My Wild Nature: Nest

“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”

M.F.K. Fisher

“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

The concept of a nest has intrigued me since childhood, conjuring up notions of something small, cozy, private.  It is usually hidden from prying eyes, isolated in boughs and branches, offering a safe vantage point from which to view the world.  Protection, safety, comfort, a mama bird and her little ones.

protection.jpg

I made this series with the intention of helping me to cultivate and express what is sacred to me.  In looking at the photos a couple of months after I created them, they still speak of the divine, but in a different way.  I cannot separate them from my grief and healing process related to the death of my son, from my desire to hang onto him for just a bit longer, from my efforts to maintain some sort of connection to him, despite the nine years that have passed since his death. 

Grieving is about hanging on and letting go at the same time.  We hang onto the significance of the person we lost.  We hang onto memories and to what those memories mean to us.  We let go of their physical presence and learn to reconstruct our lives and ourselves without them.  That is the task of healing, learning to live without someone or something to which we were attached, learning to continue to go on with life, despite the achingly empty, black hole that fills our chest.  We learn to live without their smile, without hearing their voice on a daily basis, without hearing their laugh echo through the house.  We hang onto tiny details, like how my son liked to eat pineapple on his pizza.  Or the sound of the rhythm of his footsteps as he walked across the hardwood floor.  Or the way that, at age 17, when we were taking the train to Chicago, he leaned his head on my shoulder and fell asleep.  I can still smell his leather jacket when I think about that train trip.

Sometimes those memories make us smile; other times they make us cry.  Tears are a part of healing, signaling that something touched us in a way that goes deeper than words.   We often cannot find the words to describe our emotional states, and therein lies the beauty of art.  

anne-silver_seasons.jpg
anne-silver_sacred-circles.jpg

As Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, scars are portals to the wild self.  The scar on my abdomen, which resulted from the emergency C-section during the birth of my son, is such a doorway.  It is one tangible connection to him which I carry with me everywhere.  We are inseparable.  I can touch the scar, and I remember him being inside my belly.  Having carried a child creates a relationship with that another human being that is unlike any other.  No one knew my son in the way I did or for as long.  I had a nine-month advantage.  He and I shared a secret knowledge of one another, a private connection that endured beyond the cutting of the umbilical cord.  

And so, in connecting to my wild nature, I reach out to the mother part of me, the protectress, the nurturer, the wise woman, the mama bird who tends to her nest and her little flock.

Until next time...

Anne

My Wild Nature: To Seek the Light

“But I also say this: that light is an invitation to happiness, and that happiness, when it's done right, is a kind of holiness, palpable and redemptive. ”

Mary Oliver

The caress of light, the kiss of shadow

The caress of light, the kiss of shadow

Light is an ode to life in general.  It fills us with awe, with warmth, with hope.  We gaze in wonder as the Perseid meteor showers traverse the skies in early August, their tails flowing behind them like glowing kite strings.  We seek the golden warmth of the summer sun on the beaches, as the waves crash around us and the squeals of children’s delight fill our ears.  The light soaks into our skin, and we wear the afterglow for weeks.  After the deepest, darkest, most restless night, morning light comes as a balm of healing.  It creeps through the cracks in the shutters, reaches under the curtains, tiptoes across the bedroom floor, and kisses us softly on our weary and half-open eyelids.  Another day has come, and though we are heavy with fatigue, there is a certain grace in as we are enveloped in the softness of the morning light and we slowly emerge from the fog of a sleepless night.  Light keeps us awake, gives us life.  

We need the darkness too, the shadows, for that is what frames the light, giving it shape, boundaries, texture.  There is something sacred in the dance of these two partners.  One leads, one follows.  The roles reverse.  They twirl and shift and in the end, each one takes a bow.  Darkness speaks of quiet, coziness, a withdrawl from the world.  When darkness falls, we go inside, to places where we are safe and protected.  We slow down, we quiet ourselves.  We do our little evening rituals, enjoying a meal, cleaning up, settling in under the covers to read before drifting off to sleep.  Light may gives us life, but dark gives us much-needed rest.  Either one, all the time would be torture.  As in most things, balance is what we need.

There are varying degrees of light and dark:  neither is absolute.  In our modern world where everything is lit up at night, there are few places on earth where light pollution does not exist.  Cities emit a glow that reaches far into the surrounding countryside.  The sad thing is that all of this diminishes the visibility of a natural source of night light, the stars.  I once lived in the middle of a national forest, 25 miles away from the nearest small city.  It was dark.  Really dark.  I loved the clarity and the brilliance of the stars, especially clear on cold winter nights.  The darkest time of the year has its moments of brightness too.

Though I appreciate the loud brilliance of the summer sun, I  usually prefer the subdued, oyster light of winter.  The kind produced on dreary, rainy days, that flows into my living room and spills gently across the floor.  It was this light that inspired the first photo in my diptych above.  The other photo is a double exposure that speaks of merging with the light, of becoming one with the shadows.  It was also taken on a dreary day, just before the rain started falling.  

My wild nature seeks both the light and the shadow.  She seeks to feel the warmth of light glowing inside and to give it an outward expression.  She seeks to nurture the flame in others too.  Light begets light.  Making art gives others the permission and inspiration to do the same.  The sacred connections between us are not just limited to something tangible.  And so I put this out there, hoping that it may somehow inspire you to nurture your own light, while embracing the shadows that cradle it.  

Until next time...

Anne



 

Resurrecting Jezebel

Artist's Statement for my new series: 

Women receive the message from a very young age that their bodies are not their own.  They exist for the pleasure of others; their role is to be pretty and pleasing, easy on the eyes.  And the standards for what ideal beauty is become narrower and more unrealistic all the time.  In adulthood, women again receive the message that their bodies are not their own.   Choices regarding their bodies, such as access to birth control, their right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, are regulated by male law-makers, and are still very controversial issues.  Being female is seen as a liability by insurance companies, further reinforcing the second class status of women.  Their bodies may be considered the property of their husbands, boyfriends, partners.  They may be told how to dress, how to wear their hair, when they "need" to lose weight.  And their choices may be dictated by officials in the church, who affirm the notion that the function of women is to serve men and to pay for the sins of their mothers.  Any one remember that apple?  

Women who take pleasure in their bodies and in their sexuality are seen as "sluts."  If we don't find sex to be enjoyable, we are "frigid."  Or if our orientation is toward other women, it is because we haven't had a "real man" before.    

When a girl or a woman is sexually assaulted, she may lose all connection with her body, which is the site of her wounds, though they are most likely the type that leave scars on her psyche rather than on her body.  The body is still the site of the trauma, and the body holds those memories in its cells.  Instead of seeing her body as the temple that is is and something sacred and valuable, she sees it as the source of her pain.  She may lose touch with her sexuality, which she has come to see as something dangerous.  Her sexuality may have been blamed by her or by others for whatever evil was done to her. "If you weren't so attractive, so hot, so inviting, this wouldn't have happened.  It's not my fault.  I couldn't help myself.  You came onto me..."  And she is left thinking, "I came onto you?  Really?  I was only eight years old..."  
  
Using a Polaroid 110A camera and expired Polaroid 669 film, this series explores the myth of Jezebel, the woman who led men to worship false gods by virtue of her unrestrained sensuality,  It explores connotations of the "loose woman."  The expired film and vintage camera give the series the effect of an underwater dream sequence.  "Resurrecting Jezebel" is a rejection of the notion that women exist only to be admired for their physical beauty.  It is a rejection of the male gaze which has dominated the world of art since time immemorial.  It is a rejection of the notion that feminine sexuality is dangerous and needs to be subjugated.  And it reflects the process of healing, of reclaiming what has been stolen, of learning to be present in the body, in the moment, learning to appreciate the gifts that healthy sexuality can bring.

Until next time...

Anne

Eugenia Morphea

Broken, torn, tattered wings....

I wonder if they feel phantom pains,

like limbs that have become paralyzed,

those impulses and spasms and aches 

that seize us in our sleep,

that awaken us with an embrace that burns and screams,

"Don't forget me.  I am still here."  

I wonder if they guard deep in hollow spaces of their cells

the memories of flight.

the freedom they once knew as they stretched and raised and lowered

these wings, propelling a body through the air,

riding the wind currents of dreams and desire.

Of Angels and Insects:  Memories of Flight

Of Angels and Insects:  Memories of Flight

Until next time...

Anne

Reconstructed photos

One of the best things about instant photography is the way the film lends itself to being manipulated by hand.  These techniques can be challenging, but they also a great part of the charm of this type of photography.  That is one of the things that allows us to make truly one-of-a-kind pieces of art.  

So, today, I will show you an example of "before" and "after."  Let's start with after.  I happen to find it more interesting, but you can judge for yourself.  

Des fleurs de mon jardin  (Some flowers from my garden)

Des fleurs de mon jardin  (Some flowers from my garden)

This photo collage was made by placing washed, positive, color transparencies over the top of black and white base photos, one that was just a photo of lace, the other, hand-written text.  The pansies had been pressed, and when dried, attached to the photos to playfully echo the little pots of pansies in the foreground of each photo.  I like the softness of the colors and the dreamy mood given by the transparencies.

Next, the originals...

Languid morning

Languid morning

And while I love the golden tones of these photos, the others images send my imagination on a voyage in a way that is completely different.  I like how the flowers and the body flow into one another, as if the legs had become the stem, or the flowers had become the torso and the face. It further reinforces the metaphor of femininity as a flower, playing on juxtapositions of strength and fragility, on the ephemeral nature of the life of all things.   

These photos are stripped down to their bare essence and rebuilt, thanks to the magic of scotch crystal tape.  Reconstructing photos with transparencies, playing with different compositions, layering them over different photos, depending on how I am feeling that given day, all of this hands-on work is one of my favorite parts of instant photography.  I love seeing the white stuff that separates the positive and negative halves of the photo come off with a wipe from the sponge.  I like the smooth feel of the transparencies after they have dried.  And I love the process of arranging and changing things around, of rebuilding photos again and again as new possibilities emerge.  And in this case. the possibilities truly are endless.  

Until next time...

Anne

Nostalgia

I tucked those moments into the scrapbook of my mind, preserving them for safe-keeping. They were pressed carefully between the pages, which is what I had done with the single, pink rose you had given me the first time we met.  A single rose is perhaps one of the most elegant gifts one can receive.  There is abundance contained in the mysterious folds of her petals, in the tiny secrets she holds close, in the delicate sweetness of her scent, more poignant than dozens of blooms.  

Opening the door to the garden of memory

Opening the door to the garden of memory

And so the memories were preserved.  Those carefree spring days in Paris, the picnic on the Quai François Mitterrand, the hidden courtyard parks in the Marais, the Pont Bir Hakeim, the Galérie Vivienne, the steps and passages in Montmartre, where all paths lead to Sacré Cœur...  In our first two weeks together, hand-in-hand we traversed the city.  

You wanted to share it all with me., all the splendor of your beloved home. We slept so deeply each night, exhausted by days filled with walking and fresh air, nights filled with moments of unleashed desire. 

Paris will never exist in my mind without you.  I learned to see her through your eyes, to taste her through your kisses, to caress her with your hands...

Timeless

Timeless

The April theme for the 12.12 Project was Nostalgia.  The first photo of this post was my submission for that theme.  

Until next time... 

Anne

The story of a life

Our lives are made up of a thousand passages across the seas of birth and death, playing out again and again, in endless motion, like the movement of the hands of the clock, like the comings and goings of the seasons.  Each winter gives way to a new spring, each ending, a new beginning.  And so it goes.

There is poetry in the progression, magic in the emergence and calm in the senescence.  

 

Last fall I gathered some fresh crabapples, bitter, nearly inedible fruit, to use in some photos.  Their colors speaking to me of the brighter days of autumn.  I stuck them in a paper sac, along with other treasures gleaned from walks along the banks of the Seine near my home.  And there the sat, during the long, grey, Parisian winter.  

Spring came, as it always does, and with its return, the crabapples blossomed once again, pale pink blossoms, luscious crimson buds.  Wanting to capture and safeguard some of their essence, I snipped a few branches and brought them home to photograph.  

It was then that I remembered the fruits I had collected last fall.  The paper sac was still on top of my armoire, thankfully undisturbed by our curious, height-seeking kitten.  She had left my sac of treasures alone.  I pulled the crabapples out and they were completely shriveled on the stems, but, to my pleasant surprise, well-preserved.  And as you can see, a photo series was born.  

Life story, part I:  Waiting "It is at the edge of the petal that love waits."  ~William Carlos Williams

Life story, part I:  Waiting

"It is at the edge of the petal that love waits."  ~William Carlos Williams

Life story, part II:  Opening "My body's been touched a thousand or more times, but I am craving something so much deeper than that.  I desire to be felt, right down to the core of my soul and the corners of my heart.  That's what love is all about, isn't it?  Cracking yourself open to the possibility that it could change your life."  ~ Nikki Rowe "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom."  ~ Anais Nin  

Life story, part II:  Opening

"My body's been touched a thousand or more times, but I am craving something so much deeper than that.  I desire to be felt, right down to the core of my soul and the corners of my heart.  That's what love is all about, isn't it?  Cracking yourself open to the possibility that it could change your life."  ~ Nikki Rowe

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom."  ~ Anais Nin

 

Life story, part III:  Sensual decay “Decline is also a form of voluptuousness, just like growth. Autumn is just as sensual as springtime. There is as much greatness in dying as in procreation.”  ― Iwan Goll  

Life story, part III:  Sensual decay

“Decline is also a form of voluptuousness, just like growth. Autumn is just as sensual as springtime. There is as much greatness in dying as in procreation.” 
― Iwan Goll

 

In this season of growth and promise and abundance, I am reminded of the fact that the wheels are forever in motion.  This prompts me to slow down and savor.  And photography gives me a vehicle for preserving the character of the moment.

Until next time,

Anne

Source: https://www.google.fr/_/chrome/newtab?rlz=...

When Angels Fall (Part II)

We fall and yet we rise again.

Grief comes in like the tide, waves knocking us down, washing over us, sometimes drowning us with their intensity.  We feel the pull of the undertow.   We hold our breath with each bombardment and wait for the waters to rescind.  Once they have gone, we lay spread out on the sand, drenched, salt water mingled with tears.  

We begin again to feel the breath in our lungs.  We wiggle our toes and fingers, joyous at discovering that we still have the capacity to move them.  The sun appears through parted clouds and warms our weary bodies.  Each breath in helps us recover the connection to ourselves.  Slowly, our strength returns.  Our confidence returns, and with it, our desire to begin anew.  

 

We fall and yet we rise again

Until next time...

Anne

Source: https://www.google.fr/_/chrome/newtab?rlz=...

The 12.12 Project

I am very honored to be among the twelve talented women participating in this year's 12.12 Project (http://www.the1212project.com/), a collective of women's instant photography.  The project was started by photographer Penny Felts three years ago as a way to creatively challenge herself, to motivate and inspire both herself and other photographers.  

The concept is simple:  There are twelve photographers, who propose twelve themes, for the twelve months of the year.  At the end of the month, we share our creations for that month and that particular theme.  There is also a men's project that follows the same premise.

The first month's theme is an introduction with a self-portrait.

And so this is my profile photo.  It was made with a Polaroid sx-70 sonar camera.  This is an excellent SLR camera with which I fell instantly in love.  It is now difficult for me to bring out any other camera when I am shooting!  The dream-like quality of the images and the imprecise focus takes me out of the hard edges of everyday life into a place where all is soft, fluid, supple.  The dried hydrangea blooms were added to the exterior of the photo to reinforce the romantic quality, to add depth, and to speak of the passage of time.  

I invite you to follow along on facebook :  https://www.facebook.com/The1212Project/ or Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/the12.12project/.  

There is so much talent among these woman, I cannot overstate how thrilled I am to be among them.  These are the very photographers who inspired me to get into instant photography in the first place!  I feel like a little kid at the big kids' table, but I am holding my own.  

Stay tuned for more instant photos and musings.  Until next time...

Anne

The curve of her shoulder

The arc of the back of her neck, the little hollow just beneath the line of her jaw...

Her hair pulled loosely into a chignon, she leaned forward on the bed. I stood in the doorway behind her, watching the way the light fell on her shoulder, noticing how her velvet skin stood  against the texture of the lace chemise she was wearing.  Despite the mirror across from her, she did not yet know I was there, swimming in the depths of a reverie of her own.  I tiptoed across the parquet and breathed into her ear, "I want to kiss you as softly as this light falling on your skin. May I?"  

"You can try," she replied, "but I'm not confident you'll succeed.  The late afternoon light is so faint, I can barely feel it."

I leaned in even closer, exhaling slowly as my lips approached her neck, she shivered.  I lingered there, grazing her skin with my lips, losing myself in her scent and the heat that was radiating from her body.  Not wanting to break the spell, neither of us spoke, neither of us moved....

Until next time...

Anne

Source: https://www.google.fr/_/chrome/newtab?rlz=...

Polaroids

It's been awhile since my last post, and for that I apologize.  Thank you for your patience and your fidelity.  I appreciate you, dear Reader.  Communication requires a sender and a receiver.  Thanks for being on the receiving end of my musings.

For my birthday this year, I received a polaroid spectra camera.  Yes, a polaroid... from the 1980's.  It has been refurbished, and happily, when polaroid stopped manufacturing film for its many cameras, other companies, such as the Impossible Project, stepped in to fill that void.  I had done a lot of research on the different models of old polaroids that are available.  They are like guitars in some ways; each individual camera is somewhat different.  Despite basic similarities, there are subtle differences and nuances in the images they take.  Mine seems to have a signature pale blurring of the sides of the photos and some great vignetting.  And every pack of film produces different results too.  When you begin to shoot with expired film, the effects can be extraordinary!  I haven't yet tried expired film, but for polaroid shooters, it is the holy grail.  Some day soon, I'll find some online and eagerly try it out.  

All of this is to say that when shooting with a polaroid, as compared to a digital single lens reflex camera, the photographer has much less technical control, but the results straight out of the camera are much more artistic.  One can not achieve the exact same effects with software or photo manipulation.  It is just not possible.  I love the vintage look, the colors, the ghosts of the past that seem to appear on the film.  And I love that I can hold these photos in my hands.  They seem more real somehow than images on a computer screen.

Tulips

The colors are soft and dreamy.  The focus is soft too, there are not a lot of details, but I love that effect.

On the sofa

The black and white photos have warm undertones.  This film too, produces a general softness and vintage look that makes me swoon.

This has been a real learning experience for me.  I have ruined many images in the past two months since shooting polaroids.  There have been many failures as I learn the boundaries of my frame.  For self-portraits, you have to know the limits of your field of view.  It's easier when shooting someone or something else.  I am also learning how to work with the 10 second timer (compared to a remote control I use for my digital camera which fixes the focus point very precisely).  This is also not an easy thing to do, to set the timer, get into position, and assume a pose that is correct, all within 10 seconds.  It's a sprint.

Bouquet of weeds

A fine example of a lack of understanding the boundaries of my frame is the photo above, a double exposure, where my hand is visible in the bottom leftIt was supposed to be outside of the frame.  I love the effect of the double exposure, however.  The softness is an invitation to reverie. 

I have been experimenting a bit with double exposures, which is the reason why I selected this particular model in the first place.  It easily makes double exposures, providing an infinite number of creative possibilities.

Coming and going

Abundance

So, in my absence from posting here, I have been learning a new skill, flexing my photographic muscles.  This new adventure in photography has been exhilarating.  

I am so grateful for those who have contributed to the cause and bought film for me, like my mom and my sweetie, Santa Claus.  On Instagram there is a hashtag, "staybrokeshootfilm," and that about sums up the life of an instant photographer.  

Needless to say, I am already hooked and looking at other models of polaroids, looking at old film cameras that support a polaroid back, searching for expired packs of film...  The possibilities are endless.

Stay tuned for more polaroid love in the coming weeks.  Until next time...

Anne

Self-Help

We hold all the answers to the questions that keep us awake in the middle of the night.  We know what we need to do:  

We need to take ourselves by the hand, gently, reassuringly, and lead ourselves through the darkness,

down the heavily forested path,

past the green briars and the rambling roses,

past the ancient shagbark hickory that regularly sheds its skin,

past the carpet of moss, thick as a mattress warm and soft in the dappled sunlight....  

to the clear waters of the creek.

 Standing there.... as the shallow waters roll over and around us,

as they caress our tired, bare feet,

as the songs of the forest birds fill our ears...

there we can breathe again.  

With every breath a wave of healing washes over us,

every exhale affirms what we need to know.  

Take my hand

Trust yourself.  In the quiet moments, your heart is open, waiting for you to dive in and recover the treasures hidden in the deep.

"“Your heart is the size of an ocean. Go find yourself in its hidden depths.” 
― Jalaluddin Rumi

Until next time...

Anne

Source: https://www.flickr.com/

Petticoats

A photographic study of body language.... 

and innocence...

and sensuality.

Waiting for your return

The spaces in between light and shadow

The waltz of my wandering imagination

Discretion?

We have the ability to communicate so much, while saying so little.

I notice that I am typically drawn to the same themes again and again in my work.  Perhaps you have noticed that too (I am sure you have, perceptive reader).  Body language, particularly the way we speak with our legs fascinates me.  Typically one thinks of legs in terms of the actions they perform, walking, running, climbing stairs, dancing, crossing and uncrossing as we sit, stretching out as we lie down.  In each of these movements, in the way they are executed, in the deliberate movements and pauses, in the contracting of muscles, in the angles of the body, there is communication.  Sometimes we express a need for movement, a need for space, a need to get something done.  Other times, we express a need to be touched, a need for tenderness, a need for connection in the form of gentle invitation.

These photos also explore an innocent material, white cotton lace, and play up the sensuality of this timeless, ultimately feminine material against bare skin.  And legs, with their long lines, their musculature, their graceful curves, are inherently sensual.  Both sexes fall a pair of lovely legs.  In these photos, deliberate use of light and shadow along with processing in black and white, heavily vignetted and contrasted, serve to reinforce the femininity and the sensuality of the poses, while adding a little dose of mystery.

Sometimes the most effective way to communicate is to simply say nothing at all. 

Until next time...

Anne

 

Source: https://www.google.fr/_/chrome/newtab?rlz=...