"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

another wonderful day with henry

I was a lucky grandmother this morning - I got Henry all to myself! This boy is something else. He's curious, focused, funny, adventuresome, affectionate, kind and polite. He is incredibly good natured and learns things quickly. He's a fun companion with an imagination that is always in high gear.

Today I was a dog who fetched the ball he threw. I was a caboose to his engine. I was a cow on his farm. The bed in my hotel room became his horse, and, for Halloween I was the recipient of one of his "outgoing" letters, because he was a mail carrier.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a henry fix

I've come to New Orleans for a few days of fun with grandson Henry and his parents. Henry has changed so much in the 2 1/2 months since I last saw him. He is quite the talker now.

May I just say that when he looks up at me and says (in his high little boy voice) "G-Lo!" my heart just melts.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

halloween portrait

I have no idea why more people didn't take me up on the $10 portrait offer. My sitting fee is normally 20 times that, so I was kind of scratching my head both afternoons at the toy store. I spent most of my time scratching... and wandering the aisles buying things for grandson Henry.

Here are brothers Eli and Jonas, who made a very cute tiger and monkey respectively.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

special day

Today I had the privilege of showing my work to two very special photo curators from a very special museum. It was one of the nicest hours I've spent in a long time. The company and conversation was superb. And how amazing is it to have the opportunity to show one's work to people who are keenly interested and who are incredibly well versed in photography? It doesn't get much better.

I had to finish up some of the most recent work in order to show it today (including a different version of my portrait of Petra). Now I will share it with you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

giant wind machine

Yesterday I had a blast taking portraits of Alice and Maggie. The wind was blowing big time, and the girls never stopped moving. I was on the go constantly just to keep up with them! (I even walked smack dab into a row of bushes while I was shooting.) They were spirited, silly, joyful and animated. Their parents were wonderful, too. Such a fun family to be around!

On days like this - with clients like these - I love my job.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

estate sale series

I finally finished up my Estate Sale images today. It has been fun going back to work on them. Now that we may have finally sold our house (fingers crossed that all goes well with the inspection) these pictures hold even more meaning to me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

more pastels

I'm thinking I might try to show these and offer them for sale at my studio sometime before the holidays. I may also try setting up an Etsy Store. I've received good response to the drawings, so... why  not give it a try?

I'd love to collaborate with grandson Henry at some point to see if we can write and illustrate our own series of children's books. I think I'll ask him next time we are together.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I did a shoot today at the Nelson-Atkins Museum - brothers Elliott and Luke. It's a gorgeous time of year to do an outside portrait. These guys were great fun to work with.

Friday, October 19, 2012

pink stuff

There is a lot of pink on the landscape these days. Even many of the NFL players are wearing pink football shoes! It's Breast Cancer Awareness month, of course.

I guess I'm kind of cynical about the pink stuff. When I was going through my own breast cancer experience I found no relief at all in the pink ribbons, the pink water in the fountain near my house, the pink bumper stickers, the pink t-shirts, the pink tote bags or the pink shoelaces I saw all around me that October. Even now, four years later, my mastectomy site aches when I see those t-shirts about protecting the boobies, the rack, the ya-yas, the jugs, the mangos, the melons, the ta-tas... Why should my pain be reduced to such nonsense? It's kind of an intimate and personal issue.

I've never quite been able to put into words the negative feelings I've had about the pinking of the breast cancer message. But recently, I ran across an article that kind of does touch on some of my own responses to it.

For many years now, I have photographed breast cancer survivors for the Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas. Tonight I'll be attending a gala event that celebrates the images and the women (and I am not wearing anything pink). I'm proud of the work I've done for SMMC and happy to have met so many admirable and inspiring women along the way. These women and I all know that it is the strength and support of our medical community, our family, our friends and a deep well of inner courage (one we may not have known we had) that have helped us move through the scary journey that breast cancer is.

Above are a few of the portraits I've made. Below is the article I mentioned. I think it contains several notions that are worth considering.

“Pink, the supposed color of femininity, does not represent breast cancer to me. In fact, after losing my hair in six rounds of chemo, going through menopause at 28, being sick as a dog and having both of my breasts removed, I pretty much feel less feminine than ever.
Breast cancer, like any other cancer, is a gnarly and wicked disease. Its treatments are arduous and painful, long and intense. They are invasive and, at times, humiliating. To take this disease and cover it in pink glitter gives it a bubble gum appeal that, to me, does not raise awareness, but rather makes opaque and glamourizes the difficulties those of us with this cancer have faced. It also allows people to believe they are actually doing something and are helping and are informed when, in fact, they have simply peeled back a pink yogurt lid, bought a bag of pink-ribbon-stamped cookies or even a pink bucket of fried chicken.
‘Pinkwashing’ gives corporations the opportunity to look charitable while simultaneously allowing consumers to think they have contributed to a cause. While these fractions of percentages of donations have added up and I am incredibly grateful for their contributions, they seem to be utilized as a means for self-congratulation and marketing hooks rather than a truly greater good. It allows these corporations to look charitable and good by doing very little, thus leaving the gravity of these problems unclear and the change minimal. Also, when consumers of such pinked products believe that in buying such things, they are already aware of something via these channels, they then do not feel the need to actually educate themselves via more constructive modes (for example, about self-screening).
Why has my cancer been co-opted by these tactics? And, more importantly, why has it moved into every aspect of breast cancer, including support groups, fundraising and celebrations? There are now pink ribbons, pink colors and the word ‘pink’ on everything breast cancer-related. Further, does this symbol not lose its meaning when a pink ribbon-clad product can be chock-full of carcinogens?
For me, the pink ribbon and pink have been alienating and confusing. And I am not the only one that feels this way. This year, Breast Cancer Action, an organization based in San Francisco, has launched a ‘Think Before You Pink’ campaign to try to change the conversation around breast cancer -- to recognize that this is an epidemic and a health crisis in need of more than just a ribbon.
When I see organizations and events called ‘Tickle Me Pink,’ for example, with pink celebrities and pink cocktails, I fail to see the connection to what I have been through. I am not by any means asking everyone to go sit in a chemo ward. I am simply asking those of us in this breast cancer community to perhaps consider new modes of symbolizing our struggle while getting folks aware of how to prevent and understand this disease in a way that is not fixated on traditional gender roles and femininity.”
Erika Lade, 29. Graduate student, cancer thriver.  From the HUFFINGTON POST