Friday, August 24, 2012

The Chair

I've been lax in posting since I returned from my trip to visit family in Alabama.  Photo shoots abounded in July and August, and I spent almost every evening working on those.  People don't realize that photographing is actually a very small part of the whole thing. In another five years or so, I plan to give photography the proper place in my life, and devote myself to it full-time.

Several of you asked about the chair and the suitcase that I used in some of my Alabama work.

The chair belonged to my grandparents.  My mother remembers it as far back as the 1930's, but she thinks it originally belonged to her grandparents.  A simple wooden chair with a hand-woven cane bottom, someone, many years ago, painted it green.  Mother says when she was six or seven years old, she sat in it in the kitchen and shelled peas.  Rain came down on their tin roof, competing with the noise of the peas hitting the big metal pan. My grandmother stood over the stove, frying chicken in a skillet for the family's dinner. They were a poor farming family, and the house had no dining room.  There was a big kitchen, with a cast iron stove, lots of cabinets, a pantry, and a long table made by my great-grandfather.  A bench for the children was on one side of the table, while straight-back chairs were on the other.  Mama said she always wanted a chair, because too many kids had to crowd onto that bench to eat their meals.
The chair's seat has been re-caned many times.  My great-grandmother Lucy would walk out into the woods, looking for white oak saplings.  From those, she would remove the bark and cut it into strips.  The strips were then woven together to make the seat.
Every time I visit my eighty-one-year-old mama, she says, "Take what you want.  I'll be gone soon enough, and y'all will sell evrahthang I own at a garage sale!"  I always tell her not to die, and there's nothing I need to take.  This time, though, I thought about it and said, "I'd like the chair."  "Well," she said, "I can't give you that."
A few days after I returned from my Alabama trip, mama called.  "I've been thinking," she said, "You can have the chair."  She'd discussed it with my uncle, and decided it was okay to let it go.  Now I just have to figure out how to get it back to Dallas.  Stay tuned, and I'll tell you about the suitcase.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Ava turned four years old yesterday.  Her mom found a very cool old bridge over the Sipsey River, located down a quiet country road in rural Alabama.  It was perfect for snapping a few photographs.

Ava's step-brother, Will, offered a reassuring hand, and made the walk over the bridge a little more comfortable for her.  I have to admit that I walked across it a bit nervously myself...

This old chair was a perfect prop to use on the bridge.

The patchwork quilt was handmade many years ago by Ava's great-great-grandmother, Lucy Webster Spann.
After finishing up at the bridge, we stopped by Ava's grandparents' farm for a few family photographs.

The sunflowers were blooming in the garden, and of course merited a quick stop and smell!
I hope these photographs will help Ava to remember this hot summer afternoon, with the scent of honeysuckle and the slightest of breezes blowing through the air.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kelly Rose and Sarah Beth

I had an incredible photo shoot in Winfield earlier this week.  Kelly Rose and Sarah Beth are sisters.  It was Sarah Beth's third birthday, with Kelly Rose turning six shortly.  Their parents are both teachers, living on Okinawa, Japan, but they are originally from Winfield, and happend to be home on vacation while I was there.  Their mama, Paige, is a friend of mine, and we were happy our schedules aligned!  We started out shooting on the side of my grandmother's house, drove down to the railroad tracks (where a train appeared like magic!), and ended up out in the country on the red dirt roads of rural Alabama.

Thanks, girls!  You rocked those country roads!