I finally got around to developing some film from my December 2017 trip to New Mexico.  I've only recently begun shooting film and am still getting the hang of the entire process. While I was developing this roll of film, standing over the bowl and watching the photograph appear from the liquid, I noticed the images were hazy and that the focus wasn't improving. At first, I was frustrated with my error, wherever I had made it down the line. However, the longer I spent with these overexposed images, the more I began to appreciate their artistry.  

These stripped photographs transform ordinary forms of everyday life into nearly unrecognizable observations of my New Mexican surroundings. Akin to their naturally desolate desert subjects, these images convey a natural minimalism -  which when viewed collectively portrays an intricate study in grandiose abstraction unique to this otherworldly environment.  

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My friends and family always make July 2nd an exciting and special day for me. But this year, my anticipation was racked with melancholy in the days leading up to my birthday. I was struggling with the number 25, struggling with the knowledge of aging.  I was sad to 'age-out' of the wide-eyed niche society labels as 18 - 24, which is even an option on most exercise equipment, and worried that my accomplishments seemed less impressive than they were when I was 24 and more expected of someone who is 25. 

All of these anxieties stemmed directly from my fixation on societies perception of age and whether or not I had, by societies standards, reached my peak or if I was peaking momentarily.

After a saguaro cactus reaches 40, its peak growing period begins.  Between the ages of 50 and 60, it will begin to produce its first flowers. The same is often true of women. Much of the cactus will spend its first decades sheltered beneath a nurse plant, coincidentally, we are more likely to find protection in trends or expectations in youth, but once a woman has grown beyond the desire for approval is when she truly blossoms.  Indeed, age is just a number, nothing more, nothing less. 

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On the eve of this years Strawberry Moon, the shortest full moon of the year and lunar signal to some Native American tribes that it was time to harvest ripening strawberries, I reflected on the night. 

During the Middle Ages, compline was the hour for nightly prayer, marking the end of the day for monks. Typically involving meditation on death, it initiated the hours of dark and silence - a perilous time. As clergy drifted to sleep, their authoritative prayers faded and spiritual protections weakened.  In the darkening night, the faithful and the superstitious lay awake and envisioned freewheeling devilry, unchecked by the dozing pious.  The witching hour - from midnight until 3:00 AM - was when spirits and spells became the most potent. This was followed by Satan's hour - 3:00 AM until 4 AM. Supernatural threats aside, this darkest hour of night is no time for humans to be about as we are physiologically ill-suited to nocturnal pursuits. 

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What is more gentle than a wind in summer?

What is more soothing than the pretty hummer

That stays one moment in an open flower,

And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?

What, but thee Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes!

Low murmurer of tender lullabies!

Light hoverer around our happy pillows!

Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!

Silent entangler of a beauty’s tresses!

Most happy listener! When the morning blesses

Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes

That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.

- John Keats, Sleep and Poetry, (1 - 18).

photographs by @stephseverance

wearing Stine Goya

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Josef Albers,  Untitled,  1967

Josef Albers, Untitled, 1967

We are able to hear a single tone. But we almost never (that is, without special devices) see a single color, unconnected and unrelated to other colors.  Colors present themselves in continuous flux, constantly related to changing neighbors and changing conditions. 

As a consequence, this proves for the reading of color what Kandinsky oftern demanded for the reading of art: what counts is not the what but the how. 

- Josef Albers, Interaction of Color, 1963.

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I'm always quick to say spring is my least favorite season.  It's messy.  It's ice-crack and tulip bud, wet streets and birdsongs, mulch and meltwater. Allergies ramp up, rain clouds open and frozen feelings come loose. In spring things dawn, break, molt, change form; it's also when our skin is changing too. 

This winter was particularly hard on my extremely sensitive skin. As I emerged from hibernation my dry and damaged skin was forced out of the intense environment it had unwillingly grown accustomed to and into another plagued by inconsistency, wavering between soggy humidity in April and bitter cold blasts in May. It wasn't until I went on vacation in the tropics that my skin seemed to regain itself, leading me to wonder what my skin was benefiting from while away that was virtually absent in my routine at home in New York.  What was naturally here but not there? The only conclusion I could come to was nothing but clean, raw nature.

 My curiosity led me to RIPE. A skincare brand that boasts products designed, sourced, & crafted for our true nature. Just as we are nature. Eight years ago, founder Shannon moved to Hawaii and recreated her favorite skin care products in her own kitchen using papaya straight from her backyard. Now located in both Hawaii and coastal California , RIPE sources from both regions to the root - papaya & kukui nut from rural Hawaii, lavender & mint from California - either wild harvested by the RIPE team or from consciences growers they know personally.  

Seasons don't just switch like records in a jukebox, the next one neatly clacking into place. Spring is like summer, like autumn, like winter. It's a moment in motion changing before you. It's always transforming and our skin is too. Keeping skin care products as natural as possible keeps us in sync with nature and our natural selves. RIPE is a refreshing & soulful way to celebrate change and adjust to it, naturally. 

photographs by    @stephseverance

photographs by @stephseverance

check the RIPE products I love here

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I would like to thank all mothers, who encourage their daughters to discover, individually what being female does mean and might mean. Who encourage conversations about real, important issues. Who teach their daughters to be brave, smart and proud.  

Having to question every mode of behavior and every expectation is the scariest part of being a woman today.   So, I would like to thank my mother, for teaching me to not feel guilty for doing exactly what I want, and to not feel crazy because I'm not content with what society says I am supposed to be content with. Because of you, I am not afraid of being bright, or of not being beautiful, or of having an ego of my own. I'm not afraid to be assertive, or to take control of my life, or to consider myself important. I value women. I value myself.  Thank you for teaching me that I can become the woman I want to be, and that I can help to build a world that will value her. 

photographs by Abigail Heyman 

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Fresco, House of Livia, Prima Porta, 1st Century B.C.

Fresco, House of Livia, Prima Porta, 1st Century B.C.

In 2014, I took a course while studying abroad in Italy on Tuscan gardens. To date, this was the hardest, most rewarding course I have experienced.  People have created gardens across the world and throughout time, and these spaces have been an essential part of the human experience.  Gardens such as Eden, are rooted in religious context, to this day, regarded as sacred. Gardens are also a key element in some of the best-known myths. One of the Labors of Hercules required the hero to steal, from a place on the far edge of the world called the Garden of the Hesperides, the golden apples that the goddess Hera had given to her husband Zeus as a wedding present. The palaces of the ancient Near East are known to have spectacular gardens, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, whose precise location is still unknown.

The heady scent of hyacinths. Leaves unfurling. Buds in bloom. I really wish I could keep plants alive. 

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