Monday, November 22, 2010

"The absence of flaw in beauty is itself a flaw."

Here's a preview of the noir shoot I did with a few of my friends. One of these days when I have mental energy and time again, I'll post a fuller set.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Update of sorts

Ok, so I just started this blog and I'm feeling my momentum slowly. The truth is I'm in the process of applying to graduate school, which has been consuming my life. I've got a backlog of posts I'd like to do, but I don't have the time or mental energy to properly flush them out at the moment. In a couple of weeks, I'll be back in full force!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


"You don't have to be an artist if you know how to steal"

These words are stolen.

This is called art.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."

Here's looking at you, Autumn.

So, my friend Katie is awesome. Like, really awesome. She has a wide breadth of knowledge under belt and the dry wit to match. We bond over our shared misanthropy, our dull office jobs...and makeup. and shoes. We femme out hardcore together, which is a guilty pleasure neither of get to indulge in with many other people in each of our respective lives.

Katie is also an amazing photographer. You should check out her work. As a blossoming photo whore, it's great having a friend with such an eye and skill as Katie.

We went on a photo journey down Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park. We called this shoot "Vintage Tourism" though I think it should be expanded to "Vintage Tourism at the End of the World" due to the photo vibes.

The weather started off lovely and we got some charming views of Virginia in the fall.

I also got a chance to break out my Lady Coat I made along with Gertie's sew along.

With my 30s pseudo fedora, I feel like some noir star. I want to say Lauren, but only because she is my always inspiration, but I think it's more Ingrid.

In case there was any doubt that I was an autumn baby.

Instant camouflage.

We saw a deer. I decided I was going to be a cougar and eat it. Gendered jokes welcome.

I was either channeling an elf here or searching out the Satanic cult in the woods.

Waiting for my man.

Character in a Faulkner novel. Probably going to get knocked up and try to seek out an illegal abortion.

End of the world 1.

End of the world 2. In a worst case scenario I would seek shelter, find food and make fire all while looking this good.

I would surprise attack from the rocks like so.

Hip Lips: on Lime Crime.

I tend to find that I try to redefine myself or otherwise step outside my bounds of normality during the transitory seasons. This is both an internal and external exercise. With this in mind, I think I'm becoming obsessed with Lime Crime.

Lime Crime has been around for a few years now, but I've only recently started trying out their stuff. The label's tagline is "so bright, it's illegal," and that's what they strive toward. I've tried both their eye dusts and their lipsticks, but I'm only going to focus in the latter for now.

Thouh I acknowledge it as a PR ploy, I also really appreciate the label's message. There's an encouragement of eccentricity and a general embrace of the offbeat. They also promote a disregard of beauty "rules" and say wear what you want, make the colors--make the look--work for you. This is something I wholeheartedly believe in. Be your own person and make your own beauty.

A couple of months ago, I started with one of their more approachable colors, Centrifuschia.

Sadly, my camera sort of zapped the life out of this color. It's much closer to the sample posted on the Lime Crime site. I love this color...a lot. It fits with my old school style, but kind of gives it an 80s electric makeover...and I mean that as a good thing. It also goes on smooth and quite opaque. Seriously, this is the lipstick I put on when I'm having an off day. It does stain quite a bit though, so the day after I use this stuff, I always know will be another lipstick day.

Recently, I purchased two of their more eccentric colors: D'Lilac and Cosmopop.

D'Lilac is a color I want to wear to every party where I either want to be the center of attention or ignored by everyone:

Definitely a lipstick I'd want to plan an outfit around. Also great with some coordinated, intense eye color. It's grey undertones make me very much want Airborne Uniorn as well.

Cosmopop is my fall favorite.

Definitely has a 60s vibe. Makes me want to put on a ton of turquoise eye shadow and thick black eyeliner and tease up my hair. Also works for just a demure color with more of a "pop" than a straight up nude. Doe Deere, the brand's creator, made a great suggestion on her blog. When working with orange lipstick, take a small amount and blend it into your cheeks as rouge. This really helps to make the color work with your skin. This is what I did for he above picture and it definitely makes a difference.

For both the latter two, I think it's also work noting that they're a bit overpowering and streaky out of the tube. I was taken aback and initially turned off when I first put each of them on. Blotting, reapplying and blending with your finger is key to make them look more "natural." Or, you know, you could use a lip brush, but I was too lazy to dig mine out.

Yes, I am slowly but surely falling in love with this brand. I will definitely seek out other lipsticks from the line as my budget allows. Next up I'm thinking No She Didn't because what could be more awesome than blue lipstick?

There's a lot of negative stuff floating around the internet about this brand. I know nothing about the politics of the company, and frankly I don't care. They deliver a strong product and something different from the everyday. Next step: match hats with lipstick.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lewis Baltz.

After visiting a representation of the New Topographics exhibit from the 70s at the SFMOMA a couple months ago, I've become obsessed with Lewis Baltz. Baltz ask the questions about modern space that I like to examine in terms of modern bodies. His work is part of an "anti-aesthetic," re-envisioning what a valid artisitic subject is, reevaluating the idea of landscape, scrutinizing the role of the artist, as well as that of man shaping his surroundings. He's often quite concerned with the privatization of space. This is what I love most about his collection, The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California.

Similar to other photographers of this movement, Baltz plays with the 19th century concept of the landscape painting. Instead of viewing an open expanse of sky across and above the rolling country, this is only implied. This provincial aesthetic is blocked out by products of human innovation. Building blocks of human enterprise and expansion.

Baltz tends to be more aggressive than some of his contemporaries though, in many cases allowing nothing natural to enter the frame. No point of reference exists for scale or local. Man both in front of and behind the camera completely controls the landscape. There is literally no escape. It's asphyxiating.
A lot of Baltz's work also centers around construction. Despite the solidity of the concrete backdrops, this is still a transitory endeavor. Man keeps tearing up, keeps building. This also points to what lies beneath the surface. Man has not just built on top of, but within and throughout, furthering the influence of this artificial, Euclidian order. Construction is one of Baltz's continued interests, as seen in his work in Nevada and around Candlestick Park in San Francisco in the 80s.
It's important to note as well that this is an exhibit of industrial parks. The privatization of space is a central theme. Nondescript boxes disrupt his landscapes. Nothing is revealed about these spaces, what their purpose is, why they exist. All we know is we're not allowed to know. He uses reflections a lot in his work to reinforce this opacity. The above photo is my favorite from the collection. The viewer is finally given access to a black box space (in print form, this space is so highly illuminated, my dad said it resembled trompe l'oeil. opacity persists), but what do we find inside? A ladder and some shit on the ground. Privatization for the sake of privatization. The closing off of public and open space.

Baltz's world is far removed from the classic frontier expansionist myth of America. Everything is boxed up, torn up, claustrophobic and utilitarian. Obviously, he has an artist's intent, a bias, but part of the intent of this movement was to try to create an objective outlook on this changing landscape. Obviously, this is impossible, but I think it's very easy to assume that Baltz is coming from a negative and judgmental place. I think this is limiting. His work is quite arresting, from a formalist perspective. He finds beauty in his subjects, finds his nondescript buildings worthy of being artistic subjects. According to my dad, he breaks all sorts of photography rules too, but I know nothing about that.

My views on how we relate to our bodies in contemporary space stems from a similar condition to that which Baltz interrogates. With everything disjointed and privatized, we have no point of reference on scale or skin. Our sex symbols are sterilized, mechanized, our beauty airbrushed. Bodies are now foreign to us, even though they're constantly shoved in our faces. The mind and the body have become dissociated, compartmentalized.

I would highly encourage taking a look at Baltz's work. I'd encourage the same for Nicholas Nixon and the rest of the New Topographics crew.


“you’re too pretty for me”

he says this without a hint of irony. I don’t understand what he means. I raise an eyebrow.

“it’s true. you’re too pretty for me.”

pretty hits my skin but stays outside. it does not permeate through my layers so my mind draws a blank.

he puts on that dismissive smirk, but I still pick up on a hint of resentment in his voice. pretty does that to people. I flick my eyes up to his momentarily, shake my head then focus back on my tea.

beauty is something worn, an adornment. this I understand. pretty is more oblique, more insidious, seen as an inherent quality. I believe he takes this to mean I will be confident (i.e. vicious), operate from a position of privilege. He thinks by calling me out he will somehow weaken that capacity.

“did you hear? they think they’ve found a cure for the bats. no more dying in the trees. hopefully at least,” I say softly.

he nods but has nothing to add. I think about bringing up painleve’s le vampire, but I feel that’s just another dead end, not enough to fill the space. esoteric references got us to spitting distance but will take us no further.

instead I sit quietly and think of my friend’s father, three years ago, his eyes unfocused and bloodshot standing on his overgrown farm. he says the bats have been gone all summer and the mosquitoes have gotten bad. he misses them and he worries.

“baaaaaaats!” he rasps, his voice worn and strained. “baaaaats!” we stand there, waiting, purple.

as if awaiting the signal, a dark blip shoots across the dusky expanse. this excites the man and his face changes shape. “baaaaaats!” he calls again, “baaaaats!” no more appear and eventually the man’s hope wanes. his countenance resumes its weariness and he ambles inside.

“what are you thinking?” pretty boy asks.

I shrug and glance at him sideways. I see that his eyes are too close together but disregard this as forgivable since they are also the color of a lake I remember fondly. in others we seek these souvenirs of cherished memories, reminders of things external and unchanging. this is called attraction.

I notice he fidgets with the same apprehension that I do. we’re mirrors of inaction. my throat has closed up. I notice a run in my stockings, a nick in my shoe.

mating between bats plays out like a game of marco polo. the male shoots out his voice, flying back and forth across a central route. the female then seeks him out, following his vocalizations.

for this purpose, the anatomy of the male hammer head fruit bat has twisted over time to increase its ability to produce sound. its elongated head filled with air and its larynx distended to almost half the length of its backbone. this now fills so much of its chest cavity that the heart and lungs are pushed to the periphery, deemed of secondary importance by evolution.

I realize we have been sitting in silence for some time. I am unable to speak, my larynx is shrunken, my lungs and heart unencumbered, so I just look down and let out a breath.

with some sudden, awkwardly enacted aggression he grabs at my hand across the table.

“I like you,” he says, though his voice wavers. “I don’t normally like pretty girls, but these things happen sometimes. sometimes we have no control.”

his words make no sense. sound here is unnecessary and distasteful. but my desperation, my desire to play out this game is clear despite my silence.

he lunges across the table and kisses me hard, as if overwhelmed by some insuppressible need to subdue. I respond mechanically in an attempt to reassure him. he does not stop. this is performance.

he touches me and I think of the bat fungus, of the dying bats, of my ex, of the cold. I think of bodies, but only as abstractions. with so few bats left, how will they survive?

as he pushes through, permeates, I think about how far away I am from pretty.

Salutations and Introductions

"In love there are two things -- bodies and words"
-Joyce Carol Oates

A long time blog snooper, I thought it was finally time to actively engage in the virtual conversation.

Call me Tamina. ("The whole secret of Tamina's popularity is that she has no desire to talk about herself. She submits to the forces occupying her ear, never saying: 'It's absolutely the same with me, I...'")

This space will shift and change depending on my mental state. The gist: musings of bodies navigating through a sea of words, on fashion, on beauty, on body politics, interspersed with personal reflections of day to day existence. Come in for a spot, grab a comfy seat and a warm cup of tea.