Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This Train is Bound for Glory

 Last night I had dinner with my two dear friends, Kate Cox and Sonya Tomlinson aka Sontiago.  I asked for their help and brought them together because I admire and respect them both a great deal.  It's nights like this that make this project so fulfilling.

This is what true friendship means to me - sharing a meal with incredibly talented friends who help each other - come together to make a community flourish.  It is what I have always loved about Maine, and what I am learning exists all over the country as well.

I was so blown away by their creative process, learning a song for me in a night.   I wish I could show you the three hours of footage, instead of three minutes.

I have four days left of this fundraiser and I am very far away from my goal.  However, I know that when friends give up a night to help me -- great things will happen. This Train is Bound for Glory.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Adventures in New Orleans - day 7 - Cocktails!

On my last day in New Orleans, I went to see Wayne do a presentation “Beyond Punch: Colonial American Drinks and How to Mix ‘em” at the Museum of the American Cocktail.   Much like his book,  AND A BOTTLE OF RUM: A HISTORY OF THE NEW WORLD IN TEN COCKTAILS the talk was funny and historical.  It was also interactive (cocktails all around) -- he even ignited rum with gunpowder - super old school style.  It was great to see him in his element (not that sitting on the porch waiting for the fedex man to deliver another bottle of something isn't his element as well) and awesome to see the museum and all the cool memorabilia and displays.

Then off to meet Emma in the Quarter for our last dinner and last brass band at a random hotel bar.

hotel ceiling
hotel bar

Friday, July 27, 2012

Artists helping Artists

I woke up yesterday, exhausted and overwhelmed.  I realized I needed a day at home to just sit quietly - I have been on full steam ahead for over a year and it's starting to take it's toll.  I spent the day catching up on links I've meant to click, watching videos that seemed important and honestly just puttering around my house.   I don't remember the last time I did that - home for a full day.   I felt guilty for not going to the studio, guilty for not working on my  Indiegogo campaign, guilty for not catching up on blog posts - all the guilt left me with a low grade depression/malaise.

At the end of the day, I got a phone call from a Facebook friend that I had photographed which changed everything.    She was calling to thank me for the $100 check I sent her for buying her cds.  Initially she would not charge me, and wanted to give them to me as a donation.   I forced her into sending me an invoice, and still she only made it out for $80, which I knew was below market value, so I sent her a check for $100.   She didn't think I would really send it.  It arrived the day she got an invoice for $100 from an artists she was working with for the project she is working on.   She didn't have $100 to pay it - and then my check arrived.  The same day I also received a contribution from her to my campaign.

I am telling this story for two reasons: 1. it made my gloomy day so much brighter and 2.  this is the real creative economy.   The $100 I sent her was from four $25 contributions made to me by other artists.  I then invested it her, which she then invested in someone else.   This is the real "creative economy".  This is not something that politicians and arts organizations tout happens in their state.  This is what happens when an initial investment of $25 is turned into helping make three projects happen in a week.   (And after the call, a skip to my step was back - I finished a grant application and a blog post. )

I come from two parents who are community activists and have worked diligently both professionally and in their personal lives to make the world a better place.  They never had much money (and still don't) but I grew up with the mentality you invest whatever you have into making the community you love a better place.   I saw them every Christmas write out check after check for $10, $25, $100 to the stack of causes they believed in.

When I started selling work, I decided I would take their model and every time I sold a piece, I would buy a piece from a younger artist.   With the Indiegogo campaign, I decided to be more specific and set a goal of 10% of proceeds and focus on the people that made this project happen, the other artists I photographed.   I sent an email to everyone  asking if I could buy work from them to add to the incentives I would be sending to contributors.   I only got a handful of responses, and most people assumed I want them to give me things for free.   I repeated myself several times "No, I want to buy your work." 

We are told as artists, over and over again that our time is not valuable.  That the things we make are non essential.  I want to stop that way of thinking - I encourage everyone to support the people they believe in.   I know I won't be able to single handledy change the world, but I am so elated to know that I can make a difference, that you can make a difference $25 at a time. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adventures in New Orleans - day 6 - everyone is dancing everywhere

We actually got to jazz fest by noon which is amazing for the two of us considering we were at Soul Rebels until 3am the night before.

Emma and I bike to Jazz Fest
The first parade we ran into was Eric and TBC & the Lady Buckjumpers and ironically they were the first we saw when we left the fairgrounds, too!

First thing we stumble upon is TBC Brass Band parade
It was a ridiculously hot day (not that it stopped us from waiting in line in the blaring sun for fried chicken) and the mid day shower just made us wet - it didn't cool us down.  We were able to duck for cover in the old timey tent and watched an amazing second line parade.

I was the most excited for Big Freedia and the whole bounce hour since I spent a good portion of last  last year searching for sissy bounce.  The stills and video do not do bounce justice, I encourage everyone everywhere to experience it in real life.  That is some real dancing - it makes New England feel even more white and boring than it already is.
The teenage girls next to us are one giant dance party
They didn't let a little rain stop them
Ted bounces

Although Emma and I were not wanting to fight the crowds, Dr. Mary and Ed inisted we follow them to the Preservation Jazz Hall Band's 50th anniversary celebration.  I am so thankful we did, because it was an show with an unbelievable line up of guest performers.  

Dr. Mary and Ed busting a move, too
Self portrait with the little sister

A kid making art and proud of his sculptures

The music and dancing doesn't end when you leave the fairgrounds.  In fact, I think the most remarkable things we see and hear aren't at jazz fest itself.
We get to meet Eric's family - Kendrelle and "the rooster"

And then home to find a crawdad alive and swimming in the pool.

"No, Louise we have no idea how the crawdad got in the pool"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eric Sterling, Mildred & Avis Kennedy-Stirling, Township A - Range 12

title: Eric Sterling, Mildred & Avis Kennedy-Stirling, Township A - Range 12
date: 2012
relationship: friends, art, met through the Bakery Photo Collective
years known: 0-5

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adventures in New Orleans - day 5 - Soul Rebels

I took the day off from site seeing and Jazz Fest, slept in late and read by the pool.  I mustered some energy around 9 PM and took the trolley downtown to have a quick drink with Ed & Mary and then off to Soul Rebels Brass Band at d.b.a.   I met Emma & Lynn there and it was one of the best shows we saw the entire week.  Emma and I have seen them a bunch of times, but the energy of both the band and crowd was amazing.   It's hard to choose favorites when you're talking about brass bands in New Orleans, but they are definitely in the top 10.  

The time stamp on my camera is 1:47 am which seems about right.  On my way back from the bathroom, I saw the stage door was propped open, so I made myself at home and got some amazing footage.  At 4:45 one of the trombone players takes my camera on stage with him.    Usually Emma is begging me to put my camera away so we don't get raped, murdered or arrested - but thankfully she had my back the entire time I was filming.

Adventures in Cape Elizabeth & Bremen

This May, Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree held an event "Women for Pingree".  I was in New Orleans shooting, but I wanted to show my support for Chellie, so I donated a gift certificate of a portrait sitting.   Apparently a bidding war broke out, and my mom told the campaign that I would be happy to donate two gift certificates (thanks, mom) to the two highest bidders.   I am glad to be able to support Chellie through my work, even though I'm not in her district I am so glad she is a rational and progressive voice of Maine and supporter of two things dear to me: the arts and local farms.

The first shoot I did was for Meg Wolff who is a writer, life coach, and fierce advocate of a macrobiotic diet.   She decided she wanted her portrait to be of her lady friends that were coming to her house for a dinner party.  I thought this was a great idea, and really embraced my ideas of community and "family" portrait.   Meg also invited me to stay for dinner and made me feel welcome among the guests who were an engaging and fascinating bunch of women.  I felt honored to be part of the evening.

Beth Maloney, Lois Porta, Janel Volker, Avery Kamila, Kim Block, Lisa Karlan, Dora Mills & Meg Wolff

Meg Wolff

The other portrait was for Eleanor Kinney who is on the Maine Farmland Trust board and very active in the community.  We were able to schedule the portrait when her parents were visiting from New York, so I was able to get all three generations.   Her daughter Anna eagerly decided she would be my tour guide when I arrived, and started off by encouraging me to hold her new baby chicken.   We then went to see the sheep, chickens, pigs, bees and incredible gardens and green house.    After the tour, we did the shoot in front of the blooming lupins. 

Eloise Kelly, Ann Kinney, Gilbert Kinney, Anna Kelly, Ridgely Kelly,  Eleanor Kinney

Eleanor Kinney

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Adventures in the North Woods - Moosehead Lake

I left Auburn at 6 am and headed to Moosehead Lake for a commission of Mt. Kineo.  It was a long and ardous drive, close to 4 hours and almost an hour of that on a dirt logging road.   I've done a lot of traveling around Maine, but it was my first time in the North Woods.  I was blown away by the pure beauty and isolation.   Stephanie was a great hostess and I got to jump in the lake, and she took me and the Hasselblad on canoe adventure.

And speaking of isolation, this trip did make me think about the dangers of traveling alone with all my equipment and no cell reception down semi-dangerous dirt roads in the middle of no where.   I came home and renewed my AAA membership and thought perhaps I should investigate satellite phones & bringing a burly assistant when I travel to very remote locations.

Moosehead - Mt. Kineo >

The next day I had a shoot scheduled close by, well down another dirt road - about a 45 minute drive but only 10 miles to Mildred 's place. She is a photographer I met at the studio and we have stayed in contact over the years.  

She and her husband Eric run West Branch Pond Camps  which has been in Eric's family for over 100 years.   The gave me a warm welcome and fed me an incredible lunch and gave me a tour of the compound.  My favorite place was the dining hall which was like stepping back in time.  Their almost four year old, Avis was happily running around enjoying summertime and found a snake which she was quite taken by.  Mildred photographed her with the snake for a really cool project - she is taking a photograph a day of Avis, printing it and sending her a postcard of the days events.  Avis will have quite a collection and a really cool history of her life!

Mildred, Eric & Avis - West Branch Pond Camps, Township A -Range 12

And speaking of isolation, this trip did make me think about the dangers of traveling alone with all my equipment and no cell reception down semi-dangerous dirt roads in the middle of no where. I came home and renewed my AAA membership and thought perhaps I should investigate satellite phones & bringing a burly assistant when I travel to very remote locations.

Shout out from St. Louis Magazine - print

Originally published in St. Louis Magazine

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Adventures in Bath

I stopped by Tracy's house in Bath on my way home from a commission up the coast.  It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, right after it rained for almost a week straight.   She is an interior designer and owns Urban Dwellings so as you can imagine, her house is stunning and perfect in its simplicity.   After the shoot and lunch, she took me for my first swim of the season in her favorite spot on Sewall Pond.   We tootled around the peninsula and had an afternoon glass of wine in Georgetown overlooking the ocean.  It was the perfect end to a day of shooting and start of the gorgeous Maine summer.
Living room
Painting and shelf
Wall painting
Back roads

Let's go for a swim!
Sewall pond

View of the ocean from cocktails on the porch of Grey Havens Inn

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