Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Its 5:30 in the morning here in PV Mexico and I just finished reading “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. The memorial poems that end the book made me get up to start writing. In my own life AIDS took a girl friend of mine, Mary Tudor, the wife of our doctor friend who delivered McKenzie and sister to my dear friend Dianne who is showing at the Soul Artist sale. AIDS comes knocking on my door regularly since my youngest brother lives with HIV and has since his youth. David has escaped the ultimate ravages of the disease but living with it is certainly not what you want for your brother or for anyone. My sorrow over what photography lost when Mapplethorpe died made me hop out of bed to try to put something meaningful into words.

The glow from the evening before I left for this trip with Doug has stayed with me thru the connective power of facebook. Reading what friends from my past and present have commented on the little video that Megan posted from the event have kept me smiling and given me a warm feeling about Soulumination. Now its not as if all the efforts that surround Soul don’t normally make me feel warmth, its just so hard to hold that feeling with the reality of the losses.

I was thinking back to my last shoot at Seattle Children’s and the amount of tears. Tears flowing onto the beautiful infant, tears that were trying to be wiped away, but 2 boxes of tissues could not begin to absorb all the anguish. The absolute sorrow that was filling the room with so much heat that it was hard to breathe left me slightly feverish feeling.

When I multiply this sorrow by the 700 shoots that Soul has recorded, I remind myself that some of our friends survive, they grow and blossom and show us that hope is indeed a part of our work. But sadly the majority end with loss and that is what we are supposed to be doing, this legacy work is not for the faint-hearted. It is such a wonderful thing that now over 35 talented photographers have realized that their hearts have what it takes to make images that will sustain memories that might help bridge and maybe even help to heal some of the pain.

I remember seeing some of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work at SAM years ago, he was shocking the world with not only his talent but with bringing the images of the gay life style into full view--never apologizing and as Patti puts it in her book, never differentiating between the beauty of his floral photos and his more provocative male images. His legacy is huge but I can’t help but morn his loss as he moved forward when others faltered. His images are often shown in the Christie’s and Sotheby’s Auction catalogs that are such a wonderful and generous gift to me from my friend, Don Logan. The prices his images fetch are high and in my heart I hope his estate benefits AIDS research.

Photography has many uses and it made me chuckle to read that when asked recently which camera to buy, Annie Leibovitz answered an Iphone, a tribute to the loss of another genius but also so very true as its definitely my next purchase and I love seeing all the images on facebook that my young mom friends post of their stunning children that were taken with their phones- tiny but powerful glimpses into their daily lives.

So with Soul we walk into one of the harder realms of photography but hopefully we do it with honor, grace and like Robert we don’t differentiate from the beauty we record in our daily work and the beauty we are called to in this much more difficult realm. We walk into sacred ground and maybe we return with a little more than we can understand or comprehend and that makes it possibly the hardest thing any of us that work with Soulumination will ever face with our cameras, but maybe the most important.

Onward in love and peace, and saluting the work of photographic genius that was lost but remains and grows by teaching us to follow the heart, Lynette

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I completed my business work for the year yesterday and today I am honored to be named as a Puget Sound Journal Woman of Influence and tomorrow Doug and I fly to PV Mexico, poignant time of year. Its been hard to sleep with thoughts running thru my head about how to best honor the work of Soul in a two minute time slot, but hoping I can pull it off in loving memory and tribute to my niece, baby Lanie, my best friend's son Janus and all the angel babies and wonderful parents that we have lost. Hoping that the right words will fall into place and that my own soul has the ability to stand strong in a time of bittersweet thankfulness that the judges thought the work I have started is worthy of recognition.

I will be joined tonight by family and friends and I will carry with me the knowledge that Megan is working to get the shoots set up for four more families. The basis of Soul is just such an emotional thing that we can't ever measure success in the traditional ways. Higher numbers means more loss, no money changes hands for services rendered and yet it has a power all it own. Recently while working with my clients and friends, Kurt and Leslie and their family, Leslie reminded me that the nightmare of losing all your children's photos had been a reality for her. In the fire at their home all photos that I had taken for them and all the family photos had been destroyed, she said she could replace everything else but sadly not the negatives and prints that were wiped out that day. Those of us who are parents realize that the loss of a child is the biggest tragedy in life so thankfully Leslie has her three wonderful sons, but those precious photos are now distant memories.

I introduce you today to a tiny one whose hello is also goodbye. Cameron was photographed by Kevin and we are honored that his parents have agreed to share the images. We send our deepest sympathy and thoughts of love and peace.

We also received the releases from on of the families photographed by board member Jodi. Dash is one strong little guy born premature with multiple health issues. We are thankful to his family for sharing their son with all of us and proud to have both Jodi and Kevin working with Soul to provide such beautiful images

I am finishing the writing just an hour before leaving for tonight's celebration, huge thanks for all the kind words on facebook, the flowers from Heather and Kelly, and the curly hair by Cindy Frank at Salon Metro. I will do my best to honor the work of everyone at Soul and to be grateful to a community who has supported my business for nearly 25 years. In love and peace, Lynette

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not sure why I can't sleep but thought it might be wise to put this time to use and write this week's blog. It has been so busy that I might just be on overload from all the activity. I am hoping that the fact that I have 5 more family shoots for my business and then I am done for the year will mean some wonderfully restful nights. The fact that Doug and I leave for Mexico on Thursday for a week could also bring some welcome refreshing time before the fun and excitement of the wreath making event and the Artist Sale moves into high gear.

I am featuring the work by Margaret Vance today as we work to ensure that the attendance at the Artist Sale is in record numbers to match the record number of requests this year. Margaret's winged creatures are favorites of many and are part of my personal collection of Christmas ornaments. Mac and Lew had one of her pop up toys when they were babies and I have it stashed away in case I am gifted with grand children someday. Margaret's husband Kurt is currently undergoing cancer treatment for a recent diagnosis and is a believer in the power of prayer so please keep him in your heart.

I have lost count but I think I saw the photos for five new families to Soul move through the office this past week and I know that Leo's latest shoot is completed and ready for printing. One of our newer photographers, Michelle did two great shoots in the past couple of weeks and still managed to mail in 2 beautiful hand knit baby hats for the sale. Michael also did 2 shoots recently and they are both lovely.

The show at Annie's Art and Frame looks so beautiful thanks to Sarah who works there for her beautiful job in hanging the pieces. If you are in Ballard please drop by to see the faces of Soul. Annie's has been one of our biggest supporters, framing hundreds of photos that are part of the gifts we give. They do a wonderful job and have done it free of charge. Doug and I frame all our pieces with them and I can say they do a great job and have excellent service. They are located on Market Street on the block past the Bay Theater as you head toward the Locks. We gifted the staff with Soul tees in a small gesture of thank you for their amazing dedication to our families.

On Wednesday we are attending the Women of Influence awards dinner and I will be called to do a short speech, thankfully its only a couple of minutes and will be a time when I can share a bit about the inspiration for Soulumination. I want to thank my longtime friend and hairstylist, Cindy Frank, owner of Salon Metro who is one of the artists at the sale for agreeing to come in on her day off to help me look presentable.

We are thankful to all who have signed up for wreath making and donation of greens. If you have talent in the floral arts and would like to join us in making wreaths please call us at 297-0885 or if you have greens to donate we would love to hear from you as we love having a wide variety of greens to work with and our goal this year is to make and sell 200 wreaths. We still need more people for cashiering, and other duties at the sale so if you are proficient with numbers and are careful at recording we would be most grateful.

I will write again soon as I noticed an envelope containing releases arrived this weekend and of course I will want to share the new face with all of you, in love and peace, Lynette

Monday, November 07, 2011

I am heading home from a wonderful weekend at the cabin, the next visit will be after our trip to Mexico to gather greens for the wreath making efforts. I got to facetime with my girls in Turkey a few minutes ago and really love that they are together exploring the world. At the cabin were the 2 moms whose babies inspired the work of Soulumination. They helped me go over answers to possible questions I will be asked when we attend the Puget Sound Business Journal's Women of Influence event next week.

I have been pondering the information about on census of Soulumination photo shoots this year. We are already over the number of shoots we did last year and its not even mid November. I am thankful that the word is out so that we can provide our services to new families but of course sorry that the numbers are rising as the sorrow and loss is just so much. As always we move forward as gracefully as possible, learning to embrace life as it presents itself.

We are now on the real countdown to our annual Soulumination Artist Sale. We have many returning artists: Betsy Brown, Trina cottingham, Cindy Frank, Kristin House, Sophi Kollenborn, Maude May, Robin May, Kari Schlechten, Diane Shea, Patti Shaw, Sidni Sobolik, Margaret Swanson-Vance, Lily West, James Sutherland, Jane Wilson, Jenni Wilson and myself. We are welcoming Jody Cain, Patsy Thola Chamberlain, Sofia Christine, Jeannette Derry, Julia Garrels, Ginny Huber, Becky Morrette, Susanna Prince, Gretchen Quinn, Irene Shimizu, and Dianne Tudor. Plus we have the young artists joining us: Colin Baker, Brady Jurgens, Claire Aiello, Mary-Kathryn Egger, and Grant Comick.

Megan is busy booking more new families. Kevin was out shooting on the weekend, Dawn is working with a new family and just completed the photos for another, Michael just did a shoot and Michelle is going to Seattle Children's tomorrow.

We hope that this year's Artist Sale is the best ever. In love and peace, Lynette

Friday, October 28, 2011

I have not been sleeping well lately so late in the afternoon I took a little nap and was refreshed and reading in my bed when the home phone line rang and it was a nurse from Seattle Childrens asking if someone could come to the hospital for a baby who was most likely in the last hours of life. Since it was already after 5pm, I knew the best idea was to just grab my bag and go myself. Our photographers are great and many will drop what they are doing, but it just seemed right to go myself.

The nurse who had called greeted me at the NICU desk. We went and met the beautiful baby and her parents came in minutes and I spent an hour recording their goodbyes. Its never easy working with our dear Soul children but tiny ones at the hospital can be very poignant. I send her parents thoughts of love and peace tonight and will get the disc of images to Lily tomorrow for her to work her post production magic on the selected files. I know we will have a lovely set of gifts for these special people to help them move through the days and years ahead.

Tonight I am sorry to say that I have another loss to share with the supporters of Soulumination. A dear boy, Aaron that I met on the trip to Edmonton passed away a few days age. This little charmer really was so appealing and handsome. He was an only child and so obviously loved by his parents. My heart aches and I send thoughts of love and peace to his family also. As you can see by his photos he had a special twinkle, an appeal all his own.

I had started this writing after dinner and then went to bed knowing I had to be up bright and early so that Doug and I could drive Lew to the airport for the start of her trip to Turkey with McKenzie. At about 1AM the phone rang and Mac is so sick that they have to delay the start of their travels until tomorrow and Lew spent the next couple of early morning hours changing tickets. Once awake its just hard for me to go to sleep so I finished reading a most enjoyable book, Breakfast with Buddha.

This evening I will attend a birthday party for our long time volunteer and supporter, Christa. She is asking that her friends donate to Soul instead of bringing gifts. We received a lovely donation via paypal yesterday in her honor. After the party I will drive to our cabin for a couple of days of quiet time creating a few more pieces for the Artist Sale and just enjoying the beauty of the South Sound. I thank once again all of you who have saved bottle caps and cans for my projects.

We are grateful to Soul mom Alison for her willingness to put the address labels on the postcards for the Sale. It was truly a delight to see her and Georgia when they came to pick up the cards and labels. Once Georgia's NG tube is out we will schedule updated photos. Her wavy brown hair is such a change from her straight blonde locks that its time to capture her again.

I close hoping for sleep and sending gratitude for the opportunities that life has given me and my family. In love and peace, Lynette

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Its a nice Sunday morning here in Ballard, just walked back from the Farmer's Market with bounty for the week ahead. In a few hours Lew and I are leaving for my final wedding job of the year, I am so excited to work with this wonderful bride. I have 45 more families to photograph for my business before Doug and I leave for Mexico, but that will be so much fun seeing all my young friends and their parents and means that "Fall for Soul" will be a big help for funding for Soulumination. I am also trying to finish more items for the Artist Sale as we want that to be more successful than ever since we are busier right now than usual with new families.

It takes an opening paragraph to let me settle into the main reason I am blogging today and that is to say a public goodbye to a "beloved queen". I met the stunning Priya and her family when I was in Edmonton this past spring. They are a warm, beautiful and loving family and it was a joy to work with them. They were obviously looking forward to the photo shoot as everyone was attired so beautifully and I felt so much love as I entered the hospital room. This little beauty warmed my heart and had such a regal appearance that it didn't surprise me when her mom recently wrote and told me that her name meant beloved queen. I send heartfelt sympathy to this family as we received word recently of the passing of this angel. I hold them in my heart along with thoughts of love and peace.

Its only appropriate that the latest released child that I can share is Emma who was photographed by Susan at her studio in University Heights where the beautiful Soul Collection in currently hanging. This 7 year old will soon be on our website gallery but here are some beautiful preview photos.

Hugs to Susan, Lew and Heather for all they did to make the show at UHeights possible. Also Heather and Collin, Kelly S and Sally for help with hanging the show. Its beautiful and daily many people are going thru that majestic old school building and viewing the faces of Soul.

We are looking for help in creating a slide show disc of all our released children and adults. It is not affordable right now to print and mount all of the faces of Soul, so we need to have a slide show ready to go for the next opening which will be at Annie's Art and Frame on Nov. 12. Annie's has been our biggest business supporter in that they frame a photo for each Soul child's family free of charge. I know its important to have their customers see the true range of the support they have given, plus I want to celebrate each life that is released to us and it will also show the work of every photographer as releases are signed. So if you have a few days free and would like to help by loading in discs and creating a file of the chosen images please let us know ASAP as I will have chosen all the photos and from there we need to move forward quickly. Call 206-297-0885.

I am most thankful for all the stunning work that is coming in from our recent Soul shoots. Truly everyone is doing an outstanding job and we are receiving so many compliments from the families.

It is crazy busy here getting things in line for the Artist Sale. We are hoping to create 200 wreaths and will be offering some for pre-sale. Please call 206-297-0885 if you have greens you could donate as it will take so much to make that many wreaths. The raffle basket donations are arriving steadily and they are stunning. I think we will have at least 3 great baskets and I will donate a piece of the tin art for each basket. I have small wire and metal wreaths that I am adding to my luminarias, lights and dolls and will make a few new garlands to test market and from the garlands I will give all the proceeds to Soul. Thanks again to all who keep me in mind for bottle caps, tins, and cans, appreciate the help and support.

I send thoughts of love and peace to all, keeping in mind the artists that are busy creating for the show. I have also heard that prayers would be appreciated especially right now for a friend of mine, Kurt, whose wife is one of our artists as he is working through a new cancer diagnosis and treatment plan and also for the sweet red head, Claire who is in the ICU at Children's. Lynette

Monday, October 17, 2011

We are in a very busy time of year with all the needs to be done to pull off the Artist Sale with many new artists and lots of beautiful wreaths. We are also coming up to the opening evening for the show at University Heights this Friday evening as well as our supporter, Christa's birthday party that will benefit Soulumination.

On the Soul family front we are so busy. I had the nicest time working with Ava Grace and her family with the help of intern, Faustine last week. Charlie did her second shoot in Bremerton and today arrived a nice donation from a friend of the first family she recently worked with. Teddi did a shoot for a one year old on Saturday. Karen did a shoot of a one and a half year old on Sunday. Bryan is scheduled for a shoot on Tuesday and Jodi is working with a baby on Wednesday. Avery is scheduled for a family on November 2nd and we have 3 more new families to book.

I will post a couple of photos of our little friend Ava Grace tomorrow, but the disc is up at Moonphoto right now for printing.

I am off to gather mushrooms in the South Sound area tomorrow with good friends Sidni and Becky. The weather is supposed to be lovely, it will be nice to have some quiet time away. In love and peace, Lynette

I not only added the photos of Ava Grace but here find the beautiful work of Michael on our newly released child Gracie. We were very sad to hear that she died shortly after her shoot. We send her family all grace and sympathy as well as thoughts of love and peace.