Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

preserving memories

Capturing moments in time is the one great successes of still photography.  I would never know what my grandparents looked like on their wedding day or remember the first views of my daughters without the images created by a camera.  Before the advent of lenses, shadow boxes and silver halide, pictures were made and preserved by hand - with paint, ink, charcoal and blood.  Put down on paper or rock walls, these images told stories and helped preserve the past.  Kokopelli is a deity that has been worshipped since the ancient pueblo peoples of the southwest first scribed their history on sandstone.  Overseeing agriculture and fertility, he is also a trickster and represents the spirit of music.  To my daughter Kate, he is a memory of every trip to Arizona and New Mexico - great times spent with her aunts, uncles, cousins & grandparents.  From a Robert Shields Kokopelli sculpture to the clay tile, hand painted by her in Santa Fe and now with ink - Kate has used this ancient symbol to hold on to her past. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

hay, part 2

"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all of my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

- Gary Snyder

Saturday, April 9, 2011


We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
            sweaty shirts and shoes.

-Gary Snyder

Thursday, April 7, 2011

a good one

When principal Anthony Smith came to Taft High School 10 years ago they had a graduation rate of 21% and a building so bad that it looked like a condemned property.  Partnered with local corporations, Smith, his staff and their motto, "Failure is not an option," have changed the direction of Taft.  This week they moved into their new facility - the reborn Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School (home to 9 IT labs).  Named a 2010 Blue Ribbon School, Taft now has a graduation rate of 95% and any student who maintains a 3.3 GPA receives a cell phone and a laptop.  At last count, more than 25% of the students qualified.  And in March, a long dormant sports program produced a basketball state champion. Good stories are out there - they just take hard work to create and to find.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Our lives are made of numbers - birthdays (58), years married (33).  Like miles on a highway, they mark space on our own timelines. Jamonn Zeiler makes guitars for a living.  A little blue book resting amongst sawdust and tools on his workbench is his roadmap - 180 guitars made, the first from rosewood & cedar; the last, maple & walnut.  When I photographed guitar #178, our roads crossed - in frame number 10444. Twenty three years of photography, 924 photo assignments and thousands of images.  But, as Jamonn and I both know, the work of those years is much more than just numbers.