With Thanksgiving and my general life stuff, I haven’t yet had a chance to sit down and tell you about the pages on my new website. I’m looking forward to doing this soon, but for now, I want to tell you about just one picture on my press page, the cover of Karen Swallow Prior’s Booked.
I have provided fine art images for several other book covers, but this one is by far my favorite – and it seems to be a favorite for nearly everyone who sees it. L.L. Barkat, the driving force behind T.S. Poetry Press, requested a custom image for this cover, so I combined an image of a French love letter with one of my signature images (originally titled “…and a golden pear“) to create the image now on Karen’s book.
From now through the month of December, to celebrate the Booked launch, I am offering the “Booked” pear as a special limited edition print in the following sizes:
$325 – 11×14 fine art canvas gallery wrap mounted on 1.5-in wrap
$275 – 8×10 fine art canvas gallery wrap mounted on a 1.5-in wrap
$75 – 8×10 matboard with linen textured, lustre paper
$55 – 8×10 frame-ready print with linen textured, lustre paper
$40 – 5×7 matboard – linen texture, lustre paper
(Shipping not included)
This will be the only time I offer this print, so if you love it, just drop an email with your choice and your shipping address to firstname.lastname@example.org with “The Booked Pear” in your subject line.
I’m excited to share this one with you – this photo prints so beautifully, you really do have to see it!
We’re retooling PhotoPlay at The High Calling, and I am having a ball. Marcus Goodyear suggested that we make it “Kelly’s PhotoPlay,” in which I would submit a photo essay about a topic and invite others to participate/respond with their own essay, poem, single photo, or collage. I am planning topics around my photo opps this year, and I’m particularly excited about my topic for our March PhotoPlay:
ANATOMY OF AN EVENT
As I have been looking closely at my wedding packages and focusing my sessions around a particular story, I’ve begun paying closer attention to the images I need to produce in order to describe my subject. As a fine art photographer, every single image I produce has my personal touch on it, from the original vision to the final release. I am learning to plan my shoots ahead of time with a few key shots around which to build the story, and keep my eyes open between poses for the reality that completes it.
At 6:30 or so on Thursday morning, I am flying out to Tennessee (by way of HOUSTON, TX????!?!) for the BlissDom ’12 Conference – and I am taking my camera. In keeping with the March PhotoPlay prompt, I’ll be looking for 10-15 shots that will capture:
• the event location
• key event figures
• event attendees
• overall feel of the event
• focal details
• flow of the event (beginning, middle, end)
Each of these items contribute to a complete photo story, and they apply to the coverage of any event, from a child’s birthday party to a full-fledged political event or business conference. If you want to play along, we’ll be offering a linky for you to join us at The High Calling. Take your camera – or your open eyes – with you when you go (even to choir practice, okay?!), and share an event in photos, in a video, in a collage, even in a post or a poem.
P.S. Just so you know, I am expecting to see the following events link up when we go live in March. ;-)
• “The Birds Have a Feeder Celebration” from Susan
• “We Baked His Bread” from Ann
• “All Art Friday” from Joy
• “The Big Game” from Deb
• “They All Showed Up” - A poetry event from Maureen
• “A Twitter Party – in Red” from L.L. Barkat
• “Speaking of Speaking: A Conversation with God” from Lyla
I have been thinking a lot about Christmas over the last few weeks. Thinking about the intense pressure to give, the churches that are too busy, the Christmas guilt-trip we get every year for either buying into the commercialism or not remembering the true spirit of Christmas.
I’m actually kinda sick about it all.
I spend enough time online to be inundated every day this month with at least ten well-meaning Christmas posts. And I hope you will all forgive me, but I’m tuning you out. Because if there is one season out of the year in which shame should be completely displaced, it is this one. If there is one season out of the year that I am going to live and believe in God as a little child does, it is Christmas.
And do you know what I have come to?
Christmas is about Jesus becoming a human being, about Him getting to breathe, in and out, like we do. The whole thing is so simple, a child can understand it.
Over the last year or so, I have slowly been working my way through L.L. Barkat’s God in the Yard, looking for a photo for each chapter. I have been taking very small bites of this treasure of a book, and I have only just finished Chapter 11 – Submission. I told L.L. when I was at Laity that I had been putting that one off. She told me I should read it. That she did something different with submission.
She started the chapter with an image I couldn’t shake. “On cold days, I see steam from my teacup. It is a scarf held by an invisible hand. Vapor undulates, as if some Bolero song teases it onward, upward.” I thought I would put a teacup in the morning light, take my picture there, catch the steam moving in fluid submission to the movement of the air.
But this morning I saw my own breath swirl in the air, and it caught on tears in my throat as I realized that the very word God gave me to live this year, “breathe,” was itself a submission.
With this command, this word, He gave me permission to be alive. When Christ came, He was alive, more alive than any of us. His resurrection brought me alive in Him, every bit as human, every bit as free as He was to approach God.
As I watched my breath undulate on December air that is finally cold enough to convince me it’s December, I half-laughed, half-cried at my own existence, at His existence and His intimate way of dwelling with me. My very breath is a submission. My life lived with Him in it is a submission.
And oh how free a submission it is!
My soul suspended between dust and heaven, sustained by His hand and the strength of His heart – I don’t even know it sometimes. When I get caught up in my duty and my religious obligation, I forget how to be childlike. My every breath becomes labored and God becomes a concept I must grasp – instead of a Person who IS.
This year, I’ve taken a different approach to Christmas than I have since I was probably Piper’s age. I’ve listened to my kids. I’ve really SEEN the Christmas lights, even squinted up my eyes to make them all crazy and bokeh-ey. I’ve taken advantage of cuddle time under warm blankets. I have fallen in love with winter colors and actually photographed my Christmas.
I have been me in every day, whatever I looked like, just as I’ve tried to do every day this year. And God has been Him. And we’ve kinda just been hanging out, moving together, mysterious like breath on air.
It’s a kid thing and a grown-up thing, innocence and intimacy tangled, like watching snow fall.
11. “The woods are full of webs.”
10. Breaking the Silence
9. “invitation to go nowhere”
8. God is present in my dark
7. see? this is who i am.
6. remember how / the birds were eaten / by the sky
5. the weeping: freeze-frame celebration
4. “how grace used to drift in with the night”
3. quiet spaces
2. “playing toward God”
1. “find / the moon”
P.S. I am SO going to have to learn how to make GIF files in 2012… That snow isn’t mine, but I totally believe it could happen! ;-)
When I think of sunlight piercing through the clouds
That paint a perfect sky
I think of the silver lining of Your love
And I think of You
When I think of streams that weave through desert lands
As beauty comes alive
I think of the healing fountain of Your grace in my life…
When I think of children laughing full of wonder
And families reconciled
I think of the joy that’s found in answered prayer
And it makes me smile…
And I think of You who shines with endless light
Through broken jars of clay
And I think of You redeeming every part of each day
That you’ve made
I think of you.
For redemption’s now the story of my soul
‘Cause it was You who paid the highest price
For broken jars of clay
And You still choose to use my life
For Your glory displayed…
- Laura Story, I Think of You
The two-year-old broke the kitten’s tail in the door yesterday, on a day when I needed to rest, to recharge, to simply exist for a bit and breathe in, breathe out. I went to pieces, called my Pete home, gave him sorries and sorries with swollen eyes and aching joints and a body that keeps betraying us both.
But cats land on their feet, and Pete’s few moments home were the time that we needed to let him stay until midnight fighting injustice and untruthful others. Our afternoon was quiet, and I set work aside, sank into the hearts of friends, opened the heart of me out into them.
She talked about knitting, and she shared from her quiet, inviting me open into my mess. She wrote out the mess that she chose to become, and set my heart on fire. I looked out the window, called for the kids, rushed them out the door to the car, grabbing my camera on the way. We’d missed the sun, but the twilight, the river – we needed it.
Pip played like Peter Pan at the river’s edge, a sprite going up to her knees in cool river water and blue-black mud, shoes and all. B squealed and squirmed, my little boy who is not so much into puppy dog tails as he will wish he was when he is a teenage boy with other teenage boys to impress. The mosquitoes swarmed us, in mid-December. I shot one-handed: the light, the water, the peace, the evidence that in this moment, I had chosen to live.
We received the best sort of memory, a bad day bringing forth life for its end – a picture of redemption, God-glory, and the love I still carry inside my failing body and this worn-out, poured-out heart.
This one is for Elizabeth Esther, who told me last night when we talked how she finds peace in my photos. I think I see a little of her here in my own little girl playing… Here’s to grace, E, and the brave things we can’t do and find ourselves doing anyway.
I figured out yesterday that when I’m doing well, I’m doing WELL. And when I’m not? Well, I guess I’m just doing. After spending most of last week struggling to breathe (yay for whatever junk virus we got – oy), I felt positively rejuvenated yesterday, just having a bit more oxygen in my system.
I got two posts’-worth of photos prepped and processed (a fun one coming tomorrow!), and I couldn’t leave my camera be – in spite of the fact that I’ve got at least four more posts’-worth of processing to get through this week – and I ended the day on Tina’s cue: lying on my back under the crape myrtle in our front yard with my camera.
Who would have thought that there would be just that one leaf left there, here in Charleston where it feels like spring and summer last forever?
So once I finished that little shoot for Tina’s inspiration, I figured I might as well follow L.L. Barkat’s poetry inspiration too – “Could you find a poem by looking up?”
I created a poem with perspective, and shaped my words to make them feel as if you might be on your back, looking up as you read them.
most of the time Life allows you to stand up straight and
stride confidently through – if you want to, and if you
can – but sometimes you whack your head against
something hanging just a little low, and you’re
falling backward, where there is only ground
to hold you, your dreams, and the little
wonder you must have dropped
somewhere along the way.
but oh! There is Life, up
there – she’s leaning
down to help you
And then I took that deep breath those lacy branches invited, and came in here to share it with you so you can play too. Come look up with us at The High Calling and High Calling Focus. We love your photos and your words and your heart – don’t hold out on us now…