Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn Falls

What?! Three short days ago I was wearing a halter dress and peep-toe shoes and today I’m wrapped up in a coat, gloves, hat and a scarf. Brrrr, transition from summer to “autumn” in Oregon can be abrupt.

The weekend - spent not only in a different zip code, but in an alternate weather universe - held delights and surprises for us during the 37th annual Corvallis Fall Festival. The atmospheric conditions in terms of Egyptian blue skies, citrine colored leaves as well as purse-friendly customers helped to create a profitable and satisfying couple of days.

Corvallis, Oregon received its lovely name from the Latin phrase cor vallis, which means Heart of the Valley. Appropriate, don’t you think, as it sits smack in the middle of the Willamette Valley. Before Salem, Corvallis was the Territory of Oregon’s capital in 1855.

Enough of the history lesson. Today, Corvallis is home to OSU (Oregon State University) and the Beavers. They luv-a their orange and black. And their tattoos. So much so, perhaps one enthusiast dyed her pit hair for the home game.

Looking at the photos we take, it’s occurring to me that they reveal as much about us, what we notice, how we see the world, as it does of the place du jour er, week. This next little arty piece inspired no doubt by Edvard Munch’s The Scream is a partial percent self-portrait. I’m cor vallis, that is in the heart of the valley between keeping an open mind and being continually surprised by others and say, their orange armpity hair-ness.

It isn’t until the digital film is developed that we notice that day’s theme and focus, repeating patterns and overlapping colors and textures.

While at an out-of-town show, Groom and I take turns slipping out of the booth and wandering the environs, ever on the hunt for things that catch our eye. We rarely have the opportunity to walk around together, so our way of navigating this separate-togetherness is to each take our own photos and then sit around the glowing computer screen by night, offering our day’s treasure to the other.

We are continually surprised by how much we think alike and yet how one will capture an image unseen by the other. Angles, perspectives and subject matter continue to call us and we are excited as our own hearts (and minds) open to answer.

We refer to this one as “blue chair in green ivy.” And as anyone who’s walked around with me while I’ve had the camera will attest, I loooooove mannequin faces. I’m currently building an entire series on them, to be revealed at a later date.

Ha! This amazing vendo-matic postcard machine, well, let’s just say I didn’t know taking photos at an art show could be considered hazard duty. The “amazing” part of the vendo-matic postcard machine was that it produced bubbles and squirted water. I got hit right in the face with a shot of water, so I renamed it the Blasto-matic. Picture me dripping wet on the other side of the camera, my Sunday coif wilting and my stern face smiling. Sort of smiling. Later.

Speaking of water and cameras, as it’s raining and I’m pouting, we haven’t figured out yet what to do about taking photos while it’s coming down in buckets, cats and dogs, or any other euphemism for precipitation. So who knows what we’ll discover in the next seven days…

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eunique Eugene

Every city, town or country village has its own unique flavor, but where we live, a phrase can be frequently overheard among locals, “only in Eugene...”

Each year in September, a city-wide party called the Eugene Celebration selects its campy monarch, the Slug Queen. The 2009 theme was “Strange we can believe in.” True to form, the panel of celebrity judges crowned Grand Duchess Anislugsia as our current Royal Gastropod, who reigned over the masquerade Slime Ball. Tee hee, our Queen, well, his majesty’s civilian name is Mark van Beever and Oregon is the beaver state.

Oui, Madames et Monsieurs, Eugene is a very unique place to call home.

Voila! a cross-section of our local town’s people. Don’t pass over this photo too quickly, for it deserves a second glance. Notice the variety of hairstyles and apparel. We’ve got a person with a blue coif, facial hair, jeans, a black shirt and a flame tie. Don’t assume that’s the child’s father. Here, that could be its mother. See the guy squatting down to the right wearing a pink shirt? He’s also wearing a green skirt and I saw him later holding the baby.

In the back row, there’s a dude sporting tropical shorts and a woman in Bo Derek braids, a style popularized by the movie “10” released in 1979, just a mere 30 years ago. However, that tri-decade old hairstyle is a whole ten years ahead of the game, because the third largest (or thereabouts) city in Oregon has an unofficial subtitle. Eugene: where it’s always 1969.

This is not too difficult to fathom considering the fellow on the lower far right is wearing The Uniform: Requisite Tie-Dye T-shirt, glasses, baseball cap and Jerry Garcia hair and matching beard. Half the population in Eugene looks exactly like this and I’m not just talking about the men.

While at the booth, I amaze tourists with my uncanny intuitive ability to guess they are from out of town. “How did you know?” they ask. But if they are not wearing a skirt, a skort, a utili-kilt, The Uniform, or Birkenstocks, their clothes tend to match which is a dead giveaway. That, or their hair is combed.

Speaking of Jerry Garcia and Dead giveaways, the car is typical of the luxury automobiles crowding our streets. Those and bicycles of every size, shape and configuration.

Eugene (pronounced yoo-JEAN, not YOO-jean), was named after Eugene Skinner, a New Yorker who decided to “winter in California” with his wife in the year 1845. Or maybe they just came west and got stuck there for awhile before continuing on to what eventually became the 33rd State on Valentine’s Day, 1859. How romantic. Ahem, mayhaps Oregon is actually the 29th state as four in the Union are considered Commonwealths (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia).

Our burg, Track Town, is known for Phil Knight and his Nike Kingdom (ever heard of the University of Oregon?), the tragic death of distance running phenomenon, Steve Prefontaine, the Olympic Team Trials, and The Arts.

The Eugene Saturday Market has the distinction of being the oldest continuing outdoor Market in the United States, the one upon which many are patterned.

As you can see, there’s no place like home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Transition Into Light

While “transition into light” may sound a little deathly, it’s actually rebirthlier. Last Wednesday, on 09-09-09, we had to drive 9 hours through the high desert (our gas bill was $28.28). To save time, or so we mistakenly thought, we decided to post a visual blog instead (more photos, less talk).

To our surprise, the response was highly enthusiastic and in fact, we were encouraged to shift from Frida’s perspective to that of His and Hers. In a flash, the idea for “The Language of Light” was born.

What is photography but a reflection of light? In fact, photo is Greek for light, and quite literally, photography means “light writing.” Aaaah, writing in light, I love it!

Sometimes the most obvious is the last thing to be noticed.

Groom and I have been taking photographs for years, it’s just something we love to do. Yet it took several somebodies to point it out and it finally dawned on us, that perhaps doing what we love is the direction we should go.

You are witness to our new path.

Here are a few pictures from our week in Spud City, otherwise known to most of you as Boise, Idaho. We have been going there for the last 15 years to sell our jewelry at Art in the Park. As we’ve become quite fond of “The City of Trees,” there are several places we love visiting year after year.

On this expedition, we literally followed light and encountered some magic. We pulled over for an interesting looking Thrift Shop, connected to St. Michael’s Cathedral. The gothic bells were chiming and the two people we met, Mel and Yvette, were charming.

They heartily welcomed us and we were honored by a private tour of the Cathedral and sighed over an original Tiffany stained glass window (which we respected their request not to photograph) and Yvette humored me while I took a picture of her gorgeous tattooed arms in the columbarium. Mel made a special trip to the art show on Sunday to visit us.

After the Cathedral, we ate our annual lunch at Jim’s diner (chicken on the roof), wandered around downtown, visited Dragonfly and Eyes of the World.

We ate dinner at Barbacoa and had this lovely view from our deck-top table. I must apologize now to the vegans, for we participated in what the popular T-shirt laments… “Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder.”

When our entrée was served, I had a negative, visceral reaction. It looked like a death scene, the fig jam looking to me like the entrails of the poor little quail. I told Groom that the chef must have a wicked sense of humor.

The next evening, we channel surfed - a luxury - for we do not have cable at home. We stopped on the Food Network and to our horror, we were shown a restaurant where the chef was pleased with himself for creating an edible death scene. Perhaps our chef from the night before had already watched it. Whatever the case, I surprised myself for “reading” the plate before hearing about such a culinary endeavor.

The last four pictures were taken in Julia Davis Park, host to the art show. He in the sculpture garden; She in the rose garden.

While I’m not committing Frida to retirement, we are transitioning into The Language of Light.