Archive for March, 2011

…And if you’re about to launch a business called Pamela Anderson Yoga you best be *mighty* hot because you’re about to get some really weird hits on your website.  🙂
I’m not kidding about Pam’s name or her vocation or her (soon to be launched) website.  I met up with Pam at The Harmony Center in Medfield and thought I had found Heaven on earth.  The Harmony Center is situated by a stream on 80+ private acres in the woods of Medfield.  The place is outrageously beautiful and peaceful, and it was such a treat to watch Pam teach class and then get into her favorite yoga asanas.  Ever watch someone do yoga with utter ease and strength?  It’s awesome.  This is what I saw:
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So, it’s late Winter in Boston.  The snow is (mostly) gone, though more is supposed to arrive tomorrow (on April 1st.  How cruel.).   The air is still cold and the trees, flowers and grass have yet to fully realized Spring’s arrival.  Mostly because it’s only technically Spring and dogwood trees don’t have a calendar handy when they need it.  I mentioned the snow forecast tomorrow, right?
Anyway, my point is that it’s not the greatest time for family photography.  May is around the corner and I’ll be in full swing before I know it.  In the meantime, I wanted to show a few shots from some jobs I’ve had over the Winter. I mean early Spring.  🙂
First up, Core De Vie
Core De Vie is a wellness center on Charles Street on Beacon Hill.  It offers all sorts of spa services, movement classes, and a great little fitness store.  It’s owned by a super rad couple and it’s the second time I’ve done a big shoot for them.  Check ’em out the next time your own oh so quaint Charles Street.
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Walking up Beacon Street from Core De Vie, we have The 21st Amendment
As the website says it’s the quintessential neighborhood hangout.  It’s right next to the State House and a *perfect* place to bring out-of-towners on your Boston pub crawl.  That’s what we all do, right? Bring guests on pub crawls?  Thought so.
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Let’s move this busy-ness to a totally different vibe.  Let’s bring it to insanely gorgeous floral arrangements by Winston Flowers.
I’ve been working with this incredible company for almost six years, and I’m consistently blown away by their artistic, stunning, perfect creations.  This particular gig was for a division of the company that works in private homes, bringing their unparalleled talents to people’s bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms on a weekly basis.  How’s that for lucky, rich, AND having good taste!?  pppssshhh…
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And to finish up, we have The Local, another beloved neighborhood restaurant and bar; this one in Newton.   This was a shoot for Wellesley Weston Magazine. They’re doing a piece on this great restaurant and needed some recent photography.  I was happy to help.
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 YAAAY!!!! 
Needless to say it was a pleasant surprise to show up to this shoot and see that it was a home chock full of love and….GIRLS!!!
We had a really sweet time chasing Small around a playground or two on a brisk March morning.  We were celebrating her 2nd birthday so the morning was spent climbing stairs, swinging, chasing, and giggling…and runny noses. 😉
Super sweet, super awesome, super family.  Thank you, Massachusetts.  Love, trust, commitment and laughter are the ingredients of a wonderful family.  The rest is up to us.
enjoy.
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After Rwanda, I spent two weeks in Morocco.  I started in Casablanca, traveled north to Fez, onward to Chefchauen, then onto Marrakech, and finally to the dunes of Merzuga.  It was truly a fascinating place to be, and I loved every moment. 
Pictures say 1,000 words I hear. Thank goodness…
enjoy.

First up, the dunes of Erg Chebbi and Merzuga. 
Marrakech follows.
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Next up: Fez!
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Next up, Chefchaouen. The blue-rinsed fairytale in the Northern Rif Mountains:
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In February I spent a week in Rwanda.  I’ve been interested in that country since I read a book about their genocide.  Gorilla tracking was an added, and remarkable, benefit.

Here’s an excerpt from an email I sent to friends while I was there.  This will hopefully provide some context for the photography.

Rwanda.
As a ten second history: almost 1 million people were
killed here in the
Spring of 1994.  It was the Hutu majority against the Tutsi minority. 
The distinction between Hutu and Tutsi was given by a Belgian scientist
in the 1930s.  He declared those with a thin nose and high cheek bones,
who were tall and
mostly cattle herders in the north, the ‘Tutsi’.  He then declared those
more
squat in stature with wider noses, and primarily farmers in the South
of Rwanda, the ‘Hutu’.  The pygmy people he called ‘Twa’.  He was
obsessed
with their differences and so created a divide between the “two sets”
of
people which never before existed. Sporadic murders of the Tutsi
people began in 1990 and when the Hutu (awful, racist, murderous)
president of Rwanda’s plane was shot down while landing at Kigali
airport on April 6th, 1994, a major (and well planned) genocide began. 
Within hours of the president’s plane being shot down road blocks were
set up by government troops and systematic genocide began.  Again,
between April and July of 1994 almost 1 million Tutsi (and Hutus who
refused to kill their Tutsi friends) were savagely murdered.  I was just
finishing up my first year at University of Alabama.  Where were you in
April, May, and June of 1994?

***********disclaimer:  there are details about the murders of women
and children in the italicized paragraphs.  If you don’t want to read
what Rwandans have had to endure then skip to the regular font
below.*******

 
Besides the genocide museum, I visited two
churches
that were both sites of major massacres.  As incredibly religious
people, the Rwandans figured they’d be safe if they hid in their
churches.  Tens of thousands of people took refuge in
each of the two churches I visited.  Imagine: literally 10,000
people shoved in a single-room church for up to two weeks, terrorized. 
Many people actually died from
suffocation, others died in some of the most gruesome ways imaginable. 
Most of the victim’s clothes are still
piled on pews and hanging from rafters of the churches as a memorial.
There are countless bullet
holes in the ceiling
from soldiers shooting indiscriminately from the roof into the chaos
inside. Bullet holes still create pock marks in the doors and entryways
as soldiers forced their way inside. Splattered blood still stains the
church ceiling from machete attacks once the soldiers got inside.  And
most unbelievable are the huge, dark blood stains where the
soldiers swung babies’ heads. 
There is a crypt below one
of the churches where all
the sculls, leg and arm bones lie on shelves.  To
be underground surrounded by skulls with bullet holes and machete
gashes is a feeling I won’t soon forget.

They have a single
symbolic coffin in the crypt to represent all women killed in the
genocide.  The woman buried in that particular coffin died in a
*classic* female way during this horrific three months.   She was raped
by approximately 200
men before they speared her through the vagina with a stick.  Then,
after that, as
she held her 9 month old baby on her chest, they speared through the
baby’s back and then through her chest.  Apparently that was what
finally
killed her. 
It’s hard not to cry.  It’s hard not to faint actually. 
It’s an intensely sad and moving experience, one that left me speechless
and staring into space for hours wondering how humanity gets to this point.  

The
genocide museum presented information and details on other, more
infamous genocides, that our world has seen.  The Khmer Rouge in
Cambodia and the Holocaust were among the horrors mentioned.  They
didn’t mention the Darfur region in Sudan.  Maybe that’s because it’s
still happening as I write this?

******************************

******************************************************************

Today, Rwanda is hell-bent on recovery.  It’s immaculate, ultra safe
and quiet, there are nice wide
sidewalks, no plastic bags in the whole country (they’re actually not
allowed.  Every other country I’ve visited in Africa is literally ruined
with plastic bags hanging from every visible tree limb), lots of
industry, a nice middle
class, a HUGE tourism sector thanks to the gorillas.   And better yet,
the words Hutu and Tutsi don’t exist
anymore.  Rwandans, like every other species on the planet, love their
children.  There are LOTS of them riding their mama’s backs.  People are
happy, they’re recovering.  It’s surely a new day for the Rwandan
people.

The gorillas.  Rwanda’s gift.  The gorillas were spectacular.  I was lucky enough to
actually spend two back-to-back days with them so I got to observe two
very different families.  The first day I was with seven fabulous people
from Australia, Canada, and England.  We trekked for four hours in the
most dense jungle bush I’ve ever imagined.  There was a full hour of
trekking just through a bamboo forest which felt like climbing through Avatar (sans
blue people).  It was pouring rain and hailing, we were all falling all
over the place because we were walking on top of three feet of
flattened bushes and weeds (thanks to the gorilla’s movement through the bush. They flatten it as they move). 
All of a sudden, after hours of soaking wet trekking,  there sat a huge teddy bear
with his back to me.  (!!!!!!!)  He heard our approach
and casually turned around to look at us with his mouth full of bamboo. 
He toppled over backward, gave his armpits a good scratch, had a nice
yawn, and stretched out.  He got up and started walking toward me.  HOLY
SHIT!!!!!!!!! I just kept shooting and shooting and shooting. I think I
got one clear shot because of my own trembling.  Visitors are only allowed to spend
only one hour with the gorillas per day so the next 55 minutes were spent
watching all 15 or so of this family eat, chill out, play a little, and
hide from the rain.  One juvenile got on his hind legs and started
beating his chest right in front of us and then ran at us.  Talk about
FREAKING OUT!!!! Apparently he was just being funny.  Hilarious. (?)
 
The
next day I requested to be with a gorilla family
with lots of babies.  Obviously, right?  My new group and I were
trekking along and absolutely out of nowhere two
juvenile siblings came tumbling down the mountain after each other.  
They were beating their chests at
each other, wrestling, head locking and chasing each other!!  How cute
is that!?!?  This family was super active and fearless of us. The big
Silver Back
STINKS like really bad human body odor, but basically just sits there,
fat and
old, and watches his kids act like…well…gorillas.  This family had
a  pregnant female, many sweet young gorillas, and a mom and
her 9-month old baby!!  We watched the baby as he learned how to walk,
no bigger than my cat was (photo attached)  I was sobbing.  It was so
amazing to see this
baby gorilla, all wobbly and unsure, try to walk away from his mama. 
The mom grabbed him, laid on her back, and fed her baby as he sat on her
chest.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. 
There is (amazingly) a set of 6-day old twins that we BARELY saw….the
mother is
very, very protective of them since they can’t walk or do anything on
their own.  She holds them in her arms for months, apparently. 
Amazing.  Again, we’re only allowed an hour with the family so we had
to head back down way too soon.
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