A few photo friends and I decided to meet in Tucson a couple weeks ago to talk shop, pick each other's brains, share new work, meet up with our photo mentor, and attend photographer Masao Yamamoto's lecture and exhibition opening at the Etherton Gallery. (And also do whatever else we felt like doing.) We created our own conference, and are already thinking about next year's plans to meet up again (all photo friends are invited!) It was truly an inspiring week. Here is my short collection of Instagram images from the trip:
Our Lady of the Pinecones. This little backyard shrine was tucked into an alcove at our Airbnb. She wound up meaning a lot to me, coming to represent the guardian of all the new ideas and plans for my art projects that surfaced during this trip. I don't have to worry about a thing, because Our Lady's got my back.
This little guy was the first thing I noticed when I walked into the living room of our Airbnb. He is the CUTEST.
Backyard greenery. I loved this. It took us forever to figure out that the building behind this planter was a garage. We thought it was the host's house because it looked too pretty to be a garage, so we were extra quiet and didn't walk around the yard. The house manual kept mentioning a garage though, and finally we went looking for it, only to discover that it was staring right at us the entire time. Lol!
Swan's house. Four years ago I took a photograph of this tree. I thought I should take one this time too. I loved spending the morning on Swan's back porch, soaking up all I learned during my photo consult and waiting for Elizabeth to finish hers. (While eating delicious, fresh-out-of-the-oven vanilla poppyseed pound cake.) (And helping Catherine un-stick a cholla from her finger. Those things are crazy!)
Prickly Pear cactus, photographed on the drive up to Phoenix. We chose to go the long way that wasn't a highway, so that we could stop if we saw something interesting. There wasn't all that much time in between leaving Tucson sprawl and entering Phoenix sprawl. But oh well.
We visited the Phoenix Art Museum, and got through it in a bit of a hurry as we were going to meet another friend of mine for lunch. Even in a hurry, though, there is always something that makes you stop and really look. I loved this sculpture by Tanoue Shinya. It reminds me of waves on a deserted island that's the texture of maple tree helicopter seeds.
I'm always drawn to big installation pieces, even if I don't understand what they're necessarily about. Things hanging from the ceiling, something that takes up an entire room, maybe video and sound and three-dimensional objects all combined into an experience. This one was very straightforward and so beautiful: Mass (Colder Darker Matter) by Cornelia Parker. These were the charred remains of a church that was struck by lightning. It even looks like it's in the middle of exploding. Mass. Science and religion in the same word.
The Lisa Sette Gallery. After lunch in Phoenix, we popped in to see what exhibits were up and chat with Lisa a bit. Of course, what do I photograph... ? the doorway on the way out.
Patio chairs and table at the Airbnb. This was my favorite place to sit. Sunshine-y but shady, and big enough for us all to share our projects, drink tea (or Woodford, depending on when you stop by), and cheer each other on to do all the good work we want to do this year.
Kitt Peak, looking out from my favorite cliff. I hemmed and hawed about whether to drive all the way out there or not, but after taking Elizabeth to the airport I just couldn't NOT turn west instead of north. I hope it's in the cards this year to go back and stay for more than a couple hours.
Thank you, Tucson. You never fail to deliver just the right mix of art, outdoors, great company, and a kick in the pants to get my work done!