Wednesday, December 31, 2014


The last day of the year, and typically people are looking back at the past one and looking forward to the next, of course feeling hopeful for a better one. I generally don't announce many resolutions, if I have any, and to be honest I try and check where I am at the beginning of each month, so that could possibly add up to 12 resolutions if one looks at it that way. I do have creative plans for the new year, which I'll get into next week when I also review this year's.

But I've already started on one of them. For whatever reason, it was just an idea that came to me, I'll be working primarily in black & white until Spring hits (according to the calendar, at least - it felt like Winter almost lasted until May this past year). I originally thought of making it a whole year, but that's a long year without any color.

I took another shot from the October photoshoot that and converted it to black & white to work on it from there. Although it's not the same thing as starting from black & white, as I've found the tones tend to be different somewhat when you do. And not all pictures translate well into color. So hopefully it'll be a learning experience, which is partly why I'm doing it in the first place.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Publishing this a day early because even with a laptop, who knows if I'll be able to do this on Xmas Eve.

The month and year is winding down, and already I'm thinking of what is in store for the new year, in all aspects. Looking at old black and white photo work a few weeks back has me thinking about it more and more, and I believe that I'll start 2015 off by only working in black & white, in photography and other media. I originally thought I'd make it an all-year project, but I think that'd be a bit much, let's make it until spring. How symbolic, as winter gets pretty grey as it is.

I finally got the film developed back from my first time out using a Holga camera, and part of the delay was in finding a place that could develop the film, and also a place that was actually open when I could get to it. One place that I had in mind is only open on weekdays until 5 PM. Well that's damned inconvenient for those of us that have day jobs.

As stated after I used it, it's not totally obvious with this camera where the frame of each shot begins or ends, so there can be overlapped images until I learn this better, but I can see why some people do this intentionally. The place that developed the film actually seemed concerned if I knew this.

I tend to like some accidental photos, so this could be an interesting camera to use after all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


After spending damn near the entire month of November writing, I took some understandably needed down time this month. But I've been fearful that I was losing some of the crazy momentum that I gained then, as I haven't really produced anything creatively this month, other than finishing up a last (?) shot from October's photoshoot. It's said that we are often our own worst critic or enemy, and I'm a perfect example of that.

So I set aside an hour to just draw whatever in my sketchbook yesterday, and at times it was difficult to pull images out of my head, which worries me a bit, but also I try too hard to make even sketches be near-finished concept-wise. It's kind of sad that I actually haven't done much sketching this year, especially since I succeeded in filling a sketch-a-day book last year. Just have to work those muscles again.


Truth be told, I've been more focused on photography for the latter half of the year, so I shouldn't be kicking myself. And while I'm pleased with the results from this year, and others seem to be as well, I know I still have so much to learn.

What with the year coming to the end there are of course thoughts of what the next year will bring. I'm sure I'll do a review of this one first. I met some goals, and others only partially. But at least I keep coming up with things to talk about or show on here.

The next two Wednesdays are holiday eves, woop dee doo, so  hopefully I'll be able to post even a little something.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I gave out copies of the first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel out to the people who requested it last week. No comments about it yet, either they haven't finished or started reading it, or it's so awful that they're afraid to tell me. Nah, I know it's not awful. I shan't bug them about it.

After spending so much of the last month in intense creativity, I was a bit afraid to get a bit lax and feel the need to get on to another project. I went back to the shots from the October photoshoot to see if there were more to work on. I got one more out, seen below, I think that'll do it, for just straight photos, that is. I may use some shots as reference for works in other media. I got 13 good shots out of it, that's a record for me so far!

The photos that I've shared online (on Model Mayhem, deviantArt, and a few other photo sites) have gotten good responses and comments. Also good ones for the shoot that I did in the summer. The model from that one finally got back to me, and curiously her critique has been the only one with negative comments that I've heard so far. I reminded her that it was an extremely rushed shoot, due to a rapidly setting sun and avoiding a police officer, so I couldn't exactly set up each shot perfectly. Oh well, you can't please everybody.

Toni Halliday from Curve, Boston, MA, 1992

In other photography-related meanderings, recently I participated in one of those "post something on Facebook" requests, this one asked for 5 days of black & white photos, and I dug way back in time for mine. It reminded me of how many live shows that I used to go to and try and photograph at (didn't use flash back then either), and of course this makes me want to return to black & white again, like I've said I plan to anyway with the above model. I think I'll try and see what differences there are, if any, between film and digital.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

:nanowrimo final week:

Well, somehow I managed to complete the novel for NaNoWriMo, and a day before the deadline. I attempted to do some writing while at Thanksgiving, but no, that wasn't happening there, so I had a lot of catching up to do. I don't think I did anything on Friday & Saturday other than write with breaks taken to eat.

I mainly did it as a creative exercise, to try and use my creativity in other ways. I'm real happy with the results, in that I went into it with the vaguest of ideas and characters and somehow made a story out of it. I don't know how far I'll take this one, I'll certainly try some revisions, but I don't know if it's worthy of shopping around for publication. I'm already thinking of next year, of perhaps finishing the story I didn't complete last time, unless that's "cheating" to have a head start? We'll see.

It was good but also exhausting to focus on nothing but that for a month. I got to know the local Starbucks stores and libraries real well, used mainly for their WiFi, and just getting out of the house. I'd like to try and keep this sort of momentum, if not so intense, for my other creative pursuits.

I'll certainly return to look at shots from the October photoshoot, to see if there are others to work on. I've already got ideas for my next one. I'm pretty sure it'll be all black & white for starters. The shot below has proven to be the most popular one so far in the places online that I've posted it to.

Also finding creativity in music, both in DJing and making a mix for an upcoming party that has been an annual thing amongst people I know since I moved to Boston. Ever since I was younger making cassette ones, even if it was just for myself, I'd go all out on the packaging. That's something I think we've lost in the digital/download age. I certainly grew up dreaming that I'd be making album cover art. Nowadays it's usually not much larger than a CD cover, even with the resurgence of vinyl, so they probably aren't designed with much detail if they're going to be so small. But I still do it:

Another thing I found different, was in selecting songs for the mix, it's different than scanning your collection, reading the spines of them on shelves or seeing the cover art than reading a list of songs on your computer. I'll admit it's easier to preview the songs, but something was missing. And considering how large my collection has gotten, it's overwhelming at times, just trying to figure out what song should be next.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

:nanowrimo week four:

In the home stretch of NaNoWriMo now, I'm at 43,500 words tonight, and we're supposed to reach 50,000 by Sunday night, the 30th. I'm pretty confident that I'll make it, although it helps that I won't be back at the dayjob until Monday. I do have to deal with Thanksgiving tomorrow, though. We'll see how the folks deal with me working on the laptop after the meal. But it'll be better than vegging out. I'd probably end up watching MST3K's Turkey Day instead anyway.

With excellent timing, I'm just hitting the real dark part of the story that I've been putting off for too long, perhaps. Why? I've grown attached to the main character, and now I don't want these awful things to happen to her. Crazy how that happens. I've also found that I really enjoy writing dialogue, because it's now flowing from the characters mouths so easily. I've even had random people come up to them just so I can write more. I'm sure some editor will say, "what was the point of that scene??"

I also found myself choosing locales for the visual aspect, thinking, how would this look if it were a movie, but I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself there, of course. I had the main character go to New Orleans for no real reason other than for a change of scenery. Ideally she'd have gone to England, but I've never been there. So I got to revisit my memories of New Orleans with her.

So next week should hopefully be the wrap-up of all this then we're heading back to visual art.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

:nanowrimo week three:

For NaNoWriMo I passed the halfway mark of 25,000 words this past week, just at around 31,000 as of tonight, on the way to 50,000 by months end. I fully expect that I'll still be working on it with the laptop at the folks' house on Thanksgiving. 

I had a few other challenges this week, one chapter had a bar fight in it, and I've never really been in a fight, eight years of taekwondo doesn't really count, so I had to imagine quite a bit there. Also challenging was a chapter that involved seduction, and probably too much information for you here, but it's been several years since I could draw from my own life for that, so once again to my fevered imagination. Also challenging since it was from a woman's perspective.

Since I needed to spend every spare moment writing, I've withdrawn from the almighty Facebook for a bit, but truth be told, I was hitting a wall with it as it is. The signal to noise ratio was definitely more noise, and I was getting tired of reading things that I couldn't unsee. I obviously had a lot more time to work without it, and I'd like to see if I can keep that going as much as possible after the writing's done. But it's a sad reality that most people primarily communicate this way, so who knows what I've missed since they don't tell you in person much anymore, and I wonder if my absence was even noticed by many.

I definitely often suffer from the Fear Of Missing Out, and Facebork takes advantage of that. But if I don't see it, then I won't know what I'm missing. I also won't see people showing me how much better their lives are than mine. Oh, there must be a happy medium here. But it's frightening how much power we've allowed social media to have over our lives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

:nanowrimo week 2:

I hit just over 18,000 words tonight. According to NaNoWriMo, I should be at 20,000 to be on track to finish by the end of the month, but I do more writing on the weekends, so I hope to catch up then.

I've taken my laptop out and done the cliche thing and been writing in coffee shops, with varied results, depending on the locations and sometimes the denizens. Thank goodness for headphones. A side effect has been me reeking of coffee, and I don't drink the stuff, so it's more obvious to me. Last weekend I tried libraries, those were a bit better, although I've found that there's a least one crazy person who seems to live there, busy muttering paranoid things and working on their manifestos.

I'm still not sure how it's going to become novel-length, it's kind of writing itself at this point. The two characters I'm using now have quite some banter going on. I've also had to go to some dark places. One scene was with a serial killer, so I had to channel my own Hannibal Lector. Another took place in a hospice and I actually made myself cry, I was remembering my grandmother and other incidents.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

:nanowrimo week one:

Technically it's only been five days, but close enough. I'm just under 7,000 words so far. Some people are already above 10,000, but I think perhaps some of them don't have day jobs in the way. I've been taking my laptop to work to do some writing on my limited break time. Every little bit helps.

I also went out with my laptop on the weekend to try to live the cliche and work in coffee shops. I went to various ones, with various success, depending on the ambience and such. Like at work, thank goodness for headphones. I reeked of coffee by the end of the day, though, and I've never drank the stuff.

I'm still setting up characters and themes. Right now if you read it you wouldn't know who the main characters are, although I know at least two of them so far. Still not sure how I'm going to stretch it to novel length. I've definitely read my share of stories that could've been much shorter.

Since a lot of it has to do with extreme emotions, I've tried to put myself in the mindset of the different characters to write them better, and it's not always been pleasant. I've drawn from personal experiences and others that I've observed.

Already my eyes are going buggy from this so I have to pace myself better. Although obviously the weekend will have to be marathon sessions to catch up.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

:writ large:

I've gotten 12 finished shots so far out of this month's photoshoot; a personal record, and I know I've got a few more, plus some shots may also be source material for non-photo works. We shall see.

I also took a Holga camera out and about to test it out. No instructions were with it, so it remains to be seen if I advanced the film properly, but I'm led to believe that sometimes people intentionally overlap shots with it. Now to find a place that'll develop 120 speed film.

The main reason I'm stopping working on the photos for a bit is because I'm going to participate in NaNoWriMo next month, and I imagine that'll take up most of my free time if I'm to meet the goal by month's end. By a stroke of luck or good timing, I managed to find a MacBook for under $200, so that I'm not chained to my computer at home for writing, and I can do the cliched thing and write in coffee shops if I so choose, even though I don't drink coffee.

I attempted it once before in 2009, but didn't meet the goal, partially because I was living in a place that didn't really inspire me creatively, to say the least. I also found that I had to be extra wordy and never use contractions, just to meet the word counts. We'll see if that's still the case.

I still think the unfinished story has's called "Devices," and stemmed from my feelings about people's increased dependence on mobile phones (and I note that it's getting worse, so the story might need updating anyway). But my story is in a near future where the phones are half-organic (yes, very Cronenberg), so there's some sort of symbiosis between them and humans. Until things start to Go Wrong. Here's the first section:

 Chloe was texting at the time of her accident. Interestingly enough she was texting about how bored she was. When they managed to pry her from the vehicle with the Jaws of Life (which was a misnomer by the time they got to her), they had an equally challenging time of prying the device from her hand. Once they located the hand.
            Cell phones by this time in history had almost literally evolved to something completely different. Advances in both nanotechnology and biotechnology had gotten them to the point where they were nearly classified as living, thinking beings, that some could see as pets or maybe familiars.
            Unsurprisingly people had lined up around the block when the jawbone implants had come out first, so that people could look even more like they were talking to invisible people with no Bluetooth headsets to give them away, but others preferred the tactile sensation of holding something, and of course one cannot use apps with an implant and no screen to work with. Add to that the sensation of a warm or even furry device in your hand, and one might see why more eventually leaned towards that choice.
            It had come to point where one could not be “connected” without these devices, and the line at which it looked like one was dependent on the device or vice versa was more difficult to see. One reason was that they were recharged through their owners’ own electrical impulses, through a non-invasive process, though the body-mod community soon found a way through bio-ports that was actually a quicker and even pleasurable process.
            Since the sensation of recharging had a sedative effect, this was usually done at night, and soon people became dependent on this to get even a decent night’s sleep.
            Ringtones continued to be an expression of one’s individuality (or lack thereof), but due to the near-living nature of these new devices, they tended more to be animalistic sounds rather than obnoxious snippets of songs, although like Mynah Birds they could imitate nearly anything, almost instantaneously if the owner set them up that way. They became quite a problem in zoos and pet shops.
            The joke in the past about setting one’s device to the vibrate setting and asking for many calls so that one used it as a sexual aid was still around, although it was more like a purring sensation, and soon it seemed that the devices did it on their own, with no common reason for all devices. No one was complaining, however.
            People were distracted just as much, if not more, from reality while using these devices, as evidenced in the opening paragraph. Outlawing texting can only do so much without the constant monitoring of people or rather the devices, and with less and less actual electronics (or at least detectable ones) being used in them, and the inventiveness of people (or access to those who could) hacking their way around such safeguards was the norm. So the deaths caused by people engrossed with their devices rather than large vehicles heading towards them, was commonplace. Life was beginning to resemble an Edward Gorey cartoon in which people were done in by more and more bizarre deaths, with the devices being the common thread.
            No chance of banning them, as much as one could’ve banned the internet many years previous. Modern life and business had become too dependent on them, to say nothing of the economy. And since they were very nearly grown rather than built, a whole new business sector revolving around their “healthcare” came to be, rivaling pet hospitals but not quite human ones.
            In that vein, some of the “real” animals could deal with the devices better than others. Dogs adapted to them, while cats were more as likely to bat them across the room, especially if they made “LOL” noises at them. The first models emitted frequencies that birds found unbearable, but it drove them away rather than the opposite, so Alfred Hitchcock-like mishaps were thankfully avoided. It was soon found that they could tweak it to affect certain species only, so the pigeon problem in some cities was soon eradicated. They were soon driven away to other countries where the devices were not as ubiquitous.
            Unsurprisingly such technology did not come cheap, though of course there were different levels available so nearly everybody could conceivably get even a basic model, but of course human nature being what it is, most wanted the best and the latest.
            It could run from the most basic model, which while not warm to the touch or having a fur option, it was based on a reptilian code, so it did have a leathery texture. People by now texted more than talked with them, so that was a basic feature and the cheapest ones did not even have the voice option. Though they still emitted sounds.         
            This last feature was adapted even more for military and police use, as certain animal codes could produce devices that “sensed” danger and thus warned their user before they themselves sensed it. Trying to merge this into a taser-like device has to date proven problematic, however, as  they often injured their owners in their zeal to warn them.
            The GPS systems of the previous years had evolved to the point where a “map” could be produced using the signals of combined devices, which proved helpful in chasing down suspects or terrorists but also continued to be a privacy rights issue with those who were still vigilant about such matters. In general, though, as long as society seemed to work, most didn’t mind too much about it. As they still still say, “if you’re not doing anything wrong, why worry about it?”
            The devices were still hand-held while in use, though in the rare occasions when they weren’t, could choose to “attach” to their users in a way similar to how remora fish would attach to sharks, or like octopus suckers. This was usually on the wrist for easy access, though people soon began to choose other places for them, some of which will be left to your imagination. Fashion was re-tooled to make room for this, although some devices could flatten themselves enough so that there wasn’t an obvious bulge.
            The matter of people using these devices and not watching where they were walking led to more moving sidewalks in the busier areas of cities and malls, or with people adopting the habit of walking on non-moving sidewalks like one drove on the streets, split into two different directions. Crosswalk signals had to be developed to warn people directly through their devices so that they didn’t walk right into traffic, though accidents still happened, as they do.     As throughout history, there were still Luddites and hold-outs to adopting this technology, often for religious reasons too (this too was seen as the Mark of the Beast mentioned in Revelations), though as stated earlier, it was difficult to stay connected to society without them, so some groups of people would have at least one person they could use as their liaison to “that” world. This person soon got over-worked to say the least, to say nothing of the device.
            There were larger devices developed of similar technology, but these tended to make people nervous, as they felt that had more control over a smaller “creature.”
            While there was some AI involved in these, there was not enough to concern people about, say, a revolution of these machines taking over the world. There were enough fail-safes built into them so that they could not function for long without humans, and like computers and calculators before, could not really “think” for themselves without human input. The traits mentioned above like “warning” users had more to do with the animal codes used in their creation and not much beyond instinct. Other than a few bizarre experiences they did not try to preserve themselves from harm, and certainly not at the risk of harming their users.
            On the other side of that coin, however, was the usual tendency of the porn industry to find illicit uses for new technology before anybody else had ever thought of doing it. S & M clubs certainly found their uses for them, as did connecting them and the user to the internet for limited times through video-chat rooms and the like. Limited time because these devices could only take so much, and so people had to either learn to not do marathon sessions with them, or else keep having to buy new ones every month or so. Surely people will find a way around this, though. Never be surprised at the power and inventiveness of desire.
            They could enhance the sensation of live shows and dance clubs, both due to vibrations and reactions to other devices in near vicinity to each other. They could be set to warn when one’s inebriation was about to hit a certain or illegal level. Some used this as a goal to reach however, like getting to a certain level in a video game.
            This experience too became enhanced, with the device becoming akin to a tail-gunner or sidekick in many games, or set to take on lesser tasks while the user took care of more important ones.
            To say that “multitasking” soon took on new degrees in society is putting it mildly.
            This constant connection could have its downside, of course, leaving one with withdrawal-like symptoms when not connected. Most didn’t sink to the levels of that of a drug addict, but it definitely had an effect that many couldn’t deal with well. So they would stay attached to their devices all the time, and often could only deal with others while in this state. It was only odd to those who weren’t in a similar state of mind. Of which there weren’t many of those left with each new day.
            The question developing in some peoples’ minds is, is this a symbiotic relationship, or a parasitic one?

Sorry if that was a bit long. Obviously editing is the first task after one finishes writing one of these things. Thus far for the new one I have a general idea of the theme and a few of the characters, and, typically for me, the title: "Emotion Blur."

Curiously enough, when I was out last weekend in Salem, MA, which is Halloween central for the month of October, I had my camera with me and happened to photograph somebody who looks pretty damn close to how I picture the main character, so this has become my initial inspiration and "unofficial" book cover. Let's see where this all leads.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I'm continuing to work on shots from this month's photoshoot. I'm again pleased with the results, and how quickly I'm going through the post-editing of them. Partially because I'm not changing much, which means I may actually be getting the hang of this photography thing. But, always learning. We both look forward to the next one, which may get more arty and conceptual, maybe even just be in black & white. These aren't as "dark" as my normal work, but I'm not bothered by that. Even though you rarely see the color pink in my work (not in this week's shots either).

One reason for the urge to finish these soon, other than I'm enjoying it, is that next month I intend to participate in NaNoWriMo again, and that will take up most of my time. I attempted it once before, but didn't finish within the month, partially because I was living in an awful place. I still think it's a story worth finishing some day, though. Perhaps I'll put an excerpt from it up here next week. I've been trying to find an affordable laptop, so I don't have to only write from home (much easier to keep track of word count on a computer than the handwritten way, for one reason), but "affordable" and "laptop" have thus far not appeared together in my search. I'll try craigslist and eBay before I give up.

As stated previously, a main reason for this shoot was to get some nude shots, and we did, but the model has thus far decided not to have the more exposing ones online, and I respect that. This wasn't for any sort of assignment or gallery show, and we both see it as "practice" for future ones. I will tease you further however, by saying that the shots in question are grrrreat, in my opinion.

But she has allowed the photo below, and I'm glad, because it's one of my favorites, and sums up the mood of the shoot for me in one shot. Seriously, look at that smile.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Halloween's a'coming! Once again I remind you of my "Halloween is My Xmas" series available on Etsy.

I brought Ximena to a local store to see if they'd consider displaying and/or selling her. No word back year I'll remember to ask in September.

Been working on photos from the recent photoshoot. I'm pleased both by the fact that I'm doing very little correcting on them, and the knowledge that I know I can do even better. 

I know I mentioned last week that one reason for this shoot was to do some nude shots, but I won't be showing any of those until they meet the model's approval...or if she wants them online at all, which I can respect if not. I think both of us think that it was a great shoot, but it was also kind of practice for the next one. So I guess we can look at these as guides on what to work on for that.

I don't think there's any shame in nudity ( easy for me to say, you won't be seeing my naked arse on here anytime soon ), but in the current atmosphere where people get banned from Facebook or Instagram for the mere glimpse of a nipple, even if the photo isn't sexual in nature, one must be "careful." For a fair amount out there I guess just the image of a naked body equals such subject matter. As if that were a bad thing. I currently have a subscription to Playboy because it was practically free and figured why not, and I can tell you two things; the joke about people reading it for the articles is probably true, 80% of the mag is just writing, and the nude shots are actually quite tame and tasteful compared to the things you can't unsee on the internet. Whether or not it's "art" is not something I'm going to argue about right now.

I met this woman twenty years ago this month, and while our paths have taken strange turns over the years, I'm glad that we've managed to stay in touch after all this time. And obviously she's still one of my favorite people to photograph.

Yogurt break!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


This past Sunday I finally had that photoshoot that I've been talking about for the past month, and I'm quite pleased with how it went, despite some delays and setbacks. The model in question wanted some nude shots done, her first ever actually, so I'm flattered that she asked me to do them. It was actually quite a relaxed and often silly atmosphere that day. Sorry, no actual nude shots for you this week, though. The shoot didn't start out that way, after all.

Days after, of course, me being me, I look at some of the photos with thoughts of how I could've done them better. At least not too much editing needs to be done, but again, I'd like to get as much of the final shots in-camera as possible. I read up on settings for my camera and thought I chose the right ones, but again had to adjust. Once again a reason to love digital, if this was film, I wouldn't see the mistakes until I got the film developed.

Lighting is still an issue - I just have two floodlamps for now, and I think at times they may have been a bit harsh. Ironically by the end I think we figured it out better and ended the shoot on a higher note, but we had been going for several hours by that point, on not much food for the day, so we ended the session. Lessons learned for the next one. A major plus was that we had fun doing this one, at the very least.


I forgot to mention a few weeks past about another figure drawing session that I went to. In this case it's a shame that I draw with charcoal, as the model wore rainbow-colored clothing. I probably showed my age by assuming that she was supposed to be Rainbow Brite, but was actually one of those new My Little Pony characters instead. Well she didn't look like a horse, how was I to know? Not even a tail in sight.

Aaaaaand we are in Halloween season! I have nothing new for this year, alas, but again I have my Halloween is My Xmas series available on Etsy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

:the road leads where it's led:

This week's photo adventure took me to Dogtown, a curious bit of woods in Gloucester, MA, notable for messages carved into several rocks throughout. There's no detailed map of these (that I'm aware of), so finding each one was often a surprise.

It was unseasonably warm for late September, so our hiking party called it quits after eventually finding a reservoir.

'Tis October again, which of course means Halloween, and while I don't have anything new to commemorate it with yet, I still have my "Halloween is My Xmas" series available on Etsy.

I've still been mostly gearing up for a photoshoot which will be this weekend. I'm a bit on edge for several reasons, mostly the hope that I'll do a good job. I like to think that I'm improving my skills, and learning from past mistakes. Also hopeful that the more I do this, the better the trickier things will sink in. I just need more collaborators. I've worked with this person before, and it's always been enjoyable with her, but I want to make extra sure I do a good job, which will be apparent when I post the first few shots next week. Just setting up my place for it has been's going to take up almost the entire space of the room the shoot is in, more reason to some day get a real studio, and thankful for now that I don't have much furniture.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Most of last week's spare time was spent looking for and buying things for an upcoming photoshoot. Some supplies, some props. I would love to get better lights, but alas that is not financially possible right now. If money were no object I'd have my own studio anyway. But I think I can make the lights that I do have work. Finally have a proper backdrop and paper for it.

I like the idea of having props on hand, though I could see it as becoming more clutter at a time when I'm trying to get rid of it. One thing I was searching for was a standing mirror, I managed to find one and even talked the price down for it. One future idea of mine involves a series with a chair, and I'll know it when I find it.

A handful of photos while at an apple orchard this past weekend. Might've taken more if I weren't so uncomfortable, as I dressed for September and suddenly it was August again.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


This past week I went to my first Meetup with other local photographers. I'm hoping to meet and talk to more artists, art by nature is a solitary activity, and it helps to get some feedback and other benefits from others who are hopefully of the same wavelength as your own.

I'm glad that I did it but have still some lingering mixed feelings about it. I'm sure I'm overthinking things. One thing that I know I need to learn is the more technical aspects of my camera(s), but I think sometimes some of the people there were focused more on that than the end product. I'm not so sure they shared my love of "happy accidents." I can't recall the ISO or whatever I used on each individual shot, and I don't see why I should. I detected a bit of "oh, really..." when I said that most of the shots that I showed were taken with my point and shoot camera. What does it matter what tool you use as long as you get the end result that you want? Probably because of this I didn't even bring up Instagram.

In the above photo, the critique was that the horizon line wasn't perfectly straight. I was like, really? I'm not one for rigid rules. There were lots of pictures of dogs and flowers which, while technically well-taken, were not very interesting to me.

Eh. As you see, I may be taking it a bit too personally. I'm just, and have been for some time, trying to find like-minded artists, and it's been very difficult. I think at the very least I'll learn more technical skills, and there are other Meetups to try out. There's a group in Salem that I haven't made it out to yet, maybe those in a spookier town will be more akin to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

:flesh and frame:

The most creative part of this past week for me was allowing my own flesh to be a canvas; got another tattoo. It's a text tattoo, so some may not see that as visual as most, but I see it as no less. Some people these days even tattoo their entire backs that way, but who has time to read that? Heh.

Me being me, I agonized over both the typeface and how it was arranged. I toyed with it being wavy rather than straight, but because of its placement on my arm, it would get twisted when I turned it anyways. The artist who did it (Tara at Good Mojo Tattoos in Beverly, MA) does a lot of text tattoos (which is why I chose her) and says she's had to explain that to many people.

Also me being me, I'll need another one on the other arm, because I like symmetry. No idea if it'll be text as well. Hell, this one just came to me in a flash only a month ago.

For those who don't get the reference, it's from a song by the Golden Palominos called "The Ambitions Are." It's pretty dark but I'm taking the refrain in a more positive light.

I've been intending to hunker down and improve my photography, but as ever, trouble finding the time...I need to change some habits if I'm going to use the little time "allowed" to me. Gearing up for a photoshoot in early October, need to make sure I have all I need and make sure the lighting is better since it'll be indoors. I think I did fine last time, but there was definitely room for improvement.

Also trying out various print options. This one was actually printed on wood, I'm going to see what glass and metal prints look like.

I also found a few frames in my pile that are square, perfect size for an Instagram print. So I was thinking that I could print the most popular one and give it away here. And yes, this is my way of trolling for comments. Why be shy? Go to my Instagram page and tell me the title of the one you like the best on the comments below, the one that gets the most "votes" I'll give away, in some fashion that I haven't thought up yet.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


One thing that I did on last week's vacation, and has actually been an unspoken goal of the past year, was to find more places locally that I haven't been to yet. If I can't travel globally, I can at least see more of what we have have around here. Some day you will see the Pyramids in my Instagram, though.

Unsurprisingly most of my journeys took me to the ocean, some regular places, some new ones, like Singing Beach, where the water was amazingly warmer than usual. Usually you have to get used to the chill of the Atlantic up here, but there was no need that day. They don't make it easy for people who aren't locals to visit, though.

I also made it to Plum Island, which is actually a peninsula, and a gorgeous one at that. I only made it to a small beach area; looking at a map one can see that there is so much for me to explore there, and I intend to. I think it'll still be worth it in the upcoming fall.

Plans post-summer include really focusing on getting better at photography, and there is the possibility of a new photoshoot with somebody that I hope comes to fruition, I won't say anymore for fear of jinxing it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

:exact change:

This week has been a vacation week for me, which in my case just means a week off from the dayjob, as they still don't pay me well enough for me to travel like I should be. But I'm still getting outside and often to the ocean whenever possible. It's still a dream of mine to live by it some day, but the cynic in me also believes that when that happens, that's when the oceans will choose to rise. So best to stay put and let them come to you? We'll see.

It wasn't meant to be a week off from art, and it wasn't completely, as I have a camera with me at all times as usual. But this week has also been, in my mind, a sendoff to summer and the laziness it can cause (even though summer doesn't officially end until late September, as I have to remind some people who are curiously looking forward to being cold again), with hopeful plans to better many aspects of my life with the arrival of the fall.

I seem to be doing more photography than other types of art these days, and that's not a bad thing, and I don't intend to give up on other media. But I know I need to step my game up as far as photography goes. With a camera in every phone and other devices and nearly every phone owner thinking that means Instant Photographer, and sadly some possible clients believing them, making a living as such is more and more difficult unless you really stand out. Which is something I need to work on, both learning my cameras inside and out and making those photos really amazing. I get a fair amount of praise, with all humility, but that doesn't pay bills. Not saying that I do this for the money, but it's the best way to show appreciation to an artist, in the end.

I had actually gotten a query from the BBC asking if they could use my photos of the Robin Williams memorial in Boston. I said yes, but silly me, I also asked if there would be any monetary compensation, and got no further reply. So presumably they went on to somebody else who was willing to do so for free. I didn't demand it, but was simply asking. I'd like to think the BBC could afford to pay. But as is more and more usual, people like art but don't want to pay for it if it's at all possible.

I've made these plans & intentions before, I just need to find a way to really stick to them. My life is not awful, but I know it can be so much better. I want to be in a much better place by next year. So I have to wean off habits and maybe some people that are preventing me from meeting these goals. Hopefully you'll stick around to watch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Most of my creative endeavors lately are still involving photography. Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not doing my "other" artwork, but hey it's still art, right? At least I try to make it so. I regularly switch between my actual camera and Instagram on the smartphone. One thing I like about the latter is that it's in a square format, which makes you think more about composition. Unless you just use it for food or selfie pics. But I've been finding some pretty amazing photos on there. Now if I can figure out this hashtag nonsense, maybe more people will see mine.

I've been trying to visit places I haven't seen already. Massachusetts isn't a large state, but there's still plenty that I haven't seen, including the various islands in the Harbor. Here's Spectacle Island, with Boston in the distance.

I also visited the ominous-sounding World's End, made even more so by threatening clouds in the sky that day. You can't tell from these two pics but it was a very green place. Definitely hope to do a photoshoot there, if I can find a willing model.

And I regularly end up at Nantasket Beach in Hull, which isn't far from World's End. I wouldn't mind living in this area, but only if I also worked there too; commuting to and from Boston would well and truly suck.

Next week I have much-needed time off from the dayjob; sadly they still don't pay me well enough to afford to travel like I should be, so I'll be seeking more local adventures. 

I suddenly came up with a new tattoo idea (not the previous one that I'm still stuck on), so maybe I can get that done as well. It's text-based, and the biggest problem so far has been choosing the right font, since I have hundreds of them on my computer, from my club flyer days.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

:barbaric yawp:

In the awful coincidence department, a few weeks ago I was writing here about an illustration that I unearthed of Robin Williams, then, this past Monday, we hear of his death, one that is pretty much being attributed to suicide.

I was shocked to say the least. I rarely let celebrity deaths affect me, but this one has left me a bit numb, probably because I had probably followed his entire career, from "Mork & Mindy" onwards. When I discovered his stand-up comedy performances, I was hooked. I wore out my cassette tapes of those shows. True, he may not have consistently made the best movies every time, but I feel that like Bill Murray, he still captured one's attention even in the bad ones. And of course probably supplied hours of deleted scenes of him just wildly improvising.

Now some people seem to be intent on making him an poster child of what depression can do to you, even with all external appearances seemingly the opposite. This is not the the only example of a comedian having this sort of life, there's something about that sort of personality that makes one try to make others laugh to hopefully drive away the demons within. I myself was more likely to be a class clown than not. But when your "audience" is not around, you're left with yourself and sometimes that's not the company you want to keep at certain times. People are rightfully shocked that someone so high-profile and seemingly loved by so many wouldn't reach out for help, but so far we don't know the final straw in this case.

A park bench in Boston's Public Gardens that was part of a scene from one of his most loved movies, "Good Will Hunting," became the site of a memorial not long after his death was announced. I visited it yesterday, the bench was covered in flowers and gifts, and the walks surrounding it were covered in thanks, quotes and love written in chalk. Proof of his multi-generational appeal were evident, from "Mork & Mindy" to "Good Morning Vietnam" to "Aladdin" to "Hook" to "Dead Poets Society." I even saw a quote from "Popeye." Of course I added one myself, something from his stand-up act: "Joke 'em if they can't take a fuck."

Sadly it rained all day today and probably washed all those messages away. I'm sure they'll be replaced by others soon enough. It doesn't appear that his memory will be washed away quite so easily. Laughter is something we need almost as much as oxygen.

More pictures on my flickr page.