the art of…Discovery.

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Southwest Louisiana doesn’t have hills, or mountains, or waterfalls.  It’s flat…very flat.  But in that flatness lies some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

I’ve always loved to travel.  Some of the best, most cherished memories I have are of family trips out west.  Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Oregon…we hit them all.  It wasn’t till I was older, though, that I began to appreciate the beauty of their majestic landscapes.  For years I worked under the assumption that I would have to travel out-of-state and west-northwest to see nature and it’s surroundings.  It wasn’t until recent times that I discovered what was in my proverbial “back yard”.

When you are young, one of your first instincts is to escape the place you grew up…to spread ones wings and fly, thinking that the grass will be greener the further away you go.  It’s an arrogant way of thinking…and it’s one everyone has to some degree.  Now, I look around and realize that…to use an already overused quote, “there’s no place like home”.

Over the past several months, I’ve been opening my eyes to the beauty and majesty of the area which I grew up around, and still live.  Small little road trips to get reacquainted with my surroundings.  Along the way, I discovered something.  I discovered that after 42 years on this earth, I’ve never really “seen” my part of the country.

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“There’s more than one way home.  Ain’t no right way, ain’t no wrong.  What ever road you might be on, you find your own way ’cause there’s more than one way home…” – Keb’ Mo’.

My dad has always tried to encourage me to see the beauty of the land and it’s surroundings no matter where we were.  From the snow-covered peak of a mountain, the rolling water of a stream, even the flat swamp land that surrounds us here.  It’s the latter that I always had trouble “getting”.

One of my recent little road trips took me about 30 minutes away to an old wooden bridge called Lorraine Bridge.  It’s one of the very few surviving wooden bridges left in the state.  It seems like everyone and their uncle have photographed this bridge for every reason under the sun…weddings, engagements, senior portraits, family portraits, etc.  I figured I’d have a go at it…at the very least going out there would get me away from the computer screen for a bit and, hey, any chance to shoot is a chance to shoot!!  So, off I went.  On the way, I kept thinking, “Why are you doing this?  Everyone has already done it!  Don’t chase cliché’s!!”  The second I stepped out of the car and looked around, I began to see what my father has always encouraged me to see.  We truly live in one of the most beautiful parts of this country…if we just look.

70d first shots-5Another “back yard” excursion I recently took was with my dad, the day after Christmas (which happens to be my and my wife’s birthday).  Dad and I decided to load up and drive down to Little Chenier, Louisiana.  Little Chenier is one of the spots I remember going to, with him, when I was little.  Again, I never realized how beautiful it is down there until I was older.  The road to Little Chenier is lined with ancient oak trees that have out-lived (for the most part) hurricanes, disease, people, and litter.  Each one bearing different scars.  Each one telling its life story in a silent filibuster.  There were random camps consisting of old houses and camper trailers used for either hunting, fishing, or just living.  It’s primitive, simple living…and that, in itself, is a beautiful thing!!!  Along the way we would get out of the truck and shoot, but mostly we just drove and looked.    Once again, I could see what I never even tried to see before…the soul of this land around me.  It was a fun day. We could have taken more photos than we did, but I think being together and both appreciating our surroundings was better than any photograph either of us could have taken.

I never tell him enough, just how much I appreciate all he’s tried to teach me…no matter how hard I fought against it.  I’m as hard-headed as he is.  And, if that makes me even more like him…i’m grateful for it.  

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This past weekend, my wife and I took a little back yard road trip down Highway 82 to Abbeville, Louisiana.  Again, one of those roads and places I never truly appreciated until recently.

IMG_0336We loaded up and set out around 10am and headed south. We had a great time just traveling. We stopped at one spot on the road to shoot…but much like the recent trip with my father, we mostly drove and looked and, just enjoyed being together.  Again, I was amazed at the beauty of Southwest Louisiana and wondered to myself why it took so long to appreciate it.

We finally made it to Abbeville.  It is a cute little town deep in the heart of “Cajun Country”.  In lieu of a plan, we just parked the car on the main drag and just started to look around and shoot.  _MG_0634

Small towns are awesome.  The old architecture, old signs, a town square…there’s tons to see, if you look.

We started in the center and worked our way out.  A little city park gave us a chance to get a little creative with the center fountain, some buildings and a distant spire of an old Catholic cathedral.

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Once again, I discovered the beauty of something I would have never considered.  I was a peace (with the one exception being my lack of understanding of the town’s traffic circle…but I recovered from that quickly).

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After spending some time in the little park, we decided to locate that spire and see the building it was attached to.  It was a gorgeous old Cathedral called St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church.  We pulled up and parked out front and began taking photos of this old, beautiful building.  Shortly after we started, an old cajun man approached us.  My first thought was, “are we breaking some kind of religious law?”  After all, we’re Methodist.  This was different turf!!  _MG_0786Well, as the old man got closer, he started telling us that we should go inside and photograph.  He said it was ok and welcomed and assured us they were used to it.  So, we entered.  It was breathtaking and well worth it!!!  However, we both felt a little uncomfortable clicking away as about a dozen or so parishioners were in quiet prayer, so we kept it short.

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This day trip was a blast.  Yes, it led to some cool photographs, but in the end, it was more about just being together and discovering that we don’t need to take long, expensive trips to see the beauty and soul of nature and it’s surroundings.  It can be found in our back yard, so to speak.  And, once again, I thank my dad for trying to teach me that lesson for all these years.  -Brice

PS- After we left Abbeville, we drove into Lafayette, Louisiana to get some fresh produce at “Fresh Pickin’s” and some breathtaking steaks at “Fresh Market”.  Those steaks were, to quote one of our modern philosophers, “freakin’ sweet”!!!

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the art of…Discovery.

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.