Looking over some old stuff, I found this blog post that I made from 2008. This rough winter makes it easy to become frustrated and tired with this city. This was a little pick me up for me, perhaps, if you are suffering from the Detroit winter blues, it may help you out too.
It’s late at night and i’m sitting on my balcony, thinking about how i love seeing the stars. I can’t tonight, like most nights, the city lights stamp them out. However, i can hear the wind blowing through the trees and that is comforting. I hear the rumble of cars on 94, sirens in the distance, and even a few rouge gunshots. When it rains I hear it drip between the houses, and i can watch my neighbors eat dinner from my kitchen, as well as hear when their phone rings, all these thoughts make me feel at home.
The Streets, always moving, never pausing, ferocious at times, giving at others. I’ve seen everything in Detroit, wandered down every alley, all hours of the day. I’ve seen defecation, procreation, overwhelming grief, death and life. I’ve seen love, people starting over, and people giving up. These streets are real, they are honest, they are bent, broken and reborn.
People live in detroit, there is not time or room, for glamour, or facade. this is you, this is me, we are equal, we are one.
But not always.
For all the bad there is equal, good. In our community, people here are trying to fight, with our dire circumstances, trying to live, and help others live. People believe, and I believe, that we are fighting against odds, and we will overcome, and we will celebrate our own victories.
For every stranger i make smile, to the building recently rehabbed across the street, we will celebrate, together.
I love Detroit with every fiber of my body. When i need it, it’s there, moving, breathing, it sits beside me, and we are one. The sounds of the city and I, my late night lullaby.
I have a big meeting tomorrow to convince someone of something that I want very badly. I figured bringing a cake along to celebrate the occasion may help my cause. If I don’t get what I am asking for… at least I have a cake anyways. I’ll let you know how it all pans out.
Cross your fingers, toes, any appendages you have for me and send thoughts to whatever you believe in. Maybe I’ll make you a cake in thanks.
I’ve got alot to show you guys… been working my tush off for the past year… and I even squeezed in a trip to Mexico. Anywho.. One of my long term projects has been shooting for an art project being developed in the Osborne neighborhood. It’s been the best to branch out and meet some really great and interesting folks. I’ve had to keep most of the images under wraps… but one of my partners snapped this one last night where they are using my image as a cover for their magazine! The community in Osborne has really opened my eyes up to alot of things. So grateful to work with them and it makes me happy to see them using my images!
We’ve come a long way from where we started with our Mies van der Rhoe townhouse renovation…
Master bedroom before…
After.. you can see we took out the carpet and replaced the original asbestos tile with a non-toxic vinyl alternative. We had repairs to the plaster going across the ceiling and walls, the painting is actually the closet doors. We need to hang art, are going to make a new bed, and have a new fluffy rug. :)
So I’ve relocated… going through the motions of fitting my life into new spaces. It’s like an injury…. this can fit here… for now… and it feels awkward until one day it doesn’t anymore. I’m looking forward to that one day.
It’s hard to believe that 2012’s presidential candidates are arguing about who has been more supportive of Detroit when a mere 4 years ago no-one seemed to care. No-one knew about demongos, or capital park, or riding bikes in the city, there was no supinos, whole foods, rosa parks transit terminal, no whydon’tweownthis, no Detroit Bus Co, no housing incentives, no kickstarter campaigns, no Detroit Creative Corridor, no major glossy articles about our culture, the only (national) news coming out of this place was bad news.. much like it had been for the past 50 years. To me, the candidates words are yet another testament to the extreme growth and attention that this city has garnered. It is moments like these that our stretch marks show… Now that political contestants are vying for our affections has Detroit made it? I think many will agree that this city will never reach a state of completion… especially when the threat of state take-over still looms above our heads. Nevertheless, I would like to stay out of the political ring but I would like to remind you Detroit, how you felt on the last election eve. Nothing short of magical. Please never forget those who have stood strong beside you, never doubting you and your wild and vivacious way of life.
Regardless of your political affiliations we are lucky to have witnessed history being made last night. I sat in a small jazz bar that was recently restored from the 1920’s surrounded by about 60 friends, one block south of Woodward, a few from Campus Martius (the main square downtown Detroit). I walked in the moment CNN called an Obama victory and the entire city seemed to explode. People were dancing in the streets, waving flags, sparklers, Obama signs and shirts. People were screaming the national anthem and strangers were hugging, there are few times in life when you can feel such energy and hope among a group of people. The area I was in, Capital Park, is impoverished, there is this small jazz bar open only on Fridays and Saturdays, across the street from a strip club, down a block from Detroits’ Transit Terminal which is home to many homeless. On this eve Larry Mongo the Owner of Demongos (the bar I was at) played Obamas speech over loud speakers fixed to the outside of his building. Messages of hope resonated across the old buildings, there was a roar of car horns and people so I rode my bike over to Woodward and saw the closest thing to peaceful riots I have ever seen on the news, in magazines or real life. There was talk of a bloodless revolution, and a man holding an Obama sign was screaming “it only took one vote”, over and over. Traffic was stopped and human beings we writhing in celebration, and flooding the intersections. It all went on until about 1:30 am when police closed Woodward and the revelers were returned to individual bars. I was lucky to witness this happen in Detroit, hooray guys… this is awesome.
Well, basically… I’m going to have to keep this short because I should be doing 5000 other things right now. I thought I would let you guys in on a little secret. This will be the second in my PSA series on how to do awesome things better. Since if you do things better you can do more of them.
Tonight is like no other… I got back from the Detroit Design Festival Kickoff party with about five minutes to scarf down some dinner before heading to Omnicorp Detroit to get ready for Eastern Market After Dark #emafterdark tomorrow, finish some home work for my class, edit a few weddings, send out a billion emails and well you get the drift. Luckily, Redbull has been hooking us up lately (like a boss) and I have some provisions ready because it’s way later then it should be. Back to the PSA… to survive DDF’s all night work sessions, schmooze parties, and dance jams you’re gonna need some nourishment in that cute little tum.
So I’m letting you in on a huge secret here! NO, it’s not weight watchers… it’s not some hip foodie recipe that will make you 10 times more attractive… this is a: you need food well here it is… nom. It’s not rocket science, but I have depended on this for years.. do it.
I call it the poor wo(man)s quesadilla
start the clock 5:00 min
Open fridge: grab your chezzzzze any kind will do, vegan, dairy, feta, walnut, cashew as long as it tastes yummy. (my fav is the real mexican stuff from honey bee, c’est Manifique!)
Grab your tortilla shell
Grab anything else that looks nomable, I prefer peppers, tomatoes, avocados, vegan crumbles if they are laying around, remember time is of the essence so it’s got to be ready yesterday.
Lastly grab you’re salsa… bonus points if any of the above are from Honey Bee….
Place whatever you have assembeld on top of the tortilla shell, throw that sucker in the microwave for about 33-42 seconds and walla! Roll’er up and nom.
By the time you are done you will probably have about three minutes left to try to collect yourself before heading out to the next DDF event. I swear, while this meal is by no means nutritional, it keeps my tum so happy on those never ending, late night work/fun days. Speaking of which I have to go. Have a safe awesome festival hope to see you all around tomorrow as I photograph the happenings of Eastern Market. Your welcome and thank you RedBull for subsidizing my caffeine addiction!
Don’t look at me I’m multi-tasking. NOW GO DO THINGS! Here at OCD other folks are complaining about weird boogers…. back to work!
Neglected, forgotten, forlorn may be better adjectives… I am aware.
Remember as a kid your dreams of being Indiana Jones, or exploring the unknown, uncovering ancient civilizations in rare far off places? I am pretty sure part of that dream came unexpectedly true for me this weekend.
I have been in lots of abandoned buildings; homes, hospitals, schools, offices, warehouses, doctors offices, and gas stations, pretty much you name it and I have seen it. Sometimes I walk into spaces and wonder what they will look like when they are no longer needed. I wonder what marks I have left behind for some curious person to find one day. There are some buildings though that I cannot fathom could fall to this fate. Our cultural institutions, our museums, our libraries our monoliths and testaments to civilization. They should stand the test of time, they speak to our ability to continue on, they are shrines to our existence. But, They don’t always, and even though they often continue on in some form… their demise is a deep heartache and something that should be avoided at all costs.
So, this story isn’t quite as epic as I may have led on.. but… it is something.
In 1994 the Grand Rapids Public Museum moved out of it’s former building into a brand spanking new one a few blocks over. They dismantled some of the aging dioramas to reinstall in the new space and then shuttered the buildings doors with no foreseeable purpose.
Eighteen years later the group SiTE:Lab convinced the GRPM to let them have an art exhibit. SiTE:LAB is an organization that creates temporary site-specific art projects aimed at facilitating dynamic collaborations between the art, education, business and cultural communities of Grand Rapids.I can’t go into all the details of this amazing project please check out their comprehensive website.
With unprecedented access to such an amazing space artists are transforming the museum piece by piece. Serene woodland dioramas complete with once alive stuffed animals are rudely interrupted by sharp angular wood structures. Organic pieces appear at home amidst beautiful back backgrounds. Hundreds of specimens of every kind are stacked in tagged boxes in galleries and vitrines are full of half art pieces half leftover artifacts. Some exhibits remain fully intact with (seemingly ancient) computers and text… it’s the science museum of my childhood and we’ve been given a free pass to do (pretty much) whatever we want. I carefully petted a vicious wolf, and a duck that was in mid flight, I climbed around in the native exhibit and looked in the birch hut. I hid among the fake trees and felt the fake grass. Don’t tell anyone though… I was pretty much just a visitor… but a lucky one. So thanks to Paul Amenta, SiTE:Lab, all the participating artists (especially Complex Movements who I was assisting) for providing such an incredible opportunity. If you, reader, have any way to get there for the opening or at all during ArtPrize do it without a seconds hesitation… I’m pretty sure you will never see another art event like this one.
See more photos from the Museum and Complex Movements piece here
Ok, so, I rarely get super personal on this blog, but this event merits an exception. Over four years ago I met this super cute, tattooed, bike riding boy, and never thought he would be into me.
Fortunately, I was incorrect and less then a year after meeting at an alley cat bike race we began a series of awesome and incredible adventures. Camping out in the Costa Rican rainforest, visiting every tattoo shop in San Francisco, eating every veggie dog in Toronto, bike rides in the rain, winning crazy scavenger hunt bike races in the rain… and more.
So…. on a nice summer evening a few weeks ago, AJ took me back to my secret spot on the river front (where we had our first date) and gave me a “fortune cookie machine” that he built. The idea is that when you push the button it would deliver a fortune… to my surprise when I pushed the button it wasn’t any old fortune that came out, but a note that asked “WIll you marry me?” attached to a beautiful ring made by our friend Corey Egan. Of course I said yes, and that leaves me where we are now… about to embark on our greatest adventure… together.
We aren’t in a rush to make plans… probably going to throw an awesome party for our friends and family sometime in the Fall of 2014.
I’m feeling like a lucky lady, and AJ and I want to thank our amazing families, friends who are family, and just all the people and pieces of the world that brought us here. Whoop Whoop!
Confessions of a superhero. Bear with me as I sort through some personal affirmations (I’m also pretty tired so please ignore any grammatical errors).
As a kid we are taught that real superheroes wear capes, have masked identities and super powers like flight, super strength, and invisibility. They are often rich living in mansions, or supported by some sort of command center. Real superheros have super immune systems which means, aside from the random scuffle where their butler or hot babe takes care of them they have no need for health insurance. No need for a job, food on the table, rent money, car insurance, or cell phone bills. However, most super heros never had the choice to become one they just are…
We are aware that this is fiction but superheros do exist in real life…
Today I couldn’t sleep through a 20 minute nap. even though I’ve worked 50-80 hour work weeks since May and allowed myself some adult libations late into the evening. My legs were antsy and despite the mountain of images I need to edit and the never ending pit of email correspondence that I need to catch up on, I couldn’t sleep because I was bored. I realized that I am bored out of my mind unless I am doing something that I feel will make the world a better place, and I realized… I am my own damn definition of a superhero. I don’t work this hard because I want to, I work this hard because I am incapable of not. It is more than an itch or some goals I wrote down once, it is a compulsion… Everything I do, I wonder how it will affect someone else and I’m not happy unless I’ve exhausted every fiber in my body to make whatever it is the best that it can be. Now I wont be so cocky to pretend that I can do this all on my own. I would be completely lost without my amazing partner, family and a few really good friends. The main point of all of this however is that there are many, many other people out there who are just like me. They may sometimes feel as alone as I do, just as tired, just as frustrated… but they wake up everyday and fight for a world that they want to live in, they are superheros too! We may not live in mansions, have super physical strength, but we cannot help but take action. We fight because we don’t see any other way and sitting back as the world idly passes by feels more like a death sentence. I guess in a way this is also a plea on behalf of all the superhero’s, to whoever will listen, please respect your hero’s. Understand that we love what we do but we deserve to make a living wage. As a friend help them however possible even if it means telling us to slow down. Understand that no matter how hard you think a hero works, we probably work ten times as hard behind the scenes (especially if the work we are doing for you cannot put a roof over our heads or ensure that we will be able to afford a doctor when we need it). Send love and energy to all of the superhero’s that you know so that we can multiply it and find the light that exists in the forgotten corners of our communities. Better yet help us find jobs, grants, insurance so that everyday life won’t be so difficult, and we can focus our efforts on the bigger picture.
Love all the super heros in your life.
Ps. My super power is “making it happen” and my kryptonite is sleep, sunny days, and bike rides.
Made this for the 2012 Goodwood show benefiting the Ride it Sculpture Park! It’s battery powered so it will show you the light when times get tough, and the Effiel Tower made of pallets should inspire you to build it your own way with what you’ve got. You can bid to take it home here! Other artists include some of my favorites Swoon, Thomas Campell, Barry Mcgee, Ed Templeton, Matthew Barney and many more! It’s been featured in Juztapoz and Thrasher magazines to name a few. Awesome times!
I undertook this shoot with about the same amount of reservation as excitement. When Erica (the amazing hairstylist) approached me with this look I immediately thought of a greaser/pin-up type housewifey concept. As I researched existing imagery I was disappointed by a lot of the stuff I found. Traditional pin-ups from the 30’s-50’s were painted, giving women posing in awkward positions idealized bodies. When photographers try to replicate it they often fail because real women are just not shaped like the ladies in these paintings, and the harsh lighting and lack of clothes combines just turns into an embarrassing mess (often for both model and photographer). Real pin-ups aren’t meant to be overtly sexual and I think this is something many photographers interpret the wrong way… so when thinking about putting a hot babe on a motor bike… I wanted to stay away from all of these stereotypes. Thanks to the support from some incredible people I think the whole team on this shoot created something that we can all be proud of. I think Lynn looks like such an badass…like she could rip that transmission apart and get that baby going 60… this goes beyond a pin-up… Thank you so much for continually being the best at what you do…
Model: Alexandra Lynn Kelsey Hair: Erica Dubroy (Bocci salon) Style (Clothing): Jenna Zerbo Make-up: Hannah Price (Bianchi salon) Moped support: Motor City Riot, Aj Manoulian and Mike Petrack Use of the space and unending inspiration: Omnicorp Detroit
This image is only a teaser… I turned off the stobes and used the modeling lights. It was shot at a high iso so it’s a bit grainy but i love it. Reminds me of something from a movie. <3
I have been shooting weddings for a long time now (around 7 years) Yikes! Luckily, I think over that time I have continued to grow and get better (falling in love myself helped). I love every couple who I have had the chance to share in their most important day with, but to be able to do it for some friends of mine, come on, what an honor. Saturday I shot the beautiful wedding of two good friends at one of the coolest venues I have ever seen. It was a celebration of love and the city of Detroit, these two were really made for each other… Congrats Rachel and Paul. I had such a hard time choosing these teasers, cannot wait to show you the rest!
Recently spent some time in a rural part of Alabama with a good friend and her son. We were both going through a rough time, I feel lucky to have shared some really amazing things with her. A part of my heart is always at her side.