Friday, April 22, 2011

Inspiration from a 3 year old

This video was posted by a friend of mine and I watched it and a few others of this little boy that his parents must have posted.  He is amazing and totally an inspiration to follow whatever it is that gives you bliss!  The end is the best part!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Traveling at Home

After several months of my daily photo project, I've been trying to reflect on how the project might have changed me.  Part of the answer came from a very unexpected place, as do the best things in life, I suppose.

My job at the co-op entails organizing classes about topics of interest to our crunchy community and one that I recently helped organize and attended was led by a superbly inspiring dude, Darshan Karwat, who spent the last year attempting to create ZERO waste.  That meant no trash, no recyclables, no buying anything new.  (See the details of his project and some of the great reflections throughout on his blog, Minimizing Entropy.)  Not only was I super inspired by his dedication and thoughtfulness throughout the practice, but his new exploration of Traveling at Home has helped me realize what it is that my photos have been trying to do.

Part of the challenge of producing a new photo each day is to find something "photo worthy."  Each time I set out to take my photo for the day, I have to take time to become aware of my surroundings in a photographic way.  If I lose this for a couple of days (like I have the last two days, but we're not going to talk about that right now) I really do get out of the habit of looking photographically and have to get it back again.  But when I do get centered in this way, things start to reveal themselves around me.  I see things that I'd never taken notice of before: a new angle on scene I look at every day, a new alley or building I'd never noticed before, light and shadows making patterns, or items juxtaposed in intriguing ways.  Even before this project, these are the kinds of photos I found myself making without really knowing why.  Here are few from years ago that exemplify this idea:

Berkeley, CA  July 16, 2007 
San Francisco, CA.  July 17, 2007
The King
Phoenix, AZ.  January 11, 2008

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Inspiration just when I need it

A few months ago I came across this nugget of inspiration that has stuck with me and came around again at a time that I really needed it.  The last week or two my mind has been occupied with job applications, interviews, and a crazy schedule (with the 5 jobs I already have) so my daily photo project momentum has been waning and my confidence dropping.  This cycle of self-doubt can pretty quickly send the creative juices straight to the bottom of a dark pit to stay there until they begin to shrivel up and the camera and guitar and knitting needles start to gather dust only to be left there for 20 years before finally being sold a garage sale . . .

But luckily, Pete Eckert is one dude who's story can't help but inspire others, and I have him to thank for keeping my creativity out of that dreadful pit.  He is a blind photographer, and a lover of cooking, tinkering, and constructing.  Here's his take on photography, art, and the simple satisfaction of making things:

| Artists Wanted | In Focus : Pete Eckert from Artists Wanted on Vimeo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Photo Essay: Budget Protest

Carrying around a camera everywhere means you're likely to capture things you otherwise wouldn't.  On one recent rainy day in March, I was able to capture "democracy in action" Ann Arbor style, at a small protest downtown.

The rally was in response to the governor's recent budget proposal and anti-public sector actions. It took place downtown in front of the post office.  I'd like to give my reactions to the event, but I think these photos tell the story much better.  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Plant Parenthood: Seed Starting Recipe

While growing food is not necessarily an art, there are few things more creative.  The simple fact that growing food involves nurturing life from humble beginnings - a tiny seed into a strong, fruitful plant - makes it an inherently creative endeavor.

This act of bringing something to life out of very little is a common thread throughout the topics I explore in this blog.  Knitting, repurposing clothing, recycled art, composting, gardening and baking are the same way: The raw ingredients you start with are not as useful on their own, but require creative input and a little bit of imagination to become something wonderful.  Growing food strikes a similar node in my creative impulse, and I think this is what I find exciting and empowering about making things.

Of course, in order to have a successful garden you can't start with nothing.  Luckily we've had a couple of growing seasons to get some practice with our garden.  Our neighbors started a little garden plot in the backyard of the house our apartment is in, and while they still lived here, we helped with weeding and planting and trying to keep the fat, greedy (but really f-ing cute) groundhogs who live next door out of the garden.

We had limited success last year since I was working on the farm and was home only on weekends through the growing season, and was usually too exhausted to do anything but eat and . . . sit.  But this year, we're making a more concerted effort to really see our backyard vegetable garden flourish.  The first step was to get an early start and the best way to do that? . . . start seeds indoors!