Hold It All

Category: Photography

Two Passages from the Obama Photo Book

Michelle, Ma Belle
Paul McCartney had been awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in a ceremony in the East Room. For most of the evening, other artists performed his songs. But for the conclusion, McCartney went onstage to sing some classics. Then he sang “Michelle” to Michelle Obama. I didn’t realize how special the moment was until the next day, when I was talking to the President. What were the odds, he said to me, that an African-American girl from the South Side of Chicago would one day be sitting in the front row of the White House, as the First Lady of the United States, while a member of the Beatles sang her name? Wow, just wow, I thought. June 2, 2010

The Raid on bin Laden
Several minutes later: “Geronimo, KIA” came over the audio feed. “Gerinomo” [sic] was the code name for bin Laden; “KIA” meant “killed in action.” May 1, 2011


–Pete Souza, Obama: An Intimate Portrait
Mr. Souza was the former chief official White House photographer.

Share the Wealth with Carrie Niswonger: Life Through a Lens

Photography is another way to view the world around us as well as using our eyes. While photography  has many uses, numerous people popularly use it as an artistic medium to capture moments, emotions, and memories, all collectively showing a different way to view life. Photography is also one of the very few things that defies impermanence– moments are forever captured in time to show and teach others.

As a sixth grader, I was fascinated by that idea– to capture a past moment. So, I received my very first camera for my 11th birthday. Almost 9 years later, as a sophomore in college, I have yet to put down the camera as well as take a formal photography class. 11 year-old me was determined to teach myself and learn along the way. Despite my status as an amateur-photographer, sharing my photos and showing others how I see the world brings me great joy, although I rarely have a chance to do it. Therefore, I am delighted to talk about one of my passions and share my photos.

Join us!
Sunday 23 July 2017
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Carrie will share at 6:45
At the home of Christine Wallach and Carrie Niswonger
5 East Lake Road
Fenton, MO

From Chris: Directions from Google will take you to the mailbox at the end of my gravel road. Follow the gravel. When you see a three car garage (my mother’s house) look to the right for a right turn. Follow that down to the bottom of the hill and you will arrive at my house.

Share the Wealth with Cami Kasmerchak: The Hidden World of Vivian Maier

Vivian Maier’s work was first discovered about 10 years ago when a man named John Maloof purchased a trunk full of negatives at a Chicago storage auction. Maloof did not know it then, but he had stumbled upon a small portion of Maier’s more than 100,000 film negatives. This previously unknown prolific body of Street Photography mostly captures life in Chicago and New York where Maier worked as a nanny. Her mastery of photography and the brilliance of her work have been recognized only recently. We will view some of Maier’s work, and discuss Maier, photography, and what our own “100,000 negatives no one knows about” might be.

Cami Kasmerchak is an amateur photographer fascinated by Maier’s near perfect exposure and focus in her work. Selfishly, she wants your take on some of her own questions about Street Photography and is excited to talk about one of her favorite photographers with others.

Join us
Sunday 30 April
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00
(please bring something to share!)
Cami begins sharing at 6:45
at 5305 Delmar Boulevard
Apartment  401
Parking on  Savoy Court
Saint Louis 63112

The Good News, 3.2.2017

The Good News is…Andrew Wimmer just invested in a Fuji camera, and this means he will he honing his eye-craft, which I am sure will bring joy, insight, and provocation to others.

One day may I be a silent witness to hear creative exchange among Andrew, Cami Kasmerchak, Oliver Clark, and Julie Ann Johnson as to the challenges and breakthroughs of birthing photos and sending them out into the world.

Scan 61

Mev Puleo, Berkeley, CA, 1995


Brave and Bereaved (Photo Meditation/46)

A Dear Layla chapter entitled Solidarity/2 begins

Dear Carla

One of my temporary partners in Gaza is Noreen McCarty
(We all come and go)
Who declared to us newcomers one day
“There are no women anywhere in the world
Stronger than the women of Rafah”

What about those Tibetan women living as exiles in India?
What about all those unsung elderly African-American women in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi?
What about all those Vietnamese women in their fifties, sixties, and seventies in Hanoi?

Apropos of that last line, see  Lee Karen Stow’s photographs, “The Vietnamese women who fought for their country.”


Colloquium with Cami

Cami and I are taking turns each month sharing something with each other.  Last month I did a session on Gurus, Teachers, and Mentors, and this weekend she shared the following reflections for our writing and sharing together:

Sunday, October 23rd 2016- Northwest Coffee

Writing Prompt: How has photography been a part of your life?  (3 min.)

Reading of first 4 quotations on photography

Writing on one or all of the photographs you brought along  (20 min.) Read the rest of this entry »

Carrie Niswonger, Cami Kasmerchak, Oliver Clark!

I thought this might interest you–on the work on Henri Cartier-Bresson at Eric Kim’s web site.



An Amateur Is One Who Loves…

I was at RISE Coffee today with Carrie, who’s soon headed off for first year of university at Mizzou. Early on in our conversation, she asked me if I’d like to see some of her photos. For the next 45 minutes, my jaw repeatedly dropped as I looked at her phone. (She had emailed the photos to her phone, as she had taken them with a camera.) Compared to how often we, with our I-Phones, shoot and post photos nearly instantaneously, Carrie is model of patience, mindfulness, abiding presence: “To get that moon, I waited for an hour.”

Some of us do Sitting Meditation. Carrie does Photo Meditation.

Carrie Moon

Deep Looking

You can practice Photo Meditation
As you take in this article by 
On Agent Orange

An Excerpt:  “There is not much I can do about it with my pictures except to retell the story, despite all the raised eyebrows. The pictures I took are not about the before and after, they are all about now. As for how poorly we read history and stories from the past, I’m afraid that is about our future, too.”

Share the Wealth with Julie Johnson–Creative Serving: Giving Back to St. Louis with Photography and Art

Julie Johnson is a photographer and public school teacher in North St. Louis County.  She owns a card company called STL Heart Cards. She  captures off the beaten path spaces, people, and experiences in St. Louis and other cities she has traveled and lived, and she turns them into photo cards.  Much of her work embraces the idea of diversity and unity in the midst of the city grit with a deep history of racism and socio-economic disparity.

During our time together, Julie will tell her story about using the gift of photography to “reframe” the narrative of the events in Ferguson and our city while also giving others an opportunity to discuss the theme of creative serving in their own life and work.

Join us Sunday 22 November.  Potluck begins at 6:00 pm, and Julie begins sharing at 6:45.  We gather at the home of Lacey Burchett and Savannah Sisk, 1817 Thurman, Apartment B, first floor, door on the left, Saint Louis, MO 63110. People may need to park along DeTonty because Sasha’s usually takes all street parking in the evenings.

You can view more of Juile’s work and examples of STL Heart Cards here:

STL Heart Cards

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