Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nine years, seven months, and ten days...

Is the amount of time I had been lactating. Straight.

Nine years ago my second son, Julian, was born. Then came Ilo, then Opal. Tandem nursing was the baton in-between each babe. 

I was waiting for the perfect moment, the moment to actually stop nursing altogether. I was waiting for the flu season to end. I was waiting for school to end. I was waiting for the five days of "more milk" she requested to end. I was waiting for one last hug. I was waiting for, just before preschool starts. I was waiting for her to tell me she was ready. I was waiting for no more boo-boos. I was just waiting. I just didn't want to say goodbye and to allow the most beautiful moments of my life to slip away never to return. Leaving memories to fade in their place.

Five days. It's been five days from the day I declared, "Opal, today is our last day having Mama milk." To which she agreed. (Of course she had no idea the implications of this agreement.)
I talked to Opal for roughly half of a year about winding down, and then finally ceasing to nurse. In the late winter we stopped our nighttime nursing. It was becoming too much, neither of us were really sleeping and I was perpetually exhausted beyond the point of being able to engage on a normal level with adults. Completing sentences and having normal intelligent dialogue wasn't part of my repertoire. (Problem not solved, in case you're wondering.) I was just too tired. ALL of the time. It took us about two months but we finally succeeded in eliminating our two or three or four nightly nursing sessions sometime in March. It was a great thing for both of us. I was committing to myself a daily morning yoga practice and knew I wouldn't be able to do me, unless sleep became a more familiar part of my life. (On a side note: Apparently insomnia exists outside of nursing, despite my efforts.)

I was never ready to let go.

Being a mother is the hardest thing I've ever done. I won't go on to vet that statement but believe me when I say I have gone through some very hardworking-fast-paced-kick-your-ass-times in my life but nothing has compared to being a stay at home mom of four kids. At least not for me. It is profoundly beautiful and tears me down daily.

So Thursday I quietly decided today was the day. I told Opal and she smiled. I promised her we would do something special (together) to celebrate in a week or two. That night I nursed her for the last time. I didn't check my phone or read my book while nursing like I normally would. I just soaked it in and enjoyed the moment. She fell asleep quickly and I watched her for a while until we both dozed off together. The following two days were easy and we both seemed oddly unaffected. Sunday morning during yoga, I took Janu Sirsasana B and without warning the gut wrenching sadness began to flow from my heart. I cried for probably ten minutes, tears mixed with sweat quietly dripping away. I was in a safe place and letting go in a way that felt right. Cleansing.


One thing I've learned since having kids is that you have to learn to let go. Over and over, you let go. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A lengthy process

I have tens of thousands of images on my hard drives, including scanned negatives from when I had the ability to use an Imacon on a daily basis. Shooting negatives is still my preferred method of capture but of course access, cost, and time make that a null and void point and my process is changed because of that. I don't know where I'm going with that since the image below did not originate from a negative but only to remind me that I've been at this for a very long time. My intention to convey a message with an image which is a piece of a larger conversation, is like choosing the correct sentence or paragraph in a poem or book. Sometimes they just don't work out even though I may feel they're very, very close to hitting the nail on the head. Editing is crucial towards making a series work and often I see too many projects, too many images, and not enough edits on other artist's sites. It's a very, very difficult job that requires a great deal of scrutiny and the ability to stand back and remove yourself from your work personally. This process is even more challenging when you're working with the people you love the most.

Edited out:


Monday, June 17, 2013

I heart gardening

I went to my very good friend's house the other night - we drank wine, laughed ourselves silly, and dug up plants for transplant. (She has many AMAZING gardens.) We had a TON of fun and the ferns were on fire when I arrived, shortly before the sunset.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Beautiful Belly

I had an impromptu shoot with a pregnant friend the other day and although it was fast and furious, I was pleased with the way the shots turned out. I haven't had time to edit but this one... so sweet.




Friday, May 17, 2013

Little Boy H

My friend asked me to photograph her son for fun last week. It was the busiest thirty minutes chasing him around and praying something would work for her. On top of that, my portrait lens broke (boo hoo) a couple months ago. I've yet to find the extra $1400 to replace it with the lens I want, so I'm stuck shooting without it for now.

It's hard to shoot other peoples children because I "strongly dislike" traditional family portraiture and so I am not ever sure if the people I'm shooting for like what I've given them. I thought these two shots turned out quite lovely and I really hope she likes them as much as I do. 






Saturday, April 13, 2013

Looking at The Land, 21st Century American Views and Colin Blakely

This post has taken me forever to write and my apologies to those concerned that it didn't come earlier. I guess getting the courage to write about my undergraduate mentor was more challenging than I imagined. Luckily, tax season always reminds me of Colin Blakely, so that has motivated me to get down to business.

In an effort to be transparent...

I met Colin Blakely in 2002. He was a fairly new hire at Eastern Michigan University and the only full-time photo professor in the Department of Art and Art History. Colin was young and fresh out of grad school. His beautiful wife was pregnant with their first child and so we had some things in common: new school, new baby.  Over the next two years of school, Colin became my mentor and friend. I would watch their house while they traveled, inject their sick cat with meds, and we celebrated a few birthdays when our kids were younger. He pushed me harder than anyone else in photography ever has. He influenced not only my process but as I would later discover, my teaching style. Eight years later, after I finally finished grad school, he became my boss. 




Last summer Andy Adams of Flak Photo Collaborated with RISD's Museum of Art to produce Looking at the Land, 21st Century American Views. From over 5,500 images entered, almost 90 images were chosen to represent the American Landscape since 2000. These images represent both geographical and topographic depictions of the land, but also a (curated) mental landscape of our culture. Many images whisper references to the crash of our economy and the cessation of gentrification on the rural landscape.

Images depicting urban landscapes are also represented in the exhibition, most with hard edges, concrete, and tell-tale signs of corporate America. Some of the images ask the viewer to find respite in a landscape that carries few reminders of what was originally there (and what extends outside the city), but with numerous reminders of what propelled the nation forward economically: industry. In these images, I find myself searching for the light, the foliage and anything else that can carry me away from a landscape where hard edges prevail and organic shapes are planned. I think Andy Adams hits the nail on the head when he states that, "Clearly, the idea of landscape photography is in as much flux today as it ever was."
Copyright ©Colin Blakely, 2006
Then there are the images that fall somewhere in-between. That's where we find Colin's image, The Half-Hearted Confession of a Rainy Day Fan, fits in. One of only a handful of black and white images included in the exhibition. It's hard not to see that from the three block radius where he photographs in Michigan, Colin giving a nod to the history of Photography and his Southwest roots. For me, what appears to be a simple image is anything but that. There are indicators in the image, like the rooftop of a nice middle-class house, the supple gradation of the moonrise late in the day, and the clean lines of a well kept baseball diamond that provide the viewer a sense of comfort and safety. Then there's Colin's title, which asks us to think beyond what is there. This isn't about drifting off while watching a game, Colin's inclusion of the moonrise is too grand a gesture. I believe this is a nod to a more amazing landscape, one that beckons Colin. This is a nod to Photography's history and those who explored the landscape through large format cameras. 

The Midwest landscape, the affluent university town, the safety of his neighborhood, all fine places but maybe what we're really seeing is a glimpse into the landscape of Colin's psyche - one that is emotionally connected to a landscape somewhere else... but for now, lives somewhere in the middle.

This post only touches on what is contained in the exhibition, Looking at the Land, 21st Century American Views. Please take time to visit the online exhibit if you haven't already and while you're there, get lost on the Flak Photo website. 

















Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sifting through my hard drives

I'm in the process of building a new website and holy smokes do I have a lot of work ahead of me. Here is a preview of an image that will now have a home:

                                                                                                                                      ©Kristen Fecker Peroni 2013








Monday, April 8, 2013

Love Issue

What attracted me to the site Oitzarisme a couple of years ago was owner, Constantin Nimigean's, enthusiasm for the visual arts coupled with his altruistic manner in posting about the artists he was finding from around the world. It kept me coming back to his site often and I was even able to connect a friend for an Issue of his online Magazine, Love Issue

After my self proclaimed baby creation sabbatical, I've begun to revisit many of the sites I used to go to to find inspiration - I'm happy to see Oitzarisme is still bringing it... big time. Constantin's passion is contagious and when I look through his site, I'm humbled by how many amazing photographers there are around the globe; I'm also inspired to keep moving forward. 



What Oitzarisme gives us, besides Constantin's viewpoint on what he's attracted to in the visual arts, is a look into the human landscape from around the globe. I enjoy looking through the work a few times before reading the text, because it's evident from the visuals alone, the "human story" is not bound by lines on a map. Oitzarisme, for me, becomes more than just a place to see great visual art, it is a place to connect with who we are through the lens of each artist. When constantly inundated with what's negative around the world via news sources, these artists give us emotions to connect ourselves to on a much more personal level. In turn, we realize we are all the same, although our circumstances may be different. These are the kind indispensable connections art provides to world. 

The web site Oitzarisme's offshoot is a publication called Love Issue. Love Issue was originally a virtual Magazine but is now available in print. I paid $10 (USD), which included shipping, for one issue and I was like a kid in a candy store when it arrived in my mailbox. With so many publications now online, it's so refreshing to have the real deal in your hands; and this magazine DOES NOT disappoint. I even ordered issue #8 in advance and I can't wait to get my hands on it. 



Bravo to Constantin Nimigean and his continued labor of love.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

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