American In Tropical London

     My first day in London was in fact, not a day at all, but the continuation of a three day long sprint to the city via every mode of transportation imaginable.

Thursday September 13, 2012

      I waited anxiously, my bags packed, for the arrival of my visa. It still angers me how paying an additional fee suddenly made my visa ready for approval at the start of the next business day.

      At 9:30 the postman arrived with both my visa and document originals and from then on it was a sprint. I've used it already but the most accurate way to describe my state of mind for the upcoming 4 days was anxious. Within the hour I was loading what I deemed by most desired possessions into a van and headed to join my parents and embark for the airport. Our goal was to make a BWI Space-A flight headed for the air-force base in Rammstein, Germany.

(Space-A: Military transport planes with a certain number of "space available" seats. This could be any variety of aircraft from commercial to military utility transport. You need to be related to active duty military personnel or a dependent/spouse of retired personnel. You are not a ticketed passenger and are not guaranteed a space on a flight, you have to show up, wait, and hope there is room.... But it is definitely an adventure!)

   2:30 found us all pushing dollies of luggage through the comparatively empty international terminal at BWI. We waited for several hours, satiated by the ice cream and packaged snacks at the USO, only to find the plane filled 3 passengers ahead of us.

   Even though I was disappointed about the flight I was actually excited to have one more night at home, one more night it my own bed, and one more night with my animals. My parents and I met my cousin in Baltimore and relaxed with pizza and beer.

Friday September 14, 2012

     In retrospect, friday set the pace for the whole trip. The previous night my dad and I had discussed driving the 2 hours up to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware if they announced additional seats on their scheduled flight. The flight we were interested in had a manifested time of 1:10pm and by they had abruptly rescheduled it to 11:20am.

     So with barely one eye open and the early signs of fatigue just starting to make themselves known,   we drove to Dover with little anticipation of actually making the flight. When we got to the terminal we discovered that the flight had be rescheduled yet again, this time to 2:30pm. We had enough time to eat and even get in a few games of pool before they announced passengers. They announced the flight list and we made it, Filling the last 3 seats available!

     We checked out bags and payed for in-flight snack and made our way to the waiting area. Just as my dad was running back through the doors they announced that 3 additional crew had just arrived.... meaning that we were bumped from the flight.

     Again disappointed but this time I was filled with a surge of optimism. There was another flight scheduled to depart from Dover later that day, but it what I learned was typical fashion, it was cancelled without notice. With diminishing options for leaving that day we decided to try for a flight  departing from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey (an additional 2 hours away). Listed online there were 19 available seats, upon our check in there were 53, before roll call there were 39. 

   I started to have doubts about making this flight as well, doubts which were confirmed by the filling terminal and subsequent drop of available seats to 20. We didn't make it onto the flight even thought they did eventually add additional passengers at the very end.

    Again we planned to wait for the following flight and again we learned that it was cancelled without notice. 

    Traveling is stressful when it is planned, imagine having to go through all the procedures of flying back to back to back to back..... It does a number on you. 

     Back in the car again we debated if it was more prudent to drive the 5 hours back home to Maryland and embark from home the next day or to try and find a hotel in Delaware near the base and get an early start on the waiting list. All the while I am checking flight schedules for the morning through my phone and 1:15am flight pops up! Pushing the van we make it all the way back to Dover and into the terminal by 1:05am to find no seats available.

     With fading eyes we spent the night in a Best Western near the base and attempted to get some rest so that we could try the whole raquette again the next day.

Saturday September 15, 2012

     There is always something about hotels that wakes me up early in the morning. Maybe it's just the knowledge that if you are in one you need to wake and and do what you set out to do. 

     We had breakfast in what use to be Delaware's Governor's mansion (governor's cafe). I very rarely think these types of places quaint but this cafe was surprisingly unique, warm and inviting. The morning sun and hot pour over coffee were exactly what I needed. 

Governor's Cafe - Dover, Delaware

     We queued for the next flight at Dover and checked our bags, safely in the middle of the manifested list! I was next to go through the security check point when there was a halt. My dad was already through the check point and had to return. There was an issue with the plane and we were being delayed! Our flight was pushed back from 11am to 11:30pm.

A view of the terminal

    There has been something seemingly significant about how close to departure we have been at the appearance of every obstacle. I passed the time mostly in the USO lounge and reading Catch-22, I'll admit I couldn't have chosen a more appropriate book under the circumstances. 

     After all of the challenges we made it onto the plane, which ended up being a HUGE air force cargo plane, and into canvas jump seats. This has got to be one of the coolest ways to travel. You can see the guts of the plane and hear the engines so loudly that you have to wear ear plugs. There is a surge of adrenaline on that type of aircraft, it's size and purpose makes you feel as if you are traveling towards some rugged adventure. 

Finally on the plane!

What was in my box lunch :-)

Air Force Plane I was in

My Ride

     There are no windows except two small port holes at the front and rear of the plane. The plane itself is open, you can see all it's contents and all it's passengers. Passengers in canvas seats line the sides and two mammoth cargo containers occupy the middle.

     I'm sure this is the feeling people crave when they go traveling, like they are channeling Hemingway and facing some great unknown. 

Sunday 16, 2012

     If I thought nothing could top the insanity of friday, sunday proved me wrong utterly. After spending 7+ hours in the air (with maybe an hour of sleep strung together) we only lingered at the air force base in Rammstein Germany for a few hours. Long enough to stretch our legs, orient ourselves, and quickly get something to eat. We missed a possible connecting flight to Mildenhall England so we decided to drive.

     The car we rented was a stick shift so only my dad could drive it, he would have to be wheel man the whole way there. Driving through Germany I was overcoming by just how beautiful it is. The care and detail given to things is astounding, specifically the agriculture cultivation is amazing. There are rows and rows of terraced crops and huge plots of solar panels, all coexisting with lush lanscapes.

      Both my parents and I had gotten very little sleep, with the little acquired not being very deep, and were now engaged in a 7+ hour car trip across europe. What a ride ;-) So as you might imagine my dad began to get fatigued and we had to make frequent stops all across Germany. I had to switch to the front seat of the car just to keep him awake and alert. We began having more trouble when we hit Brussels. My dad was having more trouble staying awake and increasingly glazed looks. 

On the road

My dad taking a break in Germany

Terraced agriculture in Germany

Getting a little crazy 

You may not be able to see it but we reached 107mph in Germany..... very exciting

Sunset in Germany

    The main impression I got of Brussels from the car was that of a tiny, empty, christmas village. 

    We made it all the way to France on the dregs of my dad's sanity. Running on fumes, both literally and metaphorically, we went through immegration at the port of Calais and tried to buy a ticket for the ferry. Because we couldn't find an attendant that spoke english we ended up leaving the secure area and driving away from the port! Panicing, we had to find a gas station, fill up, and reenter the port.

Ferry at the port of Calais

Waiting in line with our tickets

     We made it on to the ferry and I ate my first "full english breakfast" while trying to find a hostel for my parents. I knew that by the time we got to London I wouldn't be able to sleep if I wanted to make it to registration on time so I just need to find somewhere my parents could sleep. 

English Breakfast

     We disembarked from the ferry at the white cliffs of Dover, traveling from Dover Delaware to Dover UK. The next few hours were the most challenging yet. We had to yell, drink energy drinks, roll the windows down, get out and walk, all just to stay awake and get to London. This is not even going in to how terrifying it is to see headlights coming at you on the opposite side of the road. You feel like you are going to be hit!

   I navigated us into London and to a hostel with available beds I had found online. I left my parents in the car and went to enquire about rooms. The place I had originally found did have a room but wasn't available to check in until 11am. I knew my parents wouldn't last that long so I went up and down the street enquiring at 2 other hostels and found them a room in one.

Monday 17, 2012

     They were finally checked in and going to sleep at 7am and I was off to have a coffee and breakfast before registration. So I arrived to the London College of Fashion on 3 days with no sleep, travel-worn  and hungry.... I bet I made quite the impression on the undergrads ;-)

Entrance to our campus at Oxford Circus

Howling at the moon, Lady Wolf Birthday!

I went up to Boston for my birthday, I have never has large birthday celebrations but spending this birthday with this particular group of people has definitely been one of my favorites.

We went out and shared specialty drinks and comfort food, we laughed and screamed at each other, we made pictures and words out of sparkling light, and made memories that I will cherish forever.

Thank you, you are all immensely special <3

 

Yasutaké Kosaka and I

My favorite people in the world

Let loose the drums and dance free

I dream of wolves and glitter, of sparkly eye priestesses, and of everlasting friendship.

Day Trip to NYC

I had to go to New York City for the day to have an interview with fashion photographer Ruven AfanadorAiluj and WinteR came along for the day so after my interview (which was an absolutely amazing experience) we were able to walk around the city and show Ailuj some of the sites. We were also able to meet up with the talented Yasutaké Kosaka.

First things first... Coffee!

Central Park


Yasutaké Kosaka, WinteR, and Ailuj in central park
asutaké Kosaka, WinteR, and Ailuj in central park

Yasutaké Kosaka and I

Ailuj and I
WinteR and Ailuj


Me and Ailuj

Me Ailuj and Yasutaké Kosaka waiting for the Megabus 


















Made of Adamantium

  One of the main reasons that I made the move back to Baltimore was to have corrective surgery preformed on both of my feet.  The surgery itself and the recovery period have consumed a significant part of the past year.

An example of healthy muscle and bone structure

On the left you can se the drastic misdirection of the bone in my big toe (it is the same on the other foot) and on the right you see where they cut and corrected it using a staple and screw.


 I was confined to bedrest for a large part of each recovery period, as anyone who has had to endure this, it doesn't take you long to go stir crazy. However, after a few weeks I began to enjoy books and documentaries with growing interest. Oddly it was the downtime from the surgery that allowed my to cultivate and expand my other interests.

My foot had to be kept elevated with ice on it and I was under strict bedrest.




I spent my day reading, watching and learning.


After I was finally healed and walking after the first surgery I had to have the whole procedure repeated for the second foot.

 I return to photography with a greater hunger and playfulness. I can't wait to make some images!

Protect Me

   The idea of fashion as armor has been on my mind for a while now, and as some of you know, it is a theme that pops up  frequently in my shoots in some way or another. It is a concept I believe to be at the center of many fashion designs as well as the creation of clothing itself. Fashion is a means by which we keep what is inside, the entity of us, within ourselves. It acts as an armoring vessel. It is also a way to keep us protected from the world.

    I am really interested in exploring the iconography of traditional armor pieces as well as how they have influenced fashion. What is it about the shapes and texture of armor that, when mimicked, create  a type of mental armor that allows us to feel safe.

   This shoot has become a launching pad to what I am sure will be lengthy exploration of this idea.



The full editorial can be seen in Alexis Magazine Vol. 10
Select jewelry used in shoot by Blood Milk Jewelry

Girl with the dragon tattoo H&M capsule collection

     Fresh from watching all three swedish versions of the millennium series, I was excited to discover that H&M teamed up with Trish Summerville (The movie's costume designer) to create a capsule collection around the character of Lisbeth Salander.

     The Collection dropped December 14 at H&M stores worldwide but it has been getting some pretty intense internet backlash both pre and post launch. I, for one, am struggling to understand these venomous bloggers who claim that the collection "Glamorizes Rape." Now I freely admit that I haven't read David Fincher's books but the movies are gripping and wonderful (I haven't seen the most recent US adaptation). There are certainly some parts that are difficult to watch, you really start to empathize with Lisbeth through the abuse she goes through in the films. However, the last word I would use to describe her is "victim."

   Terrible things happen to her that influence her personal style, she covers her body with clothing that she feels powerful in. Her style is about empowering herself and allowing her to fight for herself and others.
Dragon Tattoo Collection Photo by H&M
    So how is creating a collection of clothing around such a powerful female character such a bad thing? The main source of this idea is blogger Natalie Kerneef and can be read here. I am making as very general summery, but her opposition to the collection seems to be that they are "putting a glossy finish on rape" and how survivors choose to dress. The thought seems to be that the average person can't possible identify with Lisbeth because they haven't been raped.

    Now where I have trouble with this line of thought is the idea that people are defined by a single action or event. The character of Lisabeth is indeed the victim of many horrible things including physical and mental abuse, but she pushes herself past it to take back her power and save others in the process. That is the main point of the series and her character, not simply showing that rape is a horrible thing. She is, as head designer Anna Norling says, "the very essence of an independent woman." Everything that happens to her as a character is to personify her strength as a heroin.

   This collection was about using a character that the public now identifies with to create clothing that can possibly make women feel empowered if they were it. The idea that rape is the only reason people seek armor is rather ridiculous to me.


Photo by H&M

   I put on armor everyday, it lets me embody more strength then I actually have inside me and allows me to do the things I need to do. I fight my battles, and I fight them hard.

Spotlight: Christine Keenan

    Anyone that has heard me talk about or seen my photographs of her know that I have the biggest girl crush on Christin Keenan. She has braved fire, black lights, and lacerations to help create some of the most breathtaking and memorable images in my portfolio. Often when I have doubts about pulling off a shot because of logistical or time contraints she is the one urging me on.

    I think the fact that our first shoot together was my most intricate shoot at that point was miraculous gift of fate. That day she dealt with strange and incredibly specific poses, really bazaar accessories, and long hours. But that's when I knew I had my girl ;-)

   On my last trip to Boston we were finally able to get together and do a low key shoot; just friends hanging out, taking photos. Rose's boyfriend Rick has a trunk of studded vests, leather jackets, cuffs and other delightful things that he graciously allowed us to fawn over. A gleaming treasure trove of stage clothes and punk rock relics were our playthings for the day and some of our all time favorite things.





   After our shoot Christine put me on the guest list for her show, because unlink me, she is a rock star in real life. ;-) I have to say she does not disappoint, she is as much of a fire cracker on stage as she is in front of the camera.


Christine Lighting it up!
Christine Keenan & Jackie Puwalski <3

Christine, you rock my world!


Eat My Heart Out...With Savage Love

  Alexander McQueen is a man whose personality and designs have inspired the world. Personally I have never been so touched by the sheer life force of another creative person. The exhibition of his work at the MET in New York was the single most visceral experience of art I have ever had.  McQueen was never limited himself in inspiration and is one of the few in the fashion industry that simply let his emotions guide him and demanded that everyone else follow.

  I hope I get the chance to see it one more time before it finishes in August, but for those of you who won't have the chance I offer a sample.





Dress, Plato’s Atlantis, spring/summer 2010

One of the only Good Photos I was able to get at the exhibit

Ensemble, autumn/winter 2010–11
Photo via blog.metmuseum.org


Ensemble, It’s Only a Game, spring/summer 2005
Photo via blog.metmuseum.org

Dress, No. 13, spring/summer 1999
Photo via blog.metmuseum.org

Ensemble, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, autumn/winter 2002–3
Photo via blog.metmuseum.org


   For a full look at other pieces visit http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/objects/ ...and eat your heart out. <3

Bye Bye Boston + Hello Collage Education

  *This blog comes in 2 parts so keep reading ;-)


   Our move from Boston was easily the toughest move yet for us, it was the longest we have stayed in an apartment and with our busy schedules we both just had to stick out and get it done. With 48 hours running on espresso and coffee, 2 17-ft UHaul trailers, and many many home depot boxes we were able to get everything done.

  I'm sad to leave the city, I have never been a suburban girl and I'll most likely be screaming for my pavement coffee soon enough but I'm excited to start something new. We are going to be situated in Maryland for the summer so that we can get everything in order for a potentially huge move. We are either going to go to Los Angeles or New York City (although right now NYC is the frontrunner.)



The last picture of my studio before I packed everything up

I made these plexiglass numbers for our door, it was a little confusing on the 7th floor



A picture of the Elevator on my trip out to the car, Jesse left the tenants of 1126 some artwork in the elevator =)


This is my block

My favorite coffee house, possibly ever.


  About a week after we made it to Maryland Jesse and I flew back up to Boston with his parents to attend his graduation from Berklee.

  It was strange to be back in Boston as a visitor but I don't intend for it to be the last time.

Jesse and his dad talk over coffee at Pavemnt

I think Jesse's dad liked the place ;-)

Jesse, his mother, and his father

Of course I had to come to pavement, it's like home!

Jesse in our hotel room

We took his parent to the museum of natural history in harvard







We had a hippo yelling contest

I think Jesse's mom wins














I spy a clue!





Mr. Bartly's Burger Cottage




So many music majors



All done and ready to get out of that smock