I work a couple of blocks up from this little market that sells local produce. It used to be a bank. I remember having a safe deposit box there, so it’s weird going in and looking at fruits and vegetables where the vault used to be. Anyway, it is a great place to photograph. This couple was completely oblivious to me as I followed them around the inside. After buying some apples for myself, I turned and shot this photo.
Ok. I have given myself a project. We’ll see if I can pull it off. My goal is to take a photo – just one – every day for an entire year. No do-overs, so I will have to make it good. It will be like it was when I was in school and shooting with film. Not much money, so every frame I shot was well-thought out and worth the exposure. At least that was the intent. That didn’t always work out. But anyway, this is my plan. I may not be able to upload them here every day, but I will definitely shoot SOMETHING every day. The idea is to get me shooting and thinking about photography instead of my being totally wrapped up in work, renovations, laundry and litter boxes.
So here is my first image. It’s a self-portrait with a lot of meaning. It resembles the very first photo I ever took (posted on my very first post here), but it also is a statement on where I was in my photography vs. where I have to be now. Digital is great and cool and all of that, but I will always be old school at heart. I miss the darkroom.
Because my time is very limited lately, I photograph what I can find around the house. These hydrangeas are from our yard, and they never cease to amaze me in their color changes. They start out white, turn a light blue and then eventually this beautiful purple and green shade. Just like George Clooney, they get more stunning with age. But I am getting sidetracked. Here are my latest photos – with a little help from my furry friends.
My husband makes great chili. It’s a little too hot for my taste, but it really is good. But my husband is good at everything. It’s annoying. He does most things better than I do. SO! When I saw a vegetarian chili recipe in my new favorite cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter,” by Gwyneth Paltrow, I thought I would challenge my better half at his own game. And what better time to try out my new-found recipe than for dinner during the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) this year between Louisiana State University and Alabama – Roll Tide Roll, y’all!
LSU and Alabama are fierce rivals. LSU won the only game Alabama lost during the regular season, so this was personal. This was the rematch of The Game of the Century. This was was important. THIS was SEC football at its best, and I wanted to make it special for my husband.
After two hours of cooking, we sat down to eat dinner about 15 minutes before kickoff. It did indeed taste great – for the first 5 seconds. And then it hit. A heat hotter than anything I’ve ever tasted – including my husband’s chili.
What the heck!?
I got up and re-read the recipe: 1 can kidney beans – check! 1 can black beans – check! 1 can whole peeled tomatoes – check! 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo – Huh? 1 teaspoon? I put in THE WHOLE CAN! Darn it! I was so used to seeing, “1 can,” I guess I just kept in that line of thinking.
I was so mad at myself, and so disappointed that I had wasted so much time and money. AND I was ticked that I had failed at one-upping my husband – again! Meanwhile, my cell phone rang. I had to run downstairs to answer it, and stayed down there talking for a few minutes so not to disturb my husband’s pre-game viewing. When I went back upstairs to remove our dinner for our own safety, I walked in to see my husband sitting back in the chair with a distressed expression on his face.
“What’s the matter?
He said, “I don’t feel well.”
I looked down at his bowl of chili – he had eaten the entire thing.
“You ate the entire bowl! WHY did you do that? I made it way too hot!”
He said, “I ate it because you made it.”
“Well, that is very sweet, but stupid. Don’t ever do that. You’re going to make yourself sick doing that. . . You don’t look good.”
He said, “I don’t feel good.”
And then we heard a noise neither one of us had ever heard before, and it was coming from his stomach. “Awruoooooghbroooom”
I thought, “I’ve killed my husband. Now he won’t be able to watch the rematch of The Game of the Century. What have I done?”
“What can I do? Do you want some more water?”
He said, “No, maybe check to see if we have an anti-acid. That might help.”
Fortunately I found some. He took it and all was quiet for the rest of the game. Although I did keep checking on him: “How are you feeling? Are you ok? How’s your stomach? I’m SO sorry, etc.”
The game was great, too. For us, at least. I have never, EVER seen a football team’s defense stop the other team the way the Crimson Tide stopped LSU. It was a history-making game, for sure. As was my chili concoction. It will always be known as the BCS chili with which I tried to kill my husband. I don’t see my living this down anytime soon, either.
The good news is the house my husband and I have been renovating for the past two years has finally sold. To celebrate the day we closed, we went to lunch with his sister at a fairly new restaurant in town called Champy’s. Even though I work one block away, I had never been to this restaurant before. They serve fried chicken, and lots of it. Oh, and blues music. But the decor is what caught my eye. I went back the next day with my camera and caught this man painting part of the menu on the side of the building. I love places like this. They have a life of their own. But the main thing for me is it got me photographing again. It felt good.
Meanwhile, I have become aware of a “new to us” photographer. Her name is Vivian Maier. She was a nanny in Chicago, and in her spare time wandered the streets taking photos. She had them developed – well, most of them I think – but NEVER showed them to anyone. Ever. She placed them in a storage unit years later; and when she was unable to keep up the payments, her belongings were auctioned off….thank Heavens! The man who purchased them discovered her images and has made them public. There are over 100,000 images. One book has been published so far, but it seems many volumes will be needed to display her wonderful work.
I’m not sure she ever had any formal training in photography, but she was beyond good. I can only assume that since she never married or had a family of her own that she studied people on the street. I can picture her feeling invisible to them so she could uncover their personalities. At least that’s how I would handle it when I lived in New York. Unfortunately, she has passed away and will not see how her work has inspired and moved us.
As much as I love Diane Arbus’s photography, I’m going to say I think Vivian was better. Well, Diane took a different approach. Vivian took street photos of strangers. It doesn’t see like she ever interacted with them. Or so the images make me think. Diane talked and interacted with her subjects – even followed them home. I think Vivian was more of an observer. All speculation on my part, of course.
Anyway, here is a link to her work. I cannot stop looking, and the images keep coming. And I love them all! http://www.vivianmaier.com/
Being the Christmas season, I have not had the chance to create anything lately. Therefore, no creative posts to this blog. But this post is more about faith anyway than it is about creativity . . . but it does have creative inspiration to it; so take away what you will.
This is my Story of the Day:
Even though I was 10-years old when this book was published, I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago. It was being performed at our local theater, The Chattanooga Theatre Center, http://www.theatrecentre.com/ and my husband really wanted to go. I say, “Sure. That would be fun.”
And that was the last I thought about it. . . until Wednesday night at 5:45. My better half calls me from the car asking if I had gotten tickets for that night’s performance. Crap. “NO, I forgot all about it. . . I’m sorry. I’ll check right now.”
And then my heart sinks! The last three performances are all SOLD OUT! Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night. “Oh, JOE! I’m so sorry!” I was so mad at myself for letting the week go by without getting those tickets for him.
But Joe is not deterred in the least. He says, “Meet me down there. I bet there will be someone who will want to sell their tickets.”
I say, “I’m leaving right now.”
It is now 6:00 p.m. We live no where near the theater. And the play starts at 7:00. But I have no doubt we’d be watching that play. Why? Because Joe is better than an Arab trader when it comes to this pastime. He can wheel and deal with the best of them. It comes from decades of attending SEC football games to watch his beloved Crimson Tide.
Tears stream down my cheeks anyway because I am exhausted; stressed, and feeling like I mess up more than my fair share of things. But halfway there, my cell phone rings. It’s Joe. “Got ’em!”
I say, “REALLY?!!!
Joe: “Yep! No problem. I ran into some people I know who happen to work there. They said there were a couple of single tickets left.” Me: “Are we getting to sit together?” Joe: “Well, we’re on the same row….but I’m sure people won’t mind moving for us!” Me: “….ok….”
Thrilled, I speed up a bit. Then Joe announces he’s hungry. Great. It’s after 6:00 at this point, so there’s very little time to eat and make the curtain. I suggest a little place a block away called The North Chatt Cat https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-North-Chatt-Cat/187809904606080 hoping we’ll have time to eat a bite and get to the play on time.
As I’m parking, Joe texts that he’s gotten a table, ordered a sandwich and a Coke for us to split, and is waiting on me. It’s packed when I get inside, and I learn there is only one waitress. Great. “We’re never going to make this play! They won’t seat us after the curtain goes up,” I obsess in my head. But our waitress is great and gets us our food and check, and sends us out the door. We walk over to the theatre, find our row and immediately ask a family to move down for us. They oblige kindly. “Well, that was easy,” I think. But that was for the right side of us. We still have to wait for the people on the left side of us to arrive. When they do, Joe gets up and asks them all to move down – along with the rest of the row – all so we could sit next to each other. I sink down in my seat out of embarrassment. But Joe is not bothered in the least. He gets to sit next to his girl.
Ah! The music starts and the play begins! I just can’t believe we are actually getting to see this play. The perfect crime!
Or so I think.
During intermission, one of the main characters comes out on stage and announces the theater is giving away a bag of food to an audience member from one of our local grocery stores – a sponsor, of course.
Oh no. OH NO! I knew where this was heading.
I look at our seat numbers: H111 and H110. But our tickets say H105 and H115.
Oh YES! The man draws a ticket from the bowl and says: “H…..”
I cannot believe this.
And the spotlight shines down on Joe.
Crap. Busted. Joe says in front of the entire theater, “Well, that’s my seat number, but that’s not the number on my ticket. We made everyone move.”
The people in front of us say, “Well, at least you’re honest!” And the entire place laughs. Or so I think my embarrassed mind. But the people to our left who actually had the number, had left, and they never came back. The man draws another number and all is well with karma.
The play was great and we had a wonderful time! And I learned a little thing about faith that night.
Will I obsess the next time we’re in a situation like this one?
Yes, but it won’t be as badly… I hope.