I am taking this class at Duke (btw, I am a graduate student in the Master of Fine Arts, Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University now. Yeah school. Holy shit, I’m a student again). I digress. Anyway, this class I am taking is called Documentary Engagement and we are focusing on youth and obesity this semester. What this means is the opportunity to follow a youth (ie, kid, teen, non-adult), for the semester as they work in the Healthy Lifestyles program to hopefully go from overweight/obese to a healthy person. I am learning way too much about the food industry, the continued impotence of Congress and the power of lobbies. None of which is really surprising, just something I’ve not wanted to actually acknowledge, I suppose.
The first assignment of this class, which is mostly populated by undergrads in the public health and global health majors (I am literally the only photog in class), was to photograph a self-portait in 8 sequenced photos. I looked at it as a challenge. How to talk about myself as a physical person, and talk about myself without my physical presence. What came out was a series of 4 diptychs (2×4=8 and assignment covered).
The photos I’ve chosen for the assignment are below:
This is what happens on long runs. My mind wanders.
I’m about to start classes as a newly-minted graduate student in the Master of Fine Arts, Experimental and Documentary Arts Program at Duke University. It is strange to return to school now, but challenges are not something I’ve avoided historically. That doesn’t keep me from being nervous about them however.
So, during today’s run, I was thinking about my first classes tomorrow and how I was going to make the next two years of my life work and I thought, ‘Hey, not to worry. If I can run a marathon, I can do two years of grad school at Duke.’ That is my bellwether: the marathon. It was a Sunday long run, so with several miles yet to go, I started an incomplete mental list of what running has taught me, and specifically how it informs my work as a photographer.
I’ll leave you to make the connections.
•I am the only one who can get myself to the finish.
•The same run can be both the worst and the best I’ve ever had.
•I’ve seen some very beautiful things by getting out the door.
•Rain is cathartic.
•When I run marathons the only person I race against is the one wearing my sneakers, and ultimately that is the only person I need to satisfy.
•How I feel about a run is much more important to me than arbitrary measurements of ‘good’ based on time or distance.
•Going far means I’ve seen more than I did before.
•Exploring a new path is compulsory.
•Perseverance is having a bad run today and doing it again tomorrow insisting on a different result.
•I am much stronger than I believed.
•I am much better at listening to my body.
•There is community in running alone. I pass other runners, going different ways, but we acknowledge the common effort.
•The accomplishment of a race isn’t the finish, per se, but winning the infinite battles between body and mind from beginning to end.
•When a run gets tough I break it down into the simplest form: left, right, repeat.
•Sweating is good.
•Getting dirty is better.
•Running on a treadmill, – being stuck on a revolving belt, in one place, with all that effort, not actually going anywhere, looking at the same spot on the wall, for the sake of not running on broken sidewalks, avoiding mother nature or the imperfections of the world – is a waste of a perfectly good run.
•I hope to be running until I eventually keel over dead.
As you may know, “I am: Women Living with HIV” will be exhibiting during the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., July 22-27, but what you don’t know is the project is teaming up with an awesome group of bloggers and a committed non-profit working with women and HIV.
I am more than thrilled to announce that The Well Project and their blog for HIV+ women, A Girl Like Me, will be the main sponsors for “I am” at the conference. I will also be photographing several of their bloggers this month and including them in the D.C. exhibit.
This is an exciting opportunity for “I am.” I’ve always believed that the project needed a home within an educational framework and to reach a connectedness to the HIV community that will come from working with the blog, A Girl Like Me, “where women of all ages can share their stories and promote understanding of HIV through online storytelling.” I’ve had the opportunity to speak on the phone already with several of the bloggers and as always, I am blow away at the strength and candidness with which these women choose to share their lives.
The Well Project aims through their mission, “to change the course of this HIV/AIDS pandemic through a unique and comprehensive focus on women.” I hope that my project can add another layer of focus and brings a unique vision to the dialog. Please take a moment to get to know The Well Project and A Girl Like Me.
The year: 2010
The idea: portraits of attendees at the 6th annual Tatto Show at Hotel Bauen
The location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Without further ado it is time to meet some of the locals:
I am horrible at archiving.
I’ve neglected it over the past year, or two-ish. So, with time on my hands I am reorganizing the archives and updating them. I found this photo just now and still love it. Sometimes photos need to grow on me and other times I like them right away, but later I don’t care much for them. However, there are the occasional photographs that stick.
This is a screen used to print T-shirts. I guess I like it so much because I find dark humor in something so dirty yet it is for the Ministerio de Salud de La Nación (Argentina Health Ministry). This photo was taken in 2008 at the Comedor Los Pibes. They would often produce T-shirts for national government organizations and for their own group to wear during political rallies.
These past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions. Up/down, or more accurately down/up. There have been a number of unrealized expectations on my part and other efforts that have materialized, much to my surprise. I would receive bad news and several days later I would receive good news. I’ll hang onto the straws that I can get, but could I have a week of good news followed by more good news? Really, do I ask too much? I’ll throw that one out to the universe later and see what type of vestal virgin sacrifice will be required to appease the gods.
So, I won’t delve into the bad news, but hell yeah, the good news…
“I am: Women Living with HIV, an international photography project” will be heading to D.C. this July for the XIX International AIDS Conference. The project will be on display somewhere inside the Global Village. Additionally I received one of the scholarships to attend the conference which will cover my registration and airfare, reducing my financial strain a bit. I will still be fundraising to cover the cost of printing the images and words, so stay tuned for that request. I am considering using IndieGoGo this time as opposed to Kickstarter because I understand the donations will be
tax deductible (nope, unfortunately). I’ll get that all set up and then begin my pleading for your pennies.
I am also in talks with a NGO to find a home/educational connection for the project. While I love shooting and working as a documentary photographer, images that sit on my computer have little opportunity influence change. Communication is essential.
So I am focusing on the ups and not the downs. Every time I feel a bit defeated I remember a friend of mine in Buenos Aires who was constantly telling me that things happen for a reason. That one opportunity that doesn’t materialize leads to others that were hidden before and I need to relax and let it go. Being the stubborn person that I am (and I hate being told to relax), I would nod my head, his words bouncing off the invisible armor I tend to drag around. But hey… who knew, the little shit had more influence on me than I realized.
And if you find yourself in D.C. July 22-27th, please stop by the conference/Global Village and check out my work and everyone else who is trying to influence the world for the better.
I am seeking contacts, events, groups and individuals that work with HIV positive women and in the HIV positive community here in Boulder, Colorado and the surrounding areas, ie Denver, mountains, etc…
I especially would like to hear from you if you are an HIV positive woman living in Colorado.
Please check out the project website below (click on photo).
Salida = exit. Off to the next chapter…
You’ll also notice that there are actually 101 Days. I warned you about my aversion to numbers. I won’t call it an inability to ‘do’ math correctly. I like refer to it as a nonchalance to getting it right. Math means getting the correct answer and if you don’t you’re wrong. This – at some celular level – offends my personal philosophy. I like gray areas. People live in gray areas. We make decisions, we live, we love, we exist in gray areas. It is a hell of a lot more fun too.
BTW, I was told my gaaf is called the ‘fence post error’: If you build a straight fence 100m long with posts 10m apart, how many posts do you need? (Wiki the full explanation).
Day 100, March 6, 2012
The Dog Walker
The dogs look so cute sometimes all trailing the dog walker, other times they take over the sidewalk as they pass. A whole pack of canines from small and puffy to big dogs with muscle. The dog walker is one of the Buenos Aires signature photos that every tourist needs to leave with. I consider myself no acception. This dog walker was spotted on Santa Fe in Barrio Norte as I was riding the 39 bus downtown to go buy another suitcase – which made 3 bags and 1 pelican case with gear for the luggage total.
Day 101, March 7, 2012
Buenos Aires Airport. Terminal A. Heading toward gate 17, which is located far, far away from the rest of the gates down dark, florescent lit hallways, pass construction and confused looked guards. Gate changed to gate 6. They are not close to each other. Left 2 1/2 hours late. Missed connection in ATL. Total door to door: 25hours. I made it. Cat made it. Luggage made it. All’s well.
I feel like I need some old, crazy looking stereotype with a sign that reads ‘The End is Near’ to post this batch of photos. I didn’t think to look for one. You’ll have to settle for tattoos, and partying. Not a bad way to go out actually.
Day 95 March 1, 2012
It is a unique experience to be tattooed. Hurts yes, so don’t bother asking – of-course it hurts. I get asked quite a bit about what it feels like. It feels like a needle being pushed into your skin at fast velocity really. Really. It also feels like severe road rash for awhile after. I never sleep well the first few nights after a tattoo. I think my body is trying to readjust after being tense and on an adrenaline high.
Day 96, March 2, 2012
A hug by friends who have not visited in awhile.
Day 97 March 3, 2012
The Pepsi Machine
Funny things you find when out roaming. Somewhere in the provincia of Buenos Aires waiting for my friend’s wedding to begin.
Day 98 March 4, 2012
3a.m. at an Argentine/US American wedding. The costumes are out, the dancing is on.
Day 99, March 5, 2012
I don’t often look up when I am in the city. I have to concentrate on not killing myself on the sidewalk (see photo Day 1), but sometimes I stop moving long enough to gaze around.