Great Evening at The Gallery at The Colonie Exhibition

thecolonieparty__05feb2009_0017I’m writing this at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, getting ready for my flight to New Orleans this morning. Last night’s grand opening party and my photography exhibition at The Gallery at The Colonie was an incredible success. Hundreds of people turned out to the event and as is always the case at these things, I got to catch up with a lot of people I haven’t seen in years as well as people I see more regularly. But there never seems to be enough time to get enough time with everyone I’d like to.

The event was a private party for the Chicago advertising industry, celebrating the opening of a wonderful new post production house called The Colonie. They have a beautiful gallery space there and my work will be up through the end of March. There will be a public show and opening sometime in mid-March. Just working out all the date details as we speak.

I am currently showing a retrospective of my naked work from 2000 through 2008 and the gallery space is absolutely beautiful and spacious enough to hold the large crowd. A great group of people turned out and it was lovely to hear everyone saying such kind things about my work. Thank you all.

thecolonieparty__05feb2009_0035That in itself would make for an amazing week, but it continues in New Orleans tomorrow night at another gallery show I’m a part of at the New Orleans Photo Alliance called “Desire.” I’m really looking forward to getting back to one of my favorite US cities. Great energy there and a culture that is completely unique. Warm and open they are there. I’m very excited about returning.

I really love to travel. There’s nothing better than heading out and knowing that I’ll experience some new things I can’t even imagine at this point. Meeting new people, and learning some new things.

I’m staying in the beautiful Garden District, a short walk away from the gallery. The streetcar runs right past the hotel, so it will be easy to get back and forth to the French Quarter and anything else I might decide to explore. Café du Monde is one of the first things on my list. Looking forward to sitting in the warm New Orleans air with a café au lait and a yummy beignet.

Mmmmmm.

But for now, it’s time to board and I’m looking forward to the 70 degree weather.

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Already this trip is wonderful. At the check-in I was offered a first class upgrade for some of my miles. But of course! So I’m now typing in comfort at 34,000 feet. It’s been a while since I’ve been in first class.

Haha. They just brought me a bowl of nuts. A warm bowl of nuts. I think the people in steerage can buy a bag of potato chips if they want,

As we were taxing to take off today, I was thinking about Captain Shelly and the amazing landing he and his US Air crew made in the Hudson River a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the flight tapes from that, they are amazing. Talk about grace under pressure. Everyone involved just getting down to the business of averting a tragedy. And all with as much panic in their voices as someone would have asking for someone to pass the salt, please.

I’ve been talking a lot about the 10,000 hours theory. How it takes 10,000 hours to become really at the top of your game at anything. Well, captain Shelly had 20,000 hours in the air. It showed. Incredible.

Ah. My beverage has arrived. In an actual glass.

Back to last night’s exhibition for a moment. I am always so humbled at those things. It’s as close as I’ll ever be to a bride on a wedding day I’m pretty sure. I’ve always believed my work is good. Something I just feel inside. I do what makes me happy and I photograph what inspires me. I do it to please me. Still, I’m always amazed at the outpouring of support. It is nice to get such a warm response. It’s something I never take for granted. My heart beats a little happier in such circumstances.

Thank you all again.

thecolonieparty__05feb2009_0097But you know, there’s always one in the bunch. A client I thankfully haven’t worked with in years happened to be in attendance. In 20 years, she’s the only one who has ever asked, in the middle of a project I was doing for her, that I be pulled from the job because she was unhappy and wanted to work with someone else. The only way to describe her is simply miserable. Someone who is just never happy and makes it her job that no one else is either. She hasn’t changed. At one point she walked up to me and sarcastically snipped, “What happens if I’m offended by this artwork.”

“Well,” I smiled, “I believe they’re showing cartoons in one of the rooms down the hall. Why don’t you go have a look there.” And I walked away laughing to myself.

But aside from that brief and amusing moment, people could not have been more pleasant. I’m feeling very fortunate these days.

And speaking of pleasant, I find it funny the reactions I get from the TSA airport security people when I am simply courteous to them. A “Thank you. Have a lovely day,” when they are checking my ID or after frisking me, never fails to invoke a clearly visible recoil of surprise. You can just see it in their faces that all they’ve had is a shift full of grumpy travelers, and kindness is, well, unfathomable. Can’t we all just learn to be a little more polite to each other? It’s really not that strenuous. I mean I hate airports as much as anybody, but being pleasant makes everyones journey a little less mind numbing.

They just brought me a warm cookie and a cup of coffee.

I’m very curious to see how New Orleans is faring these days. It’s such a shame that an American jewel such as that city was ignored and pretty much forgotten by the incompetence of the previous Administration. I was speaking with a New Orleans native last night at the party and I was trying to describe the unique feeling I get from people there. It’s a pride mixed with a generous serving of warmth. Completely welcoming. Doors opening like you are long lost family members. And an incredible art vibe.

I hope to make it into the ninth ward to document the progress or lack thereof. I always have mixed feelings about shooting subject matter like that. I don’t like the idea of getting on a bus like a tourist at a zoo. These are people’s shattered lives. I have to find a more dignified way to do this. I’ll figure it out. Photography has a way of being incredibly important at shining a light on the forgotten or misunderstood.

Do I want a hot towel? For me? So kind of you. Thank you.

The silly photograph of me above was taken by Deb Shegich last night at The Colonie. It may be one of my all time favorites.

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