Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leaving Paris

I have finally decided to do a series of my photos. Not just random images but one with a theme and an idea to explore.

Two years ago I took my daughter and granddaughter to Paris for eleven days. We rented an apartment and were so enchanted we really didn't want to come home.

Now as I look back through all the photographs from that time, I become very nostalgic and want to go back.

Leaving Paris was not something I wanted to do and now I need to go back.

These images are all tops of buildings in Paris. I have done my magic with them to create the feeling I wanted to convey. I hope you enjoy these few I have completed so far.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dan and I have spent the greater part of four months in Long Beach. It has been difficult but it has been a growth period too. Coming back to California to "live" has been fraught with trouble, problems, and just plain "no progress".

Well, that is what I thought but we took a couple of vacations from Long Beach to, first, Evan's apartment in LA and then a shorter one to San Clemente at a beach apartment. Both gave us time to think, and time to really look at what we are doing.

I realized that this visit is kind of a reach and withdraw, a chance to come up close to the horse that threw you but not get on yet. We are going back to Michigan and will come out again when the Evan and Clara's baby is due. I know that then we'll be ready to get back on the horse.

We are feeling strong and good and things are moving in the right direction. It is the right thing to do. Now I can't wait to get back and work and enjoy the clean Northern Michigan air and space, lots of space!

Those gulls, the crazy beautiful gulls are all there because someone was feeding them. I watched as more and more came. People are probably the same way.

Friday, February 6, 2009

In September of 2007, I took my daughter and granddaughter to Paris. One of the stops along the way was the cemetery where Jim Morrison was entombed. What an enormous place and it took us a long time on a rainy day to find the spot but we did.

It is an amazingly unimpressive gravesite and I thought how disappointed most people must be after seeing the gorgeous sites of other famous people.
But, as a photographer, I loved it that someone had placed a Polaroid photo and dedicated to the dead poet/singer/musician. I was impressed that despite the rain and obvious weather it had endured that it was still in amazingly good condition. I must admit I took Polaroid for granted, using it for quick, often silly family shots and throwing away an amazing number of them because they 'didn't turn out'. Oh my! What a silly girl I've been!

Now I am going through all our old family shots and putting the Polaroids all together. There are many different cameras represented and it's fun to see how each handled had a different look.

I got my first one in about 1965 and have quite a number of shots that are still beautiful. I have both black and white and color from that camera! I don't know what happened to it. I suspect my ex-husband still has it. He probably also has a treasure trove of photographs taken with it! I'll have to go dig around his house one day.

I'm hoping for a day in the not too distant future when I can use all my old cameras!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ain't It Grand! Barack Obama is President!

I can barely express my feelings at this time, this amazing time! Barack Obama is President! I was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1942. My family lived in a small mining town, not even a town, but a 'camp'. It was called Number 8, meaning the number of the mine where my father worked.

My Dad worked with 'coloreds' as they were then called but they were not allowed to walk home through our street. They had to take the alley. On Sunday I watched families walking down our alley to church in their clean white shirts and pretty dresses. Just as I accepted the fact that we took baths in a metal tub, it never occurred to me that there was anything but normal about the situation. Life is simply life when you are very young.

I rode a public bus to school and, of course, so did many African Americans (to different schools). Children, men and old women had to walk past me to sit in the back of the bus. I was never told that was a rule. I never thought to question because it just was. I went to bathrooms for 'whites' only and went into stores where 'coloreds' were not allowed.

Later I moved to Michigan and was teased by relatives about going to school with little 'colored' kids. It was then, at that time, I became aware of the injustice. I awoke to what was being perpetrated on other humans. My Mother was a gentle woman who had great empathy for others and I must credit her with some of my new understanding.

In the sixties, during the civil rights upheaval, my family went to Birmingham for a visits. My Dad, bless his soul, took a visit to an old friend. He was the African American man who used to plow and tend our little garden. My Father drove into his neighborhood, sat at his table and visited despite warnings from our relatives that we would be shot or beat up. We weren't. It was a lesson for me that I will never forget.

As I grew up, went to college, and moved around, I was trailed, haunted in some way, by the fact that my Great Grandfather had owned slaves. Even though I had no part of it, there was something about that knowledge that made me be extra careful to be fair, open and perhaps even unreasonably and obnoxiously so.

When Barack Obama came along I was so excited. I read his books and decided he was an even, sane, intelligent and smart politician. I decided HE was the man to do it so I put my support behind him. I was in tears at rally in downtown Detroit. I knew that the election of this man could change the world.

Election eve I was beside myself when he won! I cried, I screamed, I danced around the room and I took photos of my TV screen. I love our country. I love how far we have come. I love that we can change as a group and I love what we, as a people, can do when we have something to believe in.

Obama is not god and he has challenges that are almost unimaginable but he has brought hope, and revived a dream. His election has released an entire segment of our population from what I can only call 'suppression'. I am one of those people in some strange way. I feel as though I've been part of the struggle though I, clearly, have not been in any real way.

Tuesday is a happy day for this country and the world and there are no good words to express how I feel that I get to be part of this time, this moment.

(This song was written by my brother, Dennis Whorton, who now lives in Canada. I put the video together with photos I took on election eve. I hope you enjoy it. Pass it on if you can.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


When I was in college, I thought I might like to be an anthropologist. People fascinate me. I once saw a very large book someone had made with photos and handwritten notes describing the lives of some remote civilization. I considered it a work of art and had the idea that I could someday do one of my own intimate 'civilization', my extended family. I could observe in a scientific and remote way, noting the details of our customs, traditions, clothing, eating habits and language. I wanted one of those large books with beautiful handwriting and lovely warm black and white photographs pasted onto big sheets of heavy off-white paper. I imagined it for a long time but I never got it done.

I am a photographer and at the time, I was studying art history. I had three young children and no time. I should have begun then to write and describe. I did photograph and lately I've realized I have a running record of "my civilization" in negatives, prints, slides, polaroids and now digital form.

What continues to interest me about photography is the record, the moment, the time stopped for that part of a second. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful light and intersting form but for me, the time, the place, the person or people at a given time is what intrigues me.

I spend hours scanning photos belonging to my husband's family. They date to the late 1800s. Whenever anyone gives me a chance to see their family albums, I will sit happily for as long as I am allowed, looking at every image. I read them, trying to get a feeling for the life, the emotions, of both the photographer and the subject. I like to think I am good at it but who knows.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer's End

Summer is virtually over here in Northern Michigan. Despite the still warm daytime temperatures, you can feel the chill in the air at night as it drops into the 40s. There is never enough Summer here for a person who spent so many years in California where it is perpetually sunny and never has that Michigan bite of winter, Autumn and even Spring.

This year has been one of extremes, and I'm not talking about weather anymore. It seems like we are entering a new phase of our life as a family. For the first time in very many years, only my daughter, Lauren, and her two children were able to come for the summer visit and even they had to make it only a week. Duke and Rosemary are confronting the challenges that most young marrieds face.

Evan just married a wonderful girl, Clara, in March. Schedules have changed and lives have changed. Alexandra is now living in New York City, Jake is at Los Gatos High School, Lauren is involved in work and theatre projects, Evan is off to Spain to supervise visual FX on a film for almost half a year. I love change and view it as opportunity, a chance to create something new and make lives better so I'm not disappointed.

Dan and I are in a new phase. We are ready to return to California for more of our year. We are working hard as artists to build a following and to support ourselves with our creativity. It is a leap across a wide chasm but not one we are not poised and ready to do. Bravery, persistence an understanding of marketing will see us through.

I have a great backlog of photography ready to be marketed and Dan is becoming increasingly well know in the jazz/music world. His web site, is visited by thousands each month. We are each ready to take that leap.

The photo above is of us and the Theodores, Dan's sister's family. Each year we do one or more "jump" photos. When the spirit moves us it has become a thing we all do, individually and as a group.