changing perspective & shooting film

When I was younger, I loved a book by Sharon Creech called Granny Torelli Makes Soup. In this book, Rosie's best friend Bailey is blind. Rosie wants to be everything Bailey is, and wants Bailey to be everything she is, and so she puts a layer of tissue over her eyes. She is seeing the way Bailey sees. She doesn't know what's in front of her, but Bailey can do it and so can she. But Rosie isn't really blind, and eventually she takes the tissue off her eyes, and she sees what was in front of her.

This is what I thought shooting film would be like. I would be like Rosie--playing at not knowing what might happen, but still seeing it all in the end. A momentary impairment to my vision but not real blindness.

And yes, shooting film did give me a different perspective. I was more deliberate with what I photographed, and I took more care to get one shot right than ten shots okay. It made me think over a lot of things too, whilst I waited for my roll of film to developed. About seeing, and not seeing, and what I take for granted. About immediacy and waiting and delayed gratification.

But overall shooting film made me more certain in one thing: I want to take photos that change perspectives and that show people what they might not have seen before.


that one night in summer.

That one night we spent at the pool until our fingers pruned. It threatened to storm on the drive home, but we kept the sunroof open anyway. We stopped for ice cream and the clouds loomed menacingly low, but they were pink and that made you excited, because you love pink. When we got home, we quickly snuck you inside (giggling the whole time) so you wouldn't have to go home. Chloe popped in an episode of our favourite show, and we heard your mother call both your first and middle names in a 'come here right now' kind of tone. I'm not sure how it happened, but the stormy evening somehow ended with all of us snuggled up on the couch while laughing at witty gilmore girls jokes, us and our mothers. 
That one night we went golfing, but didn't actually golf at all. We despise golf, really. We just cruised around in the cart and sang sound of music and drew pictures in the sand traps and did barefoot cartwheels on the green and acted all civil when people walked by. I think not golfing is my new favourite sport.
That one night I was emptying out my knapsack and I found a wrapper from a caramel apple pop that I must have bought at the lake. We are not candy people, but we have the odd guilty pleasure. Caramel apple pops are one of them. We biked to the convenience store with loonies in the pockets of our cutoffs, and on the way back (with suckers in our mouths), we decided that summer was a really good thing.


Salinger, I'm Sorry.

This was supposed to be about Kerouac. I was going to talk about reading On The Road while I was driving through Utah and Arizona, how the dust of the desert fit in perfectly with the book. I was going to talk about my favorite line in Book of Sketches, "the flesh gets numb, but the soul doesn't."

Instead, it's Thursday morning, and I'm pounding out these words as quickly as I can, taking a break every few lines to put on mascara or foundation. All I can think of is a poem I read once, and the first two lines are echoing over and over in my head: "Salinger, I'm sorry, but don't ever tell anyone anything..." and that's all I can remember, so I repeat it until finally I open up a new tab and google the rest of the poem.

It goes like this:

"Salinger, I'm sorry, but "don't ever tell
anyone anything" is a string of words
that I would like to wrap up in canvas and sink
to the bottom of the Hudson, or extract
by laser from the ribcage of all of us
who ever believed it, who felt afraid
to miss someone, to be the last one
standing. "Tell everyone everything" is
not exactly right, but I do believe that if
your mother looks radiant in violet
you should tell her, or when a juvenile
sparrow thrashes its wings in dustpiles
and reminds you of a lover's eyelashes,
you should say so. We are islands all of us,
but we are also boats, our secrets flares,
pyrotechnic devices by which we signal
there's someone in here we're still alive!
So maybe it's, "don't be afraid." Oliver Bendorf, Catch a Body

That poem contradicts one of my favorite quotes from Salinger. See, when I read the Catcher in the Rye, it had been exactly a year since I left for Jordan. All those memories were flooding back, and I started telling my family the stories that they had already heard millions of times. And I read that quote, right at the end of the book, where Holden Caulfield says, "Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody," and I thought, that is so true. Holden gets it.

But then. I read this poem, and maybe Holden doesn't get it. Holden does understand that sharing the stories, telling people things, can make you miss them more. Holden doesn't understand, though, that sometimes it's worth it, that sometimes the best thing you can do is: "don't be afraid."


july playlist.

Just minutes ago, I sat down at the deck table to scrawl out this month's playlist. I'm still in a post-lake trip daze, which may or may not explain the paint chips (i stuff them in my suitcase to document the many hues i see from the dock). There's also a necklace from that one shop near the boardwalk, and a half-finished crossword puzzle grampy and I started in the camper. 
One good thing about coming home was seeing all the fantastic songs the girls had sent me. I'll probably just spend the rest of today listening to them and finishing up that crossword. 



an interview with... Kara Haupt

Kara Haupt is an art student living in Portland, and she 'calls herself a blogger, designer, photographer, online shop owner, online art journaling/scrapbooking/photography teacher, a contributing writer, an intern and online assistant' who also 'pretends to be charming at a retail job a few days a week.' And still, amongst all those commitments and all that work, she's a genuinely lovely and incredibly creative person. I emailed her the other week about an interview here, and below are her answers on topics ranging from art journalling to supporting yourself to George Clooney. It's good stuff.

indie & chic lovin'
You're a full-time student, and you run a popular blog & online courses and you do design work too--and you've just turned twenty! That sounds like a lot of work for someone so young. What made you so dedicated to start making a living through creative pursuits and filling your world with art?

Hmm, great question! I don't know, I see a lot of my peers who seem unhappy by merely surviving (okay, I say surviving loosely) in whatever study or job they feel like have to stay in. I really want to spend my days, my life, and my energy doing something that excites me and teaches me instead of settling for whatever. I have things I want to do that require financially supporting myself, whether that be living in apartment, saving to pay off student loans, or saving up for traveling once I graduate. Those are all things I really want and I am very lucky that I can use all my skills to support those endeavors. I push myself and drink more coffee and freak out a lot over all the things I try to do, but knowing that I have a life of creating ahead of me instead of a life in a cubicle, pushes me forward.

make someone happy cry. done.

You seem extremely motivated, working towards big goals like your 'forty before twenty' and releasing various art journalling courses. What spurs you on to work so hard?
Well, I know I am really lucky. I read this quote by George Clooney once (stay with me here!) where he was talking about lucky he and other actors are to get to do what they do. Though the hours are long and it takes talent and dedication, he knew he was very lucky to have the job he did. He said he had sold insurance or something once and THAT was a shitty, hard job. And that he was very lucky and he and other super successful actors shouldn't complain about what they get to do. I feel that way. I am SO lucky to have had the opportunities, avenues, and support to pursue what I have and though it's emotionally exhausting because of how personal my work can be, I know I'm a lucky person. How awesome is that I get to do something I love and am good at and get paid for it? Knowing that makes me want to work harder and cherish these opportunities, because so many people don't have them or don't try to have them. The hours can be long and I get frustrated or too attached or dissapointed plenty, but it's still really awesome. Plus I am a pretty awesome boss.
Also, I am kinda immature and want to prove to some people in my life that I can and will support myself with an art degree or without their help. ;)

rainy day disposable camera

Is there a particular project or goal that you've met that has been especially important to you?
Over the last year I've really been able to grow my blog I Just Might Explode into something that's really satisfying for me. I moved IJME to Wordpress last year w/o transferring over Google Reader or Blog Lovin' followers and now it is starting to do really well. When I bought that domain, I knew almost nothing about the technical behind the scenes stuff of hosting, Wordpress, etc... I've been able to learn a little about web design and also start my portfolio site and classes sites on their own domains with their own "branding". I've come a really long way in just one year and that is SO satisfying. Since that happened, I discovered how I liked to blog, to photograph, and even to live my day-to-day life. That "growing up" has been really encouraging as a young artist. 

art journal all year long

What's your favourite thing about art journalling; is there any specific reason that it's your preferred 'artistic expression',  over things that can be thought of as more 'professional' like painting on canvas or simple sketchbook work?
Art journaling is very comfortable and familiar for me. You see, scrapbooking and art journaling started it all. I was NOT an artistic child/teenager and it wasn't until I tried scrapbooking and then hated everything I created for almost two years, and then finally "found" it did I realize I was an artist. The design intuition I cultivated because of scrapbooking is absolutely invaluable. Physically pushing paper around a somewhat-limiting "canvas" of an 8.5x11 sheet of paper is a great way to understand design and space. Art journaling has always been intensely personal to me because of the emotional shit I worked through because of it. It's a familiar way to destress and think.

publish a zine. done.

What advice would you give to other artistic young people who want support themselves through making and creating?
Start NOW. I answered in another interview recently that if you have the opportunity to get your feet wet now without the pressure of financial ruin because of it, do it. I am so grateful I began blogging and working for myself in high school, because I was able to experiment and make mistakes without worrying about paying rent for the next month. A lot of people don't have that luxury, so take advantage of it if you do. You do not have to make money from it. In fact, I recommend not trying to make money in the beginning. Learn, experiment, and learn as many possible skills as you can. I can assure you that you will be a better photographer if you practice drawing, or a better blogger if you know how to photograph or know minimal HTML/CSS. Plus, you will be a more desirable future employee if you have multiple skills and concentrations. 


watermelon, rollkuchen, and gopher holes.

If I were to sum up my childhood summers in three words, I might say watermelon, rollkuchen, and gopher holes. Three words you've probably never heard anyone say all in the same sentence, but if you lived in the prairies, you'd understand. You might even laugh. And with a gleam in your eye, you'd think back to your own childhood summers. 

Watermelon has a romance with rollkuchen. Or maybe rollkuchen has a romance with watermelon. Either way, you can't have one without the other - ask any mennonite. Or anyone who lives here, really. I have vivid memories of my cousin and I sitting on our grandma's lawn, slobbery pink juice trickling down our chins and into the crooks of our tiny arms. I have memories of small crystal bowls filled with icing sugar. And at the end of the day, after dipping one too many pieces of rollkuchen, we'd have icing sugar stains to go along with our grass stains. 

I had this combination for supper last night. My grandma doesn't live in that house anymore. My arms aren't as tiny. I understand the purpose of a napkin now. Things are different, but grandma still makes rollkuchen, and it tastes just like it always has. 

And the gopher holes? That's another story all on its own. I'll tell it sometime. 


a summer project manifesto

It's a bit scary to realise that Fernweh has been a 'thing' for six months now. When I sent out that first email back in October, asking if anyone fancied being a part of something, I didn't expect this--not at all.
Creating this has been a huge project for us all--a labour of love, balanced between the rest of a busy teenager's commitments and involving the occasional late night. But if we're talking big projects, let's talk summer.
Yes--Fernweh was planned in the cold dreary late-autumn and early-winter days, where curling up inside and drawing mindmaps and writing emails seemed like the best idea.
But projects like Hannah's summer book, and making zines, and curating your photography portfolio? Do that now. Even just making a promise to yourself that this will be the best summer yet. The one where you take ten photos a day. The one where you learn to cartwheel! The one where you live boldly. Spend July and August working on big scary things and pushing yourself to the limit and embarking on new projects. Be brave. Go for it. Do something crazy--who knows where it will take you?
Stay up late, wake up early. Spend every waking moment creating and living and being immersed in the wonder that is summertime. Make art. Learn Arabic. Talk to strangers.
Whatever it is that has been lingering on your heart all school year--whatever it is that you have been dreaming of--whatever it is that you planned to do?
Do it.

What will your summer project be?