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One :: ME

16 Oct
One :: ME

One :: ME

“Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You can not withstand the storm.’
The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’”

 

Over the last few weeks, there has been so much talk about the Supreme Court nominee, sexual assault, false accusations, the cultural perceptions of these sort of incidents and the political divide in our government (and our citizens). It’s been, for lack of a better phrase, a sh*tshow of epic proportions.

There are so many things that can be said about this, but I’ll try to keep it brief.

First, this is not a comment about political agendas (which are disheartening) or Kavanaugh/Ford. It’s about compassion.

1 in 4 (some stats say 1 in 3) people have been assaulted in their life. That’s your wife/sister/child/mother/grandmother/aunt or neighbor. In some cases, its your brother/husband/son. If the public shock at the #metoo movement is any indication, most victims never talked about it. They didn’t report it and you didn’t know, because of the psychological factors that surround these incidents. Intimidation, fear, control, the stigma attached to the victim, the idea that a victim won’t be believed…. The dissociation/repression/blocking out memories for self preservation that comes with trauma. The social complexities that come with assaults perpetrated against minors, especially if the accused is an adult. The fact that so many people simply do not believe, or say there is a false accusation.  And FINALLY, the way the legal system is set up to flounder in these cases.

1 in 4 people have been assaulted, and far fewer have been prosecuted.  That is indicative of a major problem (both culturally, and with regards to accountability).

The burden of proof lies with the victim. The legal system presumes innocence. But as was just mentioned, there are a mountain of reasons why people don’t report. Furthermore, not all of these crimes result in rape (or rape kits), being battered (no significant physical injuries to document), are not in front of witnesses and due to the trauma of the event, the details become hazy.

On the other side of the spectrum, false accusations are equally problematic and because the system is set up to flounder, so many of these situations turn into he said/she said cases that are damaging to everyone.

There needs to be change – the cultural piece has already begun – in how we handle these cases where physical evidence is generally limited.  Thankfully the conversation has already begun and I’m beginning to hear ideas that attempt to bridge the gap.

So why am I saying all of this? Because of the uninformed nature of the judgements I’ve heard, which are entirely unproductive.  Surrounding yourself with an echo chamber or stirring up people’s emotions doesn’t lead to positive change.  Reasoned, informed discussions do.

It’s easy to give an opinion on social media, or even to someone’s face when you don’t know they have been a victim. But I implore you to remember that statistic. 1 in 4. Someone who is listening has been assaulted, and are remembering/reliving their own trauma.

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Starlight Sonata :: CO

11 Sep
Starlight Sonata :: CO

Starlight Sonata :: CO

I frequently wonder if I’m doing enough to make this world better. Am I recycling and conserving water? Am I speaking up about serious topics like conservation and equality? Am I leading by example?

The answers to those questions are both yes and no. I am doing those things, but I feel like I can do more.

The world is a spectacular place and for some people, a photograph is the closest they will get to seeing some of the beauty our world has to offer. There is something gratifying about knowing I’m able to give that gift to people through my images.

That being said, I think there is opportunity for photos to be more than just a passing like or comment or wallpaper. Sometimes I see shots that make my heart flutter (currently obsessed with @nlwirth ‘s tree work for example). I think that connection is the start of something magical. If you can make people love something, then they’ll work to protect it. Yeah, yeah, logically we KNOW we are harming our planet (our ONLY place to live, I might add) but it’s easy to shrug it off as our children’s problem. Or to rationalize current wants despite the consequences. But when you LOVE something you’ll be driven to protect it.

That is what I think a landscape photographer can be. They can be part of something bigger than a “pretty” or “gramable” shot. Photography can be a vehicle for change. So when I ask myself if I’m doing enough, I need to also think about the current political climate and policies, the attitudes towards keeping our planet healthy enough to sustain life, the voiceless who need help to retain their basic human rights and dignities…

Without question, I can do more. We all can do more.

This is Independence Pass in CO. And that is what night skies without much light pollution look like.😍

Divergent :: CT

30 Aug
Divergent :: CT

Divergent :: CT

Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel.  But sometimes you find the most beautiful things in your backyard. 🙂

Rejuvenate :: CT

21 Aug
Rejuvenate :: CT

Rejuvenate :: CT

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau

At times, it’s hard to determine what is a cause and what is an effect when it comes to my photography. Do I explore the corners of the earth looking for beauty because I want to create an image? Has photography helped me hone my ability to find joy in nature? Or have I always loved nature, and photography is just a vehicle to share that experience with others? To inspire others to appreciate the world around them?

Perhaps both truths are valid.

There is so much beauty and joy to be found in this world, the trick is to be open to it. Often that means some discomfort and growth, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

As an aside, here in CT we have had muggy, hot, rainy weather which is miserable when the humidity is so high, but it does produce some lovely waterfalls. That being said, you won’t hear me complain about the heat when California is experiencing the biggest fire in its history.  Apparently, the direct cause of the fire is unknown, though generally speaking there seems to be some acknowledgment that climate change(a complicated issue) has been playing a role in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events.  There has also been some criticism of the US forest service’s policy to suppress fires rather than letting some burn for the health of the forests.  The news outlets covering the fires do say with certainty that multiple days of three digit temperatures have exacerbated the problem.  Many have been evacuated, lost homes, and some have been injured/lost their lives. Yosemite is closed indefinitely while they try to control the fire.

Thoughts and prayers to everyone on the west coast living with those conditions. Many thanks to all of the firefighters, fire personnel, etc working to contain things.

Meandering :: CO

19 Jul
Meandering :: CO

Meandering :: CO

“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” -James Watkins

I have a confession. I spent the last week watching telenovelas (soap operas).

Why, you ask? Because I was going to meet the grandfather (abuelo) of mi novio, and I haven’t practiced my Spanish in years. 😳

I learned a few things though. First, telenovelas are very dramatic. Second, his family got a kick out of that and recommended cartoons as well. Lol Third, his grandfather was happy that I tried.

We had a wonderful conversation about the importance of trying.  Grandpa was adamant that you needed to try new and difficult things in life. He reminded me that failing is part of the process but no progress would be made without putting yourself out there and putting in an effort, despite the challenges.

That’s some real life talk, right there. In photography, I always remind students that practice makes progress. More than that, though, it builds your confidence. By the end of last night, my brain was tired from the translations and concentrating (and from getting my a** whooped at dominoes 😑) but I was definitely feeling less anxious about the language barrier. I even made a few jokes in Spanish. *pats self on back*

So if you’re thinking you want to learn something new, I encourage you to do it. If you’re feeling discouraged, I hope you’ll keep working at it. Afterall, a baby step is still a step in the right direction. ❤️

 

Nerdy stuff: this is three blended exposures for focus stacking, used the big stop filter at time of capture. 😊

Migration :: CO

26 Jun
Migration :: CO

Migration :: CO

“It’s your pasture now, and it’s not so big–only three thousand miles from east to west, only two thousand miles from north to south–but all between, where ten thousand points of light prick out the cities, towns, and villages, there, seeker, you will find us burning in the night” -Thomas Wolfe

To me, this photo is one of journey and transition, like the snow melt’s path down the mountain. Similarly, like many Americans, I’ve been deeply troubled by the recent zero tolerance policy at the border that infringes on the human rights of children. Am I glad the practice of separating families has stopped for the moment? Yes. Am I concerned about the welfare of the 2000+ children in detention facilities since May? Yes. Am I worried the most recent executive order flies in the face of the court precedent preventing detention for longer than 20 days? Yes.

Do I have a solution? No.

I do know that thinking in absolutes is dangerous though. Very little in life is 100% black and white, and this idea that to be strong, we must give up compassion is immature. Compromise is a way forward. Understanding is a way forward. We are a nation of immigrants, many of whom were seeking asylum themselves. It’s foolhardy to label all asylum seekers as dangerous criminals and its unethical to treat people as animals or monsters. While I agree crossing borders illegally is, well, illegal…I also recognize we have a complex and confusing immigration system.

Do I want safeguards and background checks and asylum hearings in place? Yes. But I can I understand the urgency of some refugees situation that puts them in the difficult position of choosing to cross illegally? Also a yes.

I don’t know where the middle ground here is but my heart tells me without any doubts that our morals and ethical standards, and our compassion for people in need, should not be forsaken. I hope our Congress (contact your reps) can have some meaningful conversations in the coming days and get those children reunited with their families soon.

Pure Serenity :: Iceland

5 Apr
Pure Serenity :: Iceland

Pure Serenity :: Iceland