Here's a little super 8 from Lindsey and Joseph's lovely November ceremony in the Hudson Valley, NY. Click here for a higher quality view.
I have had many great and transformative food moments in my life and while it will always be my goal to be able to sit down at anyone's table and eat what I am served, I have, in recent years, been enlightened to the benefits of more restrictive diets and the delights that they have to offer. The first time I was introduced to gluten-free food, I pretty much ran the other way. The bread was soggy, almost slimy, and I figured that if I ever had to go that way, I would just avoid those things that contained gluten (bread, pasta) rather than suffer through their poor imitations.
Last month I had the pleasure of shooting Ella's Bellas in Beacon. This is a vegan and gluten-free café/bakery but there is really no point in mentioning that unless you suffer from gluten or lactose intolerance. The food is delicious and inventive and to be enjoyed by all. And the crust on the baguette fooled my mom which is no small feat.
There is a lot of poetry to growing food. Just the act of trust that is putting a seed in the ground so that it can become a plant is crazy, of course. I also love that, while the first leaves to appear are called
|from a google image search of the word feminism.|
Last year the focus of the conference was on healing oneself. Women from different backgrounds spoke of how they were strong, how they had been broken, where and and how they would heal, grow stronger and use that strength to improve their lives. This is all well and good but the subtext was that all that healing and strengthening should go toward helping and improving the lives of others and therefore, the world. It was pretty touchy feely, yes, but there was a strong message behind it.
The conference concluded with a powerful reading and speech by Sapphire. Her message was, very simply, that we've got to 'flip the script'. The entire weekend stayed with me in many surprising ways. When asked about the weekend, I usually got kind of flustered and a little embarrassed because I wasn't necessarily comfortable with and willing to reveal my own softer underside and so I would end up giving out some kind of flip line about how we were honing our witchcraft skills. Somehow, this was really not so very far from the truth. While I am not interested in excluding men from the conversation on how to improve the world we are living in, I think it is important to acknowledge how differently men and woman tend to approach communication and problem solving.
Now a year later, Omega launched what they are calling their Women's Leadership Center. The cast was star-studded. Sally Field, Cecile Richards and Eve Ensler were there but also many women that I had never heard of who are doing amazing work around the globe. The theme was different this time - it was a real call to action and let me tell you, I was moved.
There was a lot of good advice but some of the best came from Sister Joan Chittister, a member of the Benedictine Sisters who is trying to change the Catholic church from the inside out. When asked why she stayed in the church when she disagreed with it on so many levels she said, "I don't like the system, but I am going to stay and fight from within these walls. If you are going to leave something [because you disagree with it], don't leave quietly. And if your are going to stay, don't stay quietly." It's as simple as that, don't just put up with. Make it better. Flip the script.
On my drive home I was so fired up with passion that I was ready to put into the projects I am working on here in Beacon and then I walked into my house of men (one wonderful husband, 2 incredible sons) where they were building a remote control tank (I am not kidding) and for a second, I hesitated, not knowing how to integrate my weekend into my daily life. And then I remembered how my kids love stories more than anything and so I sat down and began to recount some of the better tidbits from the weekend to them. Here is their favorite:
At one point, Chung Hyun Kyung, a south Korean theologian, got up on stage to do some movement work with the audience. She leaned into the mike, in the direction of Eve Ensler, with the most gigantic smile and said in her beautiful thick accent, "Eve, I just want you to know, my vagina is soooo happy!"
15 years ago, Daniel Handler hired me to do his headshot for a book he had just finished. The shoot was great. We discovered many coincidences that ran between us and spent a good amount of the time giggling. A few months later he approached me to make a bunch of pictures of him where his face was obscured for a children's book series written under the pen name Lemony Snicket. I don't think he knew or could have even imagined what he was starting. Over the years I have received many charming letters and emails from children trying to find out the identity of Lemony Snicket and it's been a lovely glimpse into the magnitude of what Daniel managed to create. There are so many kids out there who credit their love of reading to A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Over the years Daniel and I have gotten together to make more portraits and more Lemony Snicket photos. Here's a sampling:
It's out and it's great! Tsia Carson's new craft book, Side by Side, a book of craft projects that you can do with your kids while making your own.
This was a super fun project to work on (because Tsia is awesome) and the photos are used wonderfully big and lush. Thank you Tsia!
I have had a great time this year shooting the woodwork of Jessica Wickham. This is an ongoing project to help Jessica tell her rather soup to nuts story of how she produces her carefully crafted furniture. It's an emotional tale that begins with a tree falling.