Surely Is A Dream

January 10, 2013

**I made a resolution to blog at least once a week (either here or on my cooking blog), so…here’s to a late start!**

On a drive to Columbus, I looked at the sun setting and I thought “I really wish I could capture that in a photograph.”

I realized a few years ago that I didn’t want or need to photograph everything anymore. There just isn’t a point. Photographs are taken to create memories, or preserve as much of a desired memory as possible. But when it comes to emotions and smells and feelings of awe, those memories can’t be preserved in a photograph. Sure, pictures can help provoke those things, but I feel that my most precious memories are usually in more than just photographs.

That being said, there was something about this picture my brother took the other day of our mom.


There’s something about it that I just love (other than my mom and La Victoria). I posted it on Facebook, and my cousin commented “I love that it’s your grandfather’s face with your grandmother’s expression!” I’m not sure what it is about that statement, but I totally see it. I don’t know if it speaks to my past, my present, or my future, or to any memory I sort of have of either grandparent, but I like it.

I’m not sure what the point is of this post, but I just wanted to share all that.

Going Where You’ve Never Been

October 21, 2012

I haven’t had much to say to share with the world in a while, but this I feel needs to be said.

I’m currently having a crisis of identity. Maybe that’s a little intense, but it’s how I feel at the moment.

I’ve known for a long time that I don’t want to be an artist. I knew years ago, but I was afraid to leave my photography program. After all those years of building a portfolio and learning everything I wanted about photography, I realized early on in my college studies that it wasn’t what I wanted. Unfortunately I was too chicken to do something about it.

A while ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is finishing med school this year. He asked me why I didn’t choose to study a science since it was clearly something that interested me. I can’t remember what my answer was to him then, but now I’m pretty sure I know what my answer is.

I don’t blame anyone but myself for not pursuing science. I went to a great school with extremely bright people. I have faith that all of my friends are going on to do great things as engineers, doctors, marine biologists, and teachers. I love them all, and I have no regrets about going to the only non-secular all-girl school in the Bay Area. I do, however, regret ever feeling like I wasn’t smart enough to study science.

Everyone around me was so fucking smart. A couple of my closest friends were on the robotics team for our school. I always thought it was the coolest thing that they built and programmed robots to compete with other robots around the country. (Seriously, how badass is that?) It’s not that they ever excluded me or anyone else. Everyone was encouraged to participate if they wanted. I just never took the initiative to ask.

It was pretty intimidating to be around people who studied the shit out of cool things. Everyone was so confident and good at what they loved, and I just never felt smart enough to be that cool. So instead I turned to photography because it was something I understood and enjoyed. It became something I wrapped my identity around, as most of us do with things we love growing up.

To be fair, my love of photography started before high school. But my passion for academics didn’t seem to grow the same way. It could be because I was home-schooled for a year, or because I had a bad science teacher one year and couldn’t pull my grades up. Maybe it’s because I felt that good grades were more important than simply enjoying the act of learning.

Regardless of why I didn’t pursue science then, the problem I face now is what to do about it. I am very tired of school and have no interest in returning; however, school seems to be the only option to fully invest myself in learning. I guess I could pick up a book and read, or listen to some Podcasts if I’m too lazy. But it’s just not the same. I read any science-related news I can that’s listed in my BBC newsfeed, even though I don’t understand it most of the time. I just searched for free science lectures near Atlanta, and the first search result for “free education” turned up seminars on dating. What the fuck.

My name is Sterling. I have a BFA in Photography & Imaging. I feel trapped with a misformed identity and a stunted career path. I am on a mission to…to…I don’t know. To do something about it I guess.

Not Enough Retribution or Decent Incentives

November 4, 2011

My mom and her partner were visiting last weekend (hi mom!), and I had an interesting discussion with them and my manpartner. I feel very blessed that they support me being with this military man, but it was a bit shocking to hear how much they supported the function of a military partnership. I have always felt that, while I support my manfriend, I owe nothing to the military, and they owe nothing to me. That’s what I believe is the benefit of not being married. If the military feels no obligation towards non-married partners, then why should we have any obligation towards them?

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Don’t Bother None

August 24, 2011

A phrase I’ve seen discussed recently in “civilian vs military” blogs, posts, and articles is “It’s what you signed up for.” It’s essentially a fuck you to military servicepeople and their families, kind of like “You knew what you were getting yourself into.” And I’ll admit it, I’ve said it to my man buddy. It’s a mean thing to say, but to be honest, it’s how I felt. When I considered doing ROTC, I truly thought about what it would mean, and eventually I decided not to join because I knew it would be a load of bullshit and I wouldn’t truly get to fight for what I wanted. (Yes, there was a time when I considered ROTC, but then realized that any photographs I’d take would be property of the government, and I’d essentially lose my copyrights.)

My manfriend has to do the stupidest things, like stay awake for 24 hours to do nothing and then go straight into work. The day before 4th of July weekend he had to run a poorly planned ridiculous obstacle course for 6 hours with no food or water. If there’s ever another debt ceiling debate that goes on too long, he has to work without pay because he’s considered “essential.” I agree that things like this, yes, you can absolutely be angry about and things that shouldn’t happen. But as I’ve said to him, did you seriously not expect this absurd bullshit from the military? No, it’s not “what you signed up for,” but was it not expected with the territory?

To me, this is different from the hardships that aren’t outlined in the job descriptions or the common-knowledge adversities (at least, what I would consider “common knowledge”). When military partners and families struggle with the emotional impact of deployment, of moving from place to place, of isolation from the rest of the population…no. No one signs up for these things. But from what I can see, the military blogging community tells similar stories to each other, and although it’s on the internet for everyone to see, no one’s looking for it.

And this is why I desperately want (need?) to start my photography project. I’m not very experienced with the military lifestyle, but I also wouldn’t consider myself a typical civilian either. I feel very in between the worlds, and so I believe that I am in the position to bring both worlds together. Not that I’m going to single-handedly bridge the ginormous gap, but I believe I can contribute to it in a way few people can or will.

Anyway, maybe I’ll include some of this in my grant proposals. But first, I have to make some work. That’s the worst part about all this: I can’t ask for money until I’ve gotten started on the project, but I can’t really start the project until I have money. Oh, the vicious cycles of applying for grants and loans…


January 11, 2011

It is day 2 of the Atlanta Snowpocalypse. The grocery stores are low on food. The booze is diminishing. The streets are blanketed in ice and what was once snow. There is no sound but the dripping from icicles to the ground. The city is deadly still, and I will party on through the snow days.

Originally I was going to tell you more about experiencing snow in Atlanta, but I just got an email from a peer of mine regarding photographers’ rights. This story is just wrong and it needs to be heard:

A friend of mine who is a photographer was severely beaten by police officers.  He was taking photographs out in the street, in public, and cops arrested him and charged him with resisting arrest after they smashed his head into the pavement and beat him so badly that he still has a bone sticking out of his shoulder.  He needs an operation but can not afford to take off work for that long.

That said, he asked me if I knew of any groups who fight for photographer’s rights, or resources and laws that clearly explain photographers rights, specifically in regards to public domain and shooting in public on the streets.  He is facing some serious charges in which he could see jail time and heavy fines.  I am not really familiar with laws and what the exact rules and regulations are regarding making photographs in public.  If anyone out there is familiar with this, please pass on whatever information you have or even what direction I may be able to guide him in.  This incident occurred in New Jersey if that is significant in terms of varying state laws.

The current war on photography and the camera seen as some tool linked with terrorism really pisses me off and in the end I think we all should be aware of our rights and know the specific laws regarding photography and public domain.  Perhaps if people have information about this they can reply to this list serve instead of emailing me directly so we all can have this information on file if we ever need it.

When one of us goes down, we must all join together, extend a hand and pick up our brothers and sisters.

Raise It Up

January 3, 2011

I always knew a select few people regularly read my cooking blog, but I recently learned that people have been checking up on me here. I find it sweet. So here’s what I’ve been up to.

Um…I don’t really have much to say. I guess that’s why I haven’t blogged in a month. Life is pretty routine. I still work at Arden’s Garden. I cook a lot (but forget to post about it all the time). I crochet. I write letters. Every once in a while I go out and venture into the world (usually to the Yacht Club). I guess the real reason I haven’t been having adventures is because I’m saving money for a car. Other than that, life is simple.

Though I guess I’ve been thinking about my photography and art, and I’ve made a new year’s resolution to have a significant amount of work done on my next photography project on military partners. My manfriend will finally move to Fort Benning in March, and hopefully I’ll have a car for the summer. I’ll have three different aspects of this project I’d like to achieve by December 31, 2011:

– Have a notebook dedicated solely to this project. Kind of a cop-out goal, but I still think it will help me organize my thoughts and research.
– Have at least 10 different articles/studies from at least 10 different sources about military partners. Again with the research. It’s difficult to find the information I need when no one has done anything about it.
– Photograph and interview at least one other person other than myself. Since I’m transferring from my self portraiture project to this one, I don’t think it’s fair to include myself as a significant part of this work.
– Apply for at least one grant. This one is ambitious, and I can only accomplish it once I’ve achieved the above goals.

So that’s what’s up I guess. More to come maybe.

Waiting for the World to End

August 25, 2010

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I want to tell you to still be angry about what Wikileaks discovered. I want to talk about Rush Limbaugh’s impossibly stupid claim that non-profits rape the economy. I want to rant about how amazing Inception was and all the things I love about it. Instead, however, I will tell you about my personal battle with deciding to move to Atlanta.

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The Coldest Winter

July 18, 2010

Since July 1st I’ve been spending quality time with my lovely manfriend/boyfriend/thing. Today he left and I’m sad. Very sad. And now I have to continue my job search.

I feel conflicted. Most people say to me “These are your best years! Do whatever you want to do! No regrets! Blah blah blah!”, which means they don’t think I should go to Atlanta where my manfriend will be posted. But if these are supposed to be the best years of my life, do I really want to work a 9 to 5 job? I’m lucky enough not to have any loans or debts to pay back, so…why should I?

I’d really love to go to Atlanta, hang out with my manfriend, get a part-time job, and work on my photo project. Wouldn’t you say that’s a great way to spend the next year? I would never consider going to Atlanta if it weren’t for him, but isn’t trying new things part of all this?

On the other hand, do I really want to be in Atlanta? My connections are in NYC, I have friends in NYC, and I love the job opportunities in NYC. It’s all very confusing, but that’s what I hope to figure out in the next couple of weeks. I may or may not continue to stay incommunicado, but I just needed to say my piece for now.

Moving Eventually

February 1, 2010

I’ve created a blog on my domain, and I’m planning on moving over to it soon. For now, however, I’m hanging out here and just using the domain for my Advanced Web Design class. Check it out if you like, but I promise you I’m still trying to think of new things to post.

One is Free: BFA Thesis Exhibition

January 25, 2010

So this self-portraiture project I’ve been working on since before I started this blog is finally coming to an end. (Sort of.) It will hang in all its glory in less than a month. Awesome? Yes. Nerve wracking? Yes. Still ridiculously awesome? Most definitely.

Here’s what my postcard looks like on the front:

that's right, I designed the postcard

And check out my website for all the details. Yay!