Posts Tagged ‘frustration


Natural Disasters

Japan.  About a year later.  Like clockwork something else happens, something catastrophic.  Earthquakes, flooding, fires, the threat of nuclear fallout, the balance of the built environment and the toll of natural disasters keeps shifting and horrible things continue to occur.  I live in a tiny little bubble in the northeast of the United States.  None of these horrific events have touched me physically.  I’ve known people, personally, who have been affected by disasters, but it has never been me.

And life continues.  I’m going to my studio this afternoon, because short of me flying around the world to Japan, there is nothing, physically, that I can do to help.  Donating money does help, but my day to day existence has not changed because of this earthquake.

And this is weird.  It feels wrong, somehow.

And so I make new work.  Unfortunately, this may become a new series, long term.  My way of coping and dealing with these world-changing events that are so remote that I can go weeks without even thinking about what’s happened, yet there are whole populations whose entire lives have been irrevocably changed in the span of hours.  My way of acknowledging my distance, both physically and emotionally from something so monumental.

These are coming out very differently than my Deepwater Horizon series.  There, the images were of this body of water that was fundamentally being altered, even though it was difficult to see from the surface.  Here, the devastation is so visible, so impactful, that there is a more chaotic feel to the work.  Also, the immediate human loss is much more pronounced, so there are a more people finding their way into the images.

Signing off…..


Moaning, whining and other despairing noises

Ok, this totally stinks.

I do photography in some semblance or another for a living.  Teaching, creating, making, thinking.  It’s up there right after “Eat, Sleep, Breathe.”

So, when I start investigating my known locales for the best of the best black and white, yummy silver gelatin paper to work on the next stage of my long term project, it is beyond crushing to discover that in the course of one year, my options have been shrunk, yet again.  It was bad enough with Agfa disappeared.  Now Kentmere seems to be dwindling in their offerings, as well as Efke.  Ilford is not my fav, and is crazy expensive these days.  Now granted, I am looking for REALLY large paper, but seriously folks, do you know anyone who can afford to spend $700 on photo paper?!?!  Certainly not me.

I get that this is a business.  That people have to be able to turn a profit to keep a company running.  It just makes my heart hurt a little when long time folks in the biz drop out because they’ve shifted their “priorities” to digital (ahem, I’m thinking of you Kodak).  Again, no knock on digital.  But does it seriously have to be such a racket???

Here’s what I see, mostly while teaching.  People can now afford nice digital cameras.  But the way that information is presented, or sold to you, you will always be lured and seduced to spend more, upgrade, enhance, get new software, get new firmware, buy a bigger camera with a full sized sensor, get a new lens, get that fancy new printer, buy more ink for the printer, etc etc etc.  You don’t have to do any of that, but can you imagine the way that the bottom line guys would salivate over their profit margins in this world?!  There will always be something new as technology advances, so someone, somewhere will always upgrade and spend more money.

It just doesn’t work that way with film, at least not in my mind.  I have old cameras, that I love because I know intrinsically how they work.  I buy chemicals for the darkroom.  I buy paper and film.  Fundamentally, these things won’t change.  There may be variations between brands that I would experiment with, but the technique, the process is set.  Technological innovation will not change how I work in the darkroom.  Which means less money to the big guys.  Which means fewer options for me, the little guy.

As my mom would say, “Life is not fair.”  True, but I still feel like complaining today, and I’ll say it just to get it out of my system.  This sucks, and it’s SO not fair.


Sustaining Anger

This is a hard thing to do.  When I started making my images that were a response to what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico, I was beyond outraged.  I was devastated.  Wrecked.  There was no way for me to wrap my brain around what was going on, the long term implications, and the stupidity and ass-covering that was going on by politicians, CEO’s and everyone else.  There is OIL gushing into a body of water.  Fundamentally, oil and water don’t mix.

More than anything, I was really really pissed off.  Now, here’s the tricky thing.  I just can’t sustain that level of pissed-off-edness.  I’m too nice a person, and I’m trying to cut down on my stress levels as is.  So, I’ve been going a lot slower with new images, and occasionally, they feel really forced.  But then I see a new image, or hear something really dumb, or read about scientific experts who are terrified that this will not end well, no matter what happens, and a little spark comes back to life.

Anyway, the images are still there.  They keep coming.  And until they stop, I’ll  keep posting my attempts to work through this.

As always, thanks for taking a look!


Warning…Off Topic

This is 100% off topic, having absolutely nothing to do with art or anything else that I normally rant or vent about here. But since this is my place to get things out of my system, this has got to be addressed.

Does anybody understand how healthcare works? Seriously. Do the doctors? The referral people. The providers, or at least the people who answer the phones for the provider?

Here’s the thing. For over two months, I have been trying to go to a specialist – chronic headaches are not something I would wish on anybody. First, my PCP’s office bumbled and fumbled things so that they kept losing my request. Then I was given information that nullified everything that had been going on, like say, “Oh, you have to actually have an appointment before we can process the referral.”  Like that info wouldn’t have been helpful a month ago?!?

Then I got a manager involved.  See, I hate to complain.  I don’t like to yell at people.  It’s not in my nature.  But seriously, one month?  So, he got in on the act, and then we kept going.  Finally, today, a very nice woman told me that I had authorization.  Woo Hoo!  You’d think I’d be over the moon, right?


I go to make my appointment, and the nice receptionist tells me I should double check my coverage to make sure that my treatments will be ok’d.  So I call my lovely health care provider.  Not for the first time.  We’ve become quiet familiar as I’ve tried to work through this whole escapade.  And see, here’s the kicker.  First, I get a guy, who politely tells me that he has no record of my authorization of anything.  Nice.  Call back to my doctor’s office and this saint-of-a-woman takes the time to go find out exactly what has been authorized.  I get all the terms down (because it’s like learning a whole new language, from NPI numbers to in-network to PCP to National Provider ID numbers to out-of-network — when was I given the handout on how to decipher this stuff?!).  Call back to the provider.  Here’s the real winner of a moment.

I have an HMO plan, and according to this lady, NOTHING out of network is ever covered.  Ever.  Cause that would have been helpful TWO MONTHS AGO!!!

Not that I believe her now.  After completely freaking out, calling my husband crying because now my headaches will never be treated because we can’t afford to pay out of pocket for all of this, I’ve become rational enough to realize that she’s got to be talking out of her butt.  Really.  How could two months worth of doctors, referral specialists, other phone operators at the provider’s center not say that one sentence to me.

My underlying issue with this entire process.  WTF.  Why is this difficult?  And why am I the one to jump through hoops and make phone calls?  Why doesn’t anyone give me the same answer twice?  Why hasn’t any of this been standardized?  Why isn’t there a little hand-out when you go to a new doctor that says, to get a referral, do x, y and z?  Thank god I took some initiative a month ago and got a preliminary diagnosis that I paid for out of pocket, mostly because I couldn’t function some days my head hurt so bad, so that my headaches are manageable, and some days I don’t have any.

But imagine if I hadn’t been able to do that?

Constant pain for two months.  And everything I do to resolve the situation, to be pro-active is nullified by the stupidity and ineffectiveness of the system and the people who work the system.  There. Has. Got. To. Be. A. Better. Way.

I’d almost rather go back to the days when I was waiting tables for a living and went to doctors when I needed to and paid for everything out of pocket because I didn’t have any insurance.  A little scary, sure.  Did my Dad hate this whole set-up?  Why yes he did.  But did I get things done when I needed to get them done.  You bet your sweet bippy I did.

And now, I’ve wasted two hours on this nonsense (just today, mind you), and I STILL DON’T HAVE AN APPOINTMENT!!!!

But that’s all the time I can waste on it today.  Life continues.  Back to the intricacies of the art world, which before this, I thought was confusing and deliberately obscure.  Now I have a new perspective, and it looks positively open, honest and glorious compared to HMO’s and doctor’s appointments.  Bring it on, Chelsea.  I’ll take you anytime.



This is more of complaint than a real “topic of discussion.”  I’m feeling frustrated because I haven’t been able to spend more time recently writing here.  See, there’s this little thing called making money.  Money sucks.

Don’t get me wrong – I have a friggin’ awesome job.  I get to teach what I love, and I actually really enjoy teaching, so that’s a double win in my book.  However, teaching requires time if you’re going to do it right.  You actually have to prep for your class(es), grade homework in a timely manner and in general stay on top of crap.  None of which I objectively mind doing.  But the next thing I know, I’ve gone almost three weeks without making new art and without getting to geek out here, which is frustrating when I realize it.

I know, I know.  Balance.  Or suck it up and don’t do anything outside teach and art.  Which are both valid points and would keep me from complaining here.  But it doesn’t really address my underlying concern – how the hell do other artists do it?  How do you support yourself?  How do you have a life?  How do you keep making new work?  Are there secrets that I’m not privy to?  Time-honored maneuvers that miraculously free up a whole day during the week?  Again, I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.  It’s just baffling to me that again there isn’t more chatter about this, or god forbid, an actual solution to real problem – how do you actually make a living as an artist?

Apparently this is something that is frequently on my mind these days.  I’ve entered those first few months out of grad school where that joyous freedom from reality has shifted to the cacophony of demands that reality makes, which deafen me to what once was my only concern – making art.  And it kinda sucks that I actually like what I can do with money – I’d like to buy a house (or more likely a condo) someday, I love to travel, I love good food and eating out.  All of these things require money, and not an insignificant amount.  So I work.  And since my art currently is not generating any incoming source of revenue, that means I’m working on something that is not what I really wish I could spend all day every day doing.  Again, love teaching.  It’s just not the absolute top of my list.

Who I am…

I am a self-professed geek. I happen to be an artist. I like to geek out about art, specifically photography.

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