Eesti: Tales from Estonia

Two years ago I was preparing to fulfill a lifelong dream to go to Estonia. As a result of diligence on my part, and the generosity of several donors, I was able to do my final project in Estonia based on the rich stories we grew up with in my family about my Vanaisa and Vanaema  (grandfather and grandmother) who grew up in Estonia and left just before Soviet Russia took over Estonia during World War II.

I have meant for ages to post these to share, so here they are now. Enjoy!


Just Some Holga Fun

Speaking of getting around to some film, I bought a friend's holga camera last year before they moved and haven't used it a whole lot... but these are a couple images from the one roll I used in Utah. There is something serendipitous about using a camera where you have so little control beyond what you put in the frame. I do believe I'll have to be using it some more. 


Autumn in Maryland

Film, film, film... oh how I wish I had an infinite amount of money to use film all the time. Or at least to develop it after it has been used. Someday.

These are from the fall. I had the chance to go up to Rock State Park back in October and the roll of film has been waiting for processing ever since. Enjoy!


Washington DC and Revisiting the Why

I hope no one minds me using this blog post for a bit of catharsis rather than merely the posting of images. If you do mind, feel free to scroll down past all these pesky words :)

 The year 2013 was a tough for me. It was good in some ways. I had some fun, walked in graduation, got to spend a good portion of the year popping over to play with my niece and nephew whenever I felt like it, but it was a rough year too. Starting in June, I started seriously considering leaving Utah. There was a weighing pressure that I no longer belonged (not really, at least) and that if I didn't get out, there was no hope for me. There was even a while that moving across country was mild in comparison to the changes I considered making. And so I left. Almost immediately, the weight lifted. I felt like opportunity was on the horizon, and even better I loved (and am still loving, despite the snow) Baltimore. It is diverse, interesting, and different from anywhere else I have ever lived. I didn't really bother much more with the reasons to why I had left, and was just glad to be gone. There are things that could be better, but mostly I have been happy here.

Until a couple weeks ago. In working on graduate applications, I came up against some obstacles that I would imagine most people don't have to deal with, including the crushing blow of having a professor that I love and respect tell me that his advice was that I should not apply to graduate programs in Art History. Don't jump to any conclusions: I believe he had every right and responsibility to help give me a realistic expectation based on his experience and knowledge of how the programs worked. It was a blow nonetheless. If he was right, that meant all this time and effort was in vain and any confidence I had built up that I could be a strong applicant were dashed and broken, lying like shards of glass for me to step on every now and again to reiterate the pain of not feeling like enough. In addition, the next week turned into a digging up of many feelings and emotions that I so desperately tried to leave behind in Utah. It forced me to realize that I hadn't just been moving; I had been trying to run away. And to take it to another level, I had to face truths about myself that I do not like.

To start, these truths don't ring true to who I ever was on track to become. I remember a time when what people said about me was that I was happy and pleasant... That I always had a smile. Not that I had been perfect, but I used to be more patient, understanding, and assumed the best of people. And now I have become critical of every relationship and my experiences in general as a result of trying to understand the good and the bad in certain relationships. I think it started out as me grappling to keep sane in some rather insane scenarios. I thought that it was a better or more mature way to see the world, but has apparently been hurtful and crossed lines I never intended to cross. Have I become cynical and terse? Have I lost my ability to empathize with people who frustrate me? Or made me less loving and Christlike? I know who I was and I know who I want to be, and I'm not liking who I'm seeing in the mirror these days. It's a discussion I've had with 2 or 3 people at the most, and have been grateful for their insight and love, but it's time for me to really come to terms with it so I can get back to where I was, or at least become someone I like.

In conjunction with the time frame that this was all being brought to the surface at full force, I had the chance to make it down to DC and explore some places I hadn't seen yet. Today, as I was going through these and contemplating my own work in connection to these thoughts and feelings, I have come back to realizing how much I love the strong, steady structures of the capitol. It feels grounded and consistent. Understandable. Simple. Straightforward. They are formal, and my compositions and style tend to be so as well. I strive to find sincerity in whatever I photograph. I don't know that these really reflect that, except in the sense that I am striving to find some grounding and strength in my life, to become the person that I know I can be.

(On a good note I received a reply from one of the three schools in which I applied, University of Arizona, and have been accepted. I am waiting for a response from the other two schools, but I at least know I will be continuing my education this fall.)


My 2013 Living Will (or Ode to Leo)

Every year when the snow starts to fall, I jokingly compile a will, should this be the year I can no longer handle the cold (as if I ever could).

This year, the first snow in Baltimore was followed shortly by the passing of my dear cousin Leo. I have felt incredibly sad and incredibly grateful for the time I spent in Utah, which allowed me to get to know Leo and his family, along with several other cousins much better than I had before. Thoughts of the strong example Leo was during his battle with cancer run through my mind. And thoughts of who I am trying to become shortly follow.

So instead of drafting a listing of my physical possessions, I thought to keep in line with both my tradition and my current thoughts, to write a different kind of will--a will of what I strive everyday to leave behind.

Dad-- I leave you my endless gratitude for the perspective, love, and support you have provided in my life. You have been a quiet, gentle example and it is never forgotten.

Mom--I  leave you my admiration. While we don't always see eye-to-eye, I want you to know I think of you as a strong, capable woman who shows me daily that if there's a will there's a way.

Megan, Matt, and Mihkel-- I leave you everything a sister should have to give by way of support. I hope to be there for each of you in whatever way I can and for whatever reason.

Chris and Elliot-- Aside from any spoiling in the process, I also leave you encouragement to never stop being as curious as you are now. To help you explore the world and its many wonders in every way possible.

Ava-- I leave you something I am desperately trying to work on: to love how I am, how I look, and who I am. I hope in working on my own insecurities I can teach you how beautiful and wonderful you truly are and to treasure that.

To all my friends and family-- I leave you my time and service. This past year has brought cynical thoughts of regrets for not selfishly guarding my time for my own work and progression. But the truth is that my most treasured moments are often in giving to others, so I hope to leave as much service behind someday as possible.

To Leo-- I keep you in my heart and memory, as all of us will.

Leo finishing the 5K held in his honor November 2010: when the doctors thought he only had 6 months.


Patriot Island

There is nothing like finding a visual treasure on the side of the road... Particularly when you're slightly lost and need something to have made your detour worthwhile. This was a lovely little spot to stop and breathe in while photographing. It also exhibits the spectacular colors of an Eastern fall, which is something I have enjoyed very much the last few weeks.


Floating Along

On the boardwalk

Several weeks ago I got to spend an evening with my Dad in Atlantic City. By night it was a mixture of Vegas and Santa Monica, but in the golden burn of sunrise peeking over the horizon of the Atlantic, there was a quiet beauty that I loved.