Free As a Bird - in Santa Fe, NM

In early July, I drove out to Santa Fe, the 3rd to last destination on the Solar World Tour.  I was there to participate with my lumen prints in Photo Historica, a photography sale sponsored by Bostick Sullivan for photographers that work in historic photographic processes.   I arrived in Santa Fe late in the evening on July 3rd, after visiting Sudan and making sun prints all over Earth.   I woke up the next morning to this loud racket coming from the outside my hotel room.  When I opened the door it appeared a tiny bird found himself trapped on the breezeway. He kept trying to fly out of the closed window or maybe he was attacking his own reflection, I don’t know, but either way…it was pretty remarkable and somehow significant.  So I did what any good and wanna-be birder would do and grabbed my camera to take some pics. 

The bird got more and more agitated and confused as time went on.  He was pacing back and forth.

Not realizing that freedom was only a few feet below..

It then dawned on me ….what kind of member of the animal kingdom was I?  Here I was shooting a fellow being rather than trying to help him.  (no, the irony is not lost there).  I put the camera down and went back to my room to see if I had anything to help coax the bird to safety.   Rarely do I  leave only One Crumb from a sandwich, but that’s all I had because well, it was a long drive from Earth…  So I took that crumb, more like a flake really, and poorly and pathetically attempted to throw it up on the ledge to try to lure the bird down. Clearly, this did not work, so I scattered some crumbs along the stairs and went to the lobby to get some coffee thinking I’d bring back some continental crumbs in case the bird was still there. However, when I returned - the bird was gone.

I’d like to think that my tiny crumbs from the tiny flake helped the tiny bird to freedom, but who knows. I felt a kinship with the bird, whether he was feeling trapped or attacking his own reflection, I’ve been there..we’ve all been there… and its always nice to relate to someone and lend a helping hand, claw, beak, what have you. I’m glad he found his way. Happy Independence Day, little bird.

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez, 2019

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 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 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

Bugs, Butterflies, & Beyond

Tomorrow my World Tour resumes to all places local and exotic.  I thought it fitting on this World Tour Eve, to share my latest lumen print, "Flight".   But first, the story.... Last week on my Facebook page, I shared a story and photo of this broken butterfly wing I found on the sidewalk.

Butterfly Wing      2012

 Long story short, I suffer from a completely stereotypical girlish and irrational fear of bugs.  I managed to somewhat overcome this fear last week and scoop up the wing remainder with a pair of leaves....While I am not afraid of butterflies, I certainly don't want to touch them.  Scratch that - if one lands on me, I'd be delighted, but still, once that they have passed on, I really dont want to touch their deceased remains.  This is turning into quite a a problem with my Lumen Printing though, b/c there is no denying the beauty of a butterfly wing, or of other (certain) insects.

Butterfly & Flower        2009

Again...wanna print them....don't wanna touch 'em.  I've passed on a great many butterfly printing opportunities due to my inability to pick them up off of the sidewalk, so I devised other methods of making butterfly lumen prints..

Butterfly Stars        2012

My determination to pick up the butterfly wing last week puzzled me a bit.  It was, after all, only a partial wing, and probably wouldn't make much sense as a lumen print, which is simply a solar photogram.  My artificial one turned out quite nice.   It served a purpose though, it got me thinking about my first "bug" print....a cicada wing found floating in a friends pool (I made her fish it out for me...)

     Cicada & Leaves

And then....the swamp bug....

Just before the World Tour, I was working on a movie that  filmed in a swamp.  I became enamored with a pheasant feather (not exactly sure what kind of feather it was, looked like a pheasant..).  I took it home thinking it would make an interesting lumen print.  It did, and in fact, that feather started a new series of lumen prints of which I am still working on. Unbeknownst to me, however, that as I left the swamp, I had a bright green tiny bug stuck to my purse.  I discovered it the next day. To anyone else, this is no big deal, to me, well, it took one pair of tweezers and about an hour or two to remove it.  But I thought...hmmm... i could print this...

Feather & Bug  

I realized that butterflies, and therefore, insects,  had long been a part of my photographic reportoire:

Mariposa    (Handtinted Silver Gelatin)         2001

Paul's Butterfly  (from the series "The Class of 2019")      2008

Butterfly Ginger (Lumen Print)     2010

If you read the World Tour blogs, then you know part of the reason that I wanted to embark on the journey was to get back behind my camera lens. I had spent a long time on my lumen prints and wanted a change....just what the butterfly represents.  No wonder I like them! And fear them!  Well, not them, but insects, and maybe a little bit of change...  Anyhoo,  I couldn't give up on the Lumen Prints, so I've been working on the World Tour while simultaneously creating a new series of Feather lumen prints.  And now, the butterfly has awakened an "insect" calling...or is it just the wings?  Feathers...wings....flight...World Tour travels...I'm starting to see a pattern here...

Flight             2012

Tomorrow, the Louisiana World Tour begins its final chapter.  What an amazing year and journey this has been.  However, all life is change and a new chapter soon begins....

Next Up on the World Tour:
Tales from the Orient

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Mysticism and Mounds - in and near Transylvania, Louisiana

 Years ago,  I got chills when I passed the Zocalo (once the site of the Aztec capitalTenochtitlan) in Mexico City. My first stop in L.A.?  The La Brea Tar Pits.  NYC?  Headed straight for the Museum of Natural History.  I guess you could say I enjoy learning about previous cultures and civilizations. Louisiana has a rich history of ancient civilizations and mound builders.  The mounds at Watson Brake, near Monroe, and the mounds at LSU in Baton Rouge were built  around 5,400 years ago - long before the Egyptian Pyramids.  And it just so happens that Poverty Point,  the site of  Louisiana's 3,500 year old Indian Mounds, is located just a stone's throw from Delhi AND Transylvania. So off I went...

  Poverty Point was built around 1600 B.C.  It contains 6 concentric ridges, a plaza and several large mounds. The largest being Mound A, also known as the "Bird Mound" as its unusual shape gives it the appearance of a bird effigy.  

I apparently decided to visit on the hottest day of the year...the tram wasn't running, so I did my own solo driving tour.  This worked out well as I could climb the steps up the 72 ft mound, (the original height of 100 ft. has been lowered due to natural erosion) not once, but twice (I forgot Betty the Bullhorn in the car...)

The path to the top of the Bird Mound

View from the top, looking over one of the 'wings'

Bird's eye view of the sky

The trees have been cut down from this mound in order to preserve it from further erosion.  But plenty remain on the grounds.

The exact purposes of the mounds are not known.  The Bird Mound is thought to be a temple mound.  It certainly is impressive given the fact that only baskets were used to transport the dirt to create this large structure.  It speaks to the strength and spirit of the culture.  I thoroughly enjoyed this site and look forward to returning if only just to soak in a little more of its spirit...but now off to more enchanting places...

The view from the road to Transylvania pretty much looks like this:

LOTS of corn fields.

 I did have a photographic angle for Transylvania - the famed (yes, famed) water tower, with the bat on it..

The Post Office:

and anything with the town name on it:

(Okay, the school was kinda creepy and cliche - i could sooo see Dracula going to school here as a youngster.)

But I nearly slammed on my questionable brakes when I saw this:

Ancient Mounds?  In Transylvania?  Of course there are.  They were built around 1400 A.D. according to the marker.  I shouldn't be surprised, Louisiana has nearly 700 mound sites, most of which sit on private land, like the ones here in Transylvania.  It was more of a pleasant surprise.    One that, in keeping with the theme of this trip, keeps me inspired.

I could tell more stories of Transylvania, like how I kept getting chased off the road by this giant tractor-bat thing, but I think some stories are meant to be sung....


**The few facts I list here about Poverty Point come from its Welcome Center which houses artifacts such as stone tools, earthen cookware, and beads. It also illustrates the speculations and facts of its history.  Well worth a visit! **