by Anna Cox | Feb 24, 2015 | Anna Cox, FEATURE, Featured Articles, Stories, Storyteller
Captain and the Kid written by Cally and Grandreopening
The following is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. It’s a story about a girl and a boy on the subway, right and wrong, life and death. Actually that’s not entirely true; this is just a very short story about Captain (C) and the Kid (K).
(K): Four schools in four semesters. It’s not a record; we set that in grade school; 3rd through 4th grade. To be specific, Ms. Elwood, Mrs. Derringer, Mr. Dicks, Mr. Raji, Mrs. Bergdorf, Ms. Gutierrez, and I think there was one more with a Spanish-sounding name, and I’m pretty sure she was really nice to me but I honestly can’t remember.
But this is now, that was when. When there was a reason. There is always a reason, always some never-seen emergency. Ma says I’ll make new friends, like the ones I made at the last school, at the last “Buy-the-Week” Inn which she insisted we call the ‘apartment’. It was nothing but another shithole motel and Ma will never understand the only friend I have is Tiger. Tiger is black and white and ugly, just like me but he’s the only friend I’ve really every had.
(C): Captain’s Log, Star Date 68557.5. It’s been one a hell of a night. I’ve been walking for five hours in the horrible cold and strange frozen precipitation, and still no sign of Lieutenant Cox. Never hire a man for your communications officer; they refuse instruction and ignore directions. Neither the tricorder nor the communicator is functioning property, apparently disallowing our return to the ship. I should never have let him out of my sight, never mind the novelty of alien porn. I’ve taken temporary refuge in an arcane transportation system that appears to simply crawl around in circles on strange metal tracks attracting what I deem their plebian citizens. Again, Cox dropped the ball on the civilization research. We were supposed to be observing signs of mating and/or fertility, but all I’ve actually seen is this ugly ass dog dry humping on one out of every five beings entering the car. Seems random, yet somehow very focused and specific (insert bookmark here for further review). I’m beginning to feel like the ship’s transporter isn’t even functioning or someone surely would’ve beamed me out of this shithole, Cox or no Cox.
I will now attempt to coerce one of the natives to aid me in a physical respite (primarily sleep and nourishment) outside of this rolling tin can. Captain out.
(K): I’m on my way the “Diss”, that’s what everyone calls D.E.H.S.; Who ever heard of a ghetto high school being named after Dwight D. Eisenhower? I take Tiger because Roy in maintenance lets him hang around his shop in the boiler room. I don’t trust my Ma and the folks she has over; not that they would hurt him on purpose, though a few that might, no, most are cool, they’d likely just get drunk then something dumb would happen to him.
This ride sucks. It’s a two-train jump that starts early, and in this neighborhood the early trains still tend to smell like puke. Sometimes all the bangers’ are still coming home drunk and mean; god they suck. Its been pretty mellow lately, which is nice. This morning it’s strangely empty except for this weird-ass woman behind me. An empty car and she’s been leaning on the door murmuring under her breath. She keeps looking around all twitchy, it’s like she’s looking at everything around here for the very first time. Fricking weird.
(C): “Pssst, hey kid.” Kid looks up at me like I’m some kind of freak. “Hey, I need help and I’ve got barter material. No I can’t show you here but take me to your place and maybe we can strike a deal.” I wasn’t too sure whether this was a good idea, especially now that I can see the look of stoic, yet frightened indignity plastered across his face like a half-assimilated Borg. Kid turns around, clearly lost in thoughts that might include jumping up and racing away or pissing his pants and deflating into a ball of liquid alien goo (not pretty−I’ve seen it before). The dog just stares at me, lower jaw jutting out, slow trickle of saliva shining on its slightly trembling lip. All of a sudden the dog emits a low, yet surprisingly menacing growl, and leaps from Kid’s lap, through the near-empty train, just as the train slows to a stop and the doors begin to open in a bizarre, slow-motion screech. Kid looks at me with wild eyes akin to a Klingon in heat, screams “NOOOOOOO, TIIIIGEEERRRR” and panic ensues.
(K): “NOOOOO, TIIIIGGGGER!” I scream. “What did you do you crazy bitch?” Fear and anger seized me. I hate it when it happens, it reminds me of Ma, how she loses it sometimes. I guess I’m the apple and she’s the tree; that anger bug that’s been chewing her trunk forever has me now. It bites deep and hard as I see Tiger bounding down the aisle, tail between his legs then out into the blur of legs on the platform. He’s never done that; he always stands his ground when the drunk bangers start to push and shove on the early train. Something is wrong.
I shout “crazy bitch’ and shove her hard. I’ve never done that, to anyone, much less an adult. I feel like I’m watching myself; this is so weird. Then I turn and run, tears streaming down my cheeks, to find Tiger…to find my only friend in a city of 15 million.
(C): Damn. The little shit pushed me. But, seized by the anathema of empathy that propelled me into this line of work in the first place, I took off, following the kid as he ran, wailing and cursing. I ran, thinking I’m definitely not logging this, chasing Kid chasing Tiger through the throng of underground life. I wasn’t sure exactly where we were going or if Kid actually saw the damn varmint, but I felt somehow responsible. As I rounded a corner I just glimpsed the kid’s back as he rushed into a “public restroom.” I had, quite painfully, found out about public restrooms several hours ago and stopped well short, knowing there was no other way out, and I sure as hell wasn’t going in there. I waited, torn between internal disgust at this ridiculous situation and the haunting realization that I’m pretty much lost, stranded, and pitifully ignorant of the species I was here to observe in the first place. I started looking around at them, all of them different. Hair color, eye color, skin color, clothing, expressions, all different; some subtle, some not so much. I never knew a race so different, yet so similar. A firm grasp on my shoulder bolted me out of my daydream; it was Cox! Looking down (yeah Cox was short and quite stocky) I was at once heartened and somehow horrified to see that Cox had emerged from the public restroom, Tiger tucked quite snugly under one arm. A second later, I saw (over Cox’s head) Kid emerge from the public restroom, just as Cox whipped out his communicator, breathed in a low, throaty drawl, “beam us up,” and the familiar tingle of my own matter breaking up began to overcome my body. The last thing I heard was, again, “TIIIGEEERRRR.”
(K): I saw Tiger’s tail disappear around a corner through the salty blur of tears. I just wanted to get to Roy’s office, drop off my dog and get through another day at the “Diss” with as little attention as possible. I was good at fading through the day, at being unseen. The teachers remembered my name; most did anyway. None of the students did. I had forced, semester-long lab partners that had no clue what to call me. I knew how NOT to draw attention to myself. Now I was crying and wailing on the subway station chasing my only friend.
He went into a restroom—thankfully it was the men’s. I race in to find him and ran into the chest of a thick bald man. He’s not mean looking but has distant, faraway eyes. They are raincloud blue, his eyes. Ma always said ‘the eyes tell no lies’ but this guy’s eyes were mute, maybe deaf and mute because it was like I wasn’t even there, in front of him, like I wasn’t tugging on his sleeve and blubbering. He just gently brushed me away like I was a cat and he was done petting and walked out. He walked out with my best friend whimpering under his arm.
I follow him out, getting mad. That molten coal that had burned before, glowing, starting to sear my guts. I charge out, around the corner and he’s there, talking to that same crazy woman.
“What the hell is…..” Then they start to glow, a little, then more. There are people everyone in the station but no one is noticing, only me. It’s like they are fading. I don’t think. I yell “TIIIGGGGER” and leap, the last thing I remember is grabbing that crazy black bitch’s pant leg, and then I’m glowing and fading too.
(C): Captain’s Log, Star Date 68775.5. We’ve got two unregistered, unvaccinated mammals aboard ship. Cox has been severely reprimanded and sent to the brig for disobeying orders, illicit cavorting with the native species, and several suspicious contraband powders that are currently being analyzed. I’ve ordered full medical scans of Cox, the kid, and the dog. Once cleared, I will escort our erstwhile guests back to their planet, and hope this incident doesn’t get us all (myself) into hot water. I’m stating for the record here that this entire fiasco was completely due to the incompetence of Lieutenant Cox, who I am recommending for psychological evaluation. Captain out.
Off the record, I have been persuaded to, and will in all good conscience, escort the kid and the dog to the “Diss” as he calls it, which seems to be an educational institution of questionable repute. As I learned from a hard-fought conversation with him that ended in an awkward, yet sloppy tongue kiss, the kid seems to think my mere presence will assuage his extreme anxiety that was apparently gained in the current situation, and serve to dissuade him from “calling the law” and “bringing me down.” He must know I could kill him and his scruffy little snaggletooth right here and now. But never mind that; I kind of like the little shits. At present, we are in the control room and will beam down momentarily. Having finally won him over, he smiles sweetly, hugs Tiger, and we stand quietly for a few minutes. Kid is still all eyes, still doesn’t quite comprehend where we really are, then Kowalski nods from the control panel and the tingle begins…… back to Earth
Photo credit: Sheldon Serkin
Cally Lence & @grandreopening
by Anna Cox | Jan 19, 2015 | Anna Cox, FEATURE, Featured Articles, Stories
A word from Caleb:
I’m pretty lucky to have creative friends, Nina being one of them. Last month we started talking about making a film together and the rest is history. The final product was following her around Minneapolis for a day, documenting it all. Having a mutual sense of dedication is important in creating great work and I think it shows in the film. Her narration gives insight into what inspires her photography, the style of her work and her thoughts on the artistic process.
Nina’s work inspired me to start this project in the first place and it’s been cool to see the aesthetic of her photos progress over the years. But one thing has been a constant; the way she photographs the natural qualities of her subjects. Nina turns people’s insecurities into something beautiful.
I shot this film in the same style of her portraits, trying to catch a smile or candid moment of her. Some of my favorite images are happy accidents, where it seems like the subject doesn’t realize they’re being photographed. You’re seeing a true representation of the person and that’s what makes Nina’s portraits special.
After getting to know Nina through Caleb’s eyes, I wanted to find out a few more things to share. I asked Nina to oblige me with a quick interview and she agreed.
How did you start taking photographs?
I started taking pictures in middle school. I was definitely that annoying friend who took pictures of everything, and I never really thought anything of it. They were pretty terrible. My dad encouraged me, though, and taught me a few things. I began engaging with the photo community on Flickr at the suggestion of my favorite teacher in high school, which is where I really started making major progress. By my junior year of high school I began doing senior photos, and the rest is history!
I would love to hear more about your growth through Flickr. Could you share more about how it affected your photography?
Absolutely! Flickr really helped me to understand where I stood in the photography world. There were tons of photographers who were much better than I was – and I learned from them. There were also people out there that hadn’t yet gained some of the knowledge and skills than I had. It was important for me to have those balancing factors so that I could see myself rightly in the spectrum of photographers. Flickr at that time was a thriving community filled with feedback, so I gave and received a lot of excellent critique on my work. Of course, that lead to growth. It was definitely instrumental for me in getting a better idea of who was creating what at that time.
There is definitely less emphasis placed on traditional learning now that art is more accessible to the masses. iPhones and other devices have brought photography and digital design to everyone’s doorstep. Do you think that it hurts or helps?
It used to be a little disconcerting to me that everyone was considering themselves either a professional photographer or an artist in general. As I’ve become more confident in myself and my work, though, I’ve really come to appreciate how easy it is for the everyday person to start engaging with and making art. Wouldn’t it be sad if nobody was trying to make anything beautiful except a select few who had an official title? To everyone who feels drawn to photography or art making of any kind, I say go for it! If you can add more beauty to the world, do it.
Thank you Caleb and Nina for sharing more of your craft with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.
Find Nina // IG // website //
Find Caleb // IG // Website //
by Anna Cox | Nov 10, 2014 | Anna Cox, Mobile Photography, Stories
A: Hey there! Thanks for joining us and sharing a bit more about you. Why don’t you give us a little background info.
D: I’m 46, married and father of 3, live in the countryside in Israel and work in a chemical engineering company. I never studied photography but was always drawn to it. I publish on IG under the username @dot4n, and by same name on AMPt website for mobile photography.
A: What is it about taking photographs that moves you?
D: Taking photos allows me to process the visual stimulation which could otherwise overflow me. Editing images later is done under a strong sense that I must lift-up reality as it’s never good enough as it is, being too small and too local. Things must look unrelated, locations unidentified, reality disguised.
A: Do you have a favorite image?
D: One of my favorite images, not being a landscape as what you noted you liked, but a shot with a sense of mood that I highly relate to. Pic is made from two layers put together. One is of a man standing on the shore at the sea of Tel-Aviv. He is clearly an immigrant, dressed so differently to what local people do. The sky is a shot of a dirty window in my office cafeteria, dust smeared to resemble rain. This is probably the most exact story I wanted to tell of being far away, in a totally strange location with vast space, quiet and moody.
A: What do you think creativity is?
D: I don’t know what creativity is. I want to tell a story. I want to relate to others. I want to repeat myself as little as possible. There’s no deadline for publishing. Pics are posted when I feel they’re ready. And if posted too early I take them off.
A: Who are you inspired by?
D: Mostly, what I know of photography now comes form IG and AMPt. I am inspired by many users, mostly by those who aren’t afraid to be creative and post regardless of the popularity of their pics.
A: Was their a pivotal moment in your photography?
D: I don’t recall any pivotal moment. I thought it would happen with the next follower, but it was never different. Eventually it’s the inner discussion about what you believe worth posting and not the amount of feedback you get.
A: Do you think the number of followers matters?
D: Followers serve as false assurance. You always think that more of them would make you happier, but it never works this way.
Having many followers impresses only people with less followers than you do, if at all, but it does distract the attention from what you want to create to what would make your followers like and comment and to what would bring more followers.
A: What does community mean to you?
D: Community is anything that would make you belong and be less alone. On IG this feeling comes more from the comments I get than the number of likes. I don’t feel I need more than this. I don’t post on Twitter and hardly take any part on Facebook.
A: How do you think social media has changed how we share thoughts, ideas, photos?
D: Social media have become so common that people don’t regard the publication as something that requires self restraint or filtering on their thoughts. It’s not the case for me and I’m sure that also for other IG users. It’s always interesting to try and guess how much effort it takes for someone to share their pics. For me it’s always a struggle. My regular caption of plus-minus sign (±) also means that words don’t come easy, and ifthey don’t create any added value – better not be said at all.
// IG // AMPt //
by Anna Cox | Oct 28, 2014 | Anna Cox, Stories, Storyteller
The Art of Alexandre by Anna Cox
I came across the work of Alexandre while looking through the #wearegrryo tag on IG. I am in awe of most mobile artists and Alexandre is no exception. While in school, my art focus was on the human body and my chosen format was oils. I have a deep love and appreciation for those who can create nudes without the sexual component that our society so often adds. I think it is the painterly feel to many of Alexandre’s edits that felt like a breath of fresh air. I was immediately in love with his work and couldn’t wait to share him with you here.
A: Alexandre AC: Anna
AC: Tell us a little bit about you and perhaps touch on your creative philosophy.
A: I’m Alexandre. I’m french and I live at Marseille. I work in a leading company’s financial department.I’ve never had skills in photography, but I’ve always been fascinated by images through photography, cinema, comics… since I was a boy. And now, I’m moreover fascinated by bodies. I like creating things, it’s almost vital for me. I did drama, short films, and I still play music. But in retrospect, I’ve realised that I manage to express myself much better through Iphoneography or Mobile Art.
I’m quite interested in new technology. I bought the Iphone 3, and liked the new design as well as the practical aspect of the (ecran tactile); then, I digged out the new apps, especially those dedicated to retouch and modification.
I’m a great fan of printed shirts (super heroes, films, etc..). I collect them. But as some got unobtainable, or no longer existed, I thought It would be a great idea to make them myself. This is how I ended up retouching photos. Now, retouching and editing is the best way to explore my deep inner feelings, using it as a therapy. Those feelings can be part of me or part of other people who bring me some kind of inspiration through relationship.
AC: What is it about the human body inspires you?
A: i don’t know exactly. I just find it so beautiful, lines and curves.
AC: Would you categorize your images as nudes or as erotic?
A: What do you think?
AC: (grins) touche’ . Being naked has multiple connotations, which ones do you think your work evokes?
A: I don’t care what feeling is evoked. We are all different and see what we want to see.
AC: Could you share your favorite image with us?
A: I’m touched by various kind of atmosphere. It’s hard to choose, but I’d select this one. It does match with what I want to give (to express pour “exprimer”) at the moment. It’s linked to the pose, the movement, a mixture of dream and reality. I tried to keep the body aspect as close as reality. I love the effects. The difficulty was to find the right balance to get the right final touch between dream and reality. And the vintage touch obtained by scratches and tonality.
We are connected?
AC: Share with us how you get out of a creative slump.
A: Very good question! I must admit, these phases are difficult to deal with. The brain needs some rest. But I always try to get inspired by anything, at any time. When I fail, I try to change direction, exploring different things. This is how I may find some unexpected sources of inspiration. If not, I would just leave it, and come back later with a fresh view.
AC: Would you mind to share a few influences?
A: Many people do nice edits, but it tends to be the same, you will find the same kind of atmosphere. I do respect their work, though. I know I’m mostly inspired by the same subject that is the body, but I always try to treat it in a different way.
The people I’m impressed by are people who can change direction, challenge themselves, who manage to do the simplest as well as the more complex things :
– Alice LaComte (friend German Artist)
– Helmut Newton
– M83 (It’s a band)
– @alabamawonder (Marta is a Spanish friend from Instagram).
AC: Have there been any pivotal moments in your journey?
A: Oui, les rencontres.
Un jour une amie m’a dit “…les rencontres te porteront… ». Elle avait raison comme d’habitude.
Alexandre thank you so much for your time and energy for this interview! I look forward to seeing more of your work.
by Anna Cox | Jun 23, 2014 | Anna Cox, Stories
In today’s society a storyteller’s function has many faces. In the past it was the storyteller’s important duty to pass on knowledge to help his or her people survive. They passed on their history, traditions, beliefs and identity. In modern times a storyteller is so much more. They still tell stories of our history, traditions and beliefs but they also provide entertainment and educate us
Today with the coming of the digital age each person is able to tell their individual stories sharing them with a wide audience. We want to help others with our knowledge, amuse them and share our experiences.
Stories entertain us, help us understand each other and give us a sense of belonging. We share our experiences with others and read about others experiences to make sense of our
lives, showing us we are not alone. Stories can give us a sense of hope, help us connect with one another. They can show us that happy endings are still possible.
In the past stories were passed on orally and later with books. In the modern age the passing on of stories continues thru books, magazines, newspapers, online and orally. For even now a person who can tell a great story is much beloved. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in today’s digital age another way to tell stories is thru pictures. With the advent of the mobile phone/camera everyone can be a storyteller. A mother telling the story of her family thru pictures. Someone telling the story of an important event because they had their mobile camera with them. Stories of love, pain, beauty and joy.
Storyteller’s are still very much alive and well and needed. With so much human turmoil, so many people connected in the digital age a storyteller can show you the harsh realities of life whether real or imagined
or the possibilities for the future.
by Anna Cox | Jun 2, 2014 | Anna Cox, Stories
As storytellers, our hearts take on many forms through our work. Our dear friend, Alessio, started a book called “Life of Chloe” but sadly passed before he could finish his work. As friends and peers, we have taken on the task of finishing his work in the only way we know how- together. We are a collective, friends, artists, lovers, mothers, and fathers and as such we all bring our own experiences to the table every time we tell a story. Alessio loved the mobile community and sought to bring us together to form stronger bonds. The Life of Chloe was a labor of love for Ale and it only seemed fitting to continue his story with ours as his light was snuffed out way too early.
In this article you will find the original chapters that Ale wrote and we are using these as a stepping stone and prologue to the collaborative book Grryo is writing to honor Alessio and his passing.
We do hope you will continue on this journey that Ale started and see the world through Chloe’s eyes.
The Life of Chloe
Chloe loved a married man…
no plans, no holidays, no random calls just to say Hi, I feel so bad today…
everything had to be pre arranged. All the times.
The calls, the meetings in faraway places, the hidden love.
No room for spontaneity and sharing.
A lot of Past, some Present but no Future…
Chloe amava un uomo sposato…
nessun programma, nessuna vacanza insieme, nessuna chiamata improvvisa solo per dirsi Ciao, Mi sento giù oggi…
Tutto doveva essere preorganizzato. Sempre.
Le chiamate, gli incontri clandestini in posti lontani, l’amore nascosto.
Nessuno spazio per la spontaneità e la condivisione.
Tanto passato, un poco di presente, ma niente futuro…
The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to Burn”…
Chloe thought of her Mum when this sayin got to her Head, she was the one who first suffered from wrong choices in her Life.
“Hey, it’s almost Christmas” Chloe thought
“i HAVE to call her”…
“La cosa più difficile nella vita è decidere quale ponte attraversare e quale distruggere…”
Chloe ripensò a sua mamma quando questa frase le tornò alla mente, proprio lei era stata la prima a soffrire per decisioni sbagliate nella sua vita.
“Hey, è quasi Natale!” Chloe pensò
“devo chiamarla subito…”
“Am i really ready to give up on this?”…Chloe wondered…
“Let’s face the truth, Chloe! He will never accept the idea of starting new again. Not with me”
In that very moment, a chilly breeze blew her hat away.
And she felt devasted as never before…
“sono veramente pronta a rinunciare a tutto questo?”…si chiedeva Chloe…
“affrontiamo la verità, Chloe! Lui non accetterà mai davvero l’idea di ricominciare tutto daccapo di nuovo. Non con me”
In quel preciso momento, una ventata di aria gelida fece volare il suo cappello.
E si sentì devastata come mai le era accaduto…
…Many years passed since that winter day.
Chloe took what was left of her life, and never turned back.
Sometimes, early in the morning, she finds herself staring at the safe eyes of the mountains outside her bedroom window.
Not a noise. No regrets.
Chloe feels warm inside
and holds in her arms the son of that far away man.
And thanks God once more…
…Molti anni trascorsero da quel giorno d’inverno.
Chloe prese quel poco che le era rimasto della sua vita, e non si voltò indietro.
A volte, presto al mattino, si ritrova a fissare quegli occhi sicuri e protettivi, di quelle montagne aldifuori dalla finestra della sua camera da letto.
Nessun rumore. Nessun rimpianto.
Chloe avverte un piacevole calore dal di dentro
e stringe tra le sue braccia il figlio di quell’uomo ormai lontano.
E ringrazia Dio ancora e ancora…
I was born today.
After you tried to kill me all those times before, i can still walk under the rain.
Hello Rain and Thunderstorms. Wash my skin today, because i have no fear to stay here naked under your eyes.
Hello Blacks and hello Whites. Both sides of me are now one, and no one will take the colors away from me again.
Hello Sea. Where would I be without you near?
Hello Death. You tried to win over me, maybe you put baby in the corner, but you missed your chance to beat me down.
Hello Life, i’ve been to my funeral and i watched them all. You taught me where my limits end, and how to rise again. Like a Phoenix.
My name is Chloe. And I was born today, Tuesday 7 august 2012…
August 14, 2012
“start a new day, but not alone…” The radio was playin that song and it was too early in the morning.
When was the last time i woke up with someone who really cared about me?
When was the last time i woke up with someone at all?
When did i open up the window to see the first sun rays of a new day?
When were you here with me the last time?
It feels like forever.
This scar on my ankle is pulsin blood straight to my heart now. It lives there to remind me how evil can transform you, how it spreads fast inside you, like a virus in need of fresh human skin. That scar is your scar, your legacy, your tied knot. It is not hurtin today, must be the sun and my inner peace to let you finally off of my body.
The weather forecast is always wrong with me, they never seem to understand the heavy responsibility of their predictions on my life.
I am addicted to weather. I can smell the rain before you even run for shelter, i can listen to snow falling for hours without uttering a sound, i can see through the fog.
But not today. I will soak up the sun today…
“There is Life, even after a Broken Heart…” (“Broken Heart”, written/performed by White Lion, 1991)
Monday, August 20, 2012
“have you heard from Chloe?”
“No and i miss her. I really thought i would find her yesterday night, at our long awaited reunion dinner… did you speak to her on the phone? Texted her?”
“Tried to call her in the weekend. Phone rang unanswered. All the time…”
One month was just passed in those familiar and close surroundings.
ALL the one lifetime friends did come and say the words. The paths of the childhood were all bypassed with a smile on their lips and a sense of belongin in a dreamy tale.
The elder, the newborns, the classic players and actors in that small Town theatre Set, all of them somehow updated to these new, confused and crisis-full times.
But one thing was still and strong out of the picture.
Nobody seemed to understand how complex and precious that was.
And kept wasting it.
Like a free unlimited bonus earned in some lottery.
And she could not take this anymore.
So she wrote her usual two words to say Goodbye to the friends of her past and decided to take the long walk across the beachline.
The family was in silence, busy in moving and caring of the child. No loss of anything. Focused on their task, at that very moment.
“Thank you!!!” – CHLOE said from the distance.
“You gave me that TIME”…
So Mike called Today
(…more than a feelin…)
So Mike called today. i was lost in the guitar riff singing loud at the entrance of the graveyard. There is nothing more than a rock riff to show my presence in the land of the whispering ones
“Chloe? Chloe?…Hey Amore ci sei? Is this the right number… Are you okay, its…how much… maybe more than…Listen, i know…”
Only in that moment I realized it was him.
The voice from the past. The Only One Man who ever made her lunatic head go bump and bump against the Walls.
“Mikey what you want. Why You callin’ me now? Call your Wife. We closed this long ago.”
“YOU closed this”
YES. I waited. I Looked. I Burned. I Closed.
“Call Her. Call Alice. I know she is waiting for this call now.I can Feel it. Call Her Michele.”
Oh, look! There is a Man fading away today. He looks NOT in peace. I have to go and See him.
“Ciao Mikey, that man needs my Help”
Chloe moved to sing her song of strength to that Man in Agony! She realized he was a young Father, as soon as he saw a little man playin with a flower just next to him.
She asked him “What is your Name?”, but remained astonished from the answer she got.
They shared an earphone. The guitar riffs were gone.
Chloe got closer and sang to his ear “Sweet Child Of Mine” and the pain went away.
An old man.
A long gone small tower down Italian history.
Senza fronzoli. Un uomo anziano Una torre antica in un antico villaggio italiano.
A Sunday spent “with the top rolled down”.
With a friend.
The one friends that count the most. More than relatives.
The cloudy lights and warmth and wind. The serenity of someone who blocks your heavy thoughts.
Who caresses the anxiety?
The meaning of bonding.
In the small and big things of LIFE.
Alfre entered in Chloe’s LIFE from the back door but it really looked like he was with her to stay…
Luci grigie e nuvolose di un cielo e del vento. La serenità di chi blocca i pensieri più pesanti e l’ansia. Il significato di un legame nelle piccole e grandi cose della vita.
Alfre entrava nella vita di CHLOE dalla porta di servizio. Ma tutto faceva pensare ci sarebbe rimasto a lungo…
by Anna Cox | May 16, 2014 | Anna Cox, Featured Articles
Find My Heart in India by Anna C.
*[REWIND] Originally posted on We Are Juxt on August 15, 2012
I love stumbling across beautiful feeds and more importantly I love India. I traveled there with my father many moons ago and fell in love instantly. When I was tagged to Jessica’s, @jessuckapow, feed I was blown away by the humanity that stared back at me from their neat little boxes. I could almost smell the markets and hear the vendors. Looking through her feed and reading her blog brought back so many happy memories. I do hope you will take the time to soak in the sites and sounds that are Jessica’s life.
Oh! P.S. she is an Andriod photographer! Wahoo!
A: Anna J: Jessica
A: Tell me a story about India. The one that you always want to tell when people ask you about India.
J: I was in Goa and during “the season,” as everyone calls the time between November and March, it’s flooded with tourists so during this time a contingent of what the locals call “gypsys” come to town to do their seasonal begging. Some are rather aged, some are children, many are younger women who have infants and small children with them. A lot of people consider them a nuisance and treat them like crap, which is difficult to see. I was sitting at my favorite falafel place and had just finished filling one of the gypsy’s bottles with fresh milk for the infant dangling at her side as a feeble looking woman with the harsh years etched into her face approached wanting money for food. The restaurant owner, Shimon, offered her chai and a sandwich and with much appreciation she squatted under a tree to wait. I smiled at her and she shyly smiled back at me with a toothless grin and we watched Shimon’s young daughter, Gia, play around the outdoor patio. All of a sudden, his daughter slipped on a chair and tumbled towards the ground. This woman, who looked like she couldn’t run from a bull if it charged down the street, bolts from her squatted position and dives to catch Gia, managing to save her from a massive thud. She brushed off her knees as Gia wailed in shock as Shimon came out to help and the woman gently passed Gia to him. He placed his daughter into the safety of the cushions on the floor and went back to preparing the food for the woman. Witnessing the display of compassion from two beautiful people, who belong to different rungs of Indian society, which is very rare to see here, was incredibly touching and epitomized the goodness in humanity. The black and white portrait I sent you, is the woman who helped Gia that day.
A: Tell me about your life right now. I know your traveling. Where have you been were are you going? Why?
J: I don’t know if I would consider what I do “traveling,” because I REALLY don’t like the whole traveling part of traveling and I usually find a place I like, stay for a few months and suck up all I can from where I choose to live. I’m more of a gypsy, you can say. Since December 2010, I’ve volunteered on a bridge construction project in Lesotho, Africa, visited a number of friends in Europe and Australia, meditated and bummed around Thailand, and a few visits home to Seattle to see friends, family and tie up loose ends but a majority of my time has been studying yoga and meditation in India and I plan to stay here for rest of the year.
My first trip to Lesotho, which was only for a few weeks, in 2008, initiated a dramatic change in me. I looked around at my well paying corporate consulting job, which I was great at but hated, my recently purchased home, my car, ALL the crap I owned and thought, “what am I doing?!” For the first time, as an aware adult, I saw people living a simple life, they had just the bare necessities and they were HAPPY and I…was not. I received the biggest present after returning from a volunteer trip to Peru in early 2010 – my company was eliminating my job! They offered me the option to either take the “promotion” or take severance and after a few moments of being completely bummed out, I smiled, accepted the separation package and never looked back. I had a few little trips planned with my new freedom but there is a familiar story with most long-term travelers and it always seems to start the same way, HEARTBREAK! All of a sudden, my planned 6-week trip to Africa turned into 3 months and now, I was planning a trip to India to throw myself into studying everything there was about yoga.
Heartbreak starts so many journeys but it doesn’t sustain long term travel. Once you leave the comforts of everything you know, for more than a few week vacation, you taste what else this world has to offer. You see just how small and insignificant we are as individuals and realize, globally, everyone just wants to be happy. When you’re thrown into new challenges, new obstacles, new surroundings, unknown languages, customs and people, you also realize just how big of a foreign world you have inside yourself. I thought I was leaving home to understand the full depth of yoga, what I’ve recently come to realize is that I actually left home to understand the full depth of ME. India has a suction cup attached to me, the more I’m here the more I’m learning WHY I’m actually here and when I’m not here, my plans have always been about getting back here. It’s the kind of country that will guide you everywhere you need to go, as long as you keep your eyes and heart open for all the opportunities that present themselves. It’s such a weird and beautiful place!
A: Wow! it must be hard to be so far away. How are you using mobile photography/ social sites to connect with the people you love?
J: I don’t know how I would be able to do what I do without Facebook, Blogspot, Skype and Instagram. I’m ridiculously close to my family and friends and being away from them is so difficult but I know I’m doing what I need to for me right now. The way I view my photography is sharing my eyes with those I love and sharing experiences I wish they could have with me, in that moment. Some of those in my world may never find it in themselves, for whatever reason, to make the changes they really want to make in their life. Some want to join me but I know “life happens.” I know how hard it is to break from a very comfortable routine, to be terrified of making that first step and risk leaving the security you think you’ve built for yourself, all for what… the unknown, the moment? I’ve had so many friends thank me for allowing them to live vicariously through me but when I’m sitting on a cliff in the Himalayas, watching the thick fog dissipate to reveal the most majestic view I’ve ever witnessed, being able to snap a photo, edit it to capture the beauty and mood my eyes see and upload it to Instagram, which I’ve made my photo journal, makes me feel like they are with me. They thank me but really, I should be thanking them. The support and love they have all showered upon me has been a huge driving force and I don’t think I could ever thank them enough. Sharing myself, my experiences, my stories and my lessons through my writing and my photography is the best way I know how to show them my gratitude. I’m here for me with the full awareness that all I do for myself is only what I would love to share with everyone else.
A: India is a beautiful place. How does your life influence your photography ?
J: My entire life, up until 2010 had been so calculated, meticulously planned and organized. When I decided to make a change, I threw all that away and the personal transitions I’ve experienced through yoga have shifted me to enjoy the present, not brood in the past or day dream about an unknown future. I’m no longer looking for the top of the ladder, I’m just enjoying my present stair and with each photo I take I want to capture the essence of what I’m experiencing, right then! I toyed with the idea of having consistency to the feel of the photos I take but when I tried that, it just didn’t work. The only consistency there is in my life is that there is no consistency, which is true in all our lives. I want my photos to epitomize that reality and to be as true to what either I’m feeling or the environment is feeling. Visiting foreign lands, specifically 3rd world and developing countries, ignited my passion for photography because I saw so much unique beauty in the faces, architecture and landscape, a beauty that wasn’t necessarily produced meticulously or manufactured specifically to be beautiful. Often times I’m in places where most in the Western would view them as destitute, disgusting or ugly but finding the beauty among all the filth, the rubble, garbage, dirt, grime and poverty is where I find the magic in life.
A: One last question. Is it all worth it? Leaving everything behind, striking out on your own, and finding a new place you can call home?
J: Nothing in the world would make me want things to happen any differently than they did. I studied for a very short time with this bizarre-o tantra yoga teacher and while he said a lot of crazy stuff like, I should drink my own menstrual blood (ummm EWWWW!), he did say something that struck me. “Before you meet a girl, be happy. Meet a girl and be happy. If the girl goes away, still be happy.” I was so happy before I met this woman, was just as happy when we met and became good friends, was just as happy, ok, maybe a lot more, when we started dating but after it didn’t work I was a complete mess. Something was wrong with that picture and I knew it. Everything changes, everything goes away, relationships change, people leave or they die, jobs come and go, houses are built and destroyed, cars go vroom and then go kaput (or BOOM as was the case with mine) but through it all, the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, we should still be… happy. This whole journey isn’t necessarily embracing my independence from others or from things because I still learn so much about myself through the relationships, of varying degrees, I have with everything, from people to my towel. I am just learning to be completely happy with the relationship I have with myself and that’s more important than any relationship I’ll ever have with anyone or anything else. I’ve never felt so grounded and for the first time in my life, I can’t attribute my happiness to anything in particular and it feels amazing! So, I think it’s worth it…if I didn’t, I’d probably be doing something else.
Thank you Jessica for sharing your heart and your home with me. I am so excited to be able to travel with you through your words and photos.
To read Jessica’s travel blog go here.
To see Jessica’s photos go here.
by Anna Cox | Feb 5, 2014 | Anna Cox, Featured Articles
Most of you know I was born and raised in Kentucky. I have a deep love for my home state and am more than a little proud of the bluegrass area. I have traveled all over the world in my thirty some years but I still think Kentucky is one of the most lovely places to be on any given day. The last year has really seen a rise in Kentuckians using social sharing platforms and while going from one username to the next I stumbled upon the Kentucky Project. What I love about this project is that it couples the beauty of an area with the issues that are affecting Kentuckians. I hope you enjoy this quick look into my home state and take the time to explore the Kentucky Project- Anna
A: First things first Chris, tell us a little about you away from social platforms
C:I am 30 years old. I was born and raised in Kentucky. I‘ve lived here my entire life, except during a failed month-long pilgrimage during which I lived in Florida. I am the oldest of eight brothers and sisters. I married the love of my life this past May and couldn’t be happier. I am somewhat of a serial hobbyist but I usually focus on playing guitar, exploring the outdoors, and photography. I camp whenever I can. I try to play guitar every day. And photography usually fits somewhere in between. I do also have a day job dispatching trucks at a moving company. It is less than fulfilling.
A: What spawned the idea to do the Kentucky Project?
C: The Kentucky Project came about somewhat by accident. First I started the Kentuckygram Instagram account, which had a pretty simple premise: to share pretty pictures of Kentucky. That got such a great response that I started thinking, hmm, what else can I do with this? I soon realized that this was an opportunity to do something good for my home state. There were issues in the state that I had heard about through unconventional sources. For example, I learned about mountaintop removal, a method of coal mining that is literally destroying mountains and causing health problems in Appalachia, at a folk music festival. I had heard of the heroin problem through word of mouth; from friends that it had affected both directly and indirectly. But I wasn’t seeing these topics prevalent in the local media. So, I decided to create a website based off the idea of sharing Kentucky’s beauty and culture through photography but also raise awareness of important Kentucky issues that may be falling through the cracks. I have a friend from high school , Amanda Joering, that used to write for the Cincinnati Enquirer. I asked her if she would write a series for the projectcovering the heroin problem in Northern Kentucky, which is unfortunately spreading to other parts of the state. She was excited to write the series and has been a really big help not only with her articles but her ideas for the project.
A: What do you hope to accomplish?
C: I hope that the Kentucky Project can be truly helpful in both raising awareness and helping to create positive change. Right now, the plan is to continue publishing articles and taking photographs that show all the great things aboutKentucky while shining a spotlight on issues that could benefit from some more attention. This includes the countless natural wonders throughout the state and great businesses and organizations that are helping their communities. I am active every day on social media, making phone calls, writing, planning, and sending emails in an effort to build an online community around the Kentucky Project. The more people that I can get to “like” our facebook page, follow the blog, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, the more people will hear the messages of the organizations that we are trying to help and learn about the issues on which we are reporting. It’s really all about creating a community of people that care about Kentucky.
A: What are some of the issues you would like to highlight?
C: I already mentioned our series covering the heroin epidemic, and we have more articles in that series planned. But, that series could turn into coverage on other drug problems in the state. Meth is another problem in parts of the state and that doesn’t seem to be getting any better, so I am sure we will address that issue. I am working on research to do a series on the obesity problem in our state, and really our nation. Kentucky is one of the most obese states in the country! We are in the top 10. Now, I recognize that there is debate on the legitimacy of using BMI to measure/define obesity, but when one looks at the upward trend in the statistics, and the correlation between an increase in obesity and an increase in diabetes and other diet related diseases, the data becomes hard to ignore. A related issue that will be addressed is hunger in our state, which will include people that don’t have access to quality whole foods (food deserts), and also people that don’t get enough food at all. Other issues that we plan to cover include the complex problems in Eastern Kentucky, which we have already touched on with our article on the recent SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region) Summit, and education and youth development. Investing in the youth of Kentucky is essential and is how, I believe, we can make a greater and sustained impact on the future of our state.
A: How do you think photography will enrich your project?
C: Photography is really the cornerstone of the project. The whole idea was based on photography and I intend to continue to use it to emphasize the mood behind each issue or topic. You’ll never see an article posted without a photo to accompany it. I also post a photo taken somewhere in Kentucky at least once a day Monday through Friday to the Instagram account. It enriches the project by amplifying the impact. The written word is powerful, but when paired with a striking photo, I believe, it is even stronger. Right now I take all the photos for the Kentucky Project, but I’m finding it difficult to keep up. I would love to continue to be the sole photographer simply because I enjoy it so much. I love travelling to other parts of the state to capture the sights, but if it gets to the point where I need some help I’ll consider finding one or two other photographers who share the values of the Kentucky Project to help me out. I live in Northern Kentucky so I’d probably look for someone in the far eastern part of the state and someone in the far west to balance out the coverage.
A: Do you have any existing partnerships with existing groups in Kentucky?
C: While there haven’t been any formal partnerships made at this point, we have worked with Drug Free NKYto raise awareness for their fight against heroin. People can get involved by donating money to them, which can be done directly from their website or by spreading their message by word of mouth or through social media. Sharing links to their site or facebook page, or sharing our articles about their cause, which includes links to their website and page, really helps spread the word. Social media is an amazing tool for spreading this type of message. In the future we hope to partner with more organizations to raise continued awareness to a number of different causes. We have been contacted by several organizations that would like the added exposure and are currently discussing ideas, doing interviews, and writing for the website.
A: How do you think stereotypes from media, like the show Justified, have impacted our state? I have definitely been asked by some of my West Coast friends if I own a tractor.
C: I’ve never seen the show Justified, but yeah the stereotypes for Kentucky in general are often inaccurate, and sometimes even insulting. I’m from Northern Kentucky so my upbringing may have been different from people in other parts of the state. I lived in a subdivision; not out in the sticks but certainly not in a big city either. My parents never owned a tractor like your friend thinks all Kentuckians do, but I worked on my cousin’s farm occasionally growing up so, I was often around farm life. In my opinion, people seem to have a difficult time separating fact from fiction, and they tend to believe what they want to believe. So, if a fictional TV show makes KY, or any other place for that matter, look or feel a certain way, then people’s opinions on that place are almost certainly influenced. Honestly, It’s hard to comment on this because I am on the inside looking out. I’m not entirely sure what people in different parts of the country think of Kentucky. So, we are not setting out to break down the stereotypes. I don’t think the people that believe the stereotypes will have much of an interest in the Kentucky Project. For all I know, the Kentucky Project may even strengthen some of those stereotypes. That’s because while, sharing the beauty and culture, we are also spotlighting some of the problems in Kentucky. But, everyone in KY isn’t on heroin, everyone in KY isn’t obese, everyone in Eastern KY isn’t unemployed, but the fact is that too many are and that’s what we are aiming to break down; the problems, not the stereotypes.
A:Do you have any specific stories to share with our readers?
C: I don’t have a specific story to tell as The Kentucky Project is young and with our launch in November 2013 and development in December we have laid the groundwork for 2014, which will be our first full year in existence. People can expect to see lots more Kentucky photos, more Kentucky culture, and most importantly information on the Kentuckyissues that we will address so we can all work together to make Kentucky, which is already great, even better. If anyone knows of an issue that is affecting Kentuckians that could benefit from greater awareness, please let us know about it.
// email // web // IG //
by Anna Cox | Dec 19, 2013 | Anna Cox
Finding My Sanity with Smart Cam by Anna Cox
I am standing in the middle of a battle zone. A handful of parents are jamming their kids into tights, tutus, sweater vests and bow ties. The kids are screaming, clawing their way out of patent leather shoes and page boy hats. The parents are pleading, begging, and often times bribing their kids to just stand still. All too often the phrase, “if you will just put this on and take a picture, I will get you a toy, ice cream, a trip to disney world, and maybe I will even throw in a pony” is heard around me. I am pretty sure my eighteen month old is swinging from the lights, throwing wrapped boxes from the prop closet at the little girl in the tutu. My ten year old is pulling on my hand and tugging at the collar of his shirt. I feel totally panicked when I hear the photographer, that can’t be out of training pants, call our name. I round up my boys, suck in my breath, and walk towards what feels like a firing squad. I cannot describe the next twenty minutes save for the fact that I am pretty sure my boys employed guerrilla tactics and both the photographer and I now have PTSD.
Welcome to the world of photo taking with kids.
What, in theory, should be so easy is usually a dreaded task. I mean, all we have to do is buy a reindeer sweater, gel their hair down, stuff them in said sweater and drive to the studio right…?
If you are anything like me, with kids anything like mine, just the thought of pictures makes your heart race and your jaw clench. I am not a drinking woman but the thought of pictures makes me want to grab a shot glass. So how do we take the stress out of photo taking? How do we look back at each photo of Christmas or Thanksgiving and think, ” man, that was a good holiday!” instead of thinking that your children are little dictators?
This year I decided I was going to take the pressure off and find a better way to take photos of my children.
What I found when I started this project is that I had a set of expectations for my boys that were not derived in reality. Love their hearts, they tried to be good and they were, but not to the impossible standard I had set for them. I cannot stress this point enough. The photos you end up with once you remove the expectations will mean more 10 years down the road than photos that do not reflect who your child was at the time.
After multiple shoots with my own children and clients, I have compiled a survival guide for parents like me that want to take the stress out of pictures. The best part? You don’t need a fancy camera or equipment you just need your Nokia Lumia, Smart Cam, or the native phone camera and you are set. For this article I am going to focus on Nokia Smart Cam and introduce you to some of its features that will come in handy while photographing children.[ Keep in mind though that the Smart Cam shots do not save in high resolution but do save in 5 MP so editing needs to be kept minimal. If you want a photo that you can edit and print larger than 8×10 you will need to use the native camera that saves in a higher resolution. ] I use this app mainly for close up portraiture and not wide shots as the pixel sampling causes break down in the image quicker.
First, let’s get to know the Smart Cam so we know what to expect during and after the shoot.
When using Smart Cam, you will focus on your subject and click the shutter button. The app only shoots in manual mode but you can play with the focus some. The lens depth that sets this phone apart from the others is still applicable within the app. Once you have depressed the shutter,it will take a series of 10 shots in rapid succession. Make sure to steady the phone on something while it is taking the series of shots or they will be blurry. The rapid fire shots are terrific for the ever changing faces of kids. I would catch a range of expressions, which came in quite handy with the Change Faces feature in post-processing. Another bonus to this camera is that you can shoot and it automatically saves the series of shots so you can look at them later. You do not have to sit there and fiddle with the app while you are in the middle of taking photos.
When you are ready to process your shots open the photo in Smart Cam. You can do this one of two ways. One, open it by clicking on the underlined title underneath the photo or click on the 3 dots and select it from the menu. Alternately, you can access the photos through the camera itself by touching the box with your photo in it.
This will open the photo the camera has decided is “best” from the series of photos that were captured. By double clicking on this photo you are able to swipe sideways to see all 10 shots and save from there if you find one you like before venturing into the other features.
In app features:
Best Shot: the nominated best shot of the series. This may or may not be the right shot. Click through all your images in the series before deciding on the shot or shots you want to keep. Save shots by touching the save button at the bottom of the screen.
Action Shot: use the series of 10 shots to create an action sequence. Add or take away from the photo by touching the white dots on the bottom of the screen. This feature compiles the series into one photo. The above is not a good example but as it is not my focus it will do.
Motion Focus: add blur to your shots while maintaining a focused subject. You can turn the blur high or low using the odometer button .
Change Faces: Swap out the face from another shot in the series
Remove Moving Objects: one step tap on the screen to remove moving objects
For this article I took advantage of the 2.5 second series of shots, change faces, and removing moving objects the most so I will focus on those features.
Having a series of shots to choose from is a great thing for a couple reasons. One, they are taken so quickly that the subject doesn’t have an exorbitant amount of time to move around so it makes swapping faces easier if needed. Children’s expressions change so quickly that it is easy to miss the shot you are trying to get. It wasn’t my purpose to get smiley photos but more so capture the true personalities of the children. It also allowed for small changes in expressions while maintaining the same background.
To use the Change Faces feature within Smart Cam scroll down to the screen that says Change Faces and tap the screen to get to the editing screen. A box will appear around the face of your subject. Double tap it to bring up the series of faces to choose from to replace the original. Keep in mind when you are trading faces that the position of the subject must be the same otherwise you will end up with a character that looks like it was taken from a child’s flip book. This is where having a rapid succession of shots really helps. The subject usually will not move very far therefore making it easier to swap faces seamlessly.
I also found the the feature to remove moving objects helpful in a few shots. It was an easy short cut compared to other editing apps i have used in the past. The background behind the subject was filled in flawlessly and easily.
You have to love a brotherly photo bomb but with the remove objects feature its so easy to remove the motion and tweak the photograph in one click.
Notice also that you can change the position of parts of my subject after I removed the photo bomb by touching the minus sign. Notice the arm and leg placement in the last two photographs.
This was the final shot and while it isn’t a shot I will pursue any further I did think it was a great opportunity to flex the muscles of the app. I’ve said it before but I will say it again. This feature was SO easy to use. The Smart Camera suit really is a fabulous tool to perform basic maintenance on a photo in a few easy steps.
So the survival guide? Here it is in a few easy steps.
- Forget what you want your kids to do and capture their personalities instead. It may not be a cookie cutter holiday photo but odds are you will love a photo where your kid is actually acting like your kid and not a martian. Your kids will take their cues from you most likely. If you are relaxed and having fun then they will be relaxed.
- Find easy to use tools that will help and not hinder your shoot. Practice before hand so you are well versed with your weapon of choice once the real shooting begins.
- Find a spot with a lot of character to let the kids roam around in. My favorite shots are the ones that I didn’t have to say stand there, try this, or I will buy you a pony if you will just smile.
- Take your time. Make sure you have left enough time for the kids to get comfortable in whatever place you have chosen to take their photo. Remember this isn’t a one shot deal. You can take your kids out anytime for a shoot.
- Be confident in yourself and have fun with your crew. They are, after all, the reason the photos are so important.
A big thanks goes out to my crew in Texas! I love you all and will miss you immensely.
by Anna Cox | Nov 14, 2013 | Anna Cox, Featured ArticlesThe Moment of Goodness: The Art of Stickrust by Anna Cox
Like many of us, my interest in art goes past photography. In fact, in college I studied oil painting and still to this day paint on a regular basis. I guess you could say that painting is my first love and all of my other ventures stem from that love. When I stumbled upon Stickrust a couple weeks ago I was instantly moved and dug into his work. His work is guttural and raw and each one spoke to a soft part of me. As I moved through his feed, I was drawn to how open and friendly he was with all of the people who commented on his feed. When I approached him for an interview I had planned to play up the sharing side of his work to help it fit into We Are Juxt but I found out quickly that the creating and instagram are married within his process. He wouldn’t do one without the other, so really, as far as mobile photography goes for Stickrust it is a tool, an enabler, and source of encouragement. – Anna
Stickrust: I really only started painting two years ago. My undergraduate degree was in art and illustration, but I stopped making any artwork for fifteen years. So really, I guess I took a fifteen year break.
A:Was it hard to come back or did you know exactly what you were going to do?
Stickrust: Starting again was a total accident.
There wasn’t a plan that I was going to start. Truthfully, it was one of those moments in life where everything falls apart and changes. I was left asking myself, “What is left?” The answer was painting. It is hard to explain, I just knew it was time to start painting again.
A:I totally understand what you mean. I feel like art is very cyclical creatively and there are just times you slide into a new genre or medium because that is where you are supposed to be at the moment.
Stickrust: I hadn’t painted in so long that the beginning was really a process of remembering. My whole goal in the beginning was to get back to where I was fifteen years ago. Day after day, I practiced. I truly wasn’t planning on showing anyone.
The sharing on Instagram was a total accident. I thought instagram was just for people sharing photos of kids, food, and pets. I really just started posting because I was bored. Amazingly, sharing on instagram turned into this incredibly great thing.
A: I agree! I was blown away with the community on IG and other sharing sites once I got into it.
Stickrust: I never have had an online experience that is as positive as IG. This was the first time I actually feel connected to people online. In the beginning, when a few people would “like” a painting I posted – it was so encouraging to me.
The pattern of how I work is quantity.
In one sitting I will make 5-7 paintings. After a few months on IG, I began posting the images live as I was making them. The instant feedback I received was simply amazing for me. It is such a rush to have people responding to a work I just finished. Having this open channel of communication has been especially motivating to create a habit of working, creating, and sharing.
In the truest sense, I am practicing. I am doing it and doing it and every so often something small changes within the process. There have been these waves of growth week after week over the past two years.
A:So we know you work by quantity, could you share your process with us if possible? I think that is what caught me in the beginning.
Stickrust: The process itself is simple.
I have a piece of plexiglass and black acrylic ink. I put my hand in the ink and draw on the plexiglass and then transfer it to a piece of paper. All my work begins in this way as a monoprint. I cannot imagine doing it any other way.
I do not have a lot of control over how the end product looks. I like that. I want to be surprised. When everything is working as it should, it feels like the process is not entirely under my control. At the heart of it, for me, is the balance of control and uncontrolled expression.
Once I pull the paper off the plexiglass, I start deciding whether I like it. If I like it, I leave it as is. Other times I go back in and add color or small line work. I usually do this with my hands. But I also drag color on top using things like a clipboard. I also will use pastels for the small line work.
When I am not painting I am an acupuncturist and massage therapist I use my hands all day. The directness of using my hands when painting feels so natural to me. Brushes will too distant, like an abstraction. I like the pigments on my hands.
I mean really, if I had a superpower, I would want to pigments to come directly out of my hands.
A: So from what I gather your style is free flowing and gestural and changes from time to time. Do you have anything to add to that?
Stickrust: I think the better ones are the ones that are more actualized, more “real”.
To me that “realness” is what is interesting. Not visual realness. Not a rendered realness. But a “real” quality of spirit. I want faces to hold a degree of spirit and light.
The faces I like best are hovering in a moment of transformation – an internal moment of change, insight and power.
I really hope I capture that and that it comes across.
There are definitely bad days where I am just grumpy, and they look angry or sad but when it is working well within the strokes there is something bigger.
A: The day I found you I looked through a ton of your work and the one thing that struck me and seemed to be a reoccurring theme with your portraits is the exploding eyeball. Can you explain the symbolism behind that?
Stickrust: To me, it really is a kind of spirit – a manifestation of personal power. I think about it as a light or a glowingness. The eyes in my paintings are an expression of power and wonder and change.
I am really interested in the moment when people see themselves in a bigger, more wonderful, more powerful way.
That moment, when it is happening is a difficult moment to embrace.
It can be hard and scary and painful. But that moment is also beautiful and full of power. I think that is the experience being expressed in the eyes… and really, in all of my work.
Peoples eyes are so super expressive. In Chinese medicine, there is this thing called “the shen”. It is the person’s spirit and emotional state. You can see it in the eyes and face. We all have this. We all have that light coming out.
A: Are you drawn to one thing more than other?
Stickrust: The faces are the main thing and then everything else has grown out of that. I did flowers for a while and now the birds. I did an elephant recently. Now I am working on more four legged creatures. I feel like the faces will always be the foundation from which everything else builds.
A: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Stickrust: Truthfully, the work. The work is what is what inspires me.
Without sounding all Buddhist/meditative, if i can get out of the way of my brain… I feel like if i can just get out of the way, the work will create itself. That is why I work in quantity. If I make a bunch of images my brain gets bored and then the good ones happen.
What’s exciting to me is when I get done and I have no idea how I created the piece. There are four or five pieces that I don’t even know how I made it. I look at them I do not see my hand in them at all. Those are the ones that I am inspired by. That is what inspires me.
A:Tell me how instagram and sharing across sites has changed the way you work
Stickrust: Out of all the questions, this one is the most important to me to explain. This was never something I planned. There is no separation between sharing on IG and my artwork. It wasn’t like I was painting first and then I started sharing it. I started painting and sharing at the same time. The work was born on IG.
I wouldn’t be painting without the community I have on instagram. None of this work would exist. It is a symbiotic relationship. The sharing and my work are not separate. Posting is more like the DNA of the whole thing. I don’t think I would be painting the way I am or at all without instagram.
People have been so nice to me. They were the motivating fuel to the engine. I am incredibly grateful and thankful to anyone who has ever followed me. I never thought people would follow me and my work. It is such a gift. I really wish I could buy them all dinner.
I share everything, good or bad, on IG and let people follow my process of growth and change. I try not to be precious about the work. I try to show the warts, the growth, the dead ends, shifts, and changes.
A:Thats fantastic! I love the way you described the relationship between your work and IG. It is really interesting to see how one is dependant on the other. I don’t think I have come across an artist that shares in the way you do.
Stickrust: The paintings evolved with my Instagram friends. Not just my paintings, my whole identity as an artist has grown because of the people encouraging me on Instagram.
I try to say it as often as I can. I am truly thankful to all the people who look at my work. For the longest time, I didn’t do anything. It is just astounding to me pay attention.
A: I think it is always astounding when people respond to something that means a lot to you. But it seems for you, that this goes hand in hand. You paint because they respond, and they respond because you paint.
Stickrust: I don’t know that I have the right words… so much of the fuel for me working and painting has been the sharing on Instagram.
One of the aspects I hope that comes across is a bigger story about work and growth.
It isn’t like I woke up making these paintings. It was night after night. I am not magical, this is work. I do this, and I do this, and I do this. I try to show that part.
I try not to censor that process. I will post images I like and images I truly dislike. I do not only want to post the “good” ones. I post all of them.
The “bad” ones are the ones I learn from. I have posted images I hate and then if people respond positively I have to ask myself, “Ok. What am not seeing?” It is interesting. It gives me whispers of directions to explore.
That feedback is crazy amazing.
My life is entirely different because of the kindness of my IG friends. I am tremendously grateful.
Want to see more?
// Web // IG // Tumblr // Twitter //
by Anna Cox | Nov 6, 2013 | Anna Cox
image edited with fotor and picassa
[Tutorial] The Luminous Landscape by Anna Cox
Landscape photography is easy, right? Just find a field and shoot. I kid, I kid. Yes, it is easy to find a pretty place to shoot but it is hard to find a perspective that makes it interesting for the viewers. They, obviously, weren’t standing next to you to experience the calm atmosphere or the golden clarity dusk brings to a scene. So how do you communicate that to your viewers? And more so, how do you communicate that to your viewers on the Nokia Lumia 1020?
Here are five things you can do before taking your photo:
Do use the light at dawn or dusk. This is called golden hour. The light at these times of day is diffused and golden or rosy hued. You will find this light not only brings out details more but it also creates atmosphere.
Do find a point of interest for the eye to rest on.
Do utilize lines within your composition. Diagonals that cut the picture plane or leading lines that draw your eye through the photo create a more dynamic composition .
Do get creative with your perspective. Get high or get low.
Do use objects in the photo to create back ground and fore ground. This creates depth. The lumia was made for these kind of shots because of the focus depth. Play around with your focus. You will get some interesting results.
Image taken with Oggl
Now that you have your photo lets talk post processing. Let’s start with apps and what I use. I am a huge fan of Oggl and hipstamatic so for my photos I want square I go there but be aware that it only saves in 2 mp. We have heard that they are working on a fix to up the res so that is something to look forward to in the future. Although I prefer to work in black and white I am drawn to the long colorful landscapes the Nokia Lumia produces. I am starting to really enjoy working with color and adding a tinge of age to the photos.
Original unedited image
My go to shooting app is Nokia Camera. It has a range of options to pick from when you are shooting. You can adjust white balance, focus, speed, exposure, and ISO. You can shoot manually and keep it simple but I have enjoyed the ability to tweak the settings as I shoot. Recently I went out to shoot for the day. I started early afternoon in harsh light and continued through sunset. I was pleasantly surprised at the versatility this camera app offered. I found the smart burst function to be the easiest way to capture my son or other moving objects like seagulls.
For me, the hardest part of shooting, processing, and posting is the post processing. I find it very easy to blow edits out and in the process lose the details of the photo on the Nokia. Most nokia apps are filter heavy without the option to back them off. I have found that the app Fotor allows adjustments within the filter strength and maintains most of the photo resolution. I have also started uploading photos to Picassa through G+ to use a couple basic tools like straightening and adding a controllable vignette. Picassa is also a free tool for those of you that want to edit your high res images but don’t want to buy an editing suite for your computer. Below i have walked you through an edit of the photo above of the Galveston Pier using apps found on my Nokia Lumia 1020.
This is the opening screen of Fotor. From this screen you can choose from rotate, enhance, crop, FX effects, borders, adjust, and tilt shift. The photo was a tinge dark to start with so I headed to the adjust screen to increase the brightness to 31 and increase the saturation to 55.
I then went to the FX effects and chose blue set at 59 to set off the water and also to bring out the tones in the buildings on the pier more. From here I headed to the adjust tab to Sharpen the details.
I then cropped a little off to have the photo fit the rule of thirds loosely. The rule of thirds basically means that the picture plane is broken into 9 equal parts and you put the points of interest on the intersections of lines or along the lines. This effectively sets your focal point off center. After cropping, I added some texture. Textures can be found under the FX effects in the Scratch tab. Some of the textures are a bit heavy handed but like the filters they can be dialed back. For this photo I chose Old Wall set at around 30 percent. After all of this, I saved the edit and opened Fhotoroom which has an adjustable vignette.
You can pick a color and the type of vignette you would like to use. I used the soft filter to just get a tinge of black around the edges. The purpose of the vignette is to help draw your eye to the end of the pier.
I was pleasantly surprised with the apps I used to edit, My main goal was to bring out the color of the buildings and draw your eye to the end of the pier which I think I accomplished.
by Anna Cox | Oct 16, 2013 | Anna Cox, Featured Articles
The Emotion of Jahsharn by Anna Cox
My soul is overwhelmed by so many emotions.
Yet my eyes have mastered the art of concealment.
My mind relives the pain that consumed me as I heard those words.
Yet my voice is as calm as the sea breeze through your window.
Tears overflow within me, drowning all that should be said, questions that cannot be answered.
Yet I stare clearly into your eyes, revealing my false strength.
You lay there, no longer strong. Your voice is silent, your humour is gone. I hold your hand that cannot hold mine, even my kiss is lost to you.
Yet my arms reach out to embrace the memory of you, while my heart cries out to a reality that is cruel and unforgiving.
Slowly you are fading…….
Anna’s Introduction *Originally posted on August 5, 2012
I came across Paula Gardener (Jahsharn) while working on a showcase and was immediately drawn to her portraits. Each held such depth that they the drew me in to wanting to know more. The raw emotions captured in the eyes of the subject is what was so moving. Portraiture is hard to begin with but Paula seems to capture an array of emotion flawlessly. Paired with her beautiful writing, these portraits are heart wrenching. Grab some coffee and come sit down with Paula and I as we explore her influences and craft more in depth.
A: Anna P: Paula
A: Give me a sneak peak into who you are away from the camera.
P: I am a wife, a mother of four and a child of the universe. I own a small photography business by which my preferred specialism is portraiture. Alongside my photography I love to express myself through creative writing, I currently have a blog that fulfils that compelling desire to write. Usually I compose a piece poetic literature to accompany my work.
My foundation is very earthly, I try to give back to the earth as much I take out. So through this consciousness my family and I have embarked on Urban Farming. We have two plots of land where we grow organic vegetables, while teaching our children about the values of sowing and harvesting. I also work a few days with the London Ambulance Service, at their HQ in London.
If I Could Forget
A: How did you mobile photography journey begin? How has it changed your craft?
P: During the latter part of 2011, I happened upon a blog on iPhone photography apps, I was amazed at the photographic examples given for the applications. Well every creative bone inside me could not wait to buy my first app called Hipstamatic. Like hundreds before me I was hooked! However, I’m a self confessed control freak when it comes to lighting and composition. After awhile the constraints within the Hipstamatic’s filters and square format stifled me. With this said I embarked on finding the apps that would complement my style and help me evolve creatively. My art is my life! I wrote once before that through mobile photography my interpretation of life has been revolutionized. I am like a child at times, (which is great since I’m forty). I just can’t stop downloading every visual aspect of my surroundings and transposing it into my mental creative log. This is only possible with the iPhone. I can capture my children playing, someone walking, a reflection of myself, nothing I see is ever missed. Life for me is an evolving journey of the choices we make, Art for me is a visual interpretation of those choices, captured in a moment of clarity.
A: Your portraits are amazing. Each one conveys such raw emotion. I am blown away by the depth of each one of them.
P: Portrait photography for me is a relationship that needs to be nurtured from the soul! Every portrait I have taken whether it be of myself, family or friends, was composed from an emotion so deep it was spiritual. I know to some of you reading this, it might sound a bit far fetched. However I can’t just take a photograph of someone and say look here or smile there. I need to feel that connection that makes me scream Yes! That’s the shot! If I’m experiencing those emotion while capturing the portrait, hopefully the viewer will relive that moment too.
Light and negative space plays a fundamental part in my work, when I photograph someone I’m capturing the semblance of that individual. I’m trying to replicate that spiritual sense I’m feeling from them into an image. So if the light is to harsh or soft, whether there is too much negative space or colour is very important. There has been situations where the light has been less than perfect or the space was inadequate. That’s when apps like Snapseed, ScratchCam and Camera Awesome become invaluable.
A: Tell me about a series that is close to your heart.
P: The series that is closest to my heart is the one I did on the human emotion. During the time of this series a close family member was diagnosed with brain cancer. There was nothing that could be done, all we can do is be there for them until the end. The emotions that ran through my family and I were immense and at times uncontrollable. I suppose doing this series was my way of understanding my own emotions as raw as they were.
A: How does your life influence your art?
P: The core foundation of my creativity is my life, I’m driven by my wonderful family. My typical evening is spent writing songs with my children as my husband plays the guitar, just watching them is an inspiration overload. I am constantly amazed by my friends on iPhoneArt and Flickr, Wow! They truly inspire me to a new level! Life pushes me everyday to create, I suppose it’s my way of giving back the beauty I’ve been privileged to see.
If you intersted in delving more into Paula’s portaits go here.
To read more of Paula’s writing: