The Art of…Rainy Days.

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Today is one of those cloudy, rainy, windy, lazy days here in Southwest Louisiana.  The kind of day where it’s just cool enough not to be warm, and warm enough not to be cool.  Listening to the wind-driven rain against my studio window, of course, induces nap-type feelings and urges.  But, the art of social media promotion must win this battle…for now.

My overly procrastinistic (yeah, I’m using made-up words today) side has been waiting on a day like this to “catch up” with updating our website, posting new photos to Facetwittergram, and generally working to get the word out about our little corner of this way over-saturated photography business.  So, that’s what I’ve been doing…that and, listening to a bunch of Eric Clapton albums.  Not bad work, if you can get it!!

As I sit here, plugging away…my mind drifts.  Keywords, meta-data, SEO, web analytics, toast, pigeons, did I put the seat back down, why won’t this go, advertisement, signage, billboards, commercials…ya get the picture.  But in the busy-ness of my grey matter, I’m more at peace than I’ve ever been in my life.  I’m lucky, and…to reference earlier posts…grateful.  card pics-2

My job allows me to control time.  To freeze it…to steal a moment from the endless progression of each grain of cosmic sand and preserve that moment forever.  How cool is that!?!?!  That’s some heavy thinking!!  Kinda one of those “dude, our universe could be in the thumbnail of an alien” type thoughts that we all have when sitting around a campfire, looking up at the stars…or while listening to the rain hit the window as one tries to write, or work on promotion of one’s business.

We have a number of weddings and events coming up over the next couple of months.  I love seeing folks light up when they see their moments forever frozen in time.  There’s, of course, ego satisfaction…but, there’s a bigger sense of service to others.  I know that’s a lofty thing to say, but for me, it’s true.  In my past, I was a very self-absorbed person.  All about me, all of the time.    for website-5

I’ve done a lot of “revision” of myself over the past few years (see previous posts for a better explanation).  In years past, I would have hated going to a wedding, much less photographing one.  But, in this case, I’m grateful that time DIDN’T freeze. Now, I have the opportunity to “be of service” to brides, grooms, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, friends, and everyone in between. And i am at peace.

When we were in Georgia this past Thanksgiving, my wife and I took some photos of our nephews and niece.  It was awesome to just sit back and shoot while those kiddos were just simply being…kiddos.  And, to see their mom and dad smile at these moments we have preserved…it just makes me smile.

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Last weekend, my wife and I took another little road trip.  This time, we drove east…deep into Cajun country.  We ended up at Longfellow-Evangeline historical site which is near the town of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  It’s one of those “frozen in time” sites.  Appropriate.

When we got there, we checked in, paid the $4.00 entry fee (if you ask me, they charge too little), and were told the tour would start in roughly 30 minutes.  Great!!  That gave us time to do something we never do…but will do more often from here on out…and that’s have a picnic. Under huge, ancient oaks and spanish moss, we sat, ate, and laughed at my lack of carrot eating abilities.  It was, once again, great just to be together.  We finally got with the program and met our tour guide.  She was an older Cajun woman from the area.  She was a great tour guide…although, I’m pretty sure she was getting a little irritated at yours truly for all the shots I was taking.  Anyway, the tour was of an old Creole plantation house…which is rare because apparently, there were not many Creole Plantations.

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The land and house were gorgeous.  But it was a little Acadian-style house that caught my eye.  Artfully preserved as if the ancient inhabitants might approach us asking what we were doing on their property.  This house was stolen from the harsh mistress of time.

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So, here was the ultimate campfire “dude, our universe could be in the thumbnail of an alien” moment.  Me, freezing time of something frozen in time.  Looking back on it, as the rain continues to lightly tap on my studio window, I’m in full-on campfire mode…smiling…grateful…and, at peace.  And, isn’t that what we hope for in every moment we have?  No wonder preserving moments is so popular…and necessary.

Until we meet again…in the words of the great Warren Zevon…”enjoy every sandwich”.

-Brice

Ps…Ok, enough with the rain.  I can’t get anything done and the yard is getting a little full!!!!

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The Art of…Rainy Days.

The art of being still.

…for me, it’s about slowing down.

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I saw a Facebook post today with a link to a story about a new, faster way to tie your shoelaces.  Needless to say, it got my brain thinking.  Has life really gotten so fast, rushed, and in a hurry, that we need a faster way to tie our shoelaces???

I remember a time when, if you wanted to get cash from your checking account, you had to either go into the bank and wait in line or, sit in the drive thru.  Now, all we have to do is drive to the nearest ATM…and even then, it takes too long!!  So, yeah…i guess Brooks was right…”The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”

Over the past 3 plus years, i’ve had to teach myself to slow down.  I had to…it was a must…the hurried, worried life was consuming me and slowly killing me with aggravation, frustration, and anger.  What I found was amazing!!  Slowly, I discovered that there was a whole different world out there that I had completely missed out on for 38 years.  And who woulda thunk that world could be entered simply by being still.

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One of the things I struggled with, was the fact that it was OK to be still…to stop…to look around…to not just hear and see the quiet…but to really listen and look at it.  It was not just a struggle, but an outright blood bath fight between my ego, which says “what you are doing/going/wanting is too important so, hurry hurry hurry or you’ll miss something you don’t have yet”, and my Soul which was screaming “is what you are doing/going/wanting really that damn important?”  I’m grateful that the Soul had an awesome left hook.

Being still has taught me one important fact…and it is this…”in the grand scheme, it‘s not that important, whatever “it” is.”  All those “it‘s” can drag us to the depths of the grand oceans of frustration, fear, and anger…when, not if, we let them.

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow.” –Chinese Proverb.  

between a rock and a hard place.

For me, art is a great tool in the “being still” process.  Wether it’s a photograph, painting, poem, book, music, etc…Art has the ability to flip the worry and anger switch to off.  But, we have to be willing to let stillness into our house.

I mentioned earlier that I had to teach myself to be still.  It’s amazing to look back and see “what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now”…and think, “damn, why didn’t I try this stillness thing years ago!!!”  Well, our ego thrives on frustration, fear and anger…so, I had to be taught, by Something Greater than me, this new alien concept.  My ego would never have just let it happen.

The tools I started using early on to slow down are all around this amazing world.  And they’re simple.  Sitting quietly and watching a bird, looking at the leaves on a tree move to the rhythm to the wind, looking at a big, goofy, puffy cloud move slowly across the sky…changing in every moment as it does, watching raindrops hit a puddle.  All are simple things we can do in any moment.  All bring stillness.  And all are free to everyone.  The only thing you need…is willingness to let the stillness in.

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Same goes for using art as a tool in being still.  Last night, I found myself on my front porch, headphones on, listening to Eric Johnson’s “Venus Isle” album, while looking at stunning landscape photographs on my tablet.  It was peaceful.  It was spiritual.  It was just what I needed.  And my soul was still content this morning when I stepped outside to look at and listen to God’s new morning.  Those small moments in a 24 hour day, can and will do amazing things to your mind, heart, and soul.  They will give you peace.  They will give you serenity.  They will open a new world.  They will destroy frustration, fear, and anger.

Try this… keep a beautiful photograph, or a peaceful piece of music, or your favorite chapter or poem from a book…keep them with you where you can easily access any of them.  When frustration, fear, and anger creep up, stop for a moment.  Look and listen to any one of them.  Then sit quietly for 5 minutes.  It’s a victory for the soul.  And…it works.  It really does.

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I recently looked at some photographs I took before I found stillness.  They are rushed, uncreative, dull, mundane, some even give off a frustrated look.  Kinda sounds like life in general, today, eh?  I never had the patience to slow down and compose a shot, or to shoot in manual mode, or to even think about putting a little blue stone on a boulder for a shot.  Slowing down was not a concept I had time for.  But, now, slowing down is one of the most vital parts of each set of 24 hours i’m Blessed with.  It has freed my mind, relaxed my heart, and opened up my soul.

Give yourself a gift.  Be still for a moment.  You have plenty of time…there’s 24 hours in a day. Besides, how many of the “it‘s” will you miss if you are still for a moment?  Hopefully, all of them.  Our egos will hate us…and our soul’s??  Well, our soul’s already love us…we just needed to be still to feel it.

-Brice

The art of being still.

Art…light and music.

This week saw the release of what, by all accounts, will be the final Pink Floyd album “The Endless River”.  As an AVID fan (those who know me know that is an understatement) I’ve been flooded with emotions and reflective this week about not only the album and my Floyd geekdom…but about how I got to this place in this moment in time, where I am now…the owner of a company, with my wife, whose tagline is “…the art in every moment.”

“Let’s go back, Let’s go back, Let’s go way on back when…” -A. Franklin

Growing up, I was always fascinated by colored lights…christmas lights, buttons on appliances, light bright, space ship control panels, etc.  My father even built me a space ship cockpit with little light up buttons he got at an army surplus store…loved that damn thing!!!  Anyway, anything that lit up and had color, I was digging!!  (i’m a child of the 70’s and 80’s…dig?).

There was also a fascination with music.  I had a little olive green record player that you could stack about 8 records on and I would load that thing up with the big records of the day…Sesame Street Christmas, anything Disney, the Star Wars Story album…ya know, the hits.  I would play those records day and night…going to sleep with a stack of wax loaded up.  Ended up burning that poor record player out.  But, by then I had a tape player.  Anyway, I digress.

It was a simple time…read along stories playing on a record player while making cool designs on my light bright.  Who knew that times like those would be such a major player in my life so many years later?

“Tongue tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I…” – D. Gilmour

My father was an amateur photographer…a DAMN good one, at that.  He had a darkroom, could develop his own film, make his own prints, and even do color correction with the photoshop of the day…big pack of color pencils.  I loved playing around with all his camera gear…he had a ton of it!!!  Nikon, Canon, Mamyia…speedlites, backdrops, light meters, etc, etc, etc.  But, as interested as I was…all that gear “is not a toy!!!”.  He did eventually buy me an older nikon with a coupla decent lenses and a flash.  I took that camera to summer art camp that year and had a blast with it until the photography instructor got in trouble for saying a cuss word infront of us kids and, I guess, was dismissed a few days before it was over.  (little did they know we were already using those words thanks to smokey and the bandit.)

My love of photography started back then…but ended up on the shelf as the years went by. It was first put up by the disease of Ulcerative Colitis, which I was diagnosed with around 1985.  I just felt too bad to move, much less pick up a camera.  So, shelf it went.

As I got older, my taste in music changed…moving from Sesame Street and Disney, to the Footloose soundtrack, PacMan Fever, and Huey Lewis (some may argue that my change in taste was a lateral move).

In the later part of 1987, a friend of mine forced me to listen to this strange CD.  Made me sit there and listen.  As the music started, I kept asking…”well, where’s the singing????”  I was holding the jewel box, looking at the cover…there was one guy shaking hands with another guy…and one of them was on fire.  “Dude, this is stupid…what the hell is this?”  44 minutes and 28 seconds later, my life had made a considerable hard right turn.  After the next 44 minutes and 28 seconds…the small embers, that were barely burning from those early childhood fascinations, began to burn brighter.  What was needed was more fuel for the fire.

“a momentary lapse of reason, that binds a life to a life…” – D. Gilmour / P.Manzanera 

The albums, the cover-art…stirred my imagination.  The video for their “comeback” single “Learning to Fly” featured their live stage set up for their 1987 world tour.  As the kids say…OMG.  Visuals, Music, Lights.  And it still has the same fascination to me today.  Staring at the album covers, listening to the each album beginning to end (the only way one SHOULD listen to ANY album), watching the “Delicate Sound of Thunder” concert video, seeing them live twice during their 1994 Division Bell tour.  All those little embers of light brights, christmas lights, and olive green record players…the fires now rage.

As I listened to “The Endless River” this week…as I am at the time of this writing…I am brought back to not only the first time of hearing and seeing those beautiful images in my head…but i’m brought back to that record player, to that light bright, to that homemade spaceship cockpit, to that olive green record player. Brought back to the innocence and I feel young.  

A couple of weeks ago, I was out doing some shooting around our property in south Lake Charles, Louisiana…it’s a beautiful piece of land with some great trees and bushes.  Great for sunsets, nature and portrait shoots…and we don’t have to waste gas!  Anyway…as I was shooting, I caught myself playing songs in my head, pacing myself and shooting to the music in my head.  Playlist that hour was The Band, Rush, and one of the great bluesmen of all time, Son House.  All art is symbiotic.  And as human beings, art is as necessary for us as air and water.  Art is what keeps us humans from being lawn chairs.     

All those moments. Images, Music, Lights, Colors, Emotion, Thought…colliding into a single moment. That’s what was going through my mind when I came up with the tag line for PerrinStudios…”the art in every moment.” Everyone has those moments when it all comes together…whatever “it” is for each of us. That’s what we want to free from the ever moving hands of time. Those moments. That is what we do.

Art…light and music.