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Mule Auction Paparazzi

May 11, 2010

Recently I attended a gallery opening that I’ve been excited to see for quite some time.  The Griffin Museum of Photography – Digital Silver Imaging in Belmont, Massachusetts featured the work of my former Professor and current photography mentor, Charles Meyer.  Charles’ work was a collection of photographs of the Dickson Mule Auction in Dickson, Tennessee that he has taken over the past six years.

Mule Stall #210

Mules are the offspring of  a female horse and a male donkey, and are bred for a number of uses such as trail mounts, domesticated work animals, carriage pullers and fieldwork animals.  The Dickson Mule Auction is the largest and oldest mule auction in the country, and attracts people of all kinds from around the globe.  While there are always new faces at the auction, many of the attendees, sellers, buyers and spectators are repeat visitors.  Charles describes the atmosphere as that of a reunion, brought together by beautiful animals.  The photographs, close ups of the mules, a group of old friends talking and laughing between their stalls, and a mule proudly displaying his auction number create the feeling of a close-knit circle that has a passion, or at least a need, for the mules.

Two Men Talking

Here is how Charlie describes his interest in this unique event, “This is my sixth year photographing the Dickson Auction.  I am drawn to this small rural gathering – the culture, the social dynamics, and the mules themselves constitute a unique setting that I have not encountered elsewhere.  Each time I return the work evolves and I am able to explore in greater depth both the visual possibilities and the human element.”

From my experience with Professor Meyer his love for analog, 35mm, black and white photography expands beyond the process and into the content of his photographs.  The gelatin silver prints displayed at the Griffin Museum in Belmont are gorgeous and the mules seem to glow, creating the illusion that if you were to touch the photography you could feel their velvet brown fur.

Tommy admiring 'Mule #007'

Charles’ work has been exhibited at many musems and galleries including the ICA Boston, Addison Gallery of American Art, and the UNESCO Gallery in Paris, France.  He curates exhibitions for the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College as well as teaching the art of photography at Boston College.  Along with photography he has worked in film on the PBS Television specials Civil War and Baseball, by Ken Burns.  He also served as aan associate Producer and Photographer for a four-part film series on conflict resolution in war torn areas of the world.


Oh my God, we’re going to Canada.

April 15, 2010

Great news has just arrived, I will be traveling to Alberta, Canada next month to visit long lost relatives – though I suppose they’re not really lost.  The province’s capital of Edmonton will be my first destination other than the airport and after that short excursion I’ll travel north to Cold Lake where my great aunt and her family live.  After a few days there I’ll be traveling south west and staying in Banff National Park (see photograph below!) and making day trips to various places of interest including Calgary, Jasper National Park, and Lake Louise then finally staying in Calgary with some distant cousins before returning to the states! Stay tuned for some history of the province and eventually some wonderful photographs =]

APR data collection

Some thoughts

March 18, 2010

Due to lack of exploration of things outside of my house, and a surplus of hours spent searching blogs, there may or may not be a few posts that have nothing to do with the outside world. Today, two lists of things I love and things I don’t.  Believe me, I could’ve added many more but I had to stop somewhere =]

12 things I can’t live without.

1. my camera

2. a radio

3.  internet/connection to the blogging world

4. BOOKS (i count that as one thing because i could never pick just one.)

5. coconut shell hoop earrings from Costa Rica


7. tomatoes

8. curly hair

9. Art, Crafts and quotes

10. acupuncture

11. a comfy bed

12. wool socks

11 things i can live without.

1.  cell phones.   join Oprah’s’ \’No Phone Zone\’

2.  incorrect grammar i.e. fustrated instead of frustrated

3. scary movies

4. vegans who only talk about being a vegan (I’m all for the organics, but can’t stand listening to people rant about how awful they feel after one bite of processed food.)

6. white noise, tapping things, restlessness, clapping to songs

7. crocs

8. the color green

9.  toxic people

10. the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’

11. my negative reactions to things people do

Olympic snipit

February 15, 2010

Out of all the events in the Winter Olympic games, the one I’m most excited about is women’s ice hockey.  I’ve come to love the sport over the past four years while watching my friends play at Boston College and at other area colleges.  Two friends from Boston College are on the USA Olympic team this year, Molly Schaus and Kelli Stack,  and it’s been so exciting to track the team’s progress which has been a few years in the making.  They celebrated their first Olympic win yesterday against China 12-1 and will play their next game against the Russian Federation tomorrow afternoon.

Kelli & Molly modeling for the world

Kelli and Molly modeling for the world

The other event I can’t wait for is figure skating.  ICE DANCING. So graceful and beautiful.  This is Mirai Nagasu whos performance at the US Nationals in Spokane was amazing.

A change of plans…

February 10, 2010

The past six months have been wild, frustrating, stressful, wonderful, fun, exciting, boring and scary.  All at the same time.  The first months in Milwaukee were so new adventerous (well, as adventerous as Milwaukee can be..) and the warm weather that lasted up until winter hit made for a nice transition into a new city.  With winter came visits to Chicago and Ohio, field trips at school, shoveling in negative degree weather and lots of huddling on the couch wrapped in blankets.  When the cold started to hit the excitement of the new city wore off a bit, and I realized that there was still a good amount of time left to the JVC year.  To be honest by the time I went home for Christmas I felt myself not liking where I was at, with the JVC,  with myself and literally, where I was in the US.  I was experiencing good things as well but the frustrations of the year were getting to me.  I spent two weeks at home for Christmas and had a wonderful time catching up with family and friends.  I was sad to return to Milwaukee but I decided that I would change my mindset and find the things and people I enjoyed there and focus on those.  When I got back to MKE I was working on changing how I viewed the negatives, but I didn’t have much of a chance to do much about it because four days later I came down with H1N1 and pneumonia that landed me in the hospital then on a plane to Boston.  Ive gotten countless get well cards from all the girls, calls from my housemates and JV friends and even some flowers (ooooo).  I also recently got a number of emails from people who work for Lake Shore Park in Milwaukee and the Great Lakes foundation who were interested in my photographs from Lake Shore.  VERY EXCITING OPPORTUNITIES!!!

Anywho so this is the 5th week of work I’ve missed and after long discussions with my doctors, family and friends, I’m sad to say that I’m leaving the JVC and moving back to Boston.  Although I’m sad to leave NDMS, the students, my co-workers, my community and the friends I’ve made out there I know this is the right decision for me and I won’t look back and regret it.  Good things did come out of this for sure and I know I’ll miss working at NDMS and with all the girls whom I’ve grown to absolutely love!  And I mean … I’ve got plenty of material to write about =] Those of you who know me well enough, you’ll know I’m already planning my next adventure so WATCH OUT!

ps. my lack of pictures is due to the fact that all my stuff is in Milwaukee and I’m not..but I’ll leave you with a photo from a field trip I took some of the graduates on..

An accidental January resolution..

February 1, 2010

I’ve never made a new years resolution.  For that matter I don’t even ‘give up’ anything for Lent anymore (I’m sure my grandmother and JVC would cringe).  But when I returned to Milwaukee after New Years I was on my 4th day of not drinking coffee and coincidentally enough it was January 4th.  Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal to some people, but for myself – who drinks about 3-5 cups a day – it was a big deal.  I tried to see how long I could go, but of course that didn’t take much effort because I came down with the H1N1 three days later and have since been recooperating at my parents in Boston.  Needless to say I haven’t had a sip of joe since I got here because I need to rest all the time (and because of the rapid heart rate thing I have going on…that too).  So there it is.  I could pretend I made the ‘no coffee in January’ resolution before it happened, but in all honesty I can’t wait to grind some beans again.

Happy 2010!

January 18, 2010

It’s been far too long but HAPPY NEW YEAR! The past few months have been crazy and I’m currently recooperating at home from a bout of H1N1 and Pneumonia, but not to fear this gives me some free time to update!

November Rain

Luckily the Milwaukee winter set in later than usual so we were given some more time to spend outdoors!  The first weekend all the JV communities were able to reunite for our second retreat somewhere in Ohio.  It was wonderful to see how everyone else as doing and spend a few days in the open air.  Later in the month I was able to return to Chicago for a second visit during the week of Thanksgiving.  Having seen a bit of the city and the big attractions a few months before we took some time to see more of Lincoln Park, the christmas lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Boystown and Andersonville.  Her brothers were in the process of opening a new restaraunt in Lincoln Park called ‘Macku  Sushi’ and I suggest everyone go there. Immediately.

December Snow

The cold weather swept in and a friend from Minnesota came to visit for the first weekend.  We ventured to the gay-borhood to check out La Cage, the largest gay club in Wisconsin.  We all had a lot of fun as they have 3 dance floors, an hour long drag-show and a cage attached to the ceiling that people can dance in, although we were told it’s just trashy to dance in it.  So we didn’t.  There was only another two weeks before Christmas break and the Milwaukee JV house became knitting central so not much else happened.  At school we had a big Posada celebration which is the Mexican celebration of the Nativity.  It was really great to celebrate with the students and their families.

Boston Bound

I came home for two weeks over Christmas and New Years and had an amazing time with friends and family.  I’ve never been so happy and appreciative to be home and in Woburn, but I suppose that will happen after 5 1/2 months of a completely bizarre experience.  Mostly I just caught up with the people I’ve missed so much, but I had time to go salsa dancing with friends, celebrate New Years with my cousins and reunite with my photography bud Miriam who was home visiting from Italy, go on a photo adventure and ironically run into our photography professor on the streets of Somerville.   My trip was extended a day because of snowy weather and then I made my way back to Milwaukee which was probably the most difficult adjustment I think I’ve ever had to make.  But here I am two weeks later after working for a week and catching the swine and pneumonia.  Hopefully I’ll feel better by this weekend because it’s my best friend Lucia’s BIRTHDAY! I’m already feeling better and my students and co-workers sent me flowers so that really made my day =]

Happy MLK Day!