I have always been a gal that loves photography. All aspects of it. The creativity, the precise capturing of moments, the ability we have to elasticize time. Decades later, we can snap ourselves back to that exact second in time by looking at an image. Imagery is so powerful, in that one glance can evoke deep, sometimes buried, feelings. With all the talk about how vital it is to live in the present moment, it's still important to look back on our past. Your present is a result of your personal history. Go ahead, look back. As long as we don't rely on the past to keep us happy in the present, it's safe. When we attach to the past too much, it can mess with our head, and alter our current perceptions. Missing the "good old days" sends the message that new days aren't as good. We cannot change the past, no matter how many times we mentally rewrite certain scripts. As long as we know this, and focus only on how we can change in the now, then by all means, reflect away.
Cameras are one of the greatest inventions of all time. They document and capture entire life spans, leaving invaluable treasures to be discovered by future generations. One of my favorite things about this blog, is that I'm documenting my life for my children and grandchildren. And please God, all the many generations that will come. I want them all to have a strong, clear, and vivid picture of who I was. Who I am. I love being on both sides of the camera, taking the photos and being in them. Being such a detail oriented person, it's the tiny things in life that capture my heart and attention. I love spotting the less obvious. It makes one appreciate and absorb the beauty in everything. My favorite photographer is Diane Arbus. Many years ago, the New York Times magazine featured a famous, old photo of hers. This was the first time I'd heard of her. The photo, which remains my favorite to this day, was of young identical twin girls. While the girls had the exact same mirrored features, clothes, and haircut, there were startling subtle differences. One was neat, not a hair out of place, stockings straight. A calm, complacent smile on her young face. The other twin had messy hair, her headband was askew, her stockings wrinkled. She did not look at serene as her sister. Rather, she looked annoyed and unhappy. The imagery struck me; how despite the obvious mirror imagery, these children were clearly so different. That underneath a facade that looks one way to outsiders, all kinds of shit is bubbling and percolating. I wondered if twin B was jealous of her more perfect sister. If she was sick of being compared to her. If she felt she would never be as good as her, would never be the teacher's pet. I felt resentment through the page. I remained curious if their lives had diverged into different paths, one easy and happy , one fraught with struggle and feelings of inadequacy. I wondered if twin A was aware of the differences, and if she was secretly pleased to be the "better one". If every little annoyingly sugar coated move was a passive aggressive🖕🏼to her sister.
Everyone likes to be in the lead, at any stage in life. I saw this photo pre Internet, so I took my copy of the magazine to Barnes and Noble so I could locate the coffee table book I figured it had to be in. That book still sits on my living room table, in a stack of other artfully arranged books that hold significance for me. Diane Arbus was known for capturing and honoring many ugly sides to life. She paid very close attention to that which most people turned away from. The unattractive, the sexually deviant, the mentally challenged , the freaks; they were not inconvenient to her. She was a visionary. Her imagery burns into one's mind. You feel her power through her lens. How dare you look away from certain aspects of life, simply because they don't subscribe to your expectations...
Since starting Instagram this past year, I've been really experimenting with photography. I love posting and sharing. I love the editing, filters, and coming up with witty captions. Since I'm a bit averse to technology, I used to stand on a soapbox about this. I didn't think it was philosophically healthy to need to control our memories. To alter images to make them look perfect felt phony to me. If someone was blinking, or turned their head, then that's the reality of what happened. Leave it be. I thought it was a negative indication of modern technology; how the need to shellack everything becomes obsessive. I can whine about this forever, but it ain't changing. I may as well join the party, even if I have to be coaxed onto the dance floor. It didn't serve me well to stand on ceremony about this. In fact, it held me back. I really do love social media, since it's given me a platform to express, share, and connect with all of you!
One of my favorite things to photograph is beautiful, fresh food. When I do a Lady Blaga food shoot, which is always super fun and challenging, I pour all my creativity into showcasing my JESScipes in the prettiest, freshest, yet natural way. I prep before, during, and after shots. It takes a lot of work, since Tzvia and I will bang out ten recipes at a time, but I'm always on such a high during the process. In Israel this year, I took a lot of food shots I'm really proud of. I got to combine my love of marketplaces, fresh ingredients, color, and Israel. My family was always 🙄 because I'd lag behind zooming in on a pile of dates or something.
I do a lot of photo work with Sky Frame in NYC, with the ultra talented homie Frankie. We've done various projects together, and I blew up a series of food pics, poster size onto metal. They came out awesome. I hung them up in my kitchen, and they look so sharp and vibrant against a stark grey wall. A clean line of bright, delicious beauty. Most of all, as I stood back absorbing my "work", I felt like a true artist. I have expressed myself more this year than I ever have in my entire life. I've seen projects come to fruition. I have proof of my personal growth and artistic evolution. It feels freaking great. I had an extra shot of gorgeous, juicy 🍓that I didn't have room for. I joyfully gifted it to SF, who hung it in her kitchen as well. The fulfillment in adding beauty and happiness to my friend's home is huge for me. I decided that will be my gift to loved ones, rather than buying an impersonal hostess gift. No one needs another set of lame serving pieces. My yoga teacher recently had a baby boy. I gave her another enlargement I'd made, of turquoise hearts painted on a wall, in the city of Zfat. This city in Israel is the birthplace of the Kabbalah, the book of Jewish mysticism.
This special woman required a special gift💙. Again, the feeling of pride I had when I gave the photo was deeply gratifying. It's a piece of my heart. I had some other images I hung in my sons' rooms too. I couldn't wait to tell them that mommy was the photographer. It's amazing how that little four chambered organ can keep giving and giving of itself, and always regenerate. There's always more to give. Always more to share. Always more to see and capture. We are so blessed to have an innate hunger to want to remember. The more proof we can gather of the wonder of the world, the happier we will be. It certainly works for me📸.