Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When the veil between the living and the dead is thin...

Every year I find that Halloween simply isn't what it used to be. As a kid it was so much easier to feel that excitement. The mystery in the winds. It was the one night of the year that we all embraced strange noises and dark shadows. We wanted to feel a little scared. It was like the fear meant we were doing something right. We were on the right path. And just a little further into the creaking trees and rustling leaves we would find... something. 

What I really think it is is that as children we are much more in tune with the things that people generally grow up and forget to believe in. As children we believe in ghosts, witches, fairies (or "faeries" if you prefer, like I do). As children it's viewed as having an imagination and is therefore healthy. But I don't think it's just kids being kids. I think those things are real and when we are young we are so much more open to an experience that may involve the super natural. 

As an adult I find that I have to seek that feeling out. I think magic gravitates towards children because they believe in it without reservation. As we get older we have to make a choice; Do we believe in magic? And if we do, is it just because we want to believe it or just because it's really what we think to be true, just like the sun rising or the moon waxing and waning. 

As Halloween draws near each year I can feel the difference in the air and the wind. I can feel a presence in a lot of different places. It's said that the veil between our world and that of the deceased becomes weaker on Halloween and spirits can return to earth. I make sure I acknowledge this every year. If my past loved ones are around today I want them to know that I'm with them. 

It's a tradition in a lot of cultures to offer food to spirits on Halloween. That's where trick-or-treating came from. Some cultures viewed it as a peace offering to keep ghosts from haunting the household. I just see it as a sign of love and respect. Food has a lot of meaning and offering it to a spirit is the ultimate in respect and acceptance. So I go to the graveyard every year to bring one of my past loved ones a treat. Usually apples or caramels. Some of his favourites.

At this age, it's so easy for Halloween to just become a big party. An excuse to drink a lot, show too much skin, and of course eat lots of candy. But I like to go back to the fun I had as a child. Bobbing for apples, telling scary stories, and ultimately just getting entirely wrapped up in the eeriness that is Halloween. But above all else, I make sure that I appreciate those who have passed on. This day is for them after all. Life and death, night and day, summer and winter. And of course, the candy part is still important. Always has been, always will be.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

This is one of my favourite photos from this year's collection of Halloween portraits. Not only is the model my lovely and dear cousin, but it was shot in the cemetery across the road (which I have been waiting to utilize for so long), and ... wait for it ... The skull is real!

Now, before anyone gets all excited or offended about how I came to acquire a human skull just let me say this; I did not go searching for this skull. It kind of presented itself. And it is now reburied. 

On our shooting day my cousins said "I think I would find it really funny if I was in the spirit world and my head had been separated from my body for so long"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, I'm grateful for getting to photograph my two best friends.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall is here! And with it comes these photos of me in digitally orange-colour underwear!

So things in my life have been changing a lot lately, much like the leaves on the trees. I'm only working one job currently so I have much more free time. And I've made it a priority to focus more on my photography. Or as I call it: Taking myself more seriously. And apparently in order to do that I need to start by photographing the scariest thing I can think of. Yep. Myself. Now, if you want the whole pitch about why I take photos like this you can see it here: Under the January 11th post.

All the things I said in that post are still true. Except I have a slightly better idea of what bra size I should be wearing. I'm still not ashamed that I look like this. I still think it's important to feel sexy and beautiful. I'm proud that I'm not a size 2, although women of all sizes are gorgeous as well.

I saw a picture on Facebook this past summer of a VERY curvy girl rocking a bikini in knee-deep water. The caption read "Summer; Not just for size zero". There was a flood of comments. Some people were incredibly supportive, expressing how proud they were to have curves too. However some people had a much different reaction. Some people mentioned how they think being plus size means being unhealthy. Some people just expressed how unattractive they thought the model was. One comment said something along the lines of "Summer isn't just for plus size people either!" 

I want to address these comments and offer my own opinion.
1. "Being plus size is not healthy."
Here's my first reaction: Says who? First of all, plus size does NOT mean Obese. Having a little more meat on my bones doesn't mean that I'll die of cardiac arrest at the age of 45. And even if I was obese, should I stop loving myself because of it? Being ok with my body doesn't mean that I no longer want to take care of it. I can love myself and still want better for myself all at the same time.
2. "Plus size girls are not attractive."
You have every right to your own opinion. And I personally don't mind if you express it. Please keep in mind that it is YOUR opinion and yours alone. Other may share the same belief as you, however you only have your own voice and can only speak for yourself. That being said, there are lots of people who love curves on a woman. Myself included.
3. "Summer isn't just for plus size."
Ok. Really? This is the one that bugs me the most. When skinny people get upset because curvy girls aren't afraid to show off their bodies and be proud of it. I want to make one thing perfectly clear. Just because I LOVE my body at a size 8 or 10 or 12 or whatever I might be, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't love yours at a size 4 or 2 or zero. So for all you skinny minnies who get tired of hearing "I love my curves," please don't think it's an attack on you. It's only us loving ourselves. And you should too. Us girls are told far too often not to be happy with what we have, even though in my opinion, we are one of the most beautiful things on this planet. The last thing we need is to start turning on each other.

On a final note, why are we all so afraid to tell each other how beautiful we are? If there's anybody out there listening, I challenge you to tell somebody they're beautiful. Just because... They are.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

So I haven't posted much this summer and here's why:

This beautiful kitty went missing. And I was heart broken. I went to bed feeling strange and when I woke up I knew she was gone. As far as we know she was inside when we all went to bed. I think she chose to leave. I think she never planned to stay for long. Her name was Moggy but I called her the Grey Ghost. She was very quiet and sneaky. She wasn't even with me for a year. She left such a small imprint on my physical life that it's almost like she was never here. But she's still in my memories.

So... Moggy was technically a rescue cat. After she left I realized how much I love having cats around and how many didn't have homes. And that's how this happened...
Luna was a year and a half old when I adopted her from the SPCA and she'd been there for 6 months. From what we can tell she was likely a barn cat and had a litter within the first year of her life. I thought I would take an innocent look at the SPCA website, and I saw her picture. I loved her instantly. And a few days later I brought her home. 

 Adopting a cat through the SPCA was really easy. The only thing is, there's an adoption fee in order to pay for getting the animal fixed, it's shots, and a few doses of worm medication. When I adopted Luna there was a special at the SPCA and the fee was only $100. So here's how I paid for it.

I've been knitting since I was about 4 years old. And I recently started knitting stuffed animals. I thought that I could maybe raise some of the money to pay off the credit card bill of Luna's adoption by selling these funny creatures. 

And it worked. I got a much bigger response than I expected. And I found myself knitting day and night to fill orders and pay for my Luna. 

It took up almost all of my free time and I'm sure I caused some permanent damage to my eyes but I didn't care. Cats complete my life, so Luna was worth the work.

And of course I couldn't stop at just one. My brother has two barn cats that had litters very close together. These two little guys are from the second litter. The little guy above is officially named Mr. Pip. Matt calls him Mister. I call him Pipkin. (Pipkin is a character from my favourite Halloween story, The Halloween Tree.) He was born with a bad leg and my brother was worried about finding a home for him. So he lives with us and Luna now.

And the little girl below is named Poe, as in Edgar Allen. We call her Posy. She was just too sweet to give up. She's incredibly energetic and takes care of Pipkin... for the most part.

I'm still knitting all sorts of things and selling them to raise money for adopting cats. If you'd like to order something, I'd be happy to make it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

And for today's rainy day project... Patchwork Pumpkins!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Island.

I've probably walked passed this place over a thousand times. But I can't help wondering how many people have actually walked on this tiny island. Britt swam over to it (because she's a trooper) and the adventure commenced. 

It was hot and muggy. The sky was slowly growing darker as we walked to our shooting location. When Britt arrived on the island the rain started. She scrambled to dress herself and I pulled my shirt over my head to shield my camera from the rain. Somehow this didn't rush us all that much. We both knew that the more trouble you get into and the more hardships you face, the better the adventure.

Britt and I have discussed story lines to go with these images as part of our future project together, but I'll keep that all a secret for the time being. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Underwater attempt #4. It's getting better but still nowhere near what I want it to be. But fear not. I'm still working on it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What Happens when all our Hiding Places have been Found

(Just threw in this old image - which everyone has seen before - because I think it's suitable for this post)

My childhood was spent in games of hiding. Hide and seek, cops and robbers, things like that. But I've always sought out quiet places for more than just games. I crave moments of solitude in safe places. I've retreated to rooftops,  beaten paths in forests, waters' edges, homemade structures, whatever kind if place I could find to feel grounded and comfortable in my own skin. To spend some time with myself and sort out the whirlwind of thoughts that constantly spin in my head.

But what happens when your special places start to become known to more people? Strangers showing up in spots you thought were secluded. Strangers who see the beauty of a place but ruin it immediately with greed, jealously and exploitation at another’s expense. Do you stand your ground and fight for the magic that these places hold? Or do you retreat and hope that you can come back another day when other’s will hopefully be busy with something else and leave you alone?

Or what about when you need those times alone and you feel like you have nowhere to go, or no chance to escape. The concept of wanting to be alone can be very foreign to some people. Why would you want to be alone when you can be with people? Don’t you like people? Aren’t we fun enough for you? Don’t you love us at all?  People see your need for time alone as a desire for them to go away. That is, of course, not true. It’s never that we WANT to be away from our loved ones. It is, instead, that we WANT to be with ourselves. I find that sometimes while I’m with people I forget how to be with myself at the same time.

And your relationship with yourself is the most important one you can ever have. Nobody should know you better than you do. But sadly this is the case with most people. We don’t like to get to know ourselves well enough to see our flaws, or even the parts of us that make us beautiful. We are so self-conscious that we’d rather not learn the reasons for why we’re wonderful. But don’t you think we would be so much happier if we did discover these hidden treasures within ourselves?

 I recently told a friend that what I want in life is a quiet place to drink tea and read books. She told me not to ever let go of that want. So basically my solution is this: I will always find places to be by myself. I might sometimes share those places with loved ones, or, depending on that place, strangers. And I will never feel guilty for needing the time to escape because after all, it will make me a better person to be around when I do return.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The other day Britt and I decided to get together and do a photo shoot. She asked if I had any ideas, and I didn't so I thought for a moment and said "How about someone being swallowed by vines." And here's what came of it. It may have been a bit rainy and there may have been a thunder clap or two while we stood under lots of tall thin lightning rods - I mean trees... But what's adventure all about, right? At least our destination was close and we miraculously got back inside just before mother nature sent a hail storm our way. 

This shot haunts me to my very core but it turned out so intense that I wanted to share it. My Mom says it looks like an old movie poster for a horror flick.

On a somewhat related note, Britt and I are planning a very big ongoing project together which I am very excited about. I'll share more about it once we get some details sorted out. Oh! The anticipation!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It was Everything. It was Nothing.

It was perfect. It was cold and windy and I was in a childish frenzy over a precious little garden shed we had just walked by. We walked to a place we'd never been before where the sun was setting over tree tops and the dry grass crunched under our feet as we climbed the hill. We were both quiet and I knew something was different. Before I knew it, it was happening. There were tears in my eyes and a man on one knee in front of me. He asked me a question but my mind couldn't answer. My body already knew what my mind would have said and answered with a nod and a hardly audible "yes". I was shaking as the ring somehow magically found it's way onto my finger. Then we sat for what seemed like an eternity as the cold air washed over us and the sun sank lower behind the trees.

He told me he couldn't have done it on my birthday. Not at the pond, in the cliffs, or at the camp where I spent my childhood. He said he knew those things were already special to me for their own reasons, and he didn't want to impose a new kind of special onto any of them. Maybe that seems strange to some people but it's suits me perfectly. It was quiet and ordinary. It was its nothingness that made it everything to me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Engagement

Apologies for not posting anything lately. I could give excuses but I won't bother. 

Today I finally got off my lazy butt and did a photo shoot with the help of my amazing fiance! When we got engaged he asked if I wanted to do engagement photos. But of course nothing with me can be simple and straight forward. So these are a couple images from our "engagement photos". Couples photo will hopefully be up within the next few days.

Now... Somebody else get engaged (or have any other reason for me to shoot them). I'm tired of photographing myself.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Old Road

And now back to real photos. I've been driving past this location for a few months now with the idea of using it for a shooting location. And I naively thought it would be relatively easy to get to.
It's an old closed road that runs parallel to the new one which has replaced it. Perhaps there's something in me that longs for these difficult and uneasy places. Forgotten things, hidden treasures. I suppose it's my version of an adventure. And I consider myself incredibly lucky to have friends who are willing to make the journey with me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

And for today's homemade Valentine's projects... A pink knitted bunny!
This one is actually headed to Costa Rica with my best friend Britt. She's going there on a school trip and she's bringing as many toys and stuffies as she can manage for the kids over there. So right now I'm in the process of knitting up as many animals as I can handle to send with her. Bunnies and ducks and kittens, oh my! So here's to spreading the love.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Make me new again.

I got this skirt from a friend and it's been sitting in my dresser waiting for me to do something with it. With Valentine's Day coming up I thought I would get in the spirit (for the first time in my life) and make a funky little dress to wear out on a date. Well actually it's now two separate pieces - a skirt and a top - but what's the difference really.

I cut about 11 inches off the bottom of the skirt, and made a sort of tube top with the remaining fabric. Added a zipper, took in some side seams to create a better fit, made some straps. And a couple darts and a pucker later I had myself an outfit.
The White Witch's Land

There's something so eerie about a place like this. The untouched snow, the strange soft light. Everything feels so quiet and fragile. Maybe you shouldn't go any further. It's so delicate and breakable. And yet your feet keep taking you forward. Creeping along in a whisper. Touch nothing. When you leave, leave quietly as the falling snow fills in your footprints. Your heart will know what you've seen, but it will seem as if you'd never been there. And it is quite possible that no person will find that place again.

I love when Britt comes home for a few days and we have time to whip up some photos. She's willing to do just about anything, as was evident during this shoot. Although it doesn't look like it, it was very cold, very windy, and snowing like crazy. Luckily we found a spot at the bottom of a wall of rocks which provided just enough shelter for us to work a little more comfortably. We also decided to stop shooting about 10 minutes before an ice age decided to hit and we suddenly couldn't see more than 10 or 15 feet outside my kitchen windows.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A few winter portraits I took over the weekend. I don't do very well with winter but now that I'm out of the cold I'm pretty happy with these photographs. I've always wanted strange wild animals as pets. I guess this is the closest I'll ever get.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Finding a way to be beautiful.

Today I faced a major fear of mine. Photographing my own body. I do this every once in a while because I think it's important to find ways to love your own body. And what better way than to have a photograph of yourself that you think is beautiful. Even if it takes all day to get it. This is especially important for myself, being a female who has been up and down in weight, back and forth in shape, and is constantly trying to figure out what the hell size of bra I'm supposed to be wearing. (On a side note I once used an online size chart to try and figure it out and apparently I'm a 38A. I'm an A?!?! You must be joking.)

But I often don't bare this much skin and in such a scandalous way. This time I did it because I think every woman should know how to feel sexy. And sometimes we need some practice. I'm not afraid to show my body like this. I'm not ashamed of how I look. And feeling sexy and showing it does not in any way mean that woman are asking to be objectified. It's about feeling confident and proud of our body, however it may look. It's very difficult for some of us to get past the magazine ads and the models and sometimes even just pressure from people around us. We need to find a way to be comfortable in our own skin and stop worrying about what we're "supposed" to look like. This is my way of saying "screw you, so-called 'perfect female body'! I love me just the way I am."