Monday, March 31, 2014

the skin i'm in.

I took these self portraits on Friday, 3/28. It's a pretty big step for me, to have these pictures, these pictures in my underwear. Something that I pushed myself to do, why I take self portraits in the first place. To many, self portraiture may seem vain and narcissistic, but for me, it's quite the opposite. No, for me, it's therapy. It's a way to give back to myself, to push myself, to become comfortable in myself. All my life I have struggled with insecurity, body shaming myself, being self conscious. It's something that has been improving over time, and self portraiture has become a small remedy for that. Standing in front of the camera, letting it capture all of my flaws, seeing these flaws, and embracing myself. Seeing myself as the world sees me and not this idea of myself that I have in my head. Being comfortable with what I have, because, it's all I have and it's not going to change. This is who I am right now, in this point in time, this is what I look like. There's not use in hating myself, or not believe people when they call me beautiful, I have to believe it.

So, I did it. I took these pictures. I took these pictures to show myself that it's okay. That maybe I can be beautiful the way that I am, today.

Because lately, I am feeling more beautiful with these bones. In this skin, and everything that comes with it. I have Katheryn to thank for that also. It's nice to have someone around you, who looks at you in such a way where you have no choice but to believe them, you can see it in their eyes, feel it in their touch, feel it everywhere.

Featuring: Bubba Moonbeam. Be the person your dog thinks you are.

All photos taken with Canon EOS Rebel 350D.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

at the hop.

This past weekend, my favorite humans ventured into my city of Dallas. Katheryn hailing from Houston and Ruben, coincidentally on the same weekend, from Kansas City.

So, we made Saturday the greatest, most wonderful, double date day of all time, as Ruben brought his boyfriend Derrick with him. Which, is a rare treat.

The day started off with Ruben picking us up and heading to Cosmic Cafe, eating my favorite foods and drinking bottomless coffee. We all laughed and got to know each other better, and it was perfect. Afterwards, we headed to Fort Worth to check out the Modern Art Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum. We spent a lot of time at the modern because no one had been but me. 

Above you can see Derek walking across Carl Andre's sculpture, Slit (1981). This was a big deal for Derek as he explained (I'm extremely paraphrasing here) that it is meant to be walked across, but you also feel like you shouldn't. We watched and some people didn't even know it existed. And, here you have Derek wanting me to capture the moment because it was a big deal to him. Beautiful.
(The artwork in the back of Derek is Dark Blue Panel, Dark Green Panel, Red Panel, by Ellsworth Kelly, 1986.)

The most intriguing art to me was an exhibition of Fred Tomaselli. His collages were so intricate and breathtaking. I can only wish that I owned his artwork.

We walked around holding hands and discussing the pieces, Derek and Ruben both art students, Katheryn and I both passionate. It was splendid. The Kimbell was quite different. We caught it 30 minutes from close. They have so many original paintings, and while there I was very inspired to start a photo series of the guest of museums, Museum Dwellers. For this, I'd like to use my TLR, so it may happen in the future.

Afterwards we headed to Good Records to kill time before was saw the new Wes, Grand Budapest Hotel. Katheryn and Ruben geeked out and bought a handful of albums, and Derek and I strolled about pausing to kiss our lovers from time to time. 

Next was Paciugo and then the film. 
I wish I could lie and say that I loved the film, but I didn't. It was beautiful. It seems as though Wes' budget continues to increase, so therefore, it was stunning. The main characters were absolutely charming. It's just, there were a handful of things that I didn't like. Some of the characters were never fully developed to my liking. The story ended quite abruptly, and depressing. However, I also do this thing where I anticipate greatness and that leaves me to be displeased by my own faults. Who knows. I would still recommend it.

Isn't Katheryn beautiful?

The rest of the night was spent having Shiner with some friends, playing Catchphrase and card games and passing out early in the morning.

Needless to say, the rest of the weekend was even more magic than this day.

All photos taken with my Canon EOS digital Rebel 350D.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Well, well, well. Hasn't it been a hot minute since my poor canon has seen the lights of day.

To be precise, it has been since 2013 that I have taken any self portraits, or even photographs on my canon at all. Luckily, I haven't been completely useless and have still been venturing around with my Polaroid or Instax, or sometimes both, hanging from my shoulder. My iphone has been a trusty substitute.

Honestly, my life has been moving at a hyper-speed that I'm not quite used to. It all began with stretching my social butterfly wings as I had been locked away, avoiding friends to avoid conflict, to avoid anything, I guess. This whole new lease on life, unleashed on me and I have been quite frivolous and probably a little too social for anyone's good, especially mine, but I won't take back anything at all, because it has been magic and brought back this thirst for life, and led me to meet my muse, Katheryn.

Her face will be gracing this blog soon, I'm sure. However, not as often as I'd like as she and I are getting ourselves into one those long distance romances. Which, considering our sentiment and intellect find this rather romantic, for now. I can't wait to send her cute things in the real mail, and anticipate the days leading up to her receiving packages because life is all about instant gratification these days, and we forget what its like to wait on a package, to wait for a sweet reaction from a beautiful girl, to wait to see your significant other, the yearning, the build up, it's all so much magic.

So, here is to me, being back to me. To this beautiful self that was lost for a while, but is back, and motivated and ready to keep improving and constantly striving to better myself, and to this life with this new light.

Pictures taken with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel 350D, on the balcony of my apartment I'm learning to love. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

use instant film.

A collection of my recent captures.
A random night at double wide.
Taken by a stranger on my friend's Polaroid using Polaroid 600-Type film.

Later on in the random night.
Taken with my Fujifilm Instax Wide.

My friend's and I left a wedding on the border of Lousiana. Due to the roads icing over during the ceremony, a 3 hour drive turned into 14. For the majority of the time, we were at a standstill on the high way. Cars were turned off and no one budged. We found a bottle of wine in the back of the car and made friends from the vehicles around us. This was a redneck in crocks who used a bag of knives to open our bottle. You turn bad circumstances into good memories.
Take with my Fujifilm Instax Wide.

Another capture from that night on the frozen highway.
Taken with my Fujifilm Instax Wide.

Ice Night.
Taken with my FujiFilm Instax Wide.

The most magical date night.
Taken with my Polaroid Cool Cam 600, using Polaroid 600-Type film.
Taken with my FujiFilm Instax Wide.

Leaving Austin and tagging along with my friend Shella after missing my greyhound.
Taken with my Polaroid Cool Cam 600, using Polaroid 600-Type film.

My friend accidentally snapped this at her house.
Taken with my Polaroid Cool Cam 600, using Polaroid 600-Type film.

My love at my house this weekend, with bubs.
Taken with my FujiFilm Instax Wide.
Katheryn's first time in Dallas, this was right before we said goodbye at a wall by my apartment.
Taken with my Polaroid Cool Cam 600, using Polaroid 600-Type film.

My bathroom, with a handful of my instant pictures.

Use instant film, guys.

There's something about the film, about the moment that you choose to capture. What to use your film on, what memory you want on that film. 

The impossible project.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

paraselene woman.

I typed this post after the first weekend I met Katheryn, 3/8-3/9.

A small novel about when I met my dream girl.

This past weekend, I ventured 4 hours away from my apartment to Houston. For the last month or so I had been talking to a girl named Katheryn, not a girl, a woman. I had tried not to get too involved even though I loved all of our novel long, back to back, messages and how engaged she was in what I had to say. How she craved to know more about me, even the most minuscule things. Asking me questions like, "What is your favorite smell?", or "Is your writing style always stream of consciousness, or do you write poems, or short stories, or prose?" How could you not be hooked? Hanging onto every word in this unbelievable reality that this beautiful, intelligent woman wrapped in this attractive fucking package cared, really cared, about what I had to say. The last couple of weeks things got intense as we both started to realize that we were pretty lucky that we had stumbled upon each other somehow in this tangled universe, that we could hold these deep conversations, and yet we hadn't even met. The opportunity arose for me to travel to her, and I seized it. The whole ride there was a cocktail of utter excitement and sickening anxiety, because what if I don't amount to this picture she has painted in her head of me, that this too-good-to-be-true woman might actually be as such. We reached our destination around 11:00 PM, Katheryn and I would be seeing each other in less than 12 hours. I let her know that I had made it, I was only 45 tiny minutes away from. We flirted with the idea of seeing each other tonight, but it was so late, and she had to work early in the morning as she changed her schedule to have more time with me for our first date. Suddenly, "Fuck it, this is dumb, you're so close. I'm coming to see you." Katheryn asked for my location and that was that. Her car pulled up next to us, Brand New was blaring out of her speakers. I couldn't believe she was right next to me. "GO GET IN THE CAR WITH HER!" My friends urged me. My nerves were on fire, my stomach was flipping back and forth, my heart was beating, my hands were shaking. I got out and slid into her passenger seat. I had to force myself to look at her, I couldn't believe she was real life in front of me. A three dimensional human being, talking to me, driving us down the street to our destination. We arrived only two minutes later, but the anticipation slowed it down to at least 20. We got out and she walked to me, I even liked her walk. She hugged me, tightly, and her fingertips grew strong on my back. We headed towards the restaurant and I'm pretty sure I forgot how to walk. We sat next to each other across from my friends, but they may as well have been in a different building in a different city, at a different time. I was so consumed with the fact that Katheryn was next to me, she was really here. I finally had the courage to talk directly to her face, and she gave me these looks with her eyes that could kill. Those long eyelashes, and how they drew up slowly only to intently focus on my eyes. It made my heart drop. We chatted, told stories, talked about the drive, talked about how we couldn't believe we were in each other's real life presence. She sat her hand on my thigh for one second, and took it back in second thought. I let her know it was okay by moving my knee to meet her own. Her voice was adorable, and the way she talked, and used her arms, her fucking smile. It was almost time to go, and I couldn't wait until tomorrow. Her hug goodbye was even better than our hello. I could feel her desire to kiss me, but this was good enough. Not here, not like this.

As soon as I got into the car, I pulled out my phone to text her. It's too soon, I thought to myself. Just then, A message appeared on my screen from Katheryn, "You're so perfect."

We text all night and all day from the moment we opened our eyes. I the whole day making sure I looked perfect. I don't remember what it felt like to get ready for a first date until that day. When it was finally time to go meet her, I could barely breathe.

We spot her car and she gets out to hug me. Oh, those hugs. When we get inside, she reaches in the back and pulls out flowers. Gerber Daisies. "I got you these. I know you like sunflowers, but I had to get these. Look at them!" How can someone continuously get more and more perfect?

We started driving. She was taking me to the park, Discovery Green. She told me about Houston, she's full of these little facts and bits of history and it's completely endearing. We talked about her mom, and her family. Her high school. When we made it downtown, she pointed out buildings and told me about them. We park and get out to walk. It's dark now and we can't stop giggling walking beside each other because it's so unreal and we have no idea where we are going. My hair was blowing in every direction and the air was humid. We reach the park and there was a small family festival that was ending. Dad's were playing tag with their kids, and it was a beautiful night. She takes me to the Listening Vessels. Two giant half circles made out of limestone. They are facing each other, 70 feet apart. There is a small seat and I sit down in one of the orbs and Katheryn walks to the other. The sound waves travel and we can hear each other, even though I can barely see her in the night. "You look really pretty tonight," she almost whispers. I wonder if she could hear me blush from there.

I walk over and ask to take her Polaroid. I want to capture this moment. 

She's beautiful.

We see a sculpture off in the distance, not knowing exactly what it is, we make our way there. It's amazing. Children are running in and out of all of the little alley ways and crevices, climbing it's walls. I want this memory too.

We continue walking through the park. She grabs my hand. Spark straight to the heart. "We're about to get some looks." She says, as she smiles at me with that smile, with that squint. It's too much.

The next 20 minutes are spent driving around her city. Her telling me stories of where she used to live, what it was like to grow up here, all while listening to the playlist I made her. We go for a drink.

The bar is called Boheme, it's illuminated by red lights. Latin music plays in the background, and tufted couches and wooden tables surround the rectangle bar in the middle. "Will you let me order you a beer?" she asks. It's a local beer, Bombshell Blonde. We sit outside.

There are giant heaters and all of the tables are full, and even then it feels like we are the only ones at the bar tonight. We talk about our favorite artists, what inspires us. I gush about Nan Goldin, Francesca Woodman, Mary Ellen Mark, and she about Kurt Vonnegut and all of the authors that changed her world. We talk about painters and our favorite films, and she gets me with each word she says. It starts raining. Which is only an excuse to get to move onto the bench next to her under the giant umbrella. Our legs are touching, she puts her arm around me, "I really can't believe you're here. Your smile... it kills me." She touches my leg and I bury my face into her shoulder. I can't even speak, I'm just blushing and smiling, and my cheeks hurt. She kissed my cheek and I feel more from that peck on my skin than so many past kisses on my lips. I can't, I look at her face, and her lips, and I kiss her. My heart is beating, and the rain is pouring all around us, and it's perfect. She gently grabs my face, her lips are so soft. I can't even think straight after the kiss. "I feel like the world could just melt away right now," she said, and I realize that there are moments in life that are even better than the movies.

The rain begins to overflow the umbrella, and we decide to go inside and close out and leave. She can't stop touching me, or kissing me. It's such a spectacular feeling, like we are the only ones who exist in a crowded bar where everyone is elbow to elbow. 

We walk back to the car and decide to go for a late meal. Where she wanted to take me was closed, but it's more opportunity to drive around and share stories, look at the art the city has to offer. She decides on a place, Brazil. We park on a street in an adorable neighborhood, but we don't get out. We sit in the car and Rilo Kiley is playing, a song she previously dedicated to me and she looks at me and smiles. She tells me how perfect I am, how she can't believe I'm real, she can't believe I'm here. The windows start to fog and she kisses me. This time more intensely. It's the most perfect kiss I've ever had, the more intense it gets, I can hear involuntarily muffled, quiet moan like noises in her throat. I didn't know a kiss could be so equally sweet and romantic and intensely passionate all at once. Her hand on my leg and grabbing at the collar of my coat, in my hair, touching my face. It was unreal, a kiss. It's hard to look at her straight in the face, it's perfect. It really is.

We decide we should venture out to the bar before it closes at midnight. We order two Shiners and hummus.  She grabs a Houston Press, and it's perfect. We sit in a large table, sharing a bench. The room is open and well lit, and crowded. How does it still feel like we are the only ones here? She sits right beside me, "I like the way we fit together." Sometimes interrupting what I have to say because she needs to kiss me right there in that moment, at that second. It was almost too much to bear. We talk about our dogs, which is very important to me. She asks me questions about him. We share stories about zombiewalk and tripping on acid, comparing Dallas to Houston, we read the Houston Press, we talk about writing, we talk about everything. We just sit there at our table, cuddling and kissing, hugging, and staring at each other, and blushing. Who knows if anyone was even paying attention. "I bet we're the happiest people in this room," she says. Perfect. She tells me she wants a picture with me and that'd she would be really sad if I left back to Dallas without giving her one. We take pictures with her phone, the flash blinding us, and us uncontrollably laughing at how they turn out, and how we can't see without small purple squares in our eyes. My cheeks ache.

It's time to go now. We walk back to the car, holding hands. Why does that feel so great? We drive around more, talking, sharing, swooning, and then it's time to go home. The drive is 45 minutes away and it's dark and raining. When we get there, we sit in the car and she tells me how she doesn't want me to go. We attempt to take pictures with my instant cameras and we laugh so much it hurts. She pulls two books out of the backseat to let me borrow, I can't wait to read them. We talk and kiss, we can't stop kissing, but it's time to go. I gather my things and give her a letter that I wrote her. Two pages chock full of all the inspiration and romanticism that she gave me before I even met her, that I now feel the letter lacks so much after spending the most magical night in her presence. One last kiss.

I walk towards the door where I'm staying and she rolls down her window and tells me bye. And that's that. It's like finishing a really great movie or book, how you're left with this intense contentment because of how beautiful and magnificent the movie was, but also this sadness and longing for more.

The next morning she tells me that she put in a request to see me the weekend after next. I'm still not quite sure how she's real, or how I'm lucky enough to spend this time with her, she really is a dream, too good to be true. Now, I'll just try and get back to reality until I can see her again.