Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Iron Craft: Hearts and Flowers

The Iron Craft challenge this week was to do a project with hearts and flowers. It's great having two weeks to do each challenge this year. Yet this time around I found myself deciding on a project only to change it all up the next day. I finally settled upon an iron-on patch idea because I had done these before but the Lotus Bud is in a new size so she has a bunch of plain onesies that needed to be embellished. I only had one sheet of iron-on patch paper so I had to settle with two designs. One of which includes hearts and flowers.

I'm so glad I did this because normally this isn't the sort of patch I would choose. I'm sure she's going to look great in it.

I seemed to have drawn into our lives one of the things I didn't want. Her love for pink no doubt comes from depriving her of that color for most of her life. Now anything pink brings on cheers of joy.

I should learn a lesson in this, I suppose.
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Monday, January 23, 2012


“When once you have tasted flight you will always walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward: for there you have been and there you will always be.”
--- Henry Van Dyke

I went to an artist talk at the Mpls Photo Center a couple of weeks ago and had yet another mind-blowing experience. I'm still reeling from the experience.

The photographer was Wing Young Huie. I have seen his work many times and in fact, I own a couple of his books. He is a local artist and he is making images of the Minnesota that I know.

I don't know if it's because of the huge hormonal change in my body or if it's because I'm getting older, but I find it increasingly difficult to attend public events. I'm so glad the lights were off as I had several strong emotional reactions to his words and images.

How can I even begin to explain what I felt that night?

Some good insights. Some jarring sensations.

"People only see what they are capable of seeing," was just one of the gems of experience that Huie shared. If my camera is how I see the world around me, then what do my photos say about my sight?

I bought my first SLR camera in Chicago, then promptly hopped on a plane to return to school in the Himalaya Mountains. The year was 1987 and I shot my first roll of film in those foothills, amongst the rhododendron trees and free-ranging monkeys of the region. When I look through my camera I am always looking at the land around me, trying to capture that moment of my existence.

This has been what is most important to me. Perhaps that is my way to finding a space for me to dwell.

I studied race, class, ethnicity, and gender theory for many years while finishing my doctorate. I spent more than a decade exploring language that would appropriately illustrate my experience as a South Asian American woman living in Minnesota. I left the University with the suspicion that I had been looking in the wrong place and did in fact have the insight that it might exist in the language of photography. Confirming my suspicions, Huie summed it all up with one sentence. I will restate it here in my own words:

I feel like I have been photoshopped into the landscape of Minnesota.

Although I live, breathe, survive the cold, warmth, and nicety of Minnesota, I will perpetually be perceived as someone that has been placed in the picture - a prop, perhaps. As someone who is not part of the natural landscape, an outsider and an other.

Truth be told - I have come to terms with that. I believe having a child has changed my perspective, certainly my reality, and my interaction with the region where my child was born. She belongs here.

When I look upon her face, I see parts of myself with Minneapolis as the backdrop. She brought me to the inside. And when I went in, I found I was there all along.


Something to think about when you get a quiet moment:
What truths have you learned about yourself since having a child?
If you are not a parent, what was a catalyst for self-awareness in your life?


Links for today's inspiration:
Wing Young Huie
The University Avenue Project
Mpls Photo Center
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Iron Craft: Paper

I should title this post "Feeding Her Obsession" because my Lotus Bud is obsessed with penguins. This is the first Iron Craft challenge for 2012 and it was very exciting to be back to it. Those of you who might be interested in joining - now is the time!

So, I should admit, she's never actually seen a penguin in real life. She is in love with movie "Happy Feet." I happen to like this movie as well, which is a good thing, because she wants to watch it a lot. This helped, oh so much, on our 20 hour road trip.

I made stencil cut-outs of penguins...

...then, hung them on her wall, above her crib. Don't they look delightful against the blue wall paint. Almost as if they are backed up to a glacier. Sort of...if that glacier was in my backyard in NE Minneapolis.

At first I was a bit annoyed that I only had two stencils, then I realized I could flip them for some variety. And, of course, my cutting wasn't all that precise, so there you go - penguins with some individuality.

Iron Craft is an every-other week challenge this year and for that, I am glad. Also, my goal for this year is to re-purpose or use mostly, only supplies I have on hand for these craft challenges. I collected enough materials last year for many projects, so it should be fairly easy to use what is on hand.

Join me, my friends! It's a blast to be a part of this crafting community!
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Monday, January 9, 2012

The triangulation of photographic events in my life.

I won't be doing the one-photo-a-week sort of project this year. Mainly because I can't figure out why I was doing it. I'm not sure where my motivation was, nor what I hoped to achieve. I joined the growing number of photographers in internet-land who do these sorts of projects. While I am impressed with those who actually complete a 365-challenge or a 52-week challenge, I know that I am not one of them.

I did manage to finish my 28 day challenge and when I look back on that, I am in awe of my own dedication. I attribute that event to post-partum mania.

Several events that started at the end of 2011 combined with new things in 2012 have created an auspicious triangulation, a convergence that's leading to a whole new emphasis on photography in my life. Indeed, this does seem to feel like the Year of Photography.

First, I have a new (used) camera and am stoked to learn all about it. It's lighter and faster than my old camera. I am working on shooting manually again. I used to do that when I was young and naive - before the digital age.

Second, I have joined Gratitude 2012. I have always admired Karen Walrond's photography and blog. Recently, I have come to admire what she has achieved with her daily gratitude practice and pursuit of creativity. Already, she has me looking through my lens differently.

The third thing has to do with my reading list. I recently finished The Only Kayak within which there were stories of Michio Hoshino. I immediately requested a couple of Michio's books from the local library and fell in love with the images he had created. I was already in love with him just from reading Heacox's book, but seeing Michio's images took me to a whole new mind-blowing level of consciousness.

I don't think I'm going to go right out and shoot images of Minnesota black bear, although I certainly have done that before with surprising results.

I believe what happened is that I fell in love with Michio's passion for photography. Now that is something I have felt before and that is the fire I hope to stoke this year.

And, truly, that's not too hard to do when I get chances to visit places like this:

I made two resolutions on New Year's Eve. The first was to enjoy my images more. The second was to get a babysitter. I have already achieved the second one. Woot! I did get a babysitter for last Friday night which made it especially enjoyable to look back on this image and know that I devoured the whole plate without the chitter chatter of a toddler on the side.

I'm getting darn close to achieving my first goal, too!
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