Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Respect for Artists, Buying vs. Gifting, thoughts on sales

May 16, 2014

It never ceases to amaze me the attitudes folks have toward artists. You would not hear someone suggest, for example, that a dr. Be allowed to practice in that hallway ” for exposure” and no pay. People who allow artists to hang artwork are appreciated to be sure, libraries, galleries, and so forth, but that concept of giving the artist exposure as a favor is thought provoking. Why shouldn’t artists charge a rental fee for a collection that will be in essence, loaned to a place to show for a period of time? Things are sometimes stolen, damaged, and often the place has a form to sign absolving it of any responsibility to the artist for such. Artists need to eat and pay bills just like everybody else. We don’t eat air.

Recently, a friend of mine, who has never bought anything from me, commented that it would be “much cooler” to hear the ” priceless stories” that I sometimes gather when a piece of my work is purchased by someone for whom it has a special meaning, than to hear of “sales” of works. Should I decide to collect the stories in a manuscript and be lucky enough to publish it, my advice is ” Buy the Book.”

I like being respected enough for my skill to be paid. Relatives, friends, all sorts of people can assume an entitlement and many reasons why they should not purchase your work, be it books or visual art. When I like someone’s work, that of a photographer friend comes to mind, I never just ask for a copy of it even though in these technological days I could even save it to my device aka steal it.
I ask the photographer how much for an 8 x 10 print of it? Whether the artist supports him or herself by artwork or not, it doesn’t matter. Hours of labor went into that piece and studious thought process. Respect that before you assume you are entitled to a gift of it.

It rests solely on the shoulders of the maker to decide what is going to be gifted to someone and why. It is very uncool to tell an artist to give a third party a painting the artist spent hours/days/weeks at work on. Better would be the person suggesting purchase the piece to give to the third party. You would never consider walking into a restaurant and ordering food that takes time and skill to prepare and then not pay for it? Or never would you tell the chef to make a certain dish to give to another customer because that customer loves certain foods.
That is my Friday offering.

Debut “Partly Sunny with a Chance of Snow; a Pocketful of Showers”

June 23, 2013

I am very excited to announce the acceptance of the above titled manuscript of my newest chapbook by Finishing Line Press. I am in the process of trying to decide on cover artwork. Since the book is dedicated to my friend, the late photographer and penwoman, Yolanda Tooley, and is inscribed so, I may use the watercolor photoshopped picture of the puppy with the red sneakers posted earlier on this blog. It features her name in the title.
The collection is my most ambitious yet. It is 32 pages and includes poems that have appeared in Ireland through Elbow Lane Poems, Great Britain through indigodreamsonline as well as poems shared with other publications in the United States such as The Penwoman and They interact well together. It is definitely a book about women’s words, but also about life with all its watershed moments, that tells of rich stories to be found everywhere around us. Stories of love, loss, lust, magic, horror and intrigue the book takes us on a wild ride. The first poem pulls you in, as helpless as a fish on a hook, and the last line of the last poem shuts you down like a loud door. As ever, I often held hands with Nature to tell my tales because that is where my muse resides.
I am particularly happy to learn of the release of this book on the heels of the release of “The Complete Tales from the Edge of the Woods.”
This is my debut novel, YA novel, and the first in a trilogy. I have done three readings of the book so far from local to me Mohegan Manor Advance Release Reading, to the official release at Canastota Library where I read to a standing room only crowd, to a wonderful cozy nook of a bookstore back east, Eastline Books, Clifton Park, NY, owned by a woman. Let’s hear it for indie small business owners who are women. Support each other! There, too, I read to a full house and met to a person, folks I’ve known for years only on FaceBook. Very cool to meet younger and younger readers who also already at age 6 or 7 define themselves as writers as well.The cover art is in a competition. It has been picked up by the Neverending Roll Call Say What? Savannah Says by Savannah Mae. She is a book reviewer from Austin, Texas who will be featuring the book on her author pages as well as posting a review when she has read it. Next physical stop for the book performance is Oswego NY at The River’s Edge Bookstore. In October-November I will have a coordinated art exhibition hung at Westcott Art Gallery and plan to do a reading and book signing during that time.
In the meantime Book 2, Tales from the Edge of the Sea is about to undergo official editing. At the same time, Book 3 The Hedgerow is coming to life beneath my fingers. I will follow the magic wherever it leads me. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

Floral Erotica: How to Find Sensuality in a Grocery Store Bouquet

May 14, 2008

What makes a flower erotic? Sharp crisp lines, seductive curves,  warm enticing colors, ripe, rich textures…stiff parts seeking fertilization…It begs for photography.

A classic erotic flower picture should have simple composition.

One curve, for example, one swelling and two colors to invite the viewer to “fall into” the photograph. To ask the viewer to lick the teeth, swallow, to sigh. To create in the viewer a desire to stroke, to reach into the picture and participate. To remember. Simplicity and clean lines.

 This is different than “dirty flower pictures.” While a blooming plant in a pot of soil may constitute a “dirty flower”, humor aside, I am talking about navigating away from the adolescent reaction of “Oh yeah, look! a tiny pair of boobies” snicker, snicker.

To consider a plant/flower/root/bud/leaf as a metaphor for human body or metaphor for human sexuality in all its starkness and magnetism.


The sensual in nature surrounds us in especially in Spring in northern climates. Birds at their deepest most dramatic colors, sing rich songs unique to mating season. Lush  plant growth  of all colors after  winter’s monochromatic white, tan and gray. Flowering trees and fertilizing bees at their cups, its all about sex. The way the Earth opens with a sharp shiny edge of a farmer’s plow, the waves of folded back, rich brown soil, that is sensuality at its most extreme. Flowers that lend themselves to this type of viewing are many,but the orchid family comes to mind first and foremost with its riot of shapes, long-lasting, stiff flowers, fragrances that attract and mesmerize..even the root growth slipping out the dormant end of a white stubby root with a shine of slick green new tip emerging.


All it requires to discover erotica in flowers and natural life around us, is a macro lens and patience. The viewer must be willing to have not only a  “slow hand” to paraphrase the Pointer Sisters, and an easy touch. My years behind the lens opened an entire universe of sensuality and sensuousness to my eyes. Poetry as snap-shots.  Point and shoot, yes, but don’t shoot and run.


Freedom Day

January 8, 2008

We are amateur poultry keepers. We have 5 chickens– two, unfortunately beleaguered, hens and 3 roosters. Wasn’t intentional. We got an early Saturday morning phone-call–a friend had reserved us chicks at a local feed-mill. So we hurried to Home Depot to buy      wood for the evolving design of a tiny coop for these little birds. It had been years since I kept an aviary full of inches and canaries, or my cockatoo pair who had a room of their own complete with tree from an old tree’s trunk set in any rate we flew into poultry raising with virginal enthusiasm and abandon..enthralled at the idea of fresh eggs every day…and the bountiful free fertilizer for our vegetable garden..we hoped they would be avian weeding machines as well…Many of our dreams came true. We had eggs. We did, however lose most of our hens..and four of those to the family Labrador retriever who innocently found catching these feathered Frisbees fun but confusing– because why wouldn’t they “throw themselves” once caught… There were neighborhood foxes who got lucky and mysterious disappearances. We had built a gorgeous Chicken Palace outside attached to the back of our barn complete with nest boxes big enough to be filled by 6 hens. Branches for real roosting…Soon the number of birds and an especially wet autumn combine dot make this enclosure a mucky stinky mess. Thus the new design of an indoor Hen Palace with a lower condo  for two pot bellied pigs.

Snow began to fall and not one chicken would stick his or her beak the teeniest bit outdoors. The barn–which doubles as our work-shop where frames and boxes and other wood projects are created for my photography—soon became another stinky mucky mess. This was not like parakeets at all.

This weekend past we went out there with our boots on to chicken proof the area.

By nightfall all birds were captured and locked in. Today dawned warm and thawing. January at its least offensive in CNY. I opened their door to feed them this morning. When I went back into the house and looked out my kitchen sink window, I saw a stream of hysterical birds pouring from the barn–surely more than the original 5 whose body language seemed to shout “we’re FREE! we”re Free!”  Pigs in hot pursuit. I did not realize back in 2006 when I entered the poem “Scoop” about my ex-husband’s pet rooster who mothered all the stray kittens on their farm, when he was a kid, that one day I, too, would witness the peculiarly endearing antics of my own chickens..nor that they would be featured subject matter for many special orders in my photography business. See my website to meet them in person or Google me  on the Syracuse Post-Standard’s website “National League of American Penwomen winners 2006” to read “Scoop” and other animal pieces.

Rachael Z. Ikins

Soon enough winter was upon us.