Spell-check, People!



The other day I was looking for a local business to print some photos from negatives.


Now – before I get too deep, let me say that yes, I am someone who still has negatives from the days of film cameras. In fact, I still own film cameras and occasionally use them. And I treat that film like gold. Because it’s just that precious. But I digress…


Like I said, I was searching online for a local business equipped to make photo prints from negatives. I found a well-reviewed joint and started studying their website. And that’s when my head nearly exploded and I had to have a cool drink while walking around the block, just to recover from what I’d seen. The well-reviewed establishment was ready to provide “diggital prints” from “nagative” or slides. The site went on to read “glossy is available upon reguested” and that they “are a full service.” Full service what, I couldn’t tell you, as that bit of info was not provided.


I don’t mean to be all grammar-police-y. I don’t mean to even notice misspelled words and poor grammar. It just happens. In fact, sometimes when I read a news story with excellent grammar and correctly spelled words, I’m so taken by the professionalism of the piece that I miss the content entirely and have to read it a second time, just to focus on the information provided and not on the writing itself. This isn’t about some superiority trip. It’s kind of a curse, if you must know.


Anyhoo, after my head nearly exploded, I looked for another service provider. I mean, if you can’t even be bothered to click spell-check people, why on earth would I think you’d be capable of doing a good job?


You wouldn’t. Be capable, I mean. But that’s okay. Because there’s always some other business, ready to take my money. Here’s hoping nothing’s misspelled on my receipt.

Accidental Selfie



Sometimes the unexpected happens. Like when you’re taking a photo of a beautiful spread of tomatoes and prosciutto. Tomatoes and basil you harvested from your own garden. Prosciutto you harvested from a local Italian market. Fresh burrata from the best maker in Los Angeles. And later, after you’ve devoured that fabulous platter of food, you look at the photo you snapped just before dinner and notice that not only did you capture the glorious essence of your dinner, you also got yourself a crazy selfie. I love when that happens.





The other day, as I tried to navigate my grief over the death of Prince, I found myself at a supermarket, standing before a bin of the most beautiful peppers I’ve ever seen. They were striped and gorgeous.


Life is like that. You can be so far down in the dumps that you’d have to climb a ladder to see daylight, and something beautiful will appear before you, almost magically, to remind you that the world is made of more than woe. The trick is to actually see that beauty when it appears, to actually take it in. Otherwise, grief can consume you. And living is so much better than stifled existence. I swear it.


I didn’t buy even one of those beautiful peppers. But I knew enough to take a moment and snap a pic. I was able to understand what a gift that vision was. To appreciate it and the moment.


This is the last week of April. I’d like to try and spy with my little eye as much beauty as I can before May arrives. And if I’m good – and lucky – I’ll keep going, into next month. And beyond.

Thursday Memories



A couple of days ago I mentioned I’d be seeing my dear friend, Kate Graves. And I did. The photo shown above is from the summer I first met Kate, along with her sister, Sarah Sample. It was – gulp – a whole decade ago.



Kate lives in Santa Barbara now, and she took the train down for an art outing this week. We went to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to see the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit. When I told Mister where Kate and I were going, he asked if we’d see a photo with a whip coming out of a butt. And yes – we did. But we saw so much more. Mapplethorpe’s work is so gorgeous, I found myself crying a couple of times. I was overcome with what he managed to capture in his subjects. Their honesty and beauty was on full display. So were a lot of body parts, and I guess that’s what people tend to think of most when Mapplethorpe comes to mind. But my god! The man was a tremendous talent and I strongly encourage anyone near L.A. to visit this exhibit before it closes on July 31st.



After we’d absorbed the Mapplethorpe works, we walked outside to see Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass. We were still discussing the Mapplethorpe works, but we were also laughing about life and earthquakes. Honestly – if you can’t laugh, what can you do?



After a too-short day together, during which I about talked her ear off, I drove Kate to the train station and bid her farewell. Our art outing had been lovely. Our time together had been dear. It’s funny how life can lead two paths to cross. Lucky for me, my path crossed that of Kate Graves. I am all the better for knowing her.


Cool, Clear Water



While keeping cool and floating in the pool, I couldn’t help thinking about water. Cool, clear water. I guarantee much of my liquid obsession is based in the drought. Go figure.


Our water problems here in the West are consistently ugly, and even though there’s talk of major El Niño weather in our future, one winter won’t cure our ills.


But I digress. This photo is not only beautiful, but cooling for me. I can almost feel the cool, damp room where Mister and I encountered this shady fountain, a jillion years ago. And for the moment, at least, I don’t mind the heat so much.

I Yam What I Yam, Not What I’m Not



I am a big fan of the work of Edward Weston. His photography is some of my very favorite in the whole wide world. When I see his work, I am left speechless.


Mr. Weston and I share a birthday, but that’s about it. I would love to be able to come close to his photos, but I fail miserably, each time I try.


Recently I found a pepper that intrigued me so much, I almost couldn’t bring myself to eat it. Its curves and attitude led me to think of Weston. So I got out my camera.



Even with the help of Photoshop, I failed in my Weston quest. Which really isn’t a surprise. I mean, I’m not Edward Weston. No one is. And really, isn’t that as it should be?


So I’ll go on loving Mr. Weston’s work, and I’ll probably go on failing at imitating him. The only person I’m good at imitating is me. Fingers crossed, that will be enough.


Walking In L.A.



Sometimes when I’m out walking, I see things that make me giggle. 9 times out of 10 I just walk on by. I don’t know why it is, but I rarely stop to take a photo of what intrigues me. I think this may be because my brain expects (and probably wants) to use a camera for photos. As I don’t usually carry a camera along for walks, my brain-hole doesn’t process any other means of snapping a pic. But once in a while I remember I have a phone on me. And when I do, I click away.


Anyhoo – I spotted the above discarded chair on the side of a residential street. It was placed in the shade of a magnolia tree, and I thought that was probably nice for some passerby, what with the recent heat and all.


Lest it be too hot for a magnolia tree’s willowy shade, there was also a fan just down the road…



Unfortunately, its inner guts were missing, so I think its ability to stir and cool the air would be more figurative than literal. Of course, I did not see a very long extension cord nearby, so don’t even get me started on the whole electrification of things.


In the future, I hope to remember my phone’s camera when I’m out and about. I always carry a phone when walking or riding my bike, so it’s not as if I’m without technology. If I can just tweak my brain into accepting the phone’s camera as a real camera, I’ll be set.

“The Salt of the Earth”



The other night Mister and I watched an amazing documentary made by Wim Wenders. And when I say amazing, I mean amazing, y’all.


The film is called “The Salt of the Earth” and photographer Sebastião Salgado is the focus. His work spans some 40-odd years and is phenomenal in and of itself. But the film goes beyond his photography and covers his family’s conservation work as well. To hear his stories and see his work is a gift. And I won’t lie – some of it is uncomfortable. For while Mr. Salgado has documented earth’s beauty, he has also covered human tragedies and devastation. More than once, I found myself tearing up.


Without giving anything away, I do want to tell you that one tear-filled moment was just lovely. A part of the film caught me by surprise and wowed me in the best way. So not only is this documentary stirring for its darkness, but also for its light.


I highly recommend seeing “The Salt of the Earth” and I really hope you do. Salgado’s work is reason enough. His life puts it over the top.

Little Tokyo Tower



My friend Nicole and I went on an art outing yesterday. I’ll share more about that this week, but for now I wanted to share the above photo. It was taken in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. I didn’t notice when I took the photo, but now I see how very fake the tower appears. Not in the sense that it’s a fake tower, built in Little Tokyo, but instead the photo looks to me as if it isn’t a photo at all. It looks to me like a digitally drawn tower. Weird, huh?


For all I know, we are all digitally drawn renderings of something or other, and my whole life is being conducted inside The Matrix. If that’s the case, I want a yummy steak, please. And don’t skimp on the imaginary sauce. God bless the rabbit hole.

Photo By Mister



Sometimes when I download photos from a camera, I find some unexpected shots. These are almost always attributable to Mister. (I say “almost always” because once in a great while a friend will pick up our camera and snap a few pics.) And while I can sometimes finish that guy’s sentences, I have zero-point-zero ability to see through his eyes.


Lucky for me, I don’t have to. I can just look through his photos.