Sleeping in Santa Monica

pacific sands motel

This is one of my new favorite pinholes, Sleeping in Santa Monica at The Pacific Sands Motel. I love my sleeping series and this is a welcomed addition. I love the matchbook on the night stand, the way the lamp curves on the right hand side and the light on the curtains. I bet this pinhole photograph will look gorgeous 30×30. My sleeping series is an ongoing pinhole documentary of the places I find myself sleeping… hotels, living rooms, friends houses… It’s such a fun way to document my travels.

So my parents are in town. I’ve enjoyed spending time with them. They are house hunting so I spent the weekend looking a homes in Maricopa, Surprise, and Litchfield Park. We found a gorgeous house yesterday in Litchfield Park, it’s the only one with my vote so far. I’m pretty excited for their move to the Phoenix area, it will be nice to see them every few weeks instead of every few years.

Although the process of house hunting is fun because they are looking for one to buy, it’s also a very sad experience. So many of the houses are short sales or bank owned or foreclosures and you can tell that the families had to get out of there as soon as possible. Many of the houses were dirty and had items left behind from the frantic move. I find it a little sad that so many homes are for sale and in this condition. Can you image how happy the families were to purchase their own home and start creating memories and a life together. You don’t really image being kicked out a few years later. I think the state of our country is a sad one sometimes. It appears that getting ahead for some people is impossible.

I completely feel that your destiny is up to you and that you make your own happiness but not everyone follows that philosophy and when they purchase that home and think everything is going swell, they find themselves in a bad loan and then out on the streets. I think certain operations are too greedy and they should think less about themselves and more about others. If families could purchase their own home and afford to make the payments then everyone would be happy… but NOOOOO… someone had to be mean and greedy and sign them up for a bad loan that they knew would be impossible for them to keep up with in the upcoming years. So now everyone looses. The banks can’t sell the properties and the families are out of a home. Totally blows my mind.

Speaking of happiness! I am SO HAPPY when I read The Ringing Cedars Series! I’m on book 3 right now and cannot wait to get home to read some more. Before I went to bed last night I read a chapter on ‘creating your own happiness’ and like I’ve said in other blog posts I truly believe in doing that. If you can’t make yourself happy, how can you expect anyone else to?

These books are so incredible I think everyone should read them. I feel so much happier and at peace while I am reading them and then definitely after. I also LOVE the way cedar smells. My cedar pendant, which I wear all the time now, smells divine! Periodically throughout the day, I’ll stop and just smell the pendant and a peaceful sensation overcomes my body. It’s a wonderful feeling.

I’ve been trying to do more meditating and more intending lately. I think at the end of each blog I will start intending.

Today I intend to answer all my email.
Today I intend to enjoy a wonderful dinner with my family at Olive and Ivy in Scottsdale.
Today I intend to get a lot of work done at work on the Iowa project.
I intend to make my living from photography.
I intend to show work in Germany this summer for their photography festival.
I intend to get a solo show at a prominent gallery in 2008.

Two write-ups in French about current exhibit!

venice beach fishing

Two fishermen on Venice Beach in California. There is so much about this photograph that I love. I love the shadow of the fisherman, the two men in the back that look like they are facing each other, the shadow in the foreground on the right that looks like it’s a projection of the woman in the background with her elbow on her head….

This will be a very quick post, short lunch break… to much work to do.

I have been featured twice this month in the press and I just want to brag and show-off!!
*This is from the Le Parisien! A French newspaper with a daily circulation of 350,000!
My pinholes are the four color photographs on the right hand side! The garden series! I’m so excited about this article! I still have no idea what it says, but it’s my first French exhibition write-up!

*This is on a blog. My photograph is the first one, the Pink Flamingo. They also show some photographs from the exhibit. The space looks beautiful! I wish I could fly to Paris for just one day to see the exhibition!

…my thoughts on pinhole portraits…


These are the mermaids I found walking along Venice Beach in January. Yes, I am still posting photos from January. These sweet girls were sitting there, watching everyone pass them by. I started to pinhole them and the mermaids father came over to talk to us (Gary was there too) and it turns out that she really is a mermaid! The girl on the left, her name is Sirena, which means mermaid in Spanish. Her father also told me that she has grown up on the beach and he took last summer off to teach her how to surf. How sweet is that!

This blog will be my thoughts on my current and past work, as well as what is to come… I am actively showing work. I have work in an exhibit in France right now and on April 4th, I’ll have work at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix, and in June, I am co-curating and will be exhibiting in an exhibit at The Trunk Space in Phoenix. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the photography installation Gary and I are doing at The Icehouse in May for fashion designer Kristin Dinnis.

I am ready to have a WOW, solo show exhibit. I’m ready for the art critics of Phoenix to glorify me with their words. I am ready to take that next big step and show in well known galleries. I’m ready to leap into my next career as Pinhole Photographer. I am a pinhole photographer and I have been for quite some time, but I finally feel ready to make my living from my passion.

I’ve been working on my other website since January, picking the new photos, pouring through negatives, flickr albums, cd’s of hi-res files…. looking for the best images, the images that will get me hired and noticed… and the funny thing was the majority of my work is portraiture. I never considered myself a portrait photographer until just recently.

In fact when I was in undergrad at good ol’ Columbia College Chicago I absolutely despised taking portraits. I would argue with my professors; I would be a smart-alec and say my image was an abstract portrait. I was a photojournalism major and I did enjoy photographing people, which is very different to me than photographing a portrait of a person.

I really like to think of my work as pinhole documentary. It has a element of fine art due to the non-traditional format, but I take my pinhole camera with me and I document what I see. Although, you could argue that all photographers are documentary photographers to some extent…

When I picked up my first pinhole camera after I graduated from college, I had no idea that such beautiful portraits could be made. I originally bought the camera because after I had seen the Andreas Gursky exhibit at the ASU Art Museum I had a dream. My dream was of large prints like his, but they were of sunsets. Not the whole sunset, just the very middle of the image, printed HUGE. I actually tried to do it, but it didn’t translate as smoothly as I had hoped.

I can’t remember my first pinhole portrait but I know I was living in NYC when the thought occurred to me. I also tried to pinhole as many friends as possible before I left, but was only truly happy with the portrait of Max Midroit, one of the most incredible piano players in the world. That link leads you to his flickr page, definitely check it out, he finds the funniest scenes in NYC.


I still consider this pinhole one of my best. We were in a practice room at NYC, where he was getting his PhD in Piano playing! I’m sure there is more technical term for that, but how amazing is that, dedicating your whole life to your greatest passion!

Oh! Now that I think about it, this pinhole of Gary in the desert was before the one of Max (above):

cowboy gary

This may have been my first official pinhole portrait. I was visiting him one summer while I was living in NYC and before our shoot we drove all over Phoenix looking for a cowboy hat. I had no idea how hard it would be to find a simple prop, apparently in Phoenix they take their cowboy hats pretty seriously and I wasn’t about to dish out that kind of money for a prop. This pinhole of Gary is still one of my favorites today. I did this one without a tripod. I started using a tripod to do pinhole photos about 3 years ago.

I would say the majority of my pinholes are now with a tripod or a make-shift tripod, meaning anything that will work to keep my camera still in the location that I want it to be. I’ve even used my head as a tripod, but I still get a little blur that way.

I think the perfect pinhole images are a mix of subtle blur and crisp objects. I think when you have blur on blur, the effect can appear messy. I like to think that my pinhole camera captures the energy from within and the blur is your energy. Too much energy, is just too much energy.

I used to think ‘who would want to buy a portrait of someone they do not know’? BUT now when I look at my pinhole portraits I can definitely see someone adding it to their art collection, regardless if they know the person or not. They are just beautiful pieces of art and will add character to any home.

I was eating breakfast on Sunday morning at that new restaurant I just blogged about, Over Easy, reading the Fashion Magazine from the New York Times and they dedicated a whole section to this portrait photographer. His portraits were wonderful. It was at the very moment that a CFL-bulb turned on in my head and I thought, my portraits could totally be in that magazine. Maybe not today, but I am definitely heading in that direction. It was also at that moment that I really thought I could pull off an exhibit of my pinhole portraits.

On Saturday Marilyn Szabo told me we needed to do an exhibit together. I was ecstatic and all for it and even thought, I’ve been wanting to exhibit my pinhole portraits and this would be the perfect opportunity, but it wasn’t until Sunday, while I was flipping the pages of that magazine that I realized… YES, I CAN EXHIBIT AND SELL MY PINHOLE PORTRAITS!

…it’s funny sometimes how life turns out… I never wanted to do portraits… but when the thought crossed my mind in NYC, I told my idea to someone, who told me, it can’t be done, that pinhole cameras are not for portraits… which obviously led me to prove that person wrong (even though I can’t for the life of me remember who told me that, I just remember fuming because I don’t like it when people tell me I can’t do what I want to do)… to this… LOVING pinhole portraits… and picturing them eventually in a museum.

I had more thoughts, but I’ll have to save them for another day, my lunch break is over at work and I must get back to researching recycling coordinators for each city in Texas. Fun. Fun.




I saw two ghosts this weekend!

gold man

This is the Gold Man from the boardwalk of Venice Beach. He was an wonderful performance artist. Sanding perfectly still until money is dropped into his bucket, then out-of-this-world dance moves begin. I could definitely learn a thing or two from hanging out and watching him perform all day. I think performance artists making a living doing something like this is a beautiful thing indeed. How liberating to spend your whole day being creative and making money!

This weekend was Phoenix Artlink’s Art Detour 2008, the 20th Anniversary of the event. I had a delightful time and just want to highlight the best moments.

*Friday night I wore my new pocadot dress and red hat to the last show of the Dietrichs. The dress is gorgeous! When I twirl, the dress twirls with me… it really is the reason I bought it. ha! The last show was great! They played all my favorites and THEN announced some great news, they are forming a new band. The Dietrichs played together for ten years and since they are now a four-some a changing of the name and a new sound was required. The sneak peak of the new song was great, I felt like it was a mix of The Dietrichs and Hot Bot (a side project they did last year). Insta-fave new band, The Westwoods

*After the show we walked to The Firehouse and Gary bought me a toy from Synthetic Compound and it’s the cutest ever! Her name is Ciao Ciao and she’s pink, a toy more appropriate was never made! I want the whole family, so I will be back for Adios and Skeleterino the Cat! It’s the perfect toy to brighten up my office!

*On Saturday after a delicious breakfast from Matt’s Big Breakfast we biked all over Phoenix! We covered about 12 miles from 1pm to 6pm and saw everything we wanted to see. Biking is definitely the way to see downtown Phoenix. It’s a great little city but the hot spots are spread out and driving is not nearly as fun as biking!

*The Icehouse had a marvelous show as always. It was our first time on floors two and three. The third floor has some neat performance pieces. On our way down we paused and opened the door on the second floor. We peered in and Gary closed the door, but I said “Hey there was people in there, let’s go in”. He said “No there wasn’t” and I said “Yes there was”. So he opened it again and it was pitch black. The first time he opened it I saw a light and two people walking! I saw two ghosts this weekend, how rad is that!

*Outside of The Icehouse these two artists were sitting in a hut they built out of mortar and bottles… wine bottles, beer bottles, liquor bottles, plain bottles, colorful bottles… The top of the hut was a kaleidescope with crystals hanging into the space. It was beautiful! Inside they had a device that measured energy! When Gary and I walked closer the device was getting brighter and louder! They were amazed and said it was the first time that had happened. Gary said, it was me because I am an alien. So now he has confirmation… his thoughts are accurate. I am an alien! I went to pinhole the piece on Sunday and she was not there, but I will contact them to photograph them both inside the hut they built.

*Stopped at the new Chez Nous on Grand Ave to do a little day drinking! Well, actually we stepped back into the 1970’s, split a Heineken and relaxed in their black leather round booths, while groovy tunes piped through the speakers. I especially loved the flocked wall paper. I think this is not the first time I have mentioned flocked wall paper on this blog. I LOVE IT! Fuzzy velvet paisley designs blanketing the wall, how could you not love it.

*Dropped into The Braggs Pie Factory to see the mutilated pinata show. My favorite pinata’s were by Beatrice Moore, one of the most incredible local artists I know. She’s also an art’s advocate and makes amazing things happen in our lovely city. I was immediately drawn to two of the pieces and both tags had her name on them! She is one of the most colorful people I know. I hope my color stays with me throughout my life like it did with her!

*Behind that show was a wonderful photography exhibit by Marilyn Szabo. All black and white images, she also had a corner photo booth set up. Gary and I smashed into the corner, me with my jellybean helmet and he with his red baseball hat and she photographed us. It was fun. WE are usually the ones setting up photo booths, so it was neat to see someone else doing it as well.

*Next great stop was Perihelion Arts, run by Amy Young and others. I thought it was one of the better exhibits we had seen. The pieces by Shag were colorful and wonderful, bold and graphic and would have looked perfect in any corner of my apartment. BUT the best pieces in the space were by Suzanne Falk, by far my favorite local artist. I am always speechless when I look at her pieces. How can one person be so talented. Her photorealism paintings will be hanging in all the major art museums in a few years.

*Between talking to Amy and then heading over to The Trunk Space to check out their Kite Show, Gary had wandered off. About 30 minutes or more had passed and I was patiently waiting for him to walk into the gallery so we could have our obligatory black and white photo booth photo taken. When he finally strolled in, he had a story to tell and some explaining to do… turns out Mr. Millard, was biking behind an abandoned motel and was arrested. He was in hand cuffs and had his rights read to him and his license scanned. Lucky for him the cop believed that he was only riding his bike and not buying crack or meth like he first thought and let him go. The crazy part of the story is that we used that hotel as a photo shoot location for Jessica and Jonathan’s engagement photos a few weeks earlier.

*Saturday night we spent with Sandra and her friends. It was her 28th birthday and we played Catch Phrase and got to know new people. Sandra is amazing and so kind. Instead of gifts she wanted us to bring items for kits an eagle scout friend of hers is putting together for homeless youth of Phoenix. So I bought $60 worth of items to help with the project. I hope he is successful in putting together 1000 kits and that he brightens the life of others in doing so.

*Sunday morning we tried out Over Easy, a new breakfast place on 40th and Indian School. It was pretty good. I had french toast and read the fashion section of the New York Times on a retro boomerang print counter top! The restaurant is in an old Taco Bell. Gary says it was one of the first taco bells, when they were still walk up taco stands.

*The best part of Sunday was going to Hollywood _______ I forget the name of the vintage store… it’s on Montecito and 7th Avenue by Melrose Pharmacy. It was my first time in there and I totally scored two gorgeous vintage hats and a pair of red earrings to go with one of the hats! I was in there for at least an hour! Every inch of the space was covered with marvelous finds! I was in vintage heaven! I will be a regular customer indeed!

Farewell Dietrichs!

dietrichs - my favorite local band!

I found out last night that my favorite local band is playing their last show ever tonight! It’s a funny story. I saw the flyer last month, their name at the top, headlining and about a third of the way down the flier it said ‘last show ever’. I totally assumed that was the other band playing. It never occurred to me that it was THEIR last show ever. I got confirmation of this sad news last night and today am reminiscing of all our good times.

The first time they played at my gallery, four white walls, was on the 4th of July, my favorite holiday. I was having a ska 4th of July picnic… They headlined the show and it was incredible! I had been hearing about them for so long, and when I was finally able to see them in person, I was totally blown away! They instantly became my favorite local band… I lov(ed) lots of local bands (don’t see too many anymore), but ska and Liz as the singer was instant LOVE!

Liz! You reminded me of all my days locked up in my bedroom, belting out songs, trying to get my voice to sound just like Gwen! I SO wanted to be a rock star!

Each of one them are so talented and not just with music.

Gary and I photographed them at every show we’ve been to in the last three years. I’ve pinholed them too, obviously because these photos are black and white pinholes of them. Last summer they came to old condo for a photo shoot and at the end they all jumped in the pool!

Dietrich's  07/29/2007

photo by gary millard

So these particular black and white pinholes were at a carnival parking lot in Glendale, Arizona. We had just finished taking photos in a field of golden grass: ( I just found another one on my computer)


Then we relocated to a peacock farm! Have you ever tried to pinhole a peacock? Please share those stories! We did manage to get a fabulous shot of them and the peacock, but I don’t have it handy. Then it was the parking lot carnival! They were so amazing and cooperative! I don’t know too many people that would hold perfectly still for about 25 minutes! But look at the results, just fabulous! I had so much fun that night! We were friends before, but that night I think we really became friends!

They’ve changed a lot since the first time I saw them… and I’m sure this is not the end of them. I can’t wait to see their new projects!

If you want to see their last show, it’s tonight at Holga’s, 8:30, 3rd Street, 2 blocks south of Roosevelt. Come sing ‘Let’s Go’ with me!

dietrichs - my favorite local band!