Monday, November 20, 2017

In Time and the end of the year

Since I arrived in France over 2 years ago, I have been non-stop working on my art.  I created two unsuccessful series of work - unsuccessful meaning, they didn't make any sense to me in the end. There were some people that liked the pieces and I admit, I had a grand time creating them but after I looked them over carefully several times and over time, I realized they were not true to me at all and I had no idea what I was saying with them and a lot of the pieces were shit, plain and simple.

I went back to what I do "best" - deal with my inner "stuff" by creating fairy tale-type narratives and portraits. Hence, the 2 bodies of work "Rêves et Souvenirs" and "Ode to Pictoralists" came into being and as I was completing a piece that was blurring the lines of the 2 series, I said to myself that I wanted to take this into a color direction. I have always admired the work of Maggie Taylor with her whimsical Alice in Wonderland collages and other contemporaries that are also using digital collage in a creative manner, I, too wanted to try and go that direction.

However, adding color by a photographer that mainly worked exclusively in black and white (or at least mono-chromatically) has proved to be a huge challenge. If the color jumped out at me too much, I toned it down. And as much as I want a somewhat surreal look to the work, I don't want a Pop-Art feel to it at all. And as the work continues to be about my dreams, memories and emotions, none of them are in full saturated color. So, I can only hope that these work. I believe they do and I am pleased with them.

The link to my newly updated site: http://www.annmarietornabene.net/

So, here it is, almost the end of 2017 and as my life continues to settle here (amidst some stressful circumstances), I am very happy to say that my two constants have been my amazing husband and my ability to never stop creating art, whether bad or good. I am good with that.




Wednesday, September 20, 2017

digital collage and......

The other day, I met another American photographer in Paris. He lives in the US and is also a collector and purchased one of my prints. He told me that he was visiting with his wife so we met up for coffee and we talked a bit about photography, naturally, and technique/technology. He does some beautiful work using the photogravure process and I spoke about the resurgence of vintage processes and how it's almost become a competition again, much like the old film vs. digital argument that, I now admit, I lost at.

When I was in university, digital imagery was at the embryonic stage. I learned the first version of Adobe Photoshop and I remember that in this first course, after learning the basic tools and what the program could do, I raised an eyebrow and asked the professor, "But what do you do with this after? What do you print it from and on?" He showed me a laser printer, much like a copy machine you would find in an office and "coated" paper thinner than Xerox paper. It was crap. The printer printed crap.

I also saw the first digital cameras come to light. More crap. So for 10 years or so, I was steadfast in my belief that digital sucked and it had no place in the fine art world. I shot film and printed in the darkroom up until 2006.

Then I lost my darkroom space and the only thing I could do was shoot and develop film but scanning into my computer and printing digitally was my only option. I noted that my prints looked better than they did when I was in the darkroom. At this point, too, ink jet printers and papers rapidly improved to higher standards. Slowly, I moved away from film, mainly due to monetary problems. And then, I began using Photoshop for something more than cropping and correcting exposure...born was my first series of digital collage - The Divine Journey.

I loved working with layers and seeing the possibilities that I could create that were, in fact, better in the sense that I could spend more time focusing on the artistic aspect that wasn't the same as spending more time just printing. I could create a whole new world just a little bit easier. And soon after, digital collage became a way for me.  I have been able to create different types of tableaux -  Rêves et Souvenirs. I didn't have to necessarily try and find locations to shoot in (as I did for so many years) and.......and I was able to mimic certain techniques of old - Ode to Pictoralists

And here we go again - for the alternative/vintage process people, what I am doing is sacrilegious. What the galleries might say is that they are not handmade prints, so they are worth less...or worthless, depending on the gallery, I am guessing. And at a time, I would have agreed with everyone but as I spend countless hours upon hours shooting, going through thousands of my photographs for source material and then coming up with the ideas and right combinations of images, re-working sometimes one piece for a month or more, I think I can say confidently and maybe having to eat my old words, that the bottom line is, and should be the content of the piece, the mood, the expression. Whether it be with the use of an 8x10 camera with an old cracked lens and wet plates, a plastic Holga camera, a scanner and objects, or a digital camera and printer, it's the final image in the end. I am sure Alfred Steiglitz would agree if he lived in this day.

And perhaps my new project is a push in a more, dare I say, contemporary direction, so to speak but I will always think the romantic in me is here to stay to counterbalance.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Brooklyn - the movie and my life

I just finished watching the movie Brooklyn. It is about a young Irish girl in the 1940's that immigrates to New York. It's a seemingly "simple" tale where she finds her life - a job while she goes to college and finds and marries a good man. However, at the beginning, she finds it very hard moving to a new country and being homesick, especially as she reads letters from her older sister who lives with their mother. Soon, her sister dies unexpectedly from an illness and the girl temporarily goes back to Ireland to be with her mother. Soon, she is pressured to take her sister's place at home, at the workplace and she even starts a new romance. However, she realizes she needs and wants to go back to her life in New York and does. A happy ending....


This movie spoke to me on one major way. While my story is not quite the same, what it made me think about is the in-between that I am.

I never felt like an American and I certainly am not a Française. The phrase, "home is where the heart is" is what feels true to me and what I hold on to because that is certainly the case here. My husband is my heart and I feel at home here with him. But I have a grim thought. If he was to die before me, Goddess forbid, would I stay here or go back to America? I believe I would stay here because at that point, I would be settled here, plus, given that this would happen when I am old, it would be way too difficult and expensive to fly back to the US, find a place to live, etc.

But again, putting that aside, who am I? Do I need to identify with my country and upbringing? There are a few Sicilian-American traditions/ties I have just based on my maternal grandparents and sort of with my parents but the strong sense of family was not truly there after my grandparents passed away. I did all I could to distance myself from it all because of an otherwise toxic family environment. When I went back to New York in January after my mother passed, I looked at my childhood home and her things from a distance again. I visited restaurants and places that I frequented when living there and while I have fond memories, I only have few worth holding. There are a few people whom are there that I love which gives me some form of connection but it ends there. However, I never felt the sense of homesick because I never felt at home there. And while I was married to my ex-husband, it was similar. There was no sense of home.

Home is where the heart is. Indeed. I feel that now. I can only hope that in time, my idea of home expands to so much more.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Book sale!

I found a great pro-print lab in Paris that creates these cute petites livres de poches! The book contains some images from my recent works 2016-2017. I am selling them in limited quantity for 15€/$18 per book plus shipping from France. Please contact me with your order.




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

fantasy, fairytale, escape

Call it what you will. It's necessary for all of us to indulge in fantasy. Necessary to escape from certain realities and escape to somewhere and allow our imaginations to flourish. We need to feed our souls with it other wise, what kind of soulless people are we?

It is interesting and a bit sad though how people react to this sort of thing in an everyday situation. For my 48th birthday, I bought myself a present - well actually, the money was a gift from a dear friend to do as I wish. So, I wanted to have something fun and bought these elf-eared earphones.


Most people that read my blog know me and know that I am no stranger to wearing costumes in public on some level - generally on my way to and from a photo shoot but most of those times, I was coming from my car. 

However, now in France, I am in public transport - trains, buses, subways, trams and on foot. I have worn these earphones on several occasions and it strikes me as odd as to why I get more negative looks than positive ones. I can understand a moment of shock turned to a laugh or a shake of the head but when I am looked at in a hard way with a grimace on some faces, or get eye rolled at, I think more about what our society has become.

We have become one of the most angry societies than ever before. I see complete black and white statements being made, quicker judgement calls and even quicker tempers. People are getting angry at those of us that have a difference of opinion or our own beliefs. 

Who or what is to blame for this? We can start with our political climate for sure but this goes back a few years now. Social media has made people less patient and tolerant of others and as the more "social" people become online, the less they are in reality.

What is even more confusing is that in an era where what I have done for the last 20 years is now accepted and considered "cosplay" (I suppose I can thank whoever came up with that term to legitimize my dressing up and photographing myself), taken out of the context of a comic-con, walking around wearing elf ears is considered strange and not in a positive way.

Well, this is who I am and I never felt the need to protest it or make a "thing" about it. Let me be strange... but please don't hate me or try to make me feel bad for it. 

And if you want to be angry about it, well, go ahead. This is my life and my fantasy. I only get to live it once.




Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Chasing the butterfly

There she was sitting on a leaf in the bright sun. Slowly, I crept up to her with my camera to quickly snap a shot. No way. She wasn't liking that. Swiftly she flew and began a dance around my head. She landed on another leaf. Again, I slowly moved toward her, lifted the camera to my eye and whoosh she moved again and around and around my head.

"C'mon! Sit still just for one minute!" I cried to her. She then decided to land on my shoulder! I turned to her and moved fast but she hung on. "Ok, you want to stay there? I can try to get that angle with my camera" but whoosh she fled and back to her original leaf.

For 10 minutes, she continued to give chase. She landed on one leaf. I tried to be ever so gentle. No, she went to another leaf. Then a rock. Then a branch. Some moments, she would just flutter around in the air not wanting to land at all. However, when she did, no matter how quiet I made myself, she flew away every time I approached.

With my hands on my hips, frustrated and amused at the same time, I shouted, "you really are a silly girl and want to play hard-to-get, huh?" Finally, on a big leaf, she folded her wings inward slowly. I took a step. She didn't move. I took another step. Her wings remained folded. I furrowed my brows. "Are you tired? Did I wear you out?" Then suddenly, she spread her wings wide. I held up my camera and moved it close. Then closer. I shook as I approached but she didn't move. Snap! I got the shot. It was out of focus. Damn! But she still didn't move. So, I took another step, held my breath and snap!

She sat there another moment. Maybe she was communicating with me. I'd like to think that. I'd like to think that she had a fun time playing chase and interacting with a human that only wanted to interact with her.

After that moment, she flitted up and high in the sky. There, she met her mate and they began their dance of love, swirling around one another in the wind. I watched as they moved so quickly from place to place and then off they flew into the distance.

It was my moment. No. It was our moment. A shared moment that existed for a brief time but one that made me filled with joy. I felt connected to the earth; to nature. I felt where I belonged. Not of the modern world filled with too many artificial diversions but a world in which if you stop, look and listen, is filled with magic and unspoken connections that are stronger than anything could be. I am happy I was able to capture something of that moment so I will always remember my friend.




Thursday, June 29, 2017

What do you say to a man who is dying?

I was going to write this entry only with my art in mind but there is something that keeps coming back to my mind - a topic that always enters my mind: death. I suggest you don't read farther if you are expecting a happy blog entry here.

Since I was 13 years old, the thoughts and fear of dying have become a focus in my life. Maybe it began when I experiences my first death ever - that of my maternal grandmother whom I was close to. The whole experience was a bit surreal. Growing up in an Italian-American family, it's tradition to have a funeral that lasts several days, including an open-coffin for viewing (unless the person died tragically that would leave them disfigured). It was normal to go up to the body and discuss whether the deceased was presented well or not and no one gave it a thought that it was a dead body, or so it seemed. The viewing took place during 2 or 3 days so many people can have that as their last memory of how the deceased looked. It certainly was never the way I wanted to remember them.

So, as some others close to me died over the years, some affected me more than others but overall, there has been an emotional block for me. I think I was conditioned to do that from 13 years old. However, this has not made me impervious to death nor whom that has died. In fact, it has gone deeper inside and I am more and more afraid. Over the years, I developed anxiety and panic attacks linked to it all and I try to shake it out of my mind when the thoughts are there.

My father died in 2009 and my mother last year - 2016 and I am counting what older members of my family are left. Recently, I learned that one of my uncles is not doing very well. He is 92 years old. He has lived a long life with a big family. He is one of two of my father's brothers and has done quite well in his life and has done a lot to help my family. When my father died, I called him and we had a big conversation. I have reached out to him several times for help, though at one important and vulnerable time recently, he denied helping me which made things very difficult. I kept in touch with him, nonetheless.

When I learned that he is not doing well, I wrote him a letter. I began it with niceties and a brief update on things in my life without much detail. And then it came to ending the letter. I had trouble finding the words. If he is indeed doing as poorly as I had heard and the inevitable is about to happen, then what do I say?

I had closure with my father before he died but not in the way one would think. He said some loving words to me that I didn't think he was capable of, considering he was mentally ill. When my mother died, it was sort of sudden but even so, our relationship was very difficult so the last things that were said, were not good. And with the others that died, there was no time before to say anything - something I wished I was able to do with my maternal grandparents, anyway.

So what do I say to someone that I know is dying? I wanted to ask him if he was scared. I wanted to ask him if he would live his life differently if he had the chance. I wanted to ask him if he really believed in Heaven and Hell as the final places to go. But no, of course I wasn't going to ask any of that. I just told him to take things easy and rest and to surround himself with all the love and family he could and if he as able to respond to me, to do so.

He lives in the US so the odds of me being there when he dies are none. And when he passes, I will sit and mark another one off my list of others....the list gets longer.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The summer is here

Work, as in modeling, is winding down now. I have 4 more days unless someone decides to run a summer workshop. Otherwise, it will be October when things begin again. Not good financially, but we are trying to make the best of it.

I plan to take advantage of the time off to study my French a little more and to promote my art. I sold a print of one of my new pieces, "Age Knows No Time" to a collector and great photographer as well. That is always validating and sometimes when another photographer buys your work as opposed to a layman, it's even moreso. I found a great print lab in Paris that does archival pigment prints and beautifully! I was a bit worried as they only printed from compressed JPEG files but when I saw the print and on Hahnëmuhle's William Turner paper (one of my favorite textured papers), I was pretty impressed. Here is the image:




 I also sent a promo packet out to a gallery in Montmarte looking for an exhibition opportunity and I have one more I plan to send to. Here's hoping.

That's really it for an update at the moment. Stay cool!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Selfie Generation and when will it end?

This subject has been on my mind since the first "selfie" was taken, probably when Facebook was founded, maybe earlier, not sure. Taking a silly photo of yourself with your smartphone alone or with your partner, friend, child, etc. is fine and I know it's been done for years even with point and shoot film cameras but it's another for the act of taking selfies to have become such an automatic thing that it has left people complete mindless to why they are doing it at all.

Today I became inspired to post about it, in anger, because of a fellow photographer that shared images on Facebook from his trip in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There is a statue of Jesus draped in his robe with his arms extended in the crucifixion pose. Tourists were taking photos of themselves in silly ways with the statue, including in the crucifixion pose. All ages of people, including children were doing this. My photographer friend pointed out exactly my point - 

"Interesting, how photography and social media have changed perception of reality and human behaviours."

Over the last few years, I have also observed this act and have been truly speechless. Just the other day, I went to the Louvre with my husband to see a special exhibit of Vermeer, Valentin de Boulogne and their contemporaries. (Side note - if you are in Paris before May 22, make it a point to get to this exhibit. It's WONDERFUL! )

After seeing the exhibit, I said to my husband that while we were there, we should go see the Mona Lisa. I knew it was mid-afternoon and would be very crowded, but I never saw it in person (it's a copy, by the way, in case anyone thinks it's the original.) When we arrived in the salle, I stopped short of what I saw. Hundreds of people pushing their way up to the very small painting NOT to admire it, but to turn around with their selfie sticks and be sure to get a photo of themselves WITH the painting behind them. After a few snaps. they would happily move on, never once looking at the painting itself! I wondered why. How did the Mona Lisa become such a pop icon, first of all, and taking a picture in front of it does nothing more but prove they saw it...but they didn't see it. Not really. And did they know who DaVinci was?

This happens in every tourist spot all over the world and then there is something even more serious and worse than the autonomous selfie maneuver. People have died taking selfies. A woman posed sexily on train tracks was killed by a train. Two young girls fell into the ocean and drowned going over a cliff with their selfie sticks. Another was decapitated when he wanted to take a selfie with his head out of a car window. For what??

And lastly, there are curators and photography critics that have begun to organize exhibits and give more attention than deserved based around selfies, placing them on a fine art level. So studying art, composition, and form, not to mention those of us that have spent years conveying their art using the self-portrait have become meaningless while a trend becomes more important. 

While I try to search meaning to why people are trying to connect to each other when, in essence, they are doing the opposite, this further explains that the spirit inside of many is disappearing and what will be left will be digital photos of people doing stupid things in the name of social media.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ode to the Pictoralists

Pictorialism, an approach to photography that emphasizes beauty of subject matter, tonality, and composition rather than the documentation of reality.

This has basically been my modus operandi since I abandoned "straight" portrait photography back in the late 1990's but one of the things that the Pictoralists had (or didn't have, depending on point of view) was the original methods of photo making. This included early cameras. glass plates generally coated with photo-sensitive chemicals, slow lenses, etc. While a lot of people today might roll their eyes and say that these things were hindrances, it was these tools and techniques that allowed a couple of things. First, the slowness of the process allowed the photographer to sit and study what he/she wanted before the shutter was even cocked and two, it led to a very specific look that was delicate, graceful and strong at the same time.

The resurgence of these photographic processes happened maybe 10-15 years ago but I have to say I didn't want to get caught up in that endeavor as I didn't have a darkroom anymore and had no desire to set one up. A dedicated space for the large camera format was also something I didn't have so for a long time, I created work with the intent of beauty, composition, fantasy in theme and all of the elements that the Pictoralists included in their photographs but without the famous look. Until now. In strangely stumbling upon an Adobe Photoshop tutorial on YouTube and then playing with the tools further, I have finally begun to get the look I wanted.I posted a couple here recently but I have delved a little deeper since. I am pleased.





Saturday, April 15, 2017

Death

I've noticed I haven't had many posts so far this year and I have 2 thoughts for that - I haven't had a thought I felt worth posting and/or I have been in a bad place in many ways.

The latter is one that I don't even know how to describe. However one of the reasons for where I am in that over the course of the last year, the news of death - I mean death of ones that I knew personally or even just enough to be familiar with has become a weekly and sometimes daily thing. My mother died and now both of my parents are gone. It's surreal to think that I am old enough for that to happen..

I have a great fear of dying. Many people I know tell me that it's useless to worry or fear it because we don't know when it will happen to us and all we can do is live. So why not live for today and not worry about tomorrow? All true words and it is what I do but then I hear of someone dying and there it is in my mind again - oh my god, I am going to die and I can not change that. It's inevitable. And if I am not careful, those thoughts will lead me to have a panic attack.

And then there is the thought that there will be nothing left of me once I am gone. As my husband and a couple of friends that I have are the closest people to me, there will be no legacy to leave with anyone. I never had children.

Will my art become part of MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre or Musee D'Orsay? Doubtful so what will there be? Will there be a history of me? Does it matter?

“Like a wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we were, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.”- Harlan Ellison

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Advice for photography professors and students of photography

When I first became interested in being a photographer, I knew it was the human portrait I wanted to focus on.  I knew that what makes a portrait powerful is the communication and interaction that needs to take place between the photographer and her/his subject. It's crucial, especially in a studio environment. I don't know if it's my personality or that I began photographing people in my mid-twenties but I never had a problem asking people if I could photograph them and explain why and what I want to pose them like but that might just be me.

Which brings me to today's blog topic. As an art model, I have rarely posed for photography simply because I always felt it was a conflict of interest since my photographs are of me but over time, and the need for money, I changed my mind - at least in the realm of classes. I still won't pose for other professional or art photographers unless we are collaborating, but when it's for students, I have realized it's not a conflict. They are learning.

 So the last 2 days, I posed for two different photo classes at one graphic arts school and I would like to post my observations.

In a photography studio in a classroom environment, where a model is present, there is something I have noticed. One - the students are understandably shy (even more so if the model is posing nude, which I was.) so they are afraid to approach me at all. Two - they rarely have a clear idea in mind of what they want to photograph nor do they take a minute to think about it when they see me. I imagine with different models, some ideas will spark. 

In two days, each student took turns photographing me. They had to explain to me what they wanted. I am warm and friendly and also since I was nude, I wanted to try and make it less "painful" for them as possible...or so I thought it would be.

Out of 20-25 students, I only posed 4 different ways, basically - curled up for close-up abstracted body parts, me looking dead, me moving around like an animal being caught (not sure what to think of that one) or me completely straight and frontal. I did get asked to dance for movement by one and there was another who projected designs on me. Not one wanted portraits. I posed briefly in a costume and NO ONE wanted to photograph me that way. When I lied down nude looking "dead", however, it was as if the paparazzi was all over me.  

Also, the students were more concerned with shooting fast and playing the image back than they were with connecting to me the model. Ah, the problem with the digital age. But in the end, no one explained much nor directed me but I did get a "thank you".  Luckily, I am so wonderful, that I didn't need any direction, anyway (ha ha ha ha).

Side note: There was the setup. There were 2 backdrops - one white paper one and one blue paper one. OK, not a lot of imagination there but if they were studying light and were just starting out, it's what they need to use. There were many lights ready to use but it seemed harsh monolights that had a change of either cool or warm tones were the only ones used. No one experimented with diffusers or moved around the barn doors to see what the light did.They did move the lights around but it was when the professor suggested they did. I am also not sure if they "saw" what was happening with the light as they moved it back and forth and such. I think more playing should have taken place but, ah, my apologies, I completely digress.

At the end of the classes, I thought to myself that maybe things were not really explained to the students about working with models. Whether I am right about that or not, I want to say here that it is very important that the students are talked to about what a model/photographer relationship consists of. Making a model feel comfortable, conveying clearly what he/she wants the model to do, not be afraid to fix the clothing/hair, etc. and just to be in constant interaction.

I also think that students need inspiration that is not always just the current fashion trend in magazines. I realize that many aspiring photographers want to work for Vogue and the like, but they need to see that some of the greatest fashion photographers were inspired by painters, sculptures and other forms of art. They should look at the photography of Annie Liebovitz, Herb Ritts, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and then even Sara Moon, Helmut Newton and Ellen von Unwerth.  Look at Old and New Masters in painting and study composition and have the students research why they want to photograph people.

My two cents worth as a portrait photographer and a model....

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Spring Equinox/Art through an Open Door

No matter what religion you follow,  Spring has arrived in whatever form you wish to take it. The common denominator here is that it is a time of renewal. I like to take this time to do a mental "spring cleaning" to take stock of where I am and what I can get rid of and what to do to progress next. I can't say the "getting rid of" works all the time. There are some thoughts that are persistent, whether accurate or not and it takes a long time to rid them, if at all.

There is a lot of wheel spinning and getting nowhere but what I have done over the last decade is keep a lookout for a door to enter from the wheel, and there have been doors I have successfully entered into.

Sounds a bit too poetic, huh? No not really. It's like my art. I spent over 2 years working and working on something that I thought was it in terms of ideas. I couldn't come up with anything new and my mind kept going back to the same concepts over and over but the door that I saw was this blog. I began writing about memories and about my past. All of this fueled the work that finally gave me substance and a reason to do. "Rêves et Souvenirs"

I am making more pieces to add to this series but I have also stumbled upon some YouTube Photoshop tutorials that led me to play with an idea that I wanted to try for a long time - creating the look of wet-plate collodion, tintype and other alt-processes that were invented in the 17th and 18th centuries without using the chemistry. Yay. The tutorials, as usual, or a starting off point and if you know Photoshop (or the gist of it), you can elaborate and add your own knowledge to the process...like any other art, of course.

So while I try to find open doors for other things in my life that are hard to get off the wheel for, I will stay here for now.

A new one from "Rêves et Souvenirs" - "Hopeful"
And two alt-process experiments:



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Life happens and happens

2017 has already started off on a bad note. Trump became president, my mother passed away (late December) and yesterday, I learned that my beloved dog whom I had to leave in New York has passed. She was my heart and my connection to her was almost like no other animal I ever had. The choice to leave her and my kitty Lancelot with my ex was the most difficult decision I ever had to make and not a day has gone by that I wish I could have changed that and the 2 would be with me. Well, now..one.

I am not going to write the details but just want to write this post to tell myself again that I spent the last 3 years changing my life in maybe the most extreme way and because of that, I have hit so many challenges and frustrations. My happiness lies in two things - that I have met, fell in love with and married my true mate. Without this man, I could not imagine what my life would truly be like. I love him unconditionally and will until death do us part.

The other thing that makes me happy is the ability to create. If nothing else, these last years have fueled my art and I have been able to break out of an art block that I had for awhile. I spent most of 2015 and middle of 2016 working on pieces that I finally came to realize was not "me" so I dug a little deeper and went back to my artist statement  to re-read it. Fairytale, dream-like imagery.....the birth of "Rêves et Souvenirs" and I have posted a few pieces here already and more on my website:
www.annmarietornabene.net

So,  I trudge along and try to deal with all of the other things that make me feel sad, angry and hopeless. And if I can't deal with them, I'll turn them into something.


But here is a simple photograph with just a little Photoshop magic added to it, but not too much. This says it all at the moment.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

my mother

I didn't really have a moment to create a post as I usually do right at the end of each year with my reflections of the year past, however, I suppose I summed it up pretty much in the last post except....my mother passed away the 16 of December. She was 80 years old.

Was it a shock? A bit but because she was 80 and had several health issues over the years, I am not too shocked. As I write this though, it's from France - a distance from it and I haven't quite processed it all...I am sure that when my husband and I reach New York next week the reality will hit me quick. I am not sure what I will feel and experience though until I am there going through the house I grew up in and handling everything of hers/ours.

I had a difficult relationship with my mother. She was an angry and bitter woman which increased as she got older. There is so much I can write about her in that sense but I will just say that I spent time in therapy trying to deal with how she was and what she did/didn't do to or for me and over time and distance, I have done what I could to forgive her but even in recent years, it was difficult up until the last 6 months prior to moving here to France.

What I wish to remember though are the times she took care of me when I was sick, how she called me "mommy" as her term of affection (like "sweetie") and how it was because of her that I have a love of R&B music. There were wavering times when she was proud of me for my accomplishments though she regarded getting married on the same level as graduating from a university with high honors or having an article published on my art. I suppose that was a generation thing.

I won't write much more about it now as I am sure there will be much to post, if I am able, once I am back from the week there. I will sit here now and reflect on realizing that both of my parents are now gone. The parents that I didn't choose nor had a good relationship with for different reasons but who were the only ones I had. And with that, I can say that I did have love for them and I hope there is a peace wherever they are and I hope that I and my sisters find peace within ourselves as well.....

May 2017 bring us that time to reflect, heal and find inner peace and self-love.

XXXX