Ghosts and Shadows Mobile Photography Series

I’ve always done a lot of photography at my Uncle’s farm–it’s simply too beautiful not to take advantage of the opportunity to capture this part of North Carolina’s spectacular rural beauty. But recently I’ve been taking a lot more photographs with the past in mind. I grew up coming to the farm on a regular basis and spent a lot of time there during my summers. My grandmother, who still lives here, was my champion when I was a little kid. She made me feel loved completely–unconditionally–and made me feel special (as I’m sure she made my sister and brother feel as well). Her love (and my grandfather’s) was the balm that helped me cope with the effects of child abuse, yet the trauma of that abuse haunted the sunny fields and cold creek water I ran through during the summer. No matter how joyful my time at the farm, a darker undercurrent always made itself felt.

The farm is full of amazing memories–memories of love and healing but also an underlying fear that the love couldn’t quite touch–yet. I created a mobile series called “ghosts and shadows” to represent and work through my conflicting feelings in relation to the farm. I’m nostalgic and I’m wary. And I’m full of love for that little girl who was so lost and yet so at home on the farm.

Here are four images from the series.

ghost and shadows i Flickr L

ghost and shadows i

ghosts and shadows ii-farm, sea, and sun Flickr L

ghosts and shadows ii: farm, sea, and sun

ghost and shadows iii-the three Flickr L

ghost and shadows iii: the three

ghost and shadows xi-the past as friend Flickr L

ghost and shadows xi: the past as friend

 

First Playdate with Holga

A couple of weeks ago the Holga 25mm f/8 lens I ordered from Hong Kong arrived. I finally took it out of the box and decided to play around this afternoon. I shot with a sepia filter. I love the air of mystery, even enchantment, it can lend to a scene.

Holga batch 1.1 wp flickr L

Holga batch 1.2 wp flickr L

Holga batch 1.3 wp flickr L

Holga batch 1.4 wp flickr L

Holga batch 1.5 wp flickr L

Holga batch 1.6 wp flickr L

Tugaloo State Park’s Sassafras Circle Trail

I stopped by Tugaloo State Park today on my way back to North Carolina. Recently I’ve been working on a project where I shoot with a sepia filter. Today I took my camera out and decided to play a bit more with the filter on Tugaloo’s Sassafras Circle Trail. The photos have little to no post-processing. The sepia is perfect for conveying the feel of the morning light and highlighting the quirky lines of the trees both standing and fallen.

Tugaloo State Park Flickr 2.1 L

Tugaloo State Park 4.1 Flickr L

Tugaloo State Park 6.1 Flickr L

Tugaloo State Park 5.1 Flickr L

Tugaloo State Park 3.1 Flickr L

 

 

Come see me at “Home Grown”

 

crossing over flickr large size

Crossing Over

There’s a great opening tonight for the art show “Home Grown” at Cornelius Arts Center. I have a piece in the show, “Crossing Over,” and there will be many, many great pieces by local artists. If you live in the Charlotte/Lake Norman area, come out! It’ll be from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with the artist talk at 7:00 (I’m one of the speakers).

Cornelius Arts Center is located at 19725 Oak Street, Cornelius, NC 28031. The phone number is (704) 896-8823.

A Very Special Creative Thresholds Today

Raven Gets In--Walt Pascoe

Walt Pascoe, “Raven Gets In” 48”x60” Oil on canvas

On December 21 of last year, a dear friend and amazing human being said goodbye to planet earth. His name is Walt Pascoe. Intense and luminous artist. Witty, wry, and intelligent crafter of words. Wise spiritual seeker. And a mentor of sorts to so many of us–artists, writers, and anyone who found themselves on a life journey they hadn’t necessarily planned. In this Creative Thresholds, we’re doing a reprise of an essay he wrote in 2012 (which, incidentally and uncannily, was published December 21) in which he writes brutally honestly and with humor about his struggle with colon cancer. He also includes his art in the essay. Please check it out. His words are wisdom for all of us who are human: “A Tribute to Walt Pascoe: Savage Uncertainties On The Road Home Reprise.”

Last Night of “Story”

And so we come to the end of the story. Night 3 of my show “Story” takes place tomorrow night beginning at 7:30 p.m. at OTPH in Cornelius, NC. The Facebook invitation is here. I’ll share stories (my own and the art’s) 8ish. I’m so thankful to all the people I’ve met and all the support I’ve received–and a chance to know that when we share stories, we touch each other and remind each other that we’re not alone–and that there’s always hope.

Melissa D Johnston-Muse-Story-OTPH

Collaboration with poets JK Anowe and Laura M Kaminski

scavenger l from flickr

scavenger

I’m delighted that “Scavenger,” from the Eternal Childhood series, is part of this collaborative submission with poets JK Anowe and Laura M Kaminski at Poetry Life and Times. If you get a chance, take some time and read their poignant words.

My Show is featured in The Herald Weekly!

The Herald Weekly Story exhibition

A special thanks to The Herald Weekly and reporter Bruce Dunbridge for their article, “Exhibit explores artist’s trauma” in the December 26-31 edition (pages 18-19). I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Bruce and learned even more about myself and my artistic process in our conversation. There is an online version here.

Barbed Wire, Cow Hair, and Pearls of Rain

I’m always fascinated by beauty found in unconventional places. These photos are from my uncle’s farm, where the hairs from cows reaching their necks through the barbed wire fence (to munch on the weeds on the other side) got caught and grew garnished with gossamer spider threads and miniature drops of rain.

image image image image
Iphone 5s, Camera+ app (macro setting)