I just woke out of a dead sleep and realized that I've been at war with imagery lately. Both in that the "happy" or "aspirational" lifestyle photography/portraiture of social media, while beautiful and hope-bringing to many, is cloying and a lie and literally not real (and more accurately psychically damaging) to people like me who ceaselessly compare themselves in a negative way against the (I'll admit it: constantly erroneous) perception of the happiness and "normalcy" of others, but that I haven't done anything to say no to it. My own work lately has been super safe and bland, saying nothing about where I'm at or dealing with my own experience of taking up space in this world and the viciousness of feeling unworthy and inferior because I'm unable to say anything. I've been invalidating myself - I've been too careful about trying not to offend people to the point that I've censored myself and anything that could be helpful or interesting to anyone else. Or to me. It's caused me to feel paralyzed.

Life to me isn't a beautiful portrait in the sunset, it's a navigation of tenderness and violence, love and despair; more the sound of a beautifully sad violin (beautiful! But sad!) than an upbeat dance track with bubbly lyrics.

It's hard to admit to myself that I struggle with serious depression, laughably most of all because I feel like I am letting the people who love me the most down. This leads me not to acknowledge it, which leads to more self-recrimination and self-sabotage, isolation and depression.

In a resolute ending to this 5 AM brain-dump: I will begin to allow my art to be cathartic again, and loud and weird and gritty and imperfect. Some of you might not like it, but if I continue to let the fear of that guide me, then I am invalidating me. So, sorry in advance about anything that might be uncomfortable for you. It'll be uncomfortable for me, too, but at least I'll be doing it, which will make it easier for me to be on this planet.

The Belmontes

While at a wedding this past weekend, these dear friends of mine asked if I would take their portrait. It's so clear they have a lot of fun together.

First, serious. 

First, serious. 

Then fun! 

Then fun! 

And here, little Pax, who had great fun throwing himself off of the hay bales used as seating at this outdoor event. 

And here, little Pax, who had great fun throwing himself off of the hay bales used as seating at this outdoor event. 

A lovely morning

Captured on yesterday's dog walk:  

Sometimes, lighting is unimpressive until you change your own perspective. I got down into the wet grass and encountered magic! 

Sometimes, lighting is unimpressive until you change your own perspective. I got down into the wet grass and encountered magic! 

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A Moment in Grand Central

Interesting inadvertent composition: only the men are facing the camera. 

Interesting inadvertent composition: only the men are facing the camera. 

A whirlwind 24 hours (less than, actually) concluded with a short wait for the train at Grand Central Station yesterday. The light coming through the windows was exquisite, as always, and so I took a few studies of the people surrounding me. This was my favorite. 

Jamie + Mario

Jamie and the dogs and I went down to the river yesterday afternoon. It was perfect out: the humidity had broken after the rain, but not the heat. Jamie swam with the dogs, and I captured him in a quiet moment with Mario. 

Jamie + Mario taking a break from swimming. 

Jamie + Mario taking a break from swimming. 

I also took a picture of the beautiful scenery and my dirty feet:  

 

Dirty dirty summer feet. 

Dirty dirty summer feet. 

My Adventures with a Yearling Red-Tailed Hawk

I had the pleasure of seeing two of my oldest and dearest friends, last week. We grew up together in Pelham, MA, and went to an elementary school together so small that its' highest population while I attended was 113 students.

They've both moved far away; one to Texas, while the other is living in Seattle. Visits like these are few and far between, and always a cause for celebration.

We ended up at a park behind the town library, where we discovered a young Red-Tailed Hawk feeding on a squirrel, in a small clearing. As my friends sat down, I grabbed my camera and crept more closely to her. She was entirely unfazed by my presence, and to my astonishment, I ended up within three feet of her, sitting on the ground, taking picture after picture of her. Every now and then, I forced myself to put my camera down, in order to fully take in the wonder of what I was being treated to.

Once I felt like I wouldn't get any more shots that I hadn't already taken, I slowly backed away, stood up, and rejoined my friends, and the Hawk kept eating.

 

Desi Revisited

Desi is getting to the delicious baby-phase of developing baby fat all over. He is charming as all get-out and is simply great to hang out with!

Chasing Fog

The fog was so thick, this morning, drowning out noise and anything farther than a few hundred yards, that I felt like I was in a beautiful little cocoon world. I made myself late for work by constantly stopping to take pictures.