I’m calling this photo “Gypsy.” This scarf was a gift from one of my aunts at my sister’s wedding a few years ago. These beautiful scarves are traditionally used in Assyrian dances and at Assyrian weddings and other celebrations but I couldn’t help but conjure up images in my head of the dancing gypsy archetype so often portrayed in popular culture as I was editing. The somewhat mysterious and distrustful look in her decorated eye also played into that because of the historical persecution and forced assimilation of the Romani people.  

I imagined a young Romani woman, largely insulated from the outside world and traveling safe among her people, suddenly approached by a stranger; Someone who looks different from anyone she has ever seen.  What would she do? Would she run and hide? No. Her people do not run. They do not hide. What she doesn’t realize is that she too looks unlike any other person this stranger has ever met. 

So they both just stand there, quietly assessing each other with mild suspicion on the one hand, and abject fascination on the other. 

**EDIT** A couple people have questioned my use of the word “gypsy” and I realized when I went back to re-read the story behind the photo that my reason for using that particular word was unclear. As I noted in my caption, the story behind the photo is that of two people (the woman in the photo) and another, seeing each other for the first time, and the title of the photo was meant to be from the stranger’s perspective. I am aware of the historical origins of this word, but It was in absolutely no way intended to be derogatory, and I think context matters here. I apologize to those who were offended by its use. 

“The Bizarre Reality of Dreams" 

Do you ever wake up immediately from a dream and think “What the heck was that?” Like the rest of humanity, I am fascinated by my dreams. What they mean, what they don’t mean. I can think of no other experience (aside from an illicit drug trip) where time can feel both infinite and fleeting at the same time. Where floating seems perfectly normal and random happenings perfectly in sync. Where a passage read in the book on my nightstand flows seamlessly with a scene from the movie I watched the day before. Where it makes perfect sense to be both indoors and outdoors at the very same time. 

Some dreams are so vivid. They aren’t simply an experience, but a feeling. Sometimes we won’t remember the specifics of a dream, but we will remember how we felt while dreaming it, and that feeling stays with us, for better or for worse. Sometimes, we want our dreams to mean something so badly that we spend hours agonizing over every frame, trying desperately to make sense of the seemingly random symbology. 

Perhaps our dreams are an indulgent glimpse into our inner psyche permitted by some higher being, or maybe it’s just the chili…

I kept coming back to this photo of Key resting in between jumps during Rob Woodcox’s photo session at The Wild Ones 2014 Columbus workshop. There was just something about it that kept drawing me in, and I finally decided to edit it this past weekend. The more I played with it, the darker it got until I realized why I liked it so much.

I’ve always noticed a direct correlation between my handwriting and my mood, the former declining substantially with the devolution of the latter. But, I’d never noticed such a correlation with my photography. This weekend I was feeling particularly down for a variety of different reasons, but when I was done with this photo, I felt strangely better. As if I had transferred all of the darkness and negativity from myself to the photo. It was a strange catharsis for sure, but in a way, I kind of feel like the photo was there waiting for me to “need” it if that makes sense.

Has anyone else experienced this? Does your mood or state of mind affect your processing style in any substantial way?