Erin & Vraja – June 12, 2016

During their session, these two had so many sweet moments. They are  genuine, playful, and just down right in love.  Couldn’t have asked for a better day in Central Park, with a better couple!

Lenny&Renuka

 

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

Lenny&Renuka

 

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Travel Photography

In the winter of 2013, I spent three weeks traveling within India. Always having been drawn to the colors, foods, and culture, I hopped on the plane along with thirteen others, all of us eager and, quite honestly, in need of some “thing” that was not yet apparent to us. My travels included a distinct agenda and after three emotion-filled, mind-boggling, and eye-opening weeks, I returned back to the states with four SD cards, thousands of photographs, and more memories than I can recall. Upon return, I got to work stringing together a select number of these moments for an art project but these, here, weren’t shared and I want to share them with you now.

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At the ashram, our group studied, ate, and slept. We bunked up, and bonded with those we were traveling with. While mornings were dedicated to class, the afternoons were there for exploring. Nights were spent inside under covers (January in India is freezing), or on special nights we would gathered around a fire; time for sharing the personal stories. Headed off to excursions, or checking out towns in the surrounding area, a bull stood right outside in the street, same place each day, watching us leave. He never moved from his spot. The children who lived down the street taught us to count, played with my peers and I on the rooftop, came to talk to us when we were returning from being out. Their energy was so high and passionate. We would visit temples and as we passed under the entrance and I could notice the shadow of a monkey, patiently anticipating the perfect opportunity to steal a visitors glasses. And how could I ever forget the dogs that would walk with us back home. Wildlife was always amongst us, almost as a reminder of the unfamiliar, yet beautiful coexistence between humans and animals.

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Typically, it would not be until I was back in the ashram’s cold tiled bathroom , where all you could hear is the still winter air resonating off the walls, that I’d realize how quiet it was and be able to reflect on the day. I would stand there, grasping a little hand held bucket, tipping it to allow the luke-warm water flow over me, and I would begin to absorb everything I had seen, smelled, heard, and felt. My thoughts started swarming around a particular culture shock experience that gripped me one afternoon. We had been invited to a village for a local celebration. I, along with my other classmates, entered a courtyard space filled person to person. We were ushered into a small square platform and our new friends insisted we sit and stay. People had their hands on our shoulders, they stared from all around us and asked us to sing or asked us questions about ourselves. I tried to explain to one woman, who is insistent, that I do not sing, yet she excitedly continued to ask me for a performance.

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Our bellies were full of a beautiful meal that our hosts had made for us, full of spiced soup with chunks of potato, and warm pancakes, had me warm, but the amount of attention was overwhelming even if from smiling faces. We were really surrounded on all sides, being observed. We were the outsiders. It was then when I began to feel shaky and was finally aware of how far I was from home. Back in the shower, cleansing, my water bucket emptying down to its last inch of liquid, I breathed in and out. I then thought about how strange it is that regardless of this intense culture shock feeling, I still felt more at peace in Vrindavan than I had ever felt any where else. With it’s bright colors, the quiet of the indoors, yet business in the street, and it’s passionate religion, one that many there have forgotten…It’s hard not to become taken with India, it is bursting with life in every corner.  My water was all gone. I dried off, got dressed, and took a minute to be still before I opened the door back to the bustle of my classmates, the sounds beyond our ashram, with monkeys making squeaks into the air, and people moving about. Funny how we don’t have pictures for those moments, but we can remember them easier than most. And ironic how the same habits that bring us comfort when home, even when done differently, soothe us while we are away.

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The amount I experienced in three weeks, although it felt long, was just a scratching of the surface. Even more than a year later, I still find I am unable to sum up what the experience truly was in a normal, everyday conversation. It was so much more than a trip, it was a time in my life, it was following a want, it was allowing myself to be pulled to where I was being drawn, and when all was said and done, it was connecting with other people who knew they needed a direction as badly as I did. I know there is more waiting there to be discovered and really understood. As much gratitude I have, even for a small taste, there is  no doubt, my time in Mother India is not over. One day, I will have to return, next time, with fresh eyes. And I know it will be different, in more ways than one, because I am.

Installation Shots at Civic Square Galleries

Here are a few installation shots taken by friend and photographer Galina Ecceles, after the opening of No Prose No Cons. The show was held at the Mason Gross Civic Square Galleries in New Brunswick, NJ. Thanks again Galina!!

At my first group show, No Prose No Cons, at the Mason Gross Civic Square Galleries, I focused closely on the “unnoticed”; the unnoticed being the places we keep objects, conduct our daily habits, have personal talks with family. They’re the little things that shape our childhoods, as well as how we live, and how others may view us today.

During the process of making the body of work, my childhood home was going up on the market as a result of my parents divorce years ago. Now, no worries, mom and dad are still friends, but of course, revisiting rough times a family has gone through, can resurface an a swirl of emotions…sometimes, ones that would rather not be brought back. Carefully photographing every inch of my home for six months surely stirred them up inside of me. But working closely with a subject you feel you know so well, can bring surprises. I found that I did not know my house as well as I thought I did, nor did I know my self, as well.

I hoped, when people looked at the “scattered” (very carefully arranged, Wolfgang-Tillman-style inspired, images) on my gallery wall, that they would have a sense of familiarity from the images. As a result, I wanted the viewer to be able to relate to the experience of looking at one’s home and absorbing the feeling of wanting to hold tight to a lifetime of memories, while also sensing my feeling of acceptance towards walking away from them. Because many people have left their homes at one point or another, there is a sense of understanding towards the experience, but we all know, that even if you have gone through it yourself, you can never fully comprehend another’s loss. Ultimately, the purpose of the project was to photograph this space that I was trying to part ways with, and recognize the parts that I will take with me, that together, make up a real home; I photographed the evidence of every person that lives with me. In the end, those bits of evidence will remind us of where the home lies.