The State of My World, May 2018: Tiny Things

Yay,  I’m finally posting my monthly blog before the end of the month, (kinda.. it's only bout a week away..)

Inspired by the dreamy springtime blooms (now a thing of the past) and my love of tiny things, I hoped to capture the essence of Spring by printing tiny subjects on tiny negatives.  Keeping true to form, I procrastinated just enough to where there was hardly any sign of spring left to print. (Insert Upside Down Emoji) Luckily, my house had enough Ligustrum Litter in the backyard to scoop up a few tiny petals to make some lasting hypoallergenic images.

And then while strolling thru the Garden District with a group during my weekly photo workshop a few weeks ago,  I managed to capture the Very Last Ligustrum Bloom on this Very Large Ligustrum Hedge just for good measure. 

It has been a while since I’ve printed on negatives, and I admit to not being as emulsion savvy with the different films (yet) as I am with paper, so the purple hues were a welcome surprise. My first print was actually jasmine

and it did not disappoint.   Just like Everything Else I Do, this isn’t a series just about tiny springtime blooms.  It’s more about the idea of said tiny springtime blooms. The idea is that the Big Picture is nothing more than a series of tiny things, and its the tiny things that matter.

 I love the fragrance of spring with the jasmine and ligustrum in bloom (granted this year it came way early and normally I’d be looking forward to the jasmine blooms wafting through the air right about now rather than lamenting its ending).  I like the vibrancy of this jasmine image b/c it shows the  Power of the (seemingly) Tiny.   (Unsolicited PSA:  Wanna heal the world? ….Think Tiny..one kind act...one single vote....) 

If not for all those tiny petals, where would that vernal aroma that envelops our neighborhoods each year be?! 

…. maybe hiding with this lizard? Note: This is the only jasmine print I have right now because the camera that I used to take jasmine pics with is currently vacationing with some witches in Massachusetts, buts that’s for another state of my world blog post.  Anyhoo, while we are on lizards, here’s a couple of tiny dinosaurs:

Just before I killed my lantana (it will be back) while on road trip to Massachusetts to drop said camera off at Witch Camp, I made a few lumen prints. They didn’t come out exactly as I envisioned, but I do like the circular pattern of this one.  

I thought it a nice ending for this post - may the circle of tiny things be unbroken..to create a  better state of our world...

 

Til next time..

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

www.natashasanchezcreates.com

The State of My World: April 2018

Hello folks - well, I did it again, got this blog post in hours before the month of April ends. To top it all off..the theme of this months State of My World is....coming soon. haha..but true....

Enchanted and inspired by the lovely spring like weather this month, I aspired to capture its essence with some new lumen prints.  They are, as of now at 8:30pm, a work in progress, but i will have them ready for next months blog, and next month is tomorrow so that works out well..

                 new lumens coming soon!

April was a busy month with gigs in new venues, new songs about my recent adventures in L.A., fundraisers, photo workshops and exhibits. 

                Sunset in Venice, California, not Louisiana

 

April also saw the healing of Betty the Bullhorn, who underwent surgery for a fall last December and recovered in time to make it to the Musicians Mentors & Barroom Heroes fundraiser at Checkpoint Charlies - her first event since the fall!

Betty proudly shouting out for the CD fundraiser for the Musicians, Mentors & Barroom Heroes radio show on WHIV 102.3  at Checkpoint Charlies

So for now, tis all.. I suppose it is true that April showers bring May flowers.. so stay tuned!

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

www.natashasanchezcreates.com

The State of My World, March 2018: Quinoa

I’m trying to get better about posting this blog at the beginning of the month, but every beginning has an end and here we are again at the end of the month...with 5-ish hours to spare!   ‘sall good though b/c I’ve had a few ideas of what to write about but ultimately  what got this month started was…quinoa.  

I’ve been cooking up a quinoa storm lately, casseroles, soups, salads even patties.  Unrelated to this recent cooking venture, three years ago I was able to visit the land of the quinoa itself, Peru (did not go there b/c of quinoa, but it is all I ate while there, thank you freakishly high altitude). I also realized I haven’t posted many pics from that trip so here are a few.

               Quinoa Field, Peru

Quinoa (keen-wah…as in “I’m so KEEN on Chickie WAH wah, haha) is known for being a versatile superfood packed with nutrients and proteins.   I s’pose my mind has been wandering to one in particular DELICiOUS quinoa soup that I had in Peru and have since tried to replicate it (read: tried) and that is maybe what launched my recent obsession.  Or maybe …it was the need to sustain versatility.  A full-time artist is a Creator, Creative Director, Business Manager, Accountant, Coordinator, Teacher, the list goes on …..in other words ….in order to Survive, an Artist has to be versatile, no matter where the strengths and weaknesses lie. So adding a versatile grain into my diet and contemplating said versatility rather than working on my taxes seems apropos at this time.

Yet I also think back to Peru itself.  There is no way to experience Peru and not include the word “versatile”. With a variety of topography and climates, being able to adapt to the 4-seasons-in-one-day is essential and lets not forget that pesky high altitude thing.  

So maybe the theme of this blog is not necessarily quinoa, but versatility, adaptability.  Yet somehow quinoa, Peru and a sun-god lizard relates.  In my photography classes I often repeat the phrase "everything is relative".  What works for one shot doesn't necessarily work for the next and the photographer is constantly adapting to the current and ever-changing conditions, scenes and subjects. Throw the business side into the mix and we are adapting all over the place.   Quinoa, in all its culinary versatility, Peru with its ever changing landscape and lizards with their righteous ability to adapt, reminds me that everything is connected and that the world is as large or as small as we want it to be, how we choose to perceive it, and adapt to it, is entirely up to us. 

Til next time....

** I do intend at some point to post my photos of Peru..stay tuned.. **

 

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez  2018

www.natashasanchezcreates.com

The State of My World, February 2018 : Dedication

I'm  often drawn to ancient sites, churches, cathedrals, places of reverence. Almost every World Tour photo shoot  included a church and the ancient mound sites were peppered throughout the route (which led to the Ancient World Tour, currently on hiatus but sure to resume in 2018)  The challenge is creating that reverent vibe in the real world, in every day life. Yet its not so challenging when we are open to seeing it in nature, in people, and all around. Yet again....these are trying times.. and when I need a more intensive weeks-long jolt of that vibe, I'm fortunate that every 12th Night, January 6th, the Carnival season begins.

 

For some Carnival will begin right after the season ends, plotting/planning costumes, themes, etc. For others it may begin in the summertime, in the fall, after Christmas, or as so often is the case with my costume, late night Lundi Gras..

I gotta say, I absolutely love Mardi Gras. Known for its revelry, there's much more going on in those early weeks of the New Year. I love the spirit that that time brings to the city, and maybe what i love most of all is the reasons for that vibe.  It's a time of dedication.   The day celebrated as a day to let loose before the season of Lent begins, comes about after sometimes months, sometimes days, hours or minutes of true focus and dedication.   Looking out at the sea of costumes exemplifies that vibe each and every year.

Mardi Gras isn't without its many issues, i know, and yes, there are MANY different ways to experience Mardi Gras and many more facets to explore if I were actually writing a blog on Mardi Gras and not ponder-blogging (new word?) on the concept of dedication. Its hard for me to not get caught up in the vibe of it when I live within its borders. Come Carnival time, my address is: 

Natasha Sanchez
Mardi Gras
New Orleans, Louisiana

 I have been thinking a lot about dedication in everyday life and where we put our focus. Just like going into a sacred site helps fill the soulful well, being around the dedication of Mardi Gras keeps me focused.

The dedication and focus isn't just about the costumes (who am I kidding... !)  It's about expression, its about joy, its therapy in a glue stick.  Its the satisfaction of all the pieces and parts combining to make the spectacular whole.

  (Ex.:  just how many more sparkles 'n things can i possibly hot glue onto this garage sale hat?...answer:  a lot.) 

  (throwback to 2008....last minute eyelashes to complete the costume...)

 At a time when it seems easier to fall down the well rather than fill it, Mardi Gras comes around and lets the self shine. 

Like this mime..(shout out, Esthrrr...throwback to 2007)

Each Mardi Gras experience is unique, but Its the individuals that make up the collective Mardi Gras experience.  Just like its the individuals that make the collective world experience. Maybe that's why I've been pondering on focus and dedication so much during these turbulent times. Its amazing what can happen when all those pieces and parts combine to create an expressive, peaceful & joyful world. 

Til next time..
 
all content (c) Natasha Sanchez 2018
www.natashasanchezcreates.com

The State of My World, January 2018 : Roots

With the New Year I am taking a new direction with my blog posts and newsletter.  I've been slacking on the posts, though I haven't been lacking for material or things to say.   2017 was an intense year.   I hunkered down and got some things DONE. One of those things was at long last I  finished my long awaited (...I've long been waiting for it..) book draft of the Louisiana World Tour.  After productively procrastinating for years on this project, I finally realized (admitted) that it was something I wanted to complete, but nothing ever happens by sitting around admitting that it was something I wanted to complete. After a chance meeting with a woman who creates wooden lizards (lagniappe) during my "Solo Pilgrimage", a journey across the Florida panhandle en route to St. Augustine, FL for a gig last summer, I came home and got serious about putting words to the page and images to the eye.

It took 6 months, or, if you count the years of exploring, photographing, writing, performing and exhibiting it - 6 years and 6 months - but finally I felt a sense of closure and accomplishment  (am now productively procrastinating in my search for a publisher, but thats a whole other story) and  feel free to write again. 

After 650,000 drafts (okay, like 3 or 4) I finally found the one I could connect with.  I wasn't satisfied with any draft, angle or format and I realized the only way to finish it was to scrap everything and go back to the beginning. Get back to the ROOT of why I began the World Tour in the first place, and then the answer was simple.  I started the World Tour because I wanted my world to be larger and that was the mindset in which to complete the project and move it into its next phase.   Why it took me so long to come up with this when that mission statement is plastered across every World Tour blog post and website description, I'll never know.  Okay. I do know.  Its because I was looking at the surface of the project, all that I had created, all the shows, exhibits, etc while overlooking the root, why I even embarked on the expedition to begin with,  as we are so often apt to do.  And thus "Roots" is the first theme of my new monthly blog series "The State of My World".

 

I think the world could benefit by focusing on the root of things right about now, but thats a whole other blog post. As for the World Tour book project,  I was avoiding getting to the root of the World Tour because I saw it as an obstacle on my path.   To write a book, photo essay, rather, on wanting my world to be larger implies that I thought my world small at the time and what was that about?

In can be a daunting experience, this digging deep, yet In the course of writing it the words came easy (cuz there aren't that many) because I realized my own perception of its origin had gotten skewed. I didn't think of myself or my world as small back then, but I did want to expand upon what I was doing.   Thus making my world larger, thus making my head hurt at how difficult I can make even the simplest of things be. haha. 

There are times when getting to the roots can be messy and chaotic, but its worth it, without the root, what is there to grow?

Then there are times when getting to root of things can be fun and light-hearted, like that time my Carrot Song was unintentionally presented as a piece of Live On Air Radio Carrot Performance Art....what? One of my git-er-done achievements of 2017 was getting back to my songwriter roots. I now play in my own songwriter circle and as it turns out, another chance meeting as a "plus one" at a Charlie Daniels show after Whale Fest last March enabled me to do just that (what did all that just say?!) It led to me being a frequent lurker/performer on Laura DeFazio's radio show on WHIV 102.3, an awesome community of Musicians, Mentors & Barroom Heroes, where I played The Carrot Song while Laura munched on a carrot (not nearly as thought out or as planned as it sounds, but hilarious, with lots of laughter and chatter about carrots and gas station snacks.)

 Of course, the song is not about  Carrots.  Its about being a photographer and trying to weed through the surface of the news and get to the root of world & daily life issues.   When all is said and read, what is true and was is important?  As a photographer, I rely on my own perception to understand the world and present my views, therefore I need carrots in my photographic kit, since they are good for your eyes and all, to really see the truth behind the surfaceTurns out, I needed Carrots to help me finish the World Tour. 

So thats the State of My World right now.  Roots, Carrots and I'm even sipping some ginger tea.  So what's happening next?  (stole that)  I'll have a new blog post on the State of My World in February and some upcoming gigs (Check the Calendar) For now, sit back, grab a carrot and listen to some lighthearted  carrot chatter. 

 

 

Get Lost! (sometimes we just need to get away)

 I used to have a "Get Lost" gallery on my other site, filled with images of places where I could travel in my mind when I needed to get away - the forest, the river, the Fly, the lake, the sidewalk, the side of the road, etc..  I'd been thinking about bringing that gallery back, and there's no time like the present.  This time I've included a glass of wine(insert upside down emoji Here).  The gallery is filled with new/old images (some are already featured in collections on my website) of our world.   I wanted to put them in a place to be viewed collectively in case anyone else just needed to get away for a bit. Given the political and social climate we live in, I think that need is becoming more and more prevalent each and every day. 


So "getting lost" isn't escaping, its recharging.  Its taking care of ourselves so that we can take better care of others.  And that's what the world needs right now.    My thought is that by recharging ourselves, breaking away from the oh-so-popular "us and them" mentality and connecting with the notion that there is "us" and there is "the earth" and we are all part of it and in it together,   creates a larger and more peaceful world for ourselves and others.  These are images from one world, yet all different places, linked by water, sky and color. Two of my favorite images are the Land & Sky image from St. Augustine, if you look towards the pier you see a Tiny Person in Big World, and the Tiny Planets image where we see just how small our big world is.  Feel free to take a gander, a deep breath, lower your blood pressure and calm your mind, or just look at some purty pics if thats more your thing.  haha.  

(P.S. I'm already thinking of Get Lost: The Forest Edition)

***  If you are interested in purchasing any of these images, I've created a Small Shoppe and am offering 8x10 fine art prints for $50. If you are interested in another size feel free to contact me for sizes and pricing info ***

Happy Travels and I hope that you...get lost.  haha. 

~ Natasha

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez 2017        

www.natashasanchezcreates.com

 

 

 

New Website, Same Ole Outlook

Hello!  Welcome to my Brand New Blog on my Brand (kinda) New Website.  There comes a time when change is inevitable, and here we are.  On this shiny new site I hope that I have made navigating my world a little easier, from the World Tour to Lumen Prints, Songs and Workshops. I’ve even taken a new direction and showcased my (other) travel photography in my Photographs page, so to kick things off I thought I'd share.

Times they are a changin', a constant truth since the beginning of said time.   Websites are created for short attention spans these days and rely on the visual (lucky for us photographers). In reading up on Sites of Today, one piece of advice kept popping up: make sure you have a clear message, make sure you have clear message.  Sound business advice for any successful endeavor or artist.  I pride myself on creating art in different mediums - photographs, lumens and songs,  all with an underlying common message.  I thought long and hard about how to concisely clarify that message and the answer finally came to me:

The World doesn't completely suck. 

  Ok, well it kinda does and it kinda doesn't and surely I could phrase that better, but I do like to document my world as is.    My focus tends to dwell in the details where the smaller parts make up the whole.  I've always been more interested in 'what Is'  and I've long been fascinated by the world we create for ourselves and others. Hopefully this new site illustrates that concept.

I started out in portraiture and over the years gravitated to more landscapes, lumen prints and cray world tours, writing songs all along the way.    I never stopped hearting portraits, there just came a time when I knew I couldn't solely focus on them (unless it was Betty the Bullhorn, of course). Anyhoo, I've noticed as I shoot landscapes, I occasionally drift towards people as they blend in to the landscape.  If anything, my travels to Hawaii compelled the idea there is no boundary between us and the landscape, we are as much a part of the environment as the leaf on a tree.  On that note, I added a new portrait gallery, my first in a while, of photographs taken mostly from my travels...as anyone who has followed my World Tour or taken one of my workshops knows...I tend to travel all the time, even in my own backyard.  

Feel free to have a look around, I've added a few new photos to the Sacred Faces gallery, and I will continue to update the Calendar with upcoming music gigs, photo exhibitions and what not.  This post also marks a return to blogging...yay!...this new format will also make it easier to post new galleries, so check back often and/or follow me on the inner webs. 

Happy Day

Visiting Earth and beyond - in Maui

 "We are all just visitors to Earth."  - this quote, words spoken by a park ranger at Haleakala National Park in response to our reply that my friends and I were visiting this lovely island from New Orleans, perfectly summed up my ethereal birthday jaunt around the island of Maui last month.

I got an idea of what I was in for when my first glimpse of the island was this incredible moonset over West Maui Mountain. 

When I wasn't watching whales,

or meandering around Mars (a.k.a. the summit of Haleakala),

or photographing the dawn of my 45th trip around the sun,

 I was contemplating humankind's place in this vast world. 

 It was easy to do in a world so large yet at the same time so small.

Tiny planes were dwarfed by towering mountains, 

Tiny boats surrounded by Pacific waters, 

tiny pedestrians sharing the road through the vast countryside,

and tiny cyclist navigating mountainous curves.

Reverence is ubiquitous here and it is understood that rather than a choice, its a way of life. 

It has to be, otherwise drivers are faced with two way traffic on one way roads  

with...

(haha)

The land itself exudes that appreciation 

and it permeates throughout the culture.

Lucky for me that reverent vibe followed me home to New Orleans just in time to see our country go bonkers.  With all the divisiveness going on, it was refreshing to be in place that understands that regardless of who we are, where we live or what we believe,  at the end of the day we are all simply visitors to this earth.  And respect for ourselves, each other and our land is an essential part of living.

Nice way to spend a birthday.

~~~***~~Aloha~~***~~~

Shout out to Michael, Monica and Alex ... it was a birthday adventure to remember...Mahalo!

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

From Antiquity to Tranquility.. The Louisiana World Tour

When I began what would be the Last Louisiana World Tour of 2016 back in September, the plan was simple. 

 

I was going to re-visit Sicily Island for some re-shoots, and then check out the Native American mounds that surround the area.  BUT…then my car broke down and plans changed.  (see last blog entry)

Suddenly car-less, I was determined to finish the re-shoots that I needed to get to complete the World Tour performance piece…so, with my handy Nissan Rental, I headed to Sicily Island, Copenhagen, Lisbon AND Athens…all in one day.  I got the shots I wanted and, in keeping with the theme of the World Tour, then some.

First, I found my way to Sicily Island where I got to see even more of the town than last time.. I didn’t know that was possible. 

But most importantly, what I really wanted to capture was the Mediterranean charm of Sicily Island, Lake Louie.  (also referred to as Lovelace Lake)

Overlooking the lake was the vista of my original World Tour intent, Peck Mound.

Peck Mound 650-860CE

Peck Mound was occupied from 650 to 860 by the Troyville & Coles Creek Culture. Of the five mounds in the complex, only one is no longer visible.  I could have continued on as planned and explored the other mounds in the area, but I instead traveled onward to Copenhagen where I photographed familiar scenes, though this time around I did not get lost or maim a squirrel (click on the link to refresh your memory).  I did, however, find myself surrounded by Forests and my Horse Friends.  I also was able to capture a sparkly sign pic.

 I still wanted to explore the Ancient World, so I drove a little further and reached another mound site, Wade Landing, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

The Road to Antiquity

Yet it is easily visible from the road…a little piece of antiquity with a giant mansion right next to it.  According to the marker it is about 1000 years old and the cemetery on top of the mound helps to preserve it.

Wade Landing, 1000 year old Mound

Finally, it was time to head up north where I once again drove through the metropolis of Lisbon, and picked a few new shots on my way to Athens

 Lisbon, Louisiana

(I always shoot a tree when I'm in Lisbon)

 

As I arrived in Athens in Northwest Louisiana, it was as much as I left in 5 years ago. 

Athens Town Hall

But I did discover another church.

St. Rest, Athens, Louisiana

I really wanted a shot from a hill, as I read that Athens, Louisiana was named for Athens, Greece and the original town was built on top a hill.  Ask and ye shall receive..

At the end of the day, I found a hotel near Vienna and got to work looking up what ancient mounds could be around this area. Most of the mounds in Louisiana are in the east, situated along bayous and the river. I wasn’t expecting to find any in North Central Louisiana, but lo and behold…..I found one!

The next morning I was off. I passed through Vienna long enough to capture this sign – Old Wire Road. The sign, situated between two posts of blooming morning glories, says that it was the first road across North Louisiana and began as an Indian trail.    How apropos..

Old Wire Road, Vienna, Louisiana

View from the Road near Lisbon & Vienna

Turns out the mounds I was heading for were only a short drive from Lisbon where i had been a day earlier.  Hidden amongst the trees and fancy houses of Union Parish and overlooking D’Arbonne Lake is Scott Place Mounds.

D'Arbonne Lake

The mounds from the late Coles/Creek early Plaquemine periods dates to about 1200. This by far was my favorite mound to photograph. As I kept climbing up the hill I couldn’t place where the mounds would be. Just around the corner though, there was the sign and the mound.

800 year old Scott Place Mounds

On the way back home I got to take in some more Louisiana loveliness. I also got to experience some good ole southern hospitality. As I stopped to take this photo, 

Louisiana Bayou

a truck immediately pulled up behind me, the driver jumped out thinking that I was having car trouble. I thanked him and told him I wasn’t ..I was just driving like a maw maw in my my Nissan Rental observing the State of my World.

This particular World Tour may not have gone as planned, instead it was so much better and left me in a state of true reverence.It reaffirmed that the present coexists with the past and reminds us that nothing is more important than preserving the State of Our World, both the inner and outer, for the future.

Flowers blooming in 2016 at 800 year old Scott Place Mounds

In that regard, this World Tour road trip, and all my World Tour road trips have been:

It’s all in how you see it. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading, viewing and supporting the State of My World

~ Natasha

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

************

The Louisiana World Tour, a philosophical and photographic road trip through the state of my world, began in 2011 under the premise that the world is as large or as small as you want it to be. Since that time, over 20 "international" destinations have been visited in Louisiana. The Ancient Louisiana World Tour began in 2016 and aims to complement the Louisiana World Tour by honoring the  natural landscape and those who came before us.  Follow the blog for more exciting adventures! 

 

Once Upon the Side of the Road - Its a Whole New World

If we are facebook besties, no doubt you've heard the story. While heading out to Sicily (Island) (Louisiana) last week, my car engine died along with the brakes.  My first and only thought when I finally coasted to a stop was "this could have been sooooo much worse".  I was grateful for the chance to make it to the side of the road and that nothing was blocking my path.

For the first time in the 5 years that I have been Touring the World, I was disappointed. My goal has always been to simply make it to the town and photograph something with the town name.  This tour was a little different, I have already visited Sicily (Island).  I was going back for some re-shoots and to explore the nearby Ancient World of Native American mounds.   Yet it looked like there would be no World Tourin' on this trip.

Until...

After being slightly bitter and texting friends this pic with the caption "Worlds Most Boring World Tour",

Worlds Most Boring World Tour

I found a tiny butterfly. 

Tiny Yellow Butterfly

It occurred to me that one of my favorite places in da world is The Forest. Pick a Forest, any Forest.  When I'm not photographing lizards or reflections for American Photo Safari, or hosting songwriters and musicians at Buffas Bar & Restuarant, I am most likely hanging out in the forest with bunnies and butterflies, or at least thats what I'm daydreaming about.

So there I was, stranded on the side of the road waiting for my Tow Truck Driver in Shining Steel,  feeling a little down about not being able to complete the world tour, when I realized - I was right where i wanted to be - in the forest.  Everyday we drive on these concrete strips of cleared land ignoring or not even considering the world around us as we anticipate the world ahead of us.

So I decided to go on tour after all and explore this enchanting terrain with moody shots of the forest, a whole new world just on the side of the road.

And shadow selfies, natch.  

I was mildly pleased with myself for photographing this spider web:

Until I stumbled across this one:

When the tow truck finally arrived it brought with it more photographic opportunities - 

reflective selfies

(apropos)

And shots of my car on its way to its final resting place just outside of Sorrento.

.  

A fitting end to a car that brought me all over the world, the road.. and then some.

The Worlds Most Boring World Tour turned into the Worlds Most Exciting One after all with more adventures ahead. 

Til next time..

Up Next:

The World Tours Final Chapter Begins

with

Scenes from The Rental Car

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

 

 

Summer Solstice Fossil Expedition at the End of the World - in Venice, Louisiana (Ancient Louisiana World Tour)

I spent the Summer Solstice at the end of the World in one of my favorite World Tour sites, Venice.

Sunset in the marsh

 I first photographed Venice in 2011 during the dawn of the World Tour.  I wrote a blog, "Further Down the Road", that featured my Not So Slight and Very Unnecessary anxiety about *how* I was going to photograph this worldly wonder.   By the third trip down it was obvious that Veniceclearly spoke for itself.  This time around, on the Ancient World Tour, fossils were the motivation.  Well, fossils and jaw dropping sunsets.

Summer Solstice Sunset in Venice

Water rules the road in Venice

 as does the wildlife.

makes ya wonder about rush hour

The Ancient World Tour speaks to the original settlement of our world, the natural environment.  I thought the Summer Solstice, a time to celebrate and respect light, the perfect time to go fossil exploring. Using the lumen print process (printing with the sun!) to create a "modern" fossil (term applied loosely) even the smallest blade of grass or the tiniest flower gives an immense sense  of our intricate and fragile existence.

Venice Marsh, Venice Flower, Venice Tall Grass, Blades of Venice

After all, it's the little things that create this expansive

world we all share and live in for just a short while. 

Til next epoch..

End of the Solstice at the End of the World

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

************

The Louisiana World Tour, a philosophical and photographic road trip through the state of my world, began in 2011 under the premise that the world is as large or as small as you want it to be. Since that time, over 20 "international" destinations have been visited in Louisiana. The Ancient Louisiana World Tour began in 2016 and aims to complement the Louisiana World Tour by honoring the  natural landscape and those who came before us.  Follow the blog for more exciting adventures! 

 

Looking Past, Moving Forward - Sims Site, Ancient Louisiana World Tour

I've traveled the world from Athens to Quebec, but there is still so much more to discover.  Louisiana, as you know, is rich in archeological sites.  I've long been interested in ancient history and that interest only intensified during the Louisiana World Tour while visiting places such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Poverty Point.  Along The Way, as I'd travel from town to town, I'd pass site after site, the Filhiol Mounds near Sicily Island, the Balmoral Mounds near Barcelona, the list goes on.  I realized that I was passing our past, yet maybe exploring our past was the key to moving forward.  So off I went in search of yore..

Sims Site

is an archeological site located about 30 miles southwest of present day New Orleans in St. Charles Parish.  It dates back to the year 800. The site originally consisted of five platform mounds, of which only two remain today.  One of them is now used as a cemetery, with burial plots on top of the mound.  The site was originally inhabited by the Coles Creek and Mississippian cultures and abandoned by 1700.  I visited the mound that is now used as a cemetery by a local church.  

Sims Site is located in the lush landscape of Louisiana. 

.. which makes for great photographic framing of the mound..  

I'm often asked ..."why"... Why am I so excited about a mound of dirt (and/or shells)? Its not like I'm in Himalaya after all (giggle).

The reason why, besides the obvious - that its AWESOME - is respect.  Respect for those who came before us and the world they created.  The premise of the World Tour is that the world is as large or as small as you want it to be.  The premise of the Ancient World Tour is respect - though time and cultures vary, at the end of the day, its One World, and we are the ancient past.  The past may be closer than it appears.  

Til next epoch..

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez

The Ancient Louisiana World Tour Begins at the Beginning - in Algiers, Louisiana

Its a new World Tour Era!

There are two things I've always wanted to incorporate into the World Tour - lumen prints and our ancient past.  Louisiana is far older and wiser than its recorded years so I have a launched a new component to the World Tour:  fossils.  Ok, modern fossils. Ok, lumen prints more precisely. Ok, massive artistic license..... I love the lumen print process for its magnificent simplicity - a solar photogram resulting in an impression of our World - as is. So I'll be revisiting & impressing upon many of those fascinating locales that we all know and love. (Get ready   Poland, Hamburg & Lisbon- I'm coming back atcha!)  Shadowing my inaugural World Tour,  I decided there was no better place to start my Ancient World Tour than the first place I could ever call home, Algiers on the West Bank of the Mississippi in New Orleans.

I wasn't quite sure how i wanted to start my fossil expedition, I just knew I wanted to make lumens from all those international locales. Yet when I teach photo workshops in the French Quarter - I often look to the past, envisioning how the French Quarter used to look as a French colony or how it looked under the Spanish rule after it was rebuilt after the fires of the late 1700's.  It took a while, but it finally dawned on me to apply that same logic to my artistic endeavors.  I wanted to visualize how Algiers & the city of New Orleans looked before it was even a glint in a Frenchmens eye - it was a cypress swampland, natch.

Thus begins my first World Tour experi-prints:  bona fide fossils, complete with swampy scenes and cypress knees:

Algiers Cypress Tree Fossil, Lumen Print, 2016

Cypress Branch, Lumen Print, 2016

Cypress Knees, Lumen Print 2016

Algiers Cypress Fossil, Lumen Print 2016

Swampy Scene, Lumen Print, 2016

I could easily get lost in thought in Ancient Algiers

what with the wildlife and natural landscape 

But then its kinda hard to miss the modernization.

Today, cypress trees line the sidewalks of Algiers alongside relics of our present and past.

Bacchus & Oyster Shell

I'm looking forward to revisting the State of My World and exploring said relics and fossils. I'll be stopping off at antiquity here and there as well.  Check back as I create modern fossils from our ancient past.

Til next time...

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Ushering in a new World Tour era - in Welcome, Louisiana

The World is only as large or as small as we want it to be - 'tis a lasting premise of the World Tour, which began in July 2011.  After visiting over twenty enchanting locales all over the world (all conveniently located within Louisiana), the State of My World

proved to be much larger than I ever envisioned.  I have had the good fortune to share my experiences with others through my blog, photo exhibitions and in performance with my one woman show, Louisiana: The State of My World, which was most recently produced in Hammond, Louisiana (once part of the British Territory of West Florida). To accompany the performance and to bookend the last 5 years of my ever-changing, never-changing, life-changing World Tour, I created the World Tour songbook featuring photographs and lyrics to 7 of my World Tour adventure tunes.  You can peruse/purchase on blurb.com or  wait for the State of My World tour bus to arrive in your hometown (teehee) as I am currently retooling the performance piece and will soon be searching for exciting new venues to share my world.

But alas, for every ending there is a  beginning so in 2016 - it is time to begin anew.  I am embarking on a new World Tour expedition!  I'll explore familiar areas but with a new angle - said angle will be revealed once I actually go somewhere - but for now I thought it apropos to welcome in this new endeavor by visiting Welcome, LA.

Welcome, Louisiana

Welcome is located on the West Bank of the Mighty Mississippi. As per World Tour protocol, one of my favorite parts of my trip to Welcome was the journey itself. I was stuck in swampy traffic for an hour, but I took the opportunity to write a song that I'd been meaning to write and the sights were a delight.

                           Waiting for Traffic                                                            Crawfish Season! 

In Welcome I discovered fields of sugar cane, wildflowers and long endless roads.

Sugar Cane* Wildflowers* Long Endless Road

The Inner Geographer in me noted that Rome(ville) was just across the river from Welcome, so off I went..

The Bridge to Rome(ville)

However, the Inner Geographer in me didn't complete any postgraduate academic work so had a heck of a time trying to find Rome(ville). The tomatos really should have tipped me off..

Again, true to World Tour form, there were signs to let me know I was on the right track.

St Mary's Chapel    Convent, Louisiana

And then I found the sign:

Romeville * Romeville Road * Almost perfectly framed tree

I left the area feeling quite content

and ready to start a new chapter of the World Tour, 

exploring the World we live in.

Welcome Wildflowers

Til next time....

 

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

A Sense of Self - in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

After a recent vacay to San Miguel de Allende, I made a rookie mistake (that I never made as a rookie) in the darkroom. I ruined 2 rolls of film by processing them in the wrong chemistry. By the time I had discovered my film faux pas no amount of silver saving CPR could rescue the images. When the blank rolls revealed themselves, I was disappointed, yes, but mostly all I thought was “Cool, now I have more material for my Mardi Gras costume”. It also gave me the opportunity to write lines like “silver saving CPR”, haha. In truth, I didn’t lose that many photos. Most of what I shot was for handtinting purposes, so I had captured the same images in digital. Still I was very careful when I processed the next roll. The camera I brought still had film in it, I wasn’t sure what was on it, but I soon discovered images from Zwolle, Louisiana – shot in 2014! Apparently it has been a while since I used that camera…There was only one image of San Miguel on the roll – an image of a Buddha. Somehow, it just made sense.

Christine's Terrace

 

The statue was on the terrace of the apartment I stayed in. The first day I was there, my birthday, I woke up to a shadow of myself on the terrace.

Shadow Selfie

The next day I woke up to a hot air balloon, which I since learned is a fairly common sight:

Morning in San Miguel

 

Signs of the spiritual were everywhere, not just on terraces, but all along the picturesque landscape of San Miguel.

Sunset Cross * La Parroquia

So naturally I was drawn to sacred and somewhat sacreligious selfies.. 

San Miguel Selfie * Slightly Sacreligious Selfie

The last day of my trip was spent at the amaaaazing La Gruta hot springs.

La Gruta

(Where I took weird shadow selfies)

Weird Shadow Selfie

 

The color is intense in San Miguel, hence my desire to handcolor the film photos. (4th roll was the charm)

Streets of San Miguel

There were two images in particular that I really wanted to handcolor – one wasthe shop with the colorful brooms & bags,

Shop with the colorful brooms & bags

 the other was of towels at La Gruta. The brooms survived, the towels did not. I have no idea why, with all the intense color in San Miguel, that this was the one image I was sad I did not get on film.

La Gruta Towels

It would have been nice to have those extra two rolls of film to explore some printing options.  But unlike my 22, 32, or (who am I kidding..) my 42 year old self, my 44 year old self recognizes my good fourtune of the experience and what I was able to capture.  At the end of the day I was chillin with the Buddha on the terrace anyway.

All's good.

Me 'n B

 Now I've got a Mardi Gras costume to prepare.

Til next time.. 

 

Oh wait - carrots!  I also shot some carrots..  :)

 

(c) Natasha Sanchez

The Importance of Pondering Carrots

I wrote a song about carrots and a whole new world opened up. I’ve since gotten into carrot photography and made some new lumen prints, thought I'd share. My carrot-as-art sojourn began one day recently when I discovered– I was out of carrots, oh my. Not wanting to face the world without my beloved carrots, I hurriedly dashed to the store to immediately remedy this dire situation. While on my way, I had another realization….who does this? haha.  Who flees to the grocery store in the middle of the afternoon to restock the carrot supply? Or, the better question may be – cui bono?…who benefits?

Two Carrots    2015

I don’t need to tell anyone of the nutritious virtues of carrots. They taste good, they're good for you and bunnies love them. More importantly, carrots are a root vegetable and they can help you to see.  My worldview often stems from looking at the root of matters. As a photographer and songwriter, I rely heavily on my vision, especially as I travel the world. Therefore, it is no wonder that I will keep a tangible source of sight nearby. Plus, look at the news we wake up to. I find its better to arm myself with a clear vision just to face the news of the day and to decipher what is really going on in the world. 

Three Carrots & a Wayward Stem 2015

Anyhoo, long ramble cut short: My carrot crisis led me to write a song about carrots. But just like my Angus Youngsong isn’t about Angus Young, nor is my Justin Timberlake song about Justin Timberlake (though my Searching for a Tall Boy song isabout a Miller High Life), my carrot song isn’t really about carrots, it is about all the rambling stuff above. As a photographer, I got really interested in the photographic possibilites of The Carrot and began experimenting with Lumen Prints.  I overcooked the first batch, this is the second. Or third. I forget.  I have a lot to learn about printing veggies. 

So, to answer my own question - Who Benefits?  I would have to answer with Who Doesn't?   Sometimes what we need most in this world is a fresh perspective and a healthy outlook.  

Thats a whole lotta carrots.  

Sun Carrots   2015

I don't have a recording of my Carrot Song, you'll just have to check out my 3rd Thursday gig at the Neutralground.

Til then, here's a gem I found on youtube.  happy carrot pondering.

(c) Natasha Sanchez