Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

As an amateur photographer, I’m hoping these convey contrast properly, particularly with respect to lighting.  I took these inside a photography school in Philadelphia.  It was an old warehouse that was refurbished and converted into spaces for artists and their expressive institutions.

I fell for the old brickwork, the old glass windows and the beauty of the building which was restored out of a previously abandoned warehouse that at one time drew squatters and taggers.  The neighborhood isn’t great, but it appears the building has been respected since the rehab.  How they purposely refurbished the building around the graffiti reminds me of the new life it has taken on.  It encompasses the contrast between the stages of life this building and this area has seen over time; new to decrepit to repurposed.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Distorted

A professional photographer, I am not. Amateur? Maybe. When I took these? Not at all.

Four years ago, with our little Sony in my pocket, my husband and I shamelessly wandered and played in Independence Hall Park, adjacent to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. We had just had dinner and perused the street artists and galleries that are open the first Friday of each month in Old City. I’d say we were feeling goofy rather than inspired, as we attempted to take pictures of us eating each other’s head.

Distort: misinterpret, falsify, fudge, misrelate, misrepresent, and slant

We did all of that, without any actual consideration of the camera but all in fun, and clearly without any legitimate idea of spatial perception. My credibility factor is drastically diminished with this post, but I’d be lying if I didn’t laugh hysterically when I look at the fifty or so pictures from that night.  I’d also be lying if I said we never tried this again.  We did get better at it, but those pictures aren’t nearly as fun.

ABBA, J. Peterman and New York

I missed posting yesterday, but for good reason.  I was lucky enough to join my Aunt to New York to see a Broadway show.  She had won tickets to Mamma Mia.  I am a huge fan of New York City, but of Abba?  Not so much.  I do love many forms of art and stage, so I did not turn down the opportunity and in the end, I was really pleasantly surprised.

My musical taste skips the Abba and spandex generation altogether, but since I’m not technically a musician, I feel I have no place to judge the taste of others.  These people wrote the music that millions know and love today.  You should have seen the crowd at the end.  People of all ages compelled to jump out of their seats and frantically wave their hands and sing along.  I could’ve gone that far if I had a couple drinks from the bar first, but I did clap in attempt to maintain rhythm.

Speaking of which, it’s been some time since I’d been to a Broadway show and I was unaware that there were rolling bar carts next to the candy guy and the program sellers.  Maybe it’s one of the details you don’t notice at a younger age.  I suppose it’s a very good thing that I wasn’t scouting out the pinot grigio before Beauty and the Beast during my school field trip to the theater.  Regardless, I had anticipated a dated show and instead the updated one-liners and costumes gave the show a more current ambiance.

New York was chilly, and the fresh chill and flurries were a good reminder that even though the Northeast has had a spring-like winter, spring is not yet upon us. There’s still plenty of time to pull out the gloves and my nemesis, the ice scraper.  Still the train ride up was easy and the company enjoyable.  This paragraph is making me feel like I’m writing a J. Peterman catalog narrative from Seinfeld.  Wool peacock blue coat, large retro matching buttons, dark jeans and boots that both emulate New York style and provide walking comfort.  I hope someone gets why I just wrote that.

Tattoos Are Permanent

The title is an obvious statement and one which people often don’t keep in mind when getting a tattoo.  The worst is seeing “trendy” tattoos and waiting for an entire generation to have a less than appealing version of it as we age.  As someone with two tattoos, both small but one in an obvious place, getting more is something that makes me both very cautious and very eager.

One of the biggest parts of being a creative writer is expressing who you are.  It is very easy to perfect our niche and allow details to shine through our written works that tell who we are.  People like labeling things, and even ourselves, though many try to dismiss that notion.  Tattoos are a version of that, like putting a permanent sticker on your car, but knowing it’s the car you drive for life.  Also don’t forget that you’re never getting out of that car.  People will judge you on your “decorations” and often decide where to fit you in terms of opportunities that arise.

Tattoos can be expressive in a “wow” way that exudes a look of glowing awe or a “wow” response that hinders more in a “what were they thinking” way.  Your body décor can be appealing and open doors that a plain person may not access or it’ll shut a door in your face.  There are simply open and closed-minded people, and that’s just the way life is.  I suppose it’s a matter of making sure your body art truly depicts who you are and allows room for the opportunities you seek.

I’m often torn between allowing myself to be expressive and artsy or classic and conservative.  I appreciate the notions of each and I’m not quite sure what I am deep down.  Isn’t it ok to be both when the situation feels right?  Do I have to go all in, or does taking myself out of one stereotypical box make me unique?  When I’m out with friends, I don’t wear a watch.  When I’m at work I do, to avoid the distraction of people staring at the tattoo on my wrist.  I’m not ashamed of it and I still don’t regret getting it, but I’m also aware of the snickers I’ve gotten from corporate higher-ups and I don’t need my potential success sidelined by a decision I made when I was 18.

I also worry about what time does to our bodies.  I have an inkling (get it?) to get another piece done, but I do worry that if I choose the wrong location, that time won’t be so kind.  Maybe the conservative side is hindering the artistic one and I should take more of a chance.  Or maybe like many things in life, such as buying a house or finding your spouse, it’ll come to you and you’ll just know.  Same should probably apply to finding something you want to adorn on your skin forever.  If we can’t wait for that to happen, then at least be prepared for the regret later.

Photo courtesy of sodahead.com

Mae

Mae might be my alter ego.  Or maybe she’s just a lot less shy and a lot more outgoing than life allows me to be, the true me.

Why Mae? I grew up in South Jersey, raised by my Philadelphian parents.  I moved to Southern California after I graduated high school and a couple of years later I met the man who would be my husband.  Until I met him, I never really knew I had an accent, besides the fact that waitresses could never get my water order right.  “Root beer? What did you say?”  “I said water.”  No, apparently I was saying “wudder”.  My in-laws still giggle at this.

Mae is one of my vocal imperfections.  That is apparently what I say instead of saying “me”.  As I got to know my future husband and his friends, we’d talk and share stories until eventually I got asked who Mae was and why I was talking about her.  Mae has stuck with me, and she’s got a devilish grin and a glimmer in her eye.  She sneaks backstage at concerts, debates passionately over a Guinness and plays in the rain.  She’s always with me and but comes out when I’m at my best, and I’m probably the luckiest girl in the world because she gets to visit pretty often, when responsibility doesn’t wear her down.

Mae loves history, ancestry, Ireland, Philadelphia sports, Superheroes, Red Hot Chili Peppers (even when Kiedis is trying to rock that porno ‘stach), dorky science, tea parties, whiskey, playing guitar, oil paintings, culture, debating, photography, Los Angeles after a rainstorm (no smog), U2 (for both music and humanitarianism) and hates that she hasn’t found a way to make a profitable career out of the passion she has for life…yet.  Mae and I co-exist, never straying too far from loving life but being responsible.  Oscar my pug begs to differ…he’d rather I take him on a walk then write you.

It is beautiful out tonight…Mae, you up for an adventure?  Oscar, grab your leash!