my ~photography

“Jack? You’re a photographer.”

Jack looks at Bitty, who is standing nervous in his doorway.

“I take a photography class,” Jack corrects. “I wouldn’t call myself a photographer.”

“But you know about lighting and good camera angles and stuff,” Bitty encourages.

Jack nods. “I guess. But so do you. What about those vlogs, eh?”

Bitty shrugs and bites his lip. “I want your help with something.”

“Okay,” Jack agrees easily. He’s likes helping his teammates and he always feels good after doing something for Bitty. “So should I get my camera?”

“Please,” Bitty says, stepping properly into Jack’s room.

“So, what’s it about anyway?” Jack asks, lifting the camera out of its bag.

“Oh. Well. It’s ah… I was thinking. I want to set up a Grindr profile.”

Jack nearly drops the lens he’s fitting onto the camera. “Really?”

“Well, yeah,” Bitty says. “And I thought, you take nice photos, so…”

Jack keeps his turned while he tries to figure out the sudden queasiness in his stomach. He doesn’t know why it’s there. He doesn’t normally feel this way when helping Bitty.

“Ransom and Holster keep trying to set me up with people,” Bitty continues, “and I do want a relationship, but I want to do it on my own terms.”

“Grindr though?” Jack asks. “Is that the best place to be looking for a relationship?” He doesn’t know why he’s questioning Bitty’s decision. He’s not trying to be judgemental. He’s blames the feeling in his stomach for it coming across that way.

“Well, where else?” Bitty asks him.

“I don’t know. Your classes?” Jack suggests, wasting time fussing with his camera.

Bitty scoffs. “I’ve been in the same classes for months and nothing has happened. I want–I’m ready to be with someone. So, like I said, Grindr.”

Jack turns to Bitty finally. “What about parties or something. Student unions? You’re part of some, aren’t you?” Jack swears he’s trying to be supportive. 

“Yeah, but same problem.” Bitty’s got a shrewd look on his face, staring at Jack like he’s puzzling something out. “Jack, are you—I don’t get it. Why are you so against me doing this?”

“I’m not against it,” Jack refutes automatically.

“It sounds like you are,” Bitty points out, crossing his arms.

“I’m not,” Jack’s says again, though he knows–is shamefully aware–there’s some truth to the accusation.

“Then why are you being so judgemental?”

“I’m not. I’m not judging you for it.” Jack would never judge his friends like that. Their lives are their own and he respects that privacy.

“Then what are you doing,” Bitty throws his hands up. “Why are you pushing back on this?”

“I’m not,” Jack says defensively, reeling from the accusation, feeling guilty and confused.

“Something’s going on in your head. This isn’t…” Bitty shakes his head, then says with clear disappointment, “It’s not what I expected from you.”

It’s not his head, Jack thinks, it’s his stomach. Something strange is going on, he feels like he’s swallowed something sour. “I don’t know. I… really don’t,” he stammers.

Bitty narrows his eyes. “Sure you do, Jack.”

“I, I—"

“Just tell me. I want to know.”

Jack clutches the camera to his stomach. “I honestly don’t. You just—I just—I feel like—"

As his stomach clenches uncomfortably, Jack knows what the feeling is.

“I’m jealous.”

Whatever sentiment Bitty was about to express melts away. His expression goes from hurt to shock, surprise and then something softer. He folds his arms across his stomach again.

“Jealous?” Bitty asks.

Jack thinks it over. The unease in his gut, his strong reaction. He nods. “Yes. I’m jealous.”

“Why,” Bitty asks hesitantly, not like earlier.

“I don’t know,” Jack repeats, wondering that himself.

“Could you… try to figure it out? Please?”

Jack stares at Bitty. “I’m jealous because…” he starts, not knowing where the sentence will take him. “I want… I want to be that someone. Your someone.”

His gaze is so focused Jack can see Bitty swallow from across the room.

“Jack,” Bitty says, taking a step forwards.

Jack blinks. He feels shaky but doesn’t mind because Bitty’s not looking at him like he cares if Jack’s hands are trembling. Jack puts the camera down on his bed and makes his way over to Bitty.

“Don’t get Grindr,” he says, stopping an armlength away.

“Why not,” Bitty asks of him, arms dropping to his sides.

“You won’t find what you’re looking for on there.”

“Why not.”

“Because—” Jack takes a deep breath and another step toward Bitty. “Because it’s here.”

                 Bugün pek çok genç insan görürüz, cıvıl cıvıl yaşam varken kitapları sevmeyi gülünç ve yakışıksız bulur, kitapları sevemeyecek kadar yaşamanın kısalığından ve değerliliğinde dem vurur, beri yandan haftada sekiz gün kafeterya müziğini dinleyip dansetmekle pek çok saat harcamaktan geri kalmazlar.

Cotton candy sunset dogs!!!

They literally look like they walked out of Candyland. The sunset was beautiful on our walk, and the clouds were just so purple and pink.

Colin Morgan + Hunger magazine

Colin’s been featured four times - including this portrait, at the Old Vic Gala in 2015.

I love how he comes across, intelligent, thoughtful, unknowingly charming. And I hope he stays this way, I hope he never changes because his maturity and commitment to acting is rare and inspiring.(reader comment on 2014 Hunger interview)

Fingers crossed that Colin visits the Hunger studios once more in 2018 : )

Photography: Rankin

10

I would like to speak here about my Evie.
In 2014, my great-grandmother, who had raised me my entire life, had a fall in the home. I transitioned into 24/7 caretaker, despite being in college at the time, and we had home-health nurses visiting every couple of days. Eventually, a case of pneumonia landed her in a prolonged hospital stay, where it eventually took its toll on her and she passed.
My great-grandfather had died in a similar fashion a few years beforehand. So both of the people who had raised me were now gone.
In that year, I lost the woman who had been like a mother to me, and the childhood home where I’d grown up, the only place I’d ever lived. College funds transitioned into get-a-home funds, and school got put on hold for a full-time job. I bought a house and became a home owner at 23.
But grief led to some heavy depression, that I still battle off and on to this day, three years later.
In November of 2014, I decided to take a trip to the Lexington Humane Society; I had a dream about puppies, I just wanted to play with dogs. See, I’d had a poorly bred miniature Australian Shepherd named Arcane who had been raised by the influences of my family; he was aggressive, had bitten me and drawn blood a couple times, and he was getting grumpier in his old age. I had wanted a dog that I trained, that had my sole influence, something I could do now that I was on my own.
But I told myself… not until after Christmas.
Then November, I stepped into that shelter. I saw a ball of skinny brindle bones in the corner of a kennel. Delicate, soft, sad eyes. A quiet little beastie; she never barked, never made a sound. Her kennel mate was growling and barking up a storm at us, a fussy creature named Eve, but the tiny little bully girl in the corner, named Bella at the time, never made a sound.
Something about her stuck out at me, and I couldn’t get her off of my mind. I had a meet-and-greet with “Bella” where her true personality shone, the timid, nervous waves melting off of her to reveal wagging tails, gentle puppy nibbles, and many kisses.
A few days after meeting “Bella”, I was adopting her. To me, she became Evelyn, or Evie, after the character from The Mummy. I was told a few things that her owner said when she was surrendered at 9 months old: “a lot of energy, she loves socks”.
“Pit bull” type dogs have three restrictions upon them at this shelter, no doubt due to the stigma of the breed, but I do agree that they’re not for everyone. Evie is no more American Pit Bull Terrier than a dachshund is a corgi. But she’s a blocky-headed bull breed of some sort, which is enough to condemn. We don’t know her history, so all we can do is guess.
In 2014, Evie was the best thing that could have happened to me. A saviour I hadn’t realized I needed; the balm on wounds of grief; the best anti-depressant a girl could have.
She had her issues; all dogs do. Things that made me think… I’d jumped the gun, I’d made this decision too rashly, I got a dog too soon. I wasn’t ready for re-potty training a 10 month old dog, I wasn’t ready to worry about resource guarding and crate-training, things I should have been prepared for. Live and learn.
She was never anything other than extremely pleasant to any new person she met, however. And the issues grew thinner and thinner as we grew together, learned each other, and formed a life and a bond together.
She adjusted to life with cats flawlessly; our giant maine coon mix runs this house and she knows it. This year, with the influx of foster kittens, she was never anything more than motherly and careful. No animal in this house is around small children or baby animals unsupervised. But Evie has never given us a reason to not trust her. She is the most tolerant creature of baby animals that I have ever met in my entire life.
We learned quickly how amazingly receptive to training she was. I have a dog that knows countless tricks. I learned how different a dog could be trained with positive reinforcement, and how fulfilling the sessions could be for both of us. Evie was the first dog I ever trained to loose-leash walk successfully, the first dog to ever grasp things like “Bang!” and “Sit Pretty”, she has a play-drive and an incredible desire to please.
She is not everyone’s perfect dog, but she is my perfect dog.
I know it wasn’t me. Mostly it was her. I’m still learning, Evie was my first dog “on my own”, and she made it easy. We have our issues; a few negative experiences with other dogs and she’s not partial to meeting new friends on the leash anymore. But we manage that. She’s not reactive, and never barks at strangers or new dogs. She simply likes to introduce herself in a manner where she doesn’t feel trapped and cornered. She has never shown any signs of animal aggression outside of feeling defensive around some new dogs. Puppies and small dogs are always welcome friends to her! She lives with 6 cats, and they’ve chased her more than she’s ever chased them.
Unless you are a car door slamming at 5AM, a school bus, or thunder, you have nothing to fear from Evie.
One of my favorite memories of her interacting with strangers was at the UK Arboretum. This was within a year of adopting her, we take her on adventures often for photo sessions and just to get her exercise in, because she’d be a couch potato if we let her. A family was passing by with their toddler-aged daughter. The child immediately latched onto Evie and squealed and was instantly smitten with her. Evie greets every human being in the same manner: she rolls over, exposes her belly for some good belly rubs, and then will crawl closer. She stays low as if to say “I’m not scary!” She got acquainted with this toddler and the family was so enamored by how gentle and well-behaved she was. For a while, this little girl was just standing with both of her hands braced on Evie’s bum, holding herself up, while Evie just stood there, thrilled as could be to be the girl’s center of attention, and when they finally went their own way, breaking the two up was quite a task!
People avoid her sometimes. That’s fine. But there’s never been anyone she hasn’t wanted to meet.
But my favorite time spent with her is nights snuggling on the couch. She lays next to me, tucked into a blanket, and dozes while we binge the newest Netflix series. The moments of quiet peace, where the world is still, and I just feel content. She’d run for days if I was running with her, but as long as I’m down for the count? She’s happy to rest as well.
We brought Astaroth home from an Australian Shepherd breeder last year to be her constant playmate. He adores her and trusts her judgment, enjoys stealing toys from her, and even smacks her with said toys to antagonize her to chase him. Many a times she has fallen asleep to him chewing on her ears until they are drenched with drool, ever since puppyhood. He was the perfect balance of chaos and mischief to our family. The two have never had a scuffle. Ever.
This dog who is so perspective to others’ anxiety, and has helped my friends through multiple panic attacks by being with them through them, who put smiles on my face and joy in my heart during a time where I had lost so much and felt so lost. She made me love dogs again; I learned to remember how astonishing the partnership could be. She’s a powerful dog without knowing it, and no, not everyone should expect to manage such a muscle beast; she’s bruised me in play accidentally because she doesn’t know her own strength, but if I was too afraid to get a scratch or bruise here and there, I wouldn’t keep pets at all. Dogs are domesticated carnivores and we should regard them as such, with respect, so no, I’m not going to tell you she’s a pure, gentle angel made of cotton-candy and clouds. She’s muscle, rambunctious energy and power, and she’s got a mouthful of teeth that sometimes miss the toy and get your fingers. But that would be true of any dog.
This dog came into my life at a time where I desperately needed her, and she’s started a journey with me that means the world to me and is close to my heart. People can hate her due to her aesthetics if they like, because of her blocky head and short, brindle coat; I don’t fucking like shih-tzus and the like. But you make this personal and all bets are off; I don’t care how anyone else feels about my dog, whether they think she’s ugly or what, but I trust and believe in her a hell of a lot more than I do some insignificant stranger on the internet. Evie’s been in my life almost three years now; her third anniversary is approaching and will be shortly followed by her fourth birthday. I haven’t changed my mind about her yet, I highly doubt I’m going to.
And sometimes I wonder if I’d still be here if it weren’t for her.
She is the soldier combating my inner demons daily, just by being present, grounding me and giving me something to be responsible for. She gets me out of the house on days I feel like withering away in bed. She lays with me when I’m feeling melancholy. She makes me smile when her and her brother have silly shenanigans in the living room. And she makes my heart swell with the look of those starlit eyes of hers.
My dog is better than anonymous hateful, nasty people will ever be. And I owe my life and my passion and my drive to her.
Her love is more important to me than your approval.

P.S. - the Aussie would hate you. See, he takes guidance from his big sister of what sort of people he should trust. He’s been smitten with her since he was 8 weeks old. Astaroth is a lot less trusting of strangers than pure, kind-hearted Evie. So if you’re gonna hate one of my dogs, go ahead and save some time and hate them both.

Something I wrote and published today on my photography FB page about Evie, in light of strangers on the internet harassing me and attacking her and Astaroth.