Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gotta Dash

So here I am, frantically squeezing in just one more eensy, weensy "December", and "2011" blog entry - while intermittently cleaning my house and longing to go get showered and dressed - before company arrives for tonight's New Year's festivities.

(All pics. snapped on 12/28/11)

Fortunately, (for brevity's sake) I haven't got a whole lot to say about these pics....I do like how there appears to be a man's face in the mattress, diagonally to the left of my head in the photo kinda creeped me out when I first noticed it while editing this series, but now whenever I look at these pics. - my eyes are immediately drawn to and fixed on "him".

Another thing is - these snaps were taken on the first really cold weather shoot I've done in what feels like forever...and I realized very quickly just how drastically low my tolerance has become - for posing naked in such uncomfortable conditions... 

...Also, I did indeed wrap my lips and teeth around the leg of a dead deer, for about a dozen frames - until I finally got the picture above...aaand since I was wearing sticky, gooey lip gloss - my mouth was all globbed up with fur and dirt after each shot. No amount of spitting or spewing could ever completely remove all of the funk, which was undeniably gross. My friend Curlymoe is convinced that someday (if I keep actin' a fool, the way I do) I'll end up contracting rabies, or some other horrific disease. To that I say, "I shan't live in fear".

Because it was also windy that day, I thought something good might happen if I wore the gown that I recently scored at my neighborhood thrift - what with it's many layers of sheer, flowy fabric and all. Sadly though, it was a bit of a misfire. 

Yipes! My first guest has just arrived...hate to beg off so suddenly - but there's a hefty amount of hostess-ing and partying to be done, y'all!

Before I go though, I feel that it would be remiss of me to not first THANK my wonderful readers for sticking by me all of this time. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your thoughtful, caring and insightful comments, along with your invaluable advice, and tips that have led me to shoot in locations about which I would've otherwise never even known. Also, a gigundo THANK YOU - to my fellow bloggers who have seen to it that their own readers have found their way to The Big's been a truly great year, and I wish you all - nothing but the BEST in 2012! CHEERS!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Slim Pickin's

(All pics. snapped on 12/26/11)

Yep, it's true...Christmas, and all of the chaotic craziness (at home and at work) that preceded it - is finally behind me, *sing alleluia!*...matter of fact, today is my first full day off of work - in I couldn't tell ya' how long (even clocked-in on Christmas Day, if you can believe that)...

...and although the time that elapsed from Thanksgiving to Christmas, is essentially a complete and utter blur - largely due to added responsibilities at work that exacerbated the typical time-crunch under which I frantically try to pull together a reasonably respectable Christmas for my four deserving offspring, each year - I pin most of the blame for this year's holiday season amnesia, on performing many of the aforementioned duties - while fuzzy-headed, sleep-deprived, and running on fumes...thanks to an extended stint as a hardcore carouser and merrymaker. Sure, my poor aged body's been put through the ringer...but sadly, it's my art, my blog and my readers that have sustained unprecedented neglect cuzza the ongoing bender.

Last night true to form, I perpetuated the debaucherous bacchanalia with friends - this time though - by celebrating a swift and welcome lull in the other activities that have monopolized so much of my time recently...and while blithely delighting in the sudden dip in urgent tasks needing my immediate attention - I entertained myself and my friends by taking a stab at self-portraiture for the first time in one day shy of a whole month.

I'll be the first person to admit that these pictures are not even close to fantastic, but I'm hoping that if nothing else - you'll take them as a sign of in good faith...that from here on out, I shan't let my love of self-portraiture - fall by the wayside again...for awhile at least...I hope...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Double-Edged Sword

(All pics snapped on 11/08/11)

Although taking this most recent, two week break from self-portraiture and blogging has left me feeling awfully guilty about offering nothing new to my dear readers in that time - I'm grateful that it's afforded me the opportunity to start sorting out where to go next with my whole life in general, for that matter...  

Granted, I could've waited to check back in with you guys when I had something avant-garde or groundbreaking to share - but it's been hard enough as it is, to stay away for this long. And so, if nothing else - consider this entry a courtesy call...just to let you all know that I am still alive, I do have ideas briskly bubbling on the back burner, and I've every intention of returning to self-portraiture - once the Christmastime craziness at work dissipates...  

Unfortunately, I had no choice but to illustrate this post with the last bunch of current(ish) pics. still waiting to be plucked from the queue. And as I sit here luxuriating at my Mac indefinitely (for literally the first time in weeks, halleluiah) - I'm ambivalent about featuring photos that by now might be looked upon as commonplace, redundant, or run-of-the-mill. 

On the one hand - I hesitate to post this series, because they reiterate the likely possibility that I may have exhausted the two predominant themes seen not only here, but in many prior Big Ugly entries: (1.) my naked body (2.) in yet another forsaken structure...both of which (not surprisingly) also happen to be the two major issues that I've been grappling with (for much longer really, than just these last coupla weeks) in regards to the status quo of my work. On the other hand though, this does indeed make these images quite relevant, because they conjure the questions that I keep asking myself...things like: has the abandoned house motif become such a crutch that I've stalled (stunted?) my artistic growth? Is adding the nudity on top of all that - just some (not so) sly tactic to ensure that folks keep coming back, despite their probable boredom with every other aspect of this particular genre of my self-pics.? And if that's the case, then have I semi-subconsciously turned an idea that was perhaps interesting and savory when I first introduced it - into some sort of sleazy, "sex sells" schtick?

Ya' wanna know what I think? I think that there's definitely at least some element of truth to each one of the above concerns... 

...but there is something else (and I hope you won't take this the wrong way - since I do so appreciate that all you good people even bother to stop by my blog) - I was an artist long before I even owned a computer, but lately what I do has become so internet-dependent or driven(?) that I may have lost sight of something intrinsic to being (my idea of) a self-portrait artist - and that is that the entire process should be more about a desire to dig deeper into oneself, while satisfying creative cravings and urges, in (for me personally, at least) extraordinarily intriguing and inspiring settings (no matter how seemingly repetitive they might be to other folks)...and it should be less about striving to entertain, and maintain a captive audience...

One sage reader recently suggested that rather than over-think my shoots so much (as I've gotten into the habit of doing) - I should trust and follow my instincts. Seems simple enough, yeah? But if I adhere to such a self-centered approach to my work, it could mean that sometimes I actually don't end up naked...or that I continue to stage infinite abandoned house shoots...much to my own satisfaction, of course (and hopefully to the benefit of my work).........but maybe even more to my poor readers' chagrin...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gone Fishin'

(All pics. snapped on 11/27/11)

Uhhhh...yeah. Soooo...after nearly two weeks without making so much as a peep, here on The Big Ugly - you might possibly be wondering why in heaven's name - have I been been m.i.a., out to lunch, away from my desk for so long...and I guess the best excuse that I can offer you guys, for my sudden, extended sabbatical from blogging - is that I've basically been burning the candle at both ends for the entire last half of the month of November.

It was in no way a conscious decision on my part - to put self-portraiture at the bottom of an enormous heap of more pressing (and sometimes more titillating)'s more that I've woken up each morning for the last coupla weeks, with every intention of updating my blog - but mere hours into that day, and the next and the next - it became glaringly apparent that it'weren't gonna happen.  

Although I can legitimately blame the unscheduled hiatus on parental duties, the holidays, work, and all that - I'd be lying if I said that I haven't let my social life supersede my art, these last weeks. In between the parties, and bar-hopping and clandestine trysts (*woot*) particularly during this past whirlwind week - I've somehow managed to drag my weary arse to work, on an average of four hours sleep, return home, shower up, try to make myself look not-dead - and then go out and do it all over again....

Along the way, I've gotten myself tangled up in myriad, mixed-up situations with multiple men...and it's been so overwhelming that I haven't had the courage to divulge the dirty deets with anyone - not even my most trusted friend. It definitely feels weird to be walking around knowing that only I am privy to so many secrets...but there is something about it that I do kinda like...

But a serious issue came to light, just this morning...and as uncomfortable as it makes me - I would be more of an asshole than I've already been - if I didn't come clean about this matter...

You may remember The Big Chill entry in which I assumed and alleged that "my date" had handed me my walking papers so that he could run off to shag an old sweetheart. Well...I have since learned from a reliable source, that this never in fact actually happened. As soon as I found out, I can honestly say that I felt like the biggest, most psycho freaking bitch who could possibly be walking the earth...and even though I'm not exactly sure what I can do to effectively clear the names of "my date" and "the accused", I guess I should start by offering my sincerest apologies for dragging them both through the mud, like I did. I am truly sorry, I hope you believe that. And while I'm at it, I need to also apologize for getting my readers fired up and rallying for me, over an incident that I wrote about in earnest - but which was based on conjecture and circumstantial evidence. 

I literally feel about this big right was shitty what I did and I am deeply remorseful.

When I first started writing it, I'd thought that this post would serve as some sort of grand reentry into self-portraiture after having been absent for so long...a commitment to being a more present blogger, and a pledge to not wander off again, anytime soon. But after the recent turn of events forced me to use it instead as a platform on which to publicly (and rightfully) eat crow - I don't feel like doing much else at all, right now...accept cowering in a corner, in my shame. 

Speeding up the shift in mood of this post - was my overall disappointment with these stupid, fly fishing pics., from this - my first photo shoot in two weeks. Not mincing words here, it was a pain in the butt...pretty much from beginning to end. The damned fishing line got hung up in the trees a million times, the lighting was surprisingly difficult to tackle, my composition was regrettably ineffective, and adding insult to injury - I was creeped out by how certain parts of my body looked, upon uploading the pics. on my Mac...grrrrr!

After all this, I've decided that the best thing for me right now, might be to leave that "Gone Fishin'" sign in the window awhile longer...maybe a week, maybe two...hell - maybe a whole month! I mean for starters, it's gonna take some time to wipe this egg off my face...but more importantly than that - it's imperative that I shake up my approach to self-portraiture. I have to get back to spending adequate time planning and preparing for my shoots, like I used to...instead of simply squeezing them into empty slots in my schedule. Furthermore, I'm not stoked about the gossipy tone in the text of so many recent posts, and rounding out my tidy list of grievances and complaints (and probably paramount to all of the other issues that desperately need addressing) my pictures for the most part - have grown stale, and safe...and The Big Ugly deserves better than that...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Lizzie Borden Story (A Loose Interpretation)

I finished up at work a little bit early, on Monday - and treated myself to a spur-of-the-moment shopping spree - right across the street at my favorite, neighborhood thrift store. Some days I go in there and scour the entire store, but not a single garment jumps off the racks at me. Monday however, was not one of those days...matter of fact, I fairly well hit the dang jackpot! Someone had recently donated the most fabulous collection of sick gowns and dresses, (circa 1970 - '85), and after methodically weighing the balance to determine which ones I should add to my wardrobe (or not), and then checking the balance in my bank account on my phone - I settled on the four frocks that I liked the best (and...that were priced so that they fit within my budget).

The lavender, striped and flocked dress (seen here in this entry) wasn't necessarily my favorite outta the bunch, but it was definitely the one that made the most sense for the shoot that I'd planned to stage later that day. It was the very picture of pure, sappy-sweet, country charm - complete with calico ruffles and a long, flowy sash - which I bargained might make it the perfect compliment to a backdrop replete with cows, and a silo, and a honey of a barn...

Anymore - although I do still give costumes the good, ole college try - I oftentimes find them creatively limiting, not to mention - somewhat physically restricting...and because of that, I usually shed 'em pretty quickly in favor of wearing the one costume that I feel gives me the utmost freedom of expression...and that is (not telling you anything you don't already know here) - absolutely nothing at all. Trouble is though, I've been worrying lately that the nudity schtick (especially when coupled with the abandoned house theme) could start (or already is) wearing thin with my readers. I mean, how many self-pics. can one person take - buck naked in one crumbling structure after another?

With all of that in mind, this time I kept away from the old houses to which I am so absurdly drawn - and believing that this shoot would certainly be a departure from that which is steadily becoming my "norm", I absentmindedly fell victim to a different sort of repetition, by staging my second "barn" shoot in a row...(what in the heck is my problem?!)

Once on site, and zipped up into the snug-fitting dress - I drew a complete blank on how to begin. I oscillated on the balls of my bare feet, my eyes panning the spectacular space - hopeful that my surroundings would trigger an idea...but all I kept thinking was, "Tha hell should I do?"

Realizing that the day was wending ever onward, and concerned that the farmer might interrupt my shoot should he show up to tend to the cows - I stopped asking questions and started snappin' pics....with nary a game plan, just a very vague notion of who the person (people, rather) was (were) that I thought I could pretend to become...and with the intention also of seeing if the lavender dress could convincingly assume its own different identities in each of the separate groups of pics.. 

The interesting part about all of this though, is that when I got back home and downloaded the pictures - the person (singular) that I saw there, was nothing like the people (plural) that I'd tried to portray...and for as much as I'd wanted to find versatility in the dress - it always only looked like itself. But the cool part about it was - I saw a character that I never even meant to emulate, but who was magically materializing right there on my Mac. She was this sort of modern(ish)-day take on the infamous Lizzie Borden (minus the blood and the gore, and all that)...and as I reviewed and edited each consecutive frame, her story unfolded right there before my eyes...

And so, if you'll kindly oblige me - I'd like very much to share the story that the pictures told me...

(All pics. snapped on 11/14/11)

...In the midst of yet another of their classic, incendiary screaming matches - Lizzie stormed out of the house, and away from Andrew and Abby (her iron-fisted father and money-grubbing step-mom) to take refuge from the tumult in the barn. A safe-haven of sorts, the barn had become the only place where Lizzie could go to escape Andrew's volatile tirades...and decompress in the company of far more gentle creatures...

...But on this particular day, Andrew and Abby made the ever-so-grave error of invading Lizzie's sacred, secret space - their sole purpose - to continue the bitter argument that had been abbreviated by Lizzie's abrupt departure from the house. The instant she heard her father approaching from behind her, all the while spitting and spewing a barrage of derisive, derogatory remarks  - Lizzie whipped her head around, and shot him a threatening look - as if to say, "You talkina me, muthuh fuckah?!"

Lizzie turned and marched with purpose towards the two barking aggressors, never quantifying their castigation with a response of her own. She just thought to herself, "Ya'll done messed with the wrong pre-menstrual bitch", then grabbed an ax that was leaning against the run-in stall wall, and with two very clean, swift, and accurate blows - she ended the argument for good...

Lizzie remorselessly stepped over the bodies of her expiring parents, and now brimming with a great sense of satisfaction and relief...she made her way to the silo where she reflected upon the episode under the neutral auspices of the pigeons that roosted in the catwalk high above...

Her meditation was cut short though, when she heard a car making its way along the winding, gravel driveway that led up to the Borden family's home.

"Hmmm...", Lizzie thought. "What to do? What to do..." She inspected the front of her lavender dress, expecting to see major blood spatter resultant from the duo of mortally wounding blows. Remarkably however, the damage was minimal, "Welllllll......that ain't so bad. Nothing a quick rinse in the water trough can't fix."

Lizzie returned to the grizzly murder scene, but averted her eyes so as to avoid seeing the bloody, bludgeoned bodies. She fetched the ax and carried it with her as she hurriedly scampered over to the trough in order to wash the dress and herself, before the visitors could catch sight of the telltale, trace evidence. On her way to the trough, she chucked the ax down into the seemingly bottomless well...speculating that surely no one would ever find it there...

Once there by the basin of chilly, refreshing water - she stepped out of the dress, washed, wrung and hung it out to dry...and then dunked herself, blithely behaving as if she hadn't a care in the world.

 Lizzie could see the people who had arrived in the car, walking towards her as she soaked in the trough. "Dude!" she shouted at them as they came closer and closer..."A little privacy please? Sheesh! I'll be done in a minute!"

The visitors (two women from Abby's garden club) stopped right where they were, and through cupped hands one hollered, "Hey Lizzie! Where's Abby? The three of us are supposed to go to lunch in town together" Feigning ignorance, Lizzie quipped, "I have no freaking clue"...and with that the two women shrugged and turned to walk away...

Lizzie was tried for the murders later that year, but was ultimately acquitted - after no weapon, nor blood evidence was ever found...(MmmmmHmmmm...such a naughty, naughty girl!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A One Shot Deal

(Snapped on 11/11/11)

I can honestly say that this has been the best weekend I've had, in what feels like a very long time (*sigh*)...and to kick off the merrymaking on Friday afternoon, I got to do something that I love to do, but for a variety of reasons - I haven't been afforded the luxury of doing, in absolutely freaking eons...I got to go horseback riding with friends!

 My two chums, myself and our mounts, enjoyed a most pleasant jaunt along trails and over fields, throughout some of idyllic Clarke County's most scenic acreage...and after we returned to the barn and partook in a celebratory libation (or several) I felt the familiar urge to seize the moment (and the setting) by staging a series of self-pics. in the barn....

I was far more successful at traumatizing the poor feller who tends to the stalls and the horses (as I paraded up and down the aisle of the barn, naked and partially so), than I was at getting quality images...however - I still don't consider this shoot to be a failure, because when I look at the pictures I can't help but smile...for I am reminded of a superb afternoon which segued into a wonderful weekend, and I feel more thankful than ever to have such sincerely good people in my life...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Does it HAVta Make Sense?

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

It's the darndest thing, you guys...each time (and trust me, there've been many times since I snapped these pics.) that I've contemplated various strategies with which to construct this post - my mind starts to spin like some crazy whirling dervish. There's just so much that I'm simply dying to gab about...but unfortunately, none of it has anything to do with these snaps. Further complicating this inconvenient blog content conundrum - is the fact that even if I could come up with a way to convincingly combine this current group of pics. with the irrelevant details of all the latest gossip: from the bizarre yet amusing, to the surreptitiously romantic (and everything else in between), I wouldn't let myself...because to do so would betray the trust of certain key players, therefore I must keep the juiciest news - under my hat...that is - until (or if) I ever get (or give myself) clearance to open these "confidential files".

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

What I can tell you however, is this: 

#1). Although essentially I forfeited three valuable months, out of the precious last half of my life - to "my date", I am truly grateful for the one good thing that came from the otherwise complete and utter waste of my time...and that is - he got me a job that I love more each day. It doesn't even bother me that I still have to work with him, because unless he opens his big freakin' mouth to harangue me about something he oughtn't (or - is a leetle heavy-handed with the off-brand cologne) - he is (for all intents and purposes) a non-entity, invisible, one hunned po'cent dead to me, (or as my friends in the restaurant biz say)..."86'd".

But back to the good schtuff! So...on top of the regular duties that I'm expected to perform, my employers recently tacked a most exciting element onto my original job description. Not only do I feel honored to have been entrusted with the added responsibility, but I am over-the-moon ecstatic about the new position...yip

(What's this?! Could the pendulum be starting to swing in my favor?)

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

(To that - I answer cautiously, "Yes?"...cuz there's this too)

#2.) Two of my photos were recently selected to hang in "The Dark Side: Night Photography" exhibit, at 1650 Gallery in Los Angeles. This marks the very first time that any of my self-portraits have been displayed in a public venue, which is HUGE! And...even though neither print went home with a loving family - I am not even marginally bummed...why? Because. It means that I now have two self-pics. printed on paper, ready to be signed, framed and made available for purchase...(Looks like it's time to sweep the cobwebs outta The Big Ugly "Store")

(Snapped on 10/30/11)

Ok but do see what I mean about there being literally no correlation between the words in this post, and the pics....dontcha? And lemme just say that it's not because I didn't enjoy the shoots that I staged at this house on consecutive days...cuz I did! But the only snippets that come to mind, when I try to find something to pluck from outta the ole memory bank - are: On the first day, there was four inches of snow on the ground (you can kinda make it out beyond the doorway in the 2nd pic.). Now, a snowfall before Halloween hasn't happened around here, in fifty-odd years (or so I've heard) so that's weird...

(Snapped on 10/31/11)

...and on the second day, the air that was trapped in the house was SO cold - that I lost all sensation in my feet and consequently - I quit before my camera battery died...even weirder. that's what I call compelling journalism...*snore*

(Snapped on 10/31/11)

All right, I give up...I'm gonna walk away before I really start to embarrass myself. 

I guess my only excuse for dumping this dreadfully disjointed drivel upon you, is that I'm far too preoccupied with everything that's been happening outside of my blogosphere - to be able to concentrate on coalescing the text and the pics. in this post. And so, I dunno - I guess if it's all the same to you guys - I'm gonna chalk this week up as a "bye". With any luck by next week though, I'll have calmed down enough to siphon off some of the excitement and enthusiasm that continues to percolate in my personal life - and pour them more directly into the upcoming entry...and hope to god it makes better sense...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick? Or Treat...

You may already know this, but at the risk of being redundant - I feel I gotta go ahead and say it anyway..."I am not a big fan of holidays"...not my birthday, not Christmas, not Mother's Day, (you get the picture)..and (perhaps somewhat surprisingly) Halloween is in no way exempt from finding its rightful place on the long list of my least favorite days....even more so lately than in the past though, because - over the last year and a half, I have unofficially celebrated Halloween approximately once or twice a week - by wearing costumes (or more frequently - nothing at all) in order to become the melange of alter-personnae that have thus far appeared in my pics.. Don't get me wrong, I love dressing up (or undressing) for my shoots (matter of fact, I went out and snapped some new pics. today!). But anymore, it feels pretty freakin' pointless to me - to go to the trouble of getting all decked out, just to stand shoulder to shoulder with throngs of other people - all clad in their own ridiculous regalia, and all just because it happens to be some pointless (to me anyway) holiday...

While it's probably pretty clear that I shan't be celebrating Halloween in the traditional sense, tonight - I am rawther eager to publish just one...more...entry, before flipping to November on the calendar. And since it would be awfully fitting to post something sorta ghoulish - I've come up with what I believe to be a reasonable solution: I'll post pictures of myself looking like regular, ole me - wearing "everyday", normal attire - but! In a series of photos that tell a sinister story. Here's the catch though - I am super, double, extra, ultra, mega, mucho tired (plus - my sluggish ass is running outta time) so I'll refrain from adding my personal depiction of this grim and grisly tale...and will instead let you (my dearly beloved readers) - rely on your own imaginations to supply the narrative...

(All pics. snapped on 10/17/11)

Thanks so, so, so, SO much, to the owner of the service center (and to all of the other nice men with whom I chatted) - not only for allowing me to take nakey pics. on the tire pile, but for also being open-minded and chill about the whole thing! (P.S. the young guy with the dark hair and green eyes? hella cute :D)

Thanks also to my friend who had practically just arrived from overseas - and was such a good sport about agreeing to play the role of my nefarious suitor on the fly - you da bess!

...and one final, "Thank You!" to the folks at the bar...was way cool of you guys to let me take these snaps - without giving me the hairy eyeball while I staged 'em.

Oh, and hey! Check this out - I just realized that this is my 100th Big Ugly post!!! Now that's something worthy of celebrating, f'you ask me...(could it be that I'm not such a curmudgeon after all?) Anyway, I am still off to bed...but before I go tuck myself in, "Cin cin!" to all of my fantabulous the folks who so graciously make certain shoots possible...and to my supremely kickass friends...


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Greenhouse Effect

(All pics. snapped on 10/15/11)

Ya''s just not all that often that I get invited to attend social events around here anymore, and so when a couple of weeks ago, a co-worker of mine (I'll call her "Ruby", cuz she's a gem!) asked if I'd like to come to a party that she was to be throwing - I was a.) pleasantly surprised, and b.) absurdly some dorky, freshman kid who'd somehow...miraculously - scored a legitimate invite to an upperclassmen kegger...

Over the past few years, I've grown accustomed to being shunned by the "cool" (*cough*) crowd, and have become quite adept at either nestling comfortably into my solitude...or finding my fun in the company of my children, my small group of loyal friends, and (in very rare instances) whatever love interest happens to be stringing me along at the moment. The weekend of Ruby's party however, I was childless, newly single, and warming up quickly to my "free agent" status - thus, rarin' to get out and mingle among a crowd of peeps - the majority of whom I suspected I'd never met, but more importantly - they didn't know me...which meant that I'd be surrounded by folks who hadn't any preconceived notions about me and my "controversial" "hobby".

My bestie, Curlymoe (who coincidentally, is also newly single...ish) gladly agreed to squire me to the party. Now, for those of you out there who used to read my dating blog - and remember Curlymoe from certain, specific anecdotes - you're probably well aware of the fact that when Curlymoe and I go out together, some sort of crazy shit usually winds up going down. Fully cognizant of that myself, plus eager to make a good impression on Ruby and her guests - I asked Curlymoe to please try and not do anything that might embarrass himself...or me - by association. I can admit that saying such a thing to one's very best friend - is maybe just a teensy bit harsh, and he was obviously wounded (highly insulted?) by the request - but the way I looked at it - we were already poised to stand out as the unfamiliar faces in an otherwise tight-knit group of friends, and so to minimize our chances of attracting the wrong kind of attention, I strategized that it might behoove us to be on our best behavior...for once.

After a leisurely drive along a series of familiar, meandering, back country roads - Curlymoe and I finally spotted Ruby's quaint and tidy farm. As we neared the driveway and turned to pull in - my eyes were drawn to and became locked on a greenhouse that was awash in amber, Autumnal, afternoon light - and (luckily) was situated on the opposite side of the house from where the party appeared to juuust be getting underway. Before even stepping out of my car, I'd already decided that (if Ruby and her roommates were amenable to it) I simply had to get insida that greenhouse, to sneak some impromptu self-snaps before diving into the evening's festivities. 

Ruby knows all about my pics. and my blog, and because she's so genuinely down-to-earth and sweet - she's always come across as being totally supportive of what I do. And so, after saying, "Yes" when I pitched her the greenhouse idea (THANK You!), she then proceeded to give me carte blanche to shoot anywhere else on the farm that appealed to me. See? What did I tell you…she really is an absolute gem!

As soon as Ruby gave me the thumbs-up, I gathered my gear and inconspicuously (or so I thought) slunk down to the greenhouse. I set up my camera, peeled off my clothes, and almost immediately got lost in the "zone" lost in fact, that I was oblivious to the fact that a growing group of party-goers had gathered on the front porch of Ruby's house, which conveniently provided a bird's eye view of the peep show taking place behind the backlit, translucent, greenhouse sheathing...uhhhhhh...whoops. It wasn't until Curlymoe and some random guy barged in on my shoot, (purportedly to give me the heads-up about the fracas, and not to see me naked up close) - that I became aware of the disturbance that I'd unwittingly created. (And to think that I'd been worried that Curlymoe might embarrass me, HA!)

Curlymoe, the random guy and I, awkwardly small-talked until I simply could not take it anymore. At which time I demanded that they both either get naked (to make things fair), or run along - since they were stealing what little time I had left in that light. They opted to scram (thank god) and I went back to what I'd been doing before I was so suddenly and rudely interrupted :) 

As I was finishing up, and preparing to (finally) be social - a couple of connected thoughts gave me pause: I'd gone to Ruby's party with the express notion that my anonymity there, along with (what I'd hoped would be) exemplary behavior - might allow me to socialize without the stigma of being a flagrant, trespassing, naked self-portrait artist - sabotaging my interaction with folks who would ideally form their opinions of me based entirely on face value. Not surprisingly though, my love of (addiction to?) self-portraiture had overridden the original plan...and in the end, I'd put way more heat on myself - than if Curlymoe, had publicly pissed himself, or puked and passed out on Ruby's couch... 

Oddly enough, for as concerned as I'd initially been about making a good impression (much to the chagrin of my wingman, Curlymoe) - I wasn't the least bit ashamed of what I'd done in the greenhouse...despite knowing that I'd fairly well annihilated any chance that anyone at the party - besides Curlymoe, Ruby and her roomies (the only people there who's opinions really did matter) - would be able to look me in the eyes while carrying on a conversation, and not snigger to themselves, or elbow their buddy, or make errant judgement calls - cuz they'd seen the silhouette of my naked body.

*News Flash* I am a shameless opportunist (and apparently more antisocial than maybe I even knew), because instead of throwing myself into the lion's den, immediately following the greenhouse episode - I bolstered the brouhaha by hopping into the barnyard with the pigs (who tried to eat me) and the chickens (who not only looked me in the eyes, but seemed to sorta like me being there with them) and fired off a few additional self-portraits. When I was done, and just starting to steel myself for whatever fallout might ensue upon my delayed arrival to the party (ridicule? the silent treatment? a burning at the stake?), something else occurred to me: I have zero shame over this thing that I do. I stand behind it apologies?...No regrets. And if that means that my art has become more important to me than my reputation...might mean that I'm a crazy bitch? But so be it...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sticking With What I Know

(All pics. snapped on 10/11/11)

Not to dwell on the subject or anything, but...there are a few observations that I feel I must make (in regards to the collapse of my deal with "my date") if this entry is to have any girth whatsoever.

Admittedly, I'm at risk of sounding regrettably cliche - nevertheless, the best analogy that I can come up with to best describe the time that I spent "wrapped around his finger" (as "my date" himself, so glibly boasted...*gag*) is that being with him was comparable to having an undetected, aggressive which (unbeknownst to me at the time) voraciously ate away at my body, mind, and heart. Astonishingly, it wasn't until the carcinogenic tumor was swiftly and successfully removed, that I did finally realize just how ill I'd become - over the three long months that I subconsciously suffered from its debilitating side effects. 

The thing about all of this that's surprised me the most, is how quickly I've fallen out of love with the jerk. I mean seriously, it's only been a week and a half for chrissakes - and already my stomachaches have all but disappeared, my appetite's improving, and I've even been willingly socializing a bit. 

I guess the biggest difference between this break-up and the demise of my other miserable relationships is that - in the past when things ended between me and whatever reprobate I happened to be with at the time - it was more akin to having a gangrenous limb finally amputated. Common sense dictated that performing such a gruesome procedure was imperative, if I was ever to become "whole", happy and healthy once again...but learning how to live with something so major, no longer there - was agonizingly painful, and took ages to overcome. 

"My date" and I however, spent very little time together - he made it quite clear all along, that being with me didn't rate high enough on his list of priorities to take precedence over all of the things that did seem to matter (like lying in bed at his house without me, cuz his T.V.'s soooo much better than mine...or dippin' his wick in god knows how many others...or choosing to ignore my most frantic texts and calls...). Overall, his contributions to the relationship were so few and far between, that adjusting to his absence has been practically effortless...there's simply not much about him to miss. 

Four days after "my date" so callously kicked me to the curb, I was however, still riding the roller coaster of extreme highs and minute grateful that he'd only managed to suck the joy out of three months of my life (as opposed to the far worse alternative of say, three years or more)...the next minute though? I'd be sick to my stomach, because he'd humiliated me...and in doing so - he had dealt the final in a cumulative series of crippling blows - to what little self-confidence I had left. 

As has become somewhat compulsory, I turned to my art in the hopes that it might alleviate the lingering melancholia...because for me, self-portraiture can be the virtual equivalent of soothing tattered nerves the way other people do when they lay in bed watching old movies all day, or eat a quart of vanilla bean ice cream straight outta the carton. And so, desirous of chasing down a lead that had been sent to me by a very thoughtful stranger (THANK You!), I left work and made a pilgrimage to the town where the house in these pics. (barely still) stands. 

Once I located it, I pulled my car off of the single lane, dirt road as much as I was able - and left it conspicuously parked beside a "No Trespassing" sign. It made me nervous, but I could find no better place to safely leave it (without impeding the flow of spotty traffic) while still staying within walking distance of the juicy, come-hither ruin. 

I walked up the lane, and then across the front yard (which was nothing but a sea of waist-high, wild berry bushes, *ow*), and literally the instant I got myself insida that place, the adrenaline kicked worries were behind me (for the time being at least)...and I knew that I was exactly where I needed to be. 

It's been one week since I snapped these pics., and in that time I've taken easily a coupla hundred more - which never would've happened were I still in the paralyzing, stifling clutches of "my (diabolical) date". So if we take that, plus all of the above, yet one step further - mightn't we draw the conclusion that: where relationships are clearly not my area of expertise (nor are they ever very likely to ever be) self-portraiture is something that by now, I know intimately. Like, maybe I should hang up the notion that I'm meant to be with any man...and just stick with the one thing (besides my sweet kids, of course) that's perennially there for me, and so far - has never really let me down…

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can't Win 'Em All

(All pics. snapped on 10/10/11)

Right threatened in my last post - I did in fact answer the calling of that fabulous, fog-filtered moonlight, the other night - and got myself out in it for the sake of my sanity (first and foremost) but also in order to start building up my sorely depleted reserve of self-snaps. And even though the pictures that I brought home didn't turn out nearly as well as I'd hoped that they would - the excursion overall, worked wonders on my shriveling state of well-being...ahhhhh...

Unfortunately though, I'm at a loss for ample enough time with which to break down this shoot in more detail...other than to mention that I did havta trespass in order to get to this place - but I never felt so much as a hint of anxiety over getting busted for poaching, or attacked by wild that was a bit of a buzz-kill. The teensy shred of angst that I weathered, stemmed from not being able to effectively harness that moist, dense, ornery wall of light - which I'd mistakenly believed would be a shoo-in for returning an exceptional set of new pics.. Sadly though, it was not meant to be - as my shitty, little camera simply couldn't seem to cope with the conditions. 

So here I am again...penning yet another abbreviated, lackluster post. And although doing so leaves me with a nagging feeling of guilt, it's honestly all that I can swing at the moment - since so many other demands on my time have left me hamstrung to compose the prose that should've accompanied these pics..

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Big Chill

(Snapped on 10/10/11)

Well folks? I've done it again. I've let myself fall deeply and madly, hard and fast - for yet another coldhearted, duplicitous sonofabitch. And (as could've been predicted) I've suffered the patent consequences of being badly burned by the newest addition to a growing list of baleful, backstabbing bastards - to each of whom I've given much more than I've gotten in return.

To put it mildly, I felt frozen...paralyzed...prostrate...immobile - immediately following "my date's" abrupt, humiliating, and nonnegotiable dismissal of me - presumably so that he could fuck fan the fires with a former flame, who just happened to be flitting about town for a few days...(fml).

In any case, I am eternally grateful for the warmth of good friends (old and new), and my dear, sweet, wonderful children - cuz they thawed out my heart before it turned into a solid block of ice. Love you guys so very much.

Perhaps because I'm in the throes of this brutal, emotional deepfreeze - I feel more eager than ever to delve back into self-portraiture with a ferocious, fiery vengeance...and so, pray you'll forgive me for the brevity of this post - but there's a full moon in the sky and a lovely, patchy fog tonight - both of which seem dead set on melting my woes away.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Obtuse Angles

(All pics. snapped on 10/01/11)

When the owner of this amazing steel fabrication plant, offered it up to me as a potential venue for a new set of self-pics., I was positively beside myself with glee! Ya' see...recently, one of my beloved readers left a comment on the Labor (Day) of Love post - citing (and inquiring about) the fluidity of my poses in many of the pictures that I post - after which, I got it in my mind that maybe I oughtta try and swap out the curvy, willowy movements on which I (perhaps too often) rely - for poses more sinewy and harsh. And, what better place to attempt mimicking hard lines and sharp angles - than in a warehouse, not only constructed with - but also a storehouse for - the very quintessence of rigidity: unmalleable, heavy metal I-beams. 

I arrived at the plant, late in the afternoon on a cold, rainy Saturday - and as the owner showed me around the vast space - my mind was agog as I tried to process the plethora of potential photo-ops, all right there at my disposal. I also knew though, that there was no time to delay - as the muted, diffused, natural light that filled the room just enough so that I could avoid turning on the overhead lights - would lose its intensity with each passing minute. 

After settling on where and how to begin, the owner asked if I'd mind very much, if he stayed and watched while I worked. Feeling sincerely indebted to him for his generous offer to let me shoot there - naturally I said, "No, that's fine. But I will be naked...just so you know". (Dur) Here's the deal with that,'s not so much that I'm shy about my body (obviously) but more that snapping self-portraits in front of an audience (no matter how great or small) inevitably hinders my flow. Nothing against him personally, it's just that it's that much more difficult to get into any sort of a groove if I'm engaging in a running dialog, ya' know? Not to mention, naked or not - I definitely become uncharacteristically self-conscious while experimenting with what stuff works, and what doesn't - if the eyes of another are upon me. I'm a solitary artist, what else can I say...

It does bear mentioning however, that most of the images included in this post would never have come about, had the owner not suggested moving some of those heavy-ass, metal doohickies to different spots (and so kindly helped me do so) in order to get myself situated in places where I would not have been able to in the picture above, for example. 

Sadly though, my excitement over being able to climb up and dangle from that crane, was short-lived. After reviewing each photo as soon as they were snapped, I realized that unless I could get myself into position and perfectly still in 10 seconds (which was nearly impossible since the chain always swung at least a leetle bit, once I grabbed onto it) - in that light with no flash - the images were doomed to be fuzzy. Adding to my chagrin, I had completely neglected to effect anything even remotely angular...and instead, absentmindedly resorted to poses that by now in my pics., have become a dime a dozen.

Although for the most part, I completely whiffed on tapping into the desired "angular" theme - I did (thankfully) manage to keep it in the forefront of my feeble mind for this "plank" set of pics....having latched onto the idea following an incident that occurred at my ex's office, the other day. My son performed this maneuver on top of his dad's desk - boasting, "Check it out, Mom. I'm the only kid in my class who can do this" which I of course, (correctly) interpreted to be some sort of challenge. As soon as I proved to him that his rickety, old mother could do it too, I started mulling over scenarios where it might just work in my voila!  

When it came right down to it though, several factors made this image more difficult to capture than one might ever think...not to mention - slightly less than awesome: 

1.) It's physically taxing to do this move, repeatedly. I mean, whenever people ask me what I do to stay in shape - and I answer honestly by saying, "I do no formal exercise because I'm too poor and have no time, but - my self-portrait shoots do sometimes require an enormous amount of exertion" - this is what I'm talking about when I say those types of things...

2.) Again with the holding perfectly still nonsense...I swear to goodness, if I even moved a fraction of an inch, my feet were completely blurred and obscured.

3.) Out of the 20 + times that I successfully got myself into the "plank" position - there were only two frames in which I was parallel to my perch. All of the other times my feet were either too high, or too low. Admittedly I can be overly o.c.d. about such details, nonetheless - it was still incredibly frustrating...

...and 4.) my insistence to feature as much of the scrummy back (and fore)ground in these pics., ultimately left me with the nagging feeling that my being in them was borderline pointless.

The locker pics. proved to be a continuation of my apparent inability to switch from typical, curvy autopilot poses - to the stiff, akimbo stances that I'd hoped to manifest - and I resorted instead, to the safe but gratifying race against my camera's 10 second timer.

(Just look at how filthy I got rolling around up there!)

By the time I snapped this last group of pics., my camera was balking at the lack of good light, and we were forced to switch on the overheads - which was fine - cuz surprisingly, I actually kinda liked the artificial light that they cast on me and the objects below. But only 9 frames in, juuust as the lamps were getting good and warmed up, my camera decided to quit. 

I was to be going home (I believed) having failed to deliver, since I only marginally broke free from my usual drill. Adding insult to injury - I was shocked to discover, that I only snapped a paltry 80 what had felt like a far more industrious hour and a half.

There's this part of me that's super bummed, because evidently after all this time - I've inadvertently become conditioned to pose in an almost robotic-like manner...that I'm regrettably stuck in my ways, whether I care to accept it or not. And another part reasons, "Yeah but...perhaps creating a signature style isn't really such a bad thing". But there's a competitive, determined side of me that refuses to admit defeat...and if that side has its way, I'll revisit and conquer those damned hard angles yet...