Self preservation

I’m not a therapist or counselor, but as a creative artist, I know a lot about human emotions as my visual and emotional senses are very keen. It’s my job to notice things about people and their core that other don’t think of. That is both a gift and a curse, because I internalize a lot of what I know. Therefore, finding that healthy balance through reflection, self preservation, and inspiration, is of the utmost importance for good overall mental health.

myrtle beach

I’ve learned over the years that there are certain friendships and relationships to put stock in, and there are others that are superficial. It’s human nature for me to be a giver, and I don’t mean money or material goods. But more rather love and friendship as it’s meant to be. Not everyone treats it as well as you give it. In this situation, it’s ok and healthy to use different self preservation tactics to set boundaries and avoid staying in an unhealthy situation with someone else. This is true of both friendships and romantic relationships.

spiritual reflection

It’s healthy to allow yourself to feel. It’s healthy to allow yourself to love. It’s healthy to allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Nothing is guaranteed in life. Sadly, in certain relationships, the other person doesn’t always have your best interest in mind, even if unintentional. Hurt people hurt people, often inadvertently. When you want different things, or inconsistency, confliction, and contradiction cause you to feel anxiety, depression, and overall unrest, only you can put a stop to it. Hey, this isn’t good for me! It’s healthy to try to resolve things with the other person, if you see something rewarding about the relationship.

seashell

Those feelings are not ok, and if it’s love, you won’t have to feel that. When someone shows you or tells you who they are, believe them. Be true to yourself and don’t let them manipulate and take away joy from your life. Sometimes it’s healthy to create that separation and cut all ties if that’s what helps you move on. It’s not being petty. It’s ok to decide that a person no longer deserves to have you in their life. Or that they no longer deserve to know what is going on in your life. It’s self preservation. If you know you gave your love and they mistreated it, you have to put yourself first and either set boundaries or bail.

serenity

This has happened to me, and it never stops hurting when I think about it. But in the end, only I can set my own destiny. You’re not responsible for the actions of others, but you are responsible for letting the actions of others affect you. It’s not up to you to deal with karma when it comes to the actions of others or how they treated you. Peoples’ actions always eventually follow them, but it’s not for you to worry about. Losing you and the love you gave them is all you can dish out. It is often necessary to reshape those thoughts because when they invade your brain, it’s no laughing matter.

beach sunrise

Why the beach pictures? I recently returned from there. I went there for spiritual and personal reflection, and of course inspiration. I had some garbage to clear from my head. Nothing happens instantaneously but it’s an important step of the process. Always find inspiration and don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones who care about you. You’d be amazed how clearly people who know you see things.

Helping people move

I know it’s been a while! I’ve done some intimate photoshoots I am not at liberty to share publically, but have been busy with wedding season. Nothing like some deep and random discussion that my readers love. This one is about helping people move. I’ve moved twice since living in Nashville, and I can recall a few people who helped. But we had an established friendship and there was history there, of mutual friendship. Not always an easy find. I’ve helped quite a few people move over the years, and including some of the ones who have helped me. In recent years, I’ve begun to feel a little differently about it.

There are a very small handful of people I’d help move today. That may sound a bit cold, or selfish…but hear me out. In our 20’s, moving was more frequent and we had less shit. In my 40’s now, I’m conscious about how much stuff I keep, because I have moved. I hate clutter too. I can still physically do it, I have endurance and strength. But I run the risk of personal injury like back problems, or whatever. Why? Because they don’t want to hire cheap labor or professional movers? Nope.

Especially the moving party deals. You show up, and most of their shit isn’t even packed! Especially if it’s relatively short notice. If you’re going to ask me to help you do a painfully hideous task, like move your stuff….at least have the respect for my time to have things packed and ready! Entitled presumptuous crap. Helping people move, it’s either a noble deed, if you set a time and keep it productive. Or a total waste of time! The high risk of inefficiency or moderate risk of injury are enough for me to say nope. It would be a rarity nowadays to say yes.

When a part of you is gone

Sometimes things happen in life that you least expect, even though you know all good things have a beginning and an end. While enjoying a perfectly moderate Spring day before the disgusting humidity and excessive heat starts, I got some shocking news from my Mom in an email. That my favorite pizza parlor / tavern in New York that I’ve enjoyed for my whole life, is closing soon. The former Inn was built over 100 years ago and it’s been a tavern and pizza joint for nearly 60 years.

It’s in a small village outside the city, where it’s almost the land that time forgot. I’ve been in Nashville for 25 years, and that village has changed very minimally since then. I bet citizens shit themselves when they built a roundabout at one jokingly busy intersection. It’s always funny and comforting to visit when I go back. Funny that the whole village has changed so little, I think people like it for what it is. And comforting for the same reason. Community staples, like this tavern don’t come and go. If you leave Nashville for even a few months, you won’t recognize some of it when you come back. So it’s a nice contrast.

I think this leaves a huge void in the community. There are so few places where town workers can go for lunch. Or families / bar patrons for dinner or after work cocktail. Many generations. This isn’t just a brick and mortar business I like that is closing their doors. This is a place that’s always been there for me and I’ve been there with my parents, grandparents, friends, some who have passed on. I feel sad and angry at the same time, but understand it was time for these owners to move on with life. Over the years, nothing changed, the inside looked the same. The outside looked the same. The pizza tasted the same, homemade crust and sauce. Knowing I won’t taste this amazing pizza again is the reality that is hitting me right now. When a part of you is gone, this is how you feel. To boot, it’s going to be another Stewart’s shop. There’s already one less than a Goddamn mile away…and there is a gas station RIGHT next door. I will never forget the taste or the feel of the landmark. This is a lifetime of memories for me. One time a couple years back, I brought my twin lens Yashica medium format with me. This too will soon be a memory.

Memoirs of early adolescence

Recently I’ve spoken with different friends about their experiences with their adolescent kids. I had to recall my own memoirs of early adolescence for it to make sense. What blog besides Farrell Gallery has more random ramblings and honest viewpoints? Well, probably tons of them, but they’re not as cool, so we’re running with this. Some random thoughts on this may help clear up these mysteries from a former adolescent boy, about the early teen years.

farm house

-We were growing into our bodies and felt awkward.

-Sexuality was coming, but we didn’t know what it really meant yet, and it was frustrating.

-We wanted more independence, but knew we didn’t have all the answers yet. But not to worry, at 16-17, you know everything. Then a few years later, you realize you don’t know shit. The more you live, the less you think you know. But the younger you are, the more you think you know. It’s like being in a maze with no way out.

-We didn’t like much conversation or questions because things were changing for us, and we either didn’t know the answer or thought no one would understand. Just because our parents went through it means nothing, because it was soooo long ago, and people had different genetic makeup or something. Yeah, that must be it!

-Social pressure and looking uncool means life is over.

-Chores to earn an allowance was such hard work, no one understands.

-Being given the choices when prioritizing can be both a good thing and an unbearable pressure. It was like being given enough rope to hang ourselves with, because everything was a paradox.

-One of the best memoirs of early adolescence….what the F is with these zits? What if she says no to the prom? She might tell her friends and then I’d have to move to Nome, Alaska because my life here is over! Thankfully it was a short phase. Very frustrating one, lol.

 

When does the violence stop?

In recent events of the instances of police brutality and people dying, there has also been violence towards unrelated police, from people who weren’t involved. Let me break it down. The fact that we live in America and we have freedoms most other countries don’t have, doesn’t mean many people are intelligent enough to use those freedoms responsibly. I hate bigotry and racism. We have made great strides as a nation to frown on that behavior and provide equal rights to all. Sadly, there are still racist people out there, and as far as how law enforcement discriminates, I certainly don’t think it’s across the board. There are some bad cops who abuse their position. There are also a lot of good cops who are good people, like to help their community, and go home to their family.

I understand when police violence happens to black people (or white, hispanic, etc.), that voices need to be heard, and protesting is one way to do it. BUT, those who shoot or act on other violent behaviors towards random white cops are too stupid to understand that isn’t the way to handle things. They are as much a part of the problem as corrupt police. If you want to be part of the solution, you can’t do something irresponsible to make an irresponsible person or system act responsibly. When does the violence stop?

Can we always say with certainty that the cop is always racist when a police related death happens? Is it ever possible it’s self defense? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the biggest loud mouths who are only making the situation more inflammatory weren’t there to see or walked in the cop’s shoes. How come no one owns the fact that some resist arrest or try to fight off police, try to pull weapons etc, to avoid going to jail? Do police not ever shoot white or hispanic, or other ethnic group offenders? Do you not know how the media works to feature a story that will incite the public?

What are the solutions? Hopefully in time, all police departments will be required to use dash cams and body cams. Also, hopefully some involvement from the NAACP or ACLU can work with law enforcement to cut back on these problems. Hopefully there will be more zero tolerance policies with police department racism. Hopefully people getting arrested will learn not to fight off cops or make them defend themselves if they pose a threat. Nothing is worth that. Hopefully everyone will be smarter and less racist, and start owning themselves. Things like this make our country’s culture an embarrassment.

web642

Seeing your lover in a new light

I may be a little biased in saying this, but a visual artist will see people and their lovers / spouses differently than those outside the artistic fields. We see shapes, light, lines, textures, all differently, it’s in you or it’s not. It chooses you, you don’t choose it. The good news for many guys out there, seeing your lover in a new light and different light you see your wives or girlfriends in, is a reality with a personal photoshoot. Her very own boudoir or artistic nude photoshoot, as unique as Farrell Gallery.

artistic nude

As a fine art photographer of the female form, I am not only inspired by the curves and lines of the body, but light and texture as well. I recently spent some time with a former lover and I recall using the simplest light to see her differently than the moments before. It could be the soft glow from her cell phone illuminating her lips and face. Or maybe a streetlight providing a makeshift rim light on her hair. That morning light peeking in through the window, caressing her shoulder, the outline of her hips, curves of her back, and butt as she sleeps or walks across the room. Oncoming cars projecting their headlights as the light falls on her. It’s about bringing those simple every day visuals to life, and those visions providing inspiration to make your lover a subject of art.

Nashville intimate photography

Now everyone can see their special lady when their unique beauty is captured through the eyes of a visual artist, as seen by us. I only hope then everyone will challenge themselves to notice their lady’s hands, lips, face, hair, and body in a different light than they usually see them. Light is a wonderful thing.

Outlook on travel

I’m chomping at the bit, after doing several sexy photoshoots for ladies for valentines day or their anniversaries, not being able to share photos from any of them, lol. That’s the drill though, they have careers and are not in this to be models or public figures in that way. The good thing, in the middle part of this month, I will be hosting a traveling art nude model….more photos to come then! So, no, I didn’t forget how to do it 😛

I was talking with a friend from out of state who was going to be visiting Nashville, and he asked me what to do while here. Of course there are the main tourist attractions, some of which might be of interest. But my outlook on travel is different from many. Rather than experience the shrinkwrapped tourist attractions and call it a vacation, I like to experience it through the eyes of a local. Go where locals go, meet locals, and see what the city really has to offer beyond the tourist traps. You will never get to know Nashville if all you do are the riverboat tours, Grand Ole Opry, stay at the Gaylord Hotel, and walk around downtown and buy boots. I’m not saying that those things shouldn’t be part of a visitor’s experience, but I wouldn’t limit it to that. web_A9O6169

There is a whole city here, real entertainment, antiques, theater, parks, restaurants and pubs, outdoor activities on the outskirts. Think beyond the glitter. Just like when I went to Ireland….I could have just done the coast tour, kissed the blarneystone, toured Guinness, and maybe watched some Celtic games. All those are good things, but I couldn’t imagine not walking around Dublin doing street photography, patronizing local pubs, touring a historic prison, Irish Film Institute and photography institute, etc. As well as hopping on a train and visiting seaside villages. Learning their culture is also part of the experience, instead of being an asshole and expecting the culture somewhere else will be like their own, lol. Travel is a way to get unraveled and to get inspired, and to me is a richer experience when approached this way.

Why are we here?

I had a discussion with a friend the other morning that started off about an abandoned house I was going to check out, then it took an unexpected turn. I like when random conversation shifts happen once you’ve moved on from the previous segment of the conversation. Neither of us are into pop culture, but the topic about all these recent deaths came up, especially David Bowie, and other inspirational people. My friend said, they will be remembered for a long time, and have left a legacy, but what about people like us who aren’t famous? What happens when we die? How quickly are we forgotten? Who will remember us? Why are we here? How can we make an impact with the tools we have?

abandoned house

I had to think about it all for a minute. I mean, for the most part, most of us are trying to do what we love, pay our bills and balance our lives between work, social life, family obligations, and make a difference in other peoples’ lives however we can. We don’t always know if we’ve inspired someone, or know what impact we will have on someone else, whether in our lifetime or way into the future. Whether I’m providing a client photos for a lady’s intimate photo session or delivering photos and an album for a wedding I photograph, I captured moments in time for them. And I get to make an income doing what inspires me and what I love doing. One example of this, my aunt gave me some old photos of my dad and his brothers and my grandparents. I don’t know who the photographer was, but they were magnificent photographs and beautiful silver prints. They were probably 75 years old, because my dad was little in the photos. The work of that photographer is still inspiring someone to this day, though he / she is probably long gone.

abandoned house

I look back in my life and think about teachings I’ve had from different people, some I know are long gone. Some of which I can pass along to others. In a way, that’s reusing and recycling in an educational realm. I like to give back whenever I can. Though these days especially, some don’t like anything except validation. But once in a while, I’m pleasantly surprised. You never know when you give something that someone else can use, whether now or later. Just keep doing, the rest is in the control of a force greater than ourselves.

webKY--12

When it’s hard to relate

It was New Years Eve, downtown Nashville at the Bash On Broadway, about 32 degrees outside so I was bundled up with a scarf, hat, and gloves. I love the energy and vibe of crowds, especially when there are live bands. Even though in general, I usually avoid crowds, and sometimes people for that matter. Sounds strange being I live in the city, but even those of us who do can find our little safe spot, if you will. The first band we saw, it was great and the crowd was manageable, the final act not so much, we got closer in to see them, perhaps that was a mistake. It was an awkward way to ring in the New Year, being in the middle of a sea of people, and as the alcohol flowed, some people became increasingly stupid and aggressive. Logic should prevail, if the crowds are that thick, if you get bumped, it’s not by the person next to you, it was them getting caught in the crossfire, you insufferable idiots.

fine art photography nashville

Most people were there to have a good time, but a few testosterone filled morons kindof killed the vibe in that area and part of the night. Let’s not forget those in loud arguments with their girlfriends in public. Jesus, control yourselves and your liquor, people. Eventually we all made our way out and I thought to myself…I’m still plenty young enough to get out and experience life and the crowd, but have maybe reached that point when it’s hard to relate. I mean, if you are that worried about personal space, maybe you should have stayed home with a bottle of Jameson Whiskey and invited a few friends. I was talking with my best friend since high school, and we’d never know that a New Years Eve house party we had in our college age years would be the yardstick to measure all other New Years eve celebrations. Doesn’t sound like a bad idea moving forward 🙂

The American Dream?

I was having a nice insightful discussion with a friend I don’t see often, it’s always good to catch up. I could see between the threads of conversation that he was having a more difficult time keeping up with life’s demands than before. We talked about what was happening in our lives and where we were at with it all, so I came out and asked him how his health and stress level was. He said that his toddler and wife were doing great, he got his wife a bigger SUV, and she wants them to relocate to a larger home. I saw right away why he was feeling added pressure. These aren’t rich people, but they’re kind people and hard workers. It became evident that he was trying to go with the flow and work through it, as if those upgrades were a necessity. He said, I suppose that’s what the American dream is.

farm house

I told him, regardless of what country you live in, the idea of getting more in debt than we should is anything but a dream. The quest for more this, and bigger that can become a vicious cycle. Work harder and give up more that life has to offer to pursue a lifestyle. You already have the “American Dream” my friend, though I don’t see that term as relevant. Usually bigger houses that significantly increase the mortgage payment are to house more stuff, often which is forgotten about. Same with bigger cars, etc. I wasn’t trying to be “right” and make him wrong, but just wanted to give him a neutral party’s way of looking at things.

web_A9O6164

There was definitely a different vibe when I was in Europe. It was less about big homes and huge cars. Living simply but comfortably was what most want, and living beyond their financial means was less glamorized than in the States. This way, when it’s time to work, you work. When it’s time to invest in yourselves, travel, education, and not live day to day financially strapped, it’s time to manage your finances and debts responsibly so you can have those pleasures too. That’s how I would define the ideal American Dream, though I bet most see it differently.