Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Solstice

Summer is such a glorious time of year! The sun's intense energy is high, and it seems like the whole wide world is in full bloom with possibilities.

Below is a shot I took on my recent trip to Ohio - it is a pathway in the garden surrounding Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio, the historic mansion belonging to the Sieberling family (Mr. Sieberling was the founder of Goodyear, the tire company). Look how lush the trees are!

Even the night air is warm in the summer time - one of my favorite delights is taking a walk through the city on a mild evening after dark. This year, there is some flowering tree that must have had a good season, because everywhere I go, all around New York, I can smell its brilliant fragrance. I don't know what it is, but it is sweet, and fresh, and strong - inspiring qualities, if I say so myself!

Summer is the time for little excursions and adventures, as well as putting projects into full swing. Somehow, it seems like everything is heightened all at once. I both want to go on more little vacations, and also work my hardest this time of year. Is it because the days are so long? Is it because the weather is so pleasant that I want to maximize it both for pleasure and for productivity?

Whatever it is, nature does it again, always knowing exactly the right season for everything. Summer's energy is so big, it's hard to ignore nature this time of year, as it provides gift after gift of pleasant sights (blue skies, plants in bloom), pleasant feelings (soft air on skin, warmth), pleasant smells (flowers, plants, fresh air), and pleasant tastes (strawberries!). I'm no hippie, but the summer sure makes me think I could have been one.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Modeling for Angela Cappetta - the results!

The photos that Angela Cappetta took of me have been submitted to the stock house and are now ready for license! I was very excited when Angela shared this tip with me:

Go to

Click on "creative."

Type "Cappetta" in the search box.

Voila! Fun photos of me modeling with cupcakes. I especially like the face I'm making when it looks like I'm about to bite into that slice of cake. I did eat quite a few cupcakes that day, as I recall...

And, check out Angela's other work, too! She's an incredible documentary-style photographer, with an unbelievably quirky eye. Her work alternately cracks me up and makes me think. I love her. I especially love her shots of the burning chair, which you will also see on her Getty page. (Follow the link below to visit her website.) Enjoy!

Angela is one of my mentors and I simply adore her work. There is such a subtlety of tone to the way she captures a moment, that I can feel her hand as an artist when I view her images - the same way I feel it when I look at the most successful paintings in museums. She is truly a genius.

Angela has that gift that young artists are always seeking to find - that "je ne sais pas" that is uniquely hers. It is real substance, real emphasis on the perspective of the artist, unlike so many of the images that pass by our eyes every day in the media, purposely intended to relate to the perspective of you the viewer, rather than give voice to something as subtle as the shooter's innermost thoughts about what she or he is observing. Angela is an excellent modern-day role model for young artists because her vision is so distinct. Instead of trying to emulate anyone else, she pushes the "self" in her work to be more and more evident - which is what only a great artist of any time is capable of.

Did I mention that I LOVE the burning chair?

photos by: Angela Cappetta

Friday, June 6, 2008


[Or, "What kind of art school would this be without occasional self-portrait and self-reflection assignments?"]

Today I was being interviewed [for an undisclosed purpose], and I was asked to describe myself. At first I thought, "Hmmm, well, what does it say on my facebook profile? It says I'm always 'having epiphanies.'" And it's true!

As the questioning continued, I thought long and hard about what having epiphanies about life and creativity have to do with one another. I thought about my passion for inspiring people, and how I love to see others inspiring people as well. For example, the David Lynch Foundation has
created a program for teaching students how to meditate, and has had some phenomenal results with reducing and even eliminating violence in schools!

So, one might ask (and my interviewer did), "So, why don't you teach meditation? Why

Well, that is a good question. I feel that meditation, yoga, any form of relaxation and centering that helps me to focus is useful in that it clears some of the clutter from my mind. But my real epiphanies are about tangible, physical results in the world I live in. There are many people who are great at clearing their minds and helping others to do so. I am better at pondering things and coming up with creative solutions and ideas. My real goal is to inspire people through example and encouragement - therefore, my ability to meet my larger goals of affecting the world relies upon my willingness to pursue my own success.

Often, I tell the story about when I was a small child, and how I would become completely overwhelmed by my existence in a moment. Everything felt utterly magical. I remember seeing things on the street where I grew up in Cleveland - everyday things like a tree or the way a wire fence had been bent down over time - and finding them so beautiful and perfect that I wished they could be recorded forever. That is why I am a photographer. It has taken me years to identify that story as the most important story of my career, and maybe even my life. And as time goes on, I find better and better ways to explain what I didn't have words for when I was small.

I believe that everyone has a dream like this. Maybe they don't remember what it is. Maybe it comes to them as a recurring thought. Maybe they never lost sight of it at all, and they are always working towards it - then they are lucky. I think for most people, it is something that escapes them a lot of the time, having been socialized to prioritize other responsibilities. In the pursuit of this dream, of creating art out of the beauty of my life experience, I hope that I inspire people along the way who are trying to come back into contact with their dreams.

Just that thought keeps me going when I have been working too hard, when there are archives to go through, submissions to be made, and photos due to several clients. Each time I interact with anyone, it is a chance for them to come into contact with evidence that it is all right to live your dream. I take that as a pretty serious calling to live that evidence!

The interviewer asked, "What is your biggest dream?"

And I said, "I want to change the world!"

I blurted it out, and then thought to myself, "Doesn't everyone?" I really do believe that we all have a gift inside that feels large enough to impact the world, and so we all really do have a sense that we might and could. Whether your environment is big or small, the energy you bring to it really does make a difference. And that environment is related to others, and those to others, and on and on.

So, we're all changing the world all the time. Isn't that worth making art about? I sure think so.