Locked Up


I write today broken hearted. Over the past few weeks I have tried to sit down and write.  Purge myself of the heartache, share it, own it, but have ended up wearing it like a shroud. I have pulled the sadness down over my eyes, hoping to blot out my heart that threatens to pull apart at the seams. So many of those that I love are broken in body or spirit or have left me altogether. I’ve written of onions and storms, chains and bridges but I can’t seem to find the words for this raw place deep in me. I have craved a cathartic moment to move me out of this position of writhing. An idea, something to focus on, to roll over in my mind and stroke to life with words. The need to forget my heart and the pain that builds daily has me trapped like a bird beating its wings against a cage. I’ve tried to lock it down, push it away.  I know rationally that because I love I also hurt, that the openness of truly caring can also bring deep despair. But I find pain leaves me  in a place that doesn’t obey rationality.

I had the honor of sitting beside life long friends in a hospice ward while their mother lay dying. I cannot begin to tell you of the sweet moments laced with such profound sadness that passed between us. There are no words to encapsulate this woman’s life and the love she shared with her family and friends. I can tell you that as soon as the door closed it opened again bringing more people to honor the woman she was in life. There was no ebb in the tide of people that came, no pause in the outpouring of love on her daughters who stood bravely beside their mother’s bed. It is a different kind of courageous that walks on in the face of loss.

I have pulled at these chains that bind my heart and weigh me down. But there is no neat little box to put raw emotion in, there are no words to describe the brokenness of sickness and loss. The heartbreak just is and we must revel in it to be able to walk through it. That is the only truth my grief has brought.

Juxt School House: Elements of Design

Welcome back to the Juxt school house class!

I hope you had a good couple  weeks shooting negative space and learning the relationship between your subject and the area around it. Negative space can be really fun to shoot-if it’s not fun it’s not worth doing.

So this week we are going to embark upon a trek through the elements of design. We are only going to talk about a couple today. Wouldn’t want to  bore you, now would I? The elements we are going to chat about over the next few weeks are light, lines, texture, shapes, and perspective. We have already spoken about lines but we will breifly come back to them just as a reminder.

So which one to choose  for today?

I think light. If you know me you know I am a sucker for dramtic light. I really don’t think there is any thing more fabulous  as inky blacks contrasting against color. Sigh. It’s just so good.

Without light (and I think this probably goes without saying) we couldn’t have lines and shapes to photograph. Depending on when you shoot the light will create different hues of color. Depending on what type of contrast or mood you want to communicate to the viewer will be dependant  on the light. Granted, you can change all of this post procesing but it is wise to consider all of this before hand.

Speaking of contrast, light also creates contrast within a compostion. You can make it as dramtatic as you want but be careful to not detract from the subject. Contrast in colors can create a very dramatic compostion.

 

Tea with Beth Gibbeson

Tea with Beth Gibbeson by Anna C.

Anna’s Introduction

I am the kind of girl that points and shoots, followed up by a minimal edit. Because of that I am  comstantly amazed at what artists can do with an iPhone. Whatever you want to call it- digital collage, iphone art, mixed media, or wicked awesomeness- is up to you and no matter what you call it the patience and talent it takes to pull it off is amazing. So needless to say when I ran across Beth’s  feed I was first blown away, then floored that she used her kiddos as models many times. That’s what I call creative parenting 😉 Her images contain mystery, whimsy, and surreal elements. I ask you does it get better than this?

A:  Anna  B:  Beth

A:Tell me how being a mom has changed your perspective in art.

B:  Well to start with, I am more focused on art practices that require a lot more patience and persistence. For example, I do a lot of drawing that requires an enormous amount of detail and pattern work that can be quite pain stacking at times.Before becoming a mom I would have never foreseen that my art would have taken this path. And the same goes for my photography. The amount of time I spend editing on a tiny little iphone screen is pretty crazy. What changed it? I am not quite sure, but I do know that motherhood changed me as a person and challenged my creativity making me moredetermined to never lose my art practice. For once in my life, I have not needed to search far and wide for a subject matter.Being a mother has really allowed me to tune into myself and re appreciate beauty around me, especially in the simple things. I love using my children as a subject matter and often feel like magic has appeared all over again, as theirimagination is something I wish I still had. So to be able to observe and photograph all these elements on a daily basis without them even knowing about, for me is definitely inspirational.

A: what drives you to create?

B: Creativity is something that has always been in my life since a very young age. I am driven daily to create art, whether it is a painting, a drawing or photography. However, being a mother and witnessing the beauty of children has really triggered my imagination at this stage in my life. I am so busy running around in the day that having my iphone on me at all times allows me to take so many photos easily and spontaneously, capturing pure and genuine moments.
Since I bought my first iphone 6 months ago, I immediately downloaded the Hipstamatic App as I had seen a few images from friends that were using it.  From here it was a matter of finding other apps that then allowed me to develop techniques to further edit my images.

I really like to mix up my edits a bit, as I couldn’t think of any worse than be bound to one particular style. My creativity is fuelled by also exposing myself to constant inspiration, whether it is in art galleries, beautiful art books, magazines, researching artists via the internet and of late discovering the world of talent in mobile photography. I think that mobile photography has played a really big role in my creativity over the past 6 months. Its almost like opening a new page to your favourite art book everyday only to discover more and more inspiration and amazing talent.


A: What’s your biggest influence?

B: Right now the biggest influence for my current work is mobile photography without a doubt. I am constantly discovering amazing photography and art on a daily basis. Of course I still find great inspiration with my favourite artists such as Bruno Leti, Godwin Bradbeer, Doug Wright, Matthew Jonhston, and Paul Klee.

As for my influence in Photography outside the Mobile photography world, I would have to say that Bill Henson is my main and biggest influence. However, more recently Christopher Relanders work was suggested by @medes101 who does of a lot of breathtaking and quality double exposure photographs, of which I have also been experimenting with.
As far as influences with mobile photographers on IG  I absolutely love  @jumpstick, @earlybirdninja, @finn, @janske, @_malcome, @saraswebb, and @videotap3….. the list is endless really.


A: Tell me about you outside our pocket world..

B: I live in Australia, in a small town called Castlemaine. I am in my early 30’s with four children aged six and under. Life for me is quite crazy. I am constantly on the move, buttering sandwiches, changing nappies, singing lullaby’s, and in moments of peace I am able to only then concentrate on my iphone photography and editing. This is why it works so well for me, as it’s always accessible. I have developed quite a passion with the art of mobile photography and love IG’s potential to showcase my development with the world. I feel I am connected.

I studied a Fine Arts Painting Degree at University and later went back to University to complete a Diploma in Interior Design and then Teaching. But it was during my Fine Arts Degree that I was tutored by prominent Australian Photographer Dena Lester and other Australian artists. Photography for me is something that I have always been into. However before I got hold of my iphone, I usually used my very basic but wonderful Pentax K1000. I grew up with my own darkroom attached to my home, and pretty much spent my entire teenage and early to mid 20’s in there. My previous photographic work was always of very large scale sometimes taking up a whole wall. I found a great release in expressing myself when I could be encompassed in my development techniques. So to edit and develop my photos on such a tiny mobile screen fascinates me and defiantly comes as a challenge, of which of course I love.

A: What are your thoughts on the longevity of digital art?

B: I believe that mobile photography has come a long way in that people are slowly accepting it as a form of art but it still does has a fair way to go. Even though there is still and probably always will be a certain amount of snobbery towards using an iphone to photograph and edit shots, at the end of the day it is just another tool. It is a camera. And I believe that good photography speaks for itself. I have learnt that anyone can use whatever camera whether it’s an iphone, $3000 camera or $10 disposable to take a photo, but it’s about injecting yourself into your images that makes them speak for themselves. Photographing and editing an image with your mind, heart, hips and soul. It has to come from within and tell the viewer about you as an artist through a means of creative expression.

But considering this type of technology is allowing people universally to felicitate their device and various apps to be creative, I believe it can only a good thing.  And I think it’s only going to get better. The cameras will only get better in terms of resolution and image quality. And hopefully if more work is shown in print in art spaces and galleries worldwide, something that obviously is tangible, then the longevity of digital art will live as long as any other art forms.

Want to see more?
IG : @bethblues
Iphoneart: Beth Gibbeson

One Screen School House: Negative Space

Last week we spoke about diagonal lines in class. I really love all the varities of lines you can choose from to make your composition more dynamic. Here is a highlight from last weeks  class.

 

Image by Hong Oei,  @hongoei

 

 

Alright class our new subject is negative space. Think about New York  or some big city. Imagine your walking down the street and you happen to look up at the skyscrapers. Now the buildings themselves are lovely but what I want you to pay attention to is the space in between all the buildings. See how it has a shape all it’s own? That’s negative space.

Negative meaning there is nothing taking it up. The buildings themselves are positive space the air around them is negative space. Sometimes the space left by the outline of an object in a photo can be just as interesting as the subject itself.

Finding interesting negative space can be hard at times becuase you are having to think in reverse. Instead of looking at the subject, you’re looking at the space around and  between the subject.  I am betting if you go through  your roll you will find plenty of great negative space.

 

 

When you’re out shooting in the  next couple weeks  look for negative space! Post them up and tag them #juxtschoolhouse cant wait to see what you all find.

 

class dismissed

Hide and Seek with A Proudlove

Hide and Seek with A Proudlove by Anna Cox

Anna’s Introduction

Andrew Proudlove is a jack of all trades. His feed boasts a painters touch, a eye for portraits, and touch a playfulness. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the man, father, and husband behind the camera.

A:  Anna  AP:  Andrew

A: Alright mister Proudlove tell me about yourself.

AP: I am a husband and a father to three kids who wear me out every day and grow up to fast. I am originally from the UK but after uni I went to the USA where I worked and travelled for a bit before coming to Europe where I have spent the last 15 years living and working in the Czech Republic as an IT Manager in the legal sector.

I have always liked art, initially I used to draw a lot but for a number of years after I started travelling, I stopped drawing. Then about 11 years ago, I got my first digital camera, an Olympus C300 (I think, I don’t have the camera anymore), which got me interested in photography and the fact that I could see and work with the images almost immediately was just amazing. Not long afterwards I upgraded to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 but I found that due to its size, I wasn’t taking it every where with me, so I would often miss things simply because I didn’t have a camera with me. This all changed with the iPhone 3G, as even though it didn’t have the best camera, I did have it with me all the time and so I continued to upgrade the iPhone going to the 3GS and then the iPhone 4.

Initially I was just using the iPhone as a snapshot camera, although I was trying to practise and improve my photography skills, I had no idea of the full potential of the device that I was carrying around with me. Then in February of this year, I discovered iPhoneography, after giving Instagram another go. I had initially signed up on Instagram the previous year but didn’t quite get it or see the point but afterwards I came across some amazing images on there that I couldn’t believe had been created on an iPhone, so I started trying to find out more and improve my skills. After googling iPhone Art, I came across the iPhoneArt.com Web site and from there I came into contact with other groups and web sites and met some really nice people, who encouraged me with my work.

Since then I have had work displayed on Pixels, interviewed by Joanne over at TheAppWhisperer for their A Day in the Life and Extension of the I series of interviews, featured in the Mobile Photography Awards showcase, in iPhoneographyCentral’s Apps Uncovered, LifeinLoFi’s faved on Flickr, been voted Artist of the Day at iPhoneArt.com and will have work featured in the upcoming Mobile Arts Festival that takes place in Santa Monica at the end of August. It has been a really amazing journey so far and it has been a real honour to have my work included with and shown next to work from such talented artists and photographers.

A: How does Prague influence your work?

AP: I have to commute into Prague each week day because of work, so while it’s a pain in the neck having to commute each day, Prague does provide me with some good opportunities for street or architecture photography. Whereas the town where I actually live is in a kind of rural area (for the moment, there are more and more housing estates springing up each week it seems), so when I’m home, most of my pictures tend to be of the countryside, landscapes, nature and my kids.

I think this is one of the reasons that I do a lot of collages and fantasy type images as well though because I often have ideas for an image that require something that I don’t have around me, such as the view from a skyscraper for example and so if I want to do those types of shots then I have to make my own, at least until I can afford to travel to some of those locations. This type of work though, also allows me to experiment and push the apps and try to accomplish things with them that are new or at least different to what you would expect to see.

A: What would you say influences  you the most?

AP: To be honest, that’s a question that I’m not exactly sure how to answer. The iPhoneography movement in Prague hasn’t really taken off yet and most of the iPhone community here seems to operate abroad. I’m working with the admin of the site iPhoneArt.cz to try to change this a little though and generate some more interest in iPhoneography and iPhoneArt. Otherwise I am lucky in that Prague itself is a beautiful city and as such presents a lot of opportunities for photographers and the surrounding countryside is also beautiful, so I am quite fortunate to have that. What I find though is that work I see online from other photographers or iPhoneographers influences me a lot more, especially as  there are so many great images out there. I really am amazed and some of the things that I see and at times I am sitting there looking at an image, thinking how did he/she do that or simply I just look and think that’s such a great photo. This always inspires me to try to do something new or better.

A: where do you see your photographing going in the future?

AP: Good question and one that I’m not sure that I know the answer to in all honesty. I think that like any type of art form it is evolving or at least I hope it is and I hope that is partly through me becoming better with the tools that I have, in essence, “knowing the camera”, partly because my eye is improving as time goes by and with practice and also because I am getting better at conveying the message that I want to or telling a story with my images. I’d like to think that’s all true as I think that if we don’t grow we stagnate.
The only thing that I do know for sure right now is that I don’t want to be pigeon-holed. I wouldn’t like for people to see my name or my work and associate it with one form or type of photography as I think that this would limit me creatively and I like having the freedom to experiment and try new things. Who know’s perhaps I will discover some niche going forward and end up working towards it but right now I like trying my hand at different styles. I tend to like and seek out opposites with my work, light and dark, right and wrong and so on, so for near future, I can see myself alternating between straight photography, almost photo-reporting style and more heavily edited,  fantasy type pieces, as these two types seem to be the opposites of one another and each helps to scratch the appropriate itch in my brain when it arises.
Some days I just like to get as close to the subject as possible and just record what I see, whether its an interesting person, scene, the way the light falls just so across something, these times I tend to work in black and other days, my right brain goes into over-drive and I need to work in colour and push the boundaries of what reality depicts. I think if pushed though, I would say that I can see myself drifting towards doing a series of pieces in the future instead of individual, standalone images. Thats probably as much as I can say right now though, as it’s not something that I have consciously thought about really and your question has given me something to think on.

A: Tell me about your style

AP: I think that my style is still in the process of developing and I don’t think I have settled on any one thing yet. In one sense I hope that I never will and that I will continue to try different areas, topics, themes, styles and so on and so continue to grow. Something I have noticed though is that in the beginning I was mainly trying to just capture as good an image as I could and then bring out the best of that image in the processing afterwards. Over time though, I have indulged my fantasy a bit more and created work that is more iPhonic Art than photography but I tend to go back and forth from trying to create pure photographic images to iPhone Art and sometimes a combination of the two. I think that its a natural evolution of my ability to work with the apps improving and I hope a sign that my “photographic eye” is also developing. I am also a sucker for a good black and white, as I love the play between light and shadow, so I also go through periods where I tend to focus on black and white photography.

What I think fascinates me most in general is the idea that things have two sides or two extremes but that neither could exist without the other, right and wrong, shadow and light and so on. So where possible I try to play with and utilise this in my work.

A: The process behind someones photography always amazes me. Can you tell me a little about your process?

AP: My process isn’t really that complicated.

First of all in terms of capture, I tend to chase shadows and light a lot, I love the interplay between the two and any time I see a strong combination of the two I always stop and try to get something from it. Other times I am more opportunistic photographer and just walk around with my camera ready to capture anything that strikes me. It’s very rare that I will plan a shoot and go out with a firm idea in my mind of what I want to get. Sometimes when I am capturing an image, I can see the finished result in my mind, what I want it to look like and then it’s just a matter of using the apps to get there.

Once I have captured some images though, the next thing that I do is somewhere reasonably quiet (a very hard thing to find with kids), I will sit down and review the images. Sometimes one or two of them will jump out at me and just looking at them I will know exactly what I want to do with them, then other images, that on the initial run didn’t quite stand out, I find after a couple of viewings or letting them “sit” for a couple of days, I see something that I didn’t notice before, some part of the image itself or a way to edit it and then off I go.

From there it really depends on the image and the emotion or message I want to convey, sometimes, I like to keep things simple, other times I tend to use multiple apps on an image in order to get the desired effect.

 A: And last but not least tell me about your perfect day with your kids.

AP: The perfect day with my kids… I think it would probably start off with them letting me sleep in until at least 8am, that would be a fantastic start and a nice change from the 5am usual wake up time. Then I’d make us all breakfast, usually on a weekend as I have more time I tend to make them something like scrambled eggs or muffins as opposed to toast and cereals. Afterwards, well it really depends on what they would like to do, at the moment its a little difficult as my eldest Elizabeth is 4 going on 5, James will be 3 in a couple of weeks and Charlotte is 1.5, so finding something that we can all do together without them getting bored or upset with each other can be a challenge. So there are usually a couple of options, the first being that we go to the zoo or out on a day trip or the second option, we stay home and play various games. Personally I tend to prefer it when we stay home as going anywhere is like trying to move an army logistically, especially with the amount of things that you have to take with you to cover contingency, so its nice to be able to just play (though seeing their faces does tend to make it all worthwhile). It tends to work out that after breakfast, we play for a little while either with the lego or with this wooden train set we have, which usually goes well until Charlotte comes through it like a tornado 🙂 Sometimes we draw or paint, which is good as its something that all of them can do.
Once it gets a bit warmer we go outside and play in the garden. Charlotte is addicted to the swing and so she just wants to be in the swing being pushed most of the time. James tends to play with his various tractors and diggers in the sandpit and Ellie likes to dress-up and play princesses or fairies and thinks up a lot of games. She is going through a frisbee stage at the moment and so we play that a lot together. We also sometimes play racing, I’m the starter and shout out three, two, one go and they race from one side of the garden to the other. As time goes by it tends to get more complicated with obstacles to run around, sections where you need to hop and so on. Another big hit just lately is hide and seek. That usually works out to them hiding and me finding them or me hiding and them finding me. 🙂
After lunch they all usually have a nap (me too if Ive got up at 5) for a couple of hours and then we go back outside, again depending on what they want to do, we can end up on bikes or in the garden or if their friends come over, then I basically just keep an eye on them while they’re playing and spend a bit more time with Charlotte or we do mass games of hide and seek. Our street is quite good and we were quite lucky in this regard, it’s mostly full of people who are our age, with kids all of similar ages, so it worked out quite well and the kids tend to move from one garden to the next in a mass mob depending on what they’re doing 🙂 They come to our garden for the swings and hide and seek, one of the other neighbours for the trampoline and so on. It works out really well.
Usually on these occasions when they are absorbed in what they are doing and so don’t notice me, I tend to start photographing them, I much prefer this to forcing them to pose somewhere and I think that it adds a lot more emotion and interest to the images. Just lately Ellie has started taking an interest too and she walks around with an old iPhone 3G photographing stuff, its really interesting seeing things from her perspective. She will also walk up to me sometimes and say Dad, I look like a princess, will you photograph me? Or can you photograph this flower? So either a future model or the next Ansel perhaps? 🙂 Out of all of them she seems to be the most artistic at the moment, loves drawing, painting, singing, taking photos, all stuff I try to encourage with her. James seems more logical, he’s good at working out puzzles and Charlotte is an unknown element at this point but shes very bossy. 🙂
We start winding the day down at about 7, we tidy up (or we try to get them to), have dinner and then its bath time, all three of them go into the bath together at the moment (at least while they can still fit) and so they have a nice time playing in the bath for a bit. From there we go to bed and I tell each of them a story, usually something that I make up as I go, which can cause problems if they like it and want to hear it again as I have to get the details right. If I slip up though, then Ellie usually reminds me, its amazing how good their memory is already. The only problem is when they end up liking a story then you can tell it to them for days and days and days and they never seem to get tired of it, for example I made up a story about a Knight called Sir Alfred who helps a dragon move house and have been telling it to them for ten days straight now 🙂
Once the stories are done, then my wife and I finally get to spend a few hours together in piece and quiet, so Mom and Dad take a break and Andrew and Soňa come out of their shells for a couple of hours at least 🙂
Im not sure I answered your question with this but really this for me is a perfect day in the sense that we get to spend time together and do things together as a family. I just enjoy spending time with them (though there are times like most parents when I wonder why we got ourselves into this 🙂 ).

Contact Info 

Twitter @aproudlove

Facebook – aproudlove

Flickr – aproudlove

Instagram – aproudlove

500px – aproudlove

iPhoneArt – aproudlove

As you can see I was really original with the username 🙂

A:  Thank so  much  for your time Andrew! Next time I’m on your street I’m coming over to play hide and seek.

One Screen School House: Diagonal Lines

There’s the bell! okay class settle down.

How was your weekend? Hopefully you all took pictures of strangers or really fantastic architecture at least?  Did everyone remember their leading lines homework?

Remember that leading lines draw our eye to a subject or to where the lines meet. Here are some great examples from the #juxtschoolhouse

I took this at a meetup I organized at Eastern State Penitentiary. Eastern State was built in 1829, and was operational until 1971. It housed many notorious inmates over the years, including Al Capone and Willie Sutton. The prison was designed in a wagon-wheel layout, so that a central guard was able to see down the seven cell blocks. These long hallways are perfect for “leading lines” shots! Today, Eastern State is open daily for tours, but there has been no renovation or restoration since it closed 40 years ago, making it creepy and photographically interesting! (and supposedly haunted!) I’m definitely going back for “Terror Behind the Walls,” the haunted house held at the facility in October.

-@hhhbomb Heidi

This is Cortelyou Q train stop in Brooklyn, New York. We can find good perspective & lines in all subway stops, but this one is a bit different than usual MTA stops, with its curved walls, a special bridge house entrance on top and it is not underground, so you can see so much light & green.

-@li9ht7 Elif

This is one of my favourite piers and I particularly love the symmetry of it. This was my friend Rob who happened to be perfectly aligned while taking a shot himself. Even though he is in photo, he doesn’t detract from the lines that lead the eyes to the end.  It was a fun shot!
-@joanna, Joanna

Let’s continue with expanding our compositional vocabulary with diagonal lines this week. I know all of this seems boring but it will all come into play once we move on to bigger subjects.

All of the lines we have talked about can create a dynamic composition and diagonals are yet another great tool. Now there are two ways of shooting at diagonals.

The first is just shooting straight up diagonal lines. Meaning, the lines enter and exit the picture plane at a diagonal. I know rocket science right? I’m dropping bombs over here people.

The second way is, before you shoot a subject, you mentally (or with the help of an app) divide the photo with three diagonal lines. The subject or focal point is the contained within those lines. Using the section of three diagonal lines you shoot accordingly framing your shot within the lines. Think of a rocky beach line. If you were lining the shot up to utilize diagonals you would make sure the beach line (where the waves meet the sand) travels at a diagonal through the picture plane. I, unfortunaly, do not have a beach. I have a horse. A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! Wait this isn’t lit class. My bad *ahem*

So this marks the end of lines for now,we will come back to visit them soon. Remeber to tag your diagonals with #juxtschoolhouse. I have my gold stars ready for giving!

Next week we will be talking about points of view 🙂

building a boy.

I have been asking myself what it takes to raise a good man since my first son was born 8 years ago.  There are so many questions, hopes, and desires poured into that little babe in the first five seconds of life. All the planning in the world, the color schemes and diaper bags matter naught when that first cry is heard. I literally thought my heart would collapse from the emotion brought on by that one small cry. There is a sudden fierceness you feel gnawing at your heart.  There have been heart breaking moments and moments of pure victory.  And times  my heart collapsed under the weight of my joy.  After a recent trip to photograph an abandoned bridge a thought started building. I was amazed that this bridge was still standing after all the years of abuse. It was overgrown and graffitied, cracks ran in the pavement like spider webs. But overall it was solid beneath my feet even after years of disuse.
 
The planning and execution of building a bridge amazes me.
 
 
So my thinking started with a basic question:   What does it take to build a boy? When we first get the job of building  a boy we stand back and look at the land. See what we have and how we need to change our personal landscape to make the boys life in the best place we are able.  Whether that means removing deep roots or shoring up what we already have are the beginnings of a strong foundation.
 
 
Then we gather materials like discipline, love and understanding to lay the groundwork for the boy raising. Many times what we need to build a boy are hard things like iron, concrete and steel. But these things are important if we want the boy to stand in a storm. The early stage of boy building are crucial to the future strength of the framework. Once your ground is solid and the framework of the boy begins his life experiences create the joints that weave together to make the structure. The bolts needed to hold him together are most important. Bolts are the people he loves most and who love him back. These people are crucial just as the materials are. These people hold the love and discipline  together and they need to be as strong as he is to withhold his weight.  If the bolts are weak, so are the joints and angles I lovingly measured and applied.
 
Building a boy is never easy. It is painstaking work to craft a boy that will grow into a passionate, loving man. I have truly poured my heart into his design, from the materials I use to his every angle and bolt. When I am old and gray, wearing five different kinds of plaid at the same time with tissues stuffed up my sleeve, I will be able to look at my boy and say my design was solid. His lines are true and angles are still strong. And when the storm comes, as it inevitable will, his foundation will not be shaken.

I know that at whatever cost I will continue to build him into the man he needs to be even if he sways when the wind hits him from time to time.  When he’s grown, I will be able to sit back on the edge of his life and admire his framework against the sky. I will see that my crafting will hold him together.

He will be my handiwork, my legacy.

The One Screen School House: Lines

Good morning and welcome back to the JUXT schoolhouse. We are still talking JUXT basics this week. I hope the nuts and bolts don’t bore you too much. I’d hate to think you were back there snoozing instead of taking notes. Yes, I mean you on the back row.

Here’s a quick recap of last week.

We talked about the horizon line. You can either have a true horizon line, where the sky meets the ground or a manufactured one like a row of windows or the base of a building. And sometimes, as my creative students from last week pointed out, a wacky horizon can work well in a composition. Normally, these wacky horizon lines need to be purposeful for the composition to work. So take that into account and weigh wacky against straight when deciding what would work best for your photo. Here are a few A+ students from last weeks assignment.

Gold stars for everyone that played along!!

Top Left: Mykel Landers @mykel

Top Right: Shannon Joyce @smjoyceindy

Bottom: Iris McCormack @iris_mc

Alright now grab your pencils and paper and let’s get to learning.

We are going to be talking about lines again. There are plenty of different lines to photograph and we will hit upon them all but this week we are looking at leading lines.

Have you ever wondered why you can look at 25 different photographs of a train track or a country lane and still find it pleasing?  That’s because the lines lead your eye to a natural resting place. Leading lines play a trick with perspective. It seems that the lines, which are parallel, actually touch in the distance if they are allowed to run that far. If they aren’t our eye is drawn to whatever it is at the end. Sometimes leading lines aren’t physical lines like a street or a set of railings. They can also be implied by a row of benches or street lights.

So in the next couple weeks when your out and about keep your eye peeled for lines that lead. I personally am I sucker for leading lines so please tag me when you find some with #juxtschoolhouse. I’d love to drool over them. 🙂 go forth and shoot!

 Class dismissed!

The Colors and Textures of Manila

Anna’s Introduction

Meet @denikv, I stumbled across Dennis’s feed and the glorious colors and textures made my jaw drop. The way he captures everyday objects is absolutely fantastic. As I scrolled through his feed I was treated to a cacophony of diverse subjects. He has posted series after series of abandoned objects, homeless, and signage that gives the viewer a poignant look into the Philippines. Every photo is flawless and you come away with a feeling you just walked down a back street in Dennis’s city. I do hope you will enjoy the view through this lens as much as I have in the last weeks.

A:  Anna  D:  Dennis (Italics in Tagalog – One of many dialects in the Philippines)

A: Tell me about yourself outside IG.

D:  I’m Dennis C. Villanueva. I live in Manila, Philippines. During the day, I work as a creative director in an advertising agency: Gallardo and Associates.  I am married with one daughter who is 3 and a half years old. I have 3 Siamese cats. I love going mountain biking and sport fishing.  I get fascinated a lot too with the design of chairs, architecture, and mid-century design and furniture.

I’m Dennis C. Villanueva. I live in Manila, Philippines. Nagtratrabaho ako sa isang advertising agency, Gallardo and Associates, as a creative director.  I am married with one daughter who is 3 and a half years old.  I have 3 Siamese cats. Mahilig ako mag-mountain biking at sport fishing.  Na-fa-fascinate rin ako sa design ng chairs, architecture, and mid-century design and furniture.

A: When did you begin snapping with your iPhone?

D:  I got my iPhone December of last year (2011) and that’s when I discovered instagram. Since then, I was hooked!

Nagka-iPhone ako nung December last year, tapos na-discover ko ang Instagram.  Mula noon, hooked na ako!

A: What motivates you to shoot?

D:  Well, there are a lot of beautiful things that’s just around us that we really don’t notice. I guess we just have to “LOOK” and appreciate the simple, little things that we take for granted.  Capturing these things in a different perspective are what make taking pictures a lot of fun.

Well, maraming mga magagandang bagay sa paligid natin na hindi natin talaga napapansin.  Siguro, dapat lang tayo tumingin nang mabuti para ma-appreciate yung mga simpleng bagay na we take for granted.  Pag kinukunan ko ang mga ito sa ibang perspective, nakaka-aliw ang pagkuha ng letrato.

A: The Philippines seems like such a fantastic place to shoot. How have the Philippines influenced your work?

D:  The Philippines is a tropical island country with a very colorful and mixed history and culture that offer a lot of interesting things to see.  My snaps document all of the things neglected, rusty, worn out that I find interesting and beautiful. You will just see it all around here. It may not be beautiful to others, but as long as I find it pretty and beautiful, everything else doesn’t matter.

Tropical island country ang Pilipinas.  Very colorful and mixed ang history at kultura namin kaya maraming interesting na makikita dito.  Kinukunan ko ng pictures yung mga hindi pinapansin, kinakalawang, laspag na na sa tingin ko interesting at maganda.  Makikita mo lahat yan dito.  Pwedeng hindi maganda yun para sa iba, pero basta maganda para sa akin, bali wala na ang iba.

And I’m proud to say that the Philippines is a very beautiful country and we are very rich in natural resources. A lot of beautiful scenery, beaches, mountains and the most beautiful of all are the Filipino people. Come visit us sometime and I will show you around and you will understand what I’m talking about. The Philippines is progressive, booming, teeming with life! Everything is fast paced. And Manila is very cosmopolitan.  As what they say in one of our tourism tagline: “It’s more fun in the Philippines”! And I can say hell yeah!!!

At proud ako to say na maganda talaga ang Pilipinas, at mayaman sa natural resources.  Maraming beautiful scenery, mga beach, bundok, at pinakamaganda sa lahat yung mga Pilipino.  Come visit us sometime tapos ipapakita ko sa inyo yung mga sinasabi ko.  Progressive ang Pilipinas, booming and teeming with life!  Everything is fast paced.  And Manila is very cosmopolitan.  Tulad ng sabi ng tourism tagline namin, “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”. Talaga naman! 

A: I fell in love with the colors and textures on your feed. Tell me about some of the series on your IG feed. I adore how you shoot 5 or more in a row your feed flows so well. It is a feast of numbers, colors or textures.

D:   Right now I have 15 different series going on. I started with my “Cola Loca” series – these are Coke signs that I see all around Metro Manila.

Sa ngayon,may 15 different series ako.  Nagsimula ako sa “Cola Loca” series.  These are Coke signs na nakikita ko all around Metro Manila.

      And the others are:

      1) “Cola Loca” – Coke signage

      2) “Electric Meter” – Electric meters around the city

      3) “Art through Vandalism” – Graffiti’s around the city

      4) “Number Fever” – All about numbers

      5) “What’s your Type?” – Anything typography related images

      6) “Beautiful rim job” – these are the colorful rims of jeepneys  around metro manila

      7) “Knock! Knock!” – Doors galore!

      8) “Chain Reaction” – beautiful rusty chains

      9) “Roughing it out” – Anything with texture I put here

      10) “Petty Pets” – Filipinos love pets. These are the cats and dogs that roam around the city.

      11) “Just Sittin Around” – I love chairs! Anything about neglected old chairs, couch and sofa.

      12) “Keyhole Peephole” – These are keyholes with colors and texture

      13) “Between the lines” – All about lines and shapes

      14) “Sleepyhead” – These are people that I see sleeping around the city

      15) “Pick a lock” – is about beautiful rusty padlocks

A: Which out of the series are your favorites? Will you tell me a little more about them?

D:  My favorite amongst the series that I’m doing currently are the “Cola Loca,” “Number Fever,” “What’s your Type,” “Just Sittin’ Around” and “Chain Reaction.”

Favorite ko sa series na ginagawa ko ngayon yung “Cola Loca,” “Number Fever,” “What’s Your Type,” “Just Sittin’ Around” and “Chain Reaction.”

 “Cola Loca” is my very first series. Everyone in the Philippines loves drinking soda! It’s funny because you find the signs all around even in the most obscure places. Coke Philippines did a great job in doing that. It’s like Coke is ubiquitous. I also love the texture of the paint and the wall together. It creates a nice “look” to it that makes it really interesting.

Unang series ko yung “Cola Loca.”  Mahilig ang Pilipino sa soft drinks!  Nakakatuwa kasi nakikita ang signs all around, kahit sa mga obscure na lugar.  Coke Philippines did a great job in doing that.  It’s like Coke is ubiquitous.  Gusto ko rin yung texture ng pagkakapinta at ng mga wall.  Nagkakaroon ng magandang look na interesting.

 “Number Fever” and “What’s Your Type” go together. It’s basically all around us. I like discovering weathered, peeled, textured, and rusted typography and numbers. There’s a certain charm and magic in each and every one of them. I guess I just generally love typography and numbers.

Bagay magkasama ang “Number Fever” and “What’s Your Type.”  It’s basically all around us.  Natutuwa ako pag nakakakita ako ng mga typography at numbers na pinagdaanan na ng panahon, yung mga kumukupas na, kinakalawang na.  May magic at charm yung mga yon.  Baka gusto ko lang talaga ang typography and numbers.

 “Just Sittin Around” – because I love chairs! I love all the Bauhaus and mid-century chair designs. I love Marcel Breuer, Giancarlo Piretti, Le Corbusier, Hans Wegner, Jean Prouve, Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, George Nelson and the list goes on. And I really find a lonely, forgotten, neglected chair just sitting around sad. It is very interesting to shoot specially if it’s really worn out and weathered and peeling and you just “feel” the love that that chair gave to whoever owns it and used it.  Things are going to get old, tired, weak and eventually lonely, especially if you don’t take care of it. Again, there’s a certain magic and feeling in capturing those chairs. It gives me some pleasure and excitement that I can’t really explain why when I find one just sitting around. Happy and sad I guess.

“Just Sittin’ Around”–because I love chairs!  Gustong gusto ko ang mga Bauhaus at mid-century chair design.  I love Marcel Breuer, Giancarlo Piretti, Le Corbusier, Hans Wegner, Jean Prouve, Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, George Nelson and the list goes on.  Pag nakakakita ako ng mga lumang upuan na nakakalat lang, parang nakakalungkot.  Interesting sila kunan ng letrato lalo na pag sobrang worn-out and weathered, kasi nararamdaman mo yung pinagdaanan nung upuan.  Pag hindi inaalagaan, maluluma lang at masisira ang mga bagay.   Again, there’s a certain magic and feeling in capturing those chairs.  Natutuwa ako at na-e-excite pag nakakakita ako ng isang nakasalampak lang.  Happy and sad I guess.

 “Chain Reaction” – It’s the texture, shape and form that interest me when I shoot chains. Even if it’s all weathered and rusty, it still gives you the feel of “strength” especially when they are all linked together and being “one”.

“Chain Reaction”– pag nagkukuha ako ng letrato ng mga kadena, interesado ako sa texture at shape nila.  Kahit kinalawang na at luma, parang may tibay pa rin, lalo na pag linked together at iisa.

Thank you for chatting with me Dennis and thank you so much for sharing with us! I can’t wait to see what your next series. 

To find out more about Dennis:

Instagram: denikv

Twitter: Ski43210

The One Screen Schoolhouse

It’s JUXT basics here at the JUXT schoolhouse. Grab your chalkboard and leave Susy Jane’s braids alone! Don’t make me tell you again!

Alright class lets talk basics. Now there are plenty of basics we could discuss: basic training, basic cooking skills, or your basic white t shirt. But what I really want to discuss are the basics of photography. The nitty gritty, down and dirty compositional elements that make a good picture great. Way too often I see a good picture that could have been great if the photographer had only shot from a different angle, lined the photo up a tad straighter, or utilized the natural light.

So twice a month grab your lunch bag and meet me back here to get some tips to use next time you shoot. Now, none of this is earth shattering. I’m not going to turn you into a professional photographer but I can make you feel a little bit prouder about your work.  Plus the best part- The better the original picture the less editing afterwards!

So put your  editing apps away in your desk for a bit. Let’s talk composition.


First things first, let’s talk about horizon lines. It’s exactly what it sounds like- the line where the sky meets the ground. Why is this important you ask? Because for your homework your going to have to chase a rainbow and the horizon line is a good thing to know. Pot of gold anyone!? But really. Next time you line up a photo, line up your horizon line to be perfectly horizontal across the frame. If you’re in a city or shooting a building and can’t find the horizon, use the base of the building or a door frame. I know it sounds silly but making sure your photo is “framed up” straight really helps in post processing. {Most in app cameras have some sort of grid in the veiw finder}

So there you go kids. Your first tip. It didn’t hurt at all, did it? Now I expect to see lots of perfectly aligned photos in the coming weeks.

If you decide you want to try tag me on IG @annacox or +annacox on  G+ and add the hash #juxtschoolhouse OR email photos to anna@juxters.wearejuxt.com. I will be posting A+ assignments before our next lesson.

 

Class is dismissed

The Art of Capturing Grunge and The Derelict

Frankensinatra: The Art of Capturing Grunge and The Derelict

Anna’s Introduction

Mike Hill (@frankensinatra) has blown me away time after time with his view of the world. His grungy style and architects eye for detail always deliver a strong photo.  Mike explores not only his everyday environment but seeks out abandoned sites to shoot also. He captures these derelict places like only someone who is moved by them can. His edits add color and whimsy back into a place that is lifeless. I have really enjoyed getting to know Mr. Sinatra over the past few weeks. I hope you enjoy meeting him as much as I have.

Carousel: I took this in an area called Old Town in Orlando, Florida. Just a random Saturday out with my chick. There’s a full version of the whole carousel, but I liked this one for the details. This was a patient edit, going around each one of those light bulbs with color splash on a iPhone can get tedious, the horse itself wasn’t so bad. But I’m glad I did, I love how it came out. 

A:  Anna  M:  Mike

A: Hey Mike, why don’t you give us a quick intro into who you are and where you got started with mobile photography.

M: I live in Orlando, Florida. I moved here about two and a half years ago, originally I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana. I came here because I met a girl who was home visiting family and friends in New Orleans and after about 7 months we decided that we needed to be closer. And because she still had to finish doing her licensing from her job, she needed to stay in Florida for another year. My type of work would allow it so long as I was at the dock when it was my shift every couple weeks, I worked offshore in the oilfield industry at the time in the Gulf of Mexico. Florida is not really my kinda place… let me rephrase that, Orlando is not really my kind of place. I’m a Louisiana boy. The culture here, what little bit there is, doesn’t suit me. Being from a place like New Orleans, that’s bursting with rich culture and cool people is more my style. So most of my work is of places I’ve photographed there. When I go back to visit, I try and spend as much time as possible collecting photos of any and everything I can so that I’ll have stuff to edit until my next visit. Last time I was home I think I got close to about 700 photos, most were of the abandoned six flags theme park that has been rotting since Hurricane Katrina flooded it in 2005. So much more to see there then in Orlando, unless you’re into giant talking mice and busy touristy theme parks, but I prefer my parks derelict and abandoned. We do however have giant rats in New Orleans, haha, but they don’t talk… yet. I’ve lived in Hawaii, Colorado, New York, other areas of Louisiana and states in America. Backpacked through Western Samoa for a few months sleeping on beaches and in fales (grass huts), visited Japan and other places, but there is still nowhere else I’d rather be than back in New Orleans. HOWEVER, haha, it’s because of my boredom with being in Orlando that led me to find Instagram. I was so bored, and it was hot as hell outside, so I started looking around in the app store and saw it, I figured, since I hate and don’t have Facebook or any other social network, I would try it out. I never edited a photo before that in my life, I had like thousands saved in my external hard drive from the past few years, but could never be bothered to learn Photoshop or any of that stuff. Now I’d rather stay home on a Friday night and edit a photo then go out to like a bar or something like I was doing back home. So I guess, in a way I’m glad I did end up here, because it’s like a sleeping beast has woken up inside me. A hobby I can be proud of.

Mans Best Friend: This photo I took while at the vet with my dog Voodoo. She had a mild ear infection, and had to get a few shots. She gets nervous at the vet so like any good dad I held her paw. I love this one just for obvious reasons, I mean, who doesn’t love their dog? She’s a miniature bull terrier, and if you ask anyone who has ever owned one, they’re just like having a three year old in a dog suit. 

A: I love the way you edit your photos, it is so far removed from my own style. Will you explain your style to us?

M: The grunge thing, for me, is kind of like a bridge between editing and minimal processing of a photo. I’ll never do anything that actually changes the structure in a photo, cause then in my opinion it becomes digital art and not photography anymore. Which is fine for some people, that’s cool, just not my thing. Adding texture, changing color and making a photo look aged just fits my interest more, like it was found in one of the abandoned places I shoot in, under some debris and kind of scratched or molded. I’ve kinda slacked off on using it as much lately, though. My evolution of editing is backwards than most people. When I started they were heavier, now I’m starting to take a more subtle approach as my “style” matures. I’ve been doing this for less than a year now, so I figure I’ve still got some more evolving to do. You’re not likely to see anything in full color from me, it’s pretty rare, if at all. Either black and white, or black and white with a spot of color. That’s just how I roll. Color photos bore me, it’s like I can always look at something and see it in color, to view it from another person’s perspective is much, much more interesting to me. As for my process, I usually edit at night, when the house is quiet. Most of the time while editing,  I listen to music, usually Pandora Radio or Last.fm. Something down-tempo, trip hop-ish, like Nightmares on Wax, Portishead or Dj Krush. One of the first things I always do with a photo is camera+ clarity then black and white, or color splash, then either camera+ clarity or dynamic light. Then I just experiment till it looks right.

Old Mausoleum: I took this one on my last trip back home to New Orleans. It’s in uptown nola in one of the many above ground cemeteries, the place was so unkept that this mausoleum actually had a tree growing out the top of it. Made for a perfect pic, only it ended up getting messed up from the sun rays. So, since I really don’t know what I’m doing, I enlisted the help of a friend to fix it up so I could edit it. It went from completely unusable to one of my favorites thanks to her.

A: We both love to shoot abandoned sites. Can you tell me about your love for them?

M: I don’t really know why I like shooting abandoned places. Maybe because it’s just one of those things you don’t really see a lot of and the possibility that it’ll be gone soon. They have history. Everybody can walk outside and see clouds or trees, I prefer to sneak into an abandoned theme park or building and risk falling through a floor or getting busted by the cops to get that unique shot. Sadly, where I live now, there’s not a lot of abandoned spots, plus I haven’t lived here long enough to know the area so I look online a lot for places, but it’s pretty weak here haha. Disney shut down a few parks when they came and staked their claim on the area, and I’m just starting to get a list together of some spots to hit up. They are hard to get in and are heavily watched by guards though, but I’m vigilant! So look for those soon.

Gypsy: A lot of times I ask people to send me portraits to edit when I’m in the mood to do one, so a friend took this one and emailed it to me. I really love doing portraits, but it’s one of those types of edits I have to feel like doing. This one pretty much represents exactly what I look for in a portrait. I hate when people look at the camera, it bothers me so much that I usually won’t even edit it. I prefer for it to look more candid and deep, like they have something going on, it shows more emotion I think. This girl nails it every time so I’ve done a few with her, I think this is my favorite, so far.

A: Who do you look to for inspiration with the photography world?

M: One of my favorites has always been Thomas Barbey. I saw one of his prints in a store one time called “O Duomo Mio” and bought it. Although I don’t really do stuff like that, it’s still one of my favorites. It’s of a dude in Venice on a gondola, inside a church, with pews on each side of him. Look it up and you’ll see what I mean. Scott Mutter is another and has a similar image that I use as the background on my phone. It’s of a old church, but the isle is of a street with cars and people. I don’t read or look through photography magazines so besides those two, I don’t know of any other photographers other than the  people I’ve met through Instagram or IPA. Mi hermano Jose ( @jr_el_nota )aka “The Dude”, has some of the best work I’ve ever seen and is just an all around good dude. Craig Corbin, ( @heavycoat on IG and IPA), has beautifully dark mixed media combined with photography, definitely a favorite. Marie Matthews, ( @kaphinga on IG and IPA ), who I’ve just recently met but has quickly become a favorite. Her photos are perfectly edited, I love her New Orleans work. Those are just a few, but anyone I follow you can pretty much throw on that list.

Ghost Playground: I took this in a Looney Tunes playground area of the abandoned Six Flags theme park in New Orleans. Kind of a surreal experience being in that place, it was like when you see those models of a nuclear town. It was so quiet, but when the wind would blow you could hear things like rusty sheet metal moving from the breeze. Everything was rotten and contaminated from flood waters.

A: In your self portraits. I am always struck by the amount of ink you have. As I have tattoos myself I am always curious about the meaning behind them.

M: Growing up, I was always around people who had tattoos. My dad was mostly covered, my mom had a lot, her back, upper arms and some on her legs. Most of their friends had them also so for me being 5 years old I never saw it as a big deal, and this was back in the 80’s when it wasn’t as accepted and mainstream. Now there’s a tattoo shop on every corner and reality shows about it… ridiculous. So for me it came as natural as someone getting their hair dyed or piercing their ear, I just thought that’s how people were supposed to look. I started getting them when I was 15, and have continued consistently, I’m 33 now. Some of them have meaning, most don’t. Some are just meant to be a joke, I don’t care, you’re only young once right? People used to ask me how all that’s going look when I’m older, my answer was nothings going look right when I’m old anyway! Haha.  Maybe I won’t look like all the other old boring dudes.

A: Where do you see your mobile photography going in the next five years?

M: All the way to the top! haha no, I’m kidding… That would be cool, though. I don’t really know, I guess we’ll just have to see where mobile photography goes as a whole. Right now I’m having fun with it, but who wouldn’t want to be successful doing something they love? I’ve seen mobile photography, even in the short time I’ve been involved, make a few big moves. Things like the MPA (Mobile Photography Awards) and last years IPA (iPhoneArt.com) grant, books being put out from all kinds of different places and more blogs and websites popping up all the time. All are a big help to promote it as a legitimate art form.  I still consider myself a novice, but I’ve had a few things in galleries, exhibitions, etc. and would love to get more involved with stuff like that. I don’t see myself getting tired of it anytime soon, I mean, when I look at things now, I start to think what apps I could use to do this or that. It’s consuming. So I’ll be around in the game for while, and we will just see what happens. Short answer: Still around.

Website: michaelhillphotography.com

Flickr

Email: frankensinatra@gmail.com

IG @frankensinatra

IPA gallery

google+ profile

 

Juxt thanks you for your words and your art.

Reflection Lesson

I seem to have lost myself somewhere during my pregnancy. These days I don’t recognize myself. I say and do things I wouldn’t normally do. I cannot describe the anger I feel deep in my bones almost every hour of the day. Anger is such an ugly, draining emotion. It takes so much to keep it in and pushed down in an effort not to hurt those around me. I know this burning feeling isn’t normal, at least not for me. Yes, I get mad from time to time but nothing like this. It almost feels like someone else has taken up residence in my body and I have been pushed to the side. I feel lost and overwhelmed by the need to clench my fists and shout until I am hoarse.  My heart feels purple and bruised from the weight and severity of emotions that accumulate during the day. Two weeks ago, I allowed the thought to take hold that perhaps this anger wasn’t normal, that perhaps this was something more than the transition period after having a baby. The thought allowed relief and guilt at the same time. On one hand, relief that maybe this wasn’t something I could control, but guilt that I couldn’t control it. A vicious cycle of thought that left me more worn than the anger by the end of the day. This idea, that maybe something was wrong, allowed me to test the waters slowly, stick my toe in and get used to the idea. A few nights ago, when asked by a friend I answered honestly and said I was really angry all the time. She surprised me by describing exactly how I felt.  She went on to explain that what I was experiencing was postpartum depression, but instead of the sadness,  I was feeling the anger side of it. I cannot express how relieved I was to know that something had indeed taken over my body. That this angry woman wasn’t me after all. The anger and guilt as still ever present companions but  they are easier to see now that I have shined a light on them

A couple weeks ago my friend (and yours) Brad said something that stuck with me, he said “we are a reflection.” I have turned it over and over in my head. This simple phrase touches something deep within me. It reminds me of something my mother used to tell me when I was young. She would tell me you are who you hang out with. Which I didn’t really understand until it was too late and my life had jumped the tracks. I have decided until I am myself again I will look to those close to me to remind me of who I am. My friends are beautiful, creative, loving people and if I use them as a reflection then I am also those attributes.   In the dark hours, when I am the most lost, I will pull their faces up one by one and remember why I love each one of them.  On a good day, I am a weak version of their best attribute. And every time I see my reflection, I will do my best to remember that.  Their hearts will shine a light on my darkness and show me the way home.  Where there is light, there can be no darkness, and with light there is hope.


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