Favorite Things

Try Something Magical #1: Blow Bubbles by Leslie Fandrich

My Mom's parting note to my sister and me really struck a chord with you guys. It's inspiring to be told to Try something magical, isn't it? I plan to make good on her wish for us. Over the next year I am going to photograph and write about magical things we can try in our lives. You can follow along, or join in on Twitter with the hashtag #trysomethingmagical. 

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Fragile Things: Part One - Feathers by Leslie Fandrich

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A few months ago I was inspired to photograph objects that are considered fragile. As I was working on the shots, I remembered that Neil Gaiman published a collection of short stories called Fragile Things. It was a book I didn't remember reading, so I picked it up from the library and I found that I was familiar with many of the stories from other sources. There are some good ones in there. Some of them are creepy, but still so good. Gaiman is such an amazing story teller.

I came across so many great quotes that I decided to hand letter the ones that were specifically related to fragile things and overlay the illustrated text onto the images. This is the first image of a three part series and I'll post the next two separately in the following weeks. 

From the story Strange Little Girls:

She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet, yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon.
You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her, but everything you think you know is wrong. Passion flows through her like a river of blood.
She only looked away for a moment, and the mask slipped, and you fell. All your tomorrows start here.

From the story Instructions:

Do not lose hope—what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts.
Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn.
Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story. 

I've really enjoyed working on this project and it's given me new insights into fragile things. I love these sentiments about identity and trust. You need focus and passion. You need to trust dreams, hearts and stories. It's about knowing and trusting yourself. And above all, do not lose hope. Ever. What you seek will be found. For a seeker like me, that statement makes me feel so good. It assures me to just keep at it. I will get there eventually, I will find what I am looking for.

The short story Instructions, became a lovely book of it's own illustrated by Charles Vess. I bought it for my kids and this story/poem is pure magic. It's all the best advice from fairy tales. Your kid's adventures and imaginations will most surely be inspired by reading it.

What is your favorite fragile thing or fairy tale?

Part Two - A Heart is here.

I Want to Be a Computer Programmer by Leslie Fandrich

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When I worked at Columbia University designing and managing the undergraduate websites, I learned something very important. Computer engineers and computer programmers were golden. My department was almost entirely staffed by students from the Engineering school and they all knew how to make magic with computer code. 

I learned how to code in college and it was so exciting when I was able to make the computer do what I wanted it do to. I worked on my digital portfolio and was one of only two students who dragged a computer down to the portfolio reviews for my graduating class. I was hired straight out of college and my computer skills were what eventually made it possible for me to move to the States from Canada. Eventually I shifted more towards design, but my foundation in programming was vital to my understanding of how things worked.

The future will be for people in computers and while I've always encouraged my kids towards science, I think I may adjust my view point a little to make sure that it is computer science. I want my kids to not only learn how to use a computer, but also how to program one. Watch this video to see why (this is the extended version).

Inspiring, isn't it? I just finished reading Steve Jobs's biography and the same message was there, although with a slight modification. The power is not just in the computer, but in the place where the computer intersects with art and humanity. That is where the magic will happen. That is something that Aaron Koblin has figured out too.

What successful people of the future need to do is learn computer skills and then use them to make something human, to tell a story, to enrich our lives and to solve problems.

Code.org has some great tools and advice to help us learn and teach computer programming. I'm going to download some of the apps for my iPad so that the kids can start learning the basics. Maybe I will too!

Have you ever coded anything for a computer?

Lost Days Video Short by Leslie Fandrich

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Sun soaked and wistful, this beautiful video short by my dear friend Regina Garcia totally made my day yesterday. It makes me yearn for summer (and youth if we are being totally honest here.)

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Regina told me about filming this last summer in Canada with Goh Iromoto and I couldn't wait to see it. They didn't disappoint. I want to be that girl in the film. I love every single scene but especially the night scene by the bonfire. It's just gorgeous.

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Regina and I went to college together and I have always loved her approach to photography and styling. She has always photographed beautiful strong women and her portraits of children (including my own Milo and Quinn) are fun and playful.

Keep an eye on her, I think she has even more beautiful, creative work to come.

New Prints & My Art Featured at Inward Facing Girl by Leslie Fandrich

Melanie at Inward Facing Girl is featuring my photography and studio in her Art I Heart series today and I couldn't be more flattered and honored. 

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The turquoise supplies were photographed at Uppercase Magazine while I was visiting last summer. The office is so lovely that I didn't move a thing when I was taking pictures. Although Janine did "tszuj" a little as I was shooting. See more pictures from the visit.

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The dripped coffee was shot last spring at the Blue Bottle Coffee stand on the High Line in New York City. Isn't the swan neck kettle gorgeous? The High Line is one of my favorite places to visit in the city. I took this picture at the end of a wonderful day of street photography with Sandra.

From the interview with Melanie:

I'm a very intuitive worker. I try not to plan too much and I let my mood and circumstances tell me what I should be working on. Sometimes it's just about sorting through a box of old things.
I have a list of ideas and concepts that I revisit constantly to see if anything stands out to me or feels like I have more to add to it.
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Read more over at Inward Facing Girl and get a peek at the first photos of my newly organized studio! I've been working on cleaning up my space for MONTHS and it's finally starting to come together. If there is anything you would like to know about my creative process or my studio, ask questions in the comments and I would be happy to answer them! Here's one secret, while the pictures show a perfectly arranged studio, behind the camera and just out of frame is a complete disaster of everything ELSE. It's true. Remember: Nothing is perfect.