Category Archives: Portraits

Inspired By: Kim Weston

Let’s start with a Weston Interview Quote:

“…..If you use a film long enough, you get to know its characteristics. I don’t use a meter, I just know the light…..”

I love the quote because I rarely use my spot meter…….

Now, what inspires me?  If you check out his website….he exclusively does nude photography.  Although tastefully done, it’s not my thing (although there is one image I do love: Nude in Cactus).  And this is as far as I go into Nudes:

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What Inspires Me? First I am inspired by His warm and welcoming attitude towards film students and film enthusiasts in the Monterey Bay Region.    I met Kim Weston when he welcomed our Monterey Peninsula College Class to Wildcat Hill.  At that time he was making predominantly platinum prints and we were an Alternative Processes class.  So he demonstrated the printing method for us.  He also discussed his artistic philosophy, and let us see his famous grandfather, Edward Weston’s, simple but beautiful darkroom. Imagine yourself making fabulous 8X10 contact prints like pepper #39 using an incandescent light bulb.

Kim Weston invited us to drop by, and if he wasn’t busy, we could talk about photography.  One of my friends spoke up.  Luther was having trouble learning to use his 4X5 view camera.  Kim just said, drop by with the camera sometime.  Luther did, and Kim Weston spent the afternoon showing him how to get the most from his 4X5. His support of film photographers, especially students, inspires me.

But Kim Weston eventually took it a step further, starting the Weston Collective, a scholarship program for students in Monterey County that are studying fine art film photography.  And the Collective has taken a step forward in support of fine art photography by opening a darkroom and teaching studio.  Raising the funds and managing the space for the benefit of ‘developing’ film photographers is inspiring.

 

 

 

Inspired By Jim Grey: “Selfies” for My Birthday

Reading Jim Grey’s recent Blog on the subject of Bathroom Mirror Selfies made me think about the ones I have done, and the ones that I want to do soon.  He also mentioned the importance of Photography as Therapy., as any Art form can be.  It certainly has worked that way for me, carrying me through serious illnesses twice now.

I am posting this to Celebrate my Birthday!  Something that wasn’t assured just a few month ago.  And I am going forth with my Series “Facing 60”.  Starting here and now I will post self Portraits from time to time at different ages and stages……

About 10 years ago I was starting a self-portrait project called “Facing 50”.  I had read an article by someone who had documented their life through self portraits taken over 20+ years.  But my Project ended up being derailed by Breast Cancer.  You think I would have learned from that and NOT tried to do a “Facing 60”.  Undaunted, I started on that Series anyway, and it was derailed by a brain tumor that IS NOT Cancer, but nevertheless a problem.  Having anything growing in your Brain that doesn’t belong there is a problem.

As you can see below I started the original Project on Ash Wednesday in 2010.  In this case I was experimenting with my 20 ft cable release and my M645.  A little soft focused because I had to ‘guestimate’ the distance.  I featured one of my favorite images……

 

 

So, I had taken a few photos of myself before the current events. My husband had taken quite a few photos of me to post on my “Through the Glass”  blog posts.  To Summarize “Facing 60” will contain a variety of “Self-Portraits” and evolve into a Project Page.

So this is where I started 9 years ago when my Cancer treatment had ended, I was on the road to recovery and starting a new career:

 

And now for some Mirror-Selfies: One full-frame showing all the lovely bathroominess and the rest cropped Rollei TLR 6X6 to remove as much of the Bathroom as possible.  I’m going to do a reshoot in this mirror when I get home.  Next time I will not have the shower curtain line going through my head!

Through the Glass: Rounding 3rd and Heading for Home….

I Rang Out on Wednesday using the Solari Bell.  By the time you see this I will be on my way Home:

 

And Yes, I am taking my ‘friend’ the Mask.  More Scenes from my life over the past 2 Months:

 

I still have tons of images to post from my Arizona Experience.  Those will appear from time to time throughout the Summer.

Through the Glass: It’s Beginning to GLOW in Here……

Proton_Beam3A

Yes, this is me in my Proton Beam Radiation Mask.  It was custom fit and molded to my face during the Radiation Simulation Session.  You literally have to be tied down.  The method is so precise that any motion would cause the beam to miss the tumor and hit something inside that you might not want to zap.  The lasers and pink tape are used for rough alignment.  Then low-level X-rays are used to “see” the four pins in my skull for fine alignment.  If it looks uncomfortable, it is!  And I go in twice a day for treatment.  Best thing, I get to take it home with me.  I’m going to make a shadow box and display it in my Living Room…….

The pressure from the Mask caused some swelling on the left side of my head to return. Ooops!  But it is better this week.  It’s stretched a bit and I’ve been working with the Technical Staff to get a better fit.

GLOW_Club

So I found out the details of the GLOW Club and will be attending on Thursday.  Hopefully I can see the accelerator and take picture.  I’ll post an update if pics are allowed.  Fun Fact:  you can actually see the blue flashes of the Proton Beam as it passes within the inter-cranial fluids.  Your optic nerve can detect the flashes so your brain can ‘see’ it.

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The focussed beam comes through the “screen” behind my head.  The screen is so big because it needs to be focussed across a wide range of angles.  It moves along the metal track for positioning.  Below, a longer view showing the hand grips for more stability against motion.  What you cannot see is that my feet beneath the blanket are tied down to the table also.

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I’m keeping my hair very short so I can moisturized my scalp to minimize burning.  In the image on the right, you can see a hint of the Surgery #2 Scar.

 

Below, a handy dandy summary graphic taken from the Mayo Clinic Website.  CLICK HERE for better viewing.

Mayo_Clinic_InfoGraphic_Posted

 

Through The Glass: Post Surgical Thoughts on Mis-diagnosis or Missed Diagnosis?

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Is there really a difference?  My Colorado Medical Team ignored an obvious abnormality that should have been dealt with 8 months sooner.  They refused to listen to my ophthalmologist, who was eventually the Dr that sent me to the emergency room, leading to the proper diagnosis.

So now I am left to deal with the consequences.  My Oncologist and the first Neurosurgeon assigned to review my case specifically told me there was “nothing to see here.”  Well I refused to allow that surgeon to perform my biopsy and moved on to someone that I could trust.  My new surgeon had the connections to get me to the Mayo Clinic, and that’s where I am.

MyQuickCut

I started with a close-cut, realizing that the second surgery would require shaving my head and would leave me with a nice scar to share with Scott…….and work not only on the tumor, but also an aneurysm that was discovered during MRI imaging.

The Aneurysm turned out to be too small to deal with now, but is on my list of items to keep and eye on. The ‘goop’ on my head is surgical superglue;  no stitches here.  I have no complaints about my Mayo Clinic Medical Team….I feel like they actually want to make me whole again.  I now have tiny metal plates holding my skull bone in place.

 

So I await the planning for my Proton Beam Radiation Treatments.  Hopefully home by May and settling back in to my normal life.  I’ll find out soon about the placement of the metal alignment pins for the Beam.

Looking forward to the future, how do I feel about my Boulder Team’s Ability to monitor possible tumor regrowth and that aneurysm? That I will explore with the Social Workers here……..

Through the Glass: Post Surgery

MayoMug_2019

After 13 hours of surgery; 90% of my tumor removed (excellent for a brain tumor); and 5 days in the Hospital….All I have to show for it is my Mayo Clinic Mug!   I did get released on New Year’s Eve and had that time with my Family.  One final thing I can say about the surgery is that my brain is functioning differently and my visual and audio perceptions are different;  not reduced or degraded, just different.  I will continue to explore this issue during my recovery.  Although my traumatic brain injury was planned and controlled, there are still ramifications I’ll be dealing with further down the line.  How will this affect my Artistic Vision?

What I have also experienced is the highest level of health care service EVER IN MY LIFE!  I want everyone to have this level of care!!!!!!

On January 23rd I start my Proton Beam Radiation Treatment.  Last year a friend of mine died from Esophageal Cancer.  The Proton Beam treatment was an option for his cancer that was never offered to him, because it wasn’t covered by his insurance.  I AM PISSED that he didn’t at least  have the option.

Armistice 1918-2018: What Have We Learned?

Over the past 4 years of the 100th Anniversary of World War I (The War to end all Wars, except that it didn’t).  I had hoped for some thoughtful reflection on the Root Cause of Conflict.  I am aware that some of this occurred Across Europe.  But nothing here in the USA.

WWI History is barely touched upon here.  I know much more than the average America due to an excellent AP European History class I took in High School.  It was taught by one of my most memorable teachers, Mr. Knab, from the perspective of the root cause of conflict and how it directly led to WWII.

An opportunity lost……..

Memorial_Day

So I am Honoring My Father’s WWII Service in a Segregated Army, in Italy.  1st Lt Vernon Johnson.  An Army He later helped to Integrate under orders from President Truman.  He worked in the Army Reserve, ‘helping’ white soldiers get used to taking orders from African America Officers. At the out break of The Korean War, he was like other WWII veterans, exempted from further service because he had a wife and child.  At least back them they did not want to make more Widows and Orphans.

Notably my Father was also a Buffalo Soldier…..And he loved the Bob Marley song.  He felt Appreciated and Respected.

 

 

My Father always talked about the Children he met in Italy………

 

 

And Training at Ft Huachuca, Arizona…….

 

 

 

We’ll end with a Photograph of my Mother.  The one that my Father carried with him through the War. I found it in his old foot locker along with many of the images above:

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Mom is still with us at a Feisty 95……