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In Defense of Snapshots

9 Mar

Snapshots are photographs which celebrate the beauty of an ordinary day. Candid moments captured against the rush of time.

Snapshots are pictures which aspire not to be “fine art”, but to hold a memory you can feel even 20 years after the photo is taken. I would argue that because snapshots are so unassuming, so humble…and because they can store so much powerful emotion inside their images, that they are art in it’s truest and most meaningful form.

So I say stop your highfalutin’ ways, photographers…you know who you are. Stop putting each other down by using the word snapshots. Don’t look down on snapshots, you big meanie.

Snapshots are the truth and art could very well be seen as a lie. Bold statement, isn’t it?  But think about it.

Are you thinking about it?

Moving on.

Snapshots. Yes!

Consider a small picture of a boy smiling over a bowl of Cheerios, taken by his mother an hour before she drops him off at 3rd grade on a day in which nothing special happens (apart from the fifty billion miracles which happen every day, of course).

Contrast that photo with the school portrait of the same child. The  professional school photo is posed and awkward. It was taken in front of a generic blue sky background by a man who smelled like a combination of motor grease and wax paper and handed out rigid black combs you could keep. This photo is soul-less.*

In twenty years when that child is all grown up, which photo do you suppose will be more dear to his parents? The “professional” portrait of a glassy-eyed little boy smiling because he’s been asked to do so, or the snapshot which captures the little boy you remember, the one with the light that shines from his eyes when he smiles genuinely? I think the answer is fairly obvious.

So…can I talk about wedding photos without being too hypocritical? Sure, why not. We’re all friends and big kids who know how to respect differences of opinion without getting our feelings hurt, right? Right.

It seems the current trend in the world of popular wedding photography is to produce “artistic” images utilizing things like “creative” lens flare and tilt shift (simply put, blurriness). Don’t get me wrong. Striking images can be produced with a photographer who understands the math (yes, math) behind the trade and doesn’t use automatic settings.

I wonder, though if in time the bride and groom will look back at the photos they (likely) paid thousands of dollars for and just wish their faces weren’t obscured by crazy rainbow flare or that their legs weren’t blurry. What seems cool now may just be embarrassing as hell later. Or worse, a trend that may be tacky in the long run covering up the timeless beauty of reality.**

Scary.

I just think that in the end, the things we treasure most are the simple things, the less expensive things, the free things, even! The things that contain actual emotion. The things that are true, not the photo software enhanced artistic lie of it.

A copy is never as good as the original, and staging/posing photographs is forging life. It isn’t real. It may be nice for a few years to show off wedding photos that look like they belong in an Anthropologie catalog, but they won’t hold up over time. Photos in magazines and catalogs are for marketing purposes, after all. Are you getting married, or are you selling something?

Snapshots are closer to what your memories look like. And to hell with anyone who would dare to critique the aesthetics of your memories.

 

 

* No offense intended to anyone who takes portraits at schools or mall-based studios. A job is a job and I respect that. These are only my opinions and not meant to be the final word in photography criticism. So, we’re still cool, right? Right.

** Yes, I am fully aware that there are photographers who can take both posed photos and candid photos. I’m mostly talking about not using the word “snapshot” as an insult.

Postcards from Des Moines, Iowa

9 Mar

My fiancee and I took a surprise and quite last-minute trip to the fantastic city of Des Moines, Iowa this past week. Yes, this is our second trip there in recent history (we also flew there in February). Des Moines is a cool city, but please don’t tell anyone. It is the kind of place that will surely be spoiled in 20 years by an influx of newcomers the way my fiancee tells me Seattle was in the early 1990s when he lived there. Here are some photos from our most recent trip, which was entirely too short, but absolutely grand and eventful. In case you didn’t know, Des Moines is French for “the monks.” I have no idea what that means.

Hello, DFW airport ceiling art. Nice to see you again!

Hello, Renaissance Savery Hotel. Nice to meet you! I see you were built in 1919 and on the Historic Hotels of America National Tust Historic Preservation List. Second hotel we’ve stayed at in the past two months that was on this list. Top drawer, my friend.

 

This is our view of my best friend, Christie’s famous gold PT Cruiser parked in front of the hotel. I get excited every time I see a gold PT Cruiser, even in other states where I know it can’t be Christie driving, but at first I always think it is her. Ha! Also, check out the beautiful light happening here. Iowa is full of gorgeous light and fresh air. Even in the middle of downtown.

I spent some time alone, just walking around the awesome skywalk (connects downtown through a series of hamster-like above ground glass tunnels, so you don’t have to go outside in the cold–genius). I wandered places I had not been since childhood. Capital Square and Kaleidoscope at the Hub…Younkers. Places where in the 1960s fashion shows were held and elevators were operated by uniformed men who would announce the floor aloud–ladies lingerie! Now you can ride the escalator or operate the elevator yourself (pity).

There does, however continue to be an abundance of spectacular revolving doors in the city and everywhere you look you’ll find things I think are wonderful and fine: old marble floors and walls, brass hardware, art deco typography.

There’s also lots of trees, nice shadows, a neato gold dome on the Capital Building, a famous umbrella “The Travelers” sign, which I have loved my whole life, and if that isn’t enough, a gigantic umbrella sculpture.

We had dinner at 801 Chop House (so fancy) and then walked back to our hotel with this lovely night view.

There is so much beauty to experience in this world, there really is. Not to mention direct flights with free wine. Life is a total YES right now, and I’m noticing that, I really am. Thank you world, you are so good to me.

All photos shown here were taken by me using instagram. If you’re so inclined, do follow me there @theboredalice

 

Fine, I’ll do it!

5 Mar

I have this strange desire to take photos of movies with my iPhone. There, I said it. And for over 2 years now I have had this annoying voice in my mind that keeps telling me I need to take photos of people talking on/using the telephone in movies. I watch a heck of a lot of movies, most of them pre-1970. I am also somewhat obsessed with telephones. I used to be a switchboard operator, in fact. What a fantastic job for someone who loves everything about telephones! My best friend, Christie and I used to spend all day at elementary school together, then immediately call one another on the telephone after school and seriously sit there and watch TV together. Over the phone. In almost complete silence. Yeah.

I think it’s time I start listening to my inner voices (more than I already do). Here’s what I have so far as far as iPhone photos of people in movies using telephones. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, though I’m not sure what that says about either of us. Ha!

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These are both from the film, “State Fair.” If you’ve never seen it, you really ought to give it a try. And I’m not just saying that because I’m from Iowa and I get excited about the fair every year, even if I don’t want to go because it’s too hot and I hate crowds. The fair is magical and romantic and this movie captures both those aspects, and more. Besides, one of my super secret desires is to be an old woman who wears crazy hats and enters jams, pickles, and pies into contests at fairs. I want a blue ribbon!

Expect to see more photos of people using telephones in films soon. I may make a tumblr account just for this…weird…purpose. Have a great week everyone!

Inspiration Folder – blues funeral + victorian wallpaper + gray/coral + stripes/floral

2 Mar

I just have to share with you my excitement about the following things that have been inspiring me lately…ok, go!

UNO: This new album by Mark Lanegan BandBlues Funeral. Mark Lanegan used to have that band The Screaming Trees, also known as the first band I ever saw live (at age 13, opening for Soul Asylum and the Spin Doctors…so yeah, the 90s). It’s being compared to Leonard Cohen quite frequently, which I would take as a huge compliment if I were Mark Lanegan. Leonard Cohen is one of the most awesome people that ever lived. What I’m also crazy about is the album artwork. It’s an absolutely breathtaking and somewhat Victorian botanical display of absolute loveliness. On a black background, no less! Here is a view of that and a listen to arguably the most popular song on the album, “The Gravedigger’s Song,” which I find extremely sexy.

 

DOS: The gorgeous cover to Blues Funeral reminds me of how much I adore Butter London’s packaging (and products), such as this:

They also had some really sweet nail wraps that came out around Christmas last year, which were also pretty Victorian wallpaper-esque botanical prints on a black background. I can’t find a photograph to prove this, but I assure you they are adorable.

 

TRES: This photo I took today with Instagram (p.s. please follow me, I am @theboredalice). Why, yes! Those are my underwear. And a shell. Hehe! I love stripes and floral prints together. I do. I got these fine underpants at Target last year. I also enjoy grey and coral together, as evidenced in the last photo I plan to show you today, which is a bracelet I made yesterday and have named “sumatra.”

 

This is the bracelet. It is vintage gold chain, super fancy Czech glass, porcelain gear-shaped beads covered in 24k gold (hand-created in and imported directly from Greece), a fine piece of real coral, and a significant amount of love. It’s prettier in person, but you get the idea. I have not listed it for sale yet, but plan to this weekend since we are traveling/flying AGAIN on Monday. Oh, happy days full of happy things! Thanks for allowing me to share with you. I’m readin’ your comments and appreciatin’ your “likes”!

xoxo,

A. Noelle

 

a bit of irish – new at bored alice finery

1 Mar

I don’t normally talk about myself on this blog, as I like to keep things simple and upbeat (haha) and I don’t fancy myself so important that any of you want to know my personal day to day experiences. But! This story is too cute not to tell you, so I’m breaking my own rules today! And since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I feel it’s relevant. (Side note: when did St. Patrick’s Day become Mardi Gras II?? Cheap plastic beads and all!?!?)

When I was 14 I went to a bookstore and purchased a little cassette tape which accompanied a book called “Learn to Speak Irish.” I scoured this book and even bought an extra copy “just in case” (of floods, fires, acts of nature). I listened to the voices on the tape and repeated every word, the accent forming easily on my tongue, the cadence familiar somehow. I liked the way the words sounded and I liked learning a language that even the book admitted nobody really spoke anymore. I liked how the word for the number “four” sounded like “cat hair” (A ceathair /ah cah-hir/) 

I became somewhat obsessed with Irish culture and even purchased a shamrock plant every March when they’d spring up at the grocery store with their lush greenish-purple leaves and friendly little white flowers. I took these plants to college with me a couple years later. The funny part of this story is one day a friend who lived in my dorm brought her boyfriend in to meet me. It just so happened that he was visiting from Ireland. I became very excited and showed him my shamrock plants and spoke a few words of a near-dead language he probably didn’t understand and probably made a fool of myself. He was extremely gracious, though and a bit excited himself. He actually suddenly and surprisingly came at me, grabbed me up in his arms, kissed my cheek and said “thank god there is someone with culture at this school!” At that point the girl he had come to visit abruptly escorted him away from my room (as you can imagine). 

Anyway, that’s my little story about my obsession with Ireland. I have never visited there and have never met anyone else in person who is Irish. I would like to travel there someday and I think I will. Until then, I have created these pretty little pieces of jewelry for stylish vixens and lovers of Irish culture alike. 😀

As always, thank you for reading and all comments are appreciated! And slán abhaile to all you travelers. 

my photo diary

29 Feb

On instagram, I am @theboredalice

Hey there, friends. I started using instagram in 2010 and nobody I knew was there. Now that more people are joining up and following one another, it’s much more entertaining. I take several photos each day with instagram. It has become my public diary in tiny photographs. So, follow me to find out what I’m doing, to see my neato cats, or to just marvel at the ridiculousness of my sporadic and awkward self-portraits.

My photos are humble offerings of the things I find beautiful and want to celebrate and remember. Mostly simple things, bright things, and one of these days I swear I’m going to get a good shot of the bluejay birds that taunt me from the bushes just outside our living room windows!

 

Kitty Vintage

19 Feb

Today I just wanted to share with you these photos I took using Instagram (follow me @boredalice). These are some vintage cat food boxes I cut up to save the kitty pictures (I was about 3-4 years-old) and still have all these years later. I am loving the little tongues sticking out on almost all the photos (so funny!) and the designs on the food bowls. I think these are darling.

All images  © Ashley Noelle All rights reserved.

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