labyrinths and other special places

I was reading my friend Andrea's blog, and she was talking about a pretty spiritual experience that she'd recently had walking a labyrinth.  Normally, I wouldn't have thought anything about it, but reading her experience, I remembered that my friend Elspeth often walks a labyrinth back home in Trinidad.  So I became curious, and decided to do some research online:  what's the deal with labyrinths?

A quick Google search turned up tons of information, and I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about labyrinths.  I'd always thought that they were just decorative mazes, sort of tricky little puzzles that were placed in ostentatious gardens.  But now, I realize that they're actually a tool for meditation:  unlike mazes, there's only one way to the centre, and one way back out; you're supposed to walk the path in contemplation.

Since today was such a beautiful day (and recently, I have begun daily meditation again), I decided to visit one of the labyrinths here in Houston.  I went out to the amazingly beautiful Chapel of St. Basil at the University of St. Thomas, and spent about 30 minutes walking the labyrinth.  Like Andrea, I too felt like something important happened once I arrived at the centre -- I'm not in a place where I feel comfortable talking about it, because I'm still processing what I felt and thought and experienced, but I'm definitely going to return.

 

 

After walking the labyrinth, I decided to venture over to The Menil Collection, a beautiful museum in the middle of the Montrose neighbourhood -- one of my favourite neighbourhoods.  It was beautiful, and quiet, and wonderful.

 

 


I'll definitely be back.

 

SongRebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) by Digable Planets

hockey mom

Last night, I went with several former coworkers to the Houston Aeros hockey game.  The Aeros were playing the Iowa Chops ("Really?"  I kept asking my friends.  "The Iowa Chops?"), and we won, 3-1.

I don't know much about hockey (due to the fact, I suppose, I have very, very few memories of ice rinks during my childhood in Trinidad), but my friend Karen, who got us the tickets, is a huge fan; also, my friends James and David are from Canada and Colorado, respectively, so I got a good lesson.  For example, I learned the reason why it is part of the code and culture for the players to fight at the games (it brings in ticket sales).  I also learned why it might not be a good idea to sit between a Calgary Flames fan and a Colorado Avalanche fan (you can't win).

I did not, however, get answers to:

  • why it's a good idea to have cheerleaders (excuse me, "power dancers") at a hockey game, particular since they generally did all their dancing at the back of the stands, behind all the spectators;
  • why the little lady in the row next to us was incessantly shaking a cowbell. I mean, incessantly, not just when there was a good play, or when the Aeros were on defense; and
  • why there was a real-life garden gnome in attendance.

These are the things that shall keep me awake at night for weeks to come.

SongFire, by the Ohio Players.  They played this song after the end of the first period, and this alone might make me return to the Toyota Center to see another game.

 

outtakes

Outtake from our annual Christmas card photoshoot. It was definitely a lot easier to do this when Alex was younger and less wiggly.  Update:  If you're interested in the process of how we took these shots, please click here (and leave a comment!).

Crazy busy today, but wanted to pop in and share a few outtakes from my life, lately:

1. I've just started writing a new feature for Gadling, called Through the Gadling Lens. It'll be a weekly feature, published on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. EST, and will hopefully provide useful tips on taking great travel photographs. Please pop by, check it out, and leave a comment, won't you?

2. Marcus recently downloaded Life Through a Lens for me -- the story of photographer Annie Leibovitz. I was freaking riveted, and after it was over, I told him it was the nicest thing he'd bought for me in ages, I loved it so. It has renewed my passion for portraiture, and I now have a couple of ideas for a project I'd like to start. More very soon.

3. My friend Elspeth recently posted some notes taken during a talk she gave over the weekend. I loved the points, and wanted to share them here with you:

  • develop your intuition - this way you are more in touch with the world and by extension, yourself.
  • Do what your heart calls you to do - don’t do things just for money.
  • FIND THE DEEPER THINGS IN SIMPLICITY- this is something which I have been doing for the past year. Since this, I appreciate all the small things in life.
  • Creation= transformation
  • Creativity = life : creativity comes from the heart. It is the root. It is the foundation.
  • Don’t hold on to your best work - Sometimes by throwing things away, you actually create or you allow new things to be created.
  • Don’t force things to happen - sit back and allow things to happen for you. The earth takes a natural course. If it is meant to be it will be.
  • NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
  • Magic is art and art is magic.
  • Emptiness allows for other things to fill us.

SongCharmed life, as performed by Diana Krall

through the viewfinder: happy birthday, mom

Today is my mom's birthday.  I would tell you how old she is, but if I did that, she would positively disown me.  (Given the current economic crisis, it probably wouldn't matter, but still.)  So to protect her dignity, I won't tell you; however, know that this is a milestone birthday, and therefore a very exciting day.

My parents are currently in Trinidad, so I won't get to tell my mom happy birthday in person.  If she were here, however, I would buy her flowers -- I don't know anyone who loves receiving flowers more than my mom -- and if I bought her flowers, I would buy her irises, since they're her two favourite colours, purple and yellow.  So instead, I bought a bouquet, and shot a couple of images just for her.

Happy birthday, Mom.  You make s ... I mean, you make however old you are, look great.

introversion

Marcus returned home late last night after being away all week.  Tonight, we're doing our usual Friday night lights (complete with our first fire of the season, even though it's 60 degrees outside) and watching movies.   We also have a total family-centric weekend planned.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

SongFamily Affair, by Sly and the Family Stone

fresh arts event: made from ike, october 24, 2008

If you happen to be in the Houston area tomorrow, Friday, October 24th, consider dropping by the Caroline Collective for happy hour:  Fresh Arts will be hosting their Made from Ike event.  Local artists were invited to contribute art made from debris from Hurricane Ike for the chance to win a $2000 prize. 

All of the art pieces will be on display tomorrow night, and will be available for silent auction, with proceeds benefiting the Americans for the Arts Emergency Relief Fund.  I've donated two of my images:  the one you see above, and this one -- so if you'd like to own either, please come out and bid.

Hope to see you there!

into the sun

This past weekend, before Marcus headed out of town on business, the three of us went walking into the small arboretum near our home to "explore."  It was one of the those great Texas October days, so I brought my camera, knowing that I'd surely find something worth shooting.

Normally when I shoot (and as is likely true with any photographer), I'm very conscious of how the light is falling, the shadows it creates, the reflections that occur.  But this time, I became fascinated with how things looked through the light: I found myself squinting into the sun, and blinking back tears, and shooting the translucence of the leaves, capturing the flare.

Sometimes that's how life feels when you have a goal or a singular purpose, don't you think?  I don't know about you, but whenever I've really wanted something really badly, it never came to me easily: in fact, I've become very superstitious in the belief that if things come to me without any real effort, then ultimately, I'm going to be disappointed.  Only the things I've really had to struggle for have turned out exactly as I'd hoped.

So I'm glad I was moved to capture these images: hopefully they'll remind me that when I'm working for something, straining with effort and even blinking back tears, as long as I keep the result in mind, it'll all be worth it in the end.

 

 

 

Song: Steal my sunshine, by Len

focus

So I was looking through my recent photographs trying to pick a suitable one for today's post, and I came across this one that I shot last Friday, in the tunnel connecting the two main buildings of the Museum of Fine Arts.  That day, as a little treat to myself, I had breakfast at my favourite coffee house, and then headed over to the Museum to check out The Black List Project.  I have been dying to see this exhibit since it came to the Houston, and could never find the time -- amazing how quitting my job freed up my schedule!

Today, I'm feeling a bit muddled (not unlike how the people look in the image, above): I find myself incredibly busy, doing things which I know may lead to future paid gigs, but nonetheless doing things which aren't making me money right now.  I know there'll be days like this, days where I question whether I've made the right decision leaving law (I can't call myself a "lawyer" anymore, I think), but when I start having those types of thoughts, I can't help but remember the words of Toni Morrison in the documentary that accompanies The Black List Project ...

...you are not beholden to someone else's opinion of you...

... and I remember that I create my own destiny, my own ideals, my own standards for my own life.

And then I just keep on keeping on.

 Song: Never Stop by The Brand New Heavies