I have always had an interest in photography, I think. I wasn't exposed to the art aspect of photography as a child, nor much visual art at all really. But what I was exposed to was classical music, literature, the beauty of nature and all things surrounding me. One of my biggest influences, unknown to me at the time, was my Uncle Johnny. Uncle Johnny was a closet artist, if you will. He had a gift of drawing and writing. I have legacies of both but I am doubtful if much more exist. He seemed almost embarrassed to express his talents. What Uncle Johnny did do was travel the back roads of Louisiana and Mississippi, a few times with me in tow, searching out quaint little cemeteries, country churches, architectural ruins, and the like. If he had carried a camera around his neck, his photographs would have mirrored Eudora Welty's work. My first exposure to Eugora's photography, was like a walk into my past. Eudora called her photographs snapshots. Her work may not have been on the same level as Dorothea Lange or Vivian Maier, but because of my Uncle Johnny, she is one of my favorite photographers. I see her work as photography, not simple snapshots, and rank her among the top photographers and writers of the South.

I fondly remember my first trip to the Windsor Ruins. Uncle Johnny, my Dad, sisters and cousins all packed into the car and spent the day at Grand Gulf, Mississippi. Years later I was elated to discover Eudora's famous photograph of the shadow of herself standing before the ruins of the plantation of Mr. Windsor. Amongst her life's work are photographs of headstones from the little cemetery just down the road and the old Catholic church which was nestled among the tall pines and oaks along the Natchez trace in Mississippi. Many years later, the church, headstones, and Windsor ruins are still there. The church is no longer owned by the Catholic church and there are much less ruins of the Windsor Ruins. Uncle Johnny and Eudora Welty have passed on but the memories of both will always live on through our photography, perhaps only snapshots, you decide of this artist and others that still follow in their footsteps.

I made this photograph of the Windsor Ruins in September 2006. It is my favorite of the ruins so far. This was my first trip there since the 1960s. Following the death of my parents, I took a vacation day and drove the Natchez trace. Just before noon I made this photograph with my Nikon coolpix digital camera. I had gotten the camera free with the purchase of my Macbook. Looking back, I was able to create some pretty impressive images with this little camera. I only replaced it when I dropped it on the concrete or someone's grave in the Old Rapides Cemetery. A tragedy at the time but a blessing later, when I replaced it with my current SLR Nikon. I have always contested that it is the photographer not the camera that produces the photograph but most people will disagree since I am frequently ask, "what camera do you use?".

The Windsor's donated the remains of their plantation to the State of Mississippi. It had become a popular place for picnics. There is a photograph of Eudora and friends having lunch by the ruins. Today, as seen here, people continue to visit the ruins with lunch in tow. It is rare to have the ruins to yourself. It is a place loved by all. The ruins are seen in the sun as, after all, they are the star of this photograph.

I made this photograph in July of 2009. I was returning from a journey to my father's boyhood home in Vicksburg where I visited with relatives. Mr. Windsor never lived to see the completion of his dream so perhaps it is fitting that the beauty of his plantation is seen in this ruin state. This, nod to the death of the old south, has been seen by thousands and I am sure photographed by thousands as well. This close up shot of one of the columns in the evening light is the second of my favorite images I captured at the ruins. I drove, somewhat frantically, down the backroad from Vicksburg on a shortcut to the ruins, trying to beat the fading light. I was listening to one of Donna Tartts' audiobooks at the time and have come to believe that Tartts' "Tribulation" was inspired by Windsor's ruins, at least, in my mind they are related. Beaten down by the elements, this column stands as as testament to strength of the people in the South and for as long as the ruins stand, will be a source of inspiration to artists that stumble across this crumbling icon nestled in the woods of Mississippi. For myself this will always hold true. In writing this, I want to jump in the car and head towards the Ruins.

This color photograph was taken in January 1 2010 around 9AM. It was a crisp cold morning. The sun was peeking through the trees and illuminates the aging brick nd concrete. The green moss shows well in the morning light and contrast the red brick nicely. I made this stop on my way to Vicksburg to visit family. I took the scenic Natchez Trace to get there.

This photograph was made inside the Grand Gulf Military State Park on my journey in 2006. The sun was high and as expected, hot for September. It was one of those southern days when sweat starts to roll down you back the second you exit the car. In the background of this photograph you see the little chapel now know as Confederate Memorial Chapel. In the foreground is the water wheel. It was added to the park in 1971, therefore wasn't in the park when I visited as a child. Rather than take each landmark separate, I photographed them together. I think it is a nice "crisp" black and white. The shadows are most effective. I especially like the shadows of the wood planks that add interest to the bottom of the wheel house.


During the spring quarter of my Junior year of college I took a basic photography class at Louisiana Tech in Ruston. The class focused on composition and the basic principals of photography not developing or processing. I borrowed an SLR film camera from a friend for the class. In the class we shot Polaroid black and white slide film that we developed in a Polaroid slide developer and hand mounted. We had to shoot one roll or 31 slides per assignment. We had to take 3 different exposures of each subject so it really amounted to taking 10 shots once a week. This was a totally new world to me but I was hooked from the beginning. I loved every second of that class.

One of our assignments was to relate images in the foreground and background. This one stumped me a bit. On a Saturday, morning when I was struggling to complete the assignment, I came across 2 dormitories that were under construction on campus. I already had a love for such places and since the workers were gone for the weekend I climbed in a window of one to check it out. It was in that first dorm that I saw what made the assignment click for me. On the second floor, as I peered out one of the windows, the cars parked across the street rested perfectly on the window ledge. I completed the assignment by going from window to window in the vacant buildings till I had shot the entire roll of film. My Professor loved my results and even said he planned to work my window idea into his next year's assignments. He was complimentary of all my work and at the end of the year said that I was the best in his class, which he said was sad he said since I wasn't even a Photographer Major.

By the fall semester, the renovated dorms were open. It was senior year, classes, finals then graduation. It left little time for photography but my friend gave me the Minolta, I had used for the class, as a graduation gift and as I packed the camera away in my luggage. I vowed to one day return to Tech and get a photography degree.

Sadly, that never happened. In short, I guess life just got in the way. My four years at Tech were my best years to date. I loved the creative energy I got from classmates. I loved the art shows, classical music concerts and theater. I excelled there. As a freshman, I wasn't known as someone's sister, I was myself. Being the youngest of three girls, that was something I had never experienced before and it felt pretty good. I didn't have to try and meet anyone's expectations because there wasn't any. That alone was life changing for me.

I never got back to Tech, not that it would have been the same I'm sure, but I have no regrets. There isn't much call for Art Photographers and the thought of spending 40 hours a week photographing screaming babies, fussy teens and nervous brides just isn't my cup of tea. If I had made photography my career I am pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy photography as much. I would always be shooting for someone else not myself. The thrill of climbing into a window of an abandoned building on a Saturday morning just wouldn't be the same if I had to play by someone else's rules and enter via the front door.

I often find myself longing for those quiet Saturday mornings in the vacant dorms and over the years I continue to seek out ruins to photograph. It is not uncommon for me to wake early on the weekends, grab my camera and hit the road. A rush of fear and anticipation overtakes me when I find an abandoned structure decaying with age. Fear, that there may be harm just on the other side or that I could be arrested for trespassing, but also anticipation. Anticipation of some unique photograph, a treasure that will be my own forever.

The ruins are getting harder and harder to find. Below are some of my finds on the backroads I have traveled.

Old Home, Avoyelles Parish …

One Sunday afternoon in 2003 I was driving the Old Baton Rouge highway between Chaneyville and Bunkie just south of home when I saw a wonderful old house in the middle of a dusty corn field. It appeared to be abandoned as the front steps were gone and it was falling to ruin. I made a u-turn and bravely entered the house. All I had on me was my trusty Coolpix but I vowed to make it work.

I was too scared to climb to the second floor but I was pleased with the photograph I took of the staircase in the hall. It was dark and I didn't have a tripod but there was just enough light coming through the glass on either side of the front door to make the shot work for me. The detail on the risers and the peeling wallpaper add interest to the photograph as does he anticipation of something being upstairs or through the open door at the foot of the stairs.

I went back to the old house a couple of more times before it became a victim of vandals, back taxes and the government. Here you will see the exterior. The surprise lilies were such a treat highlighting the reds of the rusty tin roof and remains of the red brick chimney. I was never so heartbroken as the day I rounded the curve on the highway and saw this beautiful landmark was gone, replaced with budding corn stalks. I wanted to cry. I can only imagine how it would have felt to wake in the mornings in this old house with the sun streaming through the upper window. The smell of coffee and hot biscuits coming from the kitchen. I can hear the bang of the screen door and the sound of laughter as the children run out to play on the old tire swing hanging from the tree. I imagine the flap, flap, flap of the laundry hanging on the line to dry in the summer breeze. And I imagine falling to sleep to the sound of the cicadas drifting through the open windows in the night. Rest in peace old home, rest in peace.

Hot Wells…

I hated Hot Wells. In the 70s Dad drove us to Hot Wells to pick up my Uncle. When we got there, I was most upset to learn that I couldn't swim in the pool. When my Uncle stayed at the Holiday Inn, I could swim, so I didn't understand why I couldn't swim here. That is why I hated Hot Wells! Hot Wells was a local resort on the outskirts of Alexandria Louisiana that dating back to the early 1900s when a hot water spring was discovered. People swore by the healing powers of the water and thus a resort was born. It closed in the 80s. I discovered the remains of Hot Wells in 2005. I was driving in the area and saw its skeletal remains, overgrown with vines, just peeking out from a bend in the road. I had long forgotten about the place. After all, I hated the place, so that is understandable. I went back the next weekend with my camera for the first of 4 shoots.

I did finally get to try out the pool. I took this shot in July of 2006. It was a foggy morning. The rich green foliage was slowly creeping into the concrete shell of the once off limits pool. I photographed this from the second floor of the old pool house. I heard the sounds of people, fitting, I suppose since my only memory was of lots of children laughing and enjoying the pool. These sounds were not from the pool but nearby houses. Doors banged, people called to one another. Isolated it seemed but in reality it wasn't. People now lived just on the other side of the greenery.

Bathtubs were scattered about. These two, stark white against the green, caught my eye. This one is also shot from above and was made the same morning as the pool photograph. I added a soft focus and opted for color as the green was most beautiful in the morning light.

I made this photograph inside another building on the property. The building was split in two and appeared to have a side for male and one for female. The tubs were gone but other bath fixtures remained. It was very dark in most of the building but this bathroom had outside light from a small window. This photograph worked best as a black and white.

This appeared to be an old boiler room, maybe? Windows let in light. The overturned table was some sort of massage table. They were scattered throughout the building. I liked the contrast between the functional quality of the machines as opposed to the intruder, the table, that obviously didn't belong in this space. A crisp black and white worked well here. When I returned in 2006 the roof had caved in on this part of the building. Hot Wells would be totally destroyed shortly there after.

I took this photograph in 2005. For some reason I liked to shoot by turning the camera crazy angles back then. I took it to extremes sometimes. Did it work here? This space felt very angry and aggressive. Unpleasant, to say the least, in contrast to its original intentions. Maybe the angle worked, you decide.

Windows always intrigue me. The foliage had grown so that it almost seemed to be a itched into the glass. Wild and aggressive it seemed to be trying to reclaim its space. That said, a bit of light was still able to pierce the glass giving it a stained glass look and feel.

This is another photograph of windows, this time outside the guest quarters. The vines had invaded the space thanks to vandals that broke the glass. I liked the greens and golds and appreciated the cool shade as I made this photograph in the heat of a September day.

I went for one last shoot in 2006. As you can see, water was standing everywhere and the mold was almost unbearable. I regretted haven gone, as my lungs suffered for days, but I was able to get a few more shots before the last remains of Hot Wells met its demise and thus it was worth it to me. This hall led to the women's section. A early morning sun was able to peek a bit through the overgrown glass transom, giving a little light to the white water fountain. The fountain almost looks like a shrine in the midst of the destruction around it. It cries out for a Virgin Mary statue.

I wish I had been a guest at Hot Wells in its glory for with nothing to compare it to all I saw was the hostile remains. Fitting I guess, since my first impressions were of hate. Sadly, it is all gone now. The spring has been capped and all the tourist have scattered to the wind.

Carr High School…

On Friday July 3, 2009 I took a road trip to Vicksburg, MS to visit relatives. On my way to my destination I passed an abandoned building. I made the block and discovered it was Carr High School. It was but a shell of its former self. From the second I walked into the building I could feel my Fathers presence. Odd since I didn't think he had gone to school there. I later found out that in fact he had attended Carr so my feelings were perhaps justified. It was a hot July day but surprisingly cool in the space. The lighting was excellent. Overall the building was absolutely wonderful. I thought that if this were my hometown I would be there almost every day to shoot. A nagging thought was, "where have all the children gone?". That became my title for the series.

In this photograph you are looking at the auditorium and a long hall that ends with a graffiti heart. So wonderful. Light was coming in from the auditorium as well as classrooms on the left. The heart was in a room with large openings in the brick where windows use to be. The light illuminated the heart perfectly. This is my favorite photograph in Carr High School.

This photograph was made further down the long hall. I wanted the heart to no longer the main focus. I wanted to capture the light and unique textures found in the hall as well as the repetition of the openings and length of the hall. Your eye is pulled a bit in that direction but the focal point is still that small heart at the end of the hall. Fitting I suppose.

This was made in the auditorium. Again, I felt that the light was good. It cast on the wall dividing the auditorium from the hall. The height of the space ran two stories. I tilted the camera a bit to emphasize ruins a bit.

This is one of the upstairs halls. The blackness at the end of the hall demands your attention. All lines converge there. The verticals are straight but the illusion is that there is a tilt to the photograph. The heavier brick on the left perhaps pulls you in that direction or maybe I was just standing a bit off center.

Again, the auditorium. Here you can see the silhouette of the remaining auditorium seats and get a view of the ceiling. The floor was elevated a bit so the seats slanted towards the stage. I was in the adjacent room several feet below the highest point. When I returned in 2011, I found an ADs phone book (A product of my creation. I work for ADs). It was a Monroe, LA book from years past. Dad always appreciated my phone books. Perhaps it was a gift from him.

In December 2011, I went for a visit and stopped at Carr High School on my way home. The temperature had been great all day 50s or so but it was a bit cool in the building. The light was fading and can be seen here through the openings in the auditorium. I liked the colors and the effect I got using my Lensbaby lens. The Lensbaby line of lenses allows you to have a sharp spot or sweet spot while the rest of the image blurs a bit.

I experimented with the Lensbaby here. I put the focus on the wall to the left in the foreground and blurred the light at the end of the hall. The result was very different than the crisp black & whites of 2009.

In 2013 the weather wasn't so kind. The temperature never got out of the 30s and with a soft rain, the day was pretty miserable. To add even more insult my car heater had died so it was as cold inside my car as outside. That said, I had drove a great distance and wasn't going to leave without stopping at Carr on my way home. In this photograph you are looking out the front entrance. I muted the colors a bit to reflect the overall gray and miserable day it was. Despite the conditions, the beauty of the space was still there for me. I hands were beyond frozen when I final got back in my car but I feel it was worth it.

This is one of the few remaining pieces of furniture in the building. I love the brick and plaster wall. The scene was lit from above as the ceiling was gone in this area. The dreaded mold is beginning to cover the space.

Last is a cross spray painted on the exterior. It seems to seal its fate. Xs were painted on buildings in New Orleans following Katrina. This cross reminds me of those Xs.

December 30, 2013 - I Arrived in Vicksburg with a few minutes to spare and drove down Cherry Street. From a great distance away I could see that one of my favorite spots to photograph was officially off limits to me. Carr High School is undergoing renovations to become apartments. It was good to see the building will live on but I am most depressed that I will never be able to photograph there again.

Masonic Home…

In September of 2011 I saw on Facebook that the Masonic home in Alexandria was open for any photographers that wanted a place to shoot. This wasn't a formal invitation by any means, the post was simply saying that a back door wasn't barred shut. I had never really given the place much attention. It was a huge dinosaur of a building, ominous as it was, nestled in the trees in such a way that it had simply become a part of the landscape. A few years back they had sold the contents after the children's home for orphans had closed its doors. The empty building had become an object of much controversy and the topic of many city council meetings. It was on the table for renovations or conversion into high end apartments but there were issues regarding traffic flow on the adjacent streets that had the construction bogged down in the courts. I took advantage of this public dispute to check the place out. I approached this place with more caution than most as it was so large and enclosed. It offered many opportunities for the homeless and drug dealers to find shelter. Turns out, like most abandoned buildings I had been in, it was more of a hangout for restless teens evidenced by the spray painted walls and busted windows.

I went at sunrise on my first visit. I became compelled to return home and get some old dolls I had recently acquired. I had been photographing the dolls and playing with different processing methods. That, combined with the fact that this was a former children's home, it seem like a natural thing to do. However, when I returned to the grounds of the Masonic home and got out of the car, camera and dolls in tow, I realized how stupid I looked and thought that if any sane person saw me they would probably commit me on the spot. This didn't deter me. All in the name of art,right? I photographed there that day, the next and a few other times in the months to come. I woke one Sunday recently thinking I would head in that direction only to be overcome with laziness. Later that day I drove by the property and was shocked to see that there were half build condos on the grounds and the main orphanage was undergoing major renovations. It seemed I had just been there yesterday but obviously it had been awhile. As with all previous buildings I had explored and photographed, I had visual reminders and was glad to see this place was getting a new life. Its fate wasn't the bulldozer and that made it all good in my eyes.

There was not much furniture in the building. There were a few side chairs and a table or two. This table was in a room that appeared to be a dining room as it was off the kitchen. There was, however, a dumbwaiter leading to the floor above so, perhaps not. At any rate it was a very dark dank room, like a basement but not. Not hot, but stuffy. This window facing east and emitted the morning light into the space. I used my Lensbaby and processed the print as black and white. The effect of the table disappearing into space reflect how I felt the space. It seemed like the occupants had just faded away.

The windows were the building's shining glory. Wonderful in every way. Most were uncovered, this one however, had the snarled remains of a blind. It appeared some frustrated person had tried to rase or lower it with little success as it was stuck somewhere in-between. The Lensbaby filtered the light in such a way to give blind that same fading effect on the left. The whites are blown but I like that in this case, as it emphasizes the sun's struggle to penetrate the obtrusive blind.

I love this photograph. The early morning light coming through the windows in this room was wonderful. It is a photograph that would have pleased my photographer teacher in college. This was made on my final visit. The roof was leaking pretty bad in this room at this point and the mold was pretty toxic. The light from the one set of windows was reflected on the floor, in the puddles of water and on the ceiling. In my early days of shooting, I shot on crazy angles. I have since abandoned that process for the most part, but it was necessary here to get the three reflections and the windows in the one photograph. The craziness of the camera angel matches the craziness of the light since it doesn't seem possible for three reflections to be coming from a single set of windows.

Here again, the windows take center stage. I find it interesting that the top row of glass isn't reflective on the floor. This is due to the height of the sun, perhaps, or an overhanging eave but like the previous photographs, doesn't seem possible. A sharp black and white works well here. The high contrast eliminates the detail and clutter of the room giving the focus to the windows and light.

The focus in this photograph is the morning sun streaming through the windows in the next room contrasted by the dark doorway on the right. However, there is a lot happening in the foreground. The soft light entering from the left shows the texture of the walls and keep the foreground from being simply dead space.

The light pouring into the stairwell grabbed my attention here. I shot down from the second floor. An odd angle portrays the anxiety and fear I felt going into the darkness below. Now, looking at this photo and trying to imagine myself going down these stairs, I see myself tumbling down and falling with a splat on the tile landing. That didn't happen at the time but I did loose my breakfast shortly after I made this photograph. I blamed it on the mold but I now think it may have been motion sickness for this shot is at an unnatural angle.

This lone chair is seen in detail although the whites are total blown in the window behind and on the walls and floor surrounding it. Scale is emphasized here. The space had very high ceilings, extending outside the frame of the photograph in contrast to the height of the chair. The light filters a bit through the crack in the door to keep some interest in the foreground.

I use color here for a different look at the windows. The morning light, warm in the golds yet cool in the greens, show the dust and grime on the glass or simply neglect and sadness. I used my Lensbaby for an interesting effect.

This photograph was made in one of the open closets. The remains of a single hanger with a piece of twine was hanging there. Color felt necessary. The broken hanger and the worn paint on the clothes bar attest, not only to its age, but usage. The soft focus of the Lensbaby worked for me here. I see loneliness and sadness in this photograph. The happy children are gone.

Enter Charlie, Charlie Orphan. Looking back, it is really strange that I brought the dolls but it seemed so natural at the time. Instead of photographing them at home, I simply brought them here. I will only put one here as I now have doubts my intentions worked. I named this little guy Charlie. Here he is sitting on the stairwell face in shadow. He looks forgotten and alone. The light down the stairwell hints that a little girl has run down the steps to play with her friends, leaving her doll behind. This wasn't the case of course. The children were long gone, adults by now, and this doll was just a prop. I have read this was a great place for the children to grow up despite our governments efforts to say otherwise. I tried to convey those happier times in my photographs. Sadness being found only in the children's absence. I'm not sure I was effective in conveying that.

The ruins are becoming harder to find. Occasionally I will stumble across one safe enough to enter that has access, but it is rare. Perhaps I am just not brave enough or perhaps, with age, I realize the danger more. Still, I look forward to discovering my next ruins.

Protector of Souls…

As a kid, a teen really, I received a Kodak camera for my high school graduation. It was my first camera. The gift was at my request. The camera was long and flat and resembled an eyeglass case. A strange telephone receiver shape plastic object housed, the film, that you never actually saw but assumed was there. The camera had only one button. You pressed it to capture your subject. It was auto everything else so it left little room for creativity on the part of the user. I took a few shots of my friends on graduation night and a few of my family but most of the shots I took with that camera were on my biking trips throughout my hometown. I was especially drown to the Old Rapides Cemetery, so named as it is the oldest cemetery in Rapides Parish. The cemetery is located in Pineville rather than the larger adjacent town of Alexandria that is below sea level. It contains graves dated back to the 1700s. I photographed the crumbling headstones, the few statues that graced the graves and the old caretakers home at the entrance of the cemetery. My shots were few as developing cost me dearly and my minimum wage job at Ben Franklins left me with little spending money.

One weekday, during the summer before I entered college, I peddled home in the driving rain from one such outing. I had pushed it to the limits but felt my soaked clothes was worth it, as I was proud of my unseen accomplishments nestled in my backpack. I woke the next morning to see a photograph of the old caretakers home in flames on the front page of the Town Talk. This struck me hard for some reason. I think I half expected the police to surround my home and slap handcuffs on "the potential arson". After all, I had evidence that I had been there only hours before the fire engulfed the little shack. But I truly think I was so effected by the fire because the reality that although I would never be able to walk into this little house again, smell the musty interior, hear the wood floors creek and feel the pealing paint, I could see that little house in the image I made. That moment in time was frozen on film and as my memories of the place fade, I can always revisit it via my photograph.

Over the years I continue to travel the back roads to little country cemeteries and graveyards. Some of the same places my Uncle Johnny went to I imagine. I have been to the famous cemeteries of New Orleans, the Catholic cemeteries in Cajun Country, populated with crumbling concrete angels and saints. In 2004 I read Lee Smith's, The Last Girls. The road then lead me west to Saint Francisville, Louisiana. The graveyard That Lee Smith so eloquently described in her novel, didn't disappoint. The dripping moss over the shaded tombstones was as beautiful as her written words described. I fondly remember my first visit there. It was a hurried trip as I had to return home to take care of my Mom, but it was a nice escape and opened my eyes to a place I would return to many times.

As always, the road lead me back home to the little aging cemetery in Pineville, now just over the bridge from my home. One day, I took stock and realized there were only 3 statues, several broken crosses and headstones that were victims of the most recent vandalism, nothing new… move on, when it struck me I had missed the most beautiful thing in the cemetery, the wrought iron fences. These iron fences surrounding the aging graves were absolutely beautiful. How could I have missed that? As the days past it still amazes me how these iron fences seem to have a life of their own. These, "Protector of souls", change with the light and seasons of the year. They now get my first attention on my photo shoots.

Below are some of the photographs I have taken in Cemeteries and grave yards. I like photographing there. It is peaceful and the dead don't seem to mind my presence. I believe all the markers, statues and fences were left for us, the living, not the dead. So, I take advantage of the gift. Many cemeteries lock their gates after dark and I have a secret fear of being locked in. It would be hard to explain why I was there to the police. The evening light is the best so I still take my chances.

This fence is, my most favorite one in the Old Rapides cemetery, is found near the main entrance. I have photographed it many time. It is tucked beneath several pines and seems to always to be in shade. Here I captured the iron crosses in silhouette against the summer grass dying in the heat. The detail of the iron is hidden, allowing the overall shape to shine. In this photograph the gate is swung back against the fence mixing the crosses atop the fence with the fleur-de-lis' of the gate.

This large iron fence surrounds family graves near the side gate of the Old Rapides Cemetery. It is elevated into the air atop a large concrete slap with three steps leading to the graves it surrounds. Here, on this Autumn morning, the rich patina takes on a warm cast flanked by the beauty of the fall foliage in the woods behind. A soft focus shows the intricate detail of the craftsmanship as well as the reputation of form. The wondering eye longs for more.

This is another beautiful fence in the Old Rapides Cemetery. The diamond shape has hints of green and gold. Offset by the green trees the rusty iron looks most striking in the morning light. I created this photo on a Sunday morning in 2006….What a peaceful morning. My goal was to convey that here.

This photograph captures the repetition of arches and fleur-de-lis so prevalent in the Old Rapides Cemetery. The rich oranges of the rusty iron are contrasted by the many shades of green found it the spring pallet of colors. Have you ever noticed how many shades of green there are in the spring? A soft focus blends the fence into it's surrounding.

From afar the same fence above can be seen here on a damp foggy October morning. The fence, interrupted by vandals (sections are taken in the dark of night to be sold for scrap and high dollars), surrounds one of three statues in the Old Rapides Cemetery. Fist raised in the air, this concrete angel seems to lord over the cemetery, reminding mourners of the God above. The fog rolling off the adjacent Red River on this rather warm October morning make for an almost eerie photo in the dim morning light.

This fence is found in Saint Francisville. It is leaning with age, flanked by tall grasses and sandwiched between other fences of the same. I chose black and white to emphasize the cool shade I felt from the oak trees and spanish moss as well as the solitude of the souls past. I added grain to fit the mood it portrayed.

This fence is in Pineville. It surrounds a cemetery across from the Old Rapides Cemetery. I was drawn to it because of the occasional rusty picket. An oddity to me. It isn't that old. I wonder why only a few rusted? Good depth of field makes this photograph work. Color, of course, is the only way to go here.

The gorgeous oak trees heavy with spanish moss accentuate the beauty of the aging headstones found here. Grace Episcopal cemetery in Saint Francisville is a beautiful stop just off the mighty Mississippi River. Peace and tranquility will surly forever grace this place. I captured this image in the mid morning light. I softened the image a bit to emphasize the beauty of the moment and used black and white as a nod to the age and lasting richness and overall beauty of the image.

This tomb is one of the oldest at Saint Francisville I think. Truth is I don't know it's history only what you see here. It is down a small path leading to the woods. It appears to be empty, simply a shell over a empty hole cut deep into the cool soil. Regardless, it is a standing testament of the age and beauty here. Even the trees seem to turn away out of respect.

Unmistakable New Orleans, this photograph was made in Saint Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans. This was taken before Katrina swallowed the graves in Mississippi mud and toxic waters. This cemetery dates back to the 1700s and houses above ground vaults containing entire families. Here the markers are gone, along with the families, leaving the beautiful remains for the faithful and artist alike. Here, I captured the layers and textures of the years. Each vault in repetition, yet unique, and is a reflection of New Orleans and it's rich heritage.

This simple cross etched, intentionally or unintentionally, into the concrete of this vault is witness to the faith of the Cajun Catholics of New orleans. The simple elegance of the cross is in contrast to the angry snarl of the concrete. Perhaps a poor man's homage to God.

One oddity of New Orleans is the St Roch Cemetery. I drove to New Orleans a few years after Katrina and sought out this cemetery because of the Shrine to Saint Roch. I have a photograph of my Mother, her siblings and my Grandmother at this cemetery. Surrounding the graves are larger than life monuments of the Stations of the Cross and tucked away is a small room next to a chapel is a shrine to Saint Roch. The grateful people of New Orleans built the shrine in thanksgiving to the Saint for his intercession on behalf of the the victims of yellow fever. Here you can see the watermarks, most obvious on the center hart, showing the flood waters from Katrina and the resilience of the locals. The fading afternoon light from the heavily barred window on the right highlights this odd collection of plaster body parts and medical artifacts hanging on the wall.

This photograph was made at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg, Mississippi. This cemetery of rolling hills is the final resting place of many of my relatives. The concrete feet of these children seem to effortlessly emerge from the white stone. The monument reflects the wealth of mourners and the sadness of their loss. Its elegance is in contrast to the simple white crosses of the Confederate solders just up the hill and those of the Convent Sisters in the valley below. The fading light seems to make the white marble almost glow. It is one of my favorite statues I have photographed.

This cross at sunset is behind St. Charles Borromeo Church in Grand Coteau, LA. I was driving home from Lafayette trying to beat the fading light. It was very cold and I was tired but it was worth the discomfort. It was a beautiful sunset in a beautiful peaceful place. I was energized for the ride home.

This Black and White photograph was made in 2004. I always liked it because of the repetition of the crosses. All are different yet all represent the same cross. I made this photograph in the Cane River country of Natchitoches Parish just north of my hometown. St. Augustine Catholic Church is on the banks of the Cane River and the small graveyard behind is the final resting place of the famous folk artist, Clementine Hunter. I believe the drive on the back roads of Cane River is one of the most beautiful in Louisiana.

This beautiful fence is in the Old Rapides Cemetery. The iron work shows blues, maroons and greens. At other times of the day it just looks black.

This is the intricate detail of one of the gates at the Old Rapides Cemetery. The rich colors of the rust and moss illuminate beautifully in the evening light. Several of these iron pieces have a stamp of New Orleans as to where they were made. I imagine they sailed up the Red River and were carried in horse drawn wagons to their final resting place. I used my Lensbaby lens.

Occasionally a head stone will draw my attention. Little is said on a headstone but much can be implied. Here, perhaps 2 sisters, one 12 and the other but 6, died on the same day in 1845. Accident? Illness? I guess I will never know. Two graves, one headstone attest to their love and the loss of the family. This was taken in the evening light behind St. Charles Borromeo Church in Grand Coteau, LA. As with many old cemeteries, the marker is broken and leaning against another grave.

This fence at the side gate of the Old Rapides Cemetery always amazes me. Every time I pass by it the colors seem to change. Simple yet most beautiful to me.

This is another Lensbaby photograph. Using extension rings, I was able to get un close to the remains of a vine intertwined around one of the iron pickets of the fence. I really liked the effect of the soft focus. This was taken in the Old Rapides Cemetery but it perhaps could have ben taken anywhere. It shows how nature and the ironwork have married together over the years.

I find other unrelated things in Cemeteries to photograph. On a day trip down south I came across this strip of photographs on the ground under a tree near the entrance to a Catholic cemetery. Sweet Allison lost her colored photographs but I found them in this black & white photograph. I didn't find anything else worth photographing there. If I walk away with one photograph, the shoot is a success. This was that one shot.

On a very cold February morning I was walking through the Greenwood Memorial cemetery in Pineville, with my new Lensbaby lens, when I came across this dog. I photographed him before I realized he wasn't sleeping but had frozen to death. I wish I could say something romantic, like he at long last found his master's grave and in exhausting laid down to die but no, he was just on the frozen grass between the graves. Lost and overcome with the cold, I suppose. I almost didn't include this photographs on my site that day but decide to do so thinking his death wouldn't be in vain if I did. No one ever seemed to notice he was dead and that made me wonder if anyone actually looked at my photographs for surly someone would have commented on it. A thought to me as sad as this photograph. "…Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"

O'Keeffe Inspired...

In college I was introduced to Georgia O'Keeffe in my Art History class. She fit somewhere in the middle, somewheres between Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and Mondrian's primary color abstract paintings. I liked that. Just enough realism to identify the subject but with enough abstraction to show the artist's soul. In my Junior year at Tech our class went to Cleveland and the Cleveland Museum of Modern Art. There I saw an original Georgia O'Keeffe. I was in awe.

I have since read many books about her. They all seem to contradict one another in regards to her personal life. She was very private which makes me wonder if any of them are accurate. Georgia was blessed to have Alfted Stieglitz as a spouse. He understood her artistic gift and insisted she focus all her energies on her art. Other female artists of that time were not so lucky. They were expected to do the chores of all the other wives of the time like cooking and cleaning in addition to their art. Her relationship with Stieglitz was scandalous in the early 1900s but their relationship served her art well. Not only was she able to devote most of her time to painting, she had a ready gallery to show her work. She also was surrounded by some of the most talented artists that exhibited in Stieglitz's 291 gallery. Her flower paintings were inspired by Stieglitz's photography, most notably the photographs he took of her. He used an enlarger to focus in on one area of a photograph he took of her, thus to create another image almost abstract in nature. She in turn applied this method to her flower paintings.

Georgia O'Keeffe once said, "When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not." She was referencing the grand size of her paintings. Sadly, today most haven't seen a real O'Keeffe, only small reproductions but the scale is still there. Many reference the sexual aspect in her flowers something she denied, saying that any sexual interpretation said more about the viewer's mind than her's, because she was simply painting flowers. That too is controversial since her lifestyle reflected otherwise. At any rate, I fell in love with her eye's ability to see deep into the depths of a flower, its very soul. That was something I wanted to duplicate in photography. To bring it full circle. Back to photography. Back to Stieglitz.

Initially I found this impossible. I loved shooting flowers but I just wasn't getting the results I wanted. I just simply couldn't get close enough to the flowers as necessary. I didn't have the right equipment. I purchased a macro lens but still, I wasn't close enough. It took extension rings to accomplish that task for me. I feel I was finally able to capture the realistic, yet abstract quality of the flowers that O'Keeffe saw and painting so beautifully. I am in no way comparing my photography to her incredible paintings. No one can do that. I am simply stating that I have reach point where I am happy with my results. With or without the extension rings I feel I am able to let the viewer see a flower in a way they have never seen it before. I think if the viewer takes the time to look, really look, at my flora photographs they can be enveloped in the image, although small in size, they are grand in scale and often take on an abstract feel that I was going for.

It was a hot September day. There was a field of yellow daises just up the road from my office. On my lunch break, I headed that way. I parked, got out of the car, walked into the field and dropped to my knees to make this photograph. I was simply enveloped in yellow. I wanted the viewer to experience what I experienced. I wanted the viewer to also be enveloped in yellow. I wasn't going for a sharp image of a flower here, instead the essence, the spirt, the soul of that field of daisies.

Often times I find the underside of the flower even more intriguing as the top. This was the case here. Using a macro lens and extension rings, I was able to capture the very fine hairs on the base of the flower. This is a detail you can't see with the naked eye. I find it stunning that a flower is so intricate and was in total awe the fist time I made this discovery. Only God could create such beauty. I love the texture here. I love that even though you may have never see a flower from this angle with this much detail, there is no doubt that it is a flower. I made this photograph at the Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden located in the Kisatchie National Forest just off highway 167 in Bentley, LA.

This is a very tiny purple wildflower. It is about the size of my little finger. I placed the flower on a petal of another to create the wonderful background color you see. It was but a bud, never to fully bloom as I picked it in the name of art. I hope it was honored to make the sacrifice. I photographed this with my macro lens and two extension rings. I picked the flower because of the wind. Macro and super macro photography has many challenges. The wind, ones breath and very heartbeat can result in a blurred photograph. The texture here is amazing and the contrasting colors make for a beautiful image. I found this flower and captured this image in the Old Rapides Cemetery in Pinville, LA.

This flower was included in a bouquet that was given to me. I don't know what kind of flower it is. A daisy of some sort, perhaps. I love photographing flowers but their names often elude me. I used my Lensbaby and extension rings to capture the beautiful soft texture of the petals. The rich pink softly fades to the yellow center. The cut flowers lasted a few days in the old coffee pot I use as a vase but the photograph I made lives on.

This daylilly was in my backyard. There was no wind that day os I didn't pick the flower rather photographed it in place. It was hot as blazes. My goal here was to capture the details of the stamen against an almost abstract petal. This photograph takes on a dreamy quality like the field of yellow daises above. I again wanted to envelope you in the essence of the flower while letting the viewer see macro details they probably hadn't seen before.

This was another daylilly but that doesn't really matter. I wanted you to see the color not the detail. I wanted you to see God's pallet, His paintbrush in action. The warms and cools blend in harmony. Detail would only detract from the beauty of this image.

I love shooting early in the mornings. God's tears or dew drops glisten over the foliage. These small kisses of moisture rest like diamonds over this petal. The contrasting colors of the flower and the background make for a pleasing macro.

I group all plants into my O'keeffe Inspired series. I see beauty not only in the colorful flowers but also in the greenery. These palm branches kissed with dew drops caught my eye early one Saturday morning in the Kisatchie National Forest. The rich greens were laid down like a carpet on the earth.

It was suggested to me to use a spray bottle to duplicate the morning dew when none was provided. I experimented with this technique here. The effect isn't the same but I do like this photograph. This is a super macro of a red rose with various sized drops of water on a petal. I photographed this indoors. I have never been very successful in photographing red so I was pleased that I was able to capture the red correctly.

I grew up with pine trees but very tall pines. The only time I saw the needles up close were the dying ones that fell from the trees so it is always a treat to find young pines on a level I can photograph. These needles were heavy with dew. I used my Lensbaby to try and capture the moisture and weight as well as the gray morning it was. I think I was successful.

I made this photograph in the Kisatchie National Forest in December 2009. We had a rare Louisiana snow that morning and when I woke I knew exactly where I was going. My destination was miles away so I dressed quickly and jumped in my car. The roads were clear and I was able to make it to my destination in good time. This is one of my favorite images. The red makes the photograph. Without it, the ice and snow covered pine needles wouldn't pop. Some red leaves, a late Autumn turn, are responsible for the color. The pine was heavy with the light snow and frost but that would quickly melt away for the very second the temperature rose above freezing all was gone. Just that quick. It didn't seem possible since my fingers were still frozen but the pine, free of the weight of the ice, snapped back into place reaching up to the sky to warm itself in the morning sunlight. My own private winter wonderland was gone. But not gone forever as I have this image to share.

This is another image I made that December morning. The grasses cold with snow are contrasted by the warm grasses in the background. This was a result of the foreground still being in shadow while the background was already in sun. My shoot was almost over by this point. My lungs hurt with the cold and my fingers ware frozen stiff but I was O' so blessed to see this wonderful site.

Soft, silky, like fresh cream. That is how I see this photograph. Large Hibiscus grow at the Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden. Here the petals began to open ever so slightly on this flower to show a touch of color at the center. I think of O'Keeffe's paintings here. I found it interesting to read that during the cold New York winters she would use artificial flowers for her subject. Who knew?

I would bet that if you saw this little flower swaying in the wind all you would see was white petals with a solid yellow center. I know this because that is all I ever saw. It took a super macro for me to see the hundreds of tiny hexagon sapped carpels, rich with pollan, that actually compose the center. Here the center is sharp and in focus while the petals seem to be flowing in the breeze.

This is another tiny wildflower. I photographed it against the background of another flower. Here too you have an illusion of the petals blowing in the breeze. The whites fade to purple and then pink, melting into the background. This tiny flower demands much attention when seen at this scale. I love shooting super macros even though it is so challenging. Often the results in processing are disappointing and don't make my cut. This one not only made the cut but tops the list.

I end with the underside of a red flower. The red photographed surprisingly well. What I most love here is the soft texture of the green. Reminds me of felt or other soft fabric,

I hope I have opened up a new world for you. I hope you will never see a flower the same. I hope you enjoyed my O'Keeffe inspired flora.

Artificial Models (October 2009 - Missing Souls)

In June of 2009 I found an old doll at a yard sale. The doll was cracked with age. It had been loved more than a doll has the right to be loved. I knew this was my new model. On the same morning, Just down the road, I found another artificial model, I named Camilla. To this day I am not exactly sure what Camilla is. She isn't a doll but simply a small head on a stand. My best guess was she was used by a doll wigmaker but I really don't know. I saw them both as a learning opportunity.

Hands on has always been my best learning tool. How-to books have given me the basics but most of my education has come from the hours I have spent behind the camera and from studying the masters. As with any art until you get your hands dirty you are not an artist at all. Just an observer. I wanted to get serious. I wanted to explore light and shadow. I wanted to play with motion, color, texture and layers. I wanted to take it to the next level.

It was summer, it was hot. The flowers were dying and the iron fences seemed to melt under the heat. I was depressed. At this point I had come to realize I would never be a great, or even a good Art Photographer. I had accepted that I would never go back to Tech. I would never have a show, even though I still dreamed about it sometimes. My camera was getting rusty with age and just couldn't compete with the shiny expensive new models that temptingly fill my inbox everyday. My software was beyond outdated. But what I saw as my biggest obstacle was the realty that just about everyone owned a camera. Photographic images; good, bad or otherwise; had saturated the market. Was there even such a thing as "Art Photography" anymore? Most photography was "Stock Photography" or images that could be download for next to nothing or even free. Worst yet, most photographs were passing uploads to social media via a cellphone. The photos were posted and reposted hundreds of times without regards to the photographer. The artist wasn't associated with the image anymore. The days of Stieglitz, Strand and Adams were gone. Welty's photographs would be simply uploads to Facebook, today. The FSA would never re-materialize no matter how bad the economy was to get. There was no need. To compete or even just to have a duck in the race, you needed to to know someone that knows someone or offer something other than what everyone else was offering. But what? Gimmick processing, like Instagram and HDRs were all the rage. They look like hours of work but actually take only moments to create with the correct software. That worked for a bit but ceased to be unique and exciting once the market became saturated.

As depressing as this all was, I still wanted to shoot.

So, I decided to go back to the basics. Using the equipment I had, I decided use my camera the same way a painter uses a brush. After all the camera was simply a tool that I used to create an image. Surly it I could coax more than snapshots out of it. It was time let the artist out of the bag and get creative with that tool.

I had been looking for a new subject, something that I could explore from every angle. My garage sale finds were the answer. I would shoot for myself and as bizarre as photographing dolls probably seemed to most, I didn't let that effect me. I accomplished what I set out to achieve. I had put my camera thru it's paces and had learned what it was capable of doing.

I never gave this baby a name. She worked as a subject but Camilla stole more of my attention. Here I simply wanted a crisp Black and White that showed the actual doll. She has wonderful crazing and lots of character that I wanted to show. I used natural light from the left, fading the image to dark on the right.

I played with adjusting the zoom as soon as the shutter was pressed. The result, seen here, is a much softer image, almost life like. The position of the doll and his gaze make me think of a baby, fresh out of its bath, looking up into his mothers eyes. This could possibly be duplicated using a Lensbaby lens but I didn't own that lens at the time and was excited to discover this technique.

Camilla...The name came after a few days of shooting. It intrigued me how this model, static in form, took on a different personality in every photograph not unlike Donna Tartt's, Camilla, in the Secret History. No, they look nothing alike. Far from it I suspect. I really couldn't form an image of Camilla in my mind even after several readings of the book. It's the personality. Camilla had many faces. She was a school girl, a gifted linguistic, a friend, a lover even a cold blooded killer yet still was one… Camilla. So Camilla my, strange head on a pole, became.

Bach's Partitas, to me, are the purist form of music. My love of Classical music came in grade school when I played the violin. My violin is long since gone. I wasn't very good, horrible actually, but my love for the music is lasting. Every time I see this photograph I think of Bach. I see this as my Bach of Camilla. Simple and pure. I made this photograph at night with a single light shining on the subject.

I again played with light here. I wanted a black and white silhouette. No detail just the outline of the image, lit from behind. I made this photograph in my living room. The sun is filtering through the blinds behind.

I was experimenting with other objects and diffused light in this photograph. I placed Camilla between pages of an old book. The result was diffused light highlighting the back of her head. A single source of light came from the left is reflected in the white pages of the book. She has a far off dreamy gaze. Solid and confident.

I experimented with panning the camera, right to left, when I pressed the shutter. Camilla is lit from the right with natural light. I placed her behind an old window screen. It softens her a bit. The obvious blur makes her not as solid or confident, more vulnerable.

I chose to simply shake the camera as I pressed the shutter to make this photograph. The image is lit from behind. Result is a combination of a sharp and a softer image. It looks as if Camilla has just rested her head back in contemplation.

In the years since I found the two models, the body of the baby all but crumbled in the Louisiana heat and humidity. I was able to salvage her head and use it in an art project so, she lives on. Camilla has a place of honor on my bookshelf. I still call her into service and she continues to be a source of my photography.

Missing Souls

On Fall Break during my Freshman year of college, I watched a documentary on PBS about the Holocaust. I was stunned silent. I don't know if I wasn't taught this in my high school history class or if I slept through the lesson but, sadly, this was news to me. I was horrified that such an event took place. I was most effected by the female guards shown, plump in size, overseeing the starving women and the mountain of eye glasses at one of the concentration camps. Both were powerful visual statements. Women during WWII were not obese and not everyone wore glasses.

Following this, I began to educate myself about the Holocaust. I read books and watched other documentaries and movies on the subject. I began to believe the suffering endured by the victims of Hitler's wrath was greater that that of even, Christ passion on the Cross. A sacrilegious statement to make, I am sure, but something I felt strongly about. I believe the Bible when Jesus says, "what you do unto your brother is done unto me". I believe Jesus suffered and died with each and ever person murdered in the camps. This number reached into the millions.

In 1990 I worked for the US Government Census Bureau. On one of my last home calls I saw satin in the eyes of a man that proudly displayed a swastika flag behind his couch. I simply walked away. For such evil there are no words. I hope I never again have to see the red, white and black flag. It effected me in a way I just can't describe.

2009 was the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII. That year I read, "Anne Frank Remembered" by Miep Gies, "The Girls of Room 28: Friendship, Hope, and Survival in Theresienstadt" by Hannelore Brenner and "The Hiding Plac"e by Corrie ten Boom. All three books influenced me. I was reminded that regardless of the horrors of the Holocaust, Anne Frank's statement, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." rings true. Anne went on to say, "I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.” Miep, Corrie and all the Girls of Room 28 reflect that.

It was that October of 2009 that I was looking for my next photography project. During my lunch break on a cold and wet day, I wondered into the local Goodwill. Shortly after entering the store I found some loose china doll heads. They were white with black hair. They were mine. About that same time one of the workers came out of the stock room with a large plastic bag full of doll parts; arms, legs, shoulder plates, and heads. These were of lesser quality, but no mind. Those too now belonged to me. My arms were already full so the worker offered to carry them to the register for me. She ask if I made dolls. When I answered, no, she pressed me harder to find out what I was going to do with so many doll parts. I said. I wasn't sure. but deep down I knew this very heavy bag contained my next, "Artificial Models".

I returned to the office, doll parts stashed away in my car, excited about my find. I could hardly wait till 5 when I could head home and really explore the contents of the bag. I managed to carry it in the house, without the bag splitting, and placed it on my dining room table. I grabbed a kitchen knife and cut the plastic open. I excitedly started pulling heads, arms and legs out of the bag when I stopped abruptly. I was so overwhelmed that I had walk away. I had never felt that way before. With my, "find of the year", stretched out before me this didn't make sense. But, what made me walk away, was an image of a concentration camp that had flashed through my head. This is stupid, I thought. These are doll parts, a child's toy. I drank some water, composed myself and returned to sort through the bag. I didn't think of the camps again until a few days later.

Being Fall, it was dark in the evenings, so it wasn't till the weekend that I pulled out my camera and began to photograph the doll parts. I shot a few and decided to upload them to see where I stood. It was then, as I watch the photos flash by on the screen as the computer transferred them from disk to hard drive, that I was again witness to an image of a concentration camp in my head. I knew then the direction this project was heading. Regardless of what I was hoping the concept of this project to be, I knew that, for me, it would always be Holocaust related. That was most likely due to my reading list that year but I would like to think there was some divine intervention mixed in as well. I chose the name "Missing Souls" in reference to the Natzis that had to be missing a soul. Otherwise, how could they have done this?

For the most part, I didn't get a positive response. Most only saw a "creepy doll" parade. I think just about everyone, by that point, thought I was totally insane and I won't rule that out as a possibility. I didn't expect everyone to get it or to like it. It was, what it was. It took a couple of years me to get the feedback I had been hoping for. A coworker, in tears, came into my office. I ask her what was wrong. She said she had been watching my, "Missing Souls" slideshow on my site. She said it was one of the most touching things she had ever seen. Finally, someone got it. Her tears were real. Just as I believe having only one good photo after a photo shoot makes it a successful shoot, I believe receiving one positive, heartfelt honest response to my art, makes it successful.

This project was emotionally difficult. I didn't choose this project, it chose me. I wasn't there. Reading a few books certainly doesn't qualify me to portray what the Holocaust victims endured. Catholics died in the camps and I too would die before I would deny my Catholic faith but that is insignificant here. These photographs are simply my interpretation of the Holocaust as inspired by literature and film using the objects I had. I continued to explore different techniques, lighting and processing as I had before. In the Theresienstadt Ghetto the adults taught the children the arts as a distraction. An opera was performed by the children nightly. They learned the violin and piano. The children were encouraged to draw and keep a diary. Art is powerful. Art of the Holocaust was there from the beginning so perhaps my images here are not so unusual. Maybe it was meant to be. I think I will never know.

I began this series by simply photographing what I saw. I left the images color. The glue on this dolls face is from someone trying adding the eyes. I imagine the previous owner had discarded her because of her own sloppiness because the doll is very beautiful otherwise. 200,000–300,000 people were put to death because they had disabilities.

In this photograph, I was able to obtain a blue cast from the lighting I used and by adjusting the camera settings. I took this at night. This doll's head didn't have eyes. Her face was dirty. I wanted to portray emptiness. To survive one must have had to simply disappear to themselves or else die from the stress at hand.

Georgia O'Keeffe did paintings of animal bones at Ghost Ranch. They are some of my favorites. At some point she held the bones up and painted what she saw through the openings. That's pretty much what I did here. Some of the doll parts consisted of a head and body in one piece with openings where the legs and arms were to be attached. I made this photograph by shooting through the openings in one of the dolls. What I see reminded me of the haunting image Steven Spielberg depicted in Schindler's List of the small boy hiding in the latrine. I purposely shot it out of focus. I used low light.

At some point I began playing with color. Full color was harsh but black and white wasn't conveying the message I wanted. I began to think of Spielburg's little girl in the red dress. That red in the sea of gray gave identity to one of the millions of children in the camp. I played with post processing in my digital darkroom and settled on a soft pink. At this point I also began to mix vintage photographs with my doll parts to show what I saw as a before and after. The photograph of the little girl appears to be a school photo or one from a photo booth. It reminded me of Anna Frank's photo she included in her diary. This was taken at night with artificial light.

I photographed not only the doll heads but the arms and hands as well. I again used vintage photography. Here four hands are reaching out to their past, a fading memory. The harsh light is the sun through my living room window. I made this photograph on a Sunday morning.

I shot this image through a window screen. I used artificial light at night. I saw bodies falling into unmarked graves. Many prisoners ware simply lined up in front of large pits and shot from behind. Dirt covered the pit where the prisoners fell.

Imprisoned innocence, hopefulness.

I found these tiny railroad figures at a junk shop. I shot this photograph through a rusted out enamelware pan. I saw Jews in hiding. Here they have been discovered. Their fate… the cattle cars, torture and death.

I used the tiny railroad figures again here. The one the left as a happy well dressed school girl before the war. The one on the right is the same girl at the camp. Her clothes are gone. Her head has been shaved. She is starving. The roving search lights keep her imprisoned.

In 2011 I decided to revisit my "Missing Souls". Perhaps out of boredom but mainly I had been playing with overlaying textures on my photographs and wanted to see what the results would be. In this photograph in incorporated some flower petals for a color contrast. The soft pink in the doll's lips and cheeks are reminiscent of early photographs.

I was going for a more realistic image here. I was pleased with the results. A hopeful child looking towards the heavens.

I focused on the scribbled ink on the base of the child's head here. Obviously referencing the tattooed numbers inked on every person processed through the camps.

Simply reaching. Morning light. Overlaid texture.

And, I end with a child pressed against her mother. Sheltered and protected.

In conclusion… In 2010 I entered the annual B&W portfolio contest sponsored by B&W magazine. Some of my Missing Souls images were chosen for publication in the magazine. It was necessary to convert the images to black and white for the contest.
Here you will see my entries to the contest. I also submitted some for my "Where Have All The Children Gone" series but they were not published in the magazine. I personally felt the images of Carr High School were stronger but I was humbled to have been chosen as a Merit Award winner.

Random Photographs & Their Stories

These are photographs that I like. Random in nature. Some good perhaps but most just average or below. I always thought art should stand on its own till when listening to a podcast, sorry I don't remember which one, a photographer made the following point. He said the title for Dorothea Lang's Migrant Worker was essential. Without a title the photograph could be anything. It could be a mother seeing her son off to war for example. Wow, he is right. So, I was thus inspired to add words to these photographs.

This alligator was sunning himself just off the I49 interstate in November 2004. I was driving on the service road a few miles out of town. Intrigued by the vibrant green and reflections of the trees in the bayou I stopped to shoot. Amazingly, I didn't see the gator till I had taken a few shots. I was thankful that I saw him before he saw me. A couple in a rusted out truck passed by. The women in the passenger seat called to me and warned of gators. I said, "yes, I see. There is one right here." She said, "O' child, that's just a baby". I walked the length of the bayou but didn't see any more. I went back several time but still this was my only sighting. This photograph was made with my Coolpix on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The story is better than the photograph, in my opinion.

I made this photograph in November of 2006. It was a very cold morning. I stopped, on my way to work, at the cemetery in Pineville to check on the flowers of my parents graves. There is a small bayou dividing the cemetery that the geese call home. I had my camera and risking arriving at work late, I stopped for a moment to capture the view. The sun was just peaking over the pines and a mist was rising off the cold water. Single file, the geese floated by passing under a tree with a few autumn leaves still clinging to its branches. What a treat. I uploaded the image to my page and received 64 ratings and 29 comments. To this day that is a record for me. I haven't even come close to breaking it.

I made this photograph in 2006. I confess, I didn't see the church until I was processing it a home that night. I was walking through a St. Landry Catholic Cemetery in Opelousas. There were some yellow flowers growing between the tattered headstones, rusty iron crosses and chipped statues. I switched to my macro lens. It was then that I saw the fly and was able to make one photograph before he flew away. Back home that night, after I had uploaded the files, I saw the reflection of the church on the fly's back. The church you see is St. Landry Catholic Church located across the street from its cemetery. It isn't a very good photo, just unique.

The horse just lifted his muzzle after taking a drink on this hot September day in 2005. I had wondered out the back door of the office into the horse pasture behind the office. It was one of those days that is so beautiful it is hard to focus on your job. All I had was my trusty Coolpix but I liked the resulting image. I miss the horses. They have since moved on.

I like shooting street photography. I made this photograph in 2006 in Shreveport Louisiana. I visited the city for a few days in March. I don't know this man. I just passed him on a bench. I walked across the street and using my telephoto lens captured this image. I am horrible at photographing people but I kind of like this guy. Recently I discovered Vivian Maier. Vivian's work was discovered upon her death, when hundreds of boxes of undeveloped film was discovered in her residence. The beauty of her work can be in part attributed to the box cameras she used. The camera hung around her neck and she looked down to make the photograph rather than held the camera to her eye. This made for a better view point and gave her a cloak of invisibility as no one realized she was making photographs. That isn't possible with a big bulky digital camera that you must hold to your eye.

In 2007, also in Shreveport, I came across this parking meter cover. I liked the shape and the colors. A fun image.

I made this photograph recently. I was off for July 4th and got up early to shoot Downtown Alexandria. The golds and oranges of the morning sun cast a warm light on this rusty beige railing that runs along side of the loading docks of the old Bently Hotel.

In February of 2006 I flew to Utah. I had never seen mountains, let along snow covered mountains. I was awe struck by the beauty. I drove a rental car from Salt Lake City to Provo and couldn't tell you how I got there. My eyes were glued on the majestic mountains the whole way. It was a working trip but on the day before I departed I was able to slip away to take a few photographs. I was enveloped by the silence and crisp cold of the morning. The sun was just topping the mountains. It was beautiful. I could have stayed in this spot forever. The following day I woke early in an effort to beat the approaching snow storm. I wasn't so lucky. I gripped the steering wheel tightly on the interstate back to the airport which was an hour away. This was my first time driving in falling snow and I was scared to death. The flight was delayed as the workers deiced the planes before takeoff but eventually I arrived back in Louisiana where it was warm, bordering on hot.

Driving down the back roads along Cane River in 2007, I found this old truck in an overgrown shed. It was a weekday and no one around so I did a bit of snooping. I did some fun processing to the photograph. I converted it to black and white and then I overlaid a copy of the image, blurred on top of the sharp image to achieve this result.

In 2008 I spotted this Muscovy Duck along the bayou at the cemetery in Pineville. Most would say he was ugly but personally I think he's pretty cool. I liked red offset against the browns.

I photographed this Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly sitting on purple butterfly bush at the Catahoula Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden located in the Kisatchie National Forest. It is hard to catch one still long enough to photograph. Nothing too exciting. I just like the photograph.

I made this photograph in 2004. It isn't a good photograph but it reminds me of my Mom. It was taken in St. Martinville. My earliest memory of my Mom is of her rocking me in the hospital. I don't know when that was or how old I was but it is a good memory.

This is a statue of Evangeline outside the St Martin Catholic Church in St Martinville, LA. It was July 2004 and that was an "escape" day for me. I hit the interstate with no idea of where I was going. I woke up sick but I wasn't going let that keep me grounded. A few miles down the road I decided to go find this statue. The last time I had seen it was when my 6th grade class took a school trip down south. I stopped in Lafayette for medicine and directions to the statue. By the time I actually reached the statue I felt horrible. I wanted to enter the church but it was under construction. They were having Adoration in a small chapel around back. After exiting the tiny room, I photographed the statue. Before leaving, a women walked up to me and handed me 3 brass nails. She said they were the original nails from the church when it was constructed in the 1700s. She said I looked like a tourist and she thought I might like to have them. I guess the camera tipped her off. She was gone as quickly as she came. Looking at the three nails, I couldn't help but think of the Crucifixion. I was hot with fever when I arrived back home but I was grateful for the day trip. This photograph is just a memory of the day.

In 2007 I experimented with photographing water. This was new to me. Not too hard but still a challenge. This was runoff from the Cane River. Far from exciting but there are not many places to photograph water around here. There was further runoff across the street, water running over rocks, but I wasn't as successful in my endeavors. In fact, I left there covered in mud running from a cow. Yes, that was a long story short. Someday I hope to find a beautiful waterfall to photograph. But for now, I look at this photo as an accomplishment.

It takes special weather conditions for these beautiful works of art to appear. They seem to just appear as I never see the spiders that create these masterpieces but without a doubt credit goes to the spiders. I called this series God's tears. I captured this photograph in the Old Rapides Cemetery in 2012. The spiderwebs were draped between the old iron fences. By the next morning they were all gone but live on in my photographs.

I enjoy photographing in the Zoo but the trick is to make the bars & cages disappear. Hard to do sometimes. This peacock was roosting in a tree just off the walking path. The afternoon light backlit the bird so I was able to get a silhouette of him. I always think of Flanner O'Conner when I see a peacock.

This was a beautiful sunset on Buhlow lake in 2007. The golden sun was reflecting in the water, rippled by a slight breeze. I took others that evening but this was my favorite. I will be glad when the construction is done in the area so I can stop on my way home as I use to.

I made this photograph at my house in 2011. The wisteria was beautiful that spring. I made this photograph on my front porch in the evening when sun was lowering in the west.

This little house was on the Highway 1 in 2007. If I were to guess, I would say it has since met its demise. I stopped to photograph every time I went to St. Francisville. Even though it is very small, I call it a house, since it had a heat source. A chimney protruded from the rusty tin roof. There was a house set back to the left and freshly plowed fields to the right. Had it been mine, I would have done everything to save it. I saw it as Charlie Browns Christmas tree… Not a bad little house after all.

In 2010 I went to a yard sale past Kincade Lake. The yard sale promised Christmas Decor. Since I am a collector of Retro Christmas, I took a chance and drove the distance. The sale was pretty much a dud but I was treated to a beautiful sunrise off the lake on my returning trip home. The next morning, camera in tow, I returned to photograph. I was horribly cold but worth every moment that I stood by the lake. The rising mist in the morning light made for some beautiful photographs. This was one of my favorites. Geese effortlessly glided over the lake. They seemed oblivious to the cold. This one also was oblivious to his attacker from behind and was caught off guard causing a spray of golden water to rise into the air, just as I clicked the shutter. I have since returned to the lake but it will never be as beautiful as that first morning I discovered it.

This was an interesting experiment. I was photographing some small Cracker Jack dolls with my macro lens and extension rings. The light from behind was the sun from my living room windows. I tweaked the colors a bit in processing but otherwise, I left as photographed. I see a couple on stage dancing for the audience.

This was another snow photograph I made in the Kisatchie National Forest in December 2009. I like the colors here. The purples and blues reflect the cold and the pale morning light, just topping the pines, indicate the warm sun that will soon melt the rare and precious snow.

I made this "Ruin" photograph on a journey through the Cane River Country in 2007. It was a very hot day, even hotter inside this building, but I couldn't resist stopping at this abandoned school just off the highway. I still don't know the name or history of the school. This was taken in what appeared to be a gym locker room. The light from above was a result of a damaged roof. The mold was strong. I liked the effects of the elements on the walls. Black and White worked well.

This is Hariet. I picked her up in my travels. She was truly, having a bad hair day. I photographed her her in an old Cigar box. I liked the colors. The red in her hair is mimicked in the box as is the blue of her eyes.

There is nothing artistically good about this photograph. I was attracted to the blue window. I didn't have much time to take the shot as I got yelled at as soon as I clicked the shutter for my first photograph. A man in Cloutierville took offense in me photographing this building, an old store, that was across from his home. So, I settled with this one shot and got in my car and drove away. I could have stayed, but my luck the police would have sided with the local, so I moved on. I still wonder why the glass was blue.

I made this photograph as soon as I woke in 2007. From my bed I could see the morning sun, that was pouring through my kitchen windows shining on this chair in my dining room. I grabbed my camera before the moment was lost. A study in light, a simple black and white.

I made this photograph in Shreveport in 2007. This VW bus was parked just outside the library downtown. It was rusty and scuffed up a bit but had lots of character and made for an interesting photograph.

The reflection of the building and trees on this blank wall caught my eye. The touch of red on the left, repeated in the red post add interest as does the bit of visible blue sky. I used my Lensbaby on this cool, quiet Sunday morning to make this image not far from my home. The reflection of the building looks like the roof line of a house or barn. In reality the building was lacking a roof thus the reflection seen here.

I found these old books at an Estate sale. Most are over 100 years old. The glasses, probably about the same age, are a very strong prescription. I picked them up at the Antique Fair in Washington, Louisiana. I was playing with photographing stills in natural light in my living room in 2012. I liked the results here.

This dragonfly was an excellent model. I fond him in the Kisatchie National Forest in 2007. He kindly stood in place for me to make this photograph. I like the photograph but regret that I clipped doff his bottom wings.

This Crucifix and single nail were hanging at on a wall inside the Shrine to Saint Roch in New Orleans in 2010. Water damage from Katrina can be seen. Something about that single nail caught my eye. I am still not sure what intrigues me about it but since it appears to be barely hanging on and this after a flood is pretty amazing. A story is there, I just don't know what it is.

I carefully waded through a good bit of mud to capture this. This was another cold morning on Kincade Lake. This egret was enjoying the solitude of the morning. He had one eye on me and flew away shortly after I clicked the shutter.

This was another experiment with photographing water. I made this photograph in 2009 on the Buhlow lake. The lake is one of the fastest in the United States and is a magnet for boat races. The trick here is to pan the camera at the speed of the boat. Difficult to do, but I did successfully make a couple of photographs that day. I will be glad once the construction at the lake is done and the boats can return. I fondly remember the sound of the boats in the air as was heard from our home in Pineville when I was little.

Alexandria LA Snow
This was our snow day in 2010. We woke to a light dusting of snow. The kids were beyond excited. I walked the neighborhood with my camera for a few snapshots of the event. It looks like a one legged man walked his dog down Marie Street. I wonder if he did that on purpose. If so, I was gullible.

This is the Elissa located at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston Texas. I made this photograph in 2008 on my last visit there. Nothing special, just a snapshot, but I liked the image. I sat at a nearby restaurant and watched the sunset. The birds on the ropes watched my food. They were looking for an opportunity to swoop down for a bite.

This was a cool morning in 2012. I was at my old spot in the Kisatchie National Forest. To make this image I dropped to ground level. I photographed the soft sunlight passing through the grasses. A bit of color on the leaves adds enough color to make for an interesting photograph.

This is an oldie. Some talented street artist practiced his craft on this brick wall found in an alley, downtown Shreveport. The city has several gorgeous, legal, murals but this one was probably done in the dark of night. Yes, it's illegal and a perfectly good brick wall was ruined but I still thought it was worthy of photographing.

In 2012 they opened the Bentley Hotel to visitors prior to renovations that would close the building for several months. The new owners would sell the cheep motel type furnishings the following week and used this opportunity to pass out flyers advertising their wares. I think everyone walked away very disappointed. Visitors were only allowed in three empty rooms, none of which offered much of a photo opt. But I, along with hundreds of others, stood in the heat with cameras in tow for a chance to see what was on the other side of the big double doors. I had been in the hotel twice before and seeing it stripped of furniture was a big let down. I did make this photo before I left. A young man stood by the side door, chatting with others. He too was wondering why he had stood in line for this. This photograph proved more interesting than the space itself.

I visited Grand Coteau in December 2006. I had spent the day in Lafayette and was returning home. This town is just off the interstate. It was late and I was chasing the dark. I had been here before and wanted to catch the sunset. In cemetery behind St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Chruch there is one section is for Jesuit Priest and is overseen by this beautiful Concrete Crucifix. Jesus is looking pleading to His Father in Heaven. Often the eyes on concrete statues ruin the statue itself but here the eyes are perfect. The setting sun was behind. Before I left, sun pretty much gone now, I slipped into the church. When I exited a shabby old man and his dog were on the steps. We made some small talk and as I headed to my car he said he was going to pray for me. He ordered his dog to go back to his car. The dog climbed into the window of a beat up old wreck. The seats were torn to shreds and the windshield was cracked. The old man was struggled up the stairs back into the church to pray as promised. On the ride home, I prayed for him too.

I found this old doll in an antique shop in Ball. She was one of two. I went back the next week and bought her friend. I felt bad that she was all along. They now live next to my fireplace in my living room. Here I placed her on the windowsill in the Masonic Home for this image. I used my Lensbaby and natural light.

This is myself. I am standing under the airplanes at England Air Park in 2007. It was early morning and the bright sun was rising fast. The grass was freshly mowed. I paused on my way back to the car to make this photograph. Just killing time on a Saturday morning.

I photographed this rose using the star aperture disk and my Lensbaby composer. I gave this rose a light spray of water and made the photograph using natural light. Very gimmicky but I kind of like it anyhow.

In 2009 I shot a series of photographs I called, "Corner of Chester and Elliott". The images were all made from my living room through the blinds. The quality wasn't there but I enjoyed the shoot and I received a good response. It all began with this image. Everyday at around 11. These two people would appear on the corner. The lady will cross over the street to the bus stop when the city bus would arrive. She will ride away on the bus and the man on the bike will peddle away. They seemed an odd mix. He on a bike, she walking. They were different races, genders and ages. Every time I see them I still wonder their relationship. I'm sure they never saw the photo and probably never will, but I do wonder if they and all the ones I photographed, would be offended that I photographed them without their permission. That's the basic rule of street photography something Vivian Maier and others did but I always felt like I was doing something unethical in my hidden camera photographs of Chester & Elliott.

I love the soft feel that the Lensbaby gives to this old iron post in the Old Rapides Cemetery. The reds, purples and yellows work in harmony and make for a nice macro.

This is a nice super macro of pine sprigs found in the Kisatchie National Forest. The fresh growing needles are bursting forth. The contrasting vivid greens are offset by the oranges at the base. I captured this photograph in 2012.

In 2010 on my journey to New Orleans for a day trip, I made this photograph in Cemetery Number 1. It is almost an abstract image of an iron fence surrounding a raised crypt. The sharp point seem to mockingly dare intruders to enter. Most of the fences have locking gates as well.

What you see here are the supports of an old yellow railroad station on display in a park in Opelousas. I played with some soft processing by layering a blurred layer of the same image over the existing image. I also went with black and white to emphasize the age. This photograph dates back to 2006.

I loved the colors here. This was melting snow in the Kisatchie National Forest in 2009. The warm morning light highlights the reds and yellows. Beautiful.

This is my girl. She is hanging out in one of the numerous boxes I have around the house for her convenience. She hates when I pull the camera out or when I sit in front of my Mac and this photograph reflects her silent protest. Unless life involves food, play or a good neck scratch it is pointless to her. Her protest become vocal, not in the form of meows, but in a symphony played on the Venetian Blinds with her paws. That is a horrible sound and always gets my attention. Smart cat.

Red door security. Makes you wonder what they were thinking doesn't it. It looks like someone already tried to jimmy the deadbolt lock so I doubt this piece of wood nailed to the frame would stop any would be crooks. I used my Lensbaby on a walking tour of downtown Alexandria in 2011.

This image was one from my second series of Corner of Chester & Elliott. I shot all image out of focus. I left them color but cropped the images which is something I haven't done in years. In the beginning when I was first introduced to the digital darkroom, I cropped everything but in short time began to compose the image within the viewfinder so it became my canvas if you will. This image was made on a very cold evening in 2011. I had a fire going in my fireplace. The bit of yellow is the setting sun reflective in the white siding of the house on the corner. The dominate cool blues and blacks emphasize the cold. The tree in the foreground is clinging to a last few leaves from the fall. The passing car just crossed at the light on the corner. The old man living in the house passed away.

In the early months of 2011 we had an ice storm. It was a Saturday. Most of the damage was limited to some icing on trees leaving the roads and bridges clear so I was able to make it to my favorite spot in the Kisatchie National Forest. The results of the merge of the rain and cold were stunning. I too was frozen at the end of the shoot.

This horse photograph was made 5 years after the previous similar horse muzzle photograph. It was taken in the side pasture in the noon day sun with my current Nikon. The drops of water are absent here but I think the whiskers are offset nicely against the warm tones of the horses coat.

These roses were a gift from my Landlord. They were still in the wholesale wrapper and rolled up like a newspaper. I unrolled them on my kitchen counter and made this photograph prior to putting them in a vase. After a week I dried them for safe keeping. I used my Lensbaby and the natural light from my kitchen windows to make the image.

This image was taken in front of Tunks Cypress Inn Restaurant on the banks of Kincade Lake in 2010. The pylons are there for the locals that choose to visit the Oyster Bar by boat rather than car. It was a cold morning and the mist was rising off the lake. In the distance you can see the sun starting to appear just beyond the trees.

This statue of Mary can be found at the chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in New Orleans. This church is the oldest church building in New Orleans. It was built in 1826. The Mortuary Chapel, as it was called, was first constructed to hold funerals of Yellow Fever victims. In 1935, a group of parishioners began to pray to St. Jude Thaddeus. Many prayer intentions were answered favorably. Also in 1935, an order of nuns took up residence in one of the surrounding buildings. This statue is between the church and the Nun's quarters in a cool passageway peppered with engraved bricks offering thanks for favors received. If you exit behind the church you can take a short walk to Cemetery Number I that houses many Yellow Fever victims. I made this in 2010 after attending noon day Mass. The statue is lit from behind. The sun was high and hot. The rains soon came only to make it hotter and very sticky.

This little guy was hanging out on a Azalea bush in my yard. He seemed content to be lounging under the cool leaves in March 2006. Lizards enjoy my yard and my cat enjoys them. Sasha is an indoor cat but watches the lizards out the glass back door.

These two angels were sharing a secret. They were resting on graves sitting side by side in the Grand Coteau cemetery. I found them during a stroll behind the church on a cool evening. I was again headed home from a trip down south. I looked for the old man and his dog but they were not to be found.

This is an old one. One of the first I took back in 2002 when I received my Coolpix. I encounter lots of snakes in my travels especially in the forest. I'm not scared of them but have give them upmost respect and quickly move in the opposite direction before ever thinking about making a photograph. This one was sunning himself in the lake surrounding College Park in Pineville. I had ridden my bike, camera in tow. I was on the bank and felt safe pressing the shutter just once before I hopped on my bike and peddled away. A resident of the park, walking by, told me the snakes were prevalent and feasted on the baby ducks that swam in the lake in the spring. A sad thought.

This is a female lion that lives in the Alexandria Zoo. I was successful in making the cage disappear. I made this image on a Sunday morning in April 2006. The zoo is quiet at that time of the day and the animals seem to enjoy the solitude. It was a cool morning and the lion was enjoying the warm sunny spot she found.

This is a small cross that I once gave my Dad. It was sitting on the windowsill of my kitchen. I was playing with a different focus resulting in the image you see here. The cross was being lit from behind by the sun on an afternoon in 2006.

This sad little broken angel is part of a grand grave marker that once towered over this grave. The elements or vandals, I don't know which, shattered the marker but fortunately someone reassembled the pieces. At the time of this photograph the pieces were resting flat on the concrete covering the grave. It was a gray day in 2003 and I was on my first solo visit here. Previous visits had all been for family funerals.

I picked this small wildflower and holding it in front of the orange petals of another flower created this photograph. It was a windy day and macro shooing was almost impossible. Nothing in the photograph is sharp but I still like the image.

There is a small manmade lake at my favorite spot in the Kisatchie National Forest. I made this photograph in 2004 while standing on the small wood planked bridge that crosses it. Once I encountered two snakes on the bridge. I was in the middle and there was one at either end. I chose to quickly exit at the end where the smaller snake had just slithered under. After that event, I no longer cross the bridge.

This old jar was in the Masonic Home. It was in the kitchen area and is seen backlit by light from the windows. I used my Lensbaby for a more artistic effect. I liked the jar. I hope someone confiscated it before the building was gutted. I was tempted to give it a home but it wasn't mine to take.

This is an O'Keeffe inspired macro of a flower. The colors are wonderful, softly blending into one another. This was taken with my Lensbaby and extension rings.

This Silhouette of grasses on Buhlow Lake was made in 2007. The orange sun disappeared soon after I pressed the shutter.

This is a snapshot out my kitchen window in 2009. A swarm of bees was hanging out in the pecan tree. The bees home was in the eaves of the convent next door. My car was near the tree but fortunately they didn't attack me as I came and went. They swarmed on the tree branch for about three days before returning to their convent home. About a year later, a bee man came and removed the bees.

This photograph was my only attempt at creating an HDR. Technically a High-dynamic-range imaging (HDR) is a set of methods used in imaging and photography to capture a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging methods or photographic methods. High-dynamic-range photographs are generally achieved by capturing multiple standard photographs, often using exposure bracketing, and then merging them into an HDR image. It is different and I can say I created one but it lands in my gimmick file.

This is the sun streaming in the Masonic Home one early morning in 2012. The sun added warmth to a rather dank room. I used my Lensbaby.

I photographed this bird searching for seed in the snow in 2010. I was told to show up at the office and did so only to be the only one there. I finished my work and headed to my favorite spot in the woods. An older gentleman, I had met there, some weeks earlier had put the feeder. Of late, the feeder is gone. I think the man must have passed on. He was a diabetic. I think the elements or perhaps vandals destroyed the feeder but the trees are still filled with birds so I think they fend for themselves.

I end my photographs here but don't end my art. As stated earlier I feel like I have almost reached the end of the road in straight photography but I haven't stopped being an artist.