. I also tend to prefer solid colors and for people to avoid wearing really intricate or distracting patterns or prints. There are exceptions to these rules, as always, but using these you can’t go wrong.