Monday, October 27, 2008

Jaded, Yet Hopeful

Let me preface this entry by saying: I am a jaded person when it comes to politics. I have never been a "true believer" and I have never been very active in the party politics of my nation--largely because I am not a fan of either party. However, I am a very politically-aware person; by nature of my lifelong interest in government, social justice, and international affairs, I have followed politics closely since I was a small child. Perhaps it's that lifelong interest in the affairs of state that has made me jaded.

I know that there is no politician who is not tainted in some way by some compromise. Too often, it seems like our "leaders" are corrupt and completely disconnected from the real world of "everyday people." I know from my own life--growing up working class in America--that this is a nation full of people who work very hard for very little. I also know, from many years living and traveling in other nations, that we are uniquely privileged in many ways, even in our despairing moments. We are also supposed to be responsible for our government, by virtue of its own declarations, and, when our government makes decisions that ruin the lives of people on the other side of the world and in our own country, we are responsible for that, too.

The last eight years have been nightmarish, not only for Americans, but for the world. I was very jaded going into this election season, fearful that we would not have any new options. However, as it grows closer and closer to our election day, I am increasingly impressed with Barack Obama, and I want to encourage you to vote for him on November 4th. He gave a speech today that I think is truly important--and remember, I am jaded! I am not a person who is normally moved by either politicians nor nationalism. This speech, however, is saying something important. We do not need to continue to evoke fear and hatred in our country and around the world any more. And I believe, by selecting Barack Obama as our president, Americans may begin to show the world that we are not all war mongerers, haters, or morons. We aim for a better life for ourselves and our world.

Do I think Barack Obama will solve all our problems? Of course not. But will his election restore our good name around the world and change the discourse of our country away from hate and toward reconciliation? I believe so. If you have a vote in the USA, please consider casting it for Barack Obama.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Obama's speech. I hope you will vote for Barack Obama next Tuesday.

“In one week, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election; that tries to pit region against region, city against town, Republican against Democrat; that asks us to fear at a time when we need hope."

“In one week, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need...[A]s I’ve said from the day we began this journey all those months ago, the change we need isn’t just about new programs and policies. It’s about a new politics – a politics that calls on our better angels instead of encouraging our worst instincts; one that reminds us of the obligations we have to ourselves and one another.”

“[W]hat we have lost in these last eight years cannot be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits alone. What has also been lost is the idea that in this American story, each of us has a role to play. Each of us has a responsibility to work hard and look after ourselves and our families, and each of us has a responsibility to our fellow citizens. That’s what’s been lost these last eight years – our sense of common purpose; of higher purpose. And that’s what we need to restore right now.”

Obama on the Wall (2008)
Camera: Olympus e-300
Location: Denton, Texas, USA

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Alternative Giving Spotlight: Heifer International

One of the things I like to do on my blog from time to time is spotlight organizations and businesses who are making a difference in our world. One of the charities that I really admire and love to support is Heifer International. Founded in the 1940s with the goal of "teaching a man to fish," Heifer International provides livestock, bees, trees, and training to impoverished people around the world. They are given animals appropriate to their environment and cultures, taught how to care for them, and pass on the benefits of the next generation of animals to their neighbors.

One of the really cool things about Heifer International is that they encourage alternative gifting, which means that you can buy a share in an animal in the name os someone you love and give that to them as a gift! If you're inclined toward that kind of thing, Heifer is the charity for you! I recently donated a hive of honeybees to a family in the name of my mother, and gave other special people shares of a dairy goat for a child and a knitting box (that is, two llamas and two sheep) for a family. What a great way to celebrate the holiday season, by helping other people sustain their livelihoods and support their communities!

Photo from Heifer International

Friday, October 24, 2008

My 2009 Calendars!

For the past couple of years, I've been selling calendars of my photographs, and this year is no exception! It's an economical way to buy some of my prints, and you can enjoy them throughout the year! Here are the calendars that I have for sale for 2009. You may click on the images to go straight to the purchase site. Click on the months below the main image of each calendar's page to see all of the months!

New for 2009!

Vernacular American Roadsigns: Analog Photos by Futurowoman

Instant Gratification: My New-for-2009 Polaroid Calendar!

Last Year's Calendars--Now for 2009!

Looking at you! Big-Eyed Doll Polaroids

Keeping it Real! My 2008 Polaroid calendar--for 2009!

Thank you for looking!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Dogs and Our New Chair

My dogs are two of my favorite photographic subjects. My whippet, Laika, is a beautiful model; she is sculptured, elegant, and gorgeous. My terrier, Orson, is cuddly, adorable, and spunky. They are both photogenic in their own ways, and, while my love for them prejudices me to think their photos are always fabulous, I do really love to share my photos of them.

This past week, I was lucky enough to get two photos of them that seem to go together perfectly, even though I took them a week or so apart. Last week, I shot this photo of Laika on our new living room chair, a beautiful chive green anson chair from Room and Board. I love its low light and subtle textures.

Laika on the New Chair (2008)

Today, however, I shot this photo of Orson on the new chair. A rainy day light made his portrait eerily similar to the one I took of Laika.

Orson on a Rainy Day (2008)

Yes, my dogs get on the furniture, even if it's new. :)
Both photos:
Camera: Polaroid Sx-70
Film: Polaroid Artistic TZ

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Grandmother's Polaroid Camera

In 2005, my mother gave me my grandmother's old Polaroid 104 camera. She had found it when they were moving  things out of my grandparents' home (after they both passed away), and wondered if I could use it. It was in great condition, with the exception of the battery contacts. They were dead due to having been stored with a battery in them. All of this time, I have wanted to shoot the camera, but never got around to having it fixed.

Well, the other day, my dear friend fixed it for me, replacing the old battery set up with a new one! The camera works! I initiated it yesterday, in honor of World Toy Camera Day! Although the Polaroid 104 wasn't considered a "toy" when it was sold between 1965 and 1967, it does have a plastic lens, making it a super-fun plasticcam worthy of "toycam" status in my book! 

This is one of my favorite photos from yesterday's first day using this awesome camera, which comes complete with my grandmother's name in DYMOTAPE on it! I'm so excited to keep this special family camera in action!

Antenae (2008)
Camera: Polaroid 104
Film: Polaroid UV-ID
Location: Denton, Texas, USA

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The SX-70 as presented by the Eames'

Everyone who knows about my photography knows that my Polaroid Sx-70 has become one of my prized possessions. The experience of shooting with that camera is really an adventure, and I've been lucky to shoot a lot of the beautiful, peerless Time-Zero film through mine. I wanted to share this film I found with you; it's the film Polaroid created in the early 1970s to introduce the SX-70 to the world. Made by the mighty Eames', it is a lovely introduction, as well as unintentional elegy, to the wonderful world of the Sx-70.

Friday, October 10, 2008

the traveling polaroid camera project!

I was very lucky to sign up for the Polaroid Traveling Camera Project  at Flickr. The purpose of this project is to send a camera all over the USA to various Polaroid artists, have them shoot a photo of themselves, and then send it to the next person.  This is my self portrait, shot yesterday morning using the traveling camera--a Polaroid OneStep--and 600 film. 

I rarely shoot self portraits, but I do think this one is vernacular-tastic, so here it is! LOL

PS. I'm having a sale at my Etsy shop for everyone reading this blog! Just mention "blogspot" with any purchase at checkout, and I'll send you a surprise 4x6" print!