july 4, 2017

posted in: photography | 2

“There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it.
If you can’t accept it, change it. If you can’t change it, leave it.”
~ tinybuddha

 

dueling cameras

 

Like yesterday’s photo where we saw Harriette and Silas meet the first time, here we see the moment when Erica Chambers and I met. This is sometimes what it looks like when photographers meet. She was a pure delight. 

 

photographer selfie

 

Erica and I have a lot in common. The more she talked, the more I felt like I was meeting my younger self, but a much nicer version. It was very trippy actually. We’re both photographers, and both use Canon. We’re both musicians. At least we play different instruments. We’re both from Eastern Kentucky, neighboring counties no less. It’s uncanny how similar we seem to be. If Erica was older we probably would have met sooner. Leave it to Erin Chandler to connect people. Erica designed Erin’s book for which she used one of my photos on the back cover. We were destined to meet. As if meeting wasn’t enough, she was kind enough to snap the bottom photo of Deb Chenault, Erin, and I. If only Stacy Yelton had been in it we’d have the original Happiness Girls foursome. It was a great day and I feel like I made a real friend in Erica.

 

three of four

 

july 2, 2017

posted in: photography | 0

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

today

 

Erin Chandler held her book release party today at The Cabin; her home in Versailles that’s a central character in her story. The Cabin was built as a gift to her grandfather, Gov. Happy Chandler, by the state. It was bequeathed to Erin’s dad, Dan. He is the youngest child in the photo taken at the Governor’s mansion hanging over the desk. It’s a beautiful photograph published in last week’s Ace article about Erin’s book, and inaccurately attributed to me. Though I wish I could take the credit, I’m not old enough…for once. Ha! Erin’s party was wonderful of course; packed full of people that adore her, and rightfully so. I had the chance to meet some really wonderful people today, and catch up with others I haven’t seen in a while. I never go to one of Erin’s parties that I don’t come away having met some of the most interesting people on the planet. I enjoyed watching her sign copy after copy of her memoir that I just finished reading yesterday. I can’t say enough about it, and not because we’re friends, but because it is a deeply compelling story. I’m extraordinarily proud of her.

 

the author

june 25, 2017

posted in: photography | 0

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”
~ Carlos Castaneda

 

a lifetime (snapseed)

 

Finally, after ten long years of work, Erin Chandler has published her memoir. She graced me with the opportunity to read an early draft some years ago, and let me tell you, even then it was an engrossing, heart-tug of a read. I got my copy of the real thing today, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it’s finished glory. I’m incredibly proud of Erin, and in awe of her determination to see this project through. She is one of the strongest, most compassionate, creative, driven woman I’ve ever known. It is a true honor to call her my friend. 

may 25, 2017

posted in: photography | 0

“Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice.” ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

 

coexist ya’ll

 

It’s been almost a week since we convened to hug Sandy Davis’ neck. I wish we could meet every Friday for dinner, or just laughs. Jeanne Marie’s phone says all that needs saying about my Kentucky tribe. I love them all so much, and I’m so lucky to have them as friends.

 

assorted flavors

december 22, 2015

posted in: music, photography | 0

“Fear has two meanings:
‘Forget everything and run’ or ‘Face everything and rise.’
The choice is yours.”
~ Zig Ziglar

 

hostess and her mostest
hostess and her mostest

 

Erin Chandler had a gathering to say goodbye to 2015, welcome 2016, and bring together a few family and friends for laughs, food, and music. Indeed, we had all of that and more. Some of us met for the first time. Others of us knew one another from various and sundry parts of our lives. And many of Erin’s closest family joined in the celebration.

 

a family of best friends
a family of best friends

 

Erin’s first cousin, Whit, confessed to me as we stood in the kitchen. He confessed that he attended many a Stealin Horses show at Café LMNOP during his youth. He was the guy doing the pogo. If you’ve ever seen a Stealin Horses show, you’ll know that during our take on Gloria, Kiya would pogo at some point, and always the dancers would join in. Whit was one of those Solid Gold Dancers! He made my night with that story. Plus, I realized that I hadn’t been crazy all these years by thinking I knew him from somewhere. I really did.

 

love beyond all reckoning
love beyond all reckoning

 

Whit’s mom, Erin’s Aunt Toss, was drawn to the music. She was also drawn to Silas House. She was very cute about it, too, making her way around the room quietly, weaving in and out of the crowd, until finally, she made him scoot over so she could sit beside him. She’d had her eye on him from the start. Ultimately, however, she was in it for the music. The bottom photo with Whit warms my heart so much. He is so tender with her in the way he talks with her, the way he touches her. Frankly, I think Whit hung the moon. That he’s also one of the world’s best huggers is just icing on the cake.

 

everybody's got a song to sing
everybody’s got a song to sing

 

It was a great evening just as Erin intended. Before dinner we each said what we were grateful for in 2015 and what we hoped for in 2016. I’m blessed in so many ways and grateful for every bit of it. That’s true in 2015, and it will be true in 2016 come what may.

november 1, 2015

posted in: photography | 0

“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
~ James Allen

 

collage of happy
collage of happy

 

I had a guest register available at the reception. I didn’t realize I’d forgotten it until I went to bed Friday night. I attended All Saints Day service this morning and picked it up afterward. Sixty people attended Friday’s reception. Sixty people took time out of their lives to come see my work. Some I’d never met before Friday. Some sneaked in and out without my seeing them though they were kind enough to leave their signature. Some drove nearly two hours to be there. Some took off work. Some were recovering from major surgery. Some couldn’t stay long, and others stayed the whole time. Someone pointed out how many segments of my life were assembled in that room: family, close friends, old friends, new friends, co-workers, writers, actors, artists, musicians, librarians, bankers, software developers, railroad men, professors, social workers, therapists, pathologists, nutritionists, the list goes on. They’re not all represented in this collage, but I couldn’t think of a better way to have a group hug in the outhouse. Sixty people. I may be speechless for a week I’m so overcome with gratitude.

october 5, 2015

posted in: photography | 0

“Talking about our problems is our biggest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”
~ Rita Schiano

 

keepers
keepers

 

Erin Chandler and Stacy Yelton: two of my all-time favorite people in the whole world. In keeping with yesterday’s faith theme, Erin even has a cross shadowed across her. Smiles and faith at brunch. It doesn’t get much better than that!

october 4, 2015

posted in: photography | 3

“Consider becoming the type of energy that, no matter where you go,
you always add value to the spaces and lives of those around you.”
~ Unknown

 

agent 007
agent 007

 

This was a big, nervous day for me. If you’ve been following the outhouse, then you know I’ve been working on a series of photos called Sacred Spaces. The first exhibit of the work was scheduled to hang today at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Lexington. Because God and the Universe love me, it just happened to coincide with Sandy Davis’ first return to Lexington since moving to Boston. Sandy has been a big supporter of my work and she always had my back when it comes to all the things I’m horrible with, like marketing myself. I’ve leaned on her artistic senses to put this exhibit together, so it was only right that she should be there when it went up. I trust her eye, and I trust Marlon Hurst, so I stepped aside and let them hang the show. It was a huge load off my shoulders, frankly. I get too close to the work sometimes to know what’s best. I’m indebted to them forever for helping me. And while they did the heavy lifting, Harriette Swart and Stacy Yelton talked to me at length about the work itself. Their conversations were so cathartic, so soothing, that my nerves calmed and I felt more confident about the work, and most importantly, the impact of the work. It was a truly special time that I will never forget (Sandy insisted on the Kopana style selfie, and Sandy gets what she wants!).

 

best team ever
best team ever

 

Kentucky Tribe
Kentucky Tribe

 

My day wasn’t done. No, this great day was meant to be a spectacular day! We left the exhibit and met our Happiness gal pals at National Provisions for a late brunch. This was the first time we’ve all been together since Erin had moved before Sandy, Annie, and Jeanne Marie joined us. Plus, we’ve added Harriette Swart and Marcie Christensen because they are meant to be here. We’ve all had a big year, but most of us have undergone big life changes; from moving homes to changing careers to adult responsibilities, and so on. I just can’t believe how lucky I’ve gotten to find these friends. It’s mostly thanks to Deb Chenault for putting her Happiness Project out there and letting us be part of it. Every one of these women is talented, unique, big-hearted, and smart. I’m just happy and in love with all of them. And Marlon, too, because he’s cool enough to be a gal pal… if he was a gal. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

 

photographing the photographer
photographing the photographer

july 31, 2015

posted in: art, photography | 0

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
~ William James

 

the dress came in
the dress came in

 

Erin came to talk to me again. She brings a lighthearted joy with her wherever she goes. It’s just part of who she is. I had the chance to introduce her to our outgoing CEP Fellows LaTrisha Blunt and Sarah Pham. Both ladies had admitted earlier in the week that, when they were chosen to attend UK, they knew next to nothing about Kentucky. I couldn’t think of a better way to send them home than meeting one of Kentucky’s finest, Erin Chandler. Later, a backstage encounter that included Erin and I over 25 years ago at a Melissa Etheridge show came up in conversation. We don’t remember meeting each other, but we were both there and Stacy Yelton has the pictures to prove it because she was there and took them. I love the way life works in such a circuitous way, people weaving in and out like basket reeds, creating a beautiful, intricate pattern. I’ve enjoyed my interviews with Erin, and I look forward to more. And more lunches, and more dinners, and more pictures, and definitely more laughter. Always laughter.

 

the gang
the gang

july 24, 2015

posted in: photography | 0

“The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.”
~ Anne Lamott

 

talking truth
talking truth

 

I had a chance to do an oral history with Erin Chandler. She’s a real trooper for being my guinea pig. You might recall that she’s in town for a while, so we’re making the most of it. This was just the first of 3 or 4 oral histories with her. She’s had quite the life. We could conduct a ton of oral histories with her and she wouldn’t run out of stories.

 

taking pictures of each other
taking pictures of each other

 

I’ve known Erin for several years now, and she never ceases to amaze me. When I think of someone emotionally strong and resilient, I think Erin (she probably wouldn’t call herself emotionally strong, but she is). When I think of someone who makes the most of whatever life throws their way, I think Erin. Her cousin Whit once told me, “She works every day to be happy.” And she does. She never stops learning. She never stops trying to be a better person. What more could anyone possibly ask for in a friend?

 

the people's house
the people’s house

 

Just outside the studio is Stacy Yelton and Crystal Heis’ office space. They had scanned a book called “The People’s House: Governor’s Mansions of Kentucky“. Erin rifled through the pages and found several photos of her mom and dad. In case I haven’t mentioned it, her grandfather was Happy Chandler; two time governor of Kentucky and the Baseball Commissioner that desegregated the game. Obviously, there were pictures of her grandparents in the book as well. Today’s interview centered on Erin’s early life which very much included her grandparents, so it was sweet that this book happened to be around. Crystal said we should take a picture of Erin and the book. I ran for my camera, hearing Crystal in the distance “This better not end up in the outhouse.” I couldn’t help myself. Forgive me Crystal. The picture is just too sweet not to post.

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