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Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

My mother had a drawer full of scarves, of every size and color imaginable.  The textures tended toward silky or the fine sandy grain of those materials that were sheer.  My scarves are more dispersed throughout my environment, possibly because, in a way, I have more personal space than my mother ever had.

She would have been a teen and partying young woman in the 1950s and 1960s when scarves were a fashionable part of the ensemble.  By the time I came along in the 1970s, my mother wasn’t partying so much but she still had that drawer full of scarves, and I remember my father still buying her scarves throughout much of my childhood.

Whether for elementary school or high school, when I left the house in the morning for my journey, if the wind was blowing fiercely, if she’d done my hair the night before, if there was even a chance of sprinkles … she’d wrap one of her colorful scarves around my head and tie it beneath my chin.  In elementary school, I may have looked cute.  In high school, when scarves were not fashionable … well, I once passed by a group of girls and one of them said, “What is she wearing?!” But, even as I felt bad, I heard another girl say, “Leave her alone.”  What I remember from that moment, this day, is the care of my mother and the care of that stranger.

My small scarves I keep in a little gold box on a book shelf.  I rarely use them or even look at them but I’m not ready to part with them.  Long, narrow scarves I keep in a basket, and when I am too lazy to track down my leather belt, I’ll pull out one of those scarves to hold up my pants.  Large, square scarves I learned to wrap around my head using techniques my mother did not know.  Those I’ve tucked away in a drawer.  I mostly wear long, oblong scarves, especially the ones given in recent years by friends and family.  I wear them to freshen up an outfit.  And, of course, I photograph them as they are or use them to serve as background for a leaf.  And, in this house, with so many windows, I sometimes hold them up to see what happens when the light shines through.

These musing of the morning were inspired by a link recently shared by a friend, a Salon interview by Edwidge Danticat of Katia D. Ulysse.  As my friend described to me, it is a thought-provoking, poetic exchange between two writers of Haitian heritage.  An excellent read.  At some point there is reference to scarves, and that was all the inspiration needed for me to crack open a box.  Have a good day.

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Why “ethereal” as a title?  Well, I recently chanced upon a very short video of ballerina Janie Taylor dancing in designer Chloé’s “dance-inspired spring/summer 2011 collection.”  The dance was set to Philip Glass’s “String Quartet No. 3, ‘Mishima': IV. 1962: Body Building.”  I enjoy much of what Philip Glass composes.  I have not been able to get the dance or the music out of my head.  On this windy day, I went for a walk in hopes that the movement and music would inspire me to photograph something sweeping, cascading, flowing, etc. In the end …

… nothing.  Not a single “sweeping” thing caught my attention.  I put away the camera and headed home, pausing just long enough at a market to purchase a few pieces of fruit.  At home, I placed the items on a side table figuring I’d put them away later.  Back at the computer, I hit play and repeat on that darn video, and began to outline a writing project.  But the wind kept rustling the plastic bag the fruit sat upon.  Frustrated, I got up and went to the table. With Philip Glass blaring in the background, I looked down and thought, “That’s it! That’s the shot.”  Anyway, that’s my story of this image and I’m sticking to it.  If you’re curious, click here for link to the video.

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work in progress by artist Zoe Langosy with characters Coyote, Columbine and Harlequin

work in progress by artist Zoe Langosy with characters Coyote, Columbine and Harlequin

Standing silent in the presence of others, while a friend describes the essence of your work?  It can be an illuminating, humbling experience.  That is what happened to me as collage artist Zoe Langosy described what she saw in some of my photographs.  “There are notes of nostalgia.  I am attracted to cut up stuff that has that dark edge. Through her photography Cynthia captures those parts of nature many people don’t see likes cracks in the ice on a frozen pond or the beauty of a dying flower.  Her images can make you stop, feel and reflect.  In her work, as in my own, there is a reminder that there are two sides to life.  That in order to find balance, we sometimes have to suffer.  The sun rises but it also sets and as a part of that arc there’s the dark beauty to be found at twilight.”  Zoe is currently at work on new pieces for upcoming shows.  As always, I’m honored that she has selected one of my images to use in a collage, in this case birch trees photographed near sunset at the Blue Hills Reservation.  The sun-touched bark will help to create the light in Harlequin’s outfit.

Harlequin, Columbine and Coyote are recurring characters in Zoe’s portfolio, androgynous, melancholic and hauntingly beautiful.  The patchwork of Harlequin’s outfit will also include bits of Japanese paper in dark blue with silver details that reminds Zoe of “a moonlit field at night.”  In the end her patchwork will convey a sense that Harlequin is outfitted in nature.

work in progress by artist Zoe Langosy

work in progress by artist Zoe Langosy

Learn more about Zoe’s works in progress and upcoming exhibits by following her on Facebook.  FYI, she will have several of her original pieces on display during NYC Fashion Week in just a few weeks.  Prints of her work (and her father’s) are available on Etsy.  Enjoy.

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Those are the magical words that collage artist Zoe Langosy will sometimes say after viewing my nature-themed photographs.  Most recently they were uttered after showing her the following image from an impromptu hike through the Blue Hills, of deep golden light falling upon a stand of birch trees.

It is my continuing pleasure to view such images through Zoe’s eyes, to learn how to see textures and patterns, and then to imagine how such textures and patterns can become part of a larger work with its own story.  The story of this woman on a boat and a coyote, you will have to wait for Zoe to share as she continues with this work in progress.  Stay tuned! Meanwhile, you can read this post about how we’ve collaborated in the past. And you can see more of her art on this Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LangosyArts

 

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Once upon a time, before I ever thought of picking up a camera, I wrote short stories.  They often involved a bohemian young woman,  in good spirits mostly, searching for something rather intangible.  Not an uncommon storyline I know.

Eventually, in a coffee shop, a tea house, or a meadow by the side of the road,  she would meet a man.  A complicated fellow of the “still waters run deep” sort, if you know what I mean.

The two would engage in all sorts of experiences.  From playful to painful, all of the acts in one way or another focused on finding joy in one’s life …

… and discovering sometimes unexpected beauty if one were willing to see the world through the fresh eyes of another.

Regardless of how much beauty found, by story’s end, the man and woman had often physically parted, choosing to walk separate life paths.

Even so, by story’s end, it was usually clear that the characters would remain forever connected by their memories.

I have not written such stories in many years but they came to mind this week as I sorted through these pictures I took of two friends in their vintage garb.  Knowing of my desire to build my portfolio, they offered me the opportunity to photograph them in various settings.  Quite a treat with such photogenic folk.  And quite unexpectedly inspiring.  Not sure if I will ever put pen to paper for such stories again, but  I do look forward to future fashion shoots.

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For Somerville Open Studios 2012 (May 5 + 6), I once again have the great pleasure of collaborating with illustrator and collage artist, Zoe Langosy.  In this first of a series of interviews, she talks about her creative process, her muse, and how she decides which images to use for collage.

From creating garments out of shards of butterfly wings to using constellations to create cityscapes, I find Zoe’s vision to be quite unique and inspiring.  Click on the above picture to see what you think.  ;)

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