I have always had a passion for photography. Yes, I have been a professional dancer for nearly two decades. Yes, I have worked in the industry steadily. I’m a paid up active member of the Actors Equity Association (http://www.actorsequity.org).
I have legit television credits with Nickelodeon, NBC, FOX, and MTV. I have national magazines credits with Maxim and CosmoGirl! Yes, my bank accounts have been drained by blood-sucking freak shows that are seriously deranged that abuse the process of the broken family court system. And, yes, I am a mommy and a damn good one at that. I will do ANYTHING for my children. ANYTHING.
Living and loving successfully, in this society, is difficult, especially as an artist and until just about a year ago, a single mother of three. I met my incredible man and I’m not letting him go. Let me tell you though, I am no stranger to walking. If you’re in a bad relationship, THEY say, get out. So you do. Then you’re thrust into this world as a single mom, facing financial hardship and major stigma. Never, have I ever, let anyone’s opinions or motives distract me from my dreams or my goals or my job as a mother and a performer. The best thing I can do for my children is to show them that failure due to adversity is not an option. The only reason that I will let myself fail is if I die. Failure is not an option.
This past April, seven months ago, I partially tore my ACL. I could barely walk let alone even think about dance. I saw an orthopedic surgeon. He was the only one my insurance carrier would allow me to see. My sister had to have knee surgery and it was the same group of doctors. They worked on her knee alright but one of “surgeons” was resident and had sewn through her nerve, leaving her foot-dragging and lifeless, as a dance studio owner. I left the office tears. I was told I will never be able to dance again in the capacity I had before without surgery.
My most recent job was with a dance company located in Litchfield County, Connecticut. The biggest project I was working on was a workshop being presented for pickup. It was called Damascus Square. The musical is loosely based upon the life of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen. I needed that credit. I needed that Broadway credit. The original script and score stars Tovah Feldshuh, who is recently topping the television charts on two shows, Flesh and Bone on Starz, and The Walking Dead on AMC. I had to leave the company due to my injury and they went on to finish with Damascus Square. Damn. Damn. Damn.
Yes, I had a career once. I will have another.
So now I am working on another talent I have always had but didn’t focus on. It’s photography. I have always had a passion for makeup and couture, as well as styling and modeling. The day before my injury, I walked for the third year in a friend’s (http://amyladedada1.wix.com/amymerli) brainchild called Trashion Fashion. (http://www.trashionfashionshow.com/events/) I modeled and waked the runway in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, I tried my hand at design. I designed for my daughter who walked in a child sized version of my design. Then, with a few adjustments (we’re nearly the same size now), I walked the runway in my design. It was cool. It was the third date with my husband. What a way to introduce your partner to a world completely foreign to him. He’s a lawyer. He deals with transactions. He’s never worked on his artistic side, which he clearly has, I am seeing. I said, “Hey… come to my modeling runway show with me.” No questions asked. No hemming and hawing. No, OH, I don’t fit into that scene, blah, blah, blah,– he just came with me. No questions asked, no reservations, and THAT’S why I fell in love with him.
My design was crafted from tissue paper, an American Girl doll scrap-book ribbon, a gigantic silver mylar balloon and feathers from a wreath discarded from one of the dance company’s props. It was my first design and definitely not my last.
I never cared too much for the industry though. I have shot for magazines and been told the camera loves me but I always had my dance. Why did I need anything else? So here I begin, I am learning photoshop. I am looking everywhere with my eye. Here are some examples of shots I’ve taken recently.
First, is my husband. I shoot him often because well, he’s just THERE. He doesn’t shy away from me and the gaze of the camera. He just stands there. He doesn’t pose, he doesn’t try, he just IS.
I say, “Husband, turn around” and there he is. He just does it.
I love the country town, population 2900, that I live in. In the North, there are scores of old stone foundations, grown in with trees, old fireplaces still in tact from the early 1800’s. There are dirt roads not on the maps and I love exploring them. I found a secluded quiet beaver pond with two dams and a third being built by the beavers. I try to go there every day to snap some photos of the beavers but they seem to be onto me. One cold rainy day, I caught a glimpse of a small creature, it may have been a beaver, or maybe a muskrat. I love trying to capture living things.
Here I have a photo of a couple of snail shells I caught during the magic hour. I can see it as a large print hanging in a doctor’s office somewhere. Or even in the wall in our house. We’re finishing the basement and cannot wait to make studio space out of a bit of it.
Fall in New England, Granby, Connecticut
Dear Husband brings me flowers almost weekly. I am holding onto the last of them. I snapped this one from our kitchen table.
It takes time to edit and work on the photos. I stay at home with my toddler and that’s what I do. So I’ll keep doing it.