I have wondered for several years now, how I would feel when today arrived – the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11th. I pondered what my thoughts would be; where I would be and with whom. What kind of force created by sentimentality and nostalgia would occur, connecting me with emotions and events I rarely speak about – not necessarily because I dislike speaking about it, but because I enjoy listening to the experiences of others…that combined with the delicate fact that my experience is relatable to a select few of photojournalists who, like me, walked through the dust and debris that day ten years ago.

When I awoke this morning, I sat at the kitchen table sipping the cup of coffee my sweetie made for me, still wondering how I felt. I was entirely unprepared for how quickly the tears came when we started talking about the arrival of today and the significance of the anniversary.

I found myself wondering aloud to Mike about the people that I photographed that day…where they are, who they are with and how they are marking this day. Where is Daisy, who lost her sister Batilda? Where is Michelle, who lost her husband of two months who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald? Where is Karrah, possibly the most photographed woman during the days following 9.11 as she tirelessly kept every candle lit at the Union Square memorial? Where is the firefighter from Ladder 21 who lost his brother, also a firefighter? Where is the man I photographed taping two missing person’s posters up outside of Bellevue Hospital – posters of his mother AND his father? So caught in my own tears for his loss, I could not speak to him to ask him his name. Where is the single firefighter I saw rescued that day? Where are all the doctors and nurses that I met and photographed at the triage station in the Staten Island Ferry terminal, all waiting and waiting to treat the injured that never arrived.

Most of all I wonder where Sophia is. Sophia’s husband, a Port Authority police officer was killed on 9.11. She miscarried their baby due to the stress. From Latin America and without family or many friends, she was utterly alone as her parents were denied visas into the country to come help her. I met, photographed and sat and cried with Sophia as she rocked in a rocking chair in a small, dim, quiet room. Sitting and crying with her in that room was the only thing I had to give her, which a decade later still feels an inadequate gesture for the gift she gave me of trusting me to tell her story and capture her image at such a moment in her life. Did Sophia eventually return to her native country in Latin America or did she decide to stay in New York? Did she find love again? Is she a mother now? Am I sure that I want to know?

I shared with my sweetie a quote that I have carried with me for years, since the beginning of my career. I found that today I have a much deeper understanding and connection to the words.

“Sometimes the price is heartbreak. There are people you carry around in your heart for the rest of your life, and some of their stories are sad beyond tears.” -  Cathy Newman, ‘Women Photographers at National Geographic’

I do carry the people I have photographed around with me. I cherish and protect them and I don’t speak of them often. Maybe because the person they were in the moment our paths crossed is so delicate. Maybe it is because of the vulnerability we experienced together that I protect that momentary version of them.

I will continue to carry these people. I will bring them with me through my life, in what may be a strange and feeble attempt to spread the heavy load we were given through the events of that day and to stay connected to others who saw what I saw, smelled what I smelled, heard what I heard.

In memoriam.

Goodness, life gets so busy. So much so that this blog has been sorely neglected. What have I been up to, you ask? A lot!

  • I took a my first “real” vacation in two years. I journeyed to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend of mine and fellow photographer, Mamta Popat. Check back soon for a multi-media project celebrating the trip.
  • I’ve attended several workshops and symposiums for my photography profession as well as my arts educator profession. One highlight was attending the opening of Art Intersection, a new space in Gilbert, Arizona dedicated to promoting and connecting people to art. I attended a lecture entitled “Publish Your Photography Book” hosted by Darius Himes of Radius Books and Mary Virginia Swanson. Very informative and inspiring event. Plan a trip to Gilbert to check it Art Intersection. They have a lecture in April on the power of laughter. Teehee!
  • I photographed the very beautiful and heartfelt wedding of two lovely people. I am thrilled with the way their wedding album turned out. I also booked a wedding for April. Yay for Love!
  • I attended the opening of the exhilarating and challenging contemporary art exhibit ‘Borderlandia’ at Tucson Museum of Art. Provocative commentary on border, culture, history, gender issues. Wow! And if you are familiar with Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ‘Garden of Earthly Delights‘ you will have an especially gleeful experience.
  • I was fortunate to attended a series of discussions and trainings hosted by the Arizona Commission on the Arts at a variety of  locations here in Tucson, including the Poetry Center. I learned a lot, and I also reaffirmed my motivation to work to create state and or national standards for media literacy. Big plans!

I am very proud to announce that I was accepted into the Creative Capital Internet Workshop for artists. The workshop, hosted by Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC), is a professional development program aimed at assisting artists with business development. A total of 24 local artists were accepted in to the three-day workshop to be held at the end of March. Very exciting opportunity! I know it will be helpful as I embark on the launch of my book, HeartFound, and all the projects I have floating around my creative brain. This year is going to be so fantastic!

At this moment I have about a zillion things I should be doing to make a deadline of some sort, but I needed a visual reprieve and I ended up here…editing and posting some images I took last weekend. I have been experimenting with multi-second hand-held exposures that play with movement and push digital constrictions. Very cool stuff.

Enjoy some new vibrant and energetic images captured during last weekend’s performance of Seashell Radio at Plush nightclub here in Tucson.

I turned my phone’s ringer off a few days ago and dedicated my holiday weekend to editing six years of photos – hundreds and hundreds of frames of heart shapes that I’ve found as I went about my life. I’ve been up and down memory lane so many times this weekend that my feet feel weary. 213 images made the final cut for possible publication within my very first solo photo book. A title change came along too, but I’m still playing around with that.

The image I choose for the cover was taken at the Phoenix Art Museum nearly a year before I moved to Arizona, while visiting my sister and her family. I like it. I have laid out the book and will self-publish a few copies and send them off potential publishers. This is a whole new process to me, and despite being a bit scared of the rejection letters showing up in my mailbox, I’m excited to be moving solidly forward on this project. Who knows what comes next, but seeing the edited body of work in one place is pretty freaking cool.

Here’s the book cover at it stands at this moment…

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I spent most of yesterday baking dishes for Thanksgiving and working on the final photo edit of my “Still My Heart” project, a collection of images I have captured of ramdom heart shapes over the last six years. This body of work truly simply evolved. It was not a project I created for myself. I’m not a real girlie-girl kind of girl. I don’t wear pink often nor have I ever been one to idly draw hearts while doodling…so it is fairly amusing to me that I have become known for my heart project. I love that friends send me pictures they have taken of hearts or they show me heart-shaped vertebra collected while walking on a beach – some have even taken me to locations where they found a heart they wanted to share with me.

My connection to the project has cycled through variations of love, hate, awe, pride, annoyance, and ambivalence. I have tried to stop photographing the hearts – even called the project ‘over’ in May 2009 and got a tattoo to celebrate, but (!!!) the project won’t stop. Yesterday, I found three more hearts to consider for the book. Sigh. Here is one from last night’s fire. I find the metaphor a strong message for me at present.

…and a collection of images from a most beautiful Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by Eve and Lisa. There was much to toast and plenty of bubbly to keep up with us!

The magical makings of Butternut Squash Chorizo dressing. Beyond awesome!

A ‘family’ tree.

In gratitude for…

…all that comes my way…and all that moves on.

…the beautiful dinner last night with a friend.

…the very crisp chill this morning.

…chocolate colored flannel sheets.

…influence and inspiration.

…knowledge gained this year.

…the yin and the yang.

…the delicate power of choice.

…Love, on my terms.

…the evolution, of life.

…banana bread.

…pairing lightness and darkness.

…hidden treasures.

…the evolution of my life.

I liked today. It was a good day. The new photo instructor started, a bittersweet reminder of the amazing transition I am moving through in my professional life. I had a lovely dinner, drinks and conversation with my dear friend Jennifer and a new friend we met at the bar of 47 Scott…and I am one step closer to publishing my first photo book – a five year odyssey that I am ready to send out into the world.

Sometimes, life can be so pleasantly random when it feels like it is spinning ever so slightly out of control.

This is what I imagine the surface of Mars to look like, as seen from a fly-over.

An homage to plastic plates, drying in my dish rack.

Some cool shots from last Friday. I liked a lot of the images and had a hard time editing them down for the blog. Enjoy.

‘Oklahoma’ has long been my favorite musical. As a young girl, I loved Shirley Jones. Years later I would be on a cruise with her and her family…and while the rest of us waited in mass lines like cattle waiting to depart the ship, she sat with her family sipping champagne near the door and was first off the boat. Fame does have some benefit, I suppose.

This photo is for my dearest friend on this planet – Becki – who is at this very moment preparing to leave Morocco after two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I am so full of pride to know her. She has overcome huge obstacles to be successful in her post, as every female PCV in a Muslim country must do. I’ve heard the unedited versions of her stories about cultural misunderstandings, inadequate trainings, and the insane situations of sexual harassment she has endured – and it has only made me admire and respect her more and more. Becki has a thing for spirals, which I found myself spinning into the flour tonight as I rolled out pastry dough for the quiche I made for dinner tonight (it smells heavenly as it bakes). You can read all about her adventures on her blog, Shwiya b shwiya, where she has her Flickr photo feed. She’s just rad.

The All Souls Procession 2010. It was positively magical.

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