Happy Independence Day, America…


The only fireworks I saw this year were on my mom’s shirt.

We had a very quiet 4th, celebrating with mac and cheese, a bottle of wine and a bad movie.

As we were hidden away in the suburbs of rural South Carolina, I thought about all the people out there celebrating with lots of beer, things on fire, and bbq… and I thought about the meaning behind all the celebrating today.

I wondered how many people really are celebrating our independence today… and I wondered just how independent ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’ is these days.

What 4th of July Means to Me…

This is what celebrating Independence should be… well, really it is all for my dear friend Michelle’s Annual Wine Country Birthday Bash… but it just so happens it is the same weekend as the 4th. If ever there was someone who should have been born on the holiday known for barbecuing… it is Michelle. Happy Birthday, Michelle!

The Rollei added another light leak this time on Anne’s shoulder, so I played in photoshop again… this time I copied my favorite friend Thomas’s trick and added a lens flare filter… if he can do it, then so can I. It looks looks a little odd, but it is just a desperate attempt to save a fun photo.

The Town Clerk at home

“Family is everything.”


This is Sandra Gowan’s family. Sandra is the town clerk. Her husband is the town magistrate. Her mom worked a textile mill, the old industry, and her son works at the BMW plant, the new industry.


best friends and babies

Being back in the South, where I grew up, means visiting friends from my childhood… and their children. So I am also using them as models for my look into the American way of life for middle class families. Ann and Susie are my favorite models… and we go everywhere together. It is good practice for me.


Ann and her husband Darren bought a house in the neighborhood that we grew up in. They wanted a safe place to raise their daughter Susie and their new one who is on the way.


Spending the summer at the lake is mandatory in the South. Every good Southern family spends as many weekends as possible at the lake skiing, tubing and just driving around.


Amish Hunting

After two weeks in Philadelphia, I was ready for some country….and not just any country, Amish country. So we researched the Amish on what else but wikipedia…..some facts we didn’t know were that the Amish are not allowed to wear buttons or receive education past the 8th grade, so they just repeat 8th grade until they are legally old enough to graduate. Most importantly the Amish are a very strong community and I would love to do a photo project on their culture, but unfortunately we only had an afternoon so it became more like Amish hunting than anything else, but it was a great adventure in Pennsylvania’s beautiful countryside and I added another community to my to-do-list.


Amish clothes drying….see any buttons? Besides looking for people without buttons we also looked for houses without power-lines…..


and horse drawn buggies were pretty good indicators but they were more challenging to photograph….


so I looked for easier subjects….not sure if these people were Amish and unfortunately my boyfriend is not Amish….but the lightening that illuminated the sky behind him made the experience worthwhile and then we quickly got back in the car.


Buttons…definitely not Amish but this miniature golf course was listed on the Amish tour map so we decided to stop anyway and see if Amish miniature golf was any different than non-Amish miniature golf.


Well it was a pretty tough course, Amish or not.


This is Amanda and one of her twins, they are not Amish, although she used to have more contact with Amish people, she doesn’t much anymore. I just liked the way they looked in the fading sunlight and my wonderful boyfriend Arann strongly encouraged me to walk across the street and ask her if I could take her photo. So I did and she said ‘yes,’ and I am really grateful to Arann for the encouragement because that is exactly the support I need to build confidence for my upcoming Southern Exposure expedition. Thanks Arann.

the summer begins

Ok….so all the papers are finished and I have left London and am gearing up to start my photo-intensive summer.

My first stop was Philadelphia, well after NY it was Philly, then back to NY, then back to Philly and now I am in Greenville, SC, well Reidville, SC….but that is hard for me to remember as there is not a whole lot to remember, at first glance.

NY was insane…but it felt nice to be able to take photos without feeling like a paparazzi stalker. People are way more laid back about being photographed here and it is very refreshing. But I have to say I think NY is a litle too much for me; Philly is much more my speed.

It was nice to practice and to have fun with my camera again (well Matteo Borzone’s camera, thanks Matteo.) The only thing is that I am still longing for the 6×6 format and I almost bought a Mamiya 6 in the ridiculously busy and huge B&H store in NY (from now on I will stick with ordering from the website although Chris in the used department was very knowledgeable and helpful). The camera was in my hands and my credit card was out, but when Chris went to ring it up he realized it was already sold. I was disappointed but the good news is that I saved $1,300 and after more time using Matteo’s 6×4.5, I realized that I would prefer a camera with a waist level view finder option, so I am searching for a Rollei instead.

So back to the adventure….I found some great communities in Philly and I hope to spend more time there photographing at some point in my life. Maybe post-London…we’ll see. Here are some photos…..


This is the penny man from Philadelphia. He custom makes outfits for people and enjoys rescuing injured wild animals, rehabilitating them and then releasing them back in the wild. He usually charges people to take his photo but on the fourth of July it’s free.


Happy Fourth of July in the birth place of our Nation. To celebrate you can get your face painted…..


or you can pay $5 to have your picture taken while holding a big yellow snake, that travels in a suitcase….


or you can hold a wooden gun for free and pretend you are in the Revolutionary Army….


or you can kick back, relax and wait for the parade to start like Albert.


Whatever you do, just make sure you do it with style like Philadelphia’s local celebrity “The Boo.”

%d bloggers like this: