Saturday, April 26, 2008

More photos of my mother and her childhood doll

Awhile back, I wrote an entry about my mother and her childhood doll. Finally, I've developed some of the Holga photos that I shot on the same day that I shot the Polaroids in that entry. I love the qualities of these photos. I hope you will, too.

Versions of My Mother and Her Doll (Christmas 2007)
Camera: Holga CFN
Film: Classic Pan 400

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Japanese Doll with Six Wigs

When I was about five, my mother, father, and I went to San Francisco for the day. While in Chinatown, my mother and I were in a shop, and I saw this doll in a box. Her name was "Japanese doll with six wigs" and she had six wigs, each with its own compartment in a little box. I fell in love with her, and I begged my mother to buy her for me. My mother told me she was too expensive, but I begged and begged. Finally, my mother relented, and the doll was mine.

I brought her home and kept her in her box for a long time, taking her out to play with her and her six wigs, but trying to preserve her. After all, in my mind she was very expensive and fancy, and I didn't want to hurt her. At some point I placed her in a plastic display box, along with her wigs, so that I could admire her without touching her and damaging her. I didn't have many toys as a child, and I always treated them carefully, so as not to break them.

Years went by. When I was an adult, I found her original box. What was her price? The tag was still on it. She was $3.25. However, we were poor back then, so she must have been expensive to my mother, because she really agonized before buying her. Japanese doll with six wigs is not a fancy doll. When I look at her now, I see that she's just a little cardboard composite doll with rough porcelain hands and feet and a head. However, I think she's lovely and she and her six wigs are still in excellent condition. I took her portrait back in December. Her kimono is permanent, and she's wearing one of her six wigs. Her hair underneath is a little pageboy, like a real geiko.

Japanese Doll with Six Wigs (2007)
Camera: Polaroid SX-70
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero
Location: Modesto, California

Friday, April 18, 2008

A New Trunkt Cover!

My latest showcase at Trunkt is on the cover!

I love the amazing artists and makers featured on this fantastic site!

Purple Artichokes

I adore artichokes, and have always wondered: who was the first person to realize they were edible? This is one of my favorite polas I've ever taken. I shot this last spring, using our teal Honda Civic's hood as the background! The colors turned out really nice in the cool light of afternoon shade. I don't think it's obvious that I shot this photo outdoors in the shade, balancing the artichoke in one hand, using the car for a background, and trying to keep the camera steady in the other hand, but I did!

The Purple Artichoke (2007)
Camera: Polaroid SX-70
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero
Location: My driveway!

All of my photos are available as prints in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

the beginning of the rainbow

I love the sky. I love the way the sky is a constantly-changing canvas. I know that's a cliché, but I mean it. And I love to take polaroids of the sky, especially using Time-Zero film. When we lived in Florida, I took a lot of photos of the sky. However, the sky in Florida is small. It's beautiful, but trapped in humidity and storms so often that it could be suffocating. The skies over our current home in Texas, however, are far bigger. We're not living in the biggest sky country, but it's far more expansive than the one that resided over us not two years ago.

One evening in the late summer of 2006, I walked out into our back yard, my SX-70 in my hands. I looked up at the sky just as a rainbow was forming. I took a photo, and felt like I'd found a pot of gold. How often do we see the birth of a rainbow?

The Beginning of the Rainbow (2006)
Camera: Polaroid Sx-70
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero
border removed in scanning
Location: Denton, Texas

Monday, April 7, 2008

My mother's doll

My mother received a doll from Santa on Christmas Day, 1938. She was five years old, and the doll was an Ideal Mama-Papa doll. My mother has kept this doll, although the original clothes have long gone away. She loves it, and speaks so fondly of that morning when she first laid eyes on her. On Christmas 2007, I decided to take photos of my mother with her doll, because she doesn't have a photo of herself first playing with the doll coming on seventy years ago. My mother is seventy four in this photo; her doll is sixty nine, and wearing a too-big dress that my mother picked up somewhere, to tide her over until we get some proper clothes made up for her.

And here is my mother's doll, posing for her own portrait:

Both of these photos were taken using my Polaroid sx-70 camera and Time-Zero film (expired). I think it's important to have tokens of our lives, little objects that remind us of our loved ones, special moments, and continuity despite change. I love both of these photos. In the first one, you can see that glint of child-like joy in my mother's eyes. In the second, you can see the traces of play on a well-loved doll, adored by a midwestern girl living through the Depression.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Details Like This Make Life Worth Living

I have a passion for walls, windows, and doors. I know it's not original, but I really love to take photos of interesting edifices. I love to wander through cities and come across well-lived-in walls to photograph. Using my Lomo is one of my favorite ways to remember these structures, too. Oh, how I love my Lomo LC-A! My favorite film to run through this camera is Kodak Ektachrome, which I always cross process as well.

Here are three of my favorite Lomos of walls and windows and doors. All of the photos were shot using my Lomo LC-A camera and cross-processed Kodak Ektachrome e100g film. I wish I knew what was behind these doors and through these windows...

Details Like This Make Life Worth Living (2008)
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

The Nonconformist (2006)
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Layers (2007)
Location: Amman, Jordan

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Finally, the poppies are here!

I'm a Californian, and I love our state flower, the California Poppy. These hardy wildflowers bloom along the roadsides and in fields and through the desert and on mountains throughout the Golden State, and I love the way they illuminate the world around them. When we moved to Texas, I planted some in our yard, and we enjoyed many of these orange gems for several months last spring and summer. This year, I was getting worried, as they were not coming up at all. Finally, though, two days ago, my first California Poppy of the season burst out into the world, bringing a shocking flash of orange to our rather boring back yard. There are many more now, many more everyday, coming up and getting ready to shed their caps and soak up the sun. This is a sign to me that, finally, winter is gone, and it won't be back for a very long time.

...and it is on fire (2007)
Camera: Polaroid SX-70
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero
Inadvertent manipulation from being stuck in the camera!
Location: Denton, Texas, USA

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I love comfortable hotel rooms

I travel frequently, mostly because of my work, and regularly find myself in airports, taxis, metros, trains, buses, rental cars, and hotel rooms. Even though I don't have unlimited resources, I always try my best to get fabulous deals for fabulous rooms in fabulous hotels. I'm not always successful, but sometimes I get lucky.

This past January, I went to DC and booked myself into the Omni Shoreham. Hotel. When I checked in, I was placed in a very beautiful, spacious, freshly-decorated room that had simple, clean lines and soothing colors. It's so rare to find good design in hotels. I am often astonished at the poor taste designers exhibit in their choices of decor; and I know it's not "just" about price, because I've stayed in some really cool places that were not expensive, but very well designed. But anyway, this hotel room had been nicely arranged, with integrated lines that were clean and pseudo-modern, yet were evocatively Neoclassical as well, in line with the whole DC theme.

Hotels are strange places--spots of transgression, beauty, and creepiness. There are endless possibilities in hotel rooms, and their anonymous nature emparts a bizarre quality to them. With every visitor, the room witnesses the sublime and the ridiculous elements of human nature. I believe something from every guest remains in hotels rooms; I don't know what that "something" is, but one morning I pulled out my Polaroid camera and decided that I just had to make a record of that something in this particular room.

Room 779 (2008)
Camera: Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1, Model 2
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero
Location: Room 779, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I'm not really a self-portrait taker. Some photographers are really great at documenting themselves and exploring fascinating ways to create self portraits. Aside from snapshot-style selfs, I've never been much for this form of photography.

However, I have taken one self portrait that I think is interesting. Identification is a special photo for me, but it wasn't until a wonderful conversation last night with my friend that I realized it works for other people, too. So here I present: myself.

Identification (2007)
Camera: Polaroid Sx-70 Alpha 1, Model 2
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero
Location: Amman, Jordan

Thank you for the conversation, my friend.