Processing ...

I've been trapped in chair here, processing a series after series of photographs over weeks ... or that's how I'm telling it. 

I finished the latest series tonight.  170 ... a most beautiful Irish/English family.  I am pleased.  I hope they are too.

Etel Adnan's book, Sitt Marie Rose, arrived in the mail today.  I photographed her while working in Berlin and wish I had read this before meeting her.  It shall be read, over days, on those trams that I ride here.

I'm off to Genova soon.  I am very much looking forward to that. 

This photograph was taken there, in Piazza De Ferrari one day ...

Balance ...

I am always searching for a kind of balance in life ...

I work hard. I work long hours.  There is no income.  However I have finally decided to commit to the life of an artist.  And I'm lucky, my Belgian bloke is pleased  that I am finally writing again.  It was the thing I loved first, the thing friends back in New Zealand most associated with me, it turns out.

So I write in the mornings these days and depending on whether I'm on the school pick-up run, which is lunch-times two days per week, my writing often runs on into the afternoon.  And the evening.

And I edit for friends and causes I believe in the way some people do crossword puzzles. That's my hobby.  I love making texts beautiful.

And I can be lured out of the house to shoot an event or a portrait for friends I admire or whose business impresses me. That was last night.  And I sparkle on the inside.  I love the energy that shoots through me when I'm working with my camera. And I always meet really superb people.  There was this wine-maker last night.  An extraordinary woman that I will interview on Saturday.

So I have all these things that I love doing but they rarely involve money.  And making them earn money while bowing to the gods of taxes, social security, and etc, can only be described as a Kafka story.

Do I kill all the art and get a real job? 

It feels so much like cutting off my nose to spite my face.

I can create beauty.  I'm pleased with the shape the book on Genova is taking.  My photographs seem to please people and even if they don't, I find them pleasing.  I printed 20 of my Genova photographs off as A4 colour photocopies. 

I was like a mother with her new baby.  Who knows if the baby is ugly, I was that mother who was besotted.  The images looked so powerful laid out in front of me.  I needed that.  I was bored with looking at them on the computer.

The scales that weigh the content or purpose of my life are sensitive things.  Sometimes I have them in balance - my work is good, I should continue with photography and writing, the housework, and this crazy extended family of mine.  Other times it's ... who do I think I am.  Some princess who can live so irresponsibly and lightly in the world!?  I must find a job!'

We live in a world where the arts are always first against the wall in budget cut and yet art is the thing that makes humans different to animals, isn't it?  Art is the place we all escape to ... into books, into music.  And yet the raised eyebrow, the idea that we are spoiled ones ... oh how that messes with my head.

I was out with a friend last night and I said, I should get a job.  She said, but you work.  I said but I make no money.  She said you work really hard.  We laughed.  I do enjoy Ruth's company.  She keeps me sane.

So here I am, living what feels a little like life in bubble.  If I float out here, kind of disconnected from the world, then I can write this book I've been carrying inside of me for a long time but ... like being on the edge of a cliff, I can't look down.   If I look down, I'll may fall into despair and despair means I struggle to write and create.  Bitterness is deadly.

Lately I've read through a million job decriptions, trying to work out who would hire me, woman of strange abilities.  And I can't get past what I might gently call the 'wankspeak' of job descriptions.  I think you're meant to apply anyway and then everyone laughs and says noooooo, you're absolutely what we need but we had to write that other stuff,  fluent in 17 languages, with the ability to get our newsletter out into the world in 17 seconds flat.  But maybe it's better those jobs have seemed impossible.

This morning began with a bit of a crisis.  Oh, you guessed.  Maybe I've written it out of me and tomorrow I'll delete this and we'll pretend it never happened. 

But make no mistake, this needs to be read knowing I'm smiling.  I have fought off the despair.  I'm going to write now. 

On Preferring Genova ...

A shameful admission ... perhaps, but I didn't fall in love with Verona. I don't know what I expected.  I may have accidentally watched Letters To Juliet once and you might say, that serves you right, Di

It was a very pretty movie set in an Italian summer.  Meanwhile I was there in September on an overcast day and I couldn't help noticing how much they had tidied things up for the movie.  And I think I was disappointed.

I really like Genova.  I like the extremes of Genova.  And it doesn't pretend to be anything it's not.  The gritty is there, right next to the pretty, in that northern Italian city located on the edge of the Ligurian Sea.

Trieste didn't seem to be pretending, not at all, during the few hours spent there.  And the local restaurant we found served food that I'm still dreaming about.  I love Rome but not like Genova.  Rome is simply something else.  Magnificent.

Acqui Terme has fabulous food and wine.  And the people were lovely but still, I preferred Genova.

Venice ... rainy, overcast, crowded.  I don't know, it didn't capture me but perhaps I need to go back there in summer, or spring.  On a sunny day anyway.  And Cinque Terre ... I'm still muttering about the crowds I found there.

Naples, that was something something else!  It was like nowhere I've ever been before.  Not like Istanbul, nor Cairo.  Not Singapore.  Naples was just its ownself.  I loved it but I imagine it's obvious by now ... not like I love Genova.

I write all of this in a bemused state of mind.  I need to pop in and visit Florence one day, and maybe drive through this Tuscan countryside everyone raves about.  Even if it only confirms what I suspect ... that Genova has everything, and more, of what I prefer.

Maybe Italy is like a pick-a-path story.  Maybe you simply find what you love best there and stay loyal to it.  I don't know but that's how it is for me.

Bubbles, Piazza De Ferrari, Genova

I'm one of those creatures who, to learn a new thing, need to repeat it until it becomes familiar.

Actually, that's one of the reasons I have begun offering one-on-one photography coaching, for women. I suspect I'm not alone in being overwhelmed over years, as well-meaning, engineering-minded people have tried teaching me photography via their beautiful minds of order and logic.

My mind doesn't function along the lines of order and logic ... there is some logic there but in a form that is more about 'my logic', as opposed to logic that makes maths and physics obvious.  Ask my first husband, the physics guy ... there were some stories about my way of portraying the theory of relativity and other things. 

So here I am, bending my mind into the 'obvious' in photoshop, creating these small collages and having the nicest time before going back to my work.

I hope your day is a good one, where ever you are.