December 14, 2010
December 5, 2010
I will answer the question. I need to know what my work is about.
Sequestered in Florida I spent hours cutting and glue-sticking small, black and white copies of my images onto blank notebook pages. I am creating a visual reflections notebook, an exercise I read about in “Art Without Compromise,” by Wendy Richmond.
The time seems right for me to formulate a cohesive statement.
Old and new photographs are now paired, tripled and quadrupled with one another. When grouped this way they share similar points of view, composition, subject matter and/or feeling. Some of the juxtapositions are random, telling unexpected stories. I'm adding words as well as quotes, song lyrics, articles, and works by the artists I admire. It’s daunting to view my work next to a photograph by Marc Cohen or a painting of window cakes by Wayne Thiebaud. I included a favorite poem by ee cummings that knocks me out. I wonder if I will ever have a photograph that can truly accompany it on a page.
I’m hopeful that as the notebook fills it will speak to me about my images with clarity and a sense of purpose. Until that bolt of lightening strikes - even while in captivity - I see with my heart.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 12:29 PM
November 12, 2010
The preceding weeks were filled with questions about my body that no one could answer. I was not yet myself. Somehow I made it through the evening unharmed. The images found me while I was consumed with my precarious physical state. I was restored in the moment, camera ready.
The party was spectacular.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 6:09 PM
October 31, 2010
He was unfazed. My heart raced. We wont know if he is receiving the drug or the placebo until the study ends. He didn't want to regret not trying. Now we spend time in Clinical Research. This boy dreams of baseball and is driven by hope. I wonder how he does not feel like a pincushion.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 6:41 AM
October 22, 2010
October 15, 2010
My process as an artist is intentionally haphazard. I believe that randomness keeps my image-making fresh. I do not take my camera everywhere I go but pick it up when compelled. When I was worked as a newspaper photographer I sought stories to tell. But now, working for myself and creating images for their own sake is more complicated - - especially when asked what it is that I photograph. My response is "anything and everything." Ambiguous. Yet I can't find a better answer.
I stumble upon inspiration, finding it tangled in a thick hedge. A "Whoozit" catches my eye as I walk through my neighborhood. How did it land there and had anyone noticed it astray? My guess is that it was swiftly replaced with a new, cleaner version. The child who lost it probably never knew it disappeared.
There is something about this process that grabs, holds and propels me forward. The photographs become markers and I drift in between them. While I continue to ponder the larger meaning of my work one thing is beyond question, uncertainty is key.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 9:10 AM
October 4, 2010
One week ago I was strong, confident. Since then I have been mostly housebound, struggling through a relentless back pain. I'm humbled by my fragile body.
My son breaks into this frame of mine, stealing my self-pitying thunder. I soften. Things may not be as bad as they appear.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 2:36 PM
September 20, 2010
My baby. At seven he still enjoys long baths. Plastic toys float about the tub. He can remain immersed for hours. Water rolls over his skin, sometimes his tongue. Pure sensory delight.
At seven he still allows me to hold him close. Drunk on his flesh, I am grateful beyond words.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 5:27 PM
September 6, 2010
August 19, 2010
In my last post I claimed a disinterest in associating nostalgia with objects. This does not hold true for me when it comes to photographs.
I discovered a younger version of our family recently when going through an old photo album. I paused at a Polaroid of my son in preschool holding three teddy bears. I was reminded of a time when he openly expressed affection for stuffed animals and didn't want to leave my side.
The stuffed animals are piled in a corner now, starved for attention. I know their pain.
Someday I will look back at this photograph and it will become a substitute for the memory - - a reminder of my boys dazed at a hot summer day's end, their two bodies at rest on my bed. A wistful trip to Neverland when I was Tinker Bell, sprinkling digital ephemera for fairy dust.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 2:49 PM
August 11, 2010
My footwear prevented me from walking much beyond the deck of my cousins' yard. Although they do not live deep in the woods my cousins hunt and gather. They have spent years combing through yard sales and flea markets happening upon the perfect metal serving tray or antique board game. They have been trying to pare down to sell their home. No one wants to buy a house with the personal effects included, so the majority will be have to be jettisoned or placed into storage, I suppose.
Objects can have symbolic and sometimes sacred value. Through them, we long affectionately for the remote places we once occupied. Many people find comfort in objects for this reason, but I do not. So I clean and clear, getting rid of things that lack resonance and cause me distraction. I do not wish to be held hostage emotionally by nostalgia. I choose grit over sentimentality. I let go.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 11:57 AM
July 27, 2010
We sit on lawn chairs by the pool, eating too many chips and calling it lunch. Hooked up to the AM radio, my son tunes in and tunes out all at once. Although Kodak no longer manufactures it's famed KODACHROME transparency film I keep singing that song, ever hopeful. The grass turns yellow underfoot. I am waiting, still.
July 15, 2010
Gone are the long afternoons spent floating on my back in my parent's pool. I would gaze up at the blue sky til it turned silver. This summer has yet to slow down. While my boys are enjoying it all I can't seem to refill their water bottles fast enough. I am breathing, barely.
The issue is that this summer is all about next summer. My oldest son is ready for a change. I investigate sleep-away camps in an effort to find the right place for him. I make phone calls, my stomach turns, I hold back tears.
I have seen my son leap into newness without worry. Sometimes his confidence level exceeds his abilities. But no matter, I admire his moxie. Anxiety is my business. In a dream I am fearless, flying alongside him.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 7:32 PM
July 4, 2010
I am hot or cold, moving between passion and disinterest. Creative highs are my fireworks. In off moments I recharge through the tedium. When I stumble upon an image, I spark and everything makes sense. I am these imperfect opposites - - a flash of light, then dark.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 7:37 AM
June 20, 2010
Calendar holidays. I search the card store to find my feelings expressed in someone else's words. I prefer that we honor one another on more than one prescribed day. But in the spirit of Father's Day I am taking notice of the outstanding men that uplift and challenge me. I am surrounded.
Some wish to outgrow car seats. Others are concerned about retirement savings. Many are navigating in between. The right words come easily to them. They are present. One still calls me "mama." They are artists - energetic and generous. I am in awe of them. My men look me in the eye.
I am everything with them.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 7:56 PM
June 12, 2010
I casually asked my gardener to get rid of a dogwood tree in our yard. Now I can't stop thinking about it.
I thought there would be more time to say goodbye but in the two hours that it took for a child's baseball game the tree was obliterated. Not even a branch remained on our curb. What a surprise when we arrived home. My son had tears in his eyes.
The dogwood had been in decline for nearly eight years, since we bought our house. With my boys needing more space it seemed like a good idea to have it uprooted. I have been visiting what remains all week, trying to make something that feels right photographically to honor a tree that gave us more shade than I knew.
Soon topsoil will be laid and seed scattered to grow grass. It will be beneath us, buried. We will kick balls and lose them in our neighbor's yard, forever. I'd like to remember the dogwood.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 8:09 AM
June 1, 2010
May 25, 2010
He wanted to go to a neighbor's house to watch TV, but it was a school night and he was showered and in pajamas. I made him stay home. So he went out to our backyard to teach his younger brother how to pitch a hardball.
Moments later we were at a pediatric after hours clinic. I became an expert on eye trauma and the orbital bone surrounding the area. Thankfully, there was no major damage. The bloody hemorrhage will clear. He was a good sport.
The learning curve is steep for parents. We continually make choices on our children's behalf. I try to give my boys space to grow, yet sometimes I feel like their warden. On this particular evening I wanted a do-over.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 9:05 AM
May 16, 2010
I was inspired to combine some images after seeing a triptych made recently by my friend, photographer Jonathan Elderfield. It's posted here, http://jonathanelderfieldphotoblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/triple-play.html on his photo blog. I liked that he included himself in the mix and the magical quality of his images. I tend to read images like a sentence when they are combined horizontally. My question when pairing or tripling them up - - is the sum greater than the parts? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
The pictures in my diptych were made last week, a few minutes apart. I had my camera out to mark the day and find my place in it. The afternoon light fell hard. In its shadow I was vulnerable, ambivalent. By combining these images I reframed my memory of the day and have a shifted perception. I wanted to to be okay in that moment. Looking back, I realize that I was.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 5:18 PM
May 7, 2010
I greatly admire street photographers, their courage and drive and spontaneous images. How I would love to be one - - but I am afraid do not have what it takes.
I can't bring myself to photograph strangers, candidly. I need to request permission of a subject, especially if I hope to use the image online. Most people are unwilling to be photographed and are not flattered. Paranoia.
At a local carnival I photographed a teenager. He wasn't pleased and asked me to delete the image. I politely refused. He told me that taking his picture was illegal. I reminded him that he was in public. This type of exchange always rattles me. I end up questioning my motives and then returning to quieter subjects that don't talk back, like potted plants.
I ate lunch at a waterfront park. After photographing my leftover crusts of bread I wandered looking for something new. I met a young woman. She sunbathed. I made pictures. We talked. She told me about the tattoo on her lower back for Steve, her boyfriend of seven years whom she no longer sees. I appreciated how at ease she was in her own skin. She gave me permission to use the images on my blog. Truly an amazing soul. I had hope.
Like anyone capturing moments, I am a fear-driven stranger, with a camera.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 6:23 AM
April 22, 2010
I have a deep love of all things green. I even find drab pickles appealing. While nothing is as simple as it appears I can appreciate that sometimes a blossom is just a blossom and a pickle was once a cucumber. It's all quite stirring.
Happy 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 6:03 PM
April 14, 2010
Tension. We carry it in our bodies. It is when someone grabs my hand that I realize I am holding tension there. I was surprised to see my hand looking so strained in this image.
I visited my acupuncturist in an attempt to calm my butterflies and take care. The bruise is from a needle that hit a small vessel beneath my skin. It doesn't hurt and I do feel better.
We all carry things we keep hidden. We suppress and restrain while aware they are lurking. They don't fade. Eventually, our needs surface. We have to take our lives into our own impassioned hands.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 11:11 AM
April 7, 2010
We were away last week over the Spring break, but not really. I found myself obsessed with borrowing my son's iTouch. I genuinely looked forward to this long overdue family vacation. Yet, as we walked the well-traveled streets of Washington, DC I couldn't help but keep my eyes open for free Wi-Fi. I was crazed. In hindsight, nothing big happened that couldn't wait for my attention but I had to keep checking just in case of an email emergency. You never know, I could be needed!
Now, back at home I am grateful that my son has removed my email accounts from his "iThing." I have no desire to be continually connected although the ease and lure is overwhelmingly remote. That said, feel free to reach out and touch me. Oops! Text me.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 4:24 PM
March 28, 2010
March 21, 2010
A few years ago I lost my bearings, creatively. I was new to suburban living and uninspired. For a while, I longed to be a landscape photographer. I thought that if I could just be excited about my surroundings I would always have convenient subject matter. I yearned for something to photograph that was outside my realm.
I felt reduced by the enormity of these marshlands. Willingly lost on its paths, I drowned among the reeds. I deeply inhaled the cold dampness and shivered. Now I realize that you need to make peace with the natural world in order to feel it.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 4:31 AM
March 13, 2010
I was talking to a friend earlier this week about our own type A tendencies. We were in our children’s first grade classroom observing the kids doing an art project, a still life drawing based on a painting by Cezanne. It’s interesting to see how some kids create very specific renderings with meticulous planning and others are a naturally looser in the marks they make.
It took me years to get away from the heavy outlines of my youth. In high school I painted a cityscape of Venice. I titled it “Venice-rock” because it looked so much like the Flintstones’ Bedrock. I found comfort in having my colors neatly in place on the canvas. Really, at the time I couldn’t do it any other way.
In spite of my need for a certain order, I know that perfection is a flawed concept. Theoretically, if I wanted to line up a group of ducks in a row to photograph, by the time I would click the shutter - - they would be long gone. Turns out that there is no such thing as having your ducks in nice, neat row.
I wonder why we are so quick to categorize ourselves as this or that? I am thankful that through art-making I have found ways to let go of all those heavy outlines and embrace joyful spontaneity. Nothing good happens creatively if I am in my comfort zone.
I may talk a good game about blurring the lines, breaking with routine and trying something new. At the same time I know it would be impossible to step out of the box if I didn’t have a really sturdy one, with clearly defined walls to keep me feeling safe and loved.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 11:02 AM
March 5, 2010
This image came as no surprise to me. I made it after days of listening exclusively to Lady GaGa on my iPod while visiting my family in Boca Raton. For all I know this purple-haired, plastic fantastic Barbie is actually a Lady Gaga doll, reaching for who knows what - - a Pucci print bathing suit? I think she just wants to be noticed.
We all strive for recognition in our lives. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. This came up recently when reading True Nature, the blog of Jenny Vorwaller, http://www.jennyvorwaller.com/blog/. She is a multi-talented artist and an insightful writer. In one blog post she discusses the letters she receives from viewers of her blog. On occasion, I have emailed artists and authors who have inspired me. I reached out hoping to find some common ground and to be honest, validation.
The blogosphere makes discovering new artists easy although I always break out in a sweat before I make contact and hit the send button. It’s basically cold calling. I have made some great connections with strangers this way, and had some disappointments, too.
For me, the best part about making photographs is the actual process itself. I get caught up and fall in love in those moments. I am a self-proclaimed infatuation junkie who can find inspiration while looking at the remains of an omelet. I tend to not worry about my audience, where my photographs might eventually be seen or if they will ever formulate a cohesive artistic statement. I photograph because I need to feel these images. Yet, I do blog.
Jenny Vorwaller is spot on when she says that all artists wish for validation. I have come to realize that an integral part of my work is the desire to share it. Sentimental as it may seem, I am compelled to spread the love I feel. But that’s only half the story. I am equally as driven to be noticed.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 10:50 AM
February 26, 2010
A long winter
at faded posters.
through gray, hazy
skies - - this one
at faded posters.
through gray, hazy
skies - - this one
falls from rooftops
in a cold crush.
of fleeting sun
should it choose
to shine (sublimely)
falls from rooftops
in a cold crush.
of fleeting sun
should it choose
to shine (sublimely)
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 4:37 PM
February 11, 2010
What is it about discarded things that gets me? I imagine the life they had before being set out to the curb or piled in a dumpster. Who cuddled and then outgrew their stuffed animal? How many infants were consoled in that cradle? It does seem to me that these jettisoned objects radiate energy and stories - - all of which are mine to envision. I don't see trash, I see things that were once held dear.
These images were made using a Lomo LC-A+ with actual film, which feels old school and so right for me at this moment. Shooting film requires patience. It may take a week to shoot 36 frames and then, I have to wait an entire hour for CVS to develop (and mangle) my film. I tend to forget what I photographed and enjoy visual surprises. This process works well for me. Patience is a dying virtue but I am bringing it back, slowly.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 3:34 PM
February 4, 2010
January and February are celebratory months in our home. Both of my boys have birthdays, which I always find bittersweet. Why are the years passing by so fast? It seems like just yesterday I was living every moment of 2001: A Baby Odyssey.
I was fortunate to share in another family's birthday celebration recently. A few weeks ago, I photographed my first Bar Mitzvah. I found the experience to be more personally emotional than I expected. Just at the point when the Bar Mitzvah boy was to be introduced into the main banquet room I became rather choked up. It was a big moment to witness - - watching this young man at the intersection of playful and determined.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 5:49 PM
January 25, 2010
In December, I visited my parents in Florida. Unlike being at home, it seems that time stops when I am there. Maybe it is due to the limited computer access or lack of routine. The air is heavy. I like how it slows me down and allows me to take notice. Inevitably, we all have to pause - - even if we are not ready to do so.
January 21, 2010
My son was at home battling a stomach bug yesterday. He was sacked out on the couch, dazed and comfortable in front of the flat screen. I remember secretly loving sick days as a child. Sure I had to visit the doctor, but the trade-off was watching endless television, eating Pine Bros. Cough Drops (which could deliciously cure any ailment) and polishing my nails until they were, in my eyes, perfect.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 1:26 PM
January 14, 2010
I made this photograph on January 1, 2010. The night before there was a "Blue Moon" in the sky, something that occurs every 2.5 years or so. This kind of moon is not actually blue, but is the second full moon to occur in a single calendar month. I was sorry to have missed it, perhaps it was the champagne that distracted me. As I was driving on the bleak New Year's Day, I spotted this mylar balloon caught in some branches. How is got there remains a mystery, but I was happy to see it. Kind of like finding my own blue moon right here, tangled up, on earth.
This is the beginning of my work as a solo blogger. My first blogging experience was shared with my dear friend, the very talented writer, Carey Lifschultz. Our blog, Full Constant Light www.fullconstantlight.blogspot.com was a collaborative year-long project; the goal was to inspire one another to create new work through our posts. I think that we both learned a lot along the way. We worked hard, stressed a bit and challenged one another. After a year of working together we have decided to move ahead on our own. Carey is busy finishing up her book, and I am making the images that I need to see and feel. WonderLust will be a place for me to check in with you all and share what I have been up to. Please visit often. You can subscribe to my Google Group and receive new posts by email. And I promise to not bombard your inbox. Really, I am not that prolific! Your ongoing interest in my work means a great deal to me. Thank you for your support and your inspiration.
Posted by Andi Schreiber at 3:05 PM