Sunday, October 27, 2013

Holidays

Next week is Halloween.  Can you believe it?  I sure can't.  Somehow, Halloween has always signaled the beginning of the holiday season for me.  Then Thanksgiving and finally, dare I say it?, CHRISTMAS!!! Nooooooo!!!!!  New Years doesn't count because, well, it's a new year. Anyway - back to Halloween...

When my kids were little, we did the usual Halloween fare, costumes (which I made myself when they were little), candy, pumpkins, black cats, bats, spiders...you get the idea.  While I participated then, I never really had the urge to traipse all over town to the various pumpkin patches taking pictures.  Currently, I make a point of turning out all the lights, locking myself in my bedroom and watching a movie, all in an effort to make sure no one comes to my door because I'm a bad neighbor on Halloween and don't have any candy to give out in the first place.

Well...that's all been relegated to the past as of last week.  This year, suddenly, I had this urge - kind of like wanting massive quantities of chocolate - to drag my camera out to the nearest pumpkin patch and shoot pumpkins!  Good grief!  What the hell is wrong with me?  I'm having serious pumpkin urges!  Am I sick?  And why now when my kids are grown and have been long on their own? No munchkins running around my house - only a dog and two cats - who have no cravings for Halloween candy or pumpkins whatsoever!

My housemate accompanied me (grudgingly, I'm sure) to immerse myself in pumpkins, cornstalks, and various kinds of squash - large and small, smooth and bumpy, round and crook-necked.  There were various farm-type animals in attendance as well and small humans accompanied by the larger variety.  My camera was happy and I had a blast!



My first surprise was a really cute little goat with horns!  Since when do goats have horns?  Maybe I'm sheltered with regard to farm animals, but I was shocked.  And not only that, this little guy was scratching an itch using his horns.  Who knew that was even possible?


Next came the pigs.  Well - I've only ever seen pink pigs and when I was in school and we had to draw pictures of pigs, they were always pink.  Apparently they come in other colors.  In this case, black.  Again, totally uneducated where pigs are concerned.  But the biggest surprise of all was a furry cow!  Now, admittedly this was probably a baby cow, but it's hair was long and fuzzy.  I've never seen anything like it.



There was a corn pit (who knew such a thing even existed?), miniature tractors, stuffed scarecrows and even some that were cute...not scary at all.  There were kids dressing wooden farm-kid statues in overalls, dresses with pinafores and cowboy hats. Windmills that were spinning at a ridiculous speed because the wind in the southwest desert is crazy strong, cornstalks were blowing in the wind, corn ears were bright fall yellow and wagons were full of pumpkins of all varieties, though no red Radio Flyers that I could see - a disappointment for sure.




When I'd had my fill of the pumpkin patch, we walked to the car, tired from the encounter with all that unbridled energy of the young'uns.  On the way, my housemate (a Canadian) informed me that he'd never experienced an American pumpkin patch. Who knew?  I was happy to assist in broadening his cultural experience of America. Bottom line for me is...and this is going to sound really bad...I think I enjoyed it so much because there were no small humans that I was in charge of.  It was just me and my trusty camera who was definitely not going to disappear around the nearest corner or get lost in the giant bins of pumpkins or crawl into the stalls with the farm animals.  It was truly liberating. However, I still can't explain the pumpkin cravings...





Please stop by and visit my galleries at www.kathleenmessmer.com, http://twenty20.com/kmessmer53 and http://kathleen-messmer.artistwebsites.com.  I'm also on Facebook www.facebook.com/kathleenmessmerphotography and Twitter @kmessmer53.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Incredible Gift

There's something about abandoned buildings that patently arouses my curiosity.  I like to try to imagine what the building might have been used for - if I don't already know - and see if I can create an image that speaks to why this building has been abandoned, misused, abused, left to its own devices, etc.

I was in Louisiana a while back and did the touristy thing of touring all the plantations - at least the ones in the brochure.  Some of them, Oak Alley in particular, was beautiful and stately and worthy of all the praise heaped on it when it appeared in "Gone with the Wind".  I took the requisite image of the mansion from the far end of the walk (which used to be dirt, of course).  It looks like a postcard.


Then I visited the Laura plantation.  The main house was decidedly NOT so stately, though very colorful, and there were many slave quarters and other outbuildings scattered around the grounds. While they are a bit old...ok, really old...they were in a sorry state of repair. These buildings are historic and one would think they would be maintained, if for nothing else but their historic value. Alright, jumping off my soapbox now...

                               

These sad buildings made for some wonderful imagery. However, what really shocked me when I saw the resulting images, was not the sad state they were in, but how proud they were.  These abandoned, neglected buildings oozed pride.  Weird, right?  Somehow, if you look really hard, you can see the people who lived there and how hard they worked and how much they took pride in what they did - regardless of the task. And they did it without all the modern conveniences we have today. Certainly no easily accessible cameras with which to record their day-to-day lives. They were people, plain and simple, trying to make a go of it in times when it was so much harder than it is today to eek out a living and take care of their family.


So, the next time I'm in Louisiana, I'm going to pretend to be a tourist again, take another tour of the plantations, do the appropriate ooooing and ahhhing, and see if I can get a few more prideful images of the now abandoned buildings and the emotional connection I received from these.  It was an experience like no other and an incredible gift.



Please stop by and visit my galleries at www.kathleenmessmer.com, www.instacanv.as/kmessmer53 and http://kathleen-messmer.artistwebsites.com.  I'm also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/kathleenmessmerphotography) and Twitter (@kmessmer53).