*snuggling in with*winter*

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer” Albert Camus

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We are influenced by nature- our environments, weather, seasons, etc. They all carry their own energies, symbols, comforts or discomforts- all of which effect our own energies, our emotions, perceptions and in turn, our behaviors. When I was young and would take Myspace surveys, I remember always struggling with the “Favorite Season” question. I thought for sure it was summer. It’s sunny and warm, I have no school, I got to explore a lot more.. but I would always stop myself torn, as every season holds such intimate personality and beauty/fun/mystery of its own.

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Now that I am a bit older and happen to be in a very introspective, reflective, committed-to-personal-growth era of my life, winter has become a special friend for me. Its resonance feels to parallel my own and leaves me feeling so free, supported, motivated, with confidence and manageable stress. Winter and I can also feel isolated and lonely but I feel a deep “okay” with that; aware that just as life’s cycles continue like spring returning each year- so too will new life bloom in my world, in its own time.

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Winter is now here in full swing. The neighborhoods have been blanketed in ice from sunrise to sunset for about a week now and many areas have received snow. The temperature last night was 28 degrees (-2 degrees Celsius for readers in other countries) and now at 2:30pm the next day only 33 (1 degrees Celsius). I really hate being cold, REALLY, so it is a bit surprising for me to be so in Love with winter, but it’s just so cozy and reflective.

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Winter is beautiful for it’s scenery

But most of all for me,

Winter is beautiful for being a nurturing catalyst to growth.

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In such a busy, commercial American city it can be difficult to find true peace and quiet. With winter in the city I observe a slower pace, a greater awareness of appreciation, holiday good cheer and deeds, more quality time with loved ones, more quality time with ones self, cultivating creativity and more opportunities to “just be” alive, cozy, live simpler. It’s refreshing.

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“I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future – the timelessness of the rocks and the hills – all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” -Andrew Wyeth

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“In a way Winter is the real Spring- the time when 
the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.” -

Edna O’Brien

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. *{ rain }* .

This post begins with an apology; my attention has been distracted by a few temporary projects and I’ve neglected posting for a few weeks. So I’m sorry, but I’m back! Summer has now turned to fall and the heavy clouds and slower pace have nudged me into my own season of long-procrastinated projects, creativity and cleaning. In Seattle, our summer started pretty late and appropriately stuck around longer than usual. Surprisingly, I found myself looking forward to the promised rains in this part of the country and I felt an unexpected peace when they finally arrived.

Rain has been the backdrop for the majority of my life. I walked to school in it, played sports in it, had recess in it, went camping in it, rode my bike in it, basically just grew up in it. Possibly because of this, I didn’t have as much wonder about rain as I did with many other natural phenomena. I just recently recognized this as I became more aware of a growing, unfamiliar affinity and raw appreciation for something I’ve been around my whole life.

I look forward to storms and rain showers, they feel almost like a form of emotional and physical cleansing. I love the power of rain’s dynamic states, how it can be oh so gentle or incredibly forceful, spiritual or physical, nurturing or a burden, metaphorical or scientific, life giving or life taking. More recently for me, a humbling experience; a reminder of my respect and reliance on nature and the systems of our Earth and Universe. I am grateful and excited by this unfolding relationship.



. J e f f . R e i d .

I’ve known Jeff for 8 or so years now, introduced by a friend for our mutual connection to the same film school. Through the years, he has been a great source of information and inspiration for me in my pursuit of photography and film.

We were introduced because he was studying at the film school I was set to attend after highschool. Our friendship began as communication about what to expect at school and such but I ended up going a different route and not attending film school. We kept in touch through the years which includes him opening his home to me when I would be in LA for work (thank you again, by the way!). He has obvious skills and a great visual eye, but he is also a great guy.

Jeff grew up in a small town in Washington state. It is picturesquely surrounded by water and natural scenery as well as having numerous homes in lovely Victorian architecture. I myself have many fond memories of visiting there as a child. The diverse scenery of this corner of the globe is ideal to grow a fond appreciation for nature, lighting, and the desire to preserve such beautiful landscapes.

“Everything seems to fade away when I hold a camera in my hands; problems and frustrations seem to disappear. Trying to see the world in a unique way is both a joy and a welcomed challenge. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I was always surrounded by natural beauty. At an early age I became aware of how I could capture this within a photograph.” –Jeff Reid

One thing I love about Jeff’s photography is that beyond his skill, he consistently brings scenes of unspoiled nature. He goes backpacking and hiking into breathtaking areas and documents places not many people often see. From his home state of Washington to many places across California, Mexico, all the way to his European backpacking adventure, I always look forward to his photos. I also feel comfortable and know I can go to him with questions, fears or anything as I grow into a photographer. He always tries to help the best he can and I really appreciate and respect him. I am happy to have met him and even happier we’ve stayed in touch.

“I love to travel and find that I can’t stay in one place for too long, without exploring elsewhere. Whether it’s putting a 30+ pound backpack on and trekking into the mountains, far from another human soul- or hopping on a plane and flying into an urban jungle- I get a rush out of wandering.” -Jeff Reid

“Photography is another great passion of mine. It seems to be the perfect companion to travel. My camera helps push me farther outside of my comfort zone, the extra mile into the unknown…” -Jeff Reid

He currently lives in Los Angeles, Ca and aside from his photography, his day job is a Colorist/Online Editor and he also does freelance video editing (editing reel below). Thank you Jeff, for all the knowledge you’ve shared through the years and for simply being such a friendly, chill guy :)

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Jeff Reid Photography

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[Travel Blog]

h u m a n – L ❤ v e

photo: Mary Black Foundation

How exciting it was to wake up and find my post on street art had been *Freshly Pressed* and seen by so many people! A few days before this, I had installed a site meter which included geolocation where I can see the cities and/or countries of my visitors. I am in love with the world, traveling and meeting people from different cultures so it’s interesting for me to know where someone has read my thoughts. It was fun to see all the different countries and read through the supportive comments.

This post is an ode to that experience, to the beauty and variety of our species  and to all the ways people from around the world come together: art, music, internet, traveling, ideas, etc. Thank you everyone, for your kind words! The main point of making this blog was to reach out, connect and share myself with anyone who happened to be interested and I feel blessed. Love!…

photo: Jillian Zamora Photography

photo: Volkstudio

photo: John Harvey

photo: Carrie Mae Weems

photo: Mike Milosh

photo: Tim Navis

photo: Gleaton

photo: Chenman

photo: Igor Amelkovich

photo: Samar Jodha

. … ❤ … .

B a r a k a

“Baraka”

A blessing in the form of spiritual wisdom or divine presence. Also a spiritual power believed to be possessed by certain persons, objects, tombs. Hebrew, Arabic, Swahili, Urdu, Persian, Turkish… (wiki)

Baraka is a beautifully powerful film by Ron Fricke, the same man who made “Chronos” that I posted about earlier. They are similar in that they are both non-narrative, time-lapsed films exploring ideas of nature and human existence, but Baraka is much more… intense. It is impressive, poignant, thought provoking and honest.

Baraka was made in 1992 and uses amazing cinematography focusing on the phenomena and interactions of nature and different human civilizations. It was shot in 25 countries and remastered in 2008, taking 16 months and considered by many to be one of the best quality DVDs to have ever been made. “The finest video disc I have ever viewed or ever imagined.” Roger Ebert.

One of my favorite sequences is from the Mausoleum of Shah-e-Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran. I was stunned by the visual beauty and effort of this space.

While having gorgeous scenes that brought tears to my eyes, there are also some that were a bit difficult to watch. There’s nothing “disturbing”, but some scenes involve activities of the modern human world that are meant to be a bit uncomfortable. This film is meant to make you FEEL and THINK in possible new perspectives and broader world views.

Just like Chronos, I recommend watching Baraka in best HD quality.. and loud. I added a trailer for it below from YouTube. There are full versions on YouTube cut into parts or on other online sources. You can also find, rent, netflix, or buy the remastered HD version which really is a huge difference. Enjoy!

***All photos taken from Spirit of Baraka***

. M i k a e l a . M a e .

Once upon a college art class, I met an intriguing girl named Mika Jones.

[^Christopher Hills^]

Not only did she have a deep, emotional style to her art that really spoke to me, she was ethereal yet dark and let off a mysterious, alluring vibe. I had the pleasure of working with her a few times in class and was indefinitely charmed. I am so grateful that I get to witness her art and modeling grow, which is inspirational for me as an artist, photographer and a transforming woman myself.

[Maggie West ^]

I recently began reading bits of her writings and I am thrilled. Her stories beautifully drum on the abstract human journey through life, love, pain, darkness and Self. There are not many living, modern-day artists that I hold such creative admiration for, I feel blessed to know her.

. . .

Death liked to be inconvenient and once M asked her why when they had run into one another by chance. It was at a bar in Milan and M was drinking a cappuccino the size of a thimble when death bumped into her, causing her to curse.

“Ciao Bella” Death said with a sly smile and a cat’s tongue. M knew her too well, for death had made many appearances and was too beautiful to forget. M watched coldly as Death snorted white powder up her nose and laughed with electric eyes.

“So you want to know why I keep coming by, do you? Why I keep talking to your friends? Why I have your boyfriend’s number?” M nodded with her hair in her eyes. Why was she even talking to this creature, for she surely was not the woman she disguised herself as? Death kept laughing as she read her thoughts. “Well it’s not because I like you, that’s for sure. Don’t flatter yourself missy, you’re nothing special in the scheme of things.”

“Then why waste your time?” Forcing herself to look Death in the eye finally, stung by the harshness of her tone. Death stroked her cheek and sighed slowly, her shoulders small and fragile with the weight of her breath.

“Because you remind me of me, and I’m lonely too.”

. . .

[^Rachel Q Waniewski]                                                                  [Kelly Withers^]

Her artist page goes by “Mikaela Mae”. She’s studied art in China, Italy, and America and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. Her work is for sale, she does commissions, tattoo design, vintage clothes/accessories, models and writes.

mikamaejones[at]gmail[dot]com

                                                                                                  [Maggie West^] [^Amanda Paredes of Swae-Photography^]

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Facebook Artist Page

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. .Chronos. .

The film “Chronos” was made before I was born however, considering its quality and eternal subject matter, that would be hard to guess. I was first introduced to this by a friend while in Europe last year and I was immediately in love. It is a visually striking, beautiful project exploring “time”.Chronos was made in 1985 by Ron Fricke using customized time-lapsed cameras, set to a soundtrack by Michael Stearns. The title is taken from an ancient Greek word χρόνος or “khronos” which translates to “time”. They traveled to five continents shooting some truly amazing places from nature, past art and architecture, to aspects of modern life.You might recognize a similar shooting style in the well-known “Koyaanisqatsi” film where Ron Fricke was the cinematographer. He also made the films, “Baraka” and “Sacred Site” (I’ll post about Baraka at a later date but I have yet to watch Sacred Site). For me, his films seem to have three things in common: provoking thought, striking imagery, and a powerful experience.

This is a YouTube version of the full movie. Like most visual experiences, I recommend watching this at best quality and loud <3 Seriously, some of these sequences rock my effing face off. So, enjoy : ) …