Thursday, January 20, 2011

...Aaand STILL Another...

(Snapped on 12/31/10)

The day after my second visit to the burned-down clubhouse, I forced myself to take a break from obsessively ruminating over just how to make the foiled swimming pool shoot - a reality, by sifting through the dress-up pile in search of a jolt of inspiration for a possible interim shoot. I found an ensemble that I hadn't yet worn in any pics. (see above) but after I got into the costume, and did my hair and make-up - (including applying mascara to the 1/2" long grey roots of my hair, ugh) I wasn't at all convinced that I had become the character that I'd intended on portraying. 

I don't know what the matter was, exactly. Was I just so fixated on the swimming pool idea, that I couldn't focus properly on anything else? On one hand, it was a welcome relief to be wearing shoes and (so much) clothing...but the prospect of not freezing my ass off, wasn't enough to temper the fact that I felt so prudish, or...dowdy? I couldn't picture my character radiating any semblance of je ne sais quoi, while buried beneath that much fabric...and I definitely couldn't envision her behaving in a manner that would be considered at all provocative. Right from the get-go I was bored by the whole thing of it, and consequently - prepared to disappoint not only myself, but also my readers. Damn.

I was however, excited about the location that I'd decided upon for the shoot. In order to get to the delectably derelict disaster area, it would be necessary for me to visibly trespass. But it was New Year's Eve I figured by three o'clock or so, most people would've left work early to go get ready for the festivities that night - rendering that part of town virtually deserted. Not so. When I drove by to case the location and map out my strategy to shoot there, I could not believe that the neighboring Feed and Seed was still open for business. I did the right thing, and pulled into the parking lot, walked up to the men who were working there, and asked what the deal was with the property next door. Did it belong to the Feed and Seed? Would it be ok for me to take some pictures there? No, and...probably not. Rats. So now what?

I got in my little car and just drove. Certainly I'd find someplace that would work equally as well...wouldn't I

Eh, not so much really. I mean - I did find a place to take some pics....and the shoot overall did turn out to be as blah as I'd predicted - BUT! Something good did come out of this otherwise worthless excursion. On the drive back home, I passed a beautiful, old cemetery and noticed the telltale signs of a recent graveside service and burial. Oh goody! Right away I was formulating a back-up plan, should the pending swimming pool shoot fall through.

(Snapped on 1/01/11)

Simply spotting that fresh grave had somehow greased the cogs and wheels in my feeble brain and I felt my mind start to synapse with a bit more precision. During the 8 minute drive from my shoot back to my house, I had not only fleshed out the deets for the surprise cemetery shoot...but I'd also come up with a potential solution to my swimming pool shoot dilemma, YIP!

(Snapped on 1/01/11)

After swilling a couple of drinks early in the evening, here at the house with a close friend - I rung in the New Year my my desk - doing the thing that I love second best to taking pictures...writing. The only way that my New Year's celebration could've possibly been any better - would've been if I coulda had my kids here with me... 

I greeted the first full day of 2011, bright and early, well-rested (i.e. - no hangover!) and itchin' to find out how the day (as well as the year) would unfold. I did chores while I waited for the temperature to reach it's peak, put on my face, packed up my car - and instead of making the 30 minute trek up the road to the pool at the burned-down clubhouse (with an 8 ft. step ladder fastened to the roof of my car) I drove a scant 2 miles to where (fingers crossed) I'd be given permission to shoot in an easily accessible, empty backyard pool... 

It's a little scary to walk up to a stranger's house, knock on the door, explain who I am and what I do - and then petition the owners to grant me access to their personal property. But check this out! The gal who came to the door, was one of the awesome employees at the convenience store where I recently photographed myself pretending to rob the clerk at gunpoint...remember that? I was ecstatic! There was no need to go through my usual spiel - she knows about my blog, and she's seen firsthand, exactly what it is that I do. was no big shock really, when I asked if I could (pretty please?) snap some self-portraits in the pool. She said , "Sure" I screamed, "THANKS!" was truly just as simple as that. 

(Snapped on 1/01/10)

Adding to my bliss, was the good fortune to not have to strip naked and slip into my dress right there in the (mostly) drained pool (as I'd planned). Although there was a very good chance that the neighbors might witness at least some of what I was about to do - I spared them from having to endure the entire peep show, by changing clothes in the privacy of a handy, dandy pool house...

I loved every aspect of this shoot, quite frankly. The owners were true gems to let me shoot there - no questions asked, the presence of neighbors in their yards and upper floor windows made it just the right amount of thrilling, the air temp was tolerable, wearing clothing (this time) in no way made me feel like a prude, my gorillapod had enabled me to experiment with funky camera placement, and I got a kick out of little things that happened, like...when in the frame above - I lay down thinking that my head and shoulders would sink down into the water...but as it turned out (blessing in disguise?) that murky, dark water was frozen, Ha!

(Snapped on 1/01/11)

On my way back to my car, I stopped by the house to thank the owners one more time before I left. It wasn't until I was back home and freshening up for the cemetery shoot that I realized I had a giant maple leaf stuck to the side of my head, and pine needles poking out of my hair. (That might explain why the other woman looked at me funny, when she answered my knock on the door...)

I was plumb tickled with how New Year's Day had played out thus far, and I was just about to make it even better...

I didn't actually know the poor soul, who was now laying to rest in that freshly dug grave - but after reviewing the grim images from the swimming pool shoot, my mindset was to mourn for them anyway... 


  1. It's probably not much of a surprise that I like your newest and imaginative offerings with their tragic themes, although there was also something uplifting about the brightly clad woman going about her business in what appears to be a war torn village.
    The lone mourner lends itself to many possible back stories, and I like the greyness of the scene. Even the flowers seem to lack their usual brightness.
    Each of the pool shots look like an opening shot to a murder mystery, but I like the middle one best with it's V shaped steps framing the foreground leading down to what appears to be the recently abandoned corpse of a tragically abused and murdered young woman.

  2. The first and last of your shots are just superb. Loaded with feeling but strength at the same time. Wonderful!

  3. a brilliant series !