Friday, January 20, 2012

First Love

Dearest Kodak film,

I want to you to know how much I loved you, and love you still. You mean a great deal to me. I even planned to dedicate an entire room to you - a darkroom, and the development of you therein. Once I finally owned my own home. Even though the news says you are "stuck in time," you'll always be timeless to me.

I'll never forget the moment I saw you. I shuttered at your beauty and mystery. As our relationship developed, the emulsion layers were peeled away to our chemical romance. You were the color in my life.

Thank you for all the photographic memories you have provided for my family, and myself. Though my face and the faces of the ones I love will never again appear on your plastic or cellulose acetate emulsion and light sensitive salts and gelatin, your flawless exposition and radiation will always have a place in my heart.

Remember those times we spent together in the dark - before the light emerged and showed us the bright and beautiful world in black and white, then color. I know I'll never forget.

Don't worry because I will never throw away Grandma's Brownie Camera. And all those empty film canisters will be filled with nothing but love. You may think me distant for moving on to Nikon digital, the supposed diversion of my attention for you, but I am never far away. A girl never forgets her first love, nor does it ever leave her completely.

Forever Yours,

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Year of Light: In 24 Photographs

It's been a terribly long time since I've written...anything. And now, I disappoint myself once again by not writing something completely coherent or smooth. Because earlier today, I was a little inspired by Time Magazine's "LightBox 365: A Year In Photographs." You can take a look at it here: I would recommend it.

So, in lieu of my I-want-to-do-something-to-remind-me-how-grateful-I-am-for-2011-in-a-new-year-blog-post-that-I-haven't-done-yet, I dug up some photos - not one from everyday (that's so many!), but one from every month of last year...okay, we're gonna go with two. So many tiny fraction-of-a-second loaded moments.

By the way, I am so grateful for you, because it's likely I knew you in 2011. Ha. And I'm so happy to know you now. These photos are certainly not the very best photos from each month, because there are too many captured moments in all, too many blessings and people to be contained to 24 images.

Cool. I'm excited. Let's do it.


I entered the phase of Photo Booth self-portraiture. I admit it. I shamelessly wanted to document the days I maybe looked cuter than other days. I also began to theme my photographs with warm or cool colors (according to the season - blues for January, right?). This continued throughout the year. And, the painting in the background is my sad attempt to channel a little bit of Georgia O'Keefe sensibility.

Here's a favorite photo from "the quad" at Concordia University. It's after the first big snow of the winter. My long-boarder friend Andrew is featured in the center. I sure hope he doesn't read this. If it he does, I might as well say that he keep up the good work of his go-big-or-go-home grins at the ladies and distribution of skipping-heartbeats as he passes through the quad on his long board. I cannot believe I just wrote that. I wish him the best.


This photo marks the first time in my life I received flowers from someone other than my Mom or my high school prom dates. My best bud Jesse remembered how much I loathe roses and how much I wanted, someday, to just get some flowers from someone I cared about. These are it. Thanks, Jesse. I cannot tell you enough how much that meant to me. You know, Jesse probably doesn't read this, either, since he doesn't read my text messages. But, in the hope that he might be reading: 
Jesse, call your friends!

At some point, I started lying on my floor for long periods of time, looking up and pondering big life questions. In this particular episode, I questioned shirt-sleeve evolution, its social influences, and its artistic relevance.


The Klenz. The Tanney. These two dashing fellows kept me sane in my old college age, if you know what I mean. This photo was taken in the new field house at Concordia University. I was there to photograph some tennis matches for the school newspaper. Luckily, I ran into these two, and this dreary, awkward day was turned upside down by a reminder to me of their existence in my life. I miss them.

Thus begins my strange fascination with fish - and aquatic photography. This was taken at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, after first-time dreadful apartment-hunting in a very new city. This little guy seemed to bring life to the freezing rain outside. Now, after meeting him, I sometimes dream about really cool fish. One in particular, the other night, was a Bob Marley fish - with dreads, yes. Please proceed to raise me on the weird-meter in your head. It's okay.


There's a special weekend at Concordia University called "Spring Weekend." It's full of awesome (sometimes really weird and effed up) shenanigans. This was the first year, after two groundbreaking, liberating Spring Weekends with my best friends, that I didn't participate in the festivities. So, I volunteered myself to take photos of all the best events for the newspaper. Actually, I assigned them to myself, since I was the photo editor. And, boy, was that a great decision. This photo: Team Team, with the hunchback, the unicyclist in wrestling tights, and some guy I don't know with a wig. Like I said, awesome and effed up with a nice epic quality. It just doesn't have an explanation. No, really, I have no idea.

Even though this snapshot wreaks of cheesy facial expressions, it was part of a very exciting day. Here I am with Jessica, Jesse, Chad, and Theron. I look ridiculous because I'm wearing my choir dress with the puffy shoulders, and I've just received a letter that confirms my move to Chicago, where I will enter grad an art school. I think the look on my face is partly "Whoa, Georgia O'Keefe studied at this school!" January painting attempts came back to me then. Earlier that day, I was crying (an embarrassing amount) about my last A Cappella Choir concert. A few minutes before this photo, I was crying in a very different way. Thanks, guys, for driving all the way to First Street to hug me and celebrate.


The final days of school. Together. With good friends. The balloons were made for Paul and Caley's homecoming, and then they came home! So, we celebrated. This photo is my life with the people I love. I also wanted to document our desperation for fun-ness when there's almost nothing more to do in the quaint and humble town of Seward but bop around balloons like good 'ole 90s kids would.

Me. And my pal Alex. Our happy selves on a lazy, beautiful spring afternoon. What a day that was. I'm a little speechless at the memories that accompany this photo, so I'll let it breathe a little.

Laughter really is the best medicine...especially during a full week at camp. Here are some friends of mine, full of life, gusto, hope, and love. I almost can't get over their mysterious truth in this picture. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. And so is His mysterious majesty in His creation of man and laughter.

This is possibly what the inside of my brain looks like. Or, what I wished it looked like. This photo was taken at Carol Joy Holling Camp, just a short walk from the Sjogren Center, where the photo above took place. These photographic memories have a great big place in my heart.


A nice glass of Cutthroat Porter was a large contributor to the first day I got drunk before 2 p.m. No ordinary beer fest (no, nothing like the movie). It took place in the mountains of Colorado. I guess the altitude might explain my timely drunkenness. A trip to Alamosa was one of the best 10-hour drives I have ever made. Multiple glasses of kiwi beer, my first Jagerbomb, my first Irish Car Bomb. Enough said. The greatest was time spent with a friend, his family, and his roots.

One more photo of camp, when the crickets came out and perspectives were strangely illuminated on a makeshift stage. There's something about this photo that is striking and beautiful. And again, mysteeeeeerious. I use that word too much.


This is a dirt track racing moment that my Dad, my brother, and my brother's friend, Charlie, would probably not make sentimental like I am. Just under a half hour after I took this photo, the motor blew, a huge white cloud of smoke swallowed my brother and the car, and I realized, again, how dear these men are to me.

Nothing like a reunion with these guys, after a long summer. 
They are the bee's knees, I tell you. 
Not long after this photo could I even remember this photo was taken.


The first big art gallery opening in the first big city I've lived. This gallery contained work by Angel Otero. I sort of got lost - in many different ways - this night. 

Here begins my undying affection for the Chicago Blackhawks and the sport of hockey. Sometimes, I really do think this organization and its professional athletes got me through a few rough months in my young adult life. That sounds a little dramatic. It really isn't. But, I really do have to thank my friend, Katy - not just for sharing the Blackhawks with me, but for her friendship.


A kiddo. And pumpkins. A day when Steph and I got to be like kiddos and, well, not really like pumpkins. A Cinderella reference would be a little much here. But we got to spend some quality time with these great pumpkins - and each other.

Our shoebox apartment started to grow on me. The objects here have strange auras. I think these weird little halos of color symbolize the objects' sentimental value in a cozy place, now full of new memories.

A trip to St. Louis, and some quality time with Chris T. If you know him, you're lucky. If you don't, you should. Ha. Kidding. Well, not really kidding. Eh. But really, this trip was wonderful, and so were all of the people we visited in St. Louis and the surrounding area. I love you all, and you know who you are.

This is my Mom. I love you, Mom. That's all.


I am proud to talk about how well I can navigate the public transportation system in Chicago. Granted, it's one of the better-engineered ones in the nation, and also one of the most interesting and friendly ways to go to and from the places I now call home...most days.

And now, we've come full circle to another self-portrait. I guess some things never change when Photo Booth is involved. Guilty. I'd like to thank Mary Poppins. 
And you. 


"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
- 1 Corinthians 15:52