A matter of perspective, I found a great inspiration from this video. I have been reading a bit of Alan Watts. I explored his works some years ago as a teenager and find myself again drawn.
I am not keen on the imagery the video provides.
I welcome 2015 with open arms!
I spent some time over winter break reflecting over the past year. I also spent time reassessing personal, creative and academic goals. I have a greater sense of direction this semester. With the encouragement and critique of supportive faculty/advisors and other creatives this semester will prove to be productive and insightful. I hope to strengthen my writing skills. I found while gathering and creating course content for the class I am teaching the process of writing helped me observe art work(s) in greater depth.
I feel incredibly renewed. I am eager to take on the challenges of teaching and advancing towards my MFA.
Photo: Charles Mason
Being a storyteller at Dark Winter Nights was cathartic and momentous. I shared intimate details about my journey to Alaska. I touched on the tragic passing of my partner Isaac’s brother Amos and read ‘Birdshot.’ It became the most powerful moment of my life, the lights were blinding and I could not hear the words escaping my lips but a sense of calm came over me and I shared for 10 minutes more than just a story but the collective experience of love, loss and adventure.
I was approached by audience members who thanked me for sharing my story, although it was me who was grateful for the stage to tell my story. In that moment of gratitude I became fully aware of the power of storytelling, sharing tender moments with others, and never losing hope after all we are never alone.
As a soft quiet snow fell peacefully out the windows of the graduate studio, I was reminded of the stillness that often is reflected in my photographs.
I processed a pack film this week, the expired film surprised me with it’s latitude being 52 years old shot with a 100 year old camera. The film was not without it’s quirks.
As of late I have ebbed and flowed between inspiration and exasperation. Finding my place and getting into the groove of the MFA program has been an exciting challenge.
I have begun to delve a bit deeper into the question asked in Mentored Teaching:
Why are you getting an MFA?
Why are you here specifically and UAF and what events, life experiences or decisions led you to get here? What do you want out of your MFA program and what is your plan to make sure you get what you need?
A wonderful series of events led to me relocating to Fairbanks in 2012.
Little Diomede, Alaska
After spending the better part of the summer living and working in Nome, Alaska and surrounding villages I considered leaving the grind of San Francisco and traded my shared room for a winter of adventure and exploration. I had not considered an MFA at UAF until living in Alaska for about a year. The stark beauty of the tundra struck me with such a sense of awe. I could not put my camera down ( and still can’t). The initial awe hasn’t ceased, the constant changing land of the far north, the people and the connections I’ve made serve as an endless inspiration. I cannot say that I would be here without my counterpart Isaac Thompson. I arrived in Alaska as a friend eager to see a homeland and have remained to become family. My work has been influenced by my integration and interaction with the Thompson Family in Nome, Alaska. I hope to continue to explore and create photographs that translate my love for the land and the communities I inhabit.
I seek to leave UAF with MFA as a competitive artist with the tools to work beyond Alaska. I hope to have a ‘toolbox’ overflowing. I hope to improve my aptitude to story-tell visually and poetically. I seek to improve my ability to analyze and critique with tact and honesty. My greatest hope is to produce a body of work that is remarkable, true and beautiful. I hope to find and connect with artists and mentors who seek life, beauty and question everything.
I used to have this pinned to my dorm wall, it grew tattered and I reprinted it when I moved to Fairbanks and now I will share it with each of you!
The sound of birdshot rolling across the bloodstained wood floor refuses to leave my memory
Metallic iron scent lingering, even after two coats of Killz paint
Oppressive summer sun so foreign to this land, beads of sweat as my hands rhythmically scrub away bits of a person I once knew and cared for
10 hours and still I cannot bring myself to stop scrubbing
I leave only to scream, to cry, to let it sink in
I sink to the late evening dew soaked earth
Knees dirty and hands knowing the only thing that feels safe—help
'Did you have enough to eat?' 'Here, I'll make you a sandwich'
Strangers hug, awkward words escaping while the whispers swirl
'Was it intentional?' They ask me. I am numb. 'I don't know' I plead with my eyes and shrug
I barricade myself in memories, not my own
The sound of the scanner and scent of old photographs, hopeful.
I smile and laugh until I am crying
His father stands silently behind me and places a warm hand on my shoulder but I cannot turn around
I do not have adequate words to express that ‘I am sorry’
Sorry isn’t sufficient
The sniffles say enough and finally I turn around but he’s gone
There beside me sits a picture, a successful hunt
Pride on his face, Amos is nearly 11
And I hear the sound, birdshot rolling across the bloodstained wood floor
Isaac near Mosquito Pass
With the sudden loss of Isaac’s younger brother in July, we set off on a quick trip into the tundra with a longtime friend, Richard.
A sense of sorrow hung like a dark cloud over us. The sky was moody, shifting from sunshine to a soft downpour as if to echo our grief.
It was especially cathartic to have my camera in hand. I tasked myself with the care of others much of the summer and did not produce as much imagery as I had hoped to although the photos I did take hold great personal meaning.
I am grateful for the wilderness, it brought clarity at a time when nothing made sense.
What an exciting and overwhelming semester this has turned out to be thus far!
Finding my place in the department and meeting new folks while navigating my way through the first year expectations and requirements is seemingly daunting and exhilarating. I look forward to building lasting relationships and collaborating!
I am currently shooting with a really awesome 4x5 camera that was entrusted into my care just before heading back to Fairbanks.
The best part of receiving this camera is the pack film dated back to 1966!!
I am 10 exposures into the pack of 16.
I will post images when I develop and scan the film. It’s tough to contain my excitement!