Monday, July 31, 2006

summer reruns

scale © Laura Kicey

Air conditioner turned on high to drown out the drone of the cicadas, I harrassed my poor itchy, allergic cat (any Philly-ish vet suggestions are welcome, I am hating my hoitytoity overpriced vet in Chestnut Hill who didn't know what her rash was and charged me $100 for the pleasure), ordered prints, some new equipment for the weddings that WILL BE, and tried to avoid avoiding going outside... which meant I crossed the street to buy toilet paper, and though I needed it, I immediately regretted it. Basically I did nothing...

escapist © Laura Kicey

I played with my other new equipment (alienbees 5-in-1 reflector that I am laying on below) and went through old photos from San Fran to make it look like I went outside for more than two seconds.

trickle © Laura Kicey

They say the heat will break for the coming weekend. I don't want to acknowledge it is August.




Friday, July 28, 2006

up for grabs

set off
set off © Laura Kicey

I've been promising this list of 8x10 prints still available from punk rock flea market leftovers for some time.

Check them out here

There are a few 12x16s left as well. And if you see anything on my flickr you like, (no self-portraits though), I'd be happy to order it up for you.

Also Mr. D. still has prints available of his works seen here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


gathering © Laura Kicey

Though rather hot, Sunday qualified for Almost-Perfect photoday status, and fantastic all-round day too. It had been quite some time since I visited the western-central wilds of PA to go on photo exploration with Mr. D. We trucked out to once-somewhere now-nowhere town of Steelton which has, until now, gone largely unphotographed. A shame as it is rather ideally frozen in time, architecturally.

amputee © Laura Kicey

The pinkish shells half-abandoned-half-used steel refineries loom across from the homes of the people who once worked there. Not once were we harrassed, aside from a couple of honks in passing. The police, who by passed us several times, didn't even slow down.

solar plexus
solar plexus © Laura Kicey

We hid from the peak of the heat in an Asian buffet where we let squid and dumplings and buffet-inspired guilt consume us. After refueling, we returned. And only covered half the town. So return again, we must. For all its seeming misery, its was curiously welcoming.

musical chairs
musical chairs © Laura Kicey

I'm not a believer in astrology, particularly. I enjoy reading horoscopes and occasionally seeing what can be gleaned from the astral alignings during my month-late birth. Am I going crazy with hyphenates today or what? I especially enjoy Rob Brezsny's newsletters for the other bits and bobs it includes... especially his observations of language.... I'm always enjoy interesting translation peculiarities from other languages, if I had a better capacity for picking up languages, I might find work as a translator rather interesting... (such as was recently pointed out to me that there is no distinction between 'waiting' and 'hoping' in Spanish... though there may be some subtleties to that statement I am missing)
Anyway, my Virgo forecast this week fell into that realm, see italicized at end, I really liked that bit and its what doesn't kill you makes you stronger notion wrapped into a single word:

Once upon a time, you asked a certain someone for a blessing. Instead, he or she blasted you with a curse. The debilitating blow of that bad magic hit you right smack in the place that was ripe for the blessing you requested. What a tragedy! Now, at last, you're wise and strong enough to defeat the power of that old curse.
Here's the first step: Understand that the seed of the blessing you
once needed (and still need) is hidden within and obscured by the curse.
Figure out what that blessing is, and it will reveal to you what to do next.

The French word for "wound" is *blessure.*
It suggests that blessing can come from wounding.)

Yeah that was totally tangential. And the French word for blessing is bénédiction I believe, but I like a little word twisting whimsy.
Sorry I've been absent, technical difficulties have finally been circumvented and now I am working on some expanding web designery so my presence might be patchy until it is put to bed.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

five steps back

gathering © Laura Kicey

Imagine that, more technical difficulty. Verizon is lying to me about my DSL sevice. <3 them 4 eva for this. Just-purchased 40GB harddrive that automatically downloads from CF cards is not cooperating with my machine, or any machine at the current time. I purchased a PhotoBank by Smart Media. So far, nothing smart about it.

The light outside has just become amazing and it just rained. I need to go out and shoot. NOW.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

at the root

withdrawal © Laura Kicey

I'm having a fight with my ISP. Image uploads and writing keep getting flushed into the void.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It has happened again. The image which has become my third most popular on flickr, which also happens to be great for selling camera equipment and the idea of women and photography with the right amount of sex and strange cold nerdy android robot fetishy-ness has been usurped once more.

I'm back in San Fran. Not by choice.
© Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

This time, My friend K was walking around downtown San Fran on Market Street, when she passes one of those tourist trappish camera shops located at 943 Market Street. Only before full pass-by occurs she notices an 8x10 of me in my photographic garb hanging in the front window. So she decides she should shoot this for posterity and to get the address, as I might want to have a chat with these folks. The owner comes charging out at her and tells her she doesn't have permission to take photographs of his shop (from the sidewalk, I would like to add). She cooly replies 'I wonder if you have permission to use that photograph you have hanging in the window of your shop as I happen to know that photographer personally.' Flustered, he threatens to call the police. She saunters off. He makes the call and starts following her. Eventually giving up.

A woman who is part of a Yahoo! forum on women in stock photography asked to use it. I granted permission. If you have been following along at all, you will know that it was recently nicked by Nerve for one of their photo contest newsletters. Its original usage was in Picture Business magazine with an interview about how flickr feedback has changed my photo equipment buying patterns, and those of the photo-sharing community at large.

Now that I have seen its usage in the shop (which I have now posted), thanks to the handy shooting of Ms. K it is indeed the Picture Business page hanging up in the window. It is still an unauthorized commercial usage of my photograph and a copyright infringement. And it gets me down, because where there is one, there are more. Fortunately, the didn't cut off the credit.

Otherwise this day has been quite normal. Starting with the effects of the intense thunderstorms last night, the power was out at work and I didn't have to show up as it wasn't expected back on until tomorrow. Though I did eventually have to go to work for an hour at the end of the day... I later went to dine on sushi with a friend and came home to strange alarms sounding. Apparently while I was out a brigade of fireman had been and gone, arriving within two minutes of our alarm going off, to fight the fire that was not there. Fortunately my house, its cat and contents are all still here and unharmed. The alarm was likely fussing over our shorter power outage here on the home front, but at least I know what to listen for in the event of an actual fire. Having driven around a great deal of the county today running errands, the damages were really pretty bad. Trees down and debris everywhere, PennDot and PECO out in force.... terrible traffic due to rerouting around trees and downed powerlines.

It seems like a good time to go to bed right now as I have managed to avert major disasters for the day.

EDIT I talked to the magazine and apparently the shop can display any page they like, so long as they do not actually sell the page. This is not so joyous.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


alone in the crowd
alone in the crowd © Laura Kicey

Walking home from work, all three blocks of it, for over a week now I notice how by the end of the first block I start to slow, and by the second block my eyelids droop mostly shut and the breathing goes shallow and I am panting by the time I make it to the door. Tonight's power outage may mark the end of the brutal heat wave for a moment or two. Maggs and I sat on the couch in the dark for the best part of an hour, her face buried in my armpit as the storm's winds tossed the trees outside. Its been nearly two weeks since I've been out shooting properly, for myself. The weekend forray playing a role in strangers' marital bliss does not count, even if I think for a moment I can blur the lines a little.

I think my photos are going to see an encore projection this weekend at Skinner's, Girls on Film one year anniversary. Really I should go. Maybe if we can hold onto this pocket of cool air I might consider. Girls on Film reminds me of some of the great and equally odd meetings in this past year. And how in the past few weeks I've been hearing an inordinate amount of voices from the recent and fairly distant past, popping up in all sorts of unexpected places.

Here is my climate-controlled nature tribute to things I've accumulated. I hang on to odd things, this branch being one of them. I have a stack of branches and leaves of interesting shapes and textures living on top of my friedge, a number of which I have incorporated into photos now and again. This one dates back to 1997 and has come this far with me, though it used to have a few more leaves and twigs in its favor. It doesn't have any particular value emotionally... it conjures things that time has detached me from. So this is a portrait of me with a memory. Me almost ten years younger, hair half way down my back, fresh off a plane from England, with a b&w film Pentax in hand. And so many other things that have disappeared completely or become much clearer. For better or worse.

ambush © Laura Kicey

Monday, July 17, 2006

ring bearer

dance steps
dance steps © Laura Kicey

It is going on midnight and I just got home from work. The air is so heavy with humidity it has its own presence, so I kept feeling like someone was about to press up against me while I walked home. I was putting in some hours wrapping up what seems to be the most realistic paying photo outlet I currently have: wedding photography.

wild bridal
wild bridal © Laura Kicey

I had always rather shuddered at the thought. And then it was thrown in my lap. I am usually willing to try most things when presented them. My coworker's friend was getting married and lost his photographer at the very last minute. And there I was. So I lassoed Dustin into doing it with me for its meager financial gains. Lo. And behold. We are now professionals.

ham © Laura Kicey

There are a few things I would have done differently, naturally. And there is an equipment list a mile long that would have made it all ever so much easier. And if we shot film the mother might have had more confidence in us. Ah vell. What does she want for that price?! I couldn't have afforded to shoot all that in film and have it processed.

Overall people were cooperative. Not camera shy either. It was a fairly good-looking wedding party so not too many challenges in that respect. I managed to make enough of a goof of myself during the posed shoot that the people posing actually laughed and had real natural smiles. Dustin snuck around with the zoom plucking them like rare orchids. After that they asked us to stay on and shoot the ceremony and reception. And they tacked on some extra incentive.

austere © Laura Kicey

I even managed to work up enough guts to approach tables and random people and ask to shoot them. And later after all the major photo opps and pivotal life points had been taken care of, we smooshed cake in each other's faces and we danced along with a throbbing mass of young and old. And it was good. And so was the poultry on a stick.

So. Hey Google. Laura Kicey and Dustin Fenstermacher are wedding photographers in the Philadelphia area. Affordable ones. Pleasant ones. Get hitched with us!

stakeout © Laura Kicey

Friday, July 14, 2006

something borrowed, something blue

recoil © Laura Kicey

So I've been sitting here for a bit, not knowing where to start for ten minutes now. Well, ice breaker photo: flower macro. I hate doing flower macros, I'm not normally keen on looking at them and am mostly embarrassed to show them to anyone when I do do them. But the subject suits the topic of the day which I am lumbering closer to. So first the better-news. Dustin and I are shooting a wedding tomorrow, suddenly. One of my coworkers called me today to inform me his friend is getting married tomorrow. And their photographer flaked out last minute. And asked me if I would step in as I apparently 'want to do that kind of thing'. I'm not particularly interested in ruining what is often considered one of the most important days in many peoples' lives, regardless of my ambivalence about ever having one myself. But after a medium-sized fret-fest, we agreed to do it... meanwhile we'll be soiling ourselves with great frequency.

So then there is the bad-bad news. My very good friend K, who in the past year since I've met her (almost to the day) has shown me so much, new corners of the world and things about myself I had not realized, who is a very talented photographer and a generous spirit, found out that after a series of failed surgeries, her eye still is not holding together as it should. The next step is a giant leap and thinking about it breaks my heart.

I need to go close my eyes now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

the other side of the world

fan dance
fan dance © Laura Kicey

Sometimes you have an idea of how things should be and then you have an unexpected collision with limitations... and end up with something better for it. Though gravity is normally one of those limitations, not last night.... instead, dying batteries.


Google has decided that it should advertise 'fart machines' on my blog now. I didn't know there was a really a demand for them. I'm probably not supposed to acknowledge my ads, but I couldn't seem to ignore that particular one.

Also, I needed to update the list of spammers I've received delicately-crafted messages from regarding my obesity, flagging manhood, and the women I can't seem to impress:

Crankier C. Gestured
Quadrilateral Madam
Blast C. Revision
Disassociates H. Outnumbers
Benevolence A. Pawnbroker
Herminius Stemple
Generous G. Pease
Scarcity H. Honestly
Arneb E. Hedgerows
Bat L. Freshmen
Hunchback Bodybuilding
Remedies H. Rampaged
Cushier S. Subtotaled
References J. Byplay
Compassed B. Fortaleza
Reapplies U. Sorbet
Baroness R. Flairs
Pernod O. Omegas
Tombed I. Unobtrusive
Hatchways G. Noe
Thirteenths H. Chrysanthemum

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the cure

picture the cure logo

It isn't often that I make so much as a peep about design on this here phlog, but this is sort of tangentially photography related. Gail and Irina have been organizing a silent auction of photography benefitting the Canadian Cancer Society. I know some Canadians read this blog... so a little plug wouldn't hurt. Their designer backed out at the last minute and left them logoless. Which is where I came in today. Alas, I had a fight with my font management software and everything I really wanted to use was not to be. So. Garamond. Meh. And my preliminary film strip drawing. I can do better Gail! And I will. (Edited to add final logo, which hah! uses garamond anyway)

I also intend to have a piece up for auction.

They are also in the process of obtaining prizes for draws and such, so if you have an idea of a photography or art-related company or merchandisers they can pitch for freebies in the name of charity, that would be helpful, too!

Picture the Cure 2006
August 21 (Monday)
The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West

Advance tickets: $10
At the door: $15


Meanwhile I got a cameraphone and between working on the logo and playing with the new phone, I did not take the photo I had in mind tonight. So instead you get this:

mobilization © Laura Kicey

Shudder. Sorry. I won't do that often.
Ok, I am dizzy for no apparent reason, signal for bedtime!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

temporary suspension of disbelief: otherwise known as optimism

looking forward
looking forward © Laura Kicey

So many fears that I had been carefully building up over the last couple of weeks dissipated in minutes and hours. Sitting on my pleather chair that made obscene farty noises as I shifted sweatily in my seat at the Punk Rock Flea Market on Saturday, I found something to believe in. Some choices were already made going in, naturally, I had picked my lot. I have never been a salesman... but I made the decision that if I can convince myself that what I have before me is worth being excited about, someone may believe me.

weathering © Laura Kicey

Determined, I smiled, laughed, caught eyes, engaged, greeted, offered words. Occasionally I panicked, no surprise as that comes slightly more naturally to me. I tried to only do that when I was hiding under the table preparing prints to fill in the sold gaps... Dustin and I exchanging wide-eyed stares of frustration as people seemed on the very verge of purchase and then walked away. But I pulled it back together and faced it again, unwavering.

re-entry © Laura Kicey

And somehow it worked. And it kept on working past that too.

a long way down
a long way down © Laura Kicey

One way you look at it, you are falling, another, you are flying. I can be convinced either way if the argument is good.

Thanks to everyone who came out this weekend and let me work my voodoo on them.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

an exchange

corruption © Laura Kicey

(from a distance)

Girl on Bike (approximately 6-8 years of age): Hey!..... You in the green shirt!!

Me: (keeps walking)

Girl: (pulls up along side me) Hello.

Me: Hello.

G: Are you taking photos?

M: Yes.

G: Do you like that building?

M: Yes.

G: Do you show your photos to people?

M: Sometimes.

G: I like that building over there.

M: I like old falling apart buildings with vines on them.

G: Me too. I should take pictures of buildings with my camera.

M: Yes, I think you should.

G: I'm going to go do that now.


Start 'em young.


guardian © Laura Kicey

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

cleaning solution

My brain is a complete scramble of optimism and dread at the moment... that moment having lasted weeks now. I went downstairs to the bathroom at work and was washing my hands when I noticed in the cheesy porno wood panelling an owl, one that looked like Harry Hamlin's friend in Clash of the Titans... which seems strangely appropriate. I couldn't 'unsee' it then. The thing is that right now, I feel like am doing both, every day. Both seeing something there in the General Life Mess and also unseeing it. This sloppy metaphor brought to you by the letter Q and The Imagined Smell of Old Onions After a Poor Night's Sleep Making Me Want to Puke When I Brush My Teeth.

parking space
parking space © Laura Kicey

Last weekend I visited Manayunk with fellow photo bud, Andrea. We trolled around the alleys and managed to be harrassed only by one stupid frat boy and a posse of people watching us from their deck rearrange an abandoned set of stairs in a random alley. It was probably the firt time I can recall being excited about seeing the results of the day's shooting in a month. The town had just been visited by bad floods last week, courtesy the non-stop thunderstorms. I was not aware of this whilst visiting as it looked fairly pristine from the outside. Realizing this, in some semi-sub-conscious way that came to the surface, made me feel like an epic slacker at getting the proverbial shit back together.

spectator © Laura Kicey

My mother has a strange theory about cleaning, one which I can't fully understand... therefore it is not terribly effective for me. So after spending Tuesday morning and early afternoon hanging out on the lawn of my boss watching a Fourth of July parade that meanders down his street, dodging candy bullets being shot from parade cars and floats... my mother showed up at my house. She descended, donned rubber gloves and became the Sudsy Whirdwind, while I reorganized a closest and reformed and redistributed my small piles of accumulation.

stately © Laura Kicey

The general malaise has made me avoid some/most of the housecleaning... Not so much clutter as just lack of scrubbing. She said it wasn't really that bad (which from my mother *is* saying something)... it just feels bad to spend the hours I do with it under both a literal and actual stormcloud. My house is clean, though I don't feel much better because of it (though apparently I should...hmmm... nah). It is officially One Less Thing bothering me, for now, until the cat tufts get out of hand once more.

family © Laura Kicey

Also while at the home of boss, I was shown a book by some photographer, whose name I think is Something Something Minniken, but I am not sure... the book was a collection of his rather intriguing self-portraits. All set outdoors, he would use himself in a very abstract way, echoing the forms of his surroundings, becoming nearly invisible in his contortions. I really loved his portraits of other people, as they were *also* self portraits. He always used some part of his body in the frame with the other person. It was odd and haunting and perplexing and intimate and cold... and gave me some ideas.

Apologies for the again-(or still)-random nature of my rambling. I want to call attention again to the Punk Rock Flea Market. I don't really need to sell anything myself, but some people do. I know there are goodly number of people who are in a Philly-Local way who read this blog. I see you! I smell you! I know what you are wearing! Sometimes! Even if you don't want to talk to me, come! I won't make you talk to me! I swear. I really don't talk much anyway even if you wanted that. This is also to be a networking event to help Mr. D make connections so he can make his way to Philly. Sooner than later. Even if you have no cash to spend on photographic frivolity, if you have most precious information, bring it with you and you will be the proud recipient of eternal gratefullness.

One Less Thing to dread if it goes well.

Monday, July 03, 2006

flunk mock pea rarket

pun rock flea market

punk rock flea market!

Dustin and I are sharing a table and peddling our wares!
I will have a selection of prints for sale, check 'em out here

Dustin will have prints for sale as well: see them here

Also he will have a variety of vinyl and CDs, and thrifty treasures sure to please.

Saturday july 8th, 2006, 10am-5pm
starlight ballroom
460 North 9th Street (9th and Spring Garden)
Philadelphia, PA
$3 entry donation / All Ages

Local people come out and support! Or just stop by and let me take your photo while I am sitting there selling nothing and working my way toward death by dehydration via sweating.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


if you find yourself
if you find yourself © Laura Kicey

Today I learned a new word. Like 'bokeh', it is something that I am so pleased that it is something that has actually been named properly.

from wikipedia

Parkour (pron. IPA /paʁ.'kuʁ/, often abreviated to PK) is a physical discipline of French origin in which participants attempt to pass obstacles in the fastest and most direct manner possible, using skills such as jumping and climbing, or the more specific parkour moves. The obstacles can be anything in one's environment, so parkour is often seen practiced in urban areas because of many suitable public structures that are accessible to most people, such as buildings, rails and walls.

A traceur (/tʁa.'sœʁ/) is a participant of parkour.

crucifixation © Laura Kicey

I really like this idea. Not just in the sense that it would be pretty damn cool to see someone practicing this, but more in the sense that one could practice this mentally, especially going about as I do, out shooting. The philosphy behind it focuses more on the elegance with which one moves through the space, gracefully conquering all in his path. Can I do that with my eyes and my brain, move like fluid. Wouldn't that be nice?

stole © Laura Kicey

Or perhaps just be able to fake it in a very convincing manner.