Your Personal Renaissance

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Feeling a bit under water?

We can get busy with life, so busy that we lose track of who we are and what we want and who we most want to be.

If that sounds like you at least sometimes, then you are not alone.

If that sounds like you, I have the perfect little get-a-way this January, less than 2 hours from Chicago.

If you’d like to reclaim your inner creative kid, join us.

If you could just use some quiet and beauty, join us.

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Let’s help your inner muse bloom.

Learn more and register here. Space is limited to make sure you feel well cared for.

 

James with and without Roses

James does lighting for a living but he brings an even brighter light to his everyday life.

He’s gone through life changing experiences and always seeks the wisdom inside those moments of hardship.

Many thanks for his willingness to step into the shrubbery for this portrait and for his grace always.

Not sure what it is that draws me to this place, but the pictures made here have a feel to them I find intriguing and compelling.

Maybe it’s a feeling of emerging from a dark place to a lighter one.

Or, stepping out of entanglements, mental, emotional- patterns which trap us.

Maybe it’s the mystery. That thing just beyond knowing.

Part of me really wants to know but the artist part says – don’t know and that’s cool. Just keep going.

Maybe you have that feeling too sometimes.

Lovely roses thanks to Michelle of Blumgarten in Pilsen. @blumgartenco @blumgarten

What You Seek…

Is seeking you

Jimmy’s Tree

This tree has lived a long time. Longer than the landlords who own this land know actually .

Trees have a different sense of time than we short lived humans do. It’s sheltered many animals over the years. Squirrels, woodpeckers. Seen many people through good times and hard ones.

Provided sheltering cover during hard times.

This tree has given so much. And has in return been loved.Friends have gathered around and beneath her. Gardens have grown. Love has come and gone. Children once small are now adults flying free from the nest.A full harvest of love and loss, the full spectrum of life has danced here. And now, some say it’s time for tree to be cut down. It’s limbs are old and brittle. They could fall and cause injuries.

What if there was a different story?

The tree might be tended. Yes, she is elderly, requiring care.

But so don’t we all?

What if we made that offering?

Shared our love for the community and sheltered a little longer under here sweet branches, sang a few more songs, danced slowly into the twilight together?

Portraits in Meditation

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Thanks to Samara of @blueislandmedicine for braving the October chill and encountering your ideas about coldness with a fresh approach.

Salutes to all the creative ladies out there digging in every single day to find strength, courage and the superpowers to carry on. It’s not easy but the choice is to live without the vital juice of life.

Our focus determines our reality.

Meditation and other mindfulness practices help us stay flexible and alive to the magic of life.

I’m working on a series of portraits of people sitting in meditation to explore the nature of stillness using my camera. Some of the exposures ate quite long, from a minute or two up to an hour.

Often we focus these days on efficiency and speed but I feel we need to ask is speed always necessary?

I believe it’s important to slow down and discover our lives as they unfold letting go of the same old stories we tell ourselves and instead encounter our life afresh.

I welcome you to join the exploration by sitting for a portrait and sharing your experiences with practicing mindfulness any form.

Flash Print Sale

Flash Print Sale:

Please share with anyone who might resonate with this. (Thank you.) Here’s one of the images (on a contact sheet) I made up on Lake Superior from my most recent trip.

This location is about 10 hours from the city of Chicago and extremely quiet; The only sounds are the crashing of waves, the creaking of tree branches, and the subtle slipping of earthy clay underfoot as it gives way to erosion, a process exacerbated by climate change.

This pair of trees still stands tall at the edge of the cliff yet I know that quite likely they too will topple, claimed by the Lake.

I wonder at how we and the trees are alike, here for a time, our existence fragile and fleeting.

This land literally changes moment by moment. By the time I’m up there next time this landscape will look completely different.

When you purchase one of these prints you get a little moment of wild beauty, pure wilderness, and a reminder of our connection to the great wild spaces and the solace of solitude they offer amidst the hue and cry of every day life and work.

We must do what we can to protect these beautiful places. At the same time they remind us to attend gently into our own hearts and minds with quiet compassion and care.

Prints are available of this image in a flash sale for $100 each in support my ongoing work investigating the place of human beings as part of the web of inter- existence of all things, and about the cycles of life from birth to death.

Send me an email to purchase your print.

Deadline for this flash sale for this piece is Sunday, October 7.

All prints will be handmade on archival fiber 8×10 paper. Image size is 5 x 5.

Thanks so much for your consideration. Prints may be sent anywhere in the world. Shipping additional based on location.

Under the Duvet

This is the tail end of our cat, Minky. Every morning he has a routine. Like all of us he likes to stick to his routine.

By all of us, I mean all of us who would prefer a routine, obviously some people prefer greater randomness. And of course, that’s totally OK.

Anyway, every morning he eats his breakfast, he comes upstairs to where we’re having coffee greets us, gets a little loving and then if the sun is out he’ll lay in the sun spot but because it’s not really Spring yet, the sun spot doesn’t last very long so then he immediately goes to the bed finds an entry point, a place where there’s just enough of the duvet lifting up where he can get his head underneath and he dives underneath until all of himself is covered except for maybe just a little bit of his tail. And there he stays for many  hours.

We call him the Little Lump, a term of real affection, though it may not sound that way. But we love him very much.

And we appreciate that he does this every single day and it made me think about how as an introvert sometimes I just want to do the same thing.

Lots of you think that I’m super extroverted because I get up and go in front of people and talk, I teach, I hand outbusiness cards about my photography to people, and talk about climate change and so forth. But really what I prefer would be to be left alone in a vastly isolated and delicately beautiful place with my camera to research and contemplate and make images very quietly.

So, I understand as my cat does, the urge to crawl under a blanket and stay there.

However, I’m also quite aware of how important it is for each of us to do the work that really calls to us, the work that can help make the world a better place.

So this morning if you’re feeling like crawling under a blanket, I invite you to do that for a bit if that’s what you need. Please,  go ahead.

But then come on out! the world needs your light. The world needs your purpose, your work. All of us can take a good rest under a nice blanket afterwards.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. Please, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment or sending me a message.

I’m reminded, in closing, of something my friend and teacher Jon Blaustein said, which is roughly this: that none of us ever gets where we’re going alone.

So today as I head out to do my work, I’ll be thinking of all of you.

I hope that we can come together across the globe help hold space for each other as we do the work that needs doing. This frequently  requires bravery, risk-taking, a balance of wisdom and compassion and presents many challenges.

But we got this.

As we say in improv, got your back.

The Lift Bridge and Trees in Mist

The Lift Bridge and Trees in Mist, January 21, 2018 Chicago River, Chinatown, Chicago

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January 21, 2018

Chicago River in Ping Tom Park

Lake Michigan in Winter

I make black-and-white photographs.

I’m interested in interconnection and so understanding our relationship to each other and the landscape as a spiritual matter, but also in practical terms. How does this relationship, this experience, inform our thoughts, words, and actions?

It matters because we’re in an especially delicate place as a planet-our survival and the potential thriving of our species and all species we share this planet-time with, depends on what we do; not only now but in the future. The ripple effect of all our tiny actions matter.

Like when you’re standing at the lakefront, or anyplace outdoors, how does it make you feel? Do you feel separated from or connected to the world around you? How do those feelings and beliefs inform what you do and how you treat that world?