Archives for category: i learned somthing today

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 had a fantastic time at Club Crawl last weekend. met some really fantastic people, heard some really great music – Nick Luca, Greyhound Soul, Salvador Duran – but i also found an absolutely amazing band from Chicago, Poi Dog Pondering. upbeat and exuberant soulful tunes. i liked them so much i hopped onto iTunes and downloaded their lastest cd, “7”, which is fabulous.

started DJ training at KXCI this week. i don’t know that i’ll ever be an on-air kinda person, but i did really like learning about the digital recording process. starting monday, the lovely Angel will be guiding the youth staff through recording their radio modules that will begin airing the same day we publish 110º Youth Magazine….May 28th. stay tuned…

a beautiful, old and rusty white chevy truck was parked out front of KXCI…

i spent wednesday night up in phoenix to attend the 27th Annual Governor’s Art’s Awards – congrats to Tucson-based Arts for All for winning the Community award! – with my lovely friend Jen. i had hoped it would be a good networking event, but alas, it wasn’t. i did meet a lot of wonderful people that are doing great things in the arts, but Jen and I were on missions to find and connect with specific people. nonetheless, it was fun to get dressed up in a new vintage black cocktail dress and sport my saucy red franco sartos. the trip also gave me a chance to re-connect with Jen, whom i haven’t seen in a while.

yesterday my inner geek found a home! through a capacity building grant from the United Way, my organization has been partnered with a great lady named Jan who is helping us recreate the assessment process we have in place to collect statistics on the youth that Voices serves. i love data. i adore statistics. i dig data entry and the process of crunching the data to prove or disprove something. Jan’s team created an excel template that i can’t wait to play with…i think i’ll head into the office early on monday to start plugging numbers into our new database. yipee!

this week has been more than full, fun and i feel very fortunate to be where i am.

here’s a question to ponder….cheer-io!

super fantastic news today! my friend Jill finally sold her house in L-town! she’ll be making the move the phoenix mid-may! congratulations to the lovely Jill and her beau Micheal on their impending reunion and settlement into their new home in phoenix.

i had an interesting conversation with my good friend William the other night, that i’ve been thinking about ever since. William (who knows me very, very well) was shocked to read on my blog that i don’t like asking men out on dates. it is actually nice to know that my friends can still learn something new about me after years of friendship…and it is especially nice to know that i still have the capacity to be “shocking”.

after William shared this revelation to me, it sparked a fun conversation about how – due to being raised that “ladies” do not ask men out on dates – i automatically assign a level of a man’s “interesting-ness” if he has the courage to come talk to me and possibly ask me out on a date…which spurred a whole other conversation about the different definitions of the word “date”.

my very traditional interpretation of “date” made William laugh a bit. for years, i have felt that a proper date is one in which the man asks the lady out. he makes plans to pick her up at her home and then takes her to dinner at a restaurant where they can have a leisurely meal and spend time talking. (and because he is a chivalrous gentleman, he opens doors for her and guides her by the elbow of the small of the back). yes. i am old-fashioned, and i love it.

“but what about meeting someone for coffee? someone that you want to get to know better?” asked William. “is that a date?”

i offer this question up to ya’ll…what do you think? how do you define “date”? what is a good date? a bad one? anyone out there who thinks dating is fun? please share!

am i the only one who finds irony in a glowing heart made of red rope lights? (hint:  the metaphor of rope)

yesterday i had a fun “photographer’s play date” with fellow photographer Emily. she invited me down to Sasabe, Arizona where she was traveling to continue work on a long-term social documentary project she began over two years ago, on border issues. Emily works for the Bureau of Land Management, where she works to discover immigrant trails and lay-up sites. once they are found, Emily and her colleagues hike miles and miles to these sites where they to work to restore the ecology of the areas. this includes bagging and hauling amazing volumes of trash and personal items left behind by people making the trek into the United States. when i say haul, i mean literally. they hike all that garbage out on foot. she is a truly great source of information about the immigration issue and was a great guide for my first visit to the border.

the cute, cute teeny town of Sasabe (which is a border town and a point of entry) is an odd contrast to the huge metal bars that now run for miles and miles in either direction. until you are standing at the fence and can reach out, touch it, look through it, feel it’s imposition on the landscape…it is nearly impossible to articulate or understand.borderfence3.jpg

looking into Mexico…


the historical border marker.


i found the contrast of this pink bra, a very intimate item of modern human life, to be very sobering.


the barbed wire in the foreground was the border fence for a very long time.


i give full credit to Emily for finding this composition. i am always amazed at how you can nearly always find beauty even in extreme situations. here are some images of Sasabe to give some context.


the owner of the Sasabe Store, Deborah, was a delight to talk to. she is a 4th generation Sasabe-an(?). she opened up the bar in the back of the store just for Emily and i to take photographs. she was so correct when she said that the place photographs well…



pay special attention to the names of the signature drinks in Deborah’s bar. after four generations in that area of the country, i doubt there is much her family is not aware of. Emily and i explored the town on foot in search of imagery. enjoy.



this next image is an editorial comment on my former profession…


today was lovely as well. i met Regina for coffee this morning and had a really nice time talking about how we re-create ourselves throughout our lives. i’m happy that she and i are becoming better friends. and i have to openly thank Regina and Sean for playing “match-maker” last friday night. you know people like you when they try to reintroduce Love into your life.

after coffee, i jetted home to meet my sister and my nieces who came down to tucson for the day. it was really wonderful to see them. we did a lot in one afternoon. we visited the Center for Creative Photography and then the Museum of Art – both on the University of Arizona campus.

during the tour of the art museum, i fully realized just how spoiled i was back in lincoln to have the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at my fingertips. the Sheldon has a truly amazing collection.

after the tour we went for a relaxed hike in Catalina State Park.


i was running about town over the noon hour today and listening to Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now. today’s segment was entitled: Listening Is an Act of Love: National Oral History Project StoryCorps Records Ordinary People Telling Their Remarkable Stories to Each Other

Amy Goodman was interviewing Dave Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, which claims to be the largest oral history project in the United States. Isay set sound booths up in cities across the United States and scheduled everyday-folk to interview each other inside the booth. the stories were recorded and are now the foundation for the book that accompanies the project.

during the interview, Isay said that he felt that in our infomercial-like/celebrity-news-trash world that he wanted to find stories of people living meaningful lives. he wants to highlight people who live lives in ways that the rest of us can look up to. he hopes that in sharing these stories we will find inspiration for our own lives.

the stories were so lovely and very moving. i found myself getting teary eyed and crying a bit over a couple audio segments, especially the segment on George.

don’t delay! go now and listen to the full story…or download the podcast from iTunes. seriously…now!

last week we had a photograph-inspired free-write exercise with the youth staff, which was a lot of fun. everyone had to bring a personal photograph to share, then everyone in the group left comments about your photograph on a post-it note. it was fun to see what some people said.

here’s the photo i shared:


this photograph of my sisters and i – all 5 Niles Girls – was taken by my dad when we lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. the year was probably 1987, not too long before we moved to Colorado.

i have always loved this photograph of us girls. dad caught us all in motion, and our personalities were frozen in time. now that we’re all grown, some of us with children close to the ages we were when this photo was taken – well, our personalities are still reflected here.

here’s the free-write that i did in about 5 minutes. i haven’t edited it since, so you word-smiths out there, take it easy on me. i haven’t actively written in a few years.


5 sisters

getting crazy

for an afternoon dance

along a Tulsa river

a moment

snapped from history

my entry into teens

caught wearing dirty white keds

we’re all caught

in fits of personality

one tries to fly away

another stares a challenge

a mini wink over a banana

rigid stripes

vertical over horizontal

who wears blue socks, anyway?

dad’s behind the camera

mom, looks over his shoulder

laughing at her gaggle of girls


it’s silly, but it was fun to write.

over the weekend i attended a creative workshop, hosted by Kimi Eisele and Josh Schachter of the Living Stories Project, that was super fun. the workshop blended dance, movement, words and images into a piece of work of remembrance of someone lost. the event was part of Tucson’s month-long celebration of Dia de los Muertos. i’ll share the work i made that day later. the poem i wrote needs a little tweaking. look for it closer to DDLM.

today i got fantastic news! the ever-so-lovely and amazingly-talented Neko Case will be playing at the Rialto theater on nov. 15th – the day after my BFF Becki flies into town to celebrate her birthday. as Becki said: “Will we be going? The hell to the yes!” wanna go?


tonight i went to hear Darius Himes, Magazine Editor of the photo-eye book-list, speak at the Center for Creative Photography. i’ve been looking forward to his presentation for a few weeks now. i don’t know too many people in this town yet, but i seemed to ran into most of them as we were rushing over to CCP.

photo-eye is a haven of sorts for photographers and aficionados of photography. it is a book store in sante fe, new mexico that sells nothing but photography books – an amazing variety of photography books. i have only been to the book store once, but it was a truly phenomenal experience. i was too poor to buy anything at the time (i was earning “intern” pay back then). Himes is the editor of the magazine associated with the book store. click here to go the the magazine’s site.


(current issue of photo-eye, cover photo/Paul Graham)

Himes had some interesting things to say. i’ve long been fascinated with the world of book publishing and, although his talk tonight focused more on the history of photo book publishing than current and/or future trends like i had hoped it would, i learned a lot and was introduced to some new photographers to investigate.

during his discussion tonight i felt the cartoon light-bulb go on over my head. it dawned on me that since my arrival and my subsequent start of my new job at Voices, Inc., i have felt more energetic and creative than i have in the recent past. i realized tonight why that is – i am rediscovering my first true love – photography.

after nearly 14 years in daily journalism, i am reopening my creative self to the endless possibilities and paths that photography can provide. i still love photojournalism and believe deeply in the importance of the genre’s mission. the impact of a photograph will always be tantamount to me.

yet, i can’t help but feel that as i prepare to introduce the magic and mystery of photography to the youth staff, i am rediscovering an incredible number of photographic paths that i did not choose all those years ago.

i feel like “door number two” is opening now that “door number one” is slowly closing. i feel like it’s my 13th birthday all over again and i just received my first SLR – a Pentax K1000 – and the idea of being a professional photographer just popped into my heart.