Full disclosure: This was not taken at midnight—but who really cares?
We drove to Arizona for Christmas, much to the disappointment of our backs and cats. We stopped at El Rey Court in New Mexico on the way home. Almost painfully hip :)
In 2018, I left my full time job of 4 and a half years with no other prospects lined up for myself. I freelanced for a bit to see how that’d go, but came to the full realization that I’m too self conscious, consumed with self doubt and anxiety, and not aggressive or cunning enough to survive off of photography. Working for/marketing yourself in an incredibly competitive field is a daunting lifestyle that I am just not suited for. But it's OK! Let the brilliant, passionate, and fearless have that profession. They deserve it. I will always cherish deep in my heart where photography has taken me in life, and I am happy with this new path I have begun to travel down. I took all the skills I learned with Michael and applied them almost seamlessly to being a project manager and occasional photographer at a creative agency. I love this group of people I work with, and I love what I do in this new world I am in. And, I still get to do photography for the agency every once and a while.
With that being said, here is a little bit of stuff I’ve gotten to do for Ironton Distillery, a local business in RiNo! Wigwam Creative does all their branding and packaging, and now, photography.
My sweet man took me to where we first met 5 years ago and proposed, much to my surprise and shock. I hadn’t the slightest clue! To anyone else, the quiet street of Yarmouth in “new” North Boulder would be decidedly unromantic. To me, it was perfect. I still remember how Rob shook my hand with such intensity inside Molly’s old apartment as he cut through the chaos of an end-of-summer’s party, looking me in the eyes with undivided attention.
We went to Betasso to take self portraits—you’re welcome, mom!
As I work less and less for Michael, I freelance more and more as I look for another full time position elsewhere. One day he came into the studio and said "I got you a job!" He'll be in Sturgis during the timeframe a portrait someone asked him to take needs to be completed by, so he gave the work to me instead. And of course is nice enough to let me borrow anything I need, like a grey background.
I love making Rob model for me when I need to test lighting.
Photographing with kind and funny people make for the best shoots.
A mom wanted portraits of her four year old daughter dressed up as characters from the whodunnit board game "Clue." She was extraordinarily patient and so precious.
The location was the front of the Molly Brown House in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver. I used to live around here... Waiting for them momentarily watching the hustle and bustle on the streets made me nostalgic for the city.
I'm 27! My late 20's have arrived. I am terrified at the prospect of being one year closer to 30. Boulder has been sweltering, and I was treated to exceptionally hot weather on my birthday with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. The mountains were beautiful as always, but still scorching.
I was approached to do a quinceañera, and even though events aren't really my thing, I was curious about a cultural rite of passage that I'd never seen before. While I'm sure the family was happier with the posed pictures, the photojournalist is me is drawn to candid moments.
An image of mine was featured on the Humble Arts Foundation site. They featured the work of 30 photographers who have shot strange pictures of the Golden Arches (in my case, they're turquoise!) It is literally at the veeerrrrry bottom, as in, the last one.
When I came back from the road, I knew I had a lot of work to do examining the hundreds of images I took, and editing them down to a particular theme.
It's not enough to do a linear story about myself going on a trip. That's not terribly interesting or insightful. What can I offer to the world of photography that will set it apart from other stories about the southwest, motorcycles, etc?
What continuously stood out in my mind was the juxtaposition of nature vs manmade, and how stark the contrast was between the two at times. I layered two opposing images in a series of ten as a visual representation of what I saw and ultimately came away with after my journey.
It's now under Stories > Eden's Shadows!
A few months ago I was chosen to be part of Feature Shoot’s “The Print Swap” project, where your image is printed and sent to another photographer at random, and you receive a surprise print in return.
Little did I know that it would also be selected for a show called “On the Outside”, comprised of many submissions from around the world. I found out when I was in Arizona. I think this is the first exhibition I’ve been apart of that wasn’t hosted by my school, so I’m pretty excited!
It opens in 5 days on May 25th at the Berlin Blue Gallery. How amazing would it be to attend the opening, but my Europe adventure days are over (for now!) Berlin is a fascinating city, and as a country overall, I really think Germany was my favorite.
I was excited to go from Blanding to Grand Junction, which seems quite boring, but you go right up to Moab then turn off on Highway 128. Checking out Google's "street view" looked promising—you're right alongside Arches National Park for a ways, go through a ghost town called Dewey, and are next to the Colorado River. Sounds nice, right?
Well, I clearly wasn't paying attention to my maps. To be honest, it was a small miracle that I hadn't gotten lost until this point. I'm the kind of person with the broken compass, relying heavily on my phone to tell me which way to turn with that friendly, sterile voice. I wasn't lost per se, because I was technically on the main route, but I had completely missed 128.
I was still enjoying myself turning off on beautifully barren, desert dirt roads (before I realized I missed the turn.) One particular road was incredibly washboarded, and I thought at any moment the engine would get rattled clear out of the frame. I pulled off on the side to take some photos, and realized just how hot it was out here. I figured I'd be done because it was scorching, and it probably wasn't good for my bike to be shaken around so badly, not to mention I was probably getting all sorts of new chips and dings.
I flipped the 'run' button and heard the usual hum, priming the motorcycle to start up. I then pressed the 'start' button and there was nothing. Oh, shit. I'm a mile down a totally random dirt road with no cell reception whatsoever, and the sun is mercilessly beating down with no shade in sight (I also had maybe a few sips of water left.) I hadn't seen anyone go down this road yet. Slightly panicking, I tried starting it again, and again, and again. Still nothing.
I moved it around a bit forwards and backwards in neutral and tried again. Strangely enough, that worked. Why, I don't know, but I was just so immensely thankful that I wasn't going to be forced to walk down that road to the freeway and wave down help. That very thought was terrifying, being alone and a woman.
Back on the road, I was beginning to wonder where that turn was. I looked down at my directions and realized just how many miles I'd gone past 128. I was upset. But, at least my motorcycle was still running. I eventually made my way onto I70, and was into Grand Junction before I knew it. The town itself is pretty ho hum, but the surrounding beauty is amazing. I was planning on another sunrise expedition to the Colorado National Monument, which seems to be an overlooked park. I'd never even heard of it before. I checked into my room, with a sign on the table that said This Is A Smoke Free Hotel. Hotel was more like "motel", but the scent of cigarettes was not contaminating the room, a refreshing change from last night. I watched cars audibly zoom down the freeway with illuminated gas station signs framing the view.
Early that morning, I set off into the cold and made my way up the winding road in the dark. One nice thing about going to a national park before the entrance kiosk opens is that you won't have to pay the fee.
I began to see light. I had to pick a spot quick. That's the one unfortunate thing about sunrise—the window is so small, so you have to choose your spot wisely. I began to see what looked like the view in some images I'd seen. I pulled off into the first lookout area I could make out. Where I ended up was overlooking "Redlands View", showing part of the road I had gone up nestled in the middle of two red rock formations.
You can't help but be in awe as the sun's rays peek over the horizon. Alone with my motorcycle patiently waiting next to me, I was mesmerized being bathed in such wonderful light. In the future, I'd love to make it over to "Grand View", about 5 miles further up where you see a dazzling collection of sandstone towers.
I thought about a nap, but decided to soldier on and get started on the final 250 miles to my apartment where an anxious boyfriend of mine was waiting. As I was leaving the motel, I noticed that the pool had a mural painted on one of its walls above it. How strange the outdoor scene looked illuminated by cold, sterile fluorescence with chlorinated water below in a jarring shade of artificial blue.
Now that I was back in Colorado, I'd hoped that the week and some days away had greened the state up a bit, but it was wishful thinking. Still, I25 was surprisingly beautiful, maybe because I'd only ever seen it coming back from Christmas when the landscape was completely dead. It was at least halfway alive. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, especially riding next to the Colorado River, until a bee managed to fly right down the sleeve on my left arm. At least I thought it was a bee—I never saw what it was when I exited the freeway and furiously shook out my jacket, looking for the culprit. That hurt. It had been a while since I'd been stung by a bee. My forearm continued to swell and itch like crazy, not fully healing until more than a week later. At least it wasn't my face?
As I entered Boulder, I was exhausted, but I had almost made it home. I laughed to myself thinking of making it all this way, being so close, only to be hit by a car tearing ass out of the parking lot (something that I'm always cautious of because it almost happened to me once.) But I rolled up behind my car unscathed, and felt incredibly triumphant turning off the ignition. I thanked my bike for getting me back safely. It was a long journey for the both of us.
I learned so much along the way, and apart from a few mild hiccups, it went as well as it could. I can't wait to do it again as soon as I'm able to.
After the sunrise, I took a brief nap up until my checkout time. Since I was giving myself an extra day to get back to Boulder, I could be more flexible with when I left. Monument Valley to Blanding would be the easiest day as well—only 75 miles to go.
Leaving Monument Valley, I knew that Forrest Gump Point was near. It's the place on the highway where Forrest, after running for 3 years, declares that he's tired and heads back to Alabama. It was a tourist shit-show, for lack of better words. I went a few hundred feet past it, and pulled off on a little patch of dirt. The view was still fantastic. I figured that this might be the best opportunity for a self portrait, and pulled the tripod off my sissy bar bag. I was pretty happy at the results.
Before I knew it, I was in Blanding and at the motel. Somewhere in the fine print was the fact that the room I booked, the cheapest one available, was a smoking room. I opened the door to that faint, but still wretched scent of stale cigarettes. I was equally amused and revolted. Well, I should take advantage of this, and go buy some cigarettes. I had the idea for some images in my mind.
The town of Blanding, innocent enough, was the catalyst of a realization I had—these beautiful national parks, forests, and deserts I had been going through, filling my thoughts with amazement, did not deserve to be surrounded by manmade creations that seemed so out of sync with the beauty. Sometimes garish, stark, pitiful, bleak, or a mixture of all, the peace and satisfaction of your soul gets sucked out. This sad, stinky room was certainly a representation of this.
I didn't feel lonely on my motorcycle, flying next to natural wonders, but these towns bring about that feeling. They are out of place, and in return, you feel out of place.
But of course, it's intriguing at the same time, almost like a morbid curiosity of sorts. I walked around Blanding in search of cigarettes and images.