Monday, December 7, 2009
Something about the cold. It makes everything more difficult...It makes warm places and people so much more inviting. Walking around Noel Night all of my joints felt stiff (could have been because of the layers or the heels on my boots) All it took was a little of Detroits magic to ease the chill force me to clasp my frigid fingers around my camera.
After grabbing dinner (a delicious bbq veggie pizza) from Motor City Brewing Works i darted across the lot into two of my favorite stores, Urban Bureau and City Bird. I once walked in with a friend after a cold bike ride and he commented that a store like that is where you buy presents for a girl like me! It is so true. Both are filled to the brim with urban inspired and often locally made merchandise, from sleek home ware to kitschy cards. I purchased a wedding card from urban once that i liked so much i forced the couple to open it at thier reception (Disclaimer: a gallon of cheap vodka may have been involved in this decision). City Bird the newer of the two is owned by some of my friends, Andy and Emily Linn. Thier space is part gallery/vintage clothing store/boutique. I hope santa knows what items i have my eyes on... if not i will be making a trip back.
As i ducked out of the crowded stores i was, to my amazement. bombarded by a marching band... like real live musicians complete with flag girls and high stepping drum majors! They played in front of Traffic Jam/Snug for about 10 minutes before i followed them (way better then an ipod on a walk) towards Wayne State where we unfortunately parted ways. We snagged some free coffee on the street, it was then i located the zillionaire bike crew who had just watched scientists doing experiments. I could spend years describing all the cool stuff i saw on noel night let me leave it at this, if you missed it this year, you will not next. I strolled through old time dance parties, The Museum of Anthropology (Corktown Workers Row House exhibit), Detroit Public Library, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Science Center, Scarab Club and back again to my cosy home in Woodbridge. However, the night was young with no end in sight. Music reverberated on my humble block people were spilling out of the now green shack on the corner as some punk band played, huddled around whisky drinks and shuffled shoulder to shoulder at the pub, and gyrated frantically to the bands playing at the scrummage house. Feeling like the only place in the world, my phone blew up until the wee hours of the morn about parties happening all the way on the south side of the neighborhood. If you have never experienced Detroit like this you have not experienced it at all.
Not to mention the annual pancake breakfast i had attended that morning. In one of the more stunning victorian homes in central Woodbridge neighbors are treated to breakfast delights including steaming coffee and wonderful conversation about revitalization, hope, and recollecting memories. Each visitor writes their name and the number of years they have lived here. Connecting newbies to the quarter century club inviting discussion about tactics for surviving here (not that it is incredibly difficult, just trying at times).
It is not until i write it all down like this, that i realize how busy i really have been. I spent wednesday in the suburbs doing a shoot with RMS studios and Vintage King, then later that night discussing other shoots with the incredibly talented Stylist Erica Dubroy. Thursday i met with a program director for the Michigan Womens Foundation to discuss our partnership on an upcoming project and spent the entire evening discussing the changing role and reality for women all over the world. I was sick as a dog on friday until i attended a committee meeting for said event, and then Pancake breakfast, Noel night, a shoot on sunday followed by vegan potluck dinner. Oh me oh my. Where does the time go. okie i need to finish this up so i can edit photos and try to alleviate this recent batch of insomnia.
If this sounds like an advertisement for woodbridge i hope not. I've got sad songs stuck in my head and a bad taste in my mouth. sometimes it's better to think about good times then the harder ones.
also: any female artists. submitt to this!!!!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Winter is on my doorstep. My roommate and i put plastic on our windows to try to keep the heating costs down. The first snow flurries are expected tonight... perfect timing for Detroits Noel Night (http://detroitmidtown.com/05/noelnight.php?msub=77), the only time when snow is nice... the past few years i remember slipping and sliding down woodward, ducking into establishments to warm my cheeks, building hearts at the Detroit Science Museum and slow dancing at Cass Cafe. Trudging around in snow boots, white washing friends, watching polish and Indian dancers at the International Institute. Noel night is great. It's Dally in the Alley during the winter, with the support of all of Detroits' cultural institutions. My friends and all of their family usually come. So you should too.
On another note, with winter setting in, this economy thing is starting to whittle away at my foundations... the holidays and insurance premiums... the frustration that has been building up, the feeling that your efforts are useless... it's time to be proactive and take some responsibility for ourselves. Cheers to things getting better. Finding strength within ourselves and the arms of others. if we stick together we will come out on top.
One last thing, why the hooray? I was asked the other day why Vanessahooray, i should have some of my clients and editors answer this question... i approach every assignment with a positive attitude, so often in correspondence i would say "hooray, this is going to be awesome", or "Hooray, i'm so pumped you liked them". People, especially in the electronic music scene... some only knew me as hooray. So Hooray for being a Hooray. It's a pretty great thing to be.
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Monday, November 2, 2009
for some reason i had a flashback to doogie howser right now.... hmmm... too bad my screen isn't blue, and i don't have prodigy, or a doctorate... yet. anyways. i have been relaxing the past few weeks and had some amazing opportunities come my way. a few are still in the planning stages so stay tuned for them... however i was very fortunate to be included in a photo essay about Detroit as the new frontier by a website called Shareable. I was refereed by a good friend and amazing organizer Mike Medow. Jeremy Smith helped to pull it all together and Aaron M. Renn provided words. Thanks guys!
check out the whole thing here... http://shareable.net/blog/detroit-new-frontier
also posted some new pics on flickr www.flickr.com/photos/vanessamiller
I've done everything but go for a long bike ride to fall asleep, my typos are happening more frequently, and i think it may be time to fall into the covers and try again. have a good night folks. promise i will be back sooner then later with exciting new plans!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
It has been a very insane few months here in Detroit. Probably the busiest time of my whole life, many good things have happened and i feel privileged to live this life. The most concerning issues have been Michigan cutting funding to students, and the growing distaste for out of town documenters and journalists... for self preservation i have stayed out of the debate. However, the argument is very valid. Talk about stimulating the local economy, these media outlets should be utilizing the people who live and work here. The amount of surface coverage of the city of Detroit, feels exploitative to many locals... to tell a uniquely Detroit story, they are looking in the wrong places.
The Detroit story, only as a notch in ones' belt makes us no more important then a one night stand. This is becoming more and more apparent as carbon copy stories of decay, and failure are reaching news stands. Even the stories of hope are being recycled... there is even now a drinking game about it... go here to play, http://dyspathy.com/?page_id=1106 i can promise it is a good time.
Aside from that we have accomplished much in this marathon, the shows started with the Post-apolptic Motor City at 323 East in royal oak curated by famed local art critic Robert DeValle
the outside of the gallery was transformed by cass corridor and international artist chris turner
i contributed this image of a tired worker at Lafeyette Coney Island
Up next was the second installation of the Analog Social Experiment at Dally in the Alley, the best festival in the mid-west, took place inbetween the apartment buildings of Cass Corridor, the Diverse festival drew over 8000 attendees, 30 bands and many vendors. People were dancing in the streets from 10 am untill about 2 am, and Recycle Detroit (ran by friend Sarah Kubick with the help of the recyclowns) turned 85% of the trash into gold.
The installation was a great success and many of the visitors contributed, creating a visual record of the event.
people dancing in the street
In the between we did some exploring
ate some delicious vegan brunch
had some labor day bbq's in woodbridge
saw the opening of the Taubmen center part of the ford educational system and College for Creative Studies. Promising 90 percent of freshman will graduate, and 90 percent will continue onto higher education (the graduation rate of freshman in Detroit Public Schools is 21 percent). CCS Design and Graduate programs, along with 300 residents are also housed in the building, which was General Motors old Headquarters.
as that renovated structure was re-opened, Detroit City Officials tore down the classic and beautiful Lafayette Building.
-see more photos of the inside here http://www.flickr.com/photos/vanessamiller/sets/72157604132550295/
Between all of that... I shot a few Weddings, a few Oil Fires and began teaching a class at CCS.
Had a show at the Detroit League of Photographers studio in the Russell Industrial Center, as part of the Detroit Art now Weekend.... and am finally wrapping everything up with a custom Skate Deck show in Philadelphia. The Proceeds from the show will go to benefit the non-profit stay true... it is a group of internationally renowned artists, who will descend on love park for an evening of genuine ruckus. FInd out more about the event here----> http://awwsweet.blogspot.com/2009/09/good-wood-x-stay-true-x-philly.html
this is one of the test images for my deck.
so thats about it. going to relax for a little while now. edit months of backed up images. Pack for philly. Hopefully i will see you there. Over an out.
Friday, October 9, 2009
This is sloppy, fast, but i feel powerful.
After watching the Ted Talk Titled, The danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, her message can be applied to the city of Detroit. She crystalized an idea and message that i have been grappling at for some time now. I would like to call out the journalists who have entrenched themselves in the home that Time Magazine purchased this summer and ask them to look beyond the mayors office and national headlines for thier topics of interest. http://detroit.blogs.time.com/ What they have been assigned to do will have serious effects to the image of city, and if they do not do it well, the people who live here will be the ones to suffer.
Adichie says "The media can create a single story
show a people as one thing, only one thing over and over again.. and that is what they become."
I would also like to implore that Time magazine and any other media establishments recognize, and levy the talents of the documenters, journalists, and photographers that have been living and working to show an honest and raw portrait of life in this very misunderstood place, and have been doing so long before the fall of our auto companies became an international dilemma. Long before the the decay, urban prairies, independent venues, and local gardens became tourist destinations.
Once again Adichie says " It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power... to be greater then another... stories are defined by power, when, how, by who and how many stories are told. power is not the abality to just tell the story single of a person, but to make it the definative story.
The single story creates sterotypes... which are incomplete.
The single story robs people of dignity"
See her complete talk here...
Friday, September 4, 2009
wedding photo by Ryan Southen
there is something about some photographs... that you cannot put a finger on and could never replicate. it is a mood of the light, the moment, when everything was perfect, the most critical snap of the shutter and you know the instant you hear it. That sound is what we live for, and in those moments we should be alive. with every fiber of our bodies experiencing and savoring something truly incredible before us. whatever that may be.
We should learn to recognize and appreciate these moments of our lives everyday.
This photograph was taken by Ryan Southen http://www.flickr.com/photos/southen.... and i think it is breathtaking... fit best with what i wanted to say. Ryan is a very talented Wedding, Portrait, Architecture... really anything goes photographer. and a stand up gentleman. just in case you were wondering.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I tried to be honest, admitting the fact that myself and my work at times is the ultimate cliche... i guess the only thing i really tried to get across, is the fact that whatever you do, whatever kind of art you may make... if you have a valid and strong point to it, you have surpassed the cliche. What is left that is original in our visually soaked culture, your mind, your opinions, your ideas. That statement in itself can seem like some art school induced bullshit, but i believe it to be most true.
I spent years photographing the abandoned buildings in detroit because i was bored, i liked it, i thought it looked cool. At one point i had to lock myself in a room covered in hundreds of my images and decide why i was actually doing this. I ripped my hair out, stomped around the room, until i realized it was because i was curious and i wanted to learn how to use images to make a positive impact. It's a road i have still been walking down, but i have learned more about humanity and myself, then most people do in a lifetime.
Oh gosh i hope vice magazine doesn't hate me... i am in love with thier investigative reporting, and if i could make photographs like Terry Richardson, Ryan Mcguinly, or Dash Snow (rip),step into thier shoes for even one day, i would probably mess myself. I have voiced my recent addiction with shooting into the sun.... ugh. it is happening it is coming. no more excuses. i stare at images like theirs all day on ffffound.com... jeeze louise.
anyways, it is what is is. i'm excited for the opportunity, and the beautiful photo taken by my chicago friend Carey Primeau http://www.flickr.com/photos/careyprimeau from in my studio at russell
also i will be showing new work in a group show at the 323 East Gallery in Royal Oak on friday.
Stay tuned for more. should be an interesting week. hope i don't get any banana peals thrown at me.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It was Tuesday evening and I was taking a quick ride over to my friends place. He just moved into a loft above Planned Parenthood on cass (we have been making fun of him ever since. a single dude living up there, I’m sure you can imagine the rest). Anyways, it's about a mile from my house, all was smooth until a guy in a truck didn’t look before he made a left from cass onto prentis, the street I happened to be crossing. It's one of those moments where you are thinking, no way this is happening, oh shit it is, and your body reacts naturally to the upcoming events. Fingers pulled the brakes, mind says no time, and my arms pulled me to the right to avoid a head on "mowing over". From what I can remember (I black out in times of serious trauma to my body) my left side collided with the truck and next thing I knew I was screaming at the driver to back up because he was on top of my bike. The following moments are only flashes; body still in one piece, bike in unknown condition, bandanna on the ground... strangers walking over to see if I was ok... and me texting my boyfriend that I had been hit by a car.
The driver got out immediately apologizing and asking if I was ok... I didn't really know to be honest.. Looked down saw the scrapes and bruises, right knee swelling... but everything still worked so the only answer I could rationally give was yes I am fine. The guy who hit me was nice.... the strangers called the police, retrieved my bandanna and carried my bike to the sidewalk for me.... I kind of stood around in awe of what actually happened... boyfriend showed up worked on my bike, police came by I spoke to them... I didn't want to make a report and get the kid who hit me in trouble... I only knew a few things; boyfriend had my bike in some what working order and my joints were all still bending.... after exchanging information with the driver and police I walked away, I walked my bike to my original destination. I guess I was in shock.
Upon arrival I downed some ibuprofen, was introduced to the folks I was supposed to be meeting and took a seat on a couch. Sitting down I started to sink more and more into it.... my muscles began to freeze up, and my boyfriend started giving me worried looks, as I told the internets what had happened, my interior, my guts as I explained it felt like they had fallen into a pile that were then put into a vice grip. We decided we were either going to the hospital or home, and I walked most of the way, unsure of what to do, feeling like someone had punched me 1000 times in the stomach and then gone after my knee with a baseball bat. We got home and aj (the boyfriend) began strapping ice packs to my extremities as I laid perfectly still to avoid moving at all, avoiding as much pain as possible.
This really is a sob story... I’m sorry; I will get to the positives.
So the first night I couldn't sleep... aj stayed up with me at 4 in the morn, I felt afraid that I could have died in the accident, and was still in enough pain that I felt I could at any moment... I drifted to sleep at one point and woke at 8 am decided it was time to go to the hospital. My mom took me to Harper, part of the Detroit Medical Center, they swooped me right up. I got to wear one of those awesome gowns, and slippy socks. They checked me over; I was x-rayed, fed and filled with painkillers. Probably one of the best hospital visits I have ever had. I was in and out, assured all of my pain was from bruising and swelling, and that I would be feeling it for a while.
Well I’m not a fan of painkillers... numbing the pain doesn't fix anything, so I headed out to my life-long Chiropractor and they began to put my twisted vertebrae back into place. (During this trip I also picked up my 5d Mark II, this will come up soon. I've still been too sore to use it properly)
This is the part where I give my laundry list of injuries:
Bruises cover the left side of my body
Hips, legs, shoulder move like rusty bolts
Right knee seems perpetually swollen
Whiplash and several misplaced vertebrae mid-back
Most of the pain has been inside my body.. the bruises have really been the least of it... but they continue up my thigh onto my arm, and my swollen and bruised right leg.
About 4 days after the accident I had managed to kick the vicoden to the curb, but was still needed ibuprofen to feel ok. I missed a few days of work, any position other then laying down legs outstretched was unthinkable (for 8 hours at least). Caught up on shark week, continued work on the star wars series. Saturday was the first day I got back on the bicycle. I love riding in the rain... it makes me feel particularly alive, plus no feeling compares to the drying off and warming up.
Unfortunately, I also took my bike to the shop for an accident report. Turns out, the frame I have restored and customized for the past 3 years, had taken it's last ride. I put over 1500 miles on her, solidified life-long friendships, and had endless adventures on my Raleigh. When I first pulled her out of a pile, kotter pin cranks dangling off, people scoffed at me, I made the list of work she needed and called her the bike of love. The steal frame has beautiful lugs, something I just couldn't look past and I poured my heart into her.
My bike that was totaled.
In the accident her fork was bent beyond repair and the entire frame was twisted to the left. All in all I feel very fortunate to have walked away from an accident that totaled my steal frame. I have learned about so many other terrible accidents, all of my injuries and bruises should fade, kinda makes me think this blog post is silly.
It's been a week now. Finally finishing this epic blog, sitting on my futon with my roommate watching "catch me if you can". It has been the warmest and rainiest days of the summer and my knee feels extra achy tonight. However I am getting better, shopping for a new bike (looking at the Kilo TT, which I will then customize), feeling good feeling great. This whole experience is a reminder of the wonderful people and community i am surrounded by. Many, many thanks for all of the well wishes. Ready to take on the world again. Lets hang out soon. Miss you guys.
BTW: I am looking for a 47 and 50 mm track bike i could stand over to see what size works best.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Above Flick is Andrew Davis, former sound engineer of the white room studios, he had a few to many on the 4th of july and ended up like this in the yard of the grey shack, across the street from the Woodbridge pub. We Barrel rolled over there until we hopped on the bikes and rode to tour detroit with special guest (and former Detroiter) Mike Servito, all the way from NYC. The party above Eph McNallys on woodward was hotter then a sauna, and quickly became a scantly clad, gyrating crowd. I can't tell you when i left but the sun was rising as i rode down commonwealth towards home.
I'm trying to write a blog so i can feel better about my writing.
I have been rejected alot lately. dont feel confident with my writing or photos. gotta make more, experience more, so i can fall in love and believe in what i am doing again.
Meeting with the incredible Detroit Documentarian Bill Rahuser
Photographing the Allied Media Conference (Official Photographer)
Work in a Post-Apocalyptic city show at 323 East, curated by Robert Devalle
Analog Social Experiment v2.0 at Dally in the Alley
Planning Events With Detroit Lives! Phillip!
some more studio work
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
It's been too long, it really has. The last conversations we had, were not well. It has been a long hard winter, but spring has shown her face, despite the still biting cold and rain on my window, she is here.... i guess she is being timid, as most of us are after a nap.
Some people fall in love in the spring, i kick my own ass into over drive. In the Past month i have executed a 3 day shoot of our bike shop, over 25 formal portraits of the movers and shakers in detroit, and traveled over 1000 miles to shoot another 8 gigs of wedding and travels in the east. (Please note i have had some good assistance, and people are getting excited about my projects).
My body is tired and sore, my mind is aflame, i hope that as winter eases her grasp, i can awake from hibernation... and continue to deliver news from the streets of this wonderful city.
this was taken on a recent trip out to the east coast coast, i was lucky to be invited by two very talented photographers, bobby alcott and ryan southen. even luckier that ryan caught this image of me being an uber nerd, on the turnpike somewhere in jersey. drawlin pictures to keep my mind busy from missing my detroit. Although, i think i left a piece of my heart in philly, i can not wait to go back.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
thats me in the middle of an abandoned church on valentines day.
i havn't posted for a long time.
i'm pretty sure no one reads this right now which is ok.
i've been livin my life. trying in vain as usual to live it right. made some things happen. inspired several people to do things that would change the world but somehow i can't keep my own life together. i can help others with theirs but then mine crumbles again.
i guess thats the breaks. i had several new years resolutions. so far none of them have lasted. i am misrible at watching out for my own well being. a sucker for guilty pleasures.. i guess it is what inspires me though...
i havn't written for weeks. but the second someone fucks up in my life, i can't stop.
anyways here is the meat, yes i said meat, of the problem. if i had a dollar for every boy who has promised to build me a website. i would be a very well-off lady. i need to learn it on my own, but i would rather be photographing something or riding a bike then staring at a computer. so vanessahooray.com version 85 million point oh, has been pulled again.
i never had real hopes of it happening, you can only do that so many times. but. thats what it is. yep, i'm mopey. want to take some awful photographs and break bottles.
boys and girls.... whoever thought of that should be kicked in the soul.
so sick of this.
got to keep making it happen.