A Day in My Life

When Jennifer Schwartz asked me to think of a creative idea for a blog post for The Ten I thought of James' "A Day in the Life" video--I figured he could do a similar stop-motion montage of one of my typical days, but after discussing it it became obvious that the amount of time it would take to shoot--let alone the amount of time it would take my poor husband to edit the piece--would be astronomical. As a result I decided that it might be a sign that I needed to take it upon myself to do something along the same lines but to make it fully, intimately my own. 

I hit on the idea of taking pictures every two hours throughout my day with commentary about what I was thinking at each given moment, and I must admit it felt pretty amazing to have a reason to step outside of my usual box as observer and instead to create work with myself at the forefront. 

I have an internal dialog that runs in my head almost constantly it seems; shooting these images and writing the accompanying text felt like a way to examine that dialog, to make it concrete, maybe as a first step towards processing all of the good, bad and otherwise that I confront every day.

Below are three images/text which will hopefully whet your appetite for more--there are 8 photographs total on The Ten blog which you can see here.

7 a.m. I've just rolled out of bed and am about to wake up my 7 year old daughter Edie; I usually go into her room first because she's harder to get going than my 5 year old June. In this photo I'm feeling exhausted because I stayed up too late reading and then Edie got up in the middle of the night, and I'm already worrying about everything I have to get done that day.
9 a.m. Here I'm looking at my blog roll, and have been on the computer since I got home at 8:05 from dropping the girls off at school. I keep thinking I should get moving on my day but I have a bad habit of hopping online the second I walk in the door. I tend to use the computer as a way to numb out due to anxiety, and I beat myself up over how much I procrastinate and waste time.
11 a.m. Our dishwasher is coated in a layer of mashed up paper because I washed a jar with a label on it the night before so I'm scrubbing it out, which isn't altogether unpleasant because it makes me feel productive. I'm unaware that I've forgotten about that green feather in my back pocket which June had handed to me on the walk to school. It ended up going through the laundry.

Good Moms--and Dads...

Will try to keep this in mind the next time I'm all worried about cleaning the toilets...


Shawn Records book release

© Shawn Records

I've been a big fan of Shawn Records's work for a while now, and was happy to have the pleasure of meeting him in person when I was out in Portland for my Newspace show opening. So it's great to hear that he has a new book out called From the Bottom of a Well which is now available for pre-order from A-Jump books for only 20 bucks. There's also going to be a book/print special edition combo coming out soon so I'm holding off on buying the book until I see which photo is going to be on offer. The image above isn't from the book itself but I wanted to share just because I love it. Cheers.


Clare Gallagher

© Clare Gallagher

Apologies to those who follow Lenscratch as this post is going to pretty much mimic what Aline put up today, but I had to share Clare Gallagher's work. I always love it when I find out about photographers who examine the domestic sphere, as Gallagher does beautifully. Above are my favorites, visit her website to see more. Her artist statement is also great, and echoes so many of the thoughts I have about my own daily existence very eloquently. An excerpt:

The everyday is complex terrain. It is always there, readily and universally available; surely it is so obvious that it needs no unveiling. And yet it is also shrouded in haze, our sense of it dulled by familiarity and habit. It may induce a feeling of comfort in simple rituals or of imprisonment in tedious routine. Ambivalence is a central experience of everydayness but that quality also means it is difficult to define, depict and study. While the ordinary and unremarkable constitute the fabric of much of life, our attention is lured away from the quotidian toward the dramatic and exotic. 

This privileging of the apparent over the obscure fuels the fragmentation of everyday life and creates an impression that those parts of life lived away from the public arenas of street, workplace and media are unproductive and insignificant. The result of this “triviality barrier” is that the most ordinary, familiar parts of daily life, while seeming the most present and obvious, are often disconnected from our sensory perceptions and conscious thoughts. We are at risk of missing out a significant portion of our experience that is ever-present yet escapes attention. 


Art and Fear

I have the quote below saved in a folder in my email which I return to from time to time. Currently I'm in the challenging-my-fears phase they talk about, and it's the engagement part that I seem to be having the most difficult time with. Or should I say not necessarily engagement, but getting over my tendency to procrastinate, which I think is a technique I use to avoid the self-doubt.

It's weird--I do feel internal enthusiasm about my newest series. I have the itch to create, and when I actually get out there and get shooting--even though I have the usual "these are going to suck/these are going to be great" debate going on in my head--I generally love the act of making the pictures despite the mental arguments. But the issue is, despite feeling the drive, I'm so easily sidetracked. And the more I get sidetracked the more the enthusiasm subsides, the more I beat myself up over how much time I waste, and then the next day the cycle starts over again.

The key for me I know is to just do it, first thing, before I can get sucked into email and my blog reader and decor websites. I believe it's the fear running underneath the surface that creates the hesitation, which further creates an almost addictive call to mindlessly float around without direction. I need a jump-start, I need to get in a groove, and I'm hoping once I finally force myself into a rhythm this general depression will lift. I know all artists need time to let ideas marinate and be vaguely directionless, but that time is over, I've gone beyond that, so I'm putting it out there into the world that it's necessary that I challenge myself. Now that I've said it out loud I'm hoping I'll hold myself to it.

Here's the quote:

"The line between the artist and his/her work is a fine one at best, and for the artist it feels (quite naturally) like there is no such line. Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be...What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don't, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test.

Some people who make art are driven by inspiration, others by provocation, still others by desperation. Artmaking grants access to worlds that may be dangerous, sacred, forbidden, seductive, or all of the above. It grants access to worlds you may otherwise never fully engage. It may in fact be the engagement--not the art--that you seek. The difference is that making art allows, indeed guarantees, that you declare yourself. Art is contact, and your work necessarily reveals the nature of that contact. In making art you declare what is important."


Caleb Charland

© Caleb Charland

I wanted to say goodnight here on Tethered with a post that's not all about myself because I've just started writing again after a dry summer and don't want this to turn into one of those yawn-fest self-promo blogs right out of the gate. With that said, I've spent the last half hour or so letting James put the kids to bed while I putz around the internets, and in my sort-of-sleepy red-wine state one link led to another and I ended up on Michael Mazzeo's site which I hadn't checked out in a while. There was a solo show of Caleb Charland's series Fathom and Fray at the gallery in the spring and many of his images are quite beautiful. Some do feel a bit too obvious for my taste, but the ones that are more abstract and mysterious are striking; two of my favorites are above. Now off to load the dishwasher.

The Ten / Facebook

Another entry about The Ten: Jennifer wrote a very kind post about my images called "Small Moments that Stick" on the project's blog; I'm flattered and send out a big thank you to her for really "getting" my work and saying such lovely things.  

Also, if you have a second and would consider following my page on Facebook you can find it here. I'm trying to get some more momentum going with it, and have been checking out other photo pages a bit so I can peripherally participate in the the online art community from time to time without getting completely sucked in. (To fill in those who haven't followed my blog for all that long, I deleted my personal Facebook account in December of '09--you can read my reasons for quitting here. I did however rejoin Twitter, one can't maintain a completely ascetic existence after all...)


The Ten

I'm very excited to announce my participation in Jennifer Schwartz Gallery's project The Ten where a collection of ten of my images are now for sale in an exclusive limited edition. The other artists so far are my good friend and very talented photographer Laura GriffinRachel Barrett, and Lori Vrba. I hope you'll go check out my selection of photographs here.


Saying goodbye

This is a picture of me and the girls on the ferry from Martha's Vineyard, waving to my father who is somewhere out there on a dock, holding a red towel as a goodbye flag. I never could quite make out the small fleck of red that was his send-off, and I found myself wishing I could have been positive that I truly visually witnessed his goodbye. It reminded me of the well-known fact that we are all just specks, technically tiny and inconsequential, yet still so fundamentally important to one another. The people we love the most are the axes we rotate around, are so precious to us that squinting to make out a tiny flash of color can feel momentous.

I thought about this two days ago on 9/11, about how every person who suffered a loss was grieving over one tiny person out of billions, but that each of those people takes up the space of the universe. I read somewhere that the Talmud says "he who destroys one life, it is as if he had destroyed the entire world" which articulates what I'm not sure I'm able to express clearly here.

In physics there is a phenomenon known as Caesar's last breath which essentially states that we are all breathing molecules that were exhaled by Caesar, or any other number of ancient people. On September 11th, 2001, when smoke from the twin towers filtered over my Brooklyn apartment, a horrible kind of physics was changing the world irrevocably.

I suppose in some ways then we really are all connected in a base physical way. But I fight against the notion that we are all "one." Like most people these days I take yoga, and while it's good for my body, part of my mind still rebels against some of its tenets. I do believe in seeking acceptance, and will still work on meditating and reading self-help books and practicing presence. But I have to wonder if those who lost someone on 9/11, particularly a son or daughter, can truly accept. I don't know--I was lucky enough not to lose anyone that day, and I hope against hope that I will never have to know.