The Shutter Sisters and a Sun Medal / by Leslie

Today I am guest posting over at Shutter Sisters! I'm so excited about this as I've been reading the posts and comments over there from Tracey and her "sisters" for more than a year and I have always enjoyed the powerful combination of story telling and photography. This will be my first guest post ever and I hope there are more of these in my future, at Shutter Sisters and elsewhere. I'm excited to start branching out and working with more people.

If you are here visiting from Shutter Sisters, welcome to my site! I hope you enjoyed the story of my Magic Sand Dollar. I posted about it here last year and in the spirit of the post and sharing our magical objects, I'd like to share another item from my treasure box that comes from about the same time in my life as the sand dollar, my sun medal.

This sun medal is a symbol that radiates energy and light and I wore it around my neck all spring during my second year in college and into the summer. Art college was, in itself, a really magical experience for me and many of the things I have from then are becoming more precious to me as I get older.

I have no idea where I got this sun from. It seems to me that I bought it for myself, but I may have also gotten it as a gift and I don't recall from who. At any rate, where it came from doesn't really matter. What matters is what it meant to me. Necklaces have often been representations of what is most important to me. Currently, I have a charm necklace with the names of my husband and children that I wear almost every day, but back then I wore the sun around my neck.

I loved suns and I also have a tattoo prominently featuring a sun symbol. The sun is just a basic, happy, life-giving object. My teen years had been filled with skulls, so this was a nice change. I was very happy, I loved art school and I finally felt like I was in a place full of people who were like me; artists and photographers. I had finished my foundation year and almost finished my first year in the photography program and I loved where I was at. I had a fun social life and my sister was about to move in with me. Life was good.

What makes this charm even more special though, is this photograph of me wearing it. 

That's me with short blond hair! The photograph was taken by my fellow photography student, Kirstie Tweed. She was, and still is, best known as "Orange Girl" for all these fantastic self portraits featuring the color orange. She now lives in Banff, Alberta and has a successful wedding and portrait photography practice with a perfectly fun, Canadian, vintage style. (I haven't spoken to her in a long time, but I was happy to find her website when I looked her up for this post. Hi Kirstie!)

It was April or May of 1995 and I was so thrilled when Kirstie asked to take my picture. (Hmmm, this is reminding me of my recent moment with Karen!) She was about to graduate and I had idolized her all year. I had seen her first orange portrait getting printed, the sunkissed one where she has an orange in her mouth, and I thought it was such an awesome picture. It was a beautiful sunny spring day and she asked me to stand directly in the sunlight. I remember that I could barely open my eyes, the sun was so bright. I would close them, while she set things up and then she would count and on "3" I would open my eyes and she would take the picture. I think she shot it on a 4x5 camera and the print I have is a Polaroid. I love that she was able to capture me radiating as much light and energy as that sun medal did. It's one of my favorite pictures of me from college. We were all staring into the bright suns of our future and trying so hard to capture some magic. 

The sun medal is special to me, but I think the photograph of me wearing it takes it to another level. I think it's awesome to pair new photographs with old photographs of the same object. I was also able to do this for the post I did about my Dad's Instamatic Camera. Having an old photo, of an object that you still treasure, puts that object into context and it gives it a deeper meaning. It tells a richer story than just that object alone.

If you have some special items, take some time this week to take them out and look at them, photograph them, write about them and see where your mind goes. Look through old photographs and see if you can find images of objects that you may still have. Keep these things together, they make such nice sets.

Please visit my Shutter Sisters post and share links to images of your own magical items in the comments!

Camera Settings for the picture at the top of the post:

Equipment: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50mm Compact Macro, Manfrotto Tripod

Exposure: 1/40 sec at f/2.5, ISO 200

Lighting: Direct sun from my skylights, diffused with a 5-in-1 reflector disk