The Tweet Life

In the shower and in my car… two places where multitasking is not worth the risk.  It’s in these two spaces my brain begins to twitch and convulse as it’s forced to relax and be there, in the moment. Gripping my steering wheel, having a staring contest with the dotted line or soaked with soap and water, that’s when most of my ideas drop in and say “oh haaaay girl, you gotta minute?”

August.
So there I was, in the shower….probably singing like I’m Neko-frickin’-Case or something because dangit that woman’s voice sounds like an echoey shower goddess! Anyway, so, in the shower, two ideas came to me:  1) I will hostess a solo art show next year and 2) I will start a year-long, lifestyle photography series called Celebrating Life.  The latter is what you’re reading now. (check) For me it’s enjoyable, fulfilling, goal-oriented and reasonably paced with one shoot & post a month. (check plus)

December.
Ate a lot of food. Did a lot of nothin’.
Made an outline of the holidays I was interested in photographing for this series.

February.
I found myself completely consumed with my solo show. For this exhibit, I decided to do a photographic review of my timeline which gave me a solid list of over 80 faces to photograph. I darted all over the East Coast filling each precious moment with reconnection, familiar faces, new memories and checks on my to-do list. (ch-ch-check!) Armed with inspirational travel time, this instagrammin’ fool found herself passing through Richmond with an idea of a way to celebrate April’s holiday: Draw a Bird Day (it’s real).

Part I: RVA puts a bird on it.
An instagram post by Richmond based artist and friend, Tim Skirven, grabbed my attention. He posted a photo that his fiancé/fellow artist, Ali Croft, shot of him hanging his art show at 821 Cafe on Cary Street in Richmond. The show was a simple yet bold collection of black birds on white square panels. They stood out nicely against the exposed brick walls of the cozy cafe. I shot these two love birds (haaa) a message and within moments, I had a bird drawing session to photograph inked into my calendar.

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It was a quiet, peaceful Richmond morning and something about walking up Tim and Ali’s creaky wooden steps prompted my slow-mo. I love that sound. I could smell freshly brewed coffee and the cats greeted me with a quick scamper and sideways glare. Light poured into the living space and Tim had already set out his bird reference books. It was a casual Saturday morning shoot…we’re talkin’ pjs and bedhead. The perfect kind.

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They quickly fell into their zone…or maybe they were already there. The cats slinked around, #2 pencils and Prismacolor pens scratched over the surface of their paper and the Black Keys played softly in the background. #chillestshootever? <—likely.bsomeIMG_7424collage bsomeIMG_7422collagebsomeIMG_7492 bsomeIMG_7483 bsomeIMG_7454collagebsomeIMG_7519bsomeIMG_7543bsomeIMG_7546bsomeIMG_7521bsomeIMG_7515bsomeIMG_7504bsomeIMG_7537bsomeIMG_7532bsomeIMG_7562bsomeIMG_7553collagebsomeIMG_7560bsomeIMG_7523

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Part II: Harrisonbird….Yeah? 
Feeling recharged and functioning on a higher frequency of busy, I returned home to Harrisonburg, VA, ready for round two. It’s no secret in these parts that Lynda Bostrom is BOSS when it comes to doing her artistic thang. I have to admit though, I chose Lynda based on instagram also. I swear I have real life connections with people but being a strong visual learner, seeing something burns it into my memory. When I had the idea to do this post, I immediately remembered some photos Lynda posted over a year ago. She was working on a series of birds that fondly reminded me of Charley Harper’s work. Simplified animals with blocks of bold color and modest, deliberate lines. So beautiful. I dropped by her place one evening and was pretty pumped when I walked into her window-walled apartment to see the pieces for her upcoming show sprawled out on the floor.

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Lynda referenced Google for some chubby, jolly birds and started doodling with her fude pen. We chatted as she drew bird after bird and the yellow evening sun filled her space. In compiling this post I noticed a lot of similarities in the two different bird sessions. Tim and Ali also had great natural light. Both had creaky steps and floors. All three of them hid behind their drawings when I asked them to hold them up for a photo. (ha!) Both artists have current and/or upcoming shows; they’re active, working artists. And while that may be a fulfilling and good-for-the-soul gig, it ain’t always easy. They’re doing it though and making it work. It’s admirable and I’m happy to know them.

After my confessional-esque intro, I was curious to know where their source of creative energy comes from. And you know what, they both said the same thing…that conversations inspire them. Stories and interactions with people give them a bank of art arsenal to carry them through. Lynda said she hopes that seeing her work “feels like a good conversation.” …Now isn’t that just lovely?

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I also noticed some things about myself through these photos. I guess I like photographing shoes? And plants. And pets. And feet? I like learning these things about myself. I guess in a way, my interactions with Lynda, Tim and Ali taught me a few things that had nothing to do with birds at all. So, thanks guys.

If you’re in Richmond in August, you can check out Tim’s work in person at Quirk Gallery.

Lynda has two upcoming shows this year (2014): Art Lotto (a collaborative portrait show at Larkin Arts in Harrisonburg, Va) & Axcess Art in Brooklyn, NY late this summer.

And the solo show I mentioned, titled “Some of My Parts“, will be opening April 11th at the Blue Nile in Harrisonburg, Va.

Now git off this box and go draw some birds! Happy Draw a Bird Day!

You can follow Tim on instagram @timskirven, Ali @alicroft, their joint design gig @504andahalf, Lynda @lyndaboss. Woo!

 

 

RVA: Mrs. Sarah

I was more than eager to attend this wedding as a guest. Don’t get me wrong, I love photographing weddings, but having been deprived of guest-status for…a while, I truly appreciated every sip, bite, and free moment of this day. On our way out of town, Ben and I stopped at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market for a small bite and a hot coffee. I can never resist those ding dang O’cakes. Lordhavemercy. Then we hightailed it out of the ‘burg to RVA. A little sprucing up in the hotel and we were ready to witness some matrimony. Sarah and Jason created a website for wedding guests that listed some of their recommendations and favorite spots to frequent in Richmond. With a little time to spare we decided to honor the time they took to create such a list and visit one of Jason’s favorite Richmond restaurants: Joe’s Inn. There was no time for the feeding frenzy of which I’m always ready to partake…but we managed to toast the couple with a pair of Guinness and be on our way. ohmyguinness. Just a few short blocks passed under our tootsies and we arrived at the Virginia Center of Architecture where I caught up with some familiar faces. I watched the camera man bounce around doing squats and yoga and core strengthening that I’m convinced only photographers know how to do. I nestled into my chair and enjoyed the chatter. Let’s just be honest here, I’m not sure what I’d do with my hands in most of life’s situations if not for my camera…so of course I had moments where my Canon found it’s way to my face and boomtown: snap happy. The ceremony was light and sweet and Sarah made all the funny faces that I love. I was particularly excited about the reception at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts(!) so I wasted no time in heading that way after the kissy kiss. Plus Joe’s Inn left me with a full bladder. I have a thing for bathrooms and got immediately sidetracked in there. Come to think of it, after looking at my last few sets of photos I’ve discovered I also have a thing for elevators. And freshly made beds. And food…but that’s nothing new. Congrats to Sarah and Jason on their beautiful Richmond wedding!

More Richmond photos HERE!

O'cakes

Spicy Peanut Brittle O’cake. drool

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iphone panoramas are so fun!

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direction check…Joe’s Inn

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Don’t worry, I asked permission before taking this creeper shot.

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Ben took the shot above.

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Here’s something I don’t normally see on my camera…pictures of ME:FCLIMG_4947CFCLIMG_4954CFCLIMG_4978FCLIMG_4981

I couldn't get enough of the Chihuly garden.

I couldn’t get enough of the Chihuly garden.

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Check out the AWESOME shots by their photographers: http://www.stevenandlilyphotography.com/sarah-and-jason-wedding/

Copyright © 2013 · Photos by Brandy Somers. All Rights Reserved · friendlycitylens.com & brandysomersphotography.com. This material may not be copied, downloaded, altered, cropped, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting my creative property.

Todd Paints

I’ve known Todd since middle school. Back when we were both skinny little twerps sitting silently on the school bus, staring out the window watching the cows go by. He’s been a great friend through the years and he’s just a darn good person. One evening I was in day three of self-imposed isolation…not because I’m a total freak, but because I had an insane amount of to-dos on my project list. Todd, probably feeling sorry for me, brought his work-his painting-to my house and set up camp in my kitchen. We both worked, in separate rooms, shouting the occasional obscenity and laughing.  It was nice to have another living, breathing, adult in my presence for a bit. Not to mention he’s creative and extremely talented. 
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