If you’re in the Pacific Northwest (or considering traveling there this fall), I’d love to have join me for an adventure in Alaska September 13-15, 2019! I’ll be presenting Chasing Mania in an artist talk for the first time and I’m so excited that it’s part of the Society for Photographic Education NW Chapter conference.
Thank you to everyone who came to see RUMORS at the incredible Wolff Gallery in Portland, OR! Small Talk is so grateful that we got to share our work for Portland Photo Month and Photolucida this year.
As a collective, we have the honor of witnessing and discussing the progression of our individual works. We find ourselves traveling along parallel paths, drawn to new directions and processes. We discover common ground in similar themes, investigating dark corners and intimate places. Here, our realities, our unverified stories, come together for a time before continuing onward. We present selections of new work from each member curated to tell a temporary fiction of rumor and truth.
Thank you to Wolff Gallery for hosting this exhibition and trusting us to showcase our individual personal works! Show your support for this amazing woman-owned gallery by stopping by the opening reception or during their regular business hours, Wednesday-Sunday from 11am-6pm.
I'm so honored and humbled to be able to share the beginning of a new project with writer Hunter Sunrise, toward creating a body of work about trans, gender nonconforming and intersex lives through a written and photographic collaboration with transgender participants and their close family members and mentors.
Our goal is to expand the conversation from the depictions currently out there by examining the personal reckoning that comes with a drastic change in the identity of a person we love while honoring the interrelationship inherent in how we (people) identify ourselves opposite those we care for most in the world.
We're starting with an initial participant questionnaire. Please take a moment to read it, and if you believe that there is value in this work, we would appreciate you sharing the link with your social network, community, friends, and any groups you may be a part of who may have members that would be interested in having their story told.
Thank you for your help and support. We truly believe this project has the power to change hearts and minds.
Phew, it's been a whirlwind the last three months!
All of us in the Small Talk Collective are excited (and exhausted) so please come celebrate the culmination of our work on our first book and group show, We're Always Touching by Underground Wires at Pushdot Studio on Friday, April 6th!
You can also pre-order the book with a special discount for supporting us early. (Huge thanks to the folks who have placed orders this week. It's amazing to see the interest.) Pick it up and get it signed at Pushdot if you're in Portland!
I couldn't be more proud and humbled (at the same time) to be part of this group of insanely creative and empowering women. We took on a lot when we decided to create a whole new body of work (x7) in January and then design and print a book and exhibition. It's our first full-on collaboration and it's been amazing to see everyone's strengths and skills come to the table to make this work happen.
Our everlasting thanks to the Regional Arts and Culture Council for believing in us and monetarily supporting this work with a Project Grant!
Yes. We dare.
I stand in solidarity with the badass teens who are speaking up and marching to protest gun violence and call for stricter gun control laws across the nation.
In 1998, I was in high school in southern Oregon when the shooting at Thurston High School, which left two students (and the shooter's parents) dead and 25 wounded. I heard the news on the radio in a friend's car, on our way to a school performance. We knew the Thurston kids from theater competitions.
In 2015, I was living in Portland when nine people were killed and nine more were wounded at Umpqua Community College, the place where I took classes and performed in community theater during high school and where friends were teaching.
There have been others, too many others, here and throughout the nation. Ten days ago I sat in a coffee shop and listened to four students at the table behind me write letters to Congress and make signs. It was March 16th and they had walked out of school in protest. I have no doubt they are part of the thousands who march in Portland this morning.
They're changing the world. And they give me hope.
Let's work together to support these young activists any way we can! I know how important it is to feel seen, to have a voice, to be recognized and accepted. Seeing changes lives. So, from March 24 - April 20 (National School Walkout) I am having a portrait session giveaway. Senior portraits? Teens who need a portrait for their blogs or social media? Nominate your kids, yourself, your friends - any teenager within an hour of the Portland Metro Area or in Roseburg/Umpqua/Glide.
Submit a paragraph about who the person is and why they need a free portrait session and images - just use my contact form on the website. I'd love to feature some of these stories on my blog and social media as well! With the help of a local panel of educators, artists, and activists, I'll select one teenage student to photograph in April or May.
"Do I dare / Disturb the universe?" - TS Elliot from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Let's disturb the universe.
Sneak peek at a new body of work...
For me, and I would wager for most photographic artists, photographs evoke memories. In the moment after they are captured, they change. The person smiles, the bird lands, the artist moves to a different angle, the sun comes out. Anytime I look at an image I made I can feel the sharp wind on my exposed skin, or smell the wet char from a landscape that burned months ago, hear the woman’s laughter, taste the orange marmalade made by my friend the summer before. (It can make editing difficult, especially in the days just after a shoot.)
My photographs don’t create these moments for anyone else, and I don’t expect you to join me and my nostalgia, but I do hope that by recording moments that pass as soon as they are captured we can have a shared experience that is different than, larger than, my memory alone.
For the past six weeks, I've been shooting for an exhibition and book Small Talk Collective is putting together (funded by a RACC grant!) and thinking a lot about what remains, what impressions we leave on the earth, and the impressions images leave on us. As a group, we decided to explore a prompt based on the Tibetan word shul: "a mark that remains after that which made it has passed by" or "an impression of something that used to be there."
For me, this describes photography as a whole. I was seized by so many different ideas that I had no clue what I actually wanted to make. I was also shooting in both Mexico and the US, which doesn't usually make for a very consistent aesthetic.
It took going back to my childhood home and walking in the woods with my dad to see what I needed to make and where my work is going next.
Please join Small Talk for our gallery opening and book release at Pushdot Studio in Portland on First Friday, April 6th from 6-8pm! It's Portland Photo Month and we're excited to be part of it all. You can get philosophical about the fleeting nature of photographs/memory or just have a drink and see what my ladies have been up to.
Four weeks - two countries - 28 poems - countless different ways of responding to the world, a few of which are seen here.
January 14: "Even the Rain"
by Agha Shahid Ali
What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.
“Our glosses / wanting in this world”—“Can you remember?”
Anyone!—“when we thought / the poets taught” even the rain?
After we died—That was it!—God left us in the dark.
And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.
Drought was over. Where was I? Drinks were on the house.
For mixers, my love, you’d poured—what?—even the rain.
Of this pear-shaped orange’s perfumed twist, I will say:
Extract Vermouth from the bergamot, even the rain.
How did the Enemy love you—with earth? air? and fire?
He held just one thing back till he got even: the rain.
This is God’s site for a new house of executions?
You swear by the Bible, Despot, even the rain?
After the bones—those flowers—this was found in the urn:
The lost river, ashes from the ghat, even the rain.
What was I to prophesy if not the end of the world?
A salt pillar for the lonely lot, even the rain.
How the air raged, desperate, streaming the earth with flames—
To help burn down my house, Fire sought even the rain.
He would raze the mountains, he would level the waves;
he would, to smooth his epic plot, even the rain.
New York belongs at daybreak to only me, just me—
To make this claim Memory’s brought even the rain.
They’ve found the knife that killed you, but whose prints are these?
No one has such small hands, Shahid, not even the rain.
January 15: "I'm Rooting for Everybody Black" —Issa Rae
by Courtney Lamar Charleston
Everybody Black is my hometown team. Everybody Black
dropped the hottest album of the year, easy. Everybody Black
is in this show, so I’m watching. Everybody Black is in this movie,
so I’m watching. Everybody Black wore it better, tell the truth.
Everybody Black’s new book was beautiful. How you don’t
know about Everybody Black?! Everybody Black mad
underrated. Everybody Black remind me of someone I know.
I love seeing Everybody Black succeed. I hope Everybody Black
get elected. Everybody Black deserves the promotion more than
anybody. I want Everybody Black to find somebody special.
Everybody Black is good peoples. Everybody Black been through
some things. Everybody Black don’t get the credit they’re due. I met
Everybody Black once and they were super chill and down-to-earth.
I believe in Everybody Black. There’s something about Everybody Black.
January 16: [the girls speak to each other via the common tongue]: Feather or a Rock
by Ellen Welcker
which do you love more
a feather or a rock
to be good is to be ‘natural’
I mean to appear
you are not good
you are holding up though
you are holding up
you are getting a drink of water
you are eating
you are concealing your identities
this is like a riotous wilderness
but more like a persistent dread
your ferocity, almost mycological
I said mycological
oh my god
your laughter has undertones
of oak and berries
and martial law
conceived, as it were, in a garden
January 17: from "feeld"
by Jos Charles
bieng tran is a unique kinde off organe / i am speeching
materialie / i am speeching abot hereditie / a tran
entres thru the hole / the hole glomes inn the linden / a
tran entres eather lik a mothe / wile tran preceds esense
/ her forme is contingent on the feeld / the maner sits
cis with inn a feeld / wee speeche inn 2 the eather / wile
the mothe bloomes / the mothe bloomes inn the yuca
January 18: "In the Library"
by Jean Valentine
Light drifts across the ceiling
as if we are under water
—whoever would approach you
you changed the comer
You holding on to the front of my coat
with both hands, the last time I saw you
—I felt your death coming close
—the change in your red lips
You gave me your hand.
You pulled me out of the ground.
January 19: "There Ought to Be a Law Against Henry"
by Marianne Boruch
given his showing up to teach at the U
disheveled, jittery cigarette and cigarette and probably
the drink, losing the very way there
over river, river of all song, all American story
which starts way north of St. Paul quiet or undone
wandering south, not
enraged mostly, something stranger.
That’s one epic shard of John Berryman anyway.
Notorious. And par for the course in a classroom
in sacred retrospect, the kind those long-ago students
now can’t believe themselves
so accidentally chosen, grateful though one
probably claimed the poet absolutely
bonkers then, out of his tree toward the end,
so went the parlance. Wasn’t he
always late—Give them back, Weirdo!—with those
brilliant papers they eked out, small dim-lit
hours when a big fat beer would’ve
been nice. Really nice.
Fuck him, I hear that kid most definitely
blurting were he young right now
though the others— From the get-go their
startle and reverence. But not even that malcontent
did the damning I can’t believe
they gave him tenure.
Here’s where I think something else, think
of course it’s the Dream Songs that rattled him until—
as grandparents used to say—he couldn’t
see straight. Like Dickinson’s bits of shock and light
did her in between naps and those letters to
some vague beloved unattainable. Or Plath, her
meticulous crushing fog. Maybe closer to Milton working
his blindness—literally blind rage, if you want
to talk rage—into pages soaked through with triumphant
failure and rhyme, always
that high orchestration, that alpha/omega big voice thing.
And Satan, after all, as wise guy
and looming because for chrissake, Jack, get an interesting
character in there! Someone must have
lobbed that right.
All along, Berryman: how those Dream Songs surely
loosened a bolt or a wheel in his orderly
scholar-head, must have come at him
like Michael the Archangel, 77 days of winged flash
searing him to genius, some kind of
whack-a-mole version. Maybe like Gabriel
cutting that starry celebrity deal
for a most dubious conception in the desert, near a fig tree,
no proper human mechanics required. At last
Berryman’s rage wasn’t rage
but sorrow turned back on itself. With teeth.
Henry my hero of crankiness and feigned indifference,
unspeakable industry, exhaustion
and grief, half funny-crazy, half who-knows-what-
that-line-means. A henry whole
universe of Henry, of
there ought to be a law against Henry—pause
and pause—Mister Bones: there is.
Will be! Was! Not to say poetry’s
worth it or the most healthy fascination for the sane.
I’m just, I mean—is this love?
There’s break, as in lucky, as in
shatter. There’s smitten and there’s smite.
January 20: "Sonnet 92 [Behold that Tree, in Autumn’s dim decay]
by Anna Seward
Behold that Tree, in Autumn’s dim decay,
Stript by the frequent, chill, and eddying Wind;
Where yet some yellow, lonely leaves we find
Lingering and trembling on the naked spray,
Twenty, perchance, for millions whirl’d away!
Emblem, alas! too just, of Humankind!
Vain Man expects longevity, design’d
For few indeed; and their protracted day
What is it worth that Wisdom does not scorn?
The blasts of Sickness, Care, and Grief appal,
That laid the Friends in dust, whose natal morn
Rose near their own;—and solemn is the call;—
Yet, like those weak, deserted leaves forlorn,
Shivering they cling to life, and fear to fall!
Continuing with the daily poems I receive in an email from poetry.org as prompts for shooting during this trip to San Miguel de Allende.
January 7: "Dear Mama (4)"
by Wanda Coleman
when did we become friends?
it happened so gradual i didn’t notice
maybe i had to get my run out first
take a big bite of the honky world and choke on it
maybe that’s what has to happen with some uppity youngsters
if it happens at all
the thought stark and irrevocable
of being here without you
beyond love, fear, regret or anger
into that realm children go
who want to care for/protect their parents
as if they could
and sometimes the lucky ones do
into the realm of making every moment
laughing as though laughter wards off death
each word given
received like spanish eight
treasure to bury within
against that shadow day
when it will be the only coin i possess
with which to buy peace of mind
January 8: "Evergreen"
by Oliver Baez Bendorf
What still grows in winter?
Fingernails of witches and femmes,
green moss on river rocks,
lit with secrets... I let myself
go near the river but not
the railroad: this is my bargain.
Water boils in a kettle in the woods
and I can hear the train grow louder
but I also can’t, you know?
Then I’m shaving in front of an
unbreakable mirror while a nurse
watches over my shoulder.
Damn. What still grows in winter?
Lynda brought me basil I crushed
with my finger and thumb just to
smell the inside of a thing. So
I go to the river but not the rail-
road, think I’ll live another year.
The river rock dig into my shoulders
like a lover who knows I don’t want
power. I release every muscle against
the rock and I give it all my warmth.
onto my chest quick as table salt.
Branches above me full of pine needle
whips: when the river rock is done
with me, I could belong to the evergreen.
Safety is a rock I throw into the river.
My body, ready. Don’t even think
a train run through this town anymore.
January 9: "Corpse Flower"
by Vanessa Angelica Villareal
Yesterday, the final petal curled its soft lure into bone.
The flowerhead shed clean, I gathered up your spine
and built you on a dark day. You are still missing
some parts. Each morning, I curl red psalms into the shells
in your chest. I have buried each slow light: cardinal’s yolk, live seawater,
my trenza, a piece of my son’s umbilical cord, and still you don’t return.
A failure fragrant as magic. Ascend the spirit into the design.
My particular chiron: the record that your perfect feet ever graced
this earth. Homing signal adrift among stars, our tender impossible longing.
What have I made of your sacrifice. This bone: it is myself.
January 10: "Four Slateku"
by John Lee Clark
What is the point of travel
For a DeafBlind person
Other than the food the people the shops
And all that
Part one young
Question mother father
Know right name
Work some day
The mutant four-fingered carrot
Is in the pot and growing
Sweeter as it relaxes
When we say good morning
In Japanese Sign Language
We pull down a string
To greet each other in a new light
January 11: "Urning"
by Layli Long Soldier
* bring us to dark knots the black
eyes along white aspen skin to scrape
with a rock on surface where I press
I carve the initials of all and **
*** bring us to a returning no
an urning a vessel of corpse
ash in the active state of being
held by two hands positioned
gripping the sides to tip
and scatter my night dream
of an acquaintance who
presented me a ledger opened
to a page handwritten in pencil
dates names and meetings ****
***** I said I don’t want to
see it I don’t want to know
if my father betrayed me
as the words left
my dream mouth I woke I shook
to the bone a hot line notched
from heart to elbow throbbing
vein-ache in my body how
I’d replaced another man’s name
-a man I once loved I mean to say-
with the word father in a flash
the sleeping eye ripped me
from denial I’m not so complex
see my mind unclothed
is a crying newborn
aspen leaves in untimed
wind-filled rhythm my mother
turned eighty what at that age is left
to surprise though
the tone here shifts to listen
she said I don’t know if I ever said
when I was pregnant with you
I found out he’d cheated
I threw ****** into the yard
I locked him out
pregnant with you I cried
and I cried so long and hard
I thought I was going to
die yes she said it a heavy bass line
beneath aspen music and timbre
I sit on the patio to smoke I think
at night always at night maybe
’cause I was born / at night or
my name means night God bless
my mother she believed
my name meant pure
spirit so it may be the darkest
hours are when I’m purest
when I am I I am fluid
a clear stream over rock or
as poetry goes ********
I think about a baby in utero I can’t help
but wonder what the baby knows
a study says babies and toddlers
through impression not specifics
I rummage the syllables and stress
of each line in *********
impression is a mark
on the surface
caused by pressure or
a quick undetailed sketch or
of someone / I
carried her nine months
beneath my own skin her small toes
relaxed her eyes shut
within me her fingertips
pressed into palms she made
or was it
for the Sun what rising
what of battle my child knows
scares me to the pure
the one I I burn in question
* may all the grief
** may all
*** the loss
**** all your misdeeds
***** love of my soul
****** all his things
******* spit in a cup
******** night is a womb
********* the definition
January 12: "King of Kreations"
by Angel Nafis
Onliest man who lay hands on me. Pointer finger pad between my eyes.
Pinky knuckle cool on cheekbone. God of precision, blade at my throat,
for a half hour, you love me this way. Together we discover what I got
from my folks—widows peak, dandruff, hair growing fast in concentric O’s.
Claude, so damn beautiful, I can count on one hand the times I’ve looked
directly in your face, for fear I might never come back. You knower of me.
To get right I come to you. When I’m finna interview. When I’m finna banquet
or party. When I must stunt, I come to you—
It is mostly you, but, not always. After all you gotta eat too.
So sometimes it’s Percival, face like stones, except when he’s smiling.
Sometimes it’s Junior who sings the whole time he lines up the crown.
No matter how soft my body or how many eyes find it and peel
when I walk in the shop in the chair, I am of them.
Not brother. Not sister. When he wields the razor and takes me
low it’s like when a woman gets close to the
mirror to slide the lipstick
on slow. Draws a line so perfect she
cuts her own self from the clay.
January 13: "Corinna Confesses"
by Laura Redden Searing
To think that my eyes once could draw your eyes down for a moment,
From their lifting and straining up toward the opulent heights—
To think that my face was the face you liked best once to look on,
When fairer ones softened to pleading ’neath shimmering lights!
Regret you? Not I! I am glad that your proud heart disowned me,
The while it was lying so sullenly under my feet;
Since Love was to you but a snare and a pain, and you knew not
Its height and its depth, all unsounded, and soundless, and sweet.
Too dark was the shadow that fell from your face bending over me—
Too hot was the pant of your breath on the spring of my cheek!
I but dimly divined, yet I shrank from the warring of passions
So strong that they circled and shook me while leaving you weak.
Acknowledge! You knew not aright if you loved me or hated;
But you pushed me aside, since I hindered your seeing the heights.
They were but the cold, barren peaks up which selfish souls clamber,
And for which they surrender the gardens of scented delights.
From where I am sitting I watch your lone steps going upward,
And to-night I am back in those nights that we knew at the start.
I think of your eyes dark with pain, full of thwarted caressings,
And suddenly, after these years, from my hold slips my heart!
But no matter! There’s too much between us—we cannot go back now
I’m glad of it!—yes, I will say it right on to the end!—
I’m glad that my once sore-reluctant, tempestuous lover
Hasn’t leisure nor heart now to be my most leisurely friend!
My lover! Why how you would fling me the word back in fury!
Remembering you loved me at arms’ length, in spite of denial;
That the protests were double: each went from the struggle unconquered:
The hour of soft, silken compliance was not on our dial.
You were angry for loving me, all in spite of your reasoning—
I was angry because you were able to hold your love down;
And jealous—because in the scales of your logic you weighed me,
And slighted me for the dry bread of a sordid renown.
So I laughed at your loving—I laughed in the teeth of your passion;
And I made myself fair, but to stand in you light from sheer malice;
Delighting to hold up the brim to the lips that were thirsting,
While I scorned to let fall on their dryness one drop from the chalice!
Alas, for the lips that are strange to the sweetness of kisses—
The kisses we dream of, and cry for, and think on in dying!
Alas, for unspoken endearments that stifle the breathing;
Since such in the depths of two hearts, never wedded, are lying!
You say, “It is best!” but I know that you catch your breath fiercely.
I say, “It is best!” but a sob struggles up from my bosom;
For out of a million of flowers that our fingers are free of,
The one that we care for the most is the never-plucked blossom.
Yet, O, my Unbroken, my strong one—too strong for my breaking!—
I am glad of the hours when we warred with each other and Love:
Though you never drew nearer than once when your hair swept my fingers
And their touch flushed your cheek as you bent at my side for my glove.
Never mind! I felt kisses that broke through the bitterest sayings.
Never mind! since caresses were hid under looks that were proud.
Shall we say there’s no moon when she leaves her dear earth in the shadow
And hides all her light in the breast of some opportune cloud?
Yet this germ of a love—could it ever have bourgeoned to fullness?—
For us could there ever have been a sereneness of bliss,
With the thorns overtopping our flowers, turning fondness to soreness?
Ah, no! ’twas a thousand times better it ended like this!
And yet, if I went to you now in the stress of your toiling—
If we stood but one moment alone while I looked in your eyes—
What a melting of ice there would be! What a quickening of currents!
What thrills of despairing delight betwixt claspings and cries!
Week 2 using the daily poems I receive from poetry.org as prompts for shooting that day. All images this week shot in San Miguel de Allende.
December 31: "Gitanjali 35"
by Rabindranath Tagore
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
January 1: "Enlightenment"
by Vijay Seshadri
“It’s all empty, empty,”
he said to himself.
“The sex and drugs. The violence, especially.”
So he went down into the world to exercise his virtue,
thinking maybe that would help.
He taught a little kid to build a kite.
He found a cure,
and then he found a cure
for his cure.
He gave a woman at the mercy of the weather
his umbrella, even though
icy rain fell and he had pneumonia.
He settled a revolution in Spain.
The world happens, the world changes,
the world, it is written here,
in the next line,
is only its own membrane—
and, oh yes, your compassionate nature,
your compassion for our kind.
January 2: "And Now Upon My Head the Crown"
by Phillip B. Williams
In the first place—I wanted him and said so
when I had only meant to say. His eyes
opened beyond open as if such force would unlock me
to the other side where daylight gave reason
for him to redress.
When he put on his shirt,
after I asked him to keep it off, to keep putting off
the night’s usual end, his face changed beneath
the shirt: surprise to grin, to how even the body
of another’s desire can be a cloak behind which
to change one’s power, to find it.
In the first place
he slept, he opened the tight heat of me that had been
the only haven he thought to give a name:
Is-it-mine? Why-you-running? Don’t-run-from-it—as though
through questions doubt would find its way away from me,
as though telling me what to do told me who I was.
January 3: "There, There, Grieving"
by Zeina Hashem Beck
Where are you from?
Where are you headed?
What are you doing?
Little brother, we are all grieving
& galaxy & goodbye. Once, I climbed inside
the old clock tower of my hometown
& found a dead bird, bathed in broken light,
like a little christ.
Little christ of our hearts, I know
planets light-years away
are under our tongues. We’ve tasted them.
We’ve climbed the staircases saying, There, there.
Little brother, we are all praying. Every morning,
I read out loud but not loud enough
to alarm anyone. Once, my love said, Please
open the door. I can hear you talk. Open the door.
Little christ of our hearts, tell anyone
you’ve been talking to god & see
what happens. Every day,
I open the door. I do it by looking
at my daughter on a swing—
eyes closed & crinkled, teeth bare.
I say, Good morning good morning you
little beating thing.
Little brother, we are all humming.
More & more, as I read, I sound
like my father with his book of prayers,
turning pages in his bed—a hymn
for each day of the week, a gift
from his mother, who taught me
the ten of diamonds is a win, left me
her loose prayer clothes. Bismillah.
Little christ of our hearts, forgive me,
for I loved eating the birds with lemon,
& the sound of their tiny bones. But I couldn’t
stomach the eyes of the fried fish.
Little brother, we are always hungry.
Here, this watermelon. Here, some salt
for the tomatoes. Here, this song
for the dead birds in time boxes,
& the living. That day in the clock tower,
I saw the city too, below—
the merchants who call, the blue awnings,
the corn carts, the clotheslines, the heat,
the gears that turn, & the remembering.
January 4: "Killdeer"
by Nick Flynn
You know how it pretends
to have a broken wing to
lure predators away from its
nest, how it staggers just out
of reach . . . if, at this moment,
you’re feeling metaphorical,
nest can be the whatever
inside us that we think needs
protection, the whatever that is
small & hasn’t yet found its
way. Like us it has lived so long
on scraps, on what others have
left behind, it thinks it could live
on air, on words, forever almost,
it thinks it would be better to let
the predator kill it than to turn
its back on that child again,
forgetting that one lives inside
January 5: "Quarantine"
by Franny Choi
Because I did not have to smell the cow’s fear,
because I did not have to pin the man, watch his eyes
go feral, because I did not have to drag the stones
that formed in the child’s body, because I did not sheathe
my hands in dank soil, or skirt the machine’s battering, the needles
knitting my lower back, because when the factory collapsed
I smelled no smoke, and no one made me kneel at the cop’s boots
and count the pulse slowing beside me as every sound
soured, because my hands have never had to resist being comforted
by the warmth of blood, because the plastic-
wrapped meat and the mousetraps, because my job
was to stay clean and thankful and mostly imaginary, I have been stealing
what little I can:
onions. sandpaper. handfuls of skin.
the dumpster’s metal groan. hurried breath. hot knives.
January 6 (Three Kings' Day): "A Poem for Children with Thoughts on Death" - excerpt
by Jupiter Hammon
Little children they may die,
Turn to their native dust,
Their souls shall leap beyond the skies,
And live among the just.
Like little worms they turn and crawl,
and gasp for every breath,
The blessed Jesus sends his call,
and takes them to his rest.
Thus the youth are born to die,
The time is hastening on,
The Blessed Jesus rends the sky,
and makes his power known.
Psalm ciii. 15.
For the first time in a very long time, I'm having a real vacation. Three weeks of sun, time to look at art and snuggle with dogs and read and cook. And time to get back to making work every day. I set myself a couple of projects for this trip - one I'm still working up to. The other is to visually respond to the poems that arrive in my inbox every day courtesy of poets.org.
So, let's begin.
December 24: "The Giver of Stars"
by Amy Lowell
Hold your soul open for my welcoming.
Let the quiet of your spirit bathe me
With its clear and rippled coolness,
That, loose-limbed and weary, I find rest,
Outstretched upon your peace, as on a bed of ivory.
Let the flickering flame of your soul play all about me,
That into my limbs may come the keenness of fire,
The life and joy of tongues of flame,
And, going out from you, tightly strung and in tune,
I may rouse the blear-eyed world,
And pour into it the beauty which you have begotten.
December 25: "Christmas in the Heart"
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
The snow lies deep upon the ground,
And winter’s brightness all around
Decks bravely out the forest sere,
With jewels of the brave old year.
The coasting crowd upon the hill
With some new spirit seems to thrill;
And all the temple bells achime.
Ring out the glee of Christmas time.
In happy homes the brown oak-bough
Vies with the red-gemmed holly now;
And here and there, like pearls, there show
The berries of the mistletoe.
A sprig upon the chandelier
Says to the maidens, “Come not here!”
Even the pauper of the earth
Some kindly gift has cheered to mirth!
Within his chamber, dim and cold,
There sits a grasping miser old.
He has no thought save one of gain,—
To grind and gather and grasp and drain.
A peal of bells, a merry shout
Assail his ear: he gazes out
Upon a world to him all gray,
And snarls, “Why, this is Christmas Day!”
No, man of ice,—for shame, for shame!
For “Christmas Day” is no mere name.
No, not for you this ringing cheer,
This festal season of the year.
And not for you the chime of bells
From holy temple rolls and swells.
In day and deed he has no part—
Who holds not Christmas in his heart!
December 26: "A Landscape"
by Carl Dennis
This painting of a barn and barnyard near sundown
May be enough to suggest we don’t have to turn
From the visible world to the invisible
In order to grasp the truth of things.
We don’t always have to distrust appearances.
Not if we’re patient. Not if we’re willing
To wait for the sun to reach the angle
When whatever it touches, however retiring,
Feels invited to step forward
Into a moment that might seem to us
Familiar if we gave ourselves more often
To the task of witnessing. Now to witness
A barn and barnyard on a day of rest
When the usual veil of dust and smoke
Is lifted a moment and things appear
To resemble closely what in fact they are.
December 27: "I Don't Know What You're Called, I'll Call You by Your Sounds"
by Susan Landers
dew grass a fire shine
mountain a lung
pine cone the bone
tsunami rock hawk jaw
gravity a fall all consuming
a song chirp for sunlight
spine daggers cracking
the sky an ocean paused in its crashing
creature shake trip whistle
rustle nut squirrel swish
stump thunder or thump
thump a swallowing
you beautiful urchin
you rot mound of moss.
December 28: from "Surge"
by Etel Adnan
A long night I spent
thinking that reality was the story
of the human species
the vanquished search for the vanquished
Sounds come by, ruffling my soul
I sense space’s elasticity,
go on reading the books she wrote on the
wars she’s seen
Why do seasons who regularly follow
their appointed time, deny their kind of energy
why is winter followed by a few
more days of winter?
We came to transmit the shimmering
from which we came; to name it
we deal with a permanent voyage,
the becoming of that which itself had
December 29: "Hive"
by Kevin Young
The honey bees’ exile
is almost complete.
You can carry
them from hive
to hive, the child thought
& that is what
he tried, walking
with them thronging
between his pressed palms.
Let him be right.
Let the gods look away
as always. Let this boy
who carries the entire
world in his calm
barely walking, bear
us all there
December 30: "Barter"
by Sara Teasdale
Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder in a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstacy
Give all you have been, or could be.
Back in the air that feels lighter than the sweating heat, the biting cold of NYC. I feel myself waking up, gazing at the heavy clouds that promise rain no matter what the forecast tells me.
The woman in pink is either sleeping or so enamored with a new place that she bumps into me half a dozen times while waiting to go through customs. Or perhaps I'm insubstantial here.
There's a transformation that happens when traveling to another country. It begins in the air. The airport. The drive through the dark mountains and down into town. It won't be complete until I'm drinking coffee on a rooftop. Silence is part of it. And observation. Looking. Remembering. Shedding layers. Seeing the connections that mattered. The selves I discovered.
The story of our evolution is the story of what we leave behind.
How do we bear the beauty and daily tragedy of living? We search for connection. Through art. Love. Sex. Work. We escape. Into the desert with laughter and pulque on my lips; in a rain-drenched square in front of a pink church; in an unexpected clear-cut under a full moon; in
It's never the same. It's always the same.
Counting minutes is like savoring time. Allowing each a weight, a texture. I rarely slow down long enough to watch a heron's leggy progress through tall grass and shallow water, or an ant's mad dash over hot stones, seemingly running head-first into one obstacle or another. (The ant and I both.)
Stop the car. After the radio goes silent there is the echo of a shotgun, reverberating in the canyon. The shell casings, bright blue and red, remind you of a childhood in the mountains where they were treasures collected. You were too young to know they smelled of violence and power.
No Hunting signs are riddled with holes, the yellow paint giving way to the dull silver of the metal underneath, then empty space.
You hear cicadas. Or maybe bees. As you get further away from the burble of the forest stream there’s clicking and rhythmic mechanical snapping. Electricity. Huge towers around the next bend in the old logging road. Thick as your thigh or the dog's torso. Turn and head back to the car, drowning the sound of power lines under water running over stone.
The afternoon smells of Scotch broom and dust and heat. Late summer sunlight bakes the fir trees. Remember the pleasure of driving just a little too fast on deserted country roads.
The Society for Photographic Education is holding their 2018 conference in Philadelphia in March and I'm excited to present "Get your work out there: portfolio concept & development" in conjunction with the LGBTQ caucus on Sunday, March 4th at 11am. Let's talk about editing, sequencing, artist statements, and preparing submissions for portfolio reviews, exhibitions, proposals, grants, and grad school!
And if you aren't following the SPE LGBTQ Caucus on Instagram, take a look at what are talented members are making! @spelgbtq
I'm delighted to have an image in the Color: Photography Now show at Black Box Gallery in Portland! If you're in town for First Friday, stop by and take a look at the awesome work in this group show on Dec from 6-8. Address: 811 East Burnside #212 (upstairs).
Fraction Magazine is hosting their annual Holiday Print Sale and you can get some amazing work for $100 per print, including this little number from Cartographers of Memory.
Small Talk Collective is beginning preparations for our first group show in 2018 and we're continuing to add to our online Conversations in the meantime. I had fun posting this snowy scene, shot in Colorado in 2012 and shared while visiting a friend in Denver almost six years later.
Grant writing is not for the faint of heart!
Whatever the outcome, I am so happy to have the opportunity to propose a new collaboration with stylist and performance artist Jack StockLynn. We submitted to the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) Precipice Fund and hope to share an interactive exhibition with you in November, 2018.
"(re)CONSTRUCTION: Gender Parody and Performance examines the performance of gender through 27 photographic portraits and an interactive photobooth. The models, local queer artists, will each represent nine points on a visual spectrum from hyper-masculine to super-feminine. During the event, participants in the “photobooth” will draw a “gender-card” and be clothed and photographed as that assigned gender. The 27 photographic portraits will be shown at the event while the public portraits are projected on one wall of the exhibition."
I am so excited and honored to be featured alongside the ladies of Small Talk in issue #102 of Fraction Magazine! Thank you to David Bram and Bree Lamb for all of their wonderful work within the photo community.
In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Eagle Creek. Horse Prairie. Jones. The burning wilderness, the creatures and humans devastated by these fires. All of these have shaped and nurtured me since childhood. Oregon, my heart hurts. I love you.
Thank you to Hunter for sending this poem and the incomparable Mary Oliver for helping me find words for this insanity.