Archive for the 'Fashion' Category

That Was Then, This is Now

After  hard goodbye with Katie I was on the train to DC for the wedding that started this whole trip and a squeal filled reunion with the girls from Florence.

It was Kimmie and I at one end of the hall, Kelly, Kristin (who came together from DC), and Hannah at the other end.  That semester seems so far away now but I find myself thinking of it all the time.  We really became close, we spent nearly all our time together developing inside jokes with the staff, traveling, and occasionally admitting to missing home.  In the last days of our time together we talked about reuniting in Florence someday, how great that would be.

That thought seems pretty naive now but I’m proud to say we’ve done better than most.  Hannah and I have visited one another a few times (me to GA then her to MA), Kristin and I wrote letters, and even though this visit was hectic it felt wonderful to have almost all of us together again.


Kelly, Kristin, Hannah Frances Baby Baker (as we like to call her), and me.

(Kim-we missed you!)

It was a beautiful wedding and a wonderful trip to DC.  We all marveled at Kristin’s hard work (yea, she crochetted that dress herself!), I took silly sweet photos of Hannah and her boyfriend Brian, I got to meet up for a lot of wonderful conversation with my dear friend Lcy Daumen from home (such good conversation that I completely forgot to take any photos), and Hannah and Brian showed me around including a wonderful visit to the Art o Matic.



Happy Bride and Groom!


Thanks to Kristin and Ed for a lovely ceremony, I was so happy to be there.  And big thanks to Hannah and Brian for showing me such a great time!  Come to NY!

*apparently I’ve reached my photo quota, more to come as soon as I can!


The Icing on the Cake

It’s always nice to see someone who knows you from a different part of your life in a completely new place. Erin and I met in college, shared many bottles of wine together, a couple trips to New York, and those long conversations that never quite feel finished.

After school she moved to London to get her Masters in Photography at Sotheby’s.  This was the same time that I moved to New York, around January we were both feeling a bit lost.  So I went to London for a visit.

This visit was like coming full circle, last time it had been cold and unsettled with lots of wondering.  This time there were answers and specific destinations, favorite things to do, and people to meet, plus the sun shined the whole time.  Plus, something I always love to be around, everyone was just so grateful to be having the experience.  Pure happy.







Leibovitz Lecture


Last week I had some amazing luck and ended up with a ticket to the sold out Annie Leibovitz lecture at the C|O Berlin where her retrospective is up, “A Photographer’s Life.”  The space was beautiful and walking past the giant line felt pretty great, turns out Germans love her; I saw a “Willkommen Annie” cover story on at least 3 big newspapers the day she arrived.

I know a lot of photographers don’t feel this way.  My room mate, for one, who was her first assistant for many years back in the 90’s.  Fortunately for me he didn’t really feel like going (apparently she can be more than rude on set) and thus I ended up with his ticket.  A lot of other photographers who have never actually worked with her, like me, kind of cringe about her because she’s become one of those names.  You know, like Ansel Adams or (more full on cringe here) Anne Geddes.   The type people who don’t know much about Photography mention whilst in awkward getting to know you conversations with a photographer.  I know I’ve had to surpress an eye roll on more than one occasion when people mention those names, it’s happened to the best of us.


All that said when Leibovitz walked in, I stood on my tippy toes to see her and later on found myself taking as many photos as I could while she was nearby.  She’s a household name for a reason and although I still don’t get Anne Geddes I had a similar experience with Ansel Adams in which I went to a retrospective show and was floored by the beauty of his prints.  Sometimes there’s reason for the hype.


Also, I just finished reading the late Susan Sontag’s journals “Reborn” and since Leibovitz and Sontag were partners I was interested to hear her talk about her.  When she did the audience went completely silent, more so as we watched this very powerful seemingly guarded woman grow a bit emotional as she referred to ‘loosing Susan.’


“when we met she knew I could be better, I could’ve been a jerk or the work could’ve gotten better.  I never really could be the person she wanted me to be.  She had a high set of values.  I never felt like I could totally please her”

Apparently the “Women” book was Sontags idea, interesting fact.  I found the photos in the show of Sontag to be really beautiful.  I think it’s always telling to see the portraits the portrait photographer takes of their loved ones.  Leibovitz said that was the motivation for the show, after Sontag died she was looking through photographs of her believing in all their years together she’d failed to get any really great ones.

She went on to talk about the photograph of her Mother, from the Women book and how it has become so much more to her over the years.  Just before taking it her Mother had asked her not to make her look old and after when she showed her parents neither one liked it.

“We always had to smile for photos when I was younger, in the best and worst of times.  And my Mother always smiled in photos.  But, I began to distrust the smile, in my protraits you rarely see people smiling….later at the show someone came up to me and said ‘she looks as if she loves you in that picture'”


It was nice to hear some of the anecdotes behind the photos I’ve referenced since I was 16.  And yes I have to admit I was a bit star struck; it’s hard not to be when you walk through the rooms of people she’s photographed.  I mean just to have met all those people is a pretty amazing feat.  I know I know, you can roll your eyes if you must.


“as a photographer, my achilles heal: I like people to look good.”

Annie Leibovitz

Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers then Dancing




Sprüth Magers Berlin is delighted to present Cindy Sherman’s first exhibition of new work in Europe since 2004. The fourteen colour photographs assembled develop Sherman’s longstanding investigation into notions of gender, beauty and self-fashioning, and reveal a particular concern to probe experiences and representations of aging. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has developed an extraordinary relationship with her camera, and her audience, capturing herself in a range of guises and personas which are by turn alarming and amusing, distasteful and poignant. A remarkable performer, subtle distortions of her face and body are captured on camera, leaving the artist unrecognizable as she deftly alters her features, and brazenly manipulates her surroundings.

Each of the women which feature in Sherman’s new exhibition share an acute consciousness of glamour and social hierarchy, which is both disquietingly flagrant and sardonically relevant to contemporary obsessions with image and status. In one photograph (Untitled #465, 2008), the fiercely proud eyes of a woman installed in her warped and blurred country estate stare out of a face regrettably cracked and peeling with age, ill concealed by make-up, hair-dye or expensive pearls. In another work from the series (Untitled #467, 2008), a woman with a tight sequined skirt, fake gold jewellery and extravagant fake white nails also glares out, perhaps daring the viewer to call her trash, or ruefully acknowledging that this is what she is. It is ultimately impossible, however, to fix any stable narrative in Sherman’s work; different levels of pretence and authenticity operate and interact in her images to complicate any straightforward reading of her characters, or the stories they might tell the viewer.

Find the full press release here.


Winnie, Anna, and Ford


I really loved the show, the space was wonderful (above photo is the ceiling) and it felt good to meet other artists and discuss the photos.


After the gallery opening Harriet (above) had the grand idea of heading to Clärchens Ballhaus, a wonderful dance hall that has been hosting dances since 1913.  Even through war this place was said to have kept going.  On this particular evening it was Swing night, we mostly just watched, but towards the end we couldn’t resist and ended up going out and giving it a go.  The whole thing made me so happy, these elderly couples who were obviously regulars along side teenagers who wanted to learn from the masters.  Anyone who ever believed Germans to be cold and unfriendly has obviously never been here, the happy warmth seemed to radiate.



My favorite had to be this older man who looked at least 80 that had a smile on his face the whole night.  All the girls were dancing with him and even a few men which was truly heartwarming to see.  Not only these beautiful people dancing around and losing their self consciousness in it but also these big German men dancing together, everyone smiling.  I didn’t get to see the upstairs but here are some photos from the web.  If you come to Berlin I highly recommend this being one of your stops!



La Festa e La Gattina

The Au Pair job was turning shady and I soon realized the offer was indeed to good to be true.  Everything had seemed great, they sent a contract through the agency and when I checked with the agency they said it sounded legit.  But then I started asking more questions, wanted some photos, some back round, etc.  That’s when I stopped getting answers and was urged to fly to London as soon as possible.  We’ll buy you the ticket, just fill out this Visa application.  Shady.  Sketchy. No go. I found some reassuring words here though.


So it was decided for me in a way, Berlin it would be.  Now I just had to get together the courage to leave my Sisters comfy apartment, jump not knowing if I’d land on my feet.



While getting together this confidence I distracted myself with more knitting, the gattina (kitten-who I was quickly falling in love with), and a fabulous dinner party for a classmate’s boyfriend.

Instead of gifts Anthony (above with the fabulous belt buckle) requested everyone bring something they had made that everyone could enjoy.  Being that most of the group is foodies that meant a lot of excellent food, including some wonderful Spring rolls by Jennifer and an delicious Almond cake by my Sister.  I brought my Polaroid and Nikon to document the events and give the Polaroids to Anthony.  Others wrote poems, brought artwork, and one woman performed belly dancing for us.  It was pretty excellent.


After the dance I stepped outside for a minute, I got to meet Anthony and Rani’s neighbor who works for the Parma Gazette.  He showed me all of his photos and we chatted a bit in Italian.  It was really refreshing to see someone my age working as a photographer in Italy.


Then, back inside, we all started dancing, even those people who hate dancing, and the apartment seemed to swell with smiles and new friendships (if only for that night).

and everything changed


The next day I woke up and had a quick breakfast before jumping on the U Bahn to go to the East Side Gallery.  The introduction page of my guide book to Berlin says this is not a beautiful city this is a city that has been through so much that it seeps from each space.


The East Side Gallery is a remaining part of the wall that’s been left for artists to use as a canvas.  I took about 298749874 photos:


dsc_0556 dsc_05101 dsc_0563










Last Day in Valencia

We had to get back to the market and do a little shopping before we went back to the beach again. Our day started out with this sighting, so we knew it would be a good day.

After stopping to buy a fabulous dress we were off to the market where Sister made some friends who were trying to escape and bought her paella pan.



the sepia I talked about before, so delicious!

the sepia I talked about before, so delicious!

ostrich eggs anyone?

ostrich eggs anyone?

After that we wandered through the back streets to shop for gifts and treasures. We found an amazing olive tree, a wild boar photo op, some pure pigments, and of course lots of photos.

This girl explained how the pure pigments in the right of the photo are made

Then we walked back towards the center of the old city to check out the architecture.

Then we found a little back street with some Valencia orange trees, perfect for our last night.

They smelled amazing.

pimp my vespa (it's an actual show in Italy)

Then it was off to the train station, paella pan and all, to get tickets for our trip back to Barcelona the next day. We wanted to make sure we got them early this time and while we were waiting in line to buy them I noticed something extra being smuggled in the boys bag.

Valencia train station

Valencia train station

It was actually kind of sweet, he made the kitten a bed in his bag and even though he was talking with his friends he kept nervously glancing to make sure it was ok. For a while it was walking around but then it took an adorable nap.

Then we back tracked to a cafe we’d seen to get some delicious food and even some dessert.

seafood salads

seafood salads

sepia and seafood paella

sepia with garlic french fries and seafood paella

fruit cocktail and gelato, yum

fruit cocktail and gelato, yum

We wondered back and packed for the trip back to Barcelona early the next day. That night we continued our new tradition of having a dinner from the supermarket while packing and relaxing. Gracias Valencia for a wonderful trip!

The Day After

Exhausted emotionally and physically we slept in but had a few goals for the day.  Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Sagra de Famiglia (the most famous Church in Barcelona), and Park Guelle.

First we went to MACBA to see the exhibits.  There were four floors, three special exhibits of three different artists work and one floor of the collection of the museum.  First the MACBA collection, which was very diverse many well known artists but also students of the University in Barcelona (which is right next to MACBA).  Mostly media installations and paintings.

Nancy Shapiro had an exhibit on the second floor she was one of the pioneers of feminist art she collaborated with WAR (Women Artists in Revolution) and was a key figure on the dissident New York scene of the 1960s and 70s.  Her drawings were very intense, often reflecting on war and violence, later her work becomes more optimistic but in all her work there is an emotional intensity that I think is fascinating. She also did a lot of mixed media and installations.  And I enjoyed the letters they displayed that she wrote to major NY museums asking why there were so few female artists with work on display.  Some examples of her work:

"The Bug, Hellicopter Victim" 1966

"Codex Artaud XVII" 1972

Then there was the Francesc Torres retrospective.  The famous Spanish artist from Barcelona was a pioneer of installation art and critically reflects on the diverse manifestations of culture, politics, memory and power through his very diverse works.

He also showed a series called “Dark is the Room Where We Sleep” (which was at the ICP in NYC back in 2003).  This was a series of black and white photos documenting the uncovering of a mass unmarked grave in Northern Spain; after photographing the forensics team he took some marvelous portraits of the local townspeople.  The whole project is very moving, you should find the book if you can.  At MACBA one thing he wrote that really stuck with me was the description of the church in this small town where they returned the remains to the decedents one by one.  Once they finished they all walked together to bury them in the local grave yard, buried together again but this time with a proper burial.

I didn’t get many photos of his work other than the above but it’s all very different.  His drawings and paintings were much different, very smart and funny in a critical way.  I really enjoyed it.

For some reason I can’t find the info on the third floor exhibition, maybe it was taken down but if I have kept a handout or something in my things I promise to blog about it later.

So after such heavy subject matter and after the events of the previous day Sister and I decided we were in need of a long relaxing lunch.  And for some reason we hadn’t run into many large well made salads in Barcelona so we decided to try to find that.  Also a place where there was no smoking, which is hard to find in Barcelona.  So we walked back towards the center and ate at a spiffy little place called Ma Ta Ma La.

Sister was so tired she was falling asleep at the table

Sister was so tired she was falling asleep at the table

delicious tapas!

delicious tapas!

After lunch we hopped on the Metro to go to Sagra de Famiglia.  This church is so crazy and, of course, gorgeous.

the metro station

the metro station

First of all it started construction in 1882 by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, he worked on it for 40 years and it is still not finished today! They predict it’s completion sometime in 2026! I can’t imagine it complete because at it’s current state it is already over whelming.



The structure is so unique, very Art Nouveau, Guadi was influenced greatly by nature and he used hyperboloid structures (which I can’t even attempt to explain but let’s just say he had a passion for geometry.)  There are three grand facades; the Nativity facade to the East, the Glory facade to the South (not yet completed), and the Passion facade to the West and each of the towers represents different meanings or saints.  There is too much history to write here but it’s really interesting and if you’re ever in Barcelona it is a must see.

detail of the door (Alyson, Mariel you would've loved it!)

detail of the door; Alyson, Mariel you would have loved it



it left me speechless

it left me speechless

We decided we were too tired to go to Park Guelle that day and needed some rest at the apartment before Valencia.  We found a grocery store and bought an assortment of meat and cheese, some wine.

During our delicious and perfectly low key meal we watched some very interesting Spanish tv and did laundry.  We only had a washer and thought it would only take half an hour then we would dry it; wrong! It took 2 hours for the first load, and about 4 hours total just to wash so we draped our clothes all over the apartment, went to bed, and hoped they would dry in time because the next day we left for Valencia!

Also a side note; while we were at Sagra de Famiglia I noticed that unlike most Churches this one did not have a dress code (cover the shoulders and knees).  Obviously, because these two Spanish women waltzed in just like this:

Shopping and Sightseeing

Day three and we are done saying “can you believe we’re here?” And on to saying “I love it here.” I finally stopped speaking so much Italian; instead of grazie it’s gracias. The languages are pretty similar plus I took a bit of Spanish in high school so it comes back but the lisp in Spain is hard to get used to it sounds beautiful but, so different from the Spanglish in America.
We decide to go shopping since we’re both a tad hung over. We walked into town browsing along the way.

We headed to Las Ramblas which is the most famous area for shopping in Barcelona, very touristy, in fact it was so crowded that we moved on pretty quickly. Although we did find some cheap little shops off the main strip where we both made some pretty amazing shoe purchases.

my new handmade sandals, 30 Euro

my new handmade sandals, 30 Euro

The food market looked great but we decided we’d do it later when we were more prepared for the crowds. Instead we walked over to the Contemporary Art Museum where we watched the skateboarders, had some espresso, and photographed a lot of amazing graffiti.

The next part requires some explanation: from the day we arrived in Spain my Sister and I had been noticing and commenting on these pants everyone was wearing. At first we called them diaper pants or MC Hammer pants then they just became ‘The Pants’. Usually made of cotton or linen (although we saw some in jean on our last day) and often in a pattern or bright color worn with a long tank top they have a lot of extra fabric hanging in the crotch area. We saw them everywhere and on this particular day Sister was feeling brave and decided to try a pair on, even though we both agreed they would be really unflattering.

I waited outside the dressing room and took the photo below, which is one of my favorites from the trip. Not only is she wearing them completely incorrectly but there is also an example some Spanish women wearing them well in the back round. We were laughing about it the rest of the day.

Sister is on the left in the pants (up to her chest) while the girls in the back wear them pretty well.

Sister is on the left in the pants (up to her chest) while the girls in the back wear them pretty well.

Then we found a Zara which is similar to H&M, there are some in the US (New York) but because it originates in Spain the one here was better. Sister and I had a little fashion show and ended up purchasing a few things.

I wanted them all but couldn't so I took their photo.

I did buy this purse and the shirt dress though

I did buy this purse and the shirt dress though

When 10 pm rolled around we started to get hungry for dinner (we were surprised how easily we converted to the Spanish timing of things) so we headed towards a place Megan’s boss recommended. Unfortunately it was so delicious that there was not only a long wait but also people standing with plates on the sidewalk. It took us a while but once we got off the main road we found a small place with no wait and on the way we saw a couple Gaudi buildings.

We ordered some Tapas; I ordered mussels because I had wanted to try them here. The wine was great, the food was ok, and the mussels were served out of the shell very cold in red colored oil. They were not for me, I really did try to like them but it was a no go, especially after Sister said they looked like little ears. Ew.

The back of the bench at the bar

The back of the bench at the bar

We moved inside due to a freak rainstorm and decided to drink wine and play cards until it stopped. The rain was similar to New York, so heavy you can’t do anything, not the Seattle drizzle I’m most used to. We ended up taking a taxi back to Born and drinking at a bar next door to our apartment. I tried Frangellico for the first time and quickly developed a crush on the bashful bartender. We went home early so we could wake up early for a day trip to a coastal town.