Monthly Archives: September 2012

Introducing JC Politi Photography – My first photo exhibit!

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One of my favorite photos from Patagonia, Argentina

Readers of this blog know that I have a passion for photography. I turned 40 this year and am dedicating this decade to the creative side of my brain.

With that in mind (pun intended!! ;-)), I purchased a DSLR camera, signed up for an intensive online course through the New York Institute of Photography, and finally asked our local breakfast place if I might be able to show my photos. And they said yes!!

So, this afternoon, I am hanging 12 photos from my adventures in Argentina at the Southside Walnut Cafe in Boulder and I couldn’t be more excited. I also printed business cards and started a website at: www.jcpolitiphotography.org.

It is not much, but I think it is a good start. I feel so official!! I hope you will take a moment to stop by.

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I feel kind of like a butterfly, transforming right before my own eyes!!

Honestly, the support and encouragement I have recieved through this blog are directly responsible for my willingness to put my work out there in the public.

When I look at my own photos, sometimes it is hard to see if they are any good or not, because I look at them so many times. Honestly, it feels a little vulnerable to show my work.

But I have watched fellow bloggers overcome similar fears. I have cheered them on loudly from the sidelines as they boldy chased their dreams. Now it is my turn to step off the ledge.

I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated all of your support and encouragement. It has made the world of difference, so thank you! I should also thank my sweet husband who has exposed me to so many beautiful places and joined me on so many wonderful adventures.

What do you think? Have you faced this type of fear? Would you be willing to share you story here? If you are over 40, what did you do when you turned 40 to celebrate the occasion? If you are under 40, what would you like to do to mark the day when you reach that age? And if you have an artistic website, would you be willing to share your link here? I would love to see other’s creative adventures as I embark on my own!

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you so much for reading!

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Filed under Art, Blogging, Colorado, Photography, Photos

Photo Friday: Amsterdam

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After a sad goodbye to Paris, we left for Amsterdam. What a lovely surprise!

I had never put much thought into Amsterdam and knew nothing about the city, but was wooed by its charms right away.

I got a chuckle after reading the warning in the guide book to look out for the “silent transport.” In Paris we were told again and again to look out for pick-pockets. In Amsterdam, the concern is the silent transport.

But soon after arriving, we completely understood what this means. Amsterdam is the wild west of bicycles.

We saw people pedaling as fast as they could through intersections full of other bikers, some texting, some with children hanging off of them and not one bike stopped to make sure an intersection was safe before going straight through. The motorized scooters even use the bike lanes – it is absolute chaos for a first-timer!

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I love this one because of the reflection of the bikes in the window. This was Amsterdam to me!

We were amazed that we didn’t witness an accident. When we asked the hosts at our Bed and Breakfast how people know who has the right of way, the response was “The person who looks the fiercest.”

Amsterdam is really a study in contradictions. On one street, you have peaceful, picturesque canals with rows of historic buildings. On the next street, you have the red light district, where scantily-clad women pose in windows, calling out for business.

The city is surprisingly urban, but geographically tiny. The smell of marijuana pervades the city and shops selling mushrooms and bongs are simply another form of commerce.

We loved Amsterdam. It is a high energy city with a little something for everyone.

Highlights of our trip included the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and a bike ride through the countryside.

Since this is Photo Friday, I thought I would share some of my favorite photos.

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Parking lot at the train station. This was at least 4 stories high of bicycles!

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These were the houses lining the canals. They all lean forward and have hooks at the top so they can use a pulley system to pull furniture up and through the windows!

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This is a brewery that is under one of the last windmills in the city. The windmills helped regulate the water flow to Amsterdam, which is below sea level.

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Amsterdam canals at night

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We went on a beautiful bike tour to the countryside and visited a farm where they made cheese and clogs.

What do you think? When you think of Amsterdam, what comes to mind? Have you ever been to Amsterdam? If you were to go, what would you look forward to seeing most?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

38 Comments

Filed under Art, Culture, International, Photography, Photos, Stereotypes, travel

Hunger Knows No Borders: Poverty at Home and Abroad

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There is an article in the New York Times this week about the increasing number of people living in poverty in Spain.

The article references the fact that the unemployment rate in Spain is over 50% for young people and that over 20% of families in Spain live in poverty. It tells the stories of people who find themselves forced to search for food in trash bins in order to feed themselves and their families.

It is striking to read about how dire the situation is in Spain right now, especially after having just visited the country. We were blown away by the food and the beauty, but this article makes it clear that there is another, much more tragic, story to be told.

As I read this article, I felt like I was reading about the United States. The article spoke of people who had never been on government assistance who are now accessing food pantries or searching through dumpsters for food.

So frequently, we read an article like this and look at it as an interesting, but sad anecdote from a foreign land. But the truth is, we can see the same thing here in our own back yards every day.

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The recession has had far-reaching implications across the globe. The number of people in the United States who are accessing public benefits has sky-rocketed.

Some people complain about the number of people who are accessing government assistance, including food assistance. I don’t understand this.

If jobs are not available and people are hungry, why would we not be grateful to live in a society where people who have hit rock bottom have a place to go to feed themselves and their children? How can we be so sure that we will not be the next family to come upon hard times, through a loss of a job or through a medical emergency that leaves us financially devastated?

I am honestly baffled and saddened by the lack of compassion in much of the United States during these difficult economic times.

What do you think? Why do you think people are so critical of government efforts to support low-income families? Why do you think people are so quick to judge families who have come upon hard times? How can people be so sure that they will not be the next person to need a little help? And how can we reduce the stigma associated with accepting government assistance so that more people can have a bridge to survive their current hardship in the hopes of eventually getting a job and escaping poverty?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

28 Comments

Filed under Culture, Economy, Ethics, Health, Income inequality, International, Photography, Photos, Policy, Politcs, Poverty, Relationships, Role of Government, Stereotypes, travel

Tunes Tuesday: Ani DiFranco

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This week’s Tunes Tuesday pick is from one of the most brilliant song-writers of all times, in my humble opinion.  Ani DiFranco writes raw and provocative lyrics, and delivers her words with a silky smooth sound.

She speaks truth to power and never shies away from difficult subjects. Her words eloquently convey emotions that are difficult for most to explain or describe.

This song is one of my favorites for its dark poignancy and sadness. This week, I bring you Ani DiFranco.

School Night
Ani DiFranco

she went over to his apartment
clutching her decision
and he said, did you come here to tell me goodbye?
so she built a skyscraper of procrastination
and then she leaned out the twenty-fifth floor window
of her reply
and she felt like an actress
just reading her lines
when she finally said
yes. it’s really goodbye this time
and far below was the blacktop
and the tiny toy cars
and it all fell so fast
and it all fell so far

and she said:
you are a miracle but that is not all
you are also a stiff drink and i am on call
you are a party and i am a school night
and i’m lookin’ for my door key
but you are my porch light

and you’ll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you’ll probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is but one of my truths

what of the mother
whose house is in flames
and both of her children
are in their beds crying
and she loves them both
with the whole of her heart
but she knows she can only
carry one at a time?
she’s choking on the smoke
of unthinkable choices
she is haunted by the voices
of so many desires
she’s bent over from the business
of begging forgiveness
while frantically running around
putting out fires

but then what kind of scale
compares the weight of two beauties
the gravity of duties
or the ground speed of joy?
tell me what kind of gauge
can quantify elation?
what kind of equation
could i possibly employ?
and you’ll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is just one of my truths

so i
i’m goin’ home
to please the one i so love pleasing
and i don’t expect
he’ll have much sympathy for my grieving
but i guess that this is the price
that we pay for the privilege
of living for even a day
in a world with so many things
worth believing
in

What do you think? Do you have a favorite song that conveys dark emotions?  Who is your favorite dark song-writer?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

36 Comments

Filed under Love, Music

36 Hours in Baltimore, Hon!

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Water Taxi in Fells Point

When the New York Times does a 36 hour story on Baltimore, I feel that I have to add my two cents. I am a Baltimore girl, from head to toe. While I have lived all over the country, I still feel like a Charles Villager, who is happiest eating steamed crabs and going to Orioles baseball games.

It’s fun to see an article in the New York Times about your hometown – it kind of shows what your city looks like from the outside.

I love Baltimore’s quirkiness and flair. Baltimore is sassy!

I remember the first time I realized that Baltimore was maturing in front of my very eyes. I had gone to the then newly-developed Power Plant area, and found an ESPN Zone, a Hard Rock Café, and a wide range of other stores and restaurants in a previously run-down part of town.

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Revitalized Power Plant Neighborhood

I got tears in my eyes, feeling pride in my hometown. Maybe this is what my family felt like when the Inner Harbor opened in the early 80‘s.

I remember, as will all of my schoolmates, the excitement in the air when the Inner Harbor opened and we stood in line for hours just for a taste of Thrasher’s French fries!

I also remember visiting Baltimore after I moved away from home after college. It was the first time I can remember seeing people in bars in Fells Point who had not grown up in Baltimore. I realized that some people actually moved to Baltimore, instead of away from Baltimore, when they grew up. This was an illuminating moment for me.

For anyone who has not visited Baltimore, I encourage you to give it a try. People frequently tell me that they have driven through Baltimore on their way to Washington, DC. That is a shame. DC is well-worth a visit, but anyone who does not take time to stop in Baltimore to get a taste of its gritty character is missing out on something special.

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The best part of Baltimore – aside from my family, of course!

While you’re there, make sure to eat steamed crabs full of old bay and wash them down with a Natty Boh beer, catch an O’s game, take the water taxi to Fells Point for a drink and some mussels at Bertha’s Mussels, and check out the national aquarium. I am sure my friends and family could add quite a few other things not to be missed.

What do you think? If you were to describe your city or hometown to visitors, how would you describe it? What are some must-do activities in your community? Have you been to Baltimore? What is your impression of the city? What city or town do you identify most closely with?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

43 Comments

Filed under Culture, Food, Photography, Photos, travel

Photo Friday: Paris

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View from the Pompidou Museum

Paris – doesn’t just the word itself transport you to another world? As I mentioned in an earlier post, I fell in love with Paris at first glance. Yes, figuring out the metro system and where we needed to go was a challenge at first, but when we came out of the subway the first time, my jaw dropped.

We have all seen places that are described as “French-style”, so I was expecting beautiful architecture. But to see every single building with wrought-iron balconies as far as the eye could see – it is hard to describe. It is clear that beauty is simply the top priority in Paris, held in the very highest esteem.

I loved the cafes and the restaurants, the business-people and beautiful women on bikes, the churches, the plazas, the museums, the pastries, the music which seemed to be ever-present, the small boutiques, the bread shops, the cheese shops, the wine shops – I even loved the metro, which turned out to be easy to use and convenient to get us everywhere we wanted to go.

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View from our sidewalk restaurant in Montmartre

Montmartre had to be my favorite place. Even though it has become more commercialized, you could feel the bohemian energy all around. And while it was filled with tourists, I felt a kindred spirit with many of the tourists there who made the trip to seek out this bohemian enclave.

What I found so amazing about Paris was how charming and intimate it feels, despite its size. We did all the requisite tourist activities, but I would give anything to go back and skip all tourist areas and just get to know some of the neighborhoods. I will do that one day.

For this Photo Friday, I wanted to share some of my favorite Paris photos with you. I hope you enjoy the photos and are able to feel a little bit of the romance around every corner.

What do you think? Have you been to Paris? What was your favorite part? If you haven’t been, but would like to go, what would you look forward to most? Where is the most romantic place you have ever visited?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Plaza in Montmartre, Paris

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Stained Glass Window in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

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The Eiffel Tower, Paris

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Birds in flight outside the Pomipdou Museum, Paris

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Paris, France

For those wanting more:

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Filed under Culture, International, Love, Music, Photography, Photos, Stereotypes, travel

Travel Challenge: Texture as displayed by Antonin Gaudi

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Wall in the Courtyard of Casa Battlo, Barcelone, Spain

Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack has issued a Texture travel challenge this week. I thought this would be the perfect time to share more photos of Gaudi’s work.

If anyone knows texture, it is Antonin Gaudi.  If you are not familiar with this famous Spanish architect, I encourage you do a little research. His style is described as Modernism and I think people either love it or hate it. I don’t think many are ambivalent to his work.

I found that I really disliked the exterior of La Sagrada Familia, but that his work with mosaics and in houses was very interesting. All of it is over the top, but you really can’t take your eyes off of it.

So, with no further ado, I bring you Gaudi and my interpretation of the Texture theme.

What do you think? Do you like the Gaudi style? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Do you have a favorite architect or style of architecture?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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La Sagrada Familia

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Inside of La Sagrada Familia

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Stairway inside La Sagrada Familia

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Outside of Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

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Outside of Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

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Roof of Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

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A ceiling in the Casa Battlo, Barcelona, Spain

 

Other Interpretations of the Texture Challenge:
http://thirdeyemom.com/2012/09/15/the-texture-of-guatemala/
http://eastofmalaga.net/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://campanulladellaanna.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://scrapydo.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/travel-theme-texture/
http://laavventura.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://s1ngal.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://max510.com/2012/09/14/weekly-travel-theme-texture/
http://theurgetowander.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://imissmetoo.me/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture-land-meets-sea/
http://windagainstcurrent.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://cinova.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://windagainstcurrent.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture-take-two/
http://canoecommunications.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-textures-of-art/
http://therewildwest.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://ohmsweetohmdotme.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://gatheringbooks.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/photo-journaltravel-theme-texture/
http://shaanthz.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/travel-theme-texture/
http://memoriesaremadeofthisblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-textures/
http://rfljenksy.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://chasingbutterfliessunshineandfreedom.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://annarashbrook.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/weekly-travel-theme-texture/
http://50yearproject.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://joycannis.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://picturesinlivingcolor.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/texturefeeling-natural/
http://adinparadise.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/ailsas-travel-theme-texture/
http://ididitforjohnny.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://frontrangescribbles.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture-2/
http://stephenkellycreative.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/ailsas-travel-theme-texture/
http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/travel-theme-texture/
http://jessworrall.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/travel-theme-texture/
http://lovinthetrip.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/texture-its-everywhere-can-you-feel-it/
http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://canadiantravelbugs.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/travel-theme-texture/
http://fourdeeroak.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture/
http://lynneayersbeyondthebrush.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/2944/
http://catbirdinoman.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/travel-theme-texture/
http://thewanderlustgene.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/touch-it-feel-it/
http://seraphim6.me/2012/09/15/travel-theme-texture-man-imitates-nature/
http://mothergrogan.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/travel-theme-texture/
http://quotidianhudsonriver.com/2012/09/16/travel-themetexture-9-15-12/

51 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Art, Culture, International, Photography, Photos, travel, Travel Challenge