Friday, April 24, 2009

i endorse and adore : tatyana danilchenko, marike leroux, and matt james clifton

of course,
none of our skills behind the lens would be much use
without talent in front of it.
it takes more than most people realize to be a good model.
and NO, tyra, you can just sit down, i'm not talking to you.
it takes ease in front of a camera,
personality that shines through to the image,
ability to take direction,
and the skill to invent a persona
from sometimes just the skeleton of a tale.
which is why i have always loved tatyana:
she is the almost impossibly elusive "classic blonde".
neither california sunny, nor nordic icy,
she is able to balance the fantasy and the warmth
pitch perfectly.
and clothing adores ms. danilchenko.
it sings on her.
this round introduced me to a startlingly photogenic young find,
marike leroux.
i envy the name, don't you?
i wish i could describe the energy in her movement.
the light in her eyes is captivating.
and our last minute addition,
mr. matt james clifton:
certainly, the looks of a young greek statue.
but the ease and humor of the aussie he is.
suffice to say,
we were blessed with easy, warm, natural people to play with that day.
and that, my friends,
makes a world of difference in the end.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

update: liz is home from the hospital -

and i am grateful for all your good energy.
she's not out of the woods,
but i have to believe the kindness of strangers helped her through.

i endorse and adore : the sunday storytelling crew

things like this day
didn't happen just by luck.
they happened through friendships,
and past work relationships,
and leaps of faith,
and trust in each other.
which is why i have to thank:
miss ashley furnival,
the instigator for this whole thing,
and as you will see,
a rather devastatingly talented stylist.
ashley creates with clothing,
and watches the details,
and keeps the machine polished.
which allows me to focus not just the camera,
but my energy
into the frame, not the surroundings.
marco souza:
the face is his canvas,
and the body too, sometimes.
with marco, my requests never seem daunting,
and there is no need for a re-touch-up.
and ms. kristin heitkotter:
our mistress of the tresses,
the lady of locks,
she kept the girls shimmeringly straight in that sunlight,
and the boy coiffed in the shade.
plus, grr loved her.
and you all know what a vote that is in my book.
these people at times LITERALLY kept me from falling down:
i'd like to think i can return the favor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

when all words fail : today i'm turning to things i wrote before

i can't describe the impact that liz is having on me right now.
this is the closest i can get:
the summer after, noon -

In a corner somewhere near
lies my history.

I have put it down momentarily,
not really watching the time,
in order to plant some rosebushes,
in order to bind a trellis to a fence.

I wish to watch,
for awhile.
to see the buds form burst brown fall.
to see the twine darken rust flake fall.
to feel the world stretch moan turn and rise.

I raced to get here,
I pushed hard and felt little.

which is why the story of me
will remain dormant for now.

it is time for the story of everything else,
and this time,
I only wish to hear.

the words will come again.
I have always known this about words.
they fail you when you need them.
they run over you when you are tired.

iceberg roses on a fence in a yard.
sun through the trees in the afternoon heat.
a car passing over the manhole down the block, and coming closer.

I will not take this turn.  I will pass.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

this is my friend, Liz Montgomery -

and i'm goin to ask you all a favor, today.
i'm going to ask you to send out your prayers, 
your good energy, 
your kindness to a stranger, 
because today, my friend liz needs all the help she can get.
i met Liz, 
for she is not nor has she ever been an "elizabeth",
years ago, when i was a puppy in advertising.
she strode into the hallowed halls of the agency i worked at like something from the plains,
all leg and limb and shimmering hair,
extended beyond the american expectation of the female,
almost a cartoon,
but to flesh and blood to be unreal.
she came from australia, 
and she was everything you imagine the aussies to be, 
but distilled, refined, elegant in a way you could not predict.
Liz is tall, true.
Liz is blonde, true. 
Liz is buxom and lean and has a smile that destroys you, true.
but her heart, her humor, her mind and it's tricky wit . . . these were the Liz i loved then.
she and i would sit in my office and laugh and laugh.
she and her partner, annie, would go out with tim and i and we would end up leaving them, 
the southerner and the girl from down under, 
surrounded by boys, straight and gay,
drinking them under the tables of chicago.
Liz's heart, however, was taken.
Sash was the inverse of his golden girl,
dark and sweet and smooth like honey and nightshade, 
hypnotic to her brilliance.
together, they stole hearts, 
and gently gathered them into a community of artists and businesspeople and, perhaps, 
i do not have enough pictures of them.
i don't know why, and it's been bothering me for days.
i can see them so clearly in my mind,
i can feel them, and the way they would move, down a street, 
i think they will always be held for me in the startling ease of their embraces,
where you felt at once welcomed and owned by their easy love, 
or in the flash of the one shot i took that night on halsted,
as they walked away, as always, arm in arm, 
and Liz looked back, her hair a halo around her, the grin as always HUGE,
Sash just staring at her profile, smiling.
but i cannot find the photo.
all i have are these few moments:
at her monthly art gatherings, the one where they roasted pigs and made sculptures and had fire-eaters,
glass of wine in hand, looking back at tim as he called her name.
eating tapas,
kissing my man, 
liquid in her love of friends and food and the moment.
at our first housewarming, 
in the black knee high ponyskin boots that cost a fortune
but simply spoke her name
that day at barney's.
she worked those boots like no one i have ever seen,
in the shortest of skirts, with the greatest of joy,
sexy sexy sexy Liz.
and this,
years later,
sent to me for no reason, 
perhaps a reminder that though we were years apart and a world away, 
we shared some love.
some knowledge, perhaps, of what it is like to know love like this.
as you fight the brave fight that only a stubborn and fiery soul like yours can, 
i want to remind you that the love you have given
to me 
is being returned
my friends, my readers, my strangers who are reading this, 
take the time to stop,
and think today of Liz Montgomery.
as she fights her way through this unexpected cancer,
and the attendant trials it has brought her strong body,
send her your love, or your hope, or your energy.
for i believe there will come a time
when we all need the prayers of strangers to help us through the day
and through whatever night we face.
you are loved, my Liz.
again, more than you know.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday Storytelling, chapter one : in which landis gets to photograph half-naked australian male models on his roof.

it began,
as most of these things do,
innocently enough.
a group of us,
fairly experienced, but hoping to expand our books,
our boundaries,
and our skills,
banded together to start a monthly photo shoot.
one sunday a month,
i would compose a story.
one sunday a month,
the team would assemble the wardrobe,
the hair and make-up,
gather the models,
and as a team,
contribute our time and effort into creating something
this month,
on my roof,
in the mid-april sun.
i can't describe the energy.
uncertain at first?
excited, for sure.
the pace was swift, 
decisions were made,
outfits switched rapidly,
boys bound in extension cords:
it will make sense later,
i promise.
but i was impressed by the ease
with which we all gelled.
there was no hesitation,
there was simply creation,
and an amazing easter buffet from tim.
did i mention this was how we all spent easter morning?
the dogs crashed before we did:
but the outcome?
we are determined
to tell
more tales.
Sunday Storytelling