Portraiture

There is something deeply fascinating in the looks people give no one but themselves.

Right after you drive by someone smiling, waving out the window.

And it’s unbearable eye contact with yourself in the rearview mirror.

So deeply it cuts, your focus lands into your own conscious 

Like staring through the viewfinder

And as you rotate your hand the background comes into focus

your eye lands upon your own face staring back at you

Frowning

And you can’t figure out why you might look so sad

I think I ignore myself so often that sometimes when I happen a glance in a mirror

It can actually be scary

Disturbing

Upsetting even

Is that a function of me forgetting to be introspective?

Maybe focusing so much about what other people think of me

That I don’t think of me

I want more than anything to capture those moments

In other eyes

So that maybe I could make someone think of themselves

So that maybe they might glance into their own eyes

And horrify themselves 

To allow for excruciating introspection

And to showcase

or maybe even just to see

those moments of introspection.

The moments where instead of looking out

Your vision rests precariously on the inside of your eye

That would be a good portrait

The kind of portrait I want to take

But I have to figure out how first.

Doll House

I have terrible nightmares 5/7 days of the week.  Here’s my most recent one.

I was in a house. The halls were washed with ghastly bluish-purple light, the color of a fresh bruise.  The kind of bruise where the blood is mere millimeters from leaking out of the damaged skin.  The walls were covered with photographs in dull black frames. Photographs, with dusty, cracked glass laying spider webs over sallow, sagging faces. All other manner of macabre things hung alongside the photographs. Things… I can’t even describe. Not a centimeter of the walls was visible.  They bulged, distended like sick a stomach, breathing in and out with slow, rasping breaths stirring the musky air.  The decorations breathed with them, watching, waiting, and smiling.

I realized the things on the walls were half eaten, disintegrated beyond the point recognition.  They were shells to an anemone, digested and pushed back out as to create armor for the soft-bodied mouth-stomach.

I found myself, against my will, walking into a room.  The door locked.  And the floor beneath me, the bed beside me everything was inhaling, feverishly trying to pull me in, to get closer.

And then the dolls came.

They marched and crawled and slid and rolled out of the walls with their button eyes dangling, ogling, bouncing madly from their heads on invisible tethers.  Their red, smiling mouths dripped with viscous blackness, filth bubbling forth from lips like rotting sausages.

They reached for me, groaning and laughing with their hollow, putrid, sweet voices echoing terribly around the room.

All the while the house tried to suck me down, somewhere dank and foul, into its roiling stomach.

It wanted to me…  To devour me and digest, to make me part of the decorated walls.  To use my bones as armor and garnish its halls with my skin until it decayed into a mass of putrescence too fetid and melting to drape across the picture frames.

I don’t believe in God. But when they first emerged and started toward me I fell to my knees and begged God or something -anything to save me.

And of course, nothing came.  As I knew it wouldn’t.  There is no God.  And nothing will ever save me but myself.

I burst through the door, the wood of the door frame too weak to hold the rusting lock. The dolls chased me, coming slowly, but steadily with their jerking, broken movements, and the floor rolling and pitching and trying to throw me back into their rotting fabric arms.

Now they were corpses and dolls at together. Flesh melting off their stuffed fabric bones, the smell of rot and mothballs and decaying silk filling the air, their stringy hair writing and hissing like snakes.

The bruise-light made their white, white skin look monstrous… Thickened, oxygen-less blood sloughed like pig slop behind their papery skin.  There was a gruesome, delighted gleam in their black button eyes.  One that promised a gristly embrace when they caught me.  And there was no doubt that they would… No doubt at all…

Collages

I’ve decided that I really enjoy making collages.

There’s a free app for the iPhone called InstaCollageFree that lets you make super cool compositions.

Electing to exercise my assembling talents on my friends, I made a series of Catalina Sea Camp collages to pass time.

Sonia Grunwald, Melissa Ballard, Ursula Granirer, Isabel Kirk, Alex Dierking, Brooke Browning, Kimmery Galindo, Roxi Harvey, & me

The app gives you a bunch of different frames you can just load your pictures into.  I personally like the one that looks like a postcard, with a stamp reading, “True Love” in the corner.

You can adjust the background color and the color of the lines between the pictures.Read More »

Underwater Photography

“Buoyed by water, he can fly in any direction – up, down, sideways – by merely flipping his hand. Under water, man becomes an archangel.” –Jacques Cousteau

There is nothing natural about breathing underwater.  But when SCUBA diving, the world seems to fall away.  Nothing exists but the cool blue-green and the shafts of light that pierce water.  Problems vanish and anxieties melt, swirling past in the constant tide.

One can never possibly find the words to describe diving.  The sound of bubbles, as they rush through your regulator, whirling past your ears and up to the sun, is a low, muted gurgle.  Fog coils around the corners of your mask no matter how well you defog before descent.  Everything is tinted blue and glows softly, flickering as the surface churns.  The weight of your gear is sweet, familiar, even loving.  Each fin cycle is soothing and smooth.

Existence is different down under the sea.  It is simpler and yet, electrifying.  Every sense is heightened, every sensation, magnified.  The only way to bring it back to the surface is through film.  Underwater photography is my specialty.

This summer I got my advanced SCUBA photo certification through Naui at CIMI.

If you’ve ever used a camera on land (which I’m sure most of you have) you probably know it’s difficult to get a good shot.  The lighting is always tricky, your hands might be shaking, the composition is off, your subject isn’t cooperating.  Think of all those volatile factors and then imagine that underwater.

Light exists differently beneath the surface.  Objects appear about a third larger than their actual size and some colors such as red, yellow and orange are much subtler underwater.  The water is constantly pushing and pulling you around and if you’re moving, so is your camera.  A majority of the time you cannot set up your pictures, you must simply photograph whatever presents itself to you.  There is no room instruction or preference, each shot is a gift given by the sea.  Often the subject will be hiding, moving or swimming exactly where you don’t want it to.  So I think it’s pretty clear that this kind of photography is a little tricky.

Personally, I enjoy working with macro lenses (close up) in SCUBA photo.  The amount of and control you have is greater because you can decide how much or how little you want in the shot more effectively.  Wide-angle lenses and fish-eyes are used for larger marine life; two problems with these lenses are: one, you may or may not see any big stuff.  And two, there is NO way to control how the big stuff will (or will not) pose for the shot.

Algae shots are the easiest and sometimes the most radical.  These photos are typically a point-and-click type deal.  They will turn out or they won’t.  I took this picture in 2010:

Italian Gardens, Catalina Island: 2010

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