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Watercolor or Photo?

South of Carlsbad, ©2002 Noe


One effect of using a plastic camera is the fuzzy focus. It’s usually not this fuzzy but this was taken using the original 60s Diana, light leak and all. My new Holga creates much sharper images which you will see below. The effect of this plastic lens is a dreamy feel—more emotional and less analytical. It doesn’t represent reality, it interprets reality into my vision of a surreal location. Unfamiliar and a bit frightening and lonely. The darker hues add to the mystery and unease.

Of course you can see the difference in the cactus photo below. Again a plastic lens but a much sharper one. That’s the Holga. This will never be mistaken for a digital image and it’s not meant to be. It’s still a bit dreamy but easier to relate to, because it’s closer to reality than the road pic above. I have a feeling I’ll be giving my digital camera a rest for a while.

Cactus, ©2002 Noe


Arizona Cactus 1, 2002

That’s what I call cacti. I love them. They are creatures from a different place. No other plant life looks like them and no other evokes the same feeling in me of awe at the variety of life on this planet.

So, I’m working on my old prints that I made while traveling cross-country. I’m getting rid of scratches and dust spots on photos from my Holga and Diana cameras (both are plastic cameras with plastic lenses, originally made in the 60s). It’s a bit of a chore but the magic is worth it. I have two different series—one of the cacti and one of the images from my window as I drove. Two of the images from my driving series (made with my Diana) hung in a show curated by the Guggenheim Fellowship. As I work my way through, I’ll pique your interest with the one above.

Plucky Inspired Note Cards

Priced at $25 for 10 cards plus $4.50 shipping, each package will have 5 different images (see below and click for larger image). Because most people voted for a full bleed image, that’s the plan for this run. I will be able to offer these to 10 people. Please email me ( to order or if you’d like to be on a list for the next run. I’ll also be offering photo cards of flowers in a separate post. And Around Charleston eventually. Thank you all for your wonderful support!

Eggplant and Flowers and the Best Popsicles in the World

Bright Eyes, 8″x10″, © 2012 Noe

Yesterday I dragged my gloomy butt down to the Saturday Farmer’s Market when they first opened to avoid the crowds. I packed my macro lens and left the rest in the car so as not to be tempted. My goal was close-up photography of colors. It was so easy I felt like I was cheating. For the most part I used a small aperture so the whole photo was in focus. But on a few, I really wanted to focus on that color and so I opened the aperture and let the rest of the image go out of focus. Project Page

On the way out (shameless plug here), I spent my last $2.50 on one of the best popsicles in the world: Grapefruit Mint from King of Pops—one of the best things the south has produced!

King of Pops * not my photo!

Self-indulgence and Bicycles

Copenhagen Bicycle, undated

Forgive my absence for the past few days. I was busy feeling sorry for myself. It has nothing to do with my photography, rather my never ending search for full time employment. Since 2008 (when I was first laid off), my work history has been a series of hires and lay-offs, separated by long, long periods of uncompensated unemployment. So, the day before yesterday I found that I had not been rehired by a previous employer. They apparently hired someone they could pay less, although at this point I would take less. But I wasn’t given the option.

My mental space yesterday was predictably gloomy. I should have been capturing images of dark places. Instead I did nothing.

It bothers me a lot that there is a whole generation of widowed, divorced or single women in their 50s and 60s who are currently unemployed. That is a lot of experience and intelligence being lost to our society. Besides looking in the mirror and seeing one of them each morning, I’ve met these ladies at farmer’s markets selling crafts, at gyms keeping healthy, in knitting groups keeping their brains quick and online sharing family triumphs and woes. Maybe we’re not destined to return to corporate America. Maybe our influence will be face-to-face, one-on-one—a different kind of validation than the one we expected to achieve. I have to get used to the idea.

Maybe we’ll all get together and ride bikes across America. That would be fun, wouldn’t it? Anyone game?

Commission a Fuzzy Portrait

Sundara, 2011

No, not the four-footed fuzzies. That skein of artwork that’s stuffed in a Tupperware container somewhere. Doesn’t that beauty deserve a spot on the wall next to your son’s summer camp portrait? You bet it does! I’m offering to photograph your stash so that you can actually look at it, even while it’s tucked safely away from the sunlight. Complete details are on a new page: Family Portrait.

The basic info is here:
Family Portrait: commission a photograph of your stash!

Anyone who knits understands what I mean. The rest of you? Well, join a knitting group and you’ll get it. I’m offering commission portraits of your yarn stash. Or just a part of it. You know, that collection of hand-dyed artwork that’s stuffed in a Tupperware tub, bookcase cubbie or closet. Really. Is that any way to treat that beautiful work? Commission a portrait of your yarn! Or more than one. Then you can hang it proudly with the kids’ soccer photos. We get it.

You: mail me the skeins you’d like photographed. In your package include your name, address, phone number & email. Please indicate the finished size you’d like and whether or not you’d prefer a border. Also consider insuring your package. I know those babies are expensive.

I: Return your treasured skeins, insured, with an unframed, unmatted color photograph printed on heavyweight Hahnemuhle 100% cotton rag paper using archival inks.

8″ x 10″ $45 print + $5 shipping
11″ x 17″ $85 print + $7 shipping
16″ x 20″ $125 print + $10 shipping

Prices are higher than normal purchase price because these are commissioned photos. Normal studio rate is $60/hr.

Postcards: 4.13″ x 5.82″ on heavyweight 16pt, sustainably sourced paper stock, with a glossy laminate finish $45/20 + $5 shipping
Note cards: 4.13″ x 5.82″ on heavyweight 16pt, sustainably sourced paper stock, with a light satin finish (unfinished on the inside) $75/25 + $5 shipping

Small Packets of Information

Business cards.
I finally made the financial and business commitment to print up business cards. It means that I’ve committed to a website domain (and bought it and built it), I’ve committed to the name of my business (predictably using my own name) and I’ve committed to making this work. I can’t afford any of it so growth will be incrementally tiny but the passion must be answered. Those who wish a small packet of information may choose from one of 5 images:

My personal favorite? The graffiti fish or squiggle on the green brick wall. I could look at the colors and textures for a long time and not tire of it. Next on the agenda? Postcards and note cards by popular Plucky demand.

Anybody want a teeny sized photo by me?

Yarn Candy

Plucky Pinks, 17×11″, 2012

I know. Another day of yarn? Yes. I’ve got the page up for my Plucky friends who requested prints to purchase. Not all of the yarns are by Sarah, The Plucky Knitter, but they are all beautiful. I’ll add more from other indie dyers as I get the images completed. Consider them portraits of a passion. Project page

Sometimes It Gets Confusing

The Plucky Knitter’s Primo

I have to apologize for the mix-up in posts yesterday. I did some housecleaning and moved all images onto their own project pages with slideshows. In order to do that, I had to create separate posts for the information. As I uploaded each correction, they posted as new. Of course I couldn’t rearrange the order so here they stand.

Anyway, from now on, all should be less confusing.

Yesterday was Knit In Public Day. I opted instead to see the new movie Prometheus but in honor of my knitting, the image above is from a commissioned product shoot for The Plucky Knitter, an indie dyer in Michigan. The colors in yarn custom dyed in small batches by indie dyers are amazing. You don’t find them commercially available and they are so much fun to work with. Often the content is equally special: cashmere, silk, merino and many combinations. I will be posting more images of yarn and knitting. That may seem strange for those who don’t indulge but the rest of us understand.

Down the Rabbit Hole

It All Begins, 10″x8″, McMinnville, 2012

This project is the story of moving from my home in McMinnville, Oregon to my mother’s house in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. This is a very personal body of work and it reflects my emotional state while being uprooted from my peaceful home and transitioned down the rabbit hole into my mother’s 90 year old mentality.

The photographic principles I’ve used are sharpening, higher contrast light with a hard specular edge transfer and the use of black and white, which abstracts my reality, just a bit more. All of these combine to create tension, my near constant emotional state. Project page