Feb 28, 2006
"i really want to hire you because your photography is so different. . . ." i hear this alot. i've been caught up in wedding hoopla, though. weddings and bridal portraits and engagements and everything in between.
i did not set out to be a wedding photographer. and honestly, i still don't consider myself one. but damn, has the ball been rolling.
and when the ball rolls so fast that i have to spend more of my time organizing myself and talking with wedding coordinators and printing contracts, well, the art begins to become generic. and then i'm only different from other wedding photographers. i'm not growing as an artist in practice or thought.
weddings are weddings. long days. people in love. yada yada. but for me, it's still a practice in finding out who people are and preserving that in my camera. it's still a practice in photojournalism. it's always a lesson in love.
after one cup of coffee with erica i knew i wanted to work with her. so i asked her if i could shoot my next bridal portrait in her fancy studio in some sort of collaborative fashion. i wanted to do something new. a different sort of portrait than what i've been doing. something more fun. more colorful. something more.
she said yes and i was thrilled and nervous, but OHMIGOD.
i am in a state of such gratitude. e. just absolutley kicks ass all over the place with the generosity of her studio and equipment and time, not to mention all that coffee.
i'll find a way to repay you somehow, neighbor. maybe i'll let you keep this really odd picture of me. i look a little like an oompa loompa here, no?
Feb 25, 2006
the show went down sat. 18th, cold weather and all. and look! my friends showed up! the people looking at me here, collectively, have seen most of the spectrum that is carissa's life. there are the very very old school friends, from elementary for godsakes. this was the first time i've seen them in 10 yrs! they braved icy bridges and everything. a college friend flew in from little rock and arrived in a taxi at the gallery. others i met when i moved to dallas, so we'll call them old-skool dallas friends. and one is brand spanking new.
i've got very cool friends. very loyal friends. these and more show it all the time with visits and phone calls and e-mails. i have amaze-the-shit-outta me friends. i totally don't know how to express my appreciation very well. but i think all of you, and my dad, who worked so hard taking care of my family, are awesome.
sarah jane . . .you're a whole other paragraph of amazement i don't have words for.
photo by sarah jane semrad
and the baby was there! dressed in pj's, of course. i'm not very fashion conscious when it comes to the bean, but i figured if i had to dress up, so did he. apparently not. metahor for many future parental lessons i'm sure.
seriously? that's all the pics i took at the show?
next up was sons of herman to see salim nourallah. but we had to wait a while. see how patient mary is? i think it's just 'cause she's sleepy.
so most of us did what we do when biding time. we take random digital photos of people.
and then we sit around and look at them.
until salim comes on and we all get our groove on. except for those who fall asleep *cough, cough* *mary* *cough, cough*
and the night's not complete without a bathroom portrait of nella boo and i. thanks again to everyone who came. all you with pictures of my reception . . . .send 'em on! peace, ya'll.
Feb 23, 2006
all night and all the next day every hour on the hour i paid homage to the porceline god. i passed out around the toilet at one point completely unconscious. benji said he heard penn saying, "uh oh, momma" and found me wandering around the house asking if he saw me. the bump on my head still hurts.
benji said i must have slept for 36 hours straight, not counting the pukey interruptions.
i'm introducing gatorade, tomato soup and apple sauce back into ye olde digestive system. looks like i'll be back on track for the three shoots i have this weekend.
Feb 21, 2006
i either need more hours, more coffee, or a babysitter. maybe a maid. my life is walking through a maze of buildings, turning a new corner at every other block and trying to find the appropriate facial expression for whatever it is that jumps out from the sun and shadows. i rather enjoy the surprises. beats mundane. beats schedules. beats sameness.
my computer is currently broken, which totally sucks, but at the same time, doesn't. i'm bombarded with things that suck and at the same time, don't. my practical realizations aren't meeting with practical solutions or motivation. the suck. and the not suck. i think this is actually my ridiculous optomism meeting reality.
stay with me people. all this, it's going somewhere.
Feb 18, 2006
the walls of the continental gallery are now covered in carissa. such a strange and rewarding feeling it is to put what's in my head into a camera and onto paper and then nail it up to see what it does to other people's heads.
sarah jane is amazing. inspiring. and she totally just gets it. she also doesn't laugh in my face at my ignorance of her curator lingo.
sj also has one of those bodies that can do just about anything and look like a graphic design.
sweet sweet daniel came to offer more than moral support and let me take random photos of him since on such little sleep i'm only good for knocking beer bottles over and nodding dumbly.
the joy of lightbulbs.
thank you so much sj, nyddia and d. you fucking rawk.
*first photo by daniel miller.
Feb 17, 2006
you're all welcome to come over tomorrow and put the wires on the back of my frames for me. and clean the vomit that benji's been projectiling into the toilet before ALL my company comes in for the weekend hoopla. no, really. come on. and bring pepto for the baby's daddy.
my life is so weird and it has so little to do with the above paragraphs. love it.
Feb 14, 2006
after p.'s bath last night i mentioned "clothes" and he bolted down the hall in a spurt of giggles. this can only mean one thing: chase the baby. but first! put the bathroom back together. my naked baby search ended on the couch in the living room. fast asleep.
scooping up sleeping baby's, diapering them and depositing them into their "new" bed (more on that later) is like the epitome of a mother's day hallmark commercial.
looking for a father's day hallmark card? bring the daddy back home after a long business trip to louisiana, pile him and the kid in the tub and invite the cat and the dog to come watch.
Feb 12, 2006
there are many things that are a priority in this house. hair is not one of them. not even my baby's hair. when it starts looking like the above---
---i'll grab some scissors and cut it out of his eyes. but yesterday, i had to cut out a dread. the back of p.'s head is like two old possums in a fight. i gave up "fixing it" before i started and we headed over to "kids kuts."
sure, i should have seen if kinome was willing to cut on a two year old head. or even taken him for the $5 "great clips" cut. but, this being penn's first real live haircut, i didn't want to risk it being traumatizing. kids kuts is full of toys. so full he totally didn't mind the 35 minute wait. he got to sit in an elevated JEEP for the cut! to penn this is the exact equivilent of winning the lottery and marrying minnie mouse. and in front of the jeep is a TV! and you get to pick what he watches!
i watched with zero envy as these "kid kutters" had to endure a new movie every eight minutes, meanwhile chasing heads under jeeps. penn watched "kidstrucion" and "bob the builder." he sat completely still with the exception of standing up and yelling "CEMENT TRUCK!" every once in a while.
i told "kutter lady" i wanted to keep the length. i wanted something relatively hip and shaggy.
kid kuts comes with two styles. 1. boy. 2. girl. this is shaggy? this is length? this is off to join the army. ha. but you can't deny that it's cute.
he looks like a completely different child. and the strange yoddeling yelp mixed in with, "what did they do to your hair?!" that came out of daddy when he got home. . . .priceless.
Feb 10, 2006
i was just about to profess my love for the puppy. he's the smartest, cuddliest little thing i've ever seen. and like a child i wish i had more time to devote to him. i wish he could go everywhere with me. there is a guilt that comes with owning a dog that does not happen with cats. if i go away, my cat misses me, but deals with it. they eat and poop and drink and play and go on with their lives. but the dog? he gets frustrated that the cats won't play with him more. they do play with him. catfish even lets him chew on his ears. (so weird.)
so i was about to profess my love while my photos are uploading when he started barking on the couch beside me. because when he just couldn't resist an attempt at chewing my hand or my computer i got up to get him a bone. two in fact. and when i got up he started barking because he can't get off the couch by himself without hurting something. and that barking woke the baby and that baby made a sleepy eyed stumble down the hall into the living room to see what all the fuss was about. the puppy is lucky he's so damned handsome.
so cute that i sometimes let him on the couch and i sometimes let him steal my office chair. ahhh puppies. next best thing to babies.
Feb 7, 2006
some people hate to have their picture taken. i used to be one of them. benji asked me why. i couldn't really put it into words, so b. did it for me. "because you didn't like the way you looked, right?" partly. i guess. loosely termed, anyway. i don't really have any big self-esteem issues. he explained why i didn't like "the way i looked." not because i was so terribly unphotogenic, but because no one had ever taken a good photo of me. it's shocking to me, sometimes, that this thing that i do with a camera is a talent.
a good photo makes you think about who a person is. makes you wonder what their voice would sound like if you asked them what their favorite color is. a good photo has nothing to do with people lining up, looking at the camera, smiling and being blemish free.
tj doesn't like having his picture taken. but he likes these random shots i took of him on a happy house-filled sunday. and that is thanks to benji, who encouraged me to put my oddness into a camera.
and on febuary 18th i'm going to frame my oddness and put it on a great big wall in dallas, texas and i'm going to invite people to come and do what they may. and it will be very different from the silent observations i have grown so comfortable with. my house is littered with reminders of my new quest. postcards, frames and empty bank accounts.
i am so excited.
The reception is Saturday, February 18 from 7:00 – 10:00 PM. Admission to the reception is free and the art is available for viewing during regular gallery hours which are Saturday from 1-5.
Carissa Byers is a full-time photographer and mother. She attended the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Memphis majoring in Mass Communications and Film Production. While at UCA she became interested in the art of photography but couldn't afford the classes. So she lied and said she was a photographer in order to work on the college yearbook and use photography and darkroom equipment for free. Her first assignment for the yearbook was photographing Bill Clinton at the 40th Anniversary of the Little Rock Central High School integration.
Carissa moved to Dallas a little over three years ago where she conceived and birthed baby Penn. Now she shoots everything from bands and cd covers for record labels to commercial branding, portraits and weddings.
Carissa has a special adoration for the little things that get lost in the cracks of the everyday life. The sentence that both pushes her forward and holds her back is, "What am I missing?"
This exhibit is a small compilation of found things. Slightly damaged things. Things that went missing. All the photographs show something that Carissa has found, photographed and blown up as another example of how subjective our ideals are of the world of importance and of the objects lying underfoot.
Pigeon-Stone Project at the Continental Gallery is located on the first floor of the Continental Lofts Building. Bringing together both artist and community, it is the intention of Pigeon-Stone Project to spotlight local talent and to help build a stronger foundation in the Dallas art scene. Nyddia Hannah and Sarah Jane Semrad are curators of Pigeon-Stone Project at the Continental.
This exhibit will be Sarah Jane Semrad's last at the Continental Gallery space.
For more information. please contact Sarah Jane Semrad at 469-951-7323.
Feb 6, 2006
i started wondering what my "snapshots" would look like to people 100 years from now. would age make them feel important?
would the lack of intention be superseded by the coloring or the odd automobiles in the background?
would my art still be art?
last week benji, penn and i took the dart (subway) downtown to watch some of the construction. you can stand right up on the fence and practically have excavators dump dirt on you. i took a handfull of photos i from that day and made them look a little like the 1920's photos of my neighbor.
Feb 4, 2006
it is a better party if someone is holding a jar of not-enough-money and screaming at you to put in your five for the keg. (unless you were the one who bought the keg.)
a man is not a man without his toys. he is a better man if his toys are expensive.
geeks rock way harder than jocks.
dogs have the absolute worst gas.
for ever person i meet that is literally amazing i meet two that are sartcastically amazing. and i know they're breeding.
Feb 1, 2006
i'm peeved at being sick. one of carissa's greatest qualities?: i don't get sick. and didn't i just have a little cold not too long ago? since i've put myself on couch duty i've had a little time to finish off a couple things.
i can't remember the last time a book made me cry. so it was either a long ass time ago or i have a bad memory. "the miracle life of edgar mint" made me cry." weird how the sucky life of a little indian boy who gets his head smushed by a mail jeep can still be so hopeful. four stars. read it now 'cause it looks like it's been optioned for a film. and you know you'll be lazy and just watch the movie.
"lord of war." wow. my nauseous state made it difficult to watch the awesome whirly bullet opening to the film. i wish that was all that made me nauseous. this movie made me feel sick in so many different ways and mostly without the gore that many movies dealing with this sort of subject matter cop out on.
that was the interesting part. the really horrific things, the slaughters, were depicted in a non-traditional way that i appreciated. i don't want to go so far as to say that it was artistic because murder and art don't seem like words that belong in the same sentence. but it was well thought out. and based on true events. it's a good movie. well done, i say. it makes a dozen really good points. those points are the ones that make me sick.
i. hate. guns.
go see it. if it doesn't drag out your world-view compassion and sense of helplessness to the gov't, to the warlords, you're already dead.