I love winter…but by the end of it there is a fog of desperation hanging over me that only another soldier of a North East winter could understand. Spring in the Adirondacks generally means mud. And snow. When other portions of the country are swathed in cherry blossoms and daffodils we are still slipping and slopping our way through the thaw. But now that May is here with warm winds which have dried out the stubborn patches of snow and mud it finally feels like spring. I watched my first spring sunset with feet firmly planted in the sand up to my ankles in frigid lake water last night. It felt amazing. I was also numb from the cold. (But it was the best kind of numb!)
Freshly tilled fields draw birds to feast on the bugs and grubs turned over and the sickly sweet smell of manure reminds me that even the cows have been longing for a break from the barn. Trees burst into green and white fluffy blossoms bedeck every other branch that hasn’t been claimed by shades of pink. In my own garden I have been waiting all winter to see the tulips I planted last fall. Now, everyday another green stalk is growing taller and I’m being rewarded with bright colors where only a short time ago snowbanks stood. Spring is here and I am ready to kick off my shoes, throw on my garden hat and enjoy it! — Tarah
Tarah’s beautiful words already encompass so much of my own experiences in spring, so I’ll be brief. Spring is the season of my birth, and I always feel most strongly myself in this season. I wake with attentiveness as I listen to the birds sing, I watch as every corner of the world bursts into color, and I feel the warm sun on my face and the moist earth between my fingers as I work in the garden…the world is alive, and I am also alive. — Kelli
“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.” – Doris Day
I am very, very lucky because I belong to a family that is full of love. I had some photos that I took for this theme, but they didn’t quite express what I wanted them to. So, I was looking back through all of the photos I’ve taken in the last year or so and I realized that I had a lot of photos of my family members loving each other…and the ones I’ve chosen to share are only a sampling of all of the images I found! How wonderful it is that I have been able to capture these small moments, and now I have an occasion to share them all. — Kelli
I have included the typical instagram “car selfie”
The lesser known “lighthouse selfie”
A black and white “look away and appear artsy and thoughtful and too good for this photo shot.”
A “collage” of some words that describe or have been attributed to me. (Go nuts with that pseudo psych wanna be’s)
and a photo of that lighthouse. Because it’s beautiful and I drove ten hours to take that photo and THAT says more about me than anything else.
In college I took a course about the Renaissance period in Europe. Instead of using a textbook we read contemporary sources — things like Machiavelli’s The Prince and Christopher’s Columbus’s diaries. We also read Montaigne’s Essays and talked about how he and some of his contemporaries represented the burgeoning concept of self-fashioning.* To me, Montaigne stands at the pinnacle of this exercise, and we have him and many others to thank for developing and popularizing more personal forms of self-expression. If there had been iPhones in the Renaissance period, Montaigne would have been the King of the Selfie. In any case, whenever I think of “self” or “self-identity” I can’t help but think of the Renaissance (thanks, Professor Germana!). But, I am not like Montaigne; I am fairly uncomfortable sharing my “self” with others, so this assignment was rather painful. I’m not sure if any of these images really capture me — I don’t usually self-fashion through my appearance. [I should note that I am certainly self-fashioning right now through my commentary!] I suppose those who know me well might be able to say one way or another.
*If you’re interested in the concept of self-fashioning in the Renaissance, I recommend you read Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt.
I have learned through the process of taking these photos that I really do not live my life by the clock. I very rarely know what time it is unless one of us has to be somewhere at a set hour. I tend to measure time in familiar sounds, activities, and the light throughout the day. To a greater or lesser degree I suppose I measure things in vacations and haircuts. Backpacks and socks. Because time doesn’t really matter. It’s a tool like anything else we can use effectively but most of us don’t. To me what makes me take note of time are haircuts. “Oh he needs another one already.” or socks- as they have both outgrown theirs. Backpacks mark the school year and vacations offer time to soak it all in. Because it won’t be long before they need new socks. — Tarah
This has been one of my most favorite collaborations to date. When we learned that we were going to be working on the theme of “time” we thought we might try something a little different. Instead of just interpreting the theme in our own way, we decided that we would each take six hours during the day and take a photo during that hour (Tarah took odds, I took evens). Although the pictures weren’t all taken on the same day or by the same person, the end result is a complete day — 12 whole hours. My personal favorite is Tarah’s 7 am photo, as it accurately represents how I feel pretty much every morning. — Kelli
We are over a week into the new year now and while I may not make resolutions, my cats have reminded me they do. They are always lording it over me how much more evolved they are and how superior as a species they are in general. So as a kind gesture to them. I the lowly human offer to share with you Stripes and Stitch’s New Year’s resolutions. — Tarah
[click on the kitties to see their resolutions]
1 Make more eye contact during conversations.
2 Get outside more
3 Focus on inner beauty
4 Take risks
5 Learn a foreign language
6 write a book
You know what I’m good at? Gravity. As a kid I think people assumed I was shy, and I’m certainly not an extrovert, but the truth is that I’m really just thoughtful. When faced with this week’s prompt I spent a lot of time thinking; probably too much time. Hence, the fact that Tarah was done days ago, while I’m still here struggling. Eventually thoughts have to become actions. So, even though I’m not really very happy with these photos, I’m putting them here anyway. And, if I must make a resolution (in the spirit of this post’s theme), then I resolve to put more effort into this project going forward and not let my thoughts get the better of me. — Kelli
a thoughtful bird by kelli ann wilson
I think it’s fitting we got off track and are thus dropping the NUMBERS post in 2015. The first week of a whole year of reminding my sister it’s 2015. She doesn’t believe in “New Years” so is still convinced it’s 1678 and is awaiting her copy of Pilgrim’s Promise via the afternoon coach. Actually I believe she said something like “New years is stupid. Change your calender or just change. Whatever.” I couldn’t hear her that well over the rumble of carriage wheels in the yard. I won’t bore you with my resolutions. Mainly because I don’t make them. I’m great and feel no need to conform to societies standards of the collective and try to change. It’s also why I don’t wear a bra and hate underwear. Keep away from my knickers “the man”!!! However I did have a lot of fun with these photos. Three are present day and three are throw backs from trips that express numbers and have always been favorites. But while I may not make resolutions I do love the sharp sting of the wind in my face that you only get from standing on the edge of a new year with all it’s adventure and promise blowing right at you. 2015! NUMBERS! BRING IT! — Tarah
Here are some numbers for you: a new year brings us 12 new months; 52 new weeks; 365 new days; 8,760 new hours; 525,600 new minutes; and 31,536,000 new seconds. As of this writing I’ve already used up 2 days, 15 hours, 28 minutes, and some untold seconds of my new year. I really appreciate that I took this assignment very literally whereas Tarah, as is her way, interpreted it much more artistically. I mean, just look at those sunflowers! (They’re also a nice reminder that it won’t be cold forever…) — Kelli
Once upon a time I had something to say about gathering. It was good. It was really going to blow your mind. I even messaged Kelli and was all “hey, I’ve got this post to write. It will probably win a Pulitzer. Just so you know.” Then I went to Petsmart. Also I haven’t left my house in two days. It’s been snowing. A LOT! So I’m in Petsmart and I need to buy crickets for my son’s frogs. But first I take a turn around the store. I went and saw the cats. Read all their back stories. You know like- “This is Tiger. He was found wandering the streets drunk, disorderly and wearing only a t-shirt that said party animal. Tiger would do best in a home without other animals to enable him.” I wandered passed the guinea pigs, those guys are so misleading “hey, bait and switch much guys? you’re all cute and cuddly looking but you stink, you’re noisy and generally a real pain in the ass.” One of them flipped me the bird. Which reminds me I almost got a bird. I don’t even like birds. Well that’s not true. I like birds, in the wild. I don’t think they make great pets. So i’m staring at the finches and I think “YES. I’m going to get a bird. Yes this is definitely happening. Where are the cages? I am going to need a cage. Where am I going to put the cage? Wait- No. Walk away…Just walk away. Oh look the frogs. I should definitely get another frog and name it Guinevere.”
It was at this point I realized I had perhaps gotten off track and also that I shouldn’t be left home alone for two days straight. The ironic thing about almost getting another frog is I went home and lost one of ours. No joke. I was doing the big clean on their terrarium so they were in a smaller enclosure and Flippy somehow escaped. The kids and I spent the afternoon into the evening alternating between searching and following the cat through the house convinced that:
A. SHE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT AND
B. SHE WOULD LEAD US TO POOR FLIPPY HIDDEN IN ONE OF HER SPOTS AROUND THE HOUSE.
We tailed her for twenty minutes only to find a stash of plastic lids and string. At one point the dog started to throw up and we followed HER to see if she would cough up the evidence. She did not and I think it was just the stress of the whole thing getting to her. Then I remembered that the cat was parked in front of the corner hutch for a while today and I took a chance, Everything came off the hutch and I tipped it up to find underneath covered in dog hair and lint was our missing frog. He was fine and we managed to get him out from under the hutch and rinsed off. By the time we were all sorted and put away it was late and I have no idea still what I was going to write about. And they lived happily ever after. The end. –Tarah
What she actually said was, “I can’t think of anything to write.” And, then, when I get here to make the post I see that she’s written several hilarious paragraphs! Truth be told, I always have a hard time writing anything after I read Tarah’s stories. I just can’t compete. But, luckily for me I don’t have time to write anything. As you can see from our photos we are deep into the holiday season, and apparently I’m having a pink Christmas. Can’t talk now, must go apply glitter to something! –Kelli
I take photos because I can’t paint. I take photos for the pure aesthetic joy of creating an image. This week I shot moving water, a flock of snow geese, a car on a quiet street at night and some trees. Only the trees weren’t in motion my lens was. I wish I had something profound to say about time constantly in motion and the camera as a tool for capturing a small frame of that time and seasons and the documenting of the collective human experience and run on sentences and also the circle of life and Disney movies. But I don’t. Damn….— Tarah
kelli ann wilson
What do you do if you find yourself trapped in the back seat of a compact car with a tween and a toddler who have just spent hours running around at a science museum and haven’t eaten dinner yet? Take photos, of course! This is especially true if you are two weeks behind on a deadline for a joint photography project and your collaborating partner has recently compared working with you to contracting the Ebola virus (or something like that). Having found myself in this very situation, I thought I would make the best of it and try taking pictures of cars in motion. Cars in motion look really cool at night, especially with very slow shutter speeds. All of those lights streaming off into the darkness create what looks to me like abstract art pieces. It was a fun experiment, and perhaps Tarah will forgive my tardiness (though, in all honesty, this won’t be the last time this happens). — Kelli
I tell it better.
Kelli: “UGH! I have nothing for motion i’m the worst collaborator and I kick puppies you must hate me!”
Me: “I do. You are worse than Ebola. Christmas is ruined. Stop kicking puppies.”- end scene
The POINT being it’s all about perspective. Kelli will be late again. It won’t be the end of the world. If it is we apologize.
The days aren’t discarded or collected, they are bees
that burned with sweetness or maddened
the sting: the struggle continues,
the journeys go and come between honey and pain.
Pablo Neruda, Still Another Day
I’m a person who lives to remember. I love to be reminded of things: other days; other hours; other points on the continuum. My perspective is most often one of looking backwards into the past, and even when I am working in the present it is likely to be an exercise in recording the experiences of the moment, so that I may look back on them in the future. Not very Zen, I know. I am a historian; a genealogist; a photographer. In their own way all of these pursuits spin around the axis of memory. For this assignment I worked on gathering images that represent parts of my life that I would like to remember, but also bits of and pieces of a past that is even farther back than the “now,” in some cases reaching back beyond the threshold of my own life. — Kelli
I remember my grandmother on my moms side was a terrible cook. Every year when Christmas time rolled around I have memories of a bread she would make- Stollen. It was awful. The only joy that could be derived from it was picking off the frosting bit by bit from under it’s tin foil. I don’t remember anyone actually eating Said stollen. I also remember being told it was Swedish. It is not. When this post theme came about I decided to tackle this recipe and see if stollen or christollen as it’s sometimes known could be made edible. I began scouring the internet for information on different recipes and traditional methods for making this sweet holiday bread. I managed to find one that came as close to what I could remember as possible and I am quite happy to say stollen is very edible and was quite well received in my house. Which is good because I was up until one in the morning finishing it. I went for the traditional roll in powdered sugar as opposed to a frosting or glaze and I like it much better. I sent some to school with my teenager and her friends deemed it “really awesome” . For our friends this holiday I’ve decided to go old school and make my candied fruits and nuts then soak them in rum. Not a kid friendly version but I’m excited to try! In closing Stollen is bread. Not a dictator. But it is that too. It’s also German. And it’s really good…..when I make it. — Tarah
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1 ounce yeast cake*- i used two packaged dry active yeast in 3/4 c of 110 degree water. let it sit until the bubbles start to rise up a little
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 cups sifted all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon seed
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup finely cut citron
- 1/2 cup sliced candied cheries
- Scald milk. Add sugar, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm.
- Mix yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar until liquid. Add to lukewarm milk. Stir.
- Add whole eggs and egg yolks. Beat.
- Add 3 cups flour. Bear well. Cover.
- Let rise in warm place about 1 1/2 hour or until doubled.
- Add cardamon, raisins, citron, cherries and enough flour until dough pulls from side of bowl and is no longer sticky to the touch.
- Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and satiny.
- Place in lightly greased bowl. Cover. Let rise about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
- Divide dough into thirds. Use 1/3 for each stollen.
- Roll on floured canvas into and 8×10 inch oval. Spread with melted butter. Press down center, fold over lengthwise.
- Place in shallow greased baking pans or on greased cooky sheets. Brush with melted butter.
- Let rise about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
- Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes.
- spread warm loaves with melted butter and roll in powdered sugar
If you have children then you’ve probably come across the book ‘Stranger in the woods’. It is hands down my favorite children’s book. It’s also what inspired me to get out into the world and start taking photos. This week the theme is low key. I can think of nothing more low key than a quiet morning in the woods with some surprise visitors. Four meandering deer found me very entertaining. It may have had something to do with my unique early morning look of pajamas and hot pink hikers….. — Tarah
kelli ann wilson
I love that Tarah and I took such different pictures, and yet there are still similarities (we both took photos of deer and autumn leaves). I wasn’t sure how to interpret this week’s theme of “low-key” so I went with the technical angle. In photography you can use high-key lighting (which gives you those beautiful blown-out newborn portraits with big glossy eyes) or low-key lighting (only a part of an object is highlighted and the rest of the image shadows). There are a lot of tutorials out there for creating low-key portraits with just camera settings and an off-camera flash. Unfortunately, I don’t have an off-camera flash, so I had to get really creative with the available light and a bit of tweaking of exposure and shadow settings in Photoshop. I’m pretty happy with how everything came out. Low-key portraits have a studio feel to them, which isn’t really my style. Still, it’s great to get pushed out of my comfort zone sometimes, and I feel more confident to try other techniques now. — Kelli