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.


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.

Travel etiquette


What does this have to do with spirituality? Everything. Because when traveling, we should always think of our fellow man and woman, and the process goes smoother. The last airline travel I did a couple months ago, I flew from Nashville to Dallas, sat next to these 2 really friendly ladies, but I couldn’t help but notice the whole vicinity smelled like cat food. I said something about it and one of them said, oh we brought leftover BBQ from the airport, it’s in my bag. I remained civil of course. The look I gave them should have let them know I wasn’t overly impressed with their travel etiquette skills, even if that’s an unspoken rule. The guy I sat next to on the way to London was perfect. He didn’t say much but was accommodating both times I needed to use the toilets. And didn’t take forever to exit the plane.

The short leg to Dublin was uneventful thankfully. A day of walking in Dublin city centre felt good after a long overnight flight. The next day, my cousin’s husband and I (who lived in Dublin) took a tour bus to Northern Ireland and the guide was great. She gave us some Irish history and we made one stop each way. She reminded the passengers that they may bring a cold beverage on the bus but no hot food or beverage was allowed because it makes the bus smell. I instantly had a flashback to the leftover BBQ on the plane that smelled like cat food. I was so grateful and I may have told her I loved her for that. I’m thinking to myself, why would anyone even need to be told that?

Northern Ireland

I took a train from Dublin to Howth to walk the piers along the Irish Sea and check out the village, enjoy some fresh seafood. The train going that direction was relatively quiet, it was a weekday afternoon. I saw signs reminding people that if someone elderly or less physically able than you, or laden with groceries etc. to consider giving up your seat for them if the train is full. But they also had a sign made in a comical way, to remind people that “snoofing” wasn’t cool. The act of pretending to be in a book or sleeping to avoid eye contact with those said people. It’s good to bring those things to peoples’ minds although it’s sad that it has to be done.

Howth Ireland

On the way from Dublin to JFK, a Chinese man butted the line ahead of this single girl to get to the security gate faster. He acted like he didn’t know what people were saying when they were telling him what an asshole he was. I was just glad people called him on it. Though I doubt he learned from it. Human decency clearly wasn’t on his list of priorities. So, I get on the plane and it would be almost an 8 hour flight. I was in the window seat, I may change that strategy on International flights. I was next to these 2 girls, maybe 11 and 13, her parents and other sibling were in front of us. They were mild mannered and seemed pleasant. I had to get up and use the toilets, and they scooted their knees sideways instead of standing up. AND they had crap all over the floor. Oh no, that wasn’t going to fly. I said no, please move your stuff and stand up and let me out. I’m not climbing over you or your stuff which shouldn’t even be in the floor. Their parents must have overheard me and looked at me in disbelief. I thought, why would this basic teaching have to come from a complete stranger? But the stuff was moved, and they got up and let me in, I smiled and said thank you 🙂

Howth Ireland


Exploring an unknown road

I was on the motorcycle on several occasions this week, the late Summer air has been unseasonable cool and less humid for the past few days. It’s at least a nice temporary relief from the heat. I was on a street while approaching downtown, which isn’t the nicest. In the past it had been known for prostitution and drug deals, etc. It’s still not squeaky clean. But certain times it can be the road less traveled. Plus areas like that are less affected by gentrification, at least for now….so it’s a possible area that if I explore it, I may find a different abandoned building to do photoshoots at! That’s how I have a nose to sniff out cool locations. It’s a sense I have, when something tells me to keep my eye peeled, or exploring an unknown road with the hopes of finding a different spot to do an intimate or nude photoshoot.

I saw one road that I never noticed before, it went uphill and nothing was in sight. I thought hmmmm…..there could be some cool industrial places up that way, or abandoned houses! I turned in on the motorcycle and noticed a few houses, and a couple other warehouse businesses, etc. Then a dead end. Nothing abandoned or particularly interesting. But I may go back and make a couple contacts in the industrial yards for an open area especially in non business hours, if I can get the green light. But even if I came up empty, I took 5 minuted out of my day to satisfy my curiousity and explore a road not many probably even notice. I’m one exploration closer to the mecca of abandoned buildings, to be continued.

junk car

Have a nice day

I was with a student photographer in recent days, we were talking about the use of textures and shapes in photography, and how using those 2 things in conjunction with intimate / nude photography are a perfect balance. And how the most photogenic things and locations aren’t pretty. They can make a photogenic person look all the more amazing and create that interesting contrasting element in a photograph. When we parted ways, she wished me a “have a nice day”. I said thank you, although I mean this in a kind way, I don’t wish you a nice day, just hear me out. I have to keep the students guessing, because there is always a hidden meaning 🙂

I told her, go find something inspiring, whether an abandoned building or house, or any other structure with rough and distressed textures. Find something dark and disturbing, bring yourself to that place so you understand it. Feel that connection to that subject, whether human or inanimate. Because, that to me, is a nice day. So, in that regard, have a nice day 🙂 Then you can work on the lovely female form and how to bridge the gap between the soft curves of her body, and the rough features of the location.


Dublin Ireland street photography

Unusual faith in humanity

I recently spent a week in Dublin, Ireland and also visited Northern Ireland and England to visit a photography mentor. It was a wonderful getaway, I also got to visit my cousin and aunt whom I had not seen in a couple of years. I did a lot of roaming and street photography, where I cut my teeth. I felt very inspired photographing a different canvas and different people. While out one Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon walking with backpack and camera in tow, I was hungry and was looking for a local pub to eat some lunch. With all the pubs in Dublin, this wouldn’t be hard to find, LOL! It was a beautiful day, maybe 20 degrees celsius, which is about 70 degrees on a fahrenheit scale. Nice gentle breeze and sun peeking in and out, mostly in.

I saw a sidewalk sandwich sign in front of a pub that advertised a toasted ham and cheese sandwich and soup of the day for €5.95 and the value of the Euro was pretty close to the American dollar. The front door was open, letting the fresh air in, so it seemed inviting. I went in. The gal behind the bar greeted me, there was no one else in there except one older man enjoying a pint. I asked her about the lunch special, she said they had mushroom soup. With that sandwich, that sounded nice. I asked her if they accepted debit cards and she said cash only, and told me where there was an ATM at a nearby Tesco express store. I told her I’d be right back. From my experience, that would usually be the end of it until the customer came back. But usually the customer would find somewhere else that accepted cards, or be embarrassed because they had to ask….and the establishment probably wouldn’t expect that patron to return on their word.

Surprisingly enough, I returned 5 minutes later and as soon as I walked in, she greeted me and was bringing my lunch out! She was obviously taking me at face value when I said I’d return, so at that moment I was ecstatic that I went back. But I, however was surprised that she didn’t seem surprised to see me back as I said I would be. It’s inspiring to see people who stand for and expect integrity, that was unusual faith in humanity but a welcome experience 😀 Here are a couple candid photos I shot in the bar.

Ireland pub

Ireland pub

Guitar in the air

It was Easter Sunday, often a day where some people go to church, or when families get together. A potentially awkward holiday in those given scenarios. I met up with a fellow photographer friend, and walked around Cheekwood with him, he likes the flowers and exhibits. I appreciate the beauty of the place, and enjoyed it, as I love walking and being in the fresh air. And it’s always nice to hang out with friends. The temperature was perfect, maybe 64 degrees. Places like that, as most well know, are not my usual subject matter. I brought my camera just in case, even if photographing flowers aren’t my thing. We fortunately got there before the church crowd piled in, there was no one on the walking sculpture trails. Good. LOL. I liked this walking path as the sun beat through the trees.


We noticed a structure that was partially underground, it resembled a storm shelter of sorts. We walked in, went through a fairly linear and long tunnel that was partially underground. I started to hear the sound of guitar in the air. I followed it, and entered a dome, with a sitting ledge around it, nothing but acoustics and a hole in the roof to see the sky. I felt a real uplifting. I saw a girl inside playing her guitar, we sat in there for a bit. No one else was around. She said she loved the acoustics in there, I could totally see that. It was great for the mood, and so unexpected and random. She gently played the guitar and was perfect background and set the mood music. It was good for my soul, I looked up at the sky through the hole in the roof of the dome, and breathed deep. I saw a jet stream but tuned out any noise except the guitar. Maybe there wasn’t any.


street photography


Magnetic personality

I was out with a friend, after we saw a movie we stopped at a restaurant in a fairly trendy area. Most of the servers were young, a mix between guys and gals….our server was an older gentleman, maybe mid 50’s, long hair, but there was something unique about his personality. He was very outgoing, and helpful, wanted to make sure we were clear on the menu, etc. The drinks came quickly, you could tell he wanted us to enjoy our experience. We thought, wow, this guy is already going above and beyond, without being annoying, a hard balance to achieve for a server.

I made some small talk with him, because he had such a magnetic personality, I had to know his story. It was unusual to see an older male server, but I thought at the same time how cool it is, and he is using his personality to connect with diners. The unfair thing, is a cute young female who is average at her job will make the same tips probably, LOL. He knew that. He was healing from a divorce out of State, and came to Nashville for the opportunity and a fresh start, his 2 kids are grown. So you know he’s dealing with some pain inside, but is taking a positive approach to work through it. He gets healing through being around people and making their experience a positive one and puts pride in what he does. Something rarely seen. I believe in generous tipping, this guy got a very good one from us. All it takes is some kindness and attentiveness for people to appreciate you sometimes 🙂

Acceptance of craft

I had this discussion while doing a photoshoot with a nude model about dating and relationship difficulties as a result of what we do. In her case, she’s had her difficulties finding a significant other where problems didn’t surface as a result of her nude modeling. Acceptance of craft can be a tall order with the other person not involved in the industry and not having a first hand understanding of the inner workings. Really, in her case, a professional traveling nude model, it boils down to this. You can’t be in a relationship where you expect the other person to change their life for you. Whoever she is with would have to understand and support her career choice, it isn’t forever anyhow. And not try ultimatums. This is what she does, deal with it or walk. No guy worth their salt would want his lady giving up on her dreams for him. Perhaps some of those guys were controlling or jealous douche bags, and rightly so she sends them on their way. Perhaps others are good men, that tried their best to learn about her modeling and support it, but just couldn’t feel comfortable with it. In which case, choices have to be made. Some just can’t make that separation in their minds that to them their partner being nude in front of others is a form of intimacy. Even though with our arrangement it isn’t that way, if everyone is above board.

It also works the same way for me as a fine art nude photographer working with women on artistic nude and boudoir photoshoots. I have had quite a few women I dated not be able to accept that aspect of my work. In their case, I didn’t sense that it was about jealousy or they assumed that I was sexually involved with those I was photographing. But more rather that I would not consider our intimacy as special or they feel they are sharing me with others. Which in actuality isn’t true, but they’re not involved in my craft, so I can’t expect them to think the same way. I can’t write them all off and call them irredeemable, I chose this craft and they have to decide how comfortable they are with it. That doesn’t mean I am giving it up for them. But I’m not saying it’s wrong for others to, for the right person as long as the decision feels organic and not forced or influenced. As for me, I will keep hunting but as of now, here I sit writing to you.

Boudoir photography Nashville

Dating observations

Occasionally I bring my iPad to coffee shops, parks, or other random place for an hour or two for a change of scenery and do some writing / blogging away from home. I’m definitely an observer as people are present on the streets and in establishments, but with my photojournalism experience, I can do so without staring or being obvious. There are also times when I don’t care to, and focus on my own projects. I can tell a lot by how people interact with one another, about how mutually rewarding their relationship may be. I stay tuned in for very limited amounts of time, sometimes what I see is inspiring and I learn from it, and other times it’s depressing.

street photography

It’s always rewarding to see two people of any age, totally connected and tuned in to one another, just by subtle body language and a simple but loving touch. There should be someone for everyone, and it’s nice to see those people found it. Sometimes I also see the “relationship of convenience” couple, that are slouchy and look like the soul got zapped out of them. Neither exude happiness, as if both are down on their luck and they’re both over it. Perhaps, given the opportunity, one or both would go out on the other, if one didn’t monitor the other’s phone or watch their every move. Let’s not forget the shallow girl who always picks a certain type of guy, who is divided and disinterested towards her in public. After a string of them, you’d think a connection would be made and it wouldn’t be a surprise when they experience the same result with the next. Nope. Instead, oh all men are so horrible, boo hoo. Own your mess cupcake.

street photography

Occasionally we witness other peoples’ first dates while out and about. It’s great to see two people engaged in conversation, eager to hear about the other, no bored looks while the other speaks, etc. Eye contact even while taking a sip of coffee, wine, water with lemon slice, whatever their pleasure. Not to mention natural laughter as opposed to obligatory or nervous laughter. Always refreshing to know this still exists, without having to vie for second place to a phone. I only hope for both of them that one isn’t rebounding and not ready to date just because they can’t be alone. Always my biggest pet peeve when dating, meeting someone who has no business even dating because she too recently got out of another relationship. Neither the collateral damage to the other person they bring into their mess, or them making themselves the victim helps the overall health of themselves and society.


Occasionally you see the sophomoric dick joke guy meeting his soon to be mortified date. You’d think he’s with his buddies from high school, not a lady he is meeting for the first time. SO….either Shallow Hal is looking for an exit because her photo didn’t match up close enough for him, or he really is as smooth as sandpaper. LOL. Always see full body photos if dating online. Perhaps the girl mentioned in the second paragraph would be all over him? Hm….maybe I should offer this service, for a large fee 🙂

street photography

Let’s not forget the first date that is more like a job interview. The woman walks in there with the same body language as she would a business meeting, trying to select a candidate for a certain position. She’s not about the idle chit chat, she wants to get to the core of the guy quickly so her time isn’t wasted, and so she can interview the host of other men on her list. This poor guy is pretty much eliminated before they sit down together. She is either jaded by the past or is taking advantage of supply and demand and enjoys that control. He’s trying to break the ice with her and lighten the mood, by asking questions about her and covering one thing at a time to keep it organic. But nope, she’s got to act like a douche bag and give him the speed dating quizzes so to speak. Almost looking for a difference of opinion on social issues or politics, or not like the way he holds his fork, coffee mug, etc. If he “passes” that rigorous test maybe he does have a shot, if he’s not turned off.

street photography

I get it, when you meet people to date, you want to make sure something is there, but honestly, there should be an inkling of that feeling before going on an actual date. Any instant incompatibilities and red flags can reveal themselves quickly if some conversation takes place on the phone etc. It also takes time to get to know people. Loud mouthed political and religious discussions do not belong on a first date. Before any conversation like that happens, I’d want to know I’m with someone who keeps an open minded approach to all subjects and knows how to interact with those who feel differently. Of course certain core values need to match up, but what fun is life if everyone thinks the same? I’m fine with being asked some questions, as well as random interests / conversation, and I ask her about herself, it’s all a healthy balance.

street photography

It’s pretty obvious to me when I’m being borderline interrogated, and it will not only make me think this chick is manipulative, but probably what I can offer her wouldn’t be enough. I may intentionally blow the date using a subtle approach that will seem very random but ambiguous to her. Not everyone is oblivious to, or will play your game honey 🙂 Take it down a notch, you might just find some good people. Fortunately, there are all kinds.

street photography


Seeking shelter from the rain

i promise I will get back to posting nude and boudoir photography soon….with the heat, that has been quiet but I’m in the thick of wedding photography season. Several shoots in the works for the Fall. I was out today on the motorcycle, and unexpectedly was caught in an afternoon shower. I was in an industrial, almost ghost town area of Nashville…There isn’t much but some industrial stuff and through traffic through there, maybe that’s why I like it, and even photographed some buildings in that area, LOL.


I decided to get under the roof of an abandoned gas station pump area, seeking shelter from the rain. It was roped off. There was a guy standing under the roof and he lifted the rope for me to get in. I said thanks, and cooled my heels for a bit until the rain passed. He was on foot, which I wondered about, there are no bus stops near there and there is not usually much foot traffic through there. They say don’t talk to strangers, sometimes it’s the only way to learn and keep your mind open. He was in his late 20’s I’d say, first assumption he could have been a drifter, or slightly down on his luck maybe. I finally asked him, what brings you to this unlikely side of town, on foot? He said there was a Mexican Supermercado nearby that had great tacos. He had the bus stop at the stop nearest this little market, and this was how he felt healing and enjoyed his day off from work. I can relate. It’s good to keep your senses open and notice up close what’s around you. That was about it, the rain was fading and we went our separate ways. Now I know a new place to get good tacos 🙂

abandoned gas station