Monday, September 29, 2008

Featured Company Making A Difference: Dr. Bronner's

One of the things I have wanted to do with this blog is mention, from time to time, little things we can all do to make an environmental and political difference. Today I'd like to feature a company whose products I've been using since I was a child, Dr. Bronner's Soaps. As you may or may not know, Dr. Bronner's is that soap, the one with the dramatic spiritual manifestos all over the labels! But behind the ALL-ONE philosophy lay a strong commitment to organic, fair trade practices and the promotion of peace through economic investment and consumer awareness.

My parents opened a health food store in 1975, and from the beginning, Dr. Bronner's natural Castile soaps were a staple product in the beauty section. I grew up using the liquid peppermint Castile soaps, although my adult favorite has been the almond version. Over the years, Dr. Bronner's has expanded its product line (I still need to try the body balms!), but it's also expanded its activism. I would like to introduce you to something I really admire about this company. They are fully committed to fair trade practices, and are currently blending Fair Trade olive oils from Palestinian farmers in the West Bank with Arab and Jewish farmers' olive oils produced in Israel. What a beautiful statement, as well as financial boon for these farmers! You can read more about this venture here, and watch a short film about the process embedded below.

If you've never tried Dr. Bronner's products, I urge you to do so! They are organic certified, Fair Trade certified, opposed to animal testing, and manufactured using 100 per cent recycled/recyclable packaging!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Stash is Dwindling

Although my refrigerator is still chock full of various Polaroid films, there is only one pack of my favorite film of all time, Time-Zero, left in the door. Add to that the three shots in my camera currently, and I am down to 13 shots. It's stressful, but I'm trying not to worry too much about it. I have plans for the three shots in my camera, and the final pack will be shot later this year, when the glorious light of winter hits us here in the rather southern land of Tejas. That pack will be very expired looking, judging from the other packs from that lot, but that's ok. I've factored that into my plans ;)

Yesterday, I shot three photos from the pack in my camera. Although it's expired, it's in remarkably new condition, because I've carefully stored it since it was fresh. The flowers I had hoped to shoot in Time-Zero for these images aren't available at this time of year, but I am very pleased with the photos I took nevertheless. Last night, my dear friend told me, "That's what I love about photography; when you get something completely different from what you expected." I think he's right!

This one makes me happy, these creamy roses in my favorite vase (more on the vase below):


And this one, a 1976 Bicentenial Ball Jar filled with unique purple thistles! I found this jar on the sink in the back of my mother's shop, from which she is currently in the midst of retiring, and my husband spent hours cleaning off dried up plant roots and water deposits so that I could sell it in our vintage stuff etsy shop.  However, now that it's all clean, I've decided to keep it--at least for the time being--and use it as a rustic container for flowers! 

Ball Jar with Thistles

And finally, this photograph, which features my favorite vase. I bought this vase back in 1998 from my favorite family of potters in Jerusalem, the Karakashian family. It's been my favorite home for flowers ever since, and is a beautiful handmade piece. The lighting of this photo is dark, but I think the underexposure allows for some interesting Time-Zero emulsion impact to come through as a consequence. By the way, if you are ever in Jerusalem, you absolutely must visit Stepan Karakashian and his family in their shop on the Via Dolorosa. Their pottery is gorgeous, their manner elegant, and their place in the history of the Old City is priceless. 

Ten Years On

All photos 2008
Camera: Polaroid SX-70
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero
signed prints @ my etsy shop

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

hello! is it really september already?

Oh my, I have been so neglectful of my blog as of late! The primary reason has been that my summer has been so very busy! Trips to Colorado (for work), Minnesota (work and play), and California (play and work) kept me very busy! And now the new university term has begun. In case you don't know, I'm a professor at the University of North Texas, so my schedule gets really busy in September. To top it off, I've fallen a bit behind in some writing duties, so I'm still playing a bit of catchup!

However, I've been finding a bit of time here and there to play with my batches of Polaroid Artistic TZ film! I wanted to post this particular photo today to encourage everyone out there to consider replacing your loud and polluting gas and electric lawn mowers with an awesome push mower! My husband and I got this gorgeous retro-and-wonderful, truly analog push mower some months ago, and our lawn looks great! Just think: you'll get some exercise, won't pollute, and have some mulch at the end of your lawn mowing session! It's getting easier and easier to be green, and small steps really add up!

The Lawnmower Polaroid, 2008
Camera: Polaroid SX-70
Film: Polaroid Artistic TZ Film
signed prints in my Etsy shop

Enjoy the final days of summer, everyone!