"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Monday, July 09, 2018

beautiful dreamer...

"Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me..." Stephan C. Foster (1864)

We got word that there was a rally, to protest our U.S. government forcibly separating children from families that illegally cross our Mexican border, and those legally seeking asylum. Of course Mr. G and I went to protest this atrocity, happening in our country. An immoral policy enacted in our name. While the largest rally took place in Chicago, we purposefully attended a rally closest to our little piece of the world. We went to add our voice to a simple but passionate national chorus: "This is evil. Not in our name. Where are the children?" As per usual, I had my camera(s) with me. And while my focus and intent were on participating in the rally, and listening to the poignant featured speakers, the moment and movement were so powerful...

"Sounds of the rude world. Heard in the day..." - Beautiful Dreamer

The rally fittingly took place in the Veteran's Memorial Pavilion, Fishel Park (in the heart of Downers Grove, IL); adjacent to a large play ground. The playground was filled with playing, laughing children - even more fitting for this day. By my rough estimate, 1,000 people were in attendance. To be sure a small number, amidst the hundreds of thousands who rallied across the United States. But, to my mind, that made the featured speakers' testimonies all the more personal and salient.

Grace Arimura (right) testified about her experiences of being imprisoned, along with 10 members 
of her Japanese American family in an American Detention Center during World War II. She was 16 years old.

Prevail Bonga (left) read aloud a few of the stories of the 3,000+ forcibly separated immigrant children detainees
before sharing her Congolese family's challenging journey to American citizenship.


"Whoa, ah, mercy mercy me...Where did all the blue skies go?" - Marvin Gaye (1971)

By now you know, the entire world knows, what's going on...
My United States of America government has forcibly separated immigrant children from their parents (families that illegally crossed our border and families who have come seeking asylum), split siblings apart, put them in detention center cages - before shipping them away from their parents, to points all over America (in the dead of night, in secrecy). Furthermore, my U.S. government has put babies and toddlers in 'Tender Age Detention Centers (detention facilities for children 5 years old and under). National outrage forced the administration to seemingly suspend this despicable policy. Now the this administration is trying to enact policy that allows them to detain children and babies with their families indefinitely (in military based detention tent camps).  

"Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east."

But this American horror story doesn't end there. The nearly 3 thousand forcibly separated and detained children, toddlers, and babies have not been reunited with each other, or their parents, and it's become painfully clear that: not only does this administration not have a plan to reunite the families we forcibly separated; they never intended to. They don't know where these children are or even who they are - resorting to DNA testing to try to match children with parents. But we know very little else because this administration is denying entry to these detention centers, refuse to answer even the simplest of questions. And their story changes, sometimes by the hour.

For nearly two years, our American president has been railing against, scapegoating, demonizing, otherizing, people of color (in voice, action, and policy). That the 35% of Americans, who support trump; love and feed off his racist rhetoric, is no surprise. Nor is it surprising that the Republican party protects and enables his venality in the name of political power. But I really, truly thought that forcibly separating children, toddlers and babies from their parents would be a bridge too far, even for trump's most ardent supporters. Sadly, judging by the vocal and ardent political, pundit and social media commentary in support of this heinous policy, this segment of the American populace is perfectly fine with abusing children in the name of 'strong, defended borders.'  This president's appeal to the darkest, ugliest nature of humanity has successfully and deeply taken root. But, last Saturday, a group of women in Downers Grove,IL, along with millions of other Americans, organized and came together, in every state in our nation to say: "This immoral, evil act is Not America(n). We will not tolerate this inhumane inhumanity, not in our name..." As this atrocity unfolded and continues I've doggedly held onto my belief that we are better than this. On this day we, the people, confirmed it. 

"You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one." - John Lennon

But this battle, that has been forced upon every decent American, has only just begun. Where are the children? We took them, we're responsible for them. Thus we must not, we cannot, stop protesting, contacting our representatives, voting our values, until each and every child is reunited with their families. We will win the day. The alternative is too horrific and unacceptable. So we fight on. Dreamers are we all...

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

pardon my dust...

"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." - Pablo Picasso

I had some technical difficulties publishing my last post: rainy day monday, so sorry. The good news - problem(s) solved, we're good to go. When you have a moment, please take a another look.

Post Script: if you've had a problem signing up for my 'followers column,' please convo me.

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

Monday, May 21, 2018

rainy day monday...

"Life is full of beauty. Notice it." - Ashley Smith

My little slice of the world is in the midst of Spring, which is rare for Chicago (we usually slide from the chill of winter, straight into a summer haze). Even this Spring has been sporadic - hot and sunny one day, a snow shower the next. But on this morning, the gentle, steady drumbeat of rain woke me. After I got the kids off to school, I poured a cup of coffee, grabbed my umbrella, wrapped up and sat (and sipped) in the rain. It was glorious. The morning light, mixed with rain, overcast sky, bright Spring green, and crisp whether, reminded me of my and Mr. G's 15th wedding anniversary in Paris - le romantic sigh. The stillness and peace was identical to that of my 'Night Owl hours,' and just as inspirational as well. The ideal setting to create, write and work on my backlog of photos edits.

"Don't threaten me with love, baby. Let's just go walking in the rain." - Billie Holiday

"I've always found the rain very calming." - Venus Williams

There are large windows on either side of my front door - I pass them on the way to my atelier. On this morning, I noticed that three Cardinals (One pink, another peach, the third Cardinal red) have built a nest in the vines over my front door - yes, I'm on Cardinal baby watch ;-} My atelier-desk faces a large sliding glass door (my backyard and large pond lie beyond) giving me a perfect, picturesque view. While making a sizable dent in my photo-edit backlog, I looked up and saw this handsome Crane strolling by. That's how I spent this morning - no television, no radio, no iPhone, no internet. Just the beautiful morning light, overcast sky, peaceful, inspirational quiet/stillness, brilliant spring green - rendered technicolor by the sweet gentle rain. So I needed to take a breath, be humbly grateful and thankful for, this life full of beauty in my tiny slice of the world. Join me?

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

Friday, May 04, 2018

these lemons make the most delicious lemonade...

'Parisiens Jaune'

"One doesn't stop seeing. One doesn't stop framing.
It doesn't turn off and turn on. It's on all the time."
- Annie Leibovitz

It's been five long years since I've been able to return to Paris. Oh! How I miss her so! I especially miss wandering the city with my cameras: all those images waiting to be captured, all those stories waiting to be told. Encore, my Paris drought has prodded me to re-invent this blog - a joyful, stress free challenge to expand my creative eye here, at home. Now the only editor's timeline and deadline I have to adhere to are my own. Thus, not only do I continue to carry my camera with me wherever I go (and click, click, click) I have the space and time to research, explore and experiment with my craft: technique, lighting, viewpoint, editing, etc. here, at home. With this in mind, for this post, a challenge for self-taught me: curate a post with photographs taken in the month of April, applying  the technique(s) and photography-genre(s) I've been researching...  

"There is only you and your camera. 
The limitations in your photography are in yourself, 
for what we see is what we are." - Ernst Haas

'Spring Snow Shower'
"...my dreams might let me know, all the stars are closer." - Kendrick Lamar
'Sauk, Meskwakis, Kickapoos'

Temple's Lesson Learned: Occam's Razor-there are no short cuts

"I'm thinking balls are to men what purses are to women.
Just a little bag, but we feel naked without them."
- Carrie, Sex In The City

My favorite camera weighs about 3lbs and is bulky; always necessitating a pretty large camera bag/purse (God how I miss my discontinued Epiphanie Ginger camera bag/purse!).  I'm not ashamed to admit that there are times when I just don't want to lug it. I tell myself I can capture anything that catches my eye with my trusty high quality iPhone camera. And wouldn't you know it, that's when I see or experience something I have to capture - and I'm almost always disappointed with the results. The quality, scope, range, clarity, 'edit-ability,' and dependability of a 'real' camera just aren't available with a phone camera. Lugging a well stocked camera bag far outweighs the frustrating results of not lugging one. The moral of this story: bite the bullet to get the shot. Lesson learned.

Still Life...

'Mercury Spectacles'                                                                  'Paris L.S.P.'

"The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer." - Steven Pinker

'Coffee Table Hiatus'                                                                               'Finklestein' 

One thing that prompted this assignment was my realization that most of my Paris photography focuses on the 'exterior' of my experiences there - capturing strangers and images that catch my artistic eye and speak to me emotionally. Makes perfect sense since, although I visit often, I'm still a short time visitor.  Thus, for this assignment, I added another caveat, focus on the 'interior' - keep it personal, intimate: days in the life, with the loves of my life; champagne with beloved friends; a Spring snow shower viewed from my bedroom window; scenes from an Indian Trail during a late night convertible drive with Mr. G; my spot at the barre (last week, after a four year hiatus, I've returned to my love); vintage bleachers (I spend an inordinate amount of time on courts); my collection of defunct eye glasses (I use when I misplace my glasses, which is often ;-} 


'Executive Meeting'                                                                       'Sage Repose'

"Don't shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like." 
- David Alan Harvey


'Barre'                                                                                      'Numbers'
"I looked around at rooms that I did not see as rooms but more as...a biography of memory." - Anne Spollen

'This or That' 
"Sports do not build character. They reveal it." - Heyword Broun


"There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment." - Robert Frank

Oui, I lament my too long Paris hiatus but my city of light and love continues to inspire, no matter how long my time away; encouraging, forcing me, to grow, technically, aesthetically, artistically. And, in the interim, during the journey, I've found so many facets to capture that further deepen my appreciation and love of home. Yes, these lemons make the most delicious lemonade... 

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

P.S. Check out my: A Photographer's Kit series...

Saturday, March 24, 2018

postcard to paris #6: flower of the universe...

"They come to see the fire burning in your heart. They want to witness, this love..." - Sade

Last Sunday was my mother's 89th birthday! We're in the midst of planning a trip to Paris for her 90th, and mom was expecting our usual trip to our favorite French restaurant for this birthday. She never suspected I was planning a surprise party instead. Little did I know, while planning, plotting and scheming, that Celebrating Dorothy would be my next Postcard to Paris.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to plan a surprise birthday party, in your home, for someone who lives with you? I invited 20 of mom's closest lady-friends and had to be creative about it. No traditional posted invitations, I couldn't ask mom for addresses. So I texted one of her closest girlfriends, she created a text group message, for all the invitees, leading with this adorable bright pink invite. 

"[Paris in Springtime] exudes a special atmosphere of elegance, freshness, joie de vivre." - Miruna, Travel Away

Ma mere's birthday is two days before the calendar start of Spring + Paris is her favorite place on Earth (this apple doesn't fall far ;-} Thus, the theme for mom's 89th was fait accompli: Springtime in Paris, with more than a bit of Sistah-Spice...

In my foyer, a vase of white roses stood guard over iridescent bejeweled picture frame-keepsakes, with each guest's name.

The Green Room:
Yellow Daffodils, blue and green Hydrangeas, white and pale pink Hyacinth. 

The White Room (my photography-studio): 
My second guest keepsake: a group photograph. Rory patiently stood while I arranged the lighting.

Temple Tip: Ask for help!

"Oh, baby I get by with a little help from my friends." The Beatles

The Plan: while the grandchildren were at church with mom, I would arrange the decor (tables, champagne, glasses, napkins, plates, silverware, etc) and prepare the appetizer table and luncheon buffet - all within a two hour window. The Reality: given that timeframe, there was no way I could cook for 25+ people and set up the house - so I asked a few of mom's friends to bring a French cuisine inspired dish and asked two of my Lady-friends (Ellen and Sylvia) to come over, as soon as mom and the kids left, to help set up (they also brought several amazing and delicious pre-prepared dishes); and served drinks, cocktails, food and did cleanup, alongside Mr. G and me. Dorothy's birthday party was truly the result of a loving group effort. The Takeaway: never, ever be reluctant to ask for a little help from your friends.

The stage was set, the guests arrived on time, all that remained was:

time to party

Essential Sustenance: a perfectly chilled case of bubbly- Flor Prosecco Rose Brut NV

Red Roses in a vintage Tiffany ice bucket (a wedding gift to my parents, forty years ago), 
vintage French lace and silver, large and small votives made from chandelier crystals (an Ellen contribution) 
accompany Texas flea market glass dishes (one of mom's engagement gifts to Mr. G and me, twenty-one years ago).

Menu: a Paris inspired buffet Plat du Fromage et Fruits, Charcuterie, Salad Nicosie, Smoked Salmon Platter, 
Cream Cheddar Saffron Asparagus Soup; Shrimp Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas; Poulet Cuit

Birthday cake, bien sur. Eighty-Nine candles plus one for luck!

"Like diamonds, like my love, they want to know it's true there's someone in the world, lovely as you." - Sade 

What to do after a decadent luncheon, free flowing bubbly, gifts, a birthday cake and song? Dancing of course!

Oh how we danced!

My beloved mother is the jewel of our family. She equally co-parents our three, has an incredibly close, loving relationship unique to/with each of them. She is a true friend to Mr. G. She is my  heart, reminds me who and what I am in my moments of weakness and strength, augments my feminine power with her mighty own. Her wisdom, sassiness and grace are constant blessings to us all. But it wasn't until this day that I realized that she has touched, positively effected and is greatly loved outside of our family circle as well. Throughout the festivities, at some point, each one of the ladies stood and testified to how la Dorothy personally touched their lives, gave them advice, listened to their problems and/or simply gave one of her sweet but firm hugs of love that make everything right and remind you how wonderful and special you are. Dorothy is not just the jewel of our family, she's a jewel. 

"This love is far and wide. When you smile the stars align. Flower of the Universe." - Sade

My mother was born ten years after women got the right to vote in this country (1929); was raised by her grandmother - the last enslaved person in our family. She was sixteen years old the day WWII ended (1945); twenty-six years old the day Ms. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus in Montgomery, Alabama (1955); thirty-five years old when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law; thirty-eight years old when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated (1968); forty years old the day the U.S. landed on the Moon (1969,  my sister was one, I was one day old); seventy-two years old on 9/11 (2001); seventy-nine years old the day Barack Obama was elected U.S. President (2008). After nearly nine decades on this Earth, after witnessing and living through some of our brightest and darkest days, she still believes in righteous justice, that hard work makes the humble man and woman mighty, loving simple things keeps the world spinning on its Axis, nothing beats a no but an ask, a strong unified family can get you through anything, and there's nothing a perfectly chilled glass of champagne can't help fix. Dorothy is a living testament to all that's right, bright and beautiful in this world. At Eighty-Nine years young, la Dorothy is a Flower of the Universe.

!Happy Birthday Mommy!

Vivre! Aimer! Rire!

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