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

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

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

Imagine There's No Country....

John Lennon was right – it isn’t hard to do…

Balconies - Turkey & NOLA

 Planet Earth

Traveling to Turkey (the Republic of Turkey, not Turkey (Creek), Louisiana), last December, I had the opportunity to expand my World Tour and visit many more ancient and historical sites.   While perusing the ruins of Pergamon, once a Greek kingdom situated on a steep hilltop in Western Turkey, my mind drifted 6,000 miles away to the ruins of – Poverty Point in Northeastern Louisiana.

Kingdom of Pergamon, Turkey                                            Mound A - Poverty Point, Louisiana

Walking among the remnants of Pergamon in 2012 was not unlike walking among the mounds of Poverty Point in 2011. Despite the contrasts between the landscapes - breathtaking Roman architecture on a hilltop overlooking the city of Bergama versus the  impressive manmade earthworks on a bluff with the highest elevation at 72 feet, I didn’t see much difference – I was in awe of both places, because they are part of our past as mankind, part of the history of our planet. (Fun Fact:   Poverty Point predates the former Greek kingdom of Pergamon.)

Poverty Point, Louisiana   *    Pergamon, Turkey

Another excitement of my Turkey the Country trip was visiting Troy, thought to be the site of the famous Trojan Wars. As luck would have it, I also got the opportunity to visit Troy, Louisiana (now part of Waterproof) last summer on my way back from Quebec.  I came across a tree that reminded me of a shot I had taken in Troy, Turkey.

Troy, Turkey    *    Troy, Louisiana

It wasn’t just the ancient sites that impressed me or reminded me of how small our planet actually is, it was also traveling through the countryside.  Most of my shots come from the bus.  I got pretty good at shooting through bus windows at fast speeds.  A flooded field in Turkey brought to mind our flooded rice fields turned crawfish ponds in China, Louisiana.

Flooded Field, Turkey                                                                                   Flooded Field, China (Louisiana)

The little house in a field in Turkey evoked this image of a little house in a cotton field near Bermuda, Louisiana.

  Little House, Turkey                                          Little House, Bermuda (Louisiana)

And speaking of cottonfields…..

Cotton Field, Turkey                                  Cotton Field,  near Bagdad (Louisiana)

The Library of Celsus in the truly amazing Greco Roman city of Ephesus was amongst the highlights of the trip.  And while the architecture does not compare, it is important to note that I did find the library in Turkey (Creek), Louisiana impressive enough to photograph when I passed through in the Summer of 2012.  

       Library of Celsus, Ephesus                                                                      Evangeline Parish Library, Turkey Creek, Louisiana

Our physical and cultural landscapes may differ all over the world, but at the end of the day - we connect in so many ways.

                                  Bosphorus Bridge & Minaret - Istanbul                      Crescent City Connection & Lamppost    New Orleans

We all have our mountains to climb.  They just look different is all.  

Roadview (Mountains) : Somewhere in Turkey        *         Roadview (Clouds that look like Mountains): Somewhere in Louisiana

 

More pics of Turkey coming soon-ish.  

I think.

Thats a mighty fluffy cloud I gotta climb first though.

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez 2013

Betty the Bullhorn: All You Need To Shout Is Love


Betty the Bullhorn has long focused her platform on Free Speech as a means to individual self-worth, self-respect, and ultimately, to social change. However in a society that seems to place a higher value on fear rather than truth, Betty the Bullhorn has decided to channel her Inner Sherlock Holmes and get to the root (truth) of society's problems, and that root is....love. 


Betty & Love on Magazine   2012


Love is even the basis for Free Speech. Before we have the desire to Shout Out for the causes we care about, 

Betty loves Desire  2012


there's love - its the very opposite of what fuels our society's problems, fear.


Betty & a Heart   2012


Betty's investigations determined that this deterrent to fear -  love – well, its everywhere, just not widely acknowledged.  It lurks about in the most unexpected of places…

Betty - Lookin' for Love in all the Right Places   2012

Betty's Cools her Burning Heart    2012



Yet plenty of people are shoutin' out about it! 

Betty on Freret St       2012



Betty - Love is the Answer    2012


A fear-driven economy and a fear-fueled violent society is not acceptable to a bullhorn like Betty.  So, Betty has deduced that if you want to live in a safe, peaceful, and loving environment, then perhaps we could all channel our Inner Mahatma Gandhi, and "Be the Change You Want To See in the World".   Stop the Fear and Share the Love.  Betty will do her part to help spread the World, I mean, Word...

Betty - Love One Another   2012



Share the Love and Shout It Out!! 

- Betty the Bullhorn

(photgraphed & managed by Natasha Sanchez www.nattie-concepts.com)



Stay Tuned for a new World Tour blog post  COMING SOON!!!


Betty the Bullhorn's World Tour Detour


When the World Tour was in its early "planning for no plan" phase, it was understood that my guitar & ukulele, Miss Delta Blue and Miss Purple Lele, respectively, would come along for the ride, and, of course, Betty the Bullhorn.  I envisioned the instruments for the occasional open mic - it sure would have been great to play Hamburg! - and Betty, well, she just likes to travel.

Betty buried in the Sand   2008

I quickly learned, on my first tour to Delhi, Poverty Point, and Transylvania, that the Louisiana world tour was more about photographing, contemplating and philosophizing, and less about trying to find an open mic in Athens. (Athens, Louisiana, not Athens, Georgia, as it would make a lot more sense to play there...that's the next leg...)  


I also decided that Betty the Bullhorn would NOT be coming along for the rest of the Louisiana World Tour.  Betty, if you are unfamiliar with her, is a bullhorn that I adopted in the late '90s.  She had been working as a Movie Set Megaphone, but was tired of shouting "ACTION" and "CUT", and looking for something more meaningful in her life.  After living the bohemian life for a while, she realized her true talent was shouting out - helping others have their voices heard.  So she began modeling.

Betty on the Levee   2006

True to her word, Betty is just about the most honest bullhorn you will ever meet, and the work she does is valuable.  That being said, she is still a rabblerousin' rebellious bullhorn who likes to cross the line  now and then...
Betty on Tour    2011

Knowing that I wouldn't want to spend my time in Copenhagen or Poland bailing Betty out of Bullhorn Jail for trespassing and other misdemeanors, Betty decided she had too much free time on her horn.  Rather than pontificating in (the) Vatican, she decided to stay home for the remainder of the tour, and contemplate her next modeling job.  

Betty in the Clover Patch    2012

As she pondered in the clover patch, Betty knew her next photo series would continue on the tradition of shoutin' out for causes and beliefs that help promote social change.  Free Speech is of course always at the top of her list... but then then a new idea came to her.

Love.
It was as clear as a England Dan/John Ford Coley song....


Love is the Answer    2012
Love is indeed the answer!  Betty, having been in a committed relationship with Mike the Microphone since 2003, knows a thing or two about love, and she's determined to shout out for it as a solution for many problems.  After all, more often than not, fear is at the root of a problem, and more often than not, love is the answer to the problem.

Betty & her boyfriend, Mike    2003

So it appears that Betty's World Tour experience took a bit of a detour, but she found a whole new world (of love!)  in the process.



 And now she can't get that England Dan song out of her horn, so she for her series title, she put a Betty twist on another song.   (see below)   Stay Tuned for more pictures from her new series! 



Up Next:
Betty the Bullhorn:  All You Need to Shout is Love



Nattie in Nouvelle Orleans; Nueva Orleans; New Orleans, Louisiana

Two months into my World Tour and already it has taken an unexpected shape of its own. Primarily a photographic road trip, I also want to incorporate the music side of my artwork - my one woman band called Nattie.  (For the newbies, the band  "Nattie" consists of myself (Natasha), my guitar (Miss Delta Blue) and the witties ditties we create - I simply use "Nattie" as a stage or band name ) I figured I would play an occasional open mic in cities near my tour route, as neither Transylvania nor Liverpool, Louisiana has an open mic to my knowledge....(Though I might have had some luck in  (the)  Vatican..who knows...)

Tilben's Lounge  

That plan hasn't happened,  as I've been more into being contemplative with a camera than witty with a guitar during my road trips. However, I did appropriately kick off the music portion of the World Tour in July at the Old Point Bar inAlgiers, Louisiana after completing the first of my many World Tour photographic treks.

Musically, I've toured the world - without ever leaving the city of Nouvelle Orleans.  The plethora of open mics this city offers had me playing music almost every night.  I've since settled into three open mics, when tour and time allow,  that I really enjoy and seem best suited for my style.  These evenings are a great way to sharpen skills, share with others, and connect with new faces.    Since this blog is dedicated to the ditties, I thought I'd dust off the ol' Holga for some  imperfect and  old-timey NOLA shots... Buffas, on the edge of the French Quarter, okay -  on the Marigny side of Esplanade, I just wanted to use the word "French". I was pleased to be the Inaugural Performer for their first open mic night! It has since become one of my favorites.  Wednesdays at 8pm

Parasols in the Irish Channel Mondays at 8

and the Fair Grinds Coffeehouse in Faubourg St. John 2nd Thursdays @ 7

 I am currently in the process of putting together a show of  the International Louisiana towns I've traveled to, featuring my songs, stories, and photographs.    In December, Buffas will host, as part of PhotoNOLA,  the first of what I hope is many World Tour performance pieces.  More info to come, but  see details on the Buffas show here.

So yes, the World Tour has taken its own form.  I've had several people ask me, since I haven't had a blog post in recent weeks, if the tour is over.  My response?  No, the World Tour is not over - far from it.    It's only just beginning...

See ya around the world!  

- Natasha

On Tour in the French Quarter -

 Royal Street Aug 2011

photo M. Byrne

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

** A shout out to all the awesome people I have met along my open mic journey including (but not limited to...) - DR, Owen aka Big Daddy O, Michael H, Stefan, Mike D, Maria aka Lady K, Vincent, Gina, Robert @  Fair Grinds, Dan, Toby, the ladies who support me but whose names I don't know...and all the people I've  chatted and shared with...I'm loving this trip!