10 more days of my July daily challenge! Time has flown by, and simultaneously I feel like I’ve lived a whole lifetime these past 21 days. That is what living mindfully does for you. What thinking deeply and personally does. It is a drug.

Between yesterday and today, I’m fairly certain a few people think I have a personality disorder. Extreme dark and light, hopeful and depressing…sometimes my images are all over the place. I try to keep a visual cohesion for when I veer off the thematic rails, but this month is for experimenting, and today I set out to create another light-focused image. July is my experimentation month, better known as learning-more-in-July-than-in-my-whole-career month.

The other day I was interviewed and the person asking the questions prefaced by saying that they really, really hoped one of the questions they had wouldn’t upset me or offend me. The question was how I can be so different from my art. I giggled, a lot, at that question becauseย of course I wasn’t offended! I am so grateful that I am not a harbinger of darkness (sidenote: my husband calls me Shade, so there’s that irony). But it isn’t totally true to say that I amย so different from my art.

At the heart of what we do, whether it seems that way or not, is our very essence. I am able to create with darkness, not live in it. There is a distinct difference, but it doesn’t mean that I am not comprised of light and dark. We are all both, and we create from different pieces of ourselves depending on the day.

Today was a definite light day, especially after yesterday’s darkness. I like to swing the pendulum.

I’m settling in now to planning and reading and eating banana bread and generally having the greatest Friday evening. I hope you find a piece of bliss today, too.

  • July 21, 2017 - 2:13 pm

    Margherita Introna - This image made me feel very happy! Not that the darker stuff does not make me happy for the power of emotions it invokes… but sometimes happy is, well… happy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    PS: And it is strange, I have never really viewed your work as “dark” as such… but beautiful and powerful.ReplyCancel

    • July 21, 2017 - 2:15 pm

      brookeshaden - This is why I love you!ReplyCancel

  • July 21, 2017 - 2:21 pm

    Paulo Carvalho - This video is simple, beautiful and charming. Loved it! Have a wonderful weekend!ReplyCancel

Day 20 and things got WEIRD today. Seriously, really weird. I did a lot of writhing in front of my camera for today’s video to see how much I could get my skin to move over my bones. I also edited what felt like 92,512 hands onto my body. In reality it was only 40.

At the center of all the weirdness is a desire to create something personal, unique, and telling of the human psyche. As I was brainstorming for ideas today, I kept coming back to these themes:

Parts of Whole

Why? I asked myself what about them made me come back again and again. I believe that analyzing our thoughts leads to important art, so I try to ask myself why all the time. I had a vision of this image, a person made up of hands – holding her together? Tearing her apart? Trapping her? Releasing her? I didn’t care much about pinning down the final meaning, as long as it contained all of those meanings in the final image. I try not to answer questions such as those very closely. I don’t want to know, because I selfishly want to be both author and reader, onlooker and creator. I want to experience my own images the way someone else would; not just personally, but from the air, a hundred feet away.

At the end of the day, almost every image I create has great meaning to me. But, I’m not in this art game just for myself. I desire to speak for those who feel they don’t have a voice, to empower those who choose not to speak yet, and to relate to people no matter how distant or different. I am an introvert, ridden with anxiety and fairly anti-social. Art is my way of connecting. It is my way of skipping the cheap talk to get to what matters most; to have conversations with people that mean something. To look back and know that I spent my timeย trying. Not necessarily succeeding, but who cares about that, anyway?

My life will not be defined by if I succeeded, but by if I tried. This is me trying, reaching out to you and showing you who I am; not that superficial person that you might bump into on the street, who says “how are you” but really wants to ask “what is your passion?”, but the one who dives straight into those questions without worry.

Are you trapped?
Are you being torn apart?
Are you being held together?

Those are the questions I desire to know answers to, so this is my art, asking those questions.


  • July 20, 2017 - 8:27 pm

    Gallagher Green (Fit BMX) - That’s a heck of a question…. I would say most of the time I feel more trapped, but I am also starting to feel like I am getting closer to breaking free!
    I love the photo and the video, they definitely ask that question rather clearly.

    Trimming around all of those fingers must have been murder! Props to you for getting it done so quickly! ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

  • July 21, 2017 - 3:51 am

    Caz Harris - I shed a few on seeing this one…..I’m being held together by God knows what at the moment, and yet I have SO much to be thankful and grateful for.

    A very emotive image, will definitely speak to people in many ways xReplyCancel

These are the places only she knows while
counting soul shifts in the movement of her wild rhythm.


There in the in between spaces where a throat clears into a cough
where no one hears the misstep as loudly as she does in her own ears.


There in the play dough thudding drum roll empty moldable way
that her tongue tries to form the words to a song she can’t remember.


These are the places only she goes.


These are the places only she knows while
sitting without breathing hoping loudly her wild chest won’t sing.


There in the laughter where her sighs get drowned out
where no one knows the sound of groping breaths and sharp inhales.


There in the sweated palms lines drawn etched deep down
her curses puddle in the creases on the long river to the ocean.


These are the places only she knows.

  • July 19, 2017 - 4:34 pm

    Gallagher Green (Fit BMX) - The poem and the photo are very emotionally moving, and beautiful…

    On a PS tech note. I never would have thought of using a flowed texter to make wallpaper! Love it!!!ReplyCancel

On my last morning in Joshua Tree, which was yesterday morning, I woke up before the sun as usual. I took a few shots before the sun began to rise, but they felt a little bit lackluster. It might have been because the sun rose so red and big on the mountain, or because I was feeling energized by the rising warmth in the air. Whatever the reason, I wanted to shoot with the sun behind me, to get that glow that I finally captured. I never shoot in that way, so it was a departure from what I’m used to. Isn’t it incredible how something so small and insignificant as taking a picture in a slightly different way than usual can stir up so many emotions – feelings of doubt and insecurity and excitement?

This month is for trying those new things, both for the experience and to see how I handle them. That is always the trick with trying something new; anyone can do it, but not everyone will handle it the same way. This month I’ve been tweaking the way I work while shooting, editing, and even writing. I’m stretching.

I simply can’t see the point in creating if everything looks the same – but more so, if everything feels the same. If every experience is the same, every image, every explanation, then why? I want to feel new winds at my back, be buoyed by feathers and embrace the uncertainty. I want to know that I am learning every day, that I am becoming someone slightly new and different, and even more strange…because sometimes it seems that anyone who wants to embrace their authenticity is just a little too weird for the day-to-day.

Something as simple as photographing into the sun might seem trivial and banal, and honestly, it is, quite. But for me something so simple represents a shift in the way I think and what possibilities my mind is open to. It excites me because I get a glimpse of the person I might become, and she is free and willing and eager, even in the face of the rising sun…which, by the way, she never would have been okay with even a few months ago.

I wish you lots of growth today. I’m off to shoot my next concept and video and edit that all together, because I’m a day of uploading behind thanks to no Internet and a malfunctioning computer! So, I’ll be back later today with Day 19!

  • July 19, 2017 - 8:40 am

    Margherita Introna - Aahh beautiful Joshua Tree… my dream! Such a wonderful video it gave me goosebumps. And a beautiful warm image to enjoy on this cold evening in my side of the world <3 xxReplyCancel

    • July 19, 2017 - 8:55 am

      brookeshaden - Aww you are always the kindest ever ๐Ÿ™‚ Hug!!ReplyCancel

  • July 19, 2017 - 8:52 am

    Caz Harris - Feathers have so many meanings, I’m surrounded with white ones at the moment as my geese are moulting as are my doves. Taking flight to reach a destination or goal is exciting, as is this image. So different for you, but yet so YOU too.

    It’s great to try something new, to expand horizons etc….I see the new Dr Who is a woman….now that’s also new!ReplyCancel

    • July 19, 2017 - 8:55 am

      brookeshaden - That sounds so great, use those feathers! So excited for Doctor Who. Yahoo!!ReplyCancel

  • July 19, 2017 - 11:57 am

    Gallagher Green (Fit BMX) - I love the sun at our back on this, I am so glad you were inspired to do this, it worked out beautifully! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I will check the other post out later, I have to go do some work outside.ReplyCancel

Oye my loves, am I fired or forgiven?! I went road-tripping to Joshua Tree to check out a venue I might use later on, and I didn’t have internet. And then, my computer broke. So, I took that as a cosmic sign (re: excuse) to unplug and have a grand time with my best friend instead of running around trying to find a computer and internet to edit and upload on! I still got up every day at 5am and I beat the sun and did my shoots and made videos, but alas, I am late posting because of the desert situation. I take challenges such as this July creation challenge very, very seriously, so rest assured I did my part. The posting will just be a little bit late. I’m home now, and ready to share Mondays’ image/video!

I was surrounded by beauty, the kind that makes you move slower and appreciate more. The first morning I couldn’t sleep; I was excited to see the sunrise. So, I went outside when it was still dark and took a walk and thought about my concept, which I utterly abandoned in an attempt to be more present and to use what inspiration was surrounding me rather than what I anticipated. I ended up half naked in a bush, which was alright because I was quite utterly alone.

It only dawned on me halfway through my shoot that there was a silent retreat going on at the venue, so I wouldn’t properly know if someone was lurking about, but then again, they couldn’t say anything even if they did see me, so it was all fine.

The sun came up that morning like a ball of red fire spit from the mouth of a dragon. It rose fast and furious and licked the mountain with red that seemed to linger in a streak. I recorded a time lapse of it while I sat on a rock and watched. Before I knew it an hour had passed, and I was entirely alone (so I think) and incredibly at peace. Connected. Beyond connected – at one. Some people love cities and crowds and the excitement that calls out from parties and tall buildings and fast paces. I can’t say I am one of those people. Quite the opposite, I get panicked just thinking about those things. To be alone in nature, that is my calling. That is my bliss.

I think this simple video perfectly reflects the morning I had and the feeling of the image I created from it. I’m so glad I waited to share, as I couldn’t even see the whole image on my laptop and just knew it could be something better if I could just get home and love on it.

  • July 18, 2017 - 7:47 pm

    Gallagher Green (Fit BMX) - If you had a nickel for everytime you ended up half naked in a bush! LOL
    The silent retreat thing really made me laugh! LOL
    I was just getting ready to shoot you a massage, I was hoping everything was okay. I know you would miss a challenge day unless you had no choice. So I am glad to hear all is well and that you had a great time!
    Beautiful video and photo, or photos rather! ๐Ÿ™‚

    What happened to you computer?ReplyCancel

    • July 18, 2017 - 7:49 pm

      brookeshaden - Aww thank you! Yes I am very dedicated, so missing a day wasn’t on my agenda, but did do all the shooting and as much editing as I could! My computer has a thick set of lines running down the middle so I can’t see that portion of the screen, and the colors are super off suddenly (not so good for editing a picture in color, hehe!). But, I’m home now and working overtime ๐Ÿ˜€

      Yeah…send in those nickels ๐Ÿ˜€ReplyCancel

      • July 18, 2017 - 9:13 pm

        Gallagher Green (Fit BMX) - Your laptop sounds like it can be fixed, but it is Mac (I thought it was at least) and Apple makes it very hard to work on their stuff. But it is probably the screen itself, or video drive.
        I hope it is an easy and cheap fix. ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel