What a great time today at the Dog Gone Easter Egg Hunt in Lacey. What a great turnout today! We had fun meeting everyone and of course seeing all the great costumes in the doggy fashion show. Here a handsome pomeranian is showing the latest in workwear for the petite set.
More pictures to come soon!
Shotgun weddings are not out of the ordinary. So when I got a call from a friend asking me if I was free to shoot one that same day I told him I was happy to, I happened to be free that evening and it was for a friend. But I became more interested when he told me where it was taking place: in a treehouse.
As the curtain closes on old man winter's performance spring again takes the stage. Ever the heroine she again manages to avoid typecasts and deliver much needed comic relief countering the drama that was ever so sullenly woven during the months preceding her arrival. From the cherry blossoms to the dogwoods everyone dons their theater tailleur to usher in her performance.
Does art for the sake of art need a reason to exist? If it exists solely for the sake of itself is it serving any purpose at all? Art exists to benefit people in ways that are different for everyone. It doesn't have to be appreciated, it doesn't have to be hated, it doesn't even have to be seen. But if it's not seen does it exist?
I was asked to shoot the rehearsal for the One Billion Rising dance that will be happening in Olympia on Thursday Feb. 14 and all over the world on Valentine's Day. The dance is sponsored by V-Day, an organization started by Eve Ensler, who is best known for her play The Vagina Monologues, and is aimed at raising awareness of violence against women and girls across the world.
These Olympia area women (and men) were in great spirits and fired up, eager to learn the moves before the big day.
The dance will be at Heritage Park next to Capitol Lake in downtown Olympia at 3:30, Feb. 14.
I'll be there at 3pm doing interviews if anyone wants to share why they are rising that day.
We live in a world of immediacy, a hive of distraction where everything comes at us all at once. While we can choose for ourselves how we respond to this stimulus there still exists a place where we can forget it all, if only for a fleeting moment. A place where we can live in our own intention, our own aspiration, in our own contentment. For some that moment manifests itself in a massage.
A massage is a place in time where we can release anguish and worry and instead focus directly on ourselves and on our own well-being; far from the anguish of our existential life.
For me that moment lasted a full 4 hours and involved no less than 3 models and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn't actually that hot (I don't carry a thermometer with me on shoots) but the sweat beading off my forehead told me I couldn't have been far off.
Between thinking to myself "this is taking far too long" and "I should have worn more deodorant" I did my best to portray the moment. A moment in which the models were experiencing pure bliss in the midst of doing their job and the exact moment where I could say for myself that finally - I was doing the exact same thing.
Thank you Mandy Zabohne, LMP, Olympia, WA
It's not everyday I attend slaughters. It's just one of those events I rarely find myself at. They aren't like concerts or baseball games, you don't buy tickets, grab yourself a cold one and find your seat. But this morning some friends were gracious enough to let me attend their "event" (if such a moniker fits) and shoot some images for an upcoming project I'm working on.
Dan greeted me warmly as we forewent the obligatory handshake due to his blood stained hands. The spatter on his face was the first indication I was in the right place. The crew was already hard at work.
The scene before me was not what I expected. It was tidy, orderly, everyone doing a job. The slaughter itself was fastidious, timely, an exercise in efficiency aided by modern technology - not the 'swinging axe, chicken running around with it's head cut off' stereotype that most of us probably envision.
A slaughter, whether it's of a single animal or many, as was the case today, is a necessary action to procure what most of us take for granted: a neatly wrapped chicken breast in a supermarket, conveniently affixed with a recipe for easy preparation at home in the comfort of our kitchens.
This is the reality. Something we're far removed from in our modern society. This is where it comes from. Work is involved. Blood is involved. Killing is involved. Most of us will never see it. It's not disgusting. It's not repugnant. It's life - and death. A reminder of our distant past, one where killing was a way of life. One where death was a necessary and visible component of the sustenation and proliferation of our own species.
This morning chickens gave their lives for the betterment of humanity. There does not exist a more honorable death than that.
There I was again, shoving a scone in my face, a piroshky melting in my mouth, wondering if I'd washed my hands after petting those goats. All while gazing longingly at the elephant ears strolling past carried by eager hands who at that point would probably do anything their owner's mouths asked, including reaching into their wallets to purchase more fat and sugar-filled delectable morsels of fair food.
Ah, the Fair - late summer days, warm summer nights, more good food than you can shake a krusty pup stick at - but wait, this wasn't summer, it was spring, it was almost 80, and there were more people walking around in Puyallup with smiles on their faces than there were after it was announced that the Beach Boys were no longer touring the fair circuit.
As I munched the last of my piroshki the light beaming from behind these floating bubbles caught my attention and I felt like I was on another planet. That is until another waft of cinnamon and sugar filled the air and I was off in search of the source, the thought of goats long gone from my mind. But maybe I'll wash my hands just to be safe.
Spring keeps rolling on here in Olympia. The temperature is climbing day by day, the rains have subsided and the grass is growing full-tilt. That means yardwork, if at the very least lawn mowing. In our case it's garden creation day. A yard of compost awaits my eager shovel in the front yard. And the rototiller, still silent from a cold winter on leave has no idea it will once again be dragged from it's garage bunker and called in to duty to go into battle with it's mortal enemy, sod.
Before the landscape carnage begins I took a moment for reflection in the garden and captured a purple hyacinth happily awakened from her winter's slumber.
Spring has sprung. So said the daffodil. And that's what I thought too this past Saturday when the sun made an appearance. The Northwest's never-ending winters invariably drag on while we, the sun loving photographers sit and wait idly, patiently, for the day when we can finally pop our tripod feet in the sand and capture a backlit burgundy sky over the sea. Or hike up to catch a fleeting glint of sunlight trickling through a shaded wood deep in the backcountry. These days are coming for sure but when we do not know. For now we'll have to settle for a fleeting sunbreak.
Still the daffodil says spring is here. She's proof of one thing: you can't always trust a pretty face.
There you are in your studio, trying out some new lighting equipment, you look through your lens and what do you see? Is it a pair of piercing blue eyes beaming back at you from a pale white face? Is it a head of glowing black hair flowing down around a pair of pronounced shoulders before disappearing into the black of the backdrop? No, it's a mass of wiry beard hair surrounding a wide pair of lips that are saying, "Do you want me to take my shirt off?"
Some people say it's easy to take good pictures when you have a beautiful model to photograph. I wouldn't know. My models drink all my beer.
But my solution was simple.
If you shoot it they will come. Perhaps it's not that simple. Or maybe it just depends how you look at it.
Over the past few months I've been feverishly working at creating a business for myself, something that I can be proud of and that will get me out of this daily commute to a job in which I'm quite literally spinning my wheels. We all want to be happy, not just in our jobs but in our daily lives. We all want to grow, not just financially but metaphysically, emotionally – whether we want to admit it or not. Then why do so many of us spend so many hours a week doing something that does nothing to improve the levels of our our bodies and minds – giving us what just enough to survive and keep us complacent enough to come back for more. You, like many people, may have enough to pay the mortgage, put food on the table, dump a bit of money into savings for the month (if you're lucky) and think to yourself, “We're doing alright.” You may even have enough for a vacation, yes those one or two week per year jaunts that make you smile and think you've got it really good. But inevitably, invariably you will end up back at work, putting more time in so that you may once again repeat the cycle for the next month or the next year. Or the next twenty.
Well I want out of that cycle. I've never been that person who would work his whole life dreaming of the future, working toward that ever-elusive and highly-sought-after word: retirement. The very word sets emotion on fire in some people. It's that golden time in our imagined future in which we can wake up and do what we want, not answering to anybody, travel, live where we want to live, finally be who we want to be. Well that's not me. I'm not going to delve into the 9 to 5 just so one day I can hope to be my own person and once and for all have my freedom. More often than not by the time you're able to support yourself and finally “retire” you're no longer young anymore. And all those things you dreamed of doing, all those places you dreamed of seeing may not be as easy to get to as you once imagined. What a pity it would be to have given all my good years away to someone else.
So here I stand with camera in hand, rain on my shoulder and determination in my soul putting my best foot forward. If this doesn't work I'll try a different approach, a different angle, a different filter. I know if I shoot it they will come. That's how I see it.
You wouldn't think it would be that hard. But after spending no less than three hours on two different evenings I have given up on taking a picture that captures some bit of holiday spirit downtown. Maybe Olympia is just too small and doesn't have the money to decorate it's tree-lined streets with a bunch of lights. Or maybe they've just had their hands full with 'Occupy' and don't have the time (or gumption) to worry about it. Or maybe I'm just not creative enough.
Yes, the blue snowflakes on Capitol Way and 4th Ave are nice, they're festive. I just feel they fall a little short of what I'd expect from a Capitol city. Even the decorated tree in Sylvester park looks like it's missing something - like it's lacking some luster, like someone hastily wrapped clear lights around it and declared it Christmas.
Maybe that's all it takes these days, a few blinky lights here and there and a ho-ho-ho and it's suddenly Christmas. And here I am searching, peering into the darkness, looking for something, anything that says, "Hey, it's Christmas! And it only comes once a year! Rejoice and be happy!"
Maybe the city thought that would just be too hard.
Even near freezing temperatures and a thick blanket of fog couldn't stop our PSWA troopers from manning the booth at the Lacey 'Turn Back the Clock' run this Sunday. We made many connections and were so happy to be a part of such a lively event. Looking forward to next year!
In this photo (above) from left to right: Max and Debbie Barnes-Allan of Ayni Shaman Energy Medicine, Caroline Pettepiece (Anderson) LMP, PSWA President, Holly Glennon LMP, RN, Reflexology Practitioner, new member Sandra Hayner, LMP, KMI Practitioner and Joanna Power, PSWA Executive Director.
I'm shifting gears. I've put Terminal away.
And as I wrote those words above I could hear Simone screaming at me. She's furious that I could have the gall to leave her alone in that little town in the San Juans with that best friend of hers that keeps going in-and-out of psychopathic episodes, disappearing for weeks at a time and killing people all while having no recollection of any of the events. Relax Simone, I'll be back, sit tight. Lock your door, quit answering your phone, you'll be okay. After all, you're just make-believe. It's just that right now it's hard for me to concentrate on fictitious characters and relationships when I've got so much going on in the non-fiction book that is my life. No, no one is trying to kill me. At least not literally.
I'm getting married. In just over five months my life will change dramatically and I'm working on coming to terms with that in the very little time I have left as a bachelor: 157 days, 7 hours, 5 minutes and 16 seconds. (Not that I'm counting.)
And yes, I am excited to be getting married. Mostly because my fiancee is the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to me and I know I'm the luckiest man on earth. But marriage is one of those higher institutions that I had no intention of ever applying to, no intention of even considering sending a transcript. I grew up in a household full of divorce and separation and spent much of my childhood deciding which parent to live with for that year.
I saw more of the dark-side of marriage. My observations of relationships were more 'Deathstar' than 'Endor'. I don't think it's a coincidence that dark-side, deathstar and divorce all begin with “D”. And while no one ever whispered to me, “Luke, I'm your father...” it was still interesting having people other than my parents around on both sides of my family.
So as the clock ticks on my single life I have some questions I need answered. The biggest one being: “Why?” Why do we do this? Why do choose to bind our relationships with a legal document that can cost an arm and a leg to dissolve and can trigger litigation that can last for years? Is “I love you” just not enough? Have we lost the value of a promise and have to make someone sign on the dotted line to prove it?
I intend to find out. Over the next five months I'll be interviewing people on-camera. From the recently engaged and the newlyweds to the 70th anniversaries' couples, the sworn singles and free-wheeling bachelors in an attempt to answer my question. Yes I'm using my last summer as a free man constructively and hopefully when I'm done I'll have something that resembles a film. So with nothing but a shoestring budget, mediocre equipment, a reluctant camera crew and a drive to find the truth I'm setting out to make a film.
And with any luck people will want to talk to me.
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© 2013 Brian Pettepiece
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