Thursday, June 30, 2011


June 30
Where am I and how did I get here!?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Daily Photo Diary

June 23

June 24

June 25

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Using Art Making to Change the World

June 22 ~ Home by TreManda Pewett

Home, an installation piece to discuss homelessness, was created by 11th grader TreManda Pewett, from a 2 day inaugural Art Works Projects' Workshop to Change the World. It was organized by Leslie Thomas, the Executive and Creative Director of Art Works Projects and held at Marwen in Chicago. I was asked to be a creative advisor as students worked on varying topics that included water pollution, domestic and teen violence, bullying, genocide and homelessness. In a mere 2 days the work and ideas that were generated by these very talented youth (ranging from 8th grade to Sr. in High School) was astonishing.

You can learn more about the workshop by visiting their facebook page HERE or by visiting the Art Works Projects website HERE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Emily Heller ~ Shelf Life

Emily Heller's new portfolio, Shelf Life, contains photographs that are so sophisticated, luminous, elegant and arresting. I marvel at how these everyday objects are brought to a whole different level thru the use of light, composition and color. In Emily's words...

"These photographs expose the ironies and contradictions of our relationship to food through exploring the tension between moderation and indulgence, the natural and industrial, the ordinary and the unsettlingly strange. A conflict exists between the seductiveness of the photograph and the banality of the object. There are no bright colors, no earthy textures but we still recognize our own eating habits in the forms. The objects continue to be desirable, enticing, and luxurious despite the fact that it is the antithesis of food photography. Eating is a visual experience but what happens when it no longer looks appetizing or is even recognizable as food? How can we reconcile our continuing hunger and desire for more?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice

June 21 ~ Summer Solstice

June 20

Sometimes I really surprise myself. I love these images, especially given that today is the summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Fortune Teller

July 3 in Mexico City at Arroyo Restaurant

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19

June 19th...taken by my father on Father's Day

Days with My Father ~ Phillip Toledano

My Mum died suddenly on September 4th, 2006

After she died, I realized how much she’d been shielding me from my father’s mental state. He didn’t have alzheimers, but he had no short-term memory, and was often lost.

I took him to the funeral, but when we got home, he’d keep asking me every 15 minutes where my mother was. I had to explain over and over again, that she had died.

This was shocking news to him.

Why had no-one told him?
Why hadn’t I taken him to the funeral?
Why hadn’t he visited her in the hospital?

He had no memory of these events.

After a while, I realized I couldn’t keep telling him that his wife had died. He didn’t remember, and it was killing both of us, to constantly re-live her death.

I decided to tell him she’d gone to Paris, to take care of her brother, who was sick.

‘Days with my father’ is a journal.

A record of our relationship, and the time we spent over the last three years.

Phillip Toledano

Published by Chronicle Books in 2010.

To view the complete project, please go to:

I find these scraps of writing all over the house… they are a glimpse into his mind, the disquiet he tries to hide from me

Where is everyone?

What’s going on?

How lost he feels.

I asked my father to look in the mirror, while I took his photograph.

Now, you have to realize my dad was very handsome when he was young. When people talk about ‘Film star handsome’, well, that was my dad. In fact, he WAS a film star (of sorts), in Hollywood, during the 1930’s.

So when he looks in the mirror, he sees a man ravaged, a man no longer beautiful, and that upsets him deeply.

You see, he’s still vain at 98. In fact, his vanity can be quite extraordinary.

I tried to take him to the doctor a few months ago, but on the way out, he caught a glimpse of himself in the hall mirror.

He was so horrified with his appearance, that he refused to leave the house until I found a ‘black pencil’ to dye his white hair with.

Because my parents had me so late, my dad was essentially retired when I was growing up.

But for my ambitious, driven father, he wasn’t retired at all, just working on his next career.

Being an artist.

I have so many memories of him listening to opera, sketching, painting, sculpting.

Although he doesn’t paint anymore, he still sees. He still has the artistic impulse.

He was admiring the sunset, saying that he could make a ‘whole series’ of paintings around those wonderful colors…

The urge is still there, even if the physical ability is not.

Sometimes, when we’re talking,

my dad will stop, and sigh, and close his eyes.

It’s then that I know, that he knows.

About my mum.

About everything.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Change of Mind

June 17

I have been in an agitated state for a few days. It wasn't until yesterday that I realized it was because of this new camera and project. I did a shoot with the camera and and found myself struggling to figure out all the settings. I know nothing of video shooting and do not really want to spend my energies figuring it out. SO, I decided to let it go. I love the patina and smoky residue of my canon 5D and will stay with it for a while longer.

June 18

Taken with a plastic holga this more like it...low tech with lots of trial and error. I just LOVE the plastic holga lens!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Expansion ~ Paige Bradley

"From the moment we are born,
the world tends to have a
container already built for us
to fit inside: A social security
number, a gender, a race,
a profession or an I.Q. I ponder
if we are more defined by the
container we are in, rather than
what we are inside. Would we
recognize ourselves if we could
expand beyond our bodies?
Would we still be able to exist
if we were authentically

Paige Bradley


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Challenges of New Equipment

June 16 ~ Sixty plus 20 days

I just purchased this new camera with the help of the recent PDN Curator's Choice Award. The decision was based on wanting to shoot some video. The learning curve is STEEP as the camera is more like a computer and the choices are staggering. I am a creature of habit and keep longing for my Hassleblad...and then I am reminded of fabulous new Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, where the main character longs for the past only to learn that the present is pretty darn good! If you haven't seen it, you are in for a treat.

I also got a call from my 91 year old father last night who, after years as a PC user, has decided that for Father's Day he is going to take us up on our offer to help him switch to a Mac!

I am reminded that....

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Alan Watts

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Roy DeCarava on Photograpy

June 15 ~ day 20

excerpt from a talk given by Roy DeCarava at the Museum of Modern Art. © 1996 DeCarava Archives

"How do I know what to photograph? I am at a point where images find me; I don't go looking for them. I interact with the process of photography sometimes by anticipating, at other times by trusting and waiting, or by willing things to happen. Does this shape what happens? We don't know. The laws that are implied or invented do not determine what happens. A photograph is created by a machine, but the product of it is real; that moment had to exist in the real world in order to take a picture of it. No other process demands that kind of veracity.

When I first started, there were standard myths of photography: the individual becomes the subject, all sorts of obvious things. But the more you work, and your work has to be accompanied by an ability to know and to get deeper and deeper into it, the more you find that creation comes in the constructive exploration not only of the subject but of one's own self. To some extent, then, it no longer matters what the subject is; there is always something there to pull out.

The subject becomes a limit in this equation. What is not limited is you. I am not the same person I was 40 years ago, 4 hours ago, 4 minutes ago, yet I am all of them at once. You are multiple in your consciousness: you are the past, the future, the present or all and any other dimensions that we can't yet name. Consciousness expands and is unlimited.

At this point, subject matter doesn't interest me. There is something else out there---or I don't know if it's out there, but I think it is--- and I reach for it.

Photography is about getting back to the self, and the self is infinite, it is consciousness. The refusal to invent a methodology is what makes you free, what enables the consciousness to rise."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Harry Callahan on teaching

June 14 ~ Sixty plus nineteen

Tonight is the last critique session of the year. I really enjoy creating an environment in which photographers can have the space to reflect and grow. I came across an interesting quote by Harry Callahan a while ago while cleaning out my files...

"I really didn't have much to teach. I didn't even believe in it. I felt so strongly that everybody had to find their own way and nobody can teach you your own way. In terms of art, the only real answer that I know of is to do it. If you don't do it, you don't know what happens next."

so true

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Wholehearted and Vulnerable"

This 365 day photo project has brought up interesting issues for me, including feelings of vulnerability. When you photo journal everyday your life is more exposed. There are bound to be some average images mixed in with the not so good and great images. It leaves me with questions on the purpose of the project.

I came across a You Tube video (thanks, Val) which shed some light on the issue. In it Brene Brown, a researcher, storyteller and social worker talks about "leaning into the discomfort of the work." In order for connection to happen, we have to be seen, deeply seen and love with our whole hearts. She ends by talking about a practice of gratitude and joy and working from a place of "I believe I am enough." Being kinder and gentler with ourselves and others is the natural outcome.

For me, this is where life, connection and photography all intersect.

June 13 ~ Morning Light in my Studio

Here is the full TED talk

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Nourishing our plants and ourselves....

Heading to Mexico in a few weeks and thought I would see how well an iPhone application works in anticipation of using it down there. It is always a challenge to master new technology. I must say that I am inspired by my father, who at age 91, just bought the iPhone!

June 9 ~ Day 14

As it is graduation time, thought I would share a graduation speech worth your time to consider...

For Grads: You are Not Amazing
By The Rev. Anne S. Howard on May 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Commencement Address by The Rev. Anne S. Howard*

We are gathered here to celebrate you graduates—you ascend to a new height today with the conferring of these graduate degrees.
And so I’d like to begin by saying: you are not amazing. Despite your accomplishments, your regalia, your degrees and pedigrees, you are not amazing—but you might be. Let me explain.
The Dalai Lama, in his book Ethics for the New Millennium—the book that was chosen this year for the UCSB program—said, “There is nothing amazing about being highly educated; there is nothing amazing about being rich. Only when the individual has a warm heart do these attributes become worthwhile.”
Well, I think it might be nice if your expensive education were to prove worthwhile, so I’d like to talk about the temperature of your hearts.
By warm heart, the Dalai Lama of course is not talking about the way you feel about your puppy. He is talking about an ethical principle that he sees as necessary for the peace and well-being of our fragile planet. He is talking about that imperative that is at the core of all the great world religions, about something more important than the practice of religion—he’s talking about compassion.

In his book, as you know, he presents a long list of disciplines for achieving a practice of compassion. It’s a daunting list. I recommend each and every virtue he names—but I know it’s just darn hard to master them all. And I’m aware (in my work with The Beatitudes Society with graduate students across the country) that the practice of compassion is not something that we naturally accumulate along with our degrees.
So today I want to offer you a short list, just the elementary basics--a toolkit for compassion. And because I know that commencement speeches are as forgettable as wedding sermons, I want to offer you a brief mnemonic device --the S-A-Ts. I want you to remember the SATs—not your high school SATs—but something new to tuck into your toolkit—along with your diplomas, resumes, job applications, and cleaned up FaceBook Profiles.
First, S. S means stop. Stop what you are doing. Stop working, stop pushing, stop achieving, stop producing. Stop texting, typing, clicking and twittering. Stop on a regular basis. At least once each day. Stop once a week. S means stop—it comes from something the ancients called Sabbath—the early Hebrew notion that workers ought to get a respite from oppressive overlords at least one day a week. Stopping was so important to them that they included it in their creation myth, in their definition of the Creator: on the seventh day, the story goes, God rested. The Hebrew word “rested” translates “exhaled.” God exhaled. Remember Sabbath, remember something you already know, deep in your bones, remember to exhale.
We have trouble remembering to exhale and we have trouble remembering that Sabbath was a time meant for rest, refreshment, delight. Over the centuries, we got it all wrong. Sabbath became a set of “thou shall nots:” do not work, do not dance, do not play cards.
The academy has done a bad job with the notion of Sabbath too—we know that sabbaticals are really only time away from classrooms and committees; time that must be justified by publication. Not time to exhale.
But the beauty of Sabbath persists across cultures. Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk, rings a small bell throughout the day in the Buddhist community of Plum Village, a “mindfulness bell.” When the bell rings, it is a signal for all to stop, to take three breaths, and then resume work.
Sabbath means you take time out to engage in the things that feed your body and soul: you eat, you dance, you listen, you make art and music and love and prayer.
You might stop for one full day each week; or it might be an afternoon, a moment. Whatever it is, if we are going to check on the temperature of our hearts, we all have to stop.
Working without stopping, Thomas Merton said, is a form of violence—one that we have perfected with our 24-hour days. This violence colors the way we gobble up resources; it hobbles our capacity for creativity and clear judgment; it tears at the fabric of our relationships. I am told that the Chinese pictograph for busyness is composed of two characters: Heart-plus-Killing.
Stopping is the single most live-saving thing we can do—the most counter-cultural act of resistance we can mount. We stop, so that we can pay attention:
A is for Attention. Be aware. Take a look at where you are. Did you see that cormorant over the lagoon—have you ever noticed one? Did you notice the look in your mother’s eyes when she saw you today in your funny hat? And how about the way you feel right now inside your own skin?
And what about the world beyond your own little sphere? What do you allow into your field of vision, your range of care?
This is the reason Thich Nhat Hanh rings the bell. Be here now. The bush is afire, Moses discovered, and took off his shoes to dance. Heaven is here, Jesus said, and invited everyone to a party; this is the only moment we have to love one another. This moment matters.
Pay attention to what counts: What do you love? Is the work you are about to do with your new degree truly your vocation—that place where your deep joy meets the world’s great need? Or is it just what everyone expects you to do?
One last letter, T. T is for thanks. Practice saying thanks. Start by thinking of all the people who helped you get here today. You know who helped you believe in yourself. Say thanks for them. And you also know who stood in your way, the ones who made your way a little rougher. Say thanks for them too; they were your best teachers, and there will be many more like them along the way.
Saying thanks reminds us that we are contingent beings. We are not alone. You are, I am, more than a solitary mouse-clicking unit staring into a flat screen. We depend upon one another. We know in the 21st century that we can no longer live in our old myth of Western individualism; we do not ride alone on our ponies into the Western sunset. We are learning, after all those cowboy movies, what our great-grandparents knew—and Ayn Rand didn’t: we are better when we stand together, when we recognize our common ground, when we raise a barn roof or build a school or design a national health care system together—for the common good.
Most of you were born around the beginning of the 1980s—you spoke your first words in that decade known as the “me” decade; and here you are in a new century characterized by a new vocabulary: you live a reality shaped by words like network, internet, linked, global, web.
Saying thanks is one simple way to be mindful of your complex web of relationships, and of that pulse of Compassion that beats at the heart of the universe.
That’s it, the SATs. Three letters—and one last quick thing, a picture, a snapshot to paste to the lid of your compassion toolbox; it’s a picture of your Wild Space.
Wild Space is theologian Sallie McFague’s term for that part in each one of us that does not fit our consumer culture’s definition of the good life.
McFague suggests that we discover our Wild Space this way: imagine a circle. Within that circle is the model of the dominant culture: white, Western, male, middle-class, heterosexual, educated, able-bodied, successful. Now, put your own image of yourself over that circle. Some parts may fit that model, some may not. The part of us that falls outside the circle is our Wild Space.
The parts that don’t fit may be obvious: race or gender. Some aren’t so obvious: surviving a failure, or a loss, the struggle with addiction, or simply our refusal to buy into convention. Anything that causes us to question the dominant culture’s notion of success is our Wild Space.
It’s our Wild Space that allows us to question our definitions of power and so discover more egalitarian ways relate to one another. Our Wild Space allows us to re-imagine the way we consume the earth’s resources and so live in such a way that cares for our planet and our neighbors. It’s our Wild Space that allows us to create an alternative vision of the good life. Wild Space is our hidden key to the practice of compassion.
So that’s the tool kit:
Stop. Pay attention. Say thank you. And keep an eye on your Wild Space. I bet your heart will not only warm, it will light on fire.
And then you might just be amazing. I hope so. God knows we need you, our planet needs you, to be nothing less than amazing."

*2009 University of California Santa Barbara Graduate Division

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


June 7 ~ Day 12

You know, it is not what happens in your life but how you relate to it that is important...your attitude and perspective toward what transpired. You can't change what happened but you can change how you think about it. It is all about perspective. This is what I was thinking about when I took this shot.

June 8 ~ Day 13

Thanks for all your support on the 365 photo diary. Looks like I am continuing...can't keep the flowers from blooming!

I chatted with Cathy about the Just Connect video (see previous blog post). She said she could see it available for people in high stress jobs that just need to chill out for a few minutes. Thinking about retitling it to....
Got Two Minutes? Just Connect
It would be great if it could be used to aid in helping people find some space of peace and relaxation. Please pass on the video if know where it might be of benefit to others.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Just Connect

A simple representation of the experience of meditation.

I had the idea for an installation using this image about 10 years ago. The idea keep resurfacing and about 3 weeks ago it morphed into a video. The power of an idea, 3 creatives, technology and the internet is amazing.

Monday, June 06, 2011


June 6 ~ Day 11

Many thanks, Ellen and Yvette, for your comments. I am trying to evaluate whether this 365 project and blog are serving me and my readers. Process is really important to the creative life. It has been an interesting 11 days, knowing that I will create an image each day. I have forced myself to take risks I would not have taken, and looked at my surroundings more carefully. All of that is worthwhile. What I am not sure about is this feeling of being so plugged into the internet. I will continue to evaluate.

My goal for this blog has been (and still is) to try to provide a springboard for inspiration and encouragement for myself and others in the creative process, in addition to pontificating about life. I so appreciate your comments.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

June 5

Sixty plus 10

"I don't even know you and it feels ok"... from the interchange when I requested to take the photo

having some reservations about the 365 project now...and the blog. more later

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Day 9

June 4 ~ Day 9

Friday, June 03, 2011

Spring Finds

June 3 ~ Day 8

Spring is such a wondrous time. Everything is bursting with life. I scoop up a fallen nest and an unhatched robin's egg, thrilled with the opportunity to further study objects that I would never dream of disturbing in their natural habitats. The intricate weave of the nest is truly impressive, as are the materials used. I reflect on my own pregnancies and marvel at the instinct for all life to reproduce itself.

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

from Little Gidding, T. S. Eliot

Thursday, June 02, 2011

June 2

June 2 ~ Waiting for Peter

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


This isn't exactly a photograph, it is a scan. Bending the rules a bit on this photo of the day but hey, whatever works. I decided to put this up because it illustrates for me what is MOST important in this life, connection. I actually have not opened the letter yet because I was so moved by the sentiment of the drawing by my 4 year old granddaughter and mistakenly thought that opening the letter would "break the seal" of the holding hands. Now I realize my thinking was a bit off.

June 1 ~ Sixty plus six

On another track, I mentioned I was reading Daybook by Anne Truitt. There is a quote that so totally sums up where I am today.
"The preemptive images that present themselves to me in my conception of my work are on a scale way out of proportion to my capacity to bring them into being."

I want to shoot some video and know NOTHING about it. The learning curve will be steep!