(All pics. snapped on 1/10/12)
Believe it or not, I'm still 40,000 files away from having all of my data returned to my Mac. I had no clue going in, that this process would take place at such a snail's pace...but even if a whole month passes before I get everything back - I would never even think of complaining. I'll be too bloody relieved to have the precious, irreplaceable images of my kids and my friends, as well as the spoils of my (near) two-year stint as a self-portrait artist, back in my hot, little hands - to ever utter a single cross word about the glitch.
In the meantime though, the truly good news is - last night, I was finally able to get my newest self-pics. uploaded onto my kids' computer...including a nice, big bunch that I snapped just yesterday, along with these pics. that I staged about two weeks ago...which means - no more lackluster, pictureless Big Ugly posts! YAY!
Some of you might remember The "Lizzie Borden" entry that I posted in November of last year, yeah? Well, the pictures in that post were taken at the very same farm as the one providing the backdrop seen here. But I wonder how many of you have been visiting The Big Ugly long enough to also recognize this as the setting for the "milkmaid" self-portraits that I wrote about, in this entry - from way back when my blog was in its infancy...
If you think about it - that makes three sets of photos, featured in three separate entries - all devoted to the same piece of property, right? So, what is it about this place that makes it so seemingly irresistible to me? Well, for one thing - aesthetically it boasts many of the qualities that commonly attract me to a venue: unsurpassed, pastoral beauty...interesting, abandoned structures...a water feature...and livestock milling about. Furthermore, it is a super convenient location for a shoot - as it sits just a few minutes up the street from my house. All that considered, I still kinda doubt that I would've bothered with this last group of pics. (since I try to avoid recycling any one place too, too many times) had I not recently discovered perhaps the very best thing about this fabulous farm - that the farmer who rents it is an acquaintance of mine, but better still...he's a much cooler guy than I'd realized.
One night not long ago, at a local watering hole - the farmer approached me, wearing what appeared to be a warm and friendly smile. He threw me for a loop though, when (referring to the "Lizzie Borden" post) he said, "I like the pictures you took inside my barn."............I'm not gonna lie, a momentary wave of fear ripped right up through my middle - and I fretted, " Holy crap - that is his barn! I hope he's not pissed that I was in there!"
You see, I'd had a hunch that it was he who ran cattle on that farm, but it wasn't until he gently called me out for trespassing on the property - that I was absolutely, positively sure. Remarkably though, the farmer was genuinely complimentary of the pictures that I'd taken there, and wasn't the least bit angry that I'd done so without permission. The more we talked, the less anxious I became, and before the conversation ended - he had given me his blessing to return to the farm to take this cluster of "hay feeder" snaps...I gotta tell ya', I was elated and dumbfounded all at once...
Not that this should matter, but to me it really does - the farmer's not some nobody, and he's not just anybody...around here he's a well-respected somebody. And so for him to eschew the omnipresent scuttlebutt over my questionable lifestyle, choosing instead to form his own opinions about me and my art, but more importantly - to facilitate and encourage my self-portraiture the way that he did - was a surprise and welcome feather in my cap...
...And because of all that, what sticks in my mind the most about these pics. - is not the stuff that typically does, like...the fact that my feet became so numb from the cold, that it wasn't until several hours after this shoot (when they'd had enough time to completely thaw out), that I realized they were full of thistle thorns...ow. Nor is it the attention that I got from motorists slowly driving past, staring at the crazy woman wearing light blue, lacy undies - climbing on hay rings like playground equipment, and tromping barefoot through a field full of cow shit...Nope. The thing that these pictures will always bring to mind, is that a beloved member of this oftentimes highly (and ridiculously) opinionated community - openly (to me at least) endorses and encourages what I do as an artist. It's refreshing to know that the farmer not only has a mind of his own, but that he's also not afraid to speak whatever's on it...in public, to my face, and no matter who the hell is watching. He is a self-assured man who's got the cajones to buck popular (negative) opinion about me...despite the fact that it's an opinion that is shared by many people who are actually very close to him...Bravo!
(Thank You so much for being kind and good to me!)