I'm back

© Annie Fleming
Stone Harbor, NJ, 2008


Migraine aura

Top © Roger Heaton, bottom © Delia Malchert Flimmerskotom

The day before last I had the strangest experience. I was eating dinner with Edie after putting June to bed, when I suddenly saw a strange shimmering in my field of vision. The edges slowly crystallized and spread into an oval shape, and the middle was like rippling water. It was so palpable and defined, I could look right at it as if it were floating in the air in front of me. I called James and tried to describe this odd ice-crystal, rainbow kaleidoscope I was experiencing, and when it didn't go away after about ten minutes I started to panic a little. I've never seen anything like it, and when my left arm got tingly I managed to remain somewhat calm but had a moment where I thought, is it possible I'm having a stroke, at my age, with my good health? I called my neighbor Amy and she came right over, and sat down at the computer to look up symptoms on Web MD. I put Edie in front of the TV and luckily she seemed pretty unconcerned about what the heck was going on. Amy's husband checked in soon after and asked if I'd ever had a migraine. I never have, but lo and behold it turns out I was getting all of the classic warning signs: the aura, the numbness, the slight confusion. I never knew about migraines manifesting such specific visual symptoms (mine was a scintillating scotoma apparently) so it was pretty terrifying before I learned what was happening (I did briefly go to the dark side of imagining MRIs and brain tumors, I will admit). Thankfully the aura went away after 45 minutes (which is about how long it took my doctor to call me back, not a great sign...). She told me to see an ophthalmologist just in case; I went yesterday and all is fine, as I suspected it would be.

After some more research this morning I've been introduced to a whole new world which is fairly interesting (if not a little cheesy) visually. There's even a migraine aura foundation, complete with a section on migraine art. Looking at the images I felt such a sense of sadness for people who suffer from recurrent migraines paired with the classic crushing pain. I only experienced an Acephalgic Migraine, which is where you have all of the symptoms minus the agony of the headache, such a relief. So now the somewhat debilitating nausea and lack of appetite over the last week, combined with the trippy visions from yesterday, make a bit more sense. I was kind of dizzy yesterday, and my eyes felt sensitive, but I'm glad to say the least that it didn't result in a full-blown episode. As a photographer though I have to say having my vision go all crazy on me was particularly scary. I think I need to get out of town and go sit and stare at the ocean for a while. I'm glad we're leaving on Sunday to join my family at the beach, I need a break from the usual to get me back to my old non-migraine aura self.


Carmen Winant

© Carmen Winant

Ok, enough about me. 

There are a number of people whose work I've been admiring lately and have been meaning to post about, so I'll start with Carmen Winant. I love it when someone gets in touch and I've already bookmarked their work, as happened in Carmen's case. I'd seen one of her images on Conscientious, which led me to her website, and after emailing back and forth for a bit we discovered that we went to the same high school. I'm eight years older than she is, so we never knew each other, but it's a small world nonetheless. I find her ability to relate to her subjects startling: there's a real connection between her and the people she photographs--an intimacy emanates from her best images, particularly the ones she's been posting on her blog, dailyafterthought. She's putting up a photo a day for a year on said blog; some are stronger than others, but the ones that work really work, and I always look forward to seeing what will come next. 

New images

This is some of what I shot this morning. They seem to be relating to my newer series that's moving away from a focus on motherhood/domesticity and going in a more out-of-place in the natural world direction. It's always interesting to have two projects happening simultaneously. Life is a series of small moments is a never-ending, always evolving body of work, but new ideas of course are going to take hold at some point and it's exciting to feel this recent series starting to come together more clearly. These two images still have a nod to the familial: the top is a children's sun umbrella that blew into a corner of our garden during a rainstorm, and the bottom is an offering to the birds that Edie made in preschool. Everything interconnects, even if the direction and intentions are different.


It feels really good to be working today. Everything has been on hold in many respects for the last several days, and just to be outside shooting this morning, and then here at the computer editing and writing now, is making me feel sane again. The above images aren't necessarily a diptych, but I couldn't decide which I thought was stronger, so am posting both (opinions always welcome). They're another instance of spontaneous picture-taking that potentially looks staged. It was the week before last, and I went into the bathroom to get Edie's toothbrush; when I walked back into my bedroom she was hiding under the dresser and only her hair was visible; it was very eerie, and I really was startled for a moment. I told her to stay put of course, ran downstairs to get my camera, and the result is above. In many ways it's extremely similar to my shot of her hanging from the dresser drawer pulls (see here) and I'm not sure yet which one will make the final cut when I start redoing my website (I plan to have new work up and organized in the next month or so).

WIP party rundown

I've had a crazy, insane week--to put it mildly--which has led to a lack of posting. It started off with an enormous thunderstorm in our area that took down dozens of old-growth trees and knocked out our power for a couple of days. Despite feeling frazzled and sweaty due to no AC and all of the other usual comforts, I still managed to get myself into the city for the WIP launch party, leaving my sitter with flashlights and candles and hoping for the best. My outing ended up being the highlight of an otherwise stressful week. I had the pleasure of finally meeting the lovely Cara face-to-face, seeing the also lovely Amy again, and really enjoyed getting the chance to meet and chat with talented photographers and fellow Philadelphians Justin James Reed and Will Steacy. I was also happy to have the opportunity to shake hands with Andrew Hetherington of Whats the Jackanory? fame and enjoyed hearing his firsthand take on the NY Photo festival. (You can see me with Justin and Andrew above, and view more pictures from the party here. I think I need a haircut...) I truly was amazed to see how many people came out to support the project; congratulations to Cara and Amy and the folks at Humble Arts on such a successful launch. (By the way, the next exhibit is now online and features Sally Gall, have a look). 


Women in Photography launch party

The WIP launch party is happening this Wednesday. I plan on heading into the city and am looking forward to meeting Cara Phillips and seeing Amy Elkins again (we spoke very briefly at the Field Guide to the North American Family book reading last year and she was very cool). If you're in NYC stop on by. And I just have to say what a fantastic organization Humble Arts is, check out their new group and solo shows which went up a few days ago. 


New(ish) images

I felt the need to get something up today partly so that the first thing you see when you arrive at my blog will no longer be my school ID. Enough of the walk down memory lane...The two images above were shot at my parent's house in February and I've been meaning to work on them but find that the newest photos always get the attention, so these have been languishing in the library. Today I decided to go back and do a little organizing of stuff I like but haven't yet made presentable (these may still need some work, will have to do the old sleep-on-it trick). Whether they'll end up in any final edit remains to be seen, but I'm drawn to what I hope the viewer will read as a quiet quirkiness.


Memory lane

What a trip to look at Will Steacy's blog today and see his Germantown Friends School ID. Our school seal is burned into my brain so I had such an immediate reaction to his post. It's titled "Where Have the Years Gone?"--he must have been in sixth grade when I graduated (which was in 1993, but for some reason I don't have my card from senior year. You'll notice I'm wearing the same vest in two of the photos. Niiiice). I'm about Edie's age in the striped tank photos. Where have the years gone? Tell me about it...


Women in Photography launch

Women in Photography has launched! The first online exhibition presents images by well-known artist Elinor Carucci. I'm excited to see the high caliber of the work, and am looking forward to being included in their line-up (details on scheduling TK).