Monday, September 5, 2016

5 on 5

The Standish, Maine, Grange Hall

To live in a place where there are still long stretches of roadsides rimmed with evergreens and lakes where fireflies linger well into the night--this makes me truly blessed.  I want to capture as much of what makes my state precious to me, so this month I snapped shots of grange halls and classic seaside spots as well as some quiet moments of late summer beauty from my garden.

The Mt. Cutler Grange Hall in Hiram, Maine

Zinnias from my garden.  Love.

Evening drinks on the porch at the incredibly beautiful Grey Havens Inn in Georgetown, Maine.

The latest in my Dark Flower Portraits, this one inspired by research I'm doing on Emily Dickinson.
I'm joining in with 5 on 5 again this month.  If you'd like to follow along with the other participants, take a peek here at Jennifer Brake's beautiful blog!

More soon, my wonderful chickadees!  xo Gigi

Friday, August 5, 2016

5 on 5

Hello, my friends!  I have so much I want to share with you.  I'm back participating in 5 on 5 with some very talented photographers this month.  Each month on the 5th we post our 5 favorite photos from the previous month, and then we link to each other's blogs.  I'll post a link at the bottom of this post, and I hope you'll take a peek!

I've been wanting to share with you some wonderful news about my photography.  Last month I showed you some of my recent Dark Flower Portraits, and I just wanted to let you know that some of them are now available at Chelsea Underground Fine Art Gallery in Chelsea, Michigan.  You can find out more here.  It's an honor to have my work in this beautiful gallery.

The photo above is one I worked on this month.  It took a while to complete the process with this one, as I shot over several days as the peonies, catmint, and other flowers were drying.  Once I discovered the moment that I was looking for, I then processed the photo with many layers.  As I've mentioned before, I tend to shoot still lifes in my tiny study up under the eaves in our house.  I have one northern facing window up there that lets me really play with light.  I use lots of different backdrops.  For this one, it was an old chalkboard.

When I'm not working on still lifes, I'm thinking about still lifes.  I take long walks in meadows and along the shore, observing the textures of grasses and flowers.  This shot above was near the end of the day at my old favorite haunt, Maine Audubon at Gilsland Farm.

Another favorite spot is Portland Head Light, where I took the photo above.  As with my still lifes, I sometimes layer many textures over landscapes and seascapes, as I've done with this one.

And then sometimes I just aim the camera, adjust the settings a bit, and shoot.  When the sunset is this glorious, I don't need to do much processing.  I took this shot here in Portland out at our new outdoor music venue, Thompson's Point.  Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were playing that night, and it was pretty much a classic coastal Maine summer evening.

I'm wrapping up my summer teaching this week, which means I'll have about three weeks off before fall semester begins.  I've had some terrific creative writing students this summer--and all year--and now I'm ready for a couple of weeks of my own writing and photography time.  I'm not gonna lie; it's been a wild summer--a wild year--with some challenges that I wasn't sure I could meet.  July included a short but beautiful trip to Rangeley Lake for hiking and birding, and some of the most outrageous fireworks I've ever seen.  It also included tons of work, lots of visits from family and friends, and a bittersweet weekend spent with family as we celebrated the life and mourned the passing of my sweet Aunt Connie.  She was the last of my father's siblings, and now that she is gone, those days of childhood feel far away.  In remembrance, I've been taking Dark Flower portraits at the end of this month of flowers from my childhood, including these Queen Anne's Lace, mixed here with some fennel.

Thank you so much for visiting, my friends!  If you'd like to see some more of 5 on 5, head on over to Jennifer Brake's wonderful blog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

5 on 5

So much has been happening around here this past month!  Lots of interesting things are in the works. I have much news to share and many stories to tell, but first I have the great joy of taking part in 5 on 5, along with some wonderful photographer friends. Each month we share 5 of our own photos from the previous 30 days, and we link to each other's blogs, creating a chain of beautiful photos and stories.  How wonderful is that? Big thanks to my friend, Stephanie, for starting this group back at the beginning of the year.  I've known Stephanie for years now through the blogging/Flickr world, and I've long admired her photography, so I'm just chuffed to be a part of this group.  You can see her 5 on 5 post here.

As some of you know, I've been working on a series of pictures that I'm calling my Dark Flower portraits.  The peonies above are one of the newest in the series.  I'll have news to share about the series in my next post, but for now, I'll just share some writing I did in an Instagram post that was inspired by this photo:

A gardener thinks about life and death always as one. In each flower's race toward blossoming is its race, too, toward decline. I'm saying nothing new, only that when you garden, this thought is always present. In the garden I am surrounded by the new growth of runner bean sprouts, the full flush of a climbing rose, and the last breath of a lush peony all at the same moment. My wheelbarrow is piled high with a day's kill: the weeds I pulled, faded blossoms I plucked, lily beetles I crushed between gloved finger and thumb. The gardener must not be squeamish about death. She must recognize its necessity even as she rejoices at the sight of her first ever iris uncurling itself with a flourish from the spear of its stem.

Not all of my recent photos have been dark.  In fact, some have been quite light and even ethereal. I'm taking nearly all of my stills in a northeast facing window of my little workroom/studio/study.  It provides my favorite light for stills.  I can't imagine taking photos without that northeastern light!

The peonies in the twilight shot above are only a few of the thousands to be seen and smelled at Gilsland Farm in June.  This old farm is home to the Maine Audubon Society, and it is one of my favorite spots anywhere in the world.  Meadows, woods, marshes, and lush gardens all in one magical place on an estuary just a few minutes outside of Portland, but truly a world away.

Clearly, peonies have been inspiring me over the past month, but so have many far less showy flowers right here in my own gardens, including the pelargoniums (geraniums).  In the shot above I tucked some lovely wild pink ones into a busted old crate.

The purple geranium in this final shot is one of Todd's favorite flowers.  It's combined with a wee sprig of lady's mantle in a handblown perfume bottle that a former boss gave me a lifetime ago. The Dark Flower portrait series is helping me to see photography--and thus my life--in a new way, and helping me come to terms with some things about the creative process (and the process of just living in this messy, heartbreaking, beautiful world) that have always frightened me.  I relish this chance to dive deeper and work harder.

Thanks, wonderful friends, for stopping by.  You never cease to inspire me.