Good Things Come in Pairs: Part 3

Posted by | Photography | No Comments

Time for the third installment of a series I started several weeks ago called “Good Things Come in Pairs.” As I mentioned previously, the purpose of this series is to highlight the accounts of talented Instagram couples by placing their photos side by side. My first post in the series featured the talented pair of Nicholas Pritchett and Laura Pritchett. A couple weeks after that, I featured another talented pair: Matt Novak and Anna Novak.

I’m still not sure how many couples I’ll feature, but I have a few more in mind and who knows how many more I’ll discover as time goes on. Again, I enjoy each of these photographers as individuals (on Instagram and elsewhere), so I thought it would be interesting to present them as couples while looking at the similarities and differences in their photos.

I’ve never met either half of the couple I’m featuring today – Reed Reeder (@reedreeeder) and Whitney Reeder (@Whitneyreeder) – and, in fact, I have only had minimal interaction with them, but that hasn’t stopped me from following their adventures (both apart and together) in their corner of the world: Brooklyn. I’d like to cross paths with these two some day as well, but for now I’m just happy to tag along.

One thing is certain: These two have a way with light in nearly every situation. From restaurant lightbulbs to window light at coffee shops to morning light on the streets of Brooklyn, their photos are always perfectly lit and inviting. I enjoy Reed’s excellent still lifes, stone stoops, and storefronts as well as Whitney’s bouquets, beautiful captures of their home, and scenes from Knot and Bow. Their feeds provide wonderfully complementary views of their life, their city and, of course, their daughter Tayvee (#tinytayvee). From museum visits and trips to the farmer’s market to a recent injury (sad, but adorably captured below), they have built a great progression of her life and have been generous enough to share it with the Instagram community.

I could go on an on, but I’ll sum it up as follows: Both feeds are filled with excellent captures of everyday life and, though you can certainly follow one or the other, I highly recommend following both of them. Also, they enjoy donuts. And there was even that one time last August that they both posted the exact same platter of donuts right before they devoured every last crumb (I hope).

Madison Alice Price

Posted by | Fiction, Writing | No Comments

A story in process.

With her back to the ground and her legs accommodating so her feet can rest to match, Madison, a girl of nearly six, lays in her yard with her thoughts, small as they may be, wandering toward something unfamiliar. She digs her nails into the earth, wiggling her toes and fingers in the uniform blades of an almost artificial lawn, a living comb in a familiar dance, feeling the cold soil against her skin, waiting for something to happen, hearing the grit of the earth against her nails. From a distance, even the relatively short distance that lay between her and the rich stain of the back porch – an excessive outdoor space that dances the line between gaudy and foolish – she looks like nothing more than a girl in a yard watching the clouds. Her frame is too small to highlight her straining, and even the arching of her back, when mixed with the grass and the angle of view from the house, couldn’t bee seen as anything abnormal.

But eventually, with her eyes on the clouds and her thoughts focused on the ground at her back, her fingers and toes drive into the soil. Her body constricts as her reach expands, and that feeling – a familiar, natural, uncomfortable feeling – returns. A sudden hurry in her body as much as in her head, a winding spring. The tips of her fingers and the soft spheres of tissue at the ends of her toes split and reach, a naked white in the earth, veining into the soil as the barren branches vein into the sky above her.

She feels her fingers in those branches as her skin warms in the cold, aching like a wintered hand beneath a steaming tap. She feels a sense of belonging that doesn’t feel right. A tingling in her limbs, a faintness in her now rapid breath. Shallowness in her gut. A comfortable nervousness in the most uncomfortable way. For a moment, made even briefer by her inability to understand it, she feels outside of herself.

Then nothing.

Her fingers and toes withdraw from the earth without warning, sending her arms and legs toward her chest. She’s left alone and breathless and curled on her side in the lawn, shivering in the cold, too confused to respond to her mother yelling from the porch, demanding that she put on her coat and socks and, for God’s sake, her shoes, because it’s time to go. Madison can smell the dirt in the yard like she can smell it in herself. The earth she doesn’t want to be a part of. She can feel the steady breathing of the ground, a steady rhythm borrowed from her own or borrowed just the same in the other direction.

Eventually she does as she’s told, ignoring the ache in her fingers and the hole in her stomach. By the time she’s put on her last shoe, her mother is walking toward her asking why she insists on taking off her shoes and socks and what was she doing out there anyway. Madison shrugs in response and looks at the ground and feels her face go flush. She ignores a remark about the brilliance of her eyes as she walks in hand with her mother out of the yard and across the patterned brick driveway to the wagon, ignoring also the pull she feels behind her, a set of eyes on her back.

Madison Alice Price, named for popularity, heritage, and the patriarchal dominance of the family name – not to mention her father’s hobby-driven love of topography – lays bundled for the weather in a wagon. Despite the clever fabric origami of a folded blanket, the makeshift padding curls up both metal sides of the aged four-wheel pull-along, decreasing her space and her comfort. She says nothing of her irritation, preferring instead to constantly molest the fabric in an attempt to correct the issue, knowing full well it’s of little use. She is also longer than the wagon, a problem she fixes through the use of minor contortions and simple leg placement, making her situation far from ideal. But standards of ideal, assume her parents, vary with age, and they take no notice.

The year is 1991. The wagon is a Radio Flyer with muted red paint and a black handle that’s riddled with dents. There’s rust, a red much deeper and much dirtier than the paint itself, the blood of the wagon, on the under side of each edge, and age shows through from where her sister laid in much the same manner before her.

The Gulf war is in full swing somewhere in the world and Madison’s father has made it very clear on several occasions that he disagrees with the whole damn thing. Though her mother never vocalizes her opinion, she nods from time to time out of respect. But none of this makes the least bit of different to Madison as she lies in her hand-me-down wagon and stares up at the sky and the leafless branches that comprise her view. Her sister runs ahead, her father pulls the wagon, and her mother talks about fall, about the change of colors, while keeping one hand under her now undeniably pregnant belly out of habit or instinct or fear.

Despite her general enjoyment of the wagon and the effortless change of scenery it offers, she dislikes the confinement. She’s happiest in the grass, close to the earth and the soil and each time this notion crosses her mind and her small nose catches the smell of the earth in the air, she grows uneasy and her unspoken irritation with the wagon increases. She thinks of nothing other than the ground itself.

From her vantage point, as supine as possible given her circumstances, she counts the nests now sitting exposed in the barren branch system that webs the sky. Her counting, made inaccurate by both the sporadic placement of the nest and her wiliness to accept all ignorable distractions, is muffled and broken by the sound of her father’s voice. Attempting to express his political opinions, based largely on heresy and headlines rather than education or the articles to which said titles are attached, he speaks with excitement and wild hand gesture, occasionally swaying Madison from side to side, much to her amusement.

And again, without warning, her mother asks her what she was doing in the yard. And why did she have to remove not only her coat, but her socks and shoes as well? Before Madison can begin to ignore the questions and count additional nests, her mother peers back over her shoulder with a smile and a cocked look.

Madison doesn’t take notice of the look just as she neglects to notice her mother’s hand. But there, two down from the wedding band that sits audaciously on her finger, is dirt. A hint of black earth between her mother’s French manicured nail and her naked skin. A bit missed in cleaning perhaps. A bit left beneath the nail of a woman who sets neither foot nor hand in the garden.

But little Madison, caught in her wagon, counting the nests in the trees, misses these things. And her father does as well. Despite his good intentions and the love he feels for his daughters, a love so protective and focused that dreaming of the future causes a very real pain, he serves little purpose. But he is a good man and Madison’s mother knows that is his purpose.

Of course her mother also knows that the baby kicking about in her womb, a girl to be named after a great grandmother she’ll never have the opportunity to meet, has no direct relationship to this man walking beside her and, aside from the carrying and delivery, no direct relation to herself. And she knows that she is from the same vein that gave life to her daughters and to her own mother before her. But to say she understands any of it for what it is would be false, if not ignorant. She understands the process, the uncertainty, and the warming cold. She knows her role as it could be written on paper. She knows the term mother and she knows what it implies. But she still finds herself alone in the yard trying to figure out what it means and why she enjoys disliking it.

Good Things Come in Pairs: Part 2

Posted by | Day to Day | No Comments

Last week I started a series called “Good Things Come in Pairs” by featuring Nicholas Pritchett and Laura Pritchett. As I mentioned in that post, my thought was to draw attention to some couples I follow on Instagram. Because good things come in pairs. How many couples? I’m still not sure, but I have a few in mind and I enjoy each of these photographers as individuals, so I thought it would be interesting to present them as couples while looking at some of their photos side by side.

Once again, I’ve never met either half of the couple I’m featuring today (this will probably be a common theme), but I really like following their adventures (both apart and together), their family, and their view of the world. I’d like to cross paths with these two some day as well and, being that they’re east coasters just like last week’s pair, there might be a combo trip somewhere in my future: Matt Novak (@mattjnovak) and Anna Novak (@annanovak).

While they each have their own view of the world (via Instagram photos or otherwise), Matt and Anna share an endless love for their children, a passion for summer’s warmth, and a knack for capturing beautiful moments in time. Matt makes ramen an art form (in the colder months) and Anna always seems to be baking things that make me want to lick my phone screen. And when their Instagram photos happen to fall side by side in my feed, it’s a beautiful thing. I enjoy the way they live life while loving every minute of it and below are just a few examples of how there photos mingle, sometimes on the same day, sometimes months apart.

There are many excellent examples on their feeds and, though you can certainly follow one or the other, I highly recommend adding both of them to your daily dose of Instagram. And did I mention their expertise in the world of ice cream?

Good Things Come in Pairs: Part 1

Posted by | Day to Day | No Comments

I’ve been on Instagram for a while. I was one of the early ones who tested the waters, decided it wasn’t for me, then realized maybe it was. I was one of the users that survived the apocalyptic Facebook buyout and the (I hope you’re sitting) addition of video, all with little snark. And I haven’t looked back.

I don’t have a massive following, but I know what a great community Instagram can be. I enjoy the talent that fills my feed and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few (excellent) users in real life. While there are dozens of others that I’d like to meet over coffee or a beer or even a brief conversation in passing near a distressed brick building, the few meetings I’ve had have made me pay a bit more attention to each photo I see. With that in mind, I wanted to draw attention to some couples I follow on Instagram. Because good things come in pairs. How many couples? I’m not sure yet, but I have a few in mind and I enjoy each of these photographers as individuals, so I thought it would be interesting to present them as couples while looking at some of their photos side by side.

I’ve never met either half of the couple I’m featuring today, but that hasn’t stopped me from loving the way they see the world. And, for the record, I’d like to someday cross paths with them as they’ve both been nothing by amazing on all forms of social media: Nicholas Pritchett (@nicholasjared) and Laura Pritchett (@bythebrush).

These two have an amazing talent for photography, an eye for the everyday (and the not so everyday), and a very genuine approach to what they do on Instagram. I wanted to feature both of them because, while they both have their own way with a camera (be it with Instagram photos or elsewhere), one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is seeing the parallels that pop up from time to time, with the occasional portraits they take of one another being major highlights. The similarities in their photos are great and the differences are no less enjoyable. Take a look at these few comparisons and head over to Instagram to see all of the amazing photos from these two talented people (who make one talented couple!).

Urban Coos

Posted by | Day to Day | No Comments

Several months ago I wrote a series of haiku. I had no real goal in mind, but they all fell loosely around a common theme. I’m not one for poetry, but I liked these and, deciding that sometimes doing what you aren’t comfortable with can be a good thing, I thought I’d share them.

Urban Coos

Rows of yellow cars,
Horns pronounce an angry red,
High score in Tetris.

The construction site,
Forgotten and left to loot,
Deconstruction sight.

Red bird on Saint Street.
“Much is lost with nothing seen,”
speaks the Cardinal.

In Your Windows

Posted by | Writing | No Comments

I will look in your windows at night when the yellow iridescence of the street lamps meets the warm glow from you home over a dark patch somewhere between the sidewalk and your walls. I won’t stop in front of your house or apartment or townhome. I won’t linger or stare or invade the space that you’ve created. But I will look into your windows and into your life, into the shadow-box formed by the unique light of your house against the night. I will look and I will make guesses and assumptions as I walk, bundles against the cold, past your home bundled.

I’ll compare the light to the paint color. I’ll wonder if that color is crimson or terra cotta or some more exuberant shade such as “roasted macintosh” or “brick in sunlight.” I’ll guess at the temperature in the room from this one clue, with a certain fondness for deep reds and browns and rich yellows. A fondness that never extends to my own home. I’ll wonder at the art on the walls, squinting to see the positioning, and I’ll wonder just the same at the lack of art if that should be the case. I’ll tell myself a story about the portraits and the landscapes and the frames, dark heavy wood or faux gilt or cold metal, that hold each piece.

I will look into your windows and into your life, into the shadow-box formed by the unique light of your house against the night

I’ll catch a glimpse of a tight-backed sofa or a loved armchair or a floral no longer considered in style, but loved none the less. I’ll see furniture used and loved or pampered and protected. I’ll see table lamps with cloth shades resting on tables that remain hidden beneath the sill. I’ll guess at which seat is most comfortable, most inviting, most often offered to guests. I’ll see flickering screens as big as the window with watchers lost in the programming. I’ll see dinners is progress, phones pressed to ears, the isolating glow of electronics, laughter, exhaustion, and laziness after a long day.

I’ll see these things through drawn shades or parted curtains. Through each of three panels on a bay window or the various compartments of a latticed frame. I’ll see what I see without invitation or invasion as I pass by with only a few moments to glance and wonder and enjoy. I’ll see what only I can see from my spot on the sidewalk, outside and alone in the cold.