The Tiny Photo Project

New images from a photo project I’m currently working on. I’m not traveling at the moment and it’s hard not to feel a pang when you look on the internets and see all the lush, panoramic landscape shots that people are taking. There are some amazing artists out there doing beautiful work.

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Since I’m currently chained to the editing station, I decided to find a challenge that I could do without wandering too far, and decided to do a macro photography project. I have to be honest, it’s kind of amazing. I expected it to be a stop-gap project, something to fill space until I could get out to the grand vistas again, and I wasn’t sure I could come up with enough subjects to work with.
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Instead I feel like I’m seeing a whole other layer of my surroundings, just by looking at things from a texture/color perspective. I’ve photographed everything from Star Wars figurines to a raccoon print in snow to a skeletonized frog I found in a houseplant (have NO idea how that got there)
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My notes app is full of ideas so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of these. I’ll try to stay away from creepy skeleton things and do more like this sea glass…
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The place I knew

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I’m sure everyone has heard this by now, but I am still shell-shocked to see the damage that is ongoing in Puerto Rico. I’ve been to the island many times – I was fortunate enough to go every year for a good stretch of time – and often considered making a second home there, or retiring in that region.

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As of now, those plans are on indefinite hold. I have no idea if Puerto Rico, and the towns of Isabella and Playa Jobos where I spent most of my time there, will ever be the places I knew again. Right now all I can see and hear are the terrible stories of suffering and uncertainty from good people who shared their island home with me.

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Is the Los Morillos Lighthouse still there? Are the Rangers who maintained the surrounding park safe? Did the nameless family that helped me when I got lost down a dead-end street in Isabella lose their home? Is Junior’s Pizza, always our first stop in Playa Jobos, even standing? People are telling stories of the long, winding route down 66, which used to wend through a dense tunnel of jungle foliage, now looking like a moonscape, with all the vegetation stripped away. Of El Yunque, the only rainforest that is part of the United States, scrubbed to bare rock.

I know everyone has compassion fatigue. There are so many horrible things right now. Houston. Miami. The Island of Barbuda completely uninhabitable. Earthquakes in Mexico. Volcanos in Indonesia. It feels like the earth is trying to shake humanity off, like a dog with a bad case of fleas. You feel – I feel – utterly helpless.

But please. If you have any ability, consider donating to one of these organizations to help the people of Puerto Rico, who so desperately need it.

OneAmericaAppeal.org  – led by five former presidents of the US

Unidos – run by the Hispanic Federation

GoFundMe – crowdsourced donations from individual groups. There is no good way to say this – the US government has fumbled this situation terribly and is causing active delays in aid. Small groups of concerned citizens – many with personal links on the island – are stepping into that space to try to make up for it.

All Hands Volunteers and PRVOAD are actively looking for volunteers to help. (The PRVOAD site is in Spanish, but can be translated through GoogleTranslate.)

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I’ve written before about the sickening feeling of watching a loved place descend into chaos, the gut wrenching knowledge that things will never be the same again. I also wrote about my immense relief when it turned out that I was wrong, and that people and places are more resilient than I had ever dared hope. I want so badly to be proven wrong again.

Be safe, and hold on to what you can.

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New Projects: The Palette Series, and Compact

I’ve just started a new photo project (because I don’t have enough half-finished projects laying around, including my documentary At The Edge Of The Sea, which is half-way thru post and may put me in my grave before it’s done). I did a shoot last week that involved photographing an art class doing oil paintings, and my friend Phillip (the actual photographer on this job) mentioned how cool the mixing pallets for each of the students were.

And BANG, just like that I’m obsessed and have a new project:

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I love them because they are sort of textural and abstract at the same time. And the colors! Meow.

In the interest of my sanity, I am going to abandon (har) my “Abandonded Buildings” project, largely because I can’t compete with the incredible stuff that’s being done in that area – really, go hit up Instagram and look up @abandoned_world and some of the other photographers doing stuff in that vein, it’ll blow your mind – and replace it with this new Palette series.

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Also on the new (sob) project front, I’m planning to start a web series called “Compact” which is all about small-space living – tiny houses (I’m obsessed with tiny houses), living on boats, RV living, cool studio conversions, you name it. I think it’ll be really fun. I’m constantly trying to downsize/simplify my own life so this gives me an outlet for that particular obsession.

Projects! I just listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast where he talked to musician/artist/all around cool babe Amanda Palmer, and at one point she talked about constantly having like 97 projects going at once, and I swear my reaction was, thank god it’s not just me. Hopefully you’ll enjoy some of my nonsense as it gets out there…