Tag Archives: photography

Floating Weightless In-Between

"Winged Beauty" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Winged Beauty” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I am the strong silent type. An observer from day one, I have always preferred to sit back and watch the world. To the dismay of the people closest to me, I crawl into my cocoon of thought and don’t emerge until I feel ready to talk about the things that have impacted my life.

"The Retreat" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“The Retreat” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Since my last post “A Million Angel Kisses,” I have been doing a whole lot of digesting. At this point I am floating weightless in-between. This is the waiting game before the surgery dates are finalized and the biopsy sites and Cryosurgery areas heal. I have traveled from the warp-speed moment of hearing the news to this point that feels as if I am stuck in some relentless traffic jam. I just want everything to be over so I can move on with my life.

"Hopper" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Little Hopper” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I am not one who likes to have my body poked and prodded. Who does? I feel grief for the loss of control over what is happening to my body. Pieces of me are being removed and examined under a microscope. I don’t like that kind of attention. This makes me feel angry, then sad. Frustrated, then relieved that the prognosis for the type of cancer I have is very good. But there is still this underlying fear of an increased likelihood that more will pop up over time. And that “more” might just be the “bad” kind.

In the midst of my angst and fear I have blamed myself for all those times I basked too long in the sun for the sake of vanity. I suddenly felt guilt for the times I allowed those I love to do the same.

"Carnivale" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Carnivale” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I am aware all of this is part of the process of reaching acceptance for the cards I have been dealt. This isn’t the first time I have felt this way. I have been through other struggles in life and was quite happy to morph beyond the ugly and back out into the light. Struggle has definitely made me a much stronger human being.

"Baby Snaps" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Baby Snaps” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

So, I continue to find my way back into the garden to clear my mind and find some semblance of peace. Little did I know when I bought my new macro lens and made my first “Zen in the Garden” post a month ago how healing that simple act would continue to be for me.

"Walking the Line" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Walking the Line” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

This past weekend we made a trip to the Sierra’s where I took a long walk in the woods and found plenty of beautiful things to photograph. I of course was slathered with sunscreen, wore my big sexy hat and spent most of the day in the shade, but it was just what I needed to rid myself of the angst I felt the week before. I still have moments of fear, especially during the quiet times at night.

There is still a bumpy little road that I need to travel over the next several months, but I will try to remain focused on the beauty that resides on the other side.


A Million Angel Kisses

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

freck·le (ˈfrekəl)
noun
1. a small patch of light brown color on the skin, often becoming more pronounced through exposure to the sun.
synonyms: speckle, fleck, dot, spot, mole, blotch, macula

When I was a child, my grandmother used to tell me the freckles that appeared all over my face and body were the result of a “million angel kisses.” She assured me every opportunity she had that I was special and the angels had smothered me with kisses before I was even born. As time went on and more freckles began to surface, I was convinced it was simply a sign of their undying affections.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I know now that my grandmother wasn’t exactly telling the truth about my freckles. Her diatribes about making her way to California from Cleveland, Ohio on a wagon train were also untrue. But that’s what Irish grandmothers do. They spin magical tales that captivate the wee ones who sit wide-eyed at their feet. When I think back on all her tall tales spoken in her dramatic half-cocked Irish brogue, I realize these are the best memories of my childhood.

In reality, freckles are pigmented spots that arise from sun exposure. Anyone can get a freckle, however some individuals (like myself) were born with the presence of the melanocortin-1 receptor MC1R gene variant. This genetic variant is why some of us end up with a ton of freckles as we grow and are exposed to the sun. When we are exposed to UV-B radiation it activates melanocytes which increases melanin production. This can cause freckles to become darker and more visible. So in essence, I am still special, just not angel kissing special…

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Not only am I blessed with the melanocortin-1 receptor MC1R gene variant, I am very fair-skinned and have hazel/green eyes. In other words I burn easily. I grew up at a higher elevation (4,500 feet) in a small community surrounded by mountains. Playing outdoors was all I knew as a kid. We climbed, we hiked, we skied, we swam, we did anything that had to do with outdoor activities. And we did it all without sunscreen and more often than not without a hat. I can’t even count the number of times I received sunburns so bad I blistered and eventually peeled. Those were the days when moms brought out the aerosol can of Solarcaine to soothe the screaming pain of sunburn. Oh if they only knew then what we know now…

Sun exposure, especially to the point of sunburn, can have a dramatic effect on the skin over time. It can actually change the DNA and result in skin cancer. You do not have to have fair skin to end up with skin cancer. Even dark-skinned individuals have been known to experience skin cancer. People who have sunburned at least once increase their chances of getting skin cancer by a whopping 50%. Imagine the odds if you have had multiple burns over time.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Nowadays more young people are being diagnosed with advanced Melanoma, many of them in their 20’s. Pediatric Melanoma is also on the rise with some cases occurring as young as the age of 2. There is no cure for advanced Melanoma (Stage IV). There are a lot of experimental drugs, but no known cure at this time. The prognosis for Stage IV is usually 6-9 months. Grim indeed.

I have heard people exclaim “well at least it’s only skin cancer.” To me that is a pretty foolish statement. I suppose we like to remain in denial when it comes to the sun and like to think we can just run down to the Dermatologist office and have them scrape these little annoyances off so we can get back to tanning. Cancer is cancer and it can be unpredictable and ugly. Once you get skin cancer, whether it be Basal Cell, Squamous Cell, or Melanoma, the odds become higher that you will have more skin cancer at some point in your life. And if you are one of the unlucky, it will spread to your internal organs and you might die.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with my Dermatologist so he could check several other spots of concern on my body. This appointment followed my initial visit and biopsy of the first Basal Cell Carcinoma near my eye. I had eighteen Seborrheic Keratoses (pre cancerous growths) frozen with liquid nitrogen (Cryosurgery). Seven of the spots were on my hands, eight on my face, one on my leg, and two on my chest and upper abdomen. I also had one lesion on my back biopsied to check for cancer.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

My Dermatologist is very concerned about my face to the point he is putting me on Efudex (topical Chemotherapy) for 3-4 weeks in the fall/winter to fight off any pre-cancers or cancers lurking underneath the surface of the skin. Efudex is not a very pleasant experience. In his words: “Efudex is a topical chemotherapy, and, like many other types of chemotherapy, it is aimed at selectively destroying abnormal cells (in this case precancerous and cancerous cells). Over the course of the treatment we expect the affected areas to get red, inflamed, swollen, and sore. These areas may ooze straw-colored fluid, may bleed, and may become quite scabby. Some undergoing treatment will experience severe pain in treated areas. The reaction caused by Efudex in the skin can be quite dramatic and even alarming. For some people, 3 weeks of treatment is an impossible goal; for others it can be done relatively easily.” Let’s hope I am one of those “relatively easily” peeps.

Of course I was all over researching Efudex the minute I got home from the doctor last eve. I came across the typical horror stories as well as patients who had very minimal difficulty going through the regimen. Here is a video of one man who went through Efudex treatment. He is a fellow videographer and his production made me laugh and understand better what it is you go through with the treatment.

Today all the spots he froze have lovely raised blisters. They still sting a little bit but the one on my chest which was the largest pretty much burns constantly (see photo below). The biopsy spot on my back is also continuing to protest a bit. The last thing I wanted at this juncture in my life was to look in the mirror and see blisters staring back at me. But I realize the importance of attacking these cells before they have an opportunity to morph into something far worse like Melanoma. Indeed a small percentage of people who have Basal Cell Carcinoma have had their cancer spread to internal organs and die. But it is a very small percentage when compared to the rapid and difficult to control spread of Melanoma.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Now I await the biopsy results for the lesion on my back. I am also waiting for the Mohs surgeon and Plastic surgeon to coordinate a date and time for my surgery. Plastic surgeon you say? Yes, I will most likely need some reconstruction surgery when they remove the Basal Cell on the bridge of my nose because it is so close to my eye. It will all depend on how much skin they need to remove on the surgery day. They won’t know until they start cutting and looking under the microscope. The thing about Basal Cell is its affinity for rooting out under the surface of the skin. It is not simply removing the exposed tumor on the surface, but more often removing tissue beneath or around the tumor until the margins are clear. They can be sneaky little bastards. The result can be quite disfiguring. Thus the Plastics surgeon…

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

[Up on my soapbox now] – Please remember to use sunscreen; one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Limit the amount of time you and your loved ones (especially your children) spend in direct sunlight between the hours of 10 and 4. When you go outside, wear a great big sexy hat to protect your beautiful face and scalp. And please, oh please don’t be misled into thinking tanning booths are safe. They are not. They are responsible for a large percentage of the cases of Melanoma today. I don’t want you to have to go through what myself and millions of other Americans are going through on a daily basis. One person dies of Melanoma every hour…

Pale is definitely the new sexy.


More Zen in the Garden

"Twirling" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Twirling” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

The pain and limitations of my torn Rotator Cuff have caused me to slow down a lot when it comes to my photography. I can still use my iPhone with relative ease but my DSLR is a different story altogether, especially when I use my heavier lenses such as the 300mm zoom or FD macro lens. This past week I have learned to embrace my tripod all over again.

"Sleeping Beauty" - "Remnants of Wishes Unfulfilled" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Sleeping Beauty” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Although a tripod increases your odds of taking a sharper image, I have always loved the freedom of shooting without one. Many years ago I spent a lot of time at several of our local wildlife areas shooting with a 50-500mm zoom. I learned to steady the lens with my elbows tucked tightly into my ribcage or resting it on a beanbag on the edge of my car window or hood. The types of shots I was after simply did not warrant the time involved to set up a tripod and get the camera tethered and setup properly. By the time the setup was complete, the bird or animal I wanted to capture was long gone or had stopped the behavior I wanted to catch. I tried to use a monopod but still found it to be restrictive in a number of ways. Eventually I sunk some money into a shoulder rig but still only used it on occasion because again, it still restricted my ability to react quickly when the need arose.

"Katydid Nymph" - "Remnants of Wishes Unfulfilled" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Katydid Nymph” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Slowing down with macro photography in my garden has been good for me. I find I am searching and shooting with more deliberation and spending more time being focused on “seeing” the things before me. I now wander the garden with my big floppy UV protective hat and sunglasses like some crazy old lady on a make-believe safari in search of my next trophy. Crazy old lady or not, the act of wandering the garden has been very healing for the soul in the midst of the cancer diagnosis. When I have a bad day due to pain in my shoulder or when pondering the possible biopsy outcome of additional spots on my skin, I grab my camera, tripod and hat and am instantly transported to another place.

"Spring Showers" - "Remnants of Wishes Unfulfilled" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Spring Showers” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Macro photography requires a large amount of patience and mental focus. When I am bent over my camera positioning the lens to obtain the desired focus and depth of field, I find myself taking several long, slow, deep breaths in order to release any tension and zero in on the subject at hand. It may sound funny to say it, but I find myself becoming one with the insect or the flower in front of me. The minute detail of these tiny subjects through my powerful lens astounds me. I find myself gasping on occasion at the beautiful colors and interesting physical structures that are hidden to the naked eye.

"The Pollen Gatherer" - "Remnants of Wishes Unfulfilled" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“The Pollen Gatherer” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

All fearful thoughts or feelings of frustration are cast away on the breeze as I study the subjects in front of my lens. I feel a sense of amazement and a joy for life as I continue to wander.

"Remnants of Wishes Unfulfilled" - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Remnants of Wishes Unfulfilled” – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.


The Unexpected Twists and Turns of Life

doctor

Since my last post several weeks ago, Zen in the Garden, a lot has changed. I tore the Rotator Cuff in my right shoulder (my dominant arm) and was left pretty incapacitated for several days along with severe inflammation and pain. I have a fairly high pain tolerance and have suffered quite a few sports related injuries in my life including a ruptured Achilles Tendon that required re-attachment surgery. But nothing prepared me for the pain of this shoulder injury. The shoulder muscles are involved in even the tiniest movement of the body. So pretty much anything I did made me cry out in pain. The day I paced the living room like a panting canine with tears rolling down my cheeks was the day I finally gave in and called my doctor.

My doctor ordered an x-ray to rule out anything involving the bones and set up an appointment to meet with her following the x-ray. Let’s just say the process of my arm being placed in compromising positions from the point of removing my shirt, donning the robe, being repositioned during the x-ray, then getting dressed again was nothing short of Hell. My doctor then put me through a variety of painful strength and movement tests that confirmed what I already felt was true, I had torn my Rotator Cuff. Fortunately she felt I did not need surgery and prescribed a high level of anti-inflammatory drugs in order to get the fiery pain under control. She also gave me a few beginning stage rehab exercises to keep my shoulder from freezing.

doctor3

While visiting my doctor I took the opportunity to have her take a glance at a small wart-like growth that had appeared on the bridge of my nose near my eye. It started growing several months after last year’s bout with West Nile and has continued to get a bit bigger. She took one look and made an appointment for the next day to see a Dermatologist. There were also a few more dry patches and a couple clear wart-like growths near my hairline on my forehead but she wanted me seen immediately for the one growth and booked me into the single lesion clinic.

My Dermatologist took one look and said he was certain it was Basal Cell Carcinoma. He did a biopsy and sent it off to the lab. We then had the discussion about how common this type of skin cancer was and that the prognosis was very good. There are a small percentage of cases where the cancer spreads to organs in the body but generally speaking this is one of the less invasive forms of skin cancer. Because it was the single lesion clinic, I could not discuss any of my other concerns at the time.

doctor 4

Three days later the lab results came back and were positive for malignant Basal Cell Carcinoma. As an adult, I wear hats and cover myself with sunscreen when I spend time outdoors. Alas, all those hours spent in my youth lathering myself with baby oil and worshiping the sun for the sake of vanity are what finally caught up with me. I now await a call from the Mohs surgeon who will cut the tumor layer by layer until there are no cancer cells remaining. How deep they have to go can only be determined on the day of the surgery itself when they start the task. The beauty of Mohs surgery is the surgeon’s training in reconstructive surgery. If the removal ends up taking away more of my nose than the size of the growth itself, a few weeks later they are able to do a skin graft and rebuild the area with minimal scarring. I also have a follow-up appointment scheduled with my Dermatologist in a week for a thorough exam of my other points of concern and a search for additional carcinomas that weren’t addressed the first time around. I adore both my General Practitioner and my Dermatologist so I feel like I am in very capable and caring hands.

skin cancer

Alas, after a year of great health and feeling like the world is now my Oyster, I did not expect to be back under the medical microscope this soon in my journey. I definitely did not anticipate this new level of concern for my body and fear of things unknown. But the minute the inflammation was back under control in my shoulder, I made my journey back into the garden with my camera and began to focus on the small and the beautiful in life. I of course have to make some adaptations and learned to control and shoot my camera with my left hand (always on a tripod of course) while trying to keep my broad-rimmed hat out-of-the-way of the viewfinder. But my garden has revealed some amazing things these past few weeks.

Photography is a deep blessing to me. It has always allowed me to find beauty in the midst of turmoil and pain. It has helped to refocus my mind on the moment before me and provided respite from the barrage of fear based thoughts that sometime crowd my mind. It has been the basis for healing from a broken past and will undoubtedly continue to be a healing tool in my future.


Zen in the Garden

Pirouette - A California Poppy bloom. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Pirouette – A California Poppy bloom. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I have always been enamored with macro photography. Especially the up close and personal photos of insects with magnified detail that we don’t often see with our eyes alone. It’s the type of photography that requires great patience along with great breath control, a steady tripod, and the ability to twist and contort your body into positions that place you eye to eye with the most minute of subjects. It is also a great practice for slowing down and becoming more aware of the hidden things in one’s universe. Your whole garden becomes narrowed down to a little dewdrop on a tiny flower petal or a minute mushroom wedged between two blades of grass. For that moment, nothing else seems as important as capturing that scene with your camera.

Honey Bee on Salvia - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Honey Bee on Salvia – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Because we tend to run through life at breakneck speed for most of our adult years, a macro photograph can elicit endless “ooooohhhh’s” and “ahhhhhhhh’s.” We often fail to recognize the minute details and small things that make up the world around us. There is a very magical quality to macro photos that tends to put a smile on our faces. Maybe it’s because they remind us for a moment of our childhood days when everything was a fairytale. The times we spent all day crawling around on our bellies in the grass in order to explore the microcosm with which we felt so connected. Maybe it’s because as adults those images remind us to slow down a bit and realize it shouldn’t always be so much about the larger world around us. It’s a sudden realization that it might just be about the 12 square inches of earth that we are standing on in this very moment.

The Spider and the Fly - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

The Spider and the Fly – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I have begun to spend a few hours of every day out in the garden in search of those tiny treasures. It has helped me to empty my mind of all the clutter and to refocus my energies on what is truly important in life. These have become my Zen moments. My way to connect with nature while living in the midst of the city. It calms me, inspires me, and opens my eyes once again to all the wonder I have at times failed to remember.

Japanese Maple Seeds - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Japanese Maple Seeds – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I feel like a kid again. The one who ran freely through the fields with a jar and a butterfly net. The one who spent hours having a stare down with a Wolf Spider waiting for the babies to crawl off of her back.

The Poppy and the Beetle - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved

The Poppy and the Beetle – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved

This practice of wandering the garden in search of tiny-legged creatures or pausing in awe of a flower petal as it is kissed by a ray of light, has become the ultimate of therapies for me. It is a meditation of sorts that reminds me that life is as beautiful and as awe-inspiring as we allow it to be.

The Unfolding  - ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

The Unfolding – ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.


Spring Has Sprung!

California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

I am finally crawling out from under the pile of projects I have been focused on and have actually been shooting with my DSLR over the past few weeks. For the past two years I have taken a hiatus of sorts following the presentation of my Master’s Thesis in Documentary Photography and have focused entirely on creating fine art photographs taken and edited on my iPhone. It was a much-needed break from the heavy and oft-times soul crushing subject of my thesis project. That time spent with my iPhone also helped me to overcome a bit of burnout in regards to the arduous and time-consuming task of shooting and editing ginormous RAW files shot with my DSLR.

So, when Spring finally arrived in my part of the world I found myself pulled once again towards my dusty DSLR. I have recently noticed myself shooting more and more straight images on my iPhone and only using basic edits more inline with my street and documentary work form before. The sound of the Amtrak train whistle in the distance began to tug at me again and got me thinking about hopping the train to continue to build on the project that granted me my degree. Because of that pull I decided to start shooting with my Canon again just to get all the bugs out and I have been having a great time taking photos in our garden.

Butterfly Iris. California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Butterfly Iris. California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

It took a few days but I soon found myself melded with the larger and definitely more powerful piece of photographic machinery. I realized after pulling up the first few photos in Lightroom how much I have missed the quality of photographs taken with a DSLR. Trust me, I am still a firm believer in shooting with an iPhone. My iPhone has awakened a creative side I didn’t know I had before I bought that piece of metal, plastic and glass. My two years spent shooting almost exclusively with my iPhone has actually changed the way I shoot with my DSLR. I now see things differently when I put the Canon viewfinder up to my eye. I feel more grounded and aware than I ever did before I shot with an iPhone. I am seeing patterns of light, shape, line, and form in a completely different way than I had before.

California Poppies. California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

California Poppies. California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

So along with welcoming Spring I am celebrating new beginnings in my journey of photography. I look forward to where this all will lead me over the next few months. I even bought a “new” used FD 100mm macro lens with a converter and extension tube. Time to get up close and personal with some bugs in the garden :-).

Honey Bee. California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

Honey Bee. California Poppy. ©Tracy J Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.


Mobile Photography Awards – 2013

MPA_CoverRESULTS

The Mobile Photography Awards is considered by many to be the creme de la creme or the “Academy Awards” of mobile photography competitions. Last year I was pleased to receive two Honorable Mentions in the 2nd Annual MPA’s for my iPhone pieces “Illuminati” (in Visual FX) and “Rubber Band Man” (in People/Portraits).

I woke up this morning and was thrilled to discover I have received four Honorable Mentions in the 3rd Annual Mobile Photography Awards. This time for iPhone photographs in the categories of “Performing Arts,” “Photo Journalism,” “Travel,” and “Architecture.” I feel very honored to stand next to some of the greatest mobile photographers from around the globe. The winners and honorable mentions in all categories are fantastic and the art of mobile photography seems to be morphing in leaps and bounds each year.

I was even more pleased by the fact that Ed Kashi was one of the esteemed judges. Ed is an award-winning photojournalist who I have looked up to and followed for many years.

There are still a number of “traditional” camera photographers who are naysayers when it comes to mobile photography. In my opinion, as one who has played seriously on both sides of the craft, it would benefit those individuals to open their minds a bit more and pay close attention to some of the stellar work that is coming out of the world of mobile photography. Many are competing quite well alongside traditional DSLR and film pros in all areas. Mobile photography is not going away anytime soon.

To view the winners and honorable mentions in all categories click here.

"Músicos" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Performing Arts category.

“Músicos” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Performing Arts category.


"Dolls Para la Venta" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Travel category.

“Dolls Para la Venta” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Travel category.


"In Praise of Blue" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Photo Journalism category.

“In Praise of Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Photo Journalism category.


"The Blue Room" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Architecture category.

“The Blue Room” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Architecture category.


Black & White Mobile Photography 2

I am constantly blown away by the incredible art that comes out of the mobile photography community. Many of the top mobile photographers have come from a background in traditional photography, though quite a few have had very little experience in the craft.

There is just something about that little piece of metal, glass, and plastic that frees up the inner artist. Part of the beauty of the movement is the fact these images are being shared across the virtual landscape in a constant stream via social media. This provides access to an endless library of inspiring images plus direct interaction with the artists who create them. The perfect recipe for learning how to become a better photographer.

I am blessed to be a founder artist and curator for the New Era Museum. One of my weekly tasks is to choose 8 images to feature on the NEM website from those submitted to the “NEM black&white” Photo-Pool on Eyeem. Awhile ago I posted the first few galleries of images here on my blog (you can view the post here). Each week when I visit the photo-pool I am faced with the difficult task of honing down a large number of amazing images to a mere 8. Curation is of course a subjective task. What I feel are the best 8 images based on my personal taste and experience in the field, may not be the same as that of one of my colleagues. But such is the reality of art world in general.

Today I would like to share galleries from weeks 3-6 for your enjoyment.

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 03:

NEMb&w3

The featured artists clockwise from upper left: YANNICK BRICE (@INNEREMOTION), @RIKKR, MANUELA MATOS MONTEIRO (@MANUELAMATOSMONTEIRO), DARKO (@KARKOLABOR), ALEX (@ASTRALEIA), ARWAN PRAMUDYA (@ARWANPRAMUDYA), ALON GOLDSMITH (@ALONGOLDSMITH), JEFF (@BLITZ_BW)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 03

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 04:

NEMb&w4

The featured artists clockwise from upper left: MARCO LAMBERTO (@MARCOLAMBERTO), ROBIN COHEN (@ROBINSCOHENPHOTOS), JV@NYC (@JEANETTEVAZQUEZ), ASLEEPUNDERCOLUMNSOVLIGHT (@COLUMNSOVSLEEP), ALEX (@ASTRALEIA), CLAUDIA FERNANDES (@CLAUDIAFERNANDES370), MANUELA MATOS MONTEIRO (@MANUELAMATOSMONTEIRO), BY THE TWILIGHT (@VERONICAHASSELL)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 04

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 05:

NEMb&w 5

The featured artists clockwise from upper left: ELAINE (@SUNFLOWEROF21), DARKO (@DARKOLABOR), MARCO LAMBERTO (@MARCOLAMBERTO), TUBA (@TO_BE), PATRICIA LARSON (@PATYLARSON), ALEX (@ASTRALEIA), TRISH (@COURTANDSPARK), GAETANA (@GAETANAYBRICE)

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 05

Here are my selections for “NEM black&white” 06:

NEMb&w 6

The featured artists clockwise from upper left: @LORENKA, TRISH (@COURTANDSPARK), NATALI PROSVETOVA (@NAPROSVET), JV@NYC (@JEANETTEVAZQUEZ), @FRELU, @PHOT0BUG, @ILE

Here is the link to view the gallery on the New Era Museum website: NEM Black&White Gallery 06


Honored – Best Mobile Photography and Art Images of 2013

"In Praise of Blue" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“In Praise of Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I am honored to have my iPhone photograph “In Praise of Blue” chosen by The App Whisperer as one of the “Best Mobile Photography and Art Images of 2013.” The honored images were culled from 5,500 favorites of an original 71,000 submissions and feature some of the very best mobile photographers from around the globe.

You can view the slideshow of the amazing collection of honored images here:

http://theappwhisperer.com/2014/01/05/the-best-mobile-photography-and-art-images-of-2013-theappwhisperer/


Breathing in the Landscape

Happy New Year!

I love spending time in nature. It always grounds me and helps me to remember the important things in life. During the last two months of the year I was able to refuel my soul with a visit to some beautiful places. Of course I am never without a camera, so here are a few of my favorite landscapes that came out of those journeys. All four of these photos were shot and edited on an iPhone 5.

"Tidal Plane Sunset" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013-2014. All rights reserved.

“Ebb Tide at Sunset” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

"New Melones Sunset" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013-2014. All rights reserved.

“New Melones Sunset” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

"Lonesome Oak" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“Lonesome Oak” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

"The Fallen" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

“The Fallen” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.

As a New Year’s gift to all my followers, here is a 40% discount code that you can use through April 30th to purchase my work. Just enter AUARGP in the “Discount Code” area at checkout. Here is the link to my store: http://tracy-thomas.artistwebsites.com/. These are direct ship prints so if you would prefer a signed and/or limited edition print, instead of purchasing through my store you can email me through the contact form on my website and we can work out the details. (http://www.tjthomas-iphoneart.com/#!contact/c175r)

Here’s to a beautiful new year!


Daguerreotype & Ambrotype Inspired Mirror & Glass iPrints

ipabadge

I first entered the world of iPhoneography after I stumbled across the iPhoneArt.com website. From the moment I opened the site I was hooked. I was blown away by the quality of art shot and edited on iPhones and iPads and displayed on IPA. I found inspiration, encouragement and friendship amongst this group of cutting edge artists. The first time I exhibited my iPhone art was at the LA Mobile Arts Festival in the Santa Monica Art Studios. It was one of the largest curated exhibits of mobile art to date, put on by the founders of iPhoneart.com, Daria Polichetti and Nate Park. The exposure for that event was global and it helped to legitimize the art form and create new opportunities for many of the artists who were on display.

Daria and Nate have decided to bring IPA to the next level and currently have a Kickstarter campaign that is very close to its goal. They have developed Ambrotype inspired iPrints that are printed directly onto glass blocks and Daguerreotype inspired iPrints that are printed directly onto mirrors or aluminum plates.

Check out the Kickstarter video and if you are moved to help them reach their goal, here is the link to the Kickstarter page.


Back From My Sabbatical With a Bang

It has been quite awhile since I last posted a blog entry here.  Following my illness I spent a lot of time playing catch up on all the work projects that help to put the bread and butter on the table.  Therefore I have not spent much time on either my photography or my writing.  I viewed my absence as a sabbatical of sorts.  An attempt to regroup my creative juices.

Estrogenius

However, wonders never cease in regards to the creative energy I have put out into the world over the past year.  This month two amazing things have come to fruition from those past creative moments.  The first was news that my essay from the Seal Press book “Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small” was chosen as one of 8 pieces to be adapted for a stage production at the 14th Annual Estrogenius Festival in New York City.  The piece is being directed by Ashley Marinaccio, Founder and Artistic Director of the amazing group “Girl Be Heard.”  The performance will be on October 21st at 7:30PM at Stage Left Studio, NYC.

Creatives Rising

The second bit of news occurs tonight in New York City.  One of my photographs is being projected onto the side of the 42 story Linc LIC building at 43-10 Crescent Street, NYC for the “Creatives Rising” event. My work will also be shown in the See.Me Gallery, 26-19 Jackson on Screen 8. The event runs from 6pm-12am tonight and beyond.

I’m hoping to move back into creative mode now that my work projects and busy life have equalized and hope to post more regularly again from this point forward.


More Fun With Photomontage

My creative imagination has taken over once again and I have been having a lot of fun with photomontage.  There are times when I burn out on montage work because it takes a lot of time and is pretty tedious to create on an iPhone.  So, I take a little break and gravitate back towards straight photography.  But since I got my iPad Mini, my eyes are far less strained and I am able to do the more tedious editing on the larger iPad screen with the remainder of editing on my iPhone.

Here are some of my recent photomontage pieces.  Yes, I have a very unique and often quirky imagination. 🙂

"Remnants of a Happy Life" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Remnants of a Happy Life” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Rabbit and the Wolf" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Rabbit and the Wolf” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Aliens on Holiday" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Aliens on Holiday” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Phone Home?" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Phone Home?” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

 


Happy 4th and New Work

Happy 4th of July to my U.S. friends!  Still on the healing path and now waiting for word on the West Nile Virus antibodies test.  In the meantime, I have been focused on creating art by shooting with my iPhone and doing some of the editing on my iPad.  The iPad screen definitely provides relief for my strained eyes.

Below are two examples of the new direction that my photomontage are headed.  My photomontage pieces take a lot longer to create than my more straightforward app’ed images, but I have definitely had a lot of time on my hands lately :-).

"Owl Medicine" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Owl Medicine” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.  Apps: procamera, icolorama, pixlromatic, procreate, blender, superimpose.

"Mama Gaia" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Mama Gaia” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved. Apps: procamera, icolorama, superimpose, pic grunger, pixlromatic, blender

 


2013 iPhone Photography Awards – Honorable Mentions

I was more than honored to find out yesterday that I had received three Honorable Mentions in the 6th Annual iPhone Photography Awards.  This is an International competition that brings in a whole lot of global entries every year.  Three of my photos were chosen in the categories of “children,” “flowers,” and “travel.”

My photo “La Niña de las Flores” received an Honorable Mention in the “children” category.

"La Niña de las Flores" - La Parroquia, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“La Niña de las Flores” – La Parroquia, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

My photo “La Novia y el Novio” received an Honorable Mention in the “travel” category.

"La Novia y el Novio" - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“La Novia y el Novio” – San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

My photo “Icelandic Poppy” received an Honorable Mention in the “flowers” category.

"Icelandic Poppy" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Icelandic Poppy” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.


Still Healing and Creating

Skin biopsy site with rash where the non-latex bandage was located.

Skin biopsy site with rash where the non-latex bandage was located.

Today is day #17 of the Great Pink Polka Dot Mystery.  The crazy rash is beginning to fade nicely after using the heavy-duty steroidal creams for the last eleven days but it is still pretty evident on my legs and inside of my arms.  It now looks like a bunch of faded circular lavender bruises.  Still sleeping about 10 hours a night which is highly unusual for me and am still feeling some muscle weakness and fatigue during the days.   However the fever, headaches and muscle contractions are now gone.  Still awaiting the skin biopsy results and have to go back in for more blood tests in a few weeks.  Bets are still on for West Nile Virus but the antibodies have not shown up in the blood tests as of yet (which is normal for several weeks after infection).

The past two days I have finally felt well enough to begin creating again.  My iPhone 5 arrived so I have been enjoying the much higher resolution over my antiquated iPhone 4.

Here are a few of the pieces I have created over the last few days…

"The Place of His Imaginings" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Place of His Imaginings” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Place of His Imaginings” was chosen for Pixels: The Art of the iPhone yesterday and was “Explored” on Flickr today meaning it was chosen as one of the top 500 photos out of roughly 4.5 million uploaded photos.  Quite exciting and as of this hour it has received over 100 “likes” and a multitude of comments.  You can give it a “like” too at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tjthomas_iphoneography/9008848760/

"Where the Wild Things Roam 1" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Where the Wild Things Roam 1” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Where the Wild Things Roam 1” is the first photomontage I have had the energy to create in a while.  It was also chosen for Pixels yesterday:  http://www.pixelsatanexhibition.com/uncategorized/tracy-j-thomas-where-the-wild-things-roam-1/

 

"Butterfly Iris" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Butterfly Iris” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I haven’t spent much time outdoors since my illness with the exception of journeys to and from my doctor’s office.  The other day I was going stir crazy so spent the evening in the shade of our patio and noticed the Butterfly Irises had begun to bloom.  I snapped a photo with my new iPhone 5 and went to town on editing it the next day.  It reminded me to open my eyes to everything that surrounds me even in my home.  There is always something picture worthy no matter where you find yourself.

"The Lifeguard Shack" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Lifeguard Shack” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

The other day while sitting on my couch I found myself day dreaming about the ocean.  I flipped through my photo files from last summer when we spent time down in Santa Monica and Venice Beach for the LA Mobile Arts Festival where I had several pieces on exhibit.  I came across a photo of one of the lifeguard shacks at sunset and decided I needed to app it and keep it on my computer to remind myself of that fun trip and the healing vibes of the ocean.

Tomorrow my new iPad mini arrives and I am so looking forward to using it for a little videography as well as having a much larger screen with which to edit my iPhone photos.

 


Featured in iCreate Magazine

The June issue of iCreate Magazine with a feature on my and my iPhoneography.

The June issue of iCreate Magazine with a feature on my and my iPhoneography.

I have been very ill this past week with a yet to be diagnosed illness after being bit by an unknown bug (most likely West Nile but time will only tell).  So yesterday I received a nice “gift” in the mail that lifted my spirits – the recent issue of iCreate Magazine with a two page feature about me and my iPhoneography.

The two page spread with interview, a few of my photos and some tips & fave apps.

The two page spread with interview, a few of my photos and some tips & fave apps.

You can also pick up an electronic copy of this edition in the Apple iTunes store.


The Frustrated Painter in Me

"Waiting to Board" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Waiting to Board” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

The frustrated painter inside of me has decided to hang out for a while.  Since last Monday I have been ill with the lovely upper respiratory virus that has been making the rounds.  I feel as if my body has taken ten steps backwards following last Sunday’s wonderful 10K run under the giant Redwoods.  I am hacking and coughing and sniffling and am finding it hard to get enough rest.  To take my mind off the illness, I edited a ton of photos I had hanging out in my iPhone photo gallery.  Every single photo I edited ended up with a painterly feel.  I have learned to just trust my intuition when editing and go along for the ride for a while until my creative spirit takes another turn.

"The Orange Bag" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Orange Bag” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Runners" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Runners” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"That Way" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“That Way” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

**All photos were shot with my iPhone 4 and the ProCamera app and edited with Camera+, Glaze, Laminar and Pic Grunger.

 


More Color and Texture

"The Farm" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Farm” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

This past weekend I took Amtrak up to Arcata, California to spend time with friends and to run the Avenue of the Giants 10K under the giant redwood trees just outside of Weott.  It was great to escape to cooler weather away from the heat of the Valley and to spend time on the laid back North coast.  On my way home I took a lot of photos of the landscape from the train window and several photos at the train station.  The photos in this post are further experimentation with the use of color and texture which during the editing phase.  All of these photos were taken with my iPhone 4 using the ProCamera app and were edited in Camera+, Laminar, Glaze and Pic Grunger.

"Along the Tracks" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Along the Tracks” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Terminal Stroll" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Terminal Stroll” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

 


Playing With Color and Texture

This past Sunday we drove up to a lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains to get away from the abnormally sweltering Spring weather we have been having in the Valley.  I parked my chair in the shade and immediately felt the stress of past weeks subside.  I sat and walked and took photos all day long while breathing in the beauty of my surroundings.  Here are a few of the photos I created with a focus on playing around with color and texture in the editing process.

"The Docks" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Docks” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Peaceful Place" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Peaceful Place” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"The Kayak" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Kayak” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

**All photos were shot with my iPhone 4 using the ProCamera app and edited using the Camera+, Laminar, Glaze and Blender apps.

 

 


At Times Like This…

"Chi" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Chi” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

It’s at times like this when our country is left with the resounding question “why?” that we are reminded life itself is fragile and the moment of our death is unpredictable at best.  We have no control over our future and can only hope for the safety of our loved ones and ourselves as we journey along our paths.

During these moments it’s easy to dwell in the collective outrage that begins to surface and crowd our puzzled psyches.  It’s hard for the majority of us to understand how a human being can possibly be so evil.  We feel helpless.  We swell with sadness and anger and our wish is justice for those innocent souls who were injured or met with such an untimely and violent end.  We relish, at least for the moment, the fact that our own loved ones are still safe and within reach for us to embrace, to cherish, to love.

"Love" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Love” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

What we often fail to remember during these heart-wrenching times is the amount of beauty and good that still exists within our world.  When we contrast that with evil, it is easy to get swept up in the dark shadows that lurk along the edges.  But when we place our focus on the light, it’s harder to see those shadows and so much easier to heal our broken world.

"Healing" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Healing” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

With a background in martial arts, I am a firm believer in our ability to reshape energy (chi) both as individuals and as a collective.  When we focus on the beauty and kindness in this world we are giving our fellow humans the most wonderful gift.  That kindness and that love begins to swell and brings with it healing and a deep sense of peace.  We might never find all the answers to the questions we seek but we have the opportunity to make this world a much better place by remaining focused on all the good that is in it.

"Peace" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Peace” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

My heart wraps all those effected by the events in Boston with a blanket of love.  May you dwell in the kindness and the comfort of your fellow humans and find healing and peace.

 

 

 


Recent Exposure

"Wings" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Wings” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

On Sunday I was very honored to have my iPhone photo “Wings” chosen as a  featured photo on the Juxt 1000 Words Showcase.  Juxt is a highly respected site made up by some of the best mobile artists from around the globe.  You can view it along with the other amazing pieces chosen for the showcase here.

"In Praise of Blue" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“In Praise of Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

This morning, two of my iPhone photos were chosen for display on Pixels: The Art of the iPhone website.  “In Praise of Blue” above and “The Pleading” below.  I took these two photos last year at a local Color Run and just recently rediscovered them when plowing through all my photo archives.  I love the quality of light in each one and the energy of the subjects and used minimal apping with Laminar to create two images I am really happy with.

"The Pleading" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Pleading” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

All three of these images seem to speak to my current personal spiritual journey as do several other images I have been working on for quite some time now.  It will be interesting to see how they evolve over the coming months.


Taking the Leap

"A Conference of Clowns" - Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“A Conference of Clowns” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I was looking through my photo archives for one of a series of photos I took a few years ago when I was documenting the “Occupy” movement with my big girl DSLR and I came across the following photos that I decided to share in this blog post.

My studies at the Academy of Art for my M.F.A were in Documentary photography and I still love taking photos of people whenever I get the chance to wander the streets. I do a ton of that street photography with my iPhone although until recently I haven’t shared much of that work since I have been so focused on creating and exhibiting my montage work over the past year.  But perusing through my archives this afternoon has rekindled my desire to delve a bit further into my street and documentary photography with my iPhone.  All my serious pro work has been captured with a DSLR but I think I am ready to take the leap as soon as my iPhone 5 arrives (yes, I get the upgrade this month finally!).

I was also extremely inspired by hearing Richard Koci Hernandez present at MacWorld.  A photojournalist by trade, Koci now shoots his street photography exclusively with his iPhone.  And God knows we need more women representin’ in the world of street photography.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Happy Hippy” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Strike of the Sunflowers” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Half and Half” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“The Thinker” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

“Two for a Buck” – Oakland, CA ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 


Spring Hath Sprung

"Fire Poppy 2" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Fire Poppy 2” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

Ah Spring.  The beautiful awakening of flowers, pollen and the honey bees that still remain.  The the time of year I love to roam the garden and take photographs of all the pretty blooms that appear after a Winter’s rest.

This year we have Icelandic Poppies that we planted in the Fall and they seem to be very happy to be here.  So here are a few of my favorite shots for you.  The piece above “Fire Poppy 2” made its way onto the “Pixels: The Art of the iPhone” gallery website today (you can view it along with all the other wonderful art here).

"Fire Poppy" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Fire Poppy” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Poppies in a Row" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Poppies in a Row” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Spring Hath Sprung" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Spring Hath Sprung” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Spring Equinox 1" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Spring Equinox 1” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Spring Equinox 2" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Spring Equinox 2” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.


Interview on iArt Chronicles

Screen Shot 2013-03-02 at 2.22.45 PM

I was honored to be interviewed by Geri Centonze of iArt Chronicles about my iPhoneography and my creative process. You can read the article and learn a bit more about me here.


New Era Museum Founder Artist

NEM RoundLogo Transp

I am more than honored to be a “Founder Artist” for the New Era Museum, along with an incredible group of artists. Based in Florence, Italy, NEM is the first virtual museum devoted solely to mobile photography, and is the brainchild of Andrea Bigiarini.

NEM’s mission: “Promote the creation of visual art on mobile devices, in order to spread a form of active thought, which will help to build a new era in society, a new culture, and free our artistic expression even further.”

Click on the photo below to view a listing of the Founder Artists and click on each name to view their amazing work.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 9.38.27 AM

I was also fortunate to have “Illuminati” chosen for the “NEM Fantastic Flickr 8,” curated this week by Roger Guetta. Just click on the photo below to view on NEM.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 9.41.35 AM


Tienes mi Corazón San Miguel de Allende

The bride and groom of a traditional wedding leave the Parroquia in a horse-drawn carriage followed by a mariachi band. - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The bride and groom of a traditional wedding leave the Parroquia in a horse drawn carriage followed by a mariachi band. – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

I arrived home this last Tuesday night after spending a week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I presented a workshop on social media for writers, gave private consultations, and was part of a “Women Write Their Lives” speakers panel during the International Writers’ Conference held in this beautiful city in the heart of Mexico.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Chicle para usted” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

For the past four days I have been catching up on my work, my sleep, and have been struggling to find the right words to describe my experiences in this truly magical place. So for today I will let a few of my photographs do the speaking for me until I find my voice again. To say that San Miguel de Allende won my heart is an understatement. The culture, the beauty of the architecture, the amazing faces, and the kind hearts of the people who live there will forever remain etched inside my soul…

"Flores en la Puerta Roja" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Flores en la Puerta Roja” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Músicos" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Músicos” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Cruzar la puerta de la iglesia" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Cruzar la puerta de la iglesia” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Dolls para la venta" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Dolls para la venta” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Esperando en la Puerta" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Esperando en la Puerta” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

"Sombreros y Bolsos" ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Sombreros y Bolsos” ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.

**All images were shot with my iPhone4**

*Back to iPinion Syndicate*


This Thing Called Photomontage

"When Tempest Tossed," iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“When Tempest Tossed,” iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

I stumbled across the world of mobile photography a year ago this month when I purchased my first iPhone. Yes, I was a bit behind the times in regard to the little rectangle of metal, glass and plastic that people have been addicted to for some time now.

When I first got my iPhone I had plans to use it for everything but taking photographs. Having just graduated with my Masters of Fine Arts in photography from the Academy of Art University the month prior, the use of my iPhone to create images worth keeping was truly a hard sell in my mind.

And then I stumbled across iPhoneart.com. To say this website was a life changer for me would be an understatement. The brilliant work I witnessed as I perused the galleries of images on this website blew my mind. How could this be possible? These images were shot and edited on an iPhone? Really??

I began to download photography apps and thus began my own addiction with my iPhone. Before long I realized it truly does not matter what tool a photographer decides to use. What matters is the photographer behind the lens, and the end result of its use. This has been true throughout the history of photography and the multitude of cameras made available to create photographs.

"Drowning in a Speed Queen," iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Drowning in a Speed Queen,” iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Not everyone who picks up a camera of any sort can create images that can stand next to the best in regard to subject matter, composition, use of light, line, color, and texture. But those who understand the technical and conceptual aspects of photography and are blessed with a bit of natural talent can indeed create compelling images no matter what tool they choose. It doesn’t matter if that tool is an SLR that uses film, a pinhole camera made out of an orange juice can, a plastic Holga, expensive large format, Polaroid, DSLR, point and shoot, or an iPhone; all have been tools used by some of the greatest photographers in the world.

What I have found endearing in the world of mobile photography is the controversy in some circles surrounding composite photography, better known as “photomontage.” Photomontage is basically joining two or more photographs through the use of layers into an illusion to create a surreal or artificial virtual reality. Photomontage has existed in the world of photography since its beginnings, long before the digital age, and was still considered to be “photography” because it was, and still is.

A great example is the image “The Two Ways of Life” by Oscar Gustav Rejlander, created in 1857. This piece was assembled from 30 individual negatives and printed onto one large piece of paper. Rejlander’s piece was first exhibited at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857 and Queen Victoria purchased a copy for Prince Albert.

"The Two Ways of Life" by Oscar Gustav Rejlander, 1857.

“The Two Ways of Life” by Oscar Gustav Rejlander, 1857.

In the early 1900’s, the Dada movement out of Germany was instrumental in moving montage work into the limelight with their political protests against World War I via photographers such as John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwitters, and Raoul Hausmann. The Surrealists and Constructivists continued the trend of photomontage, which has moved on into the modern-day contemporary photography movement.

From "The American Way of Life" by Joseph Renau, 1949.

From “The American Way of Life” by Joseph Renau, 1949.

From "Flying Houses" by Laurent Chehere, 2012.

From “Flying Houses,” digital photomontage by Laurent Chehere, 2012.

The grumblings in the world of mobile photography seem to arise from the lack of knowledge of the history of traditional photography. Some of the individuals heading the “movement” appear so caught up in the tool itself they seem to forget that it is just that, another tool to take photographs. It is really nothing new, other than being super portable with the all-in-one ability to edit photographs directly inside the same tool that takes the images. If someone uses an iPhone, it does not magically make them a photographer.

Photomontage, composite photography, photographs with a painterly effect, etc. are all accepted in the world of fine art photography and are exhibited in mainstream galleries around the globe. Photographs taken with mobile phones have also begun to show up in these same galleries with the same level of acceptance as traditional camera photographs.

"Rubber Band Man," iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Rubber Band Man,” iPhone photomontage. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Of course there are rules and ethics surrounding composite photography in the world of photojournalism, as there should be. Yet, the remainder of the medium along with those who lend their support to photographers (whether film, digital, mobile or otherwise) should remain open to not only “straight” photography but also those who choose to express themselves by way of “fine art” photography (manipulated or not).

As others have stated before me, eventually all this brouhaha surrounding mobile photography will subside. The iPhone will be viewed along with all other cameras as simply another means to an end. We saw it happen with the Holga, the Polaroid, the first digital cameras. Before long, every digital camera on the market will have the equivalent editing capabilities of the mobile phone.

The most important change will occur when photographers who choose mobile phones as their primary tool begin to compete on the same level as the master photographers who have come before them. Many have begun to enter that realm already with success including Karen Divine, Chase Jarvis, and Richard Koci Hernandez. These photographers view the iPhone as another tool to take photographs and they treat this little rectangle of metal, plastic and glass in the same way as they treat their more traditional cameras. It is one of their tools of choice to create the compelling imagery that comes from a space of technical and conceptual mastery. It is as simple as that.

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Photowalk: Jenkinson Lake

Yesterday was another nature day. It has been warm and wonderful here this past week, actually climbing into the 60’s by midday. Warmer days means snow melt in the Sierras, that in turn opens up access to some of the recreational areas normally covered in the cold white stuff this time of year.

I spent the day wandering around Jenkinson Lake near Pollock Pines, a short 45 minute drive up Highway 50. The lake was created in 1955 when a dam was built to harness Sly Park Creek, a tributary in the Cosumnes River watershed. The dam formed a 650-acre reservoir called Jenkinson Lake. It was constructed primarily to provide irrigation water to a portion of El Dorado County.

I’ve spent a lot of time around this little lake, hiking on the trails and kayaking in its pristine waters. I always see something new when I go there that I didn’t see before.

Yesterday’s photowalk was all about capturing the familiar vistas as well as the smaller intricacies of nature that we often fail to notice while becoming smitten by her grandeur.

A duck flies across Jenkinson Lake near the marina and boat launch.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A duck flies across Jenkinson Lake near the marina and boat launch. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A paddle boarder makes his way across Jenkinson Lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A paddle boarder makes his way across Jenkinson Lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Detail in rock found next to the lake.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Detail in rock found next to the lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Rocks along the shoreline.  This one reminded me of a horse head.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Rocks along the shoreline. This one reminded me of a horse head. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A piece of driftwood surrounded by colorful rocks at the edge of the shoreline.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A piece of driftwood surrounded by colorful rocks at the edge of the shoreline. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Leaves and colorful shale.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Leaves and colorful shale. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

One of the finger inlets that feed the resevoir.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

One of the finger inlets that feed the lake. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The sky was on fire on the way home.  A dramatic ending to a perfect day.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The sky was on fire on the way home. A dramatic ending to a perfect day. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

[All photos were shot and edited on my iPhone4.]

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Photowalk: The Evidence of Creatures

When I was a child, I spent most of my summer days following animal tracks in the fields behind our house in search of elusive creatures. On occasion I would find one, but most often their prints were the only evidence that proved they had once waddled or hopped or slithered on that same piece of ground.

Yesterday’s photowalk was all about finding evidence of creatures both big and small. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the Sacramento River was calling. The heavy rains have subsided for now so the river was lower than normal for this time of year. I made my way along a short stretch of sandy beach and found prints of several animals that make this area their home.

Here are the photos with evidence of creatures, both human and animal, that I discovered yesterday. All photos were taken with my iPhone with the Hipstamatic App, JohnS Lens and Ina’s 69 film.

Looking across the Sacramento River towards Riverbank Marina. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking across the Sacramento River towards Riverbank Marina. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon and mollusk tracks.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon and mollusk prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Bobcat prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Bobcat prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon rear foot print.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon rear foot print. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Clam shell critter snack.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Clam shell critter snack. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Baby raccoon prints the size of one half of my thumb.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Baby raccoon prints the size of one half of my thumb. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter and Bobcat prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

River Otter and Bobcat prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon print.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon print. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon family prints.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Raccoon family prints. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The head of a sardine discarded by a fisherman.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The head of a sardine discarded by a fisherman. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Discarded shopping cart that was most likely the carryall for one of the homeless who live along the river.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Discarded shopping cart that was most likely the carryall for one of the homeless who live along the river. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

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“Illuminati” – Honorable Mention in the Mobile Photography Awards

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Illuminati" - Apps used:  vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Illuminati” – Apps used: vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

My heart is beating double time. They just posted the “People/Portraits” category winners for the Mobile Photography Awards and my iPhone piece “Illuminati” won an honorable mention! So this piece, along with “Rubber Band Man” in my previous post will be on exhibit in the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York City at the end of February. An unbelievable honor to be in the company of the best mobile photographers in the world!

You can view more of the winners here: http://mobilephotographyblog.com/peopleportraits/


“Rubber Band Man” – Honorable Mention in Mobile Photography Awards

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

I am beyond thrilled and honored that my iPhone piece “Rubber Band Man” has been chosen for an Honorable Mention in the Visual FX category for the Mobile Photography Awards! These awards feature the best of the best in the world of mobile photography. All those chosen in all categories will be on display at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York City from February 22-28.

You can check out all the amazing works here: http://mobilephotographyblog.com/visual-fx/


Photowalk: Old Sacramento

After finishing up the class I have been writing for the University and finally recovering from a bout with the flu, I was able to get out on a photowalk this morning. I decided to photograph Old Sacramento with my iPhone and used my Hipstamatic App with the Tinto 1884 lens and D-Type plate. This combination seemed very appropriate for a place steeped in history.

The Sacramento River

The Sacramento River with the I Street Bridge and paddle wheeler boats docked in the distance. The Sacramento River was an important food source for the area’s indigenous tribes and became a major transportation and trade route during the California gold rush during the 19th Century. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge was built in 1935 and was the first vertical lift bridge in the California highway system. The center section of this bridge raises and lowers for large boats to journey up and down the Sacramento River. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The paddle wheel of the Delta King that journeyed daily between San Francisco to Sacramento from 1927 to 1940.  It is now a floating hotel and restaurant docked in Old Sacramento.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The paddle wheel of the Delta King that journeyed daily between San Francisco and Sacramento from 1927 to 1940. It is now a floating hotel and restaurant docked in Old Sacramento. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The I Street Bridge has spanned the Sacramento River for 100 years.  The steel double-decker swing bridge was built by Southern Pacific Railroad and continues to carry trains and automobiles across the river to this day.  The bridge swings open for larger boats to go up and down the river.

The I Street Bridge has spanned the Sacramento River for 100 years. The steel double-decker swing bridge was built by Southern Pacific Railroad and continues to carry trains and automobiles across the river to this day. The bridge swings open for larger boats to go up and down the river.

A Sacramento Southern rail car sits on the tracks near the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.  The Sacramento Southern rail line was built between 1906 and 1912 and ran south for 24 miles to Walnut Grove and later became part of Southern Pacific.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A Sacramento Southern rail car sits on the tracks near the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. The Sacramento Southern rail line was built between 1906 and 1912 and ran south for 24 miles to Walnut Grove and later became part of Southern Pacific. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A stack of freight sits near the Central Pacific Freight and Passenger Stations in Old Sacramento.  The station was reconstructed on the site of the original which was built in the mid-1860's.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A stack of freight sits near the Central Pacific Freight and Passenger Stations in Old Sacramento. The stations were reconstructed on the site of the original which was built in the mid-1860’s. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The backside of the passenger train station along the tracks.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The backside of the passenger train station along the tracks. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking toward the trains and boarding area from the passenger station. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Looking toward the trains and boarding area from the passenger station. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Huntington, Hopkins and Company Hardware Store.  During the 1860's this company was a wholesale brokerage that supplied all of Northern California.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The Huntington, Hopkins and Company Hardware Store. During the 1860’s this company was a wholesale brokerage that supplied all of Northern California. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Park sits in an empty lot where City Market, a butcher shop, used to stand.  There are remnants of Old Sacramento's past throughout this park including columns that used to adorn the outside of buildings and ironworks cast in Old Sacramento in the 1800's.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Park sits in an empty lot where City Market, a butcher shop, used to stand. There are remnants of Old Sacramento’s past throughout this park including columns that used to adorn the outside of buildings and ironworks cast in Old Sacramento in the 1800’s. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A slab of granite, some ironworks, and the old brick wall of the adjacent building in Pioneer Park.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A slab of granite, some ironworks, and the old brick wall of the adjacent building in Pioneer Park. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Closeup detail on one of the columns used to adorn the outside of business buildings in Old Sacramento.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Closeup detail on one of the columns used to adorn the outside of business buildings in Old Sacramento. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A fallen column slowly being absorbed by a tree in Pioneer Park.  ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

A fallen column slowly being absorbed by a tree in Pioneer Park. ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

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My Favorite Superhero

My son Justin was born with FG Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder linked to the X chromosome that affects him physically, emotionally, neurologically and intellectually. His syndrome has in no way stopped him from blooming into a remarkable and independent young man with a heart of gold, a wonderful sense of humor, and a deep sense of compassion for both humans and animals. He is the defender of the underdog. He is my role-model for unconditional love. He is my favorite Superhero…

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

[**All photos shot and edited on my iPhone4**)


A Self Portrait in Pieces

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These eyes have seen the depths of Hell and stared into the very face of God. They have stayed themselves on beauty and sought out the very truth of every soul they’ve met.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

This mind is often lost in thought. A thousand pictures formed in rapid fire across the neurons, reminding me of things I’ve seen and forming visions of what is yet to be.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These hands have written a million words, played a thousand tunes, gently cradled a newborn child, clenched closed with rage, and held my heart for all to see in tenuous trust.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These wrinkles. Each one earned as a badge of honor over time, woven across a once smooth surface like a roadmap leading to my past.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

These feet have climbed a dozen mountains, walked a million miles, run as fast as they could carry, and propelled me through the dark out into light.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

And this heart still keeps on beating, whether broken or whole, happy or sad, empty or content, with others or all alone. And it will beat on, until the day it decides its job is complete.

This is me.

[**All photographs were taken with my iPhone4 using the Hipstamatic App, Tinto 1884 Lens and D-Type Plate Film**]

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“Asphyxia” Makes the Best of 2012 on iPhoneOgenic

"Asphyxia" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Asphyxia” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

My steampunk inspired iPhone piece “Asphyxia” made it into the “Best of 2012” on iPhoneOgenic. It is one of 60 iPhone photographs chosen out of 45,000. Quite an honor to have my work placed in the presence of some of the top iPhoneographers in the world.

You can view all the photos here.


More Playing With Colors

And the color phase continues. Every time I finish one of these pieces it makes me smile. They bring me right up out of the fog (both literally and figuratively). I am reminded of summer and warmth and the sand that sifts between my toes. I can smell the barbeques and feel the waves lapping rhythmically against my feet. I taste the salty air on my lips and curl up beneath the shade of a beach umbrella, completely content with life.

"Beachcomber's Paradise" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Beachcomber’s Paradise” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

"A Parasailer's Heaven" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“A Parasailer’s Heaven” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

"California Dreamin" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“California Dreamin” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

To view the rest of this series visit my recent post Playing With Colors.

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Digital Arts California: Wide Open Digital Finalist

Screen shot 2012-12-28 at 9.25.20 AM

What an exciting week! The good news for my iPhoneography keeps on coming! In addition to being notified I am a finalist in the Digitial Photo Pro Emerging Photographer Competition that I wrote about in yesterday’s blog post, I just found out nine of my iPhone pieces were chosen along with 66 other digital artists and photographers for the Digital Arts: California “Wide Open Digital” competition.

Here is a link to the online exhibit: http://www.digitalartscalifornia.com/?cat=14

From the Director:

“Our latest exhibit, ‘Wide Open Digital,’ showcases exciting innovative work by 67 digital artists and photographers from 22 countries. This show includes 293 images that range, in style and technique, from one end of the digital spectrum to the other. These images represent some of the most talented work in digital arts around the globe.

I would like to mention that this was a very competitive show, and thus, having even one image chosen for inclusion is a high honor. As much as we would have liked to have included every entrant in the show, we did not. But, we can say that every image we evaluated showed promise. We hope that those artists whose work was not chosen will continue working to further that promise.

…I would like to thank my fellow judges. These two graphics professionals have long resumes of accomplishment in the visual arts. As Art Director of Buddah Records, Elektra/Asylum Records, and 20th Century Fox Records, Glen Christensen was, for many years, a major figure in graphic design in the music industry. He has received two nominations for the prestigious Grammy Award, for Best Album Package. Gary Viskupic has, to his credit, an extensive body of work in editorial illustration. He created most of this illustration during his long tenure as an editorial artist at New York’s Newsday. In addition, his international freelance work has included many award-winning posters and illustrations for magazine and book publishers. Gary has been recognized many times by such prestigious organizations as the Society of Illustrators, Graphis, The Society for News Design, and Print magazine. He is currently an instructor of illustration at New York Institute of Technology.”

Additionally, on Wednesday of this week I was chosen as Artist of the Day at iPhoneart.com!

ipa


Finalist in Digital Photo Pro Emerging Pro Competition

DPP

I woke up to some really cool news this morning. My iPhone piece “Illuminati” is one of 42 finalists in the Fine Art category for the Digital Photo Pro Emerging Pro Photo Competition. Now it is up for People’s Choice Award and you can help me out by voting for it (if you are moved to do so of course).

Digital Photo Pro is a major photography magazine with a circulation of 100,000+ and I am so excited they chose one of my iPhone photos as a finalist alongside many other beautiful pieces shot with DSLR’s.

Just follow the link below and choose “Register” on the left (it’s free). After you register click on “Return to Contest Page” then under “Vote Now” choose “Fine Art Finalists” and give 5 stars to the little man with the illuminated umbrella (photo below). It will be greatly appreciated!

http://www.digitalphotopro.com/6th-annual-emerging-pro/fine-art/finalists.html

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Illuminati" - Apps used:  vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Illuminati” – Apps used: vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam


Soliloquy Continued…

so·lil·o·quy noun \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\: a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections.

It is in nature where I cleanse myself from the constant drone of the city and absorb the quiet beauty all around me. A deep breath of fresh air and my lungs open to capacity, free from the exhaust and toxins spewed out hourly by the bane of a “civilized” society. My feet do a happy dance as they touch the raw earth beneath them. It is much more forgiving than the asphalt and concrete of everyday life. I feel connected to the core.

Surrounded by an infinite wisdom that transcends the exterior casing that houses my soul, I walk. I listen. I see. I discover. A swarm of white gnats gathers next to my cheek. I am amazed by an almost silent, collective “whoosh” created by their tiny wings. They move in unity with barely a space in between. Somehow they know to move left or right or up or down as one, without impeding the flight of another.

I continue my walk and contemplate. Hours go by and I feel refreshed, renewed, ready to move forward through life. The fall air lays its final kiss across my skin and once again the evening comes to slowly bid adieu…

“Soliloquy 9” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 10” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 11” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 12” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

More Soliloquy here.


Soliloquy

so·lil·o·quy noun \sə-ˈli-lə-kwē\: a dramatic monologue that represents a series of unspoken reflections.

Nature has always been my savior. No matter how dark, cloudy or confusing my life circumstances become, I can always turn to the outdoors to calm my nerves and regain perspective.

Nature helps me to breathe a little more deeply and to strike up an internal conversation with self. That internal monologue can be dramatic and filled with expression in order to release frustration and solve all of life’s dilemmas or it can be quiet, centered and reassuring.

I will forever embrace it as the grounding mechanism for my soul. My safe place. My source of replenishment. My healing balm. The inspiration for self-dialogue. My soliloquy…

“Soliloquy 1” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 2” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 3” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 4” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 5” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 6” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 7” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Soliloquy 8” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.


The Bothersome Borg

I was recently infected with another case of the sillies. After a few months of being pulled back into the more serious side of life with our “Dancing at the Shame Prom” book launch and a couple other more straight-laced writing and photography gigs, my whimsical side decided to tackle me to the floor and demand release.

So, “The Bothersome Borg” series was born.

The Bothersome Borg is kind of like that annoying person who shows up in your life during the most inopportune moments. He is that pesky little brother or that persistent and ridiculous thought that pops up in your mind when you least expect it. Wherever he shows up, you would prefer that he didn’t. He tends to wreak havoc on everything around him. He makes a mess out-of-order, noise in the midst of quiet and constantly colors outside of the lines.

Regardless his foibles, you still can’t help but feel a little love for him… And maybe, just maybe, he can teach you a thing or two about life.

Without further ado, the beginning of my series, “The Bothersome Borg”…

“The Borg Around the Corner” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Sewer Diver” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“A.K.A. Borgsky” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

“Chef Borg-Uignon” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.


I Left My Heart in Massachusetts

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Here we go again.

With every trip I take, I find myself falling in love with the new surroundings and reaching the conclusion that yes, I should definitely live there. Or there. Or over there.

I have done this with Port Townsend in Washington, Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, San Luis Valley in Colorado, Moab in Utah, the island of Kauai, Paris, London, Singapore, St. John in the Caribbean. And the list goes on.

Just call me fickle. Or maybe it’s due to a little bit of gypsy intertwined somewhere in my DNA.

Our most recent foray was to the lovely Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For decades now I have longed for a trip to Boston and Rhode Island in order to place my feet firmly on the ground where our country had its beginnings. I finally got my chance when asked to shoot a very special wedding in New Bedford.

The minute our plane circled over the Boston skyline and approached Logan Airport I knew this was going to be an epic trip. I became immediately smitten with the aerial view and had no doubt I would fall even more deeply once my feet hit terra firma.

“Mass Turnpike” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

As with any new relationship, the first contact was a tad tentative. Finding our bearings and navigating the Mass Turnpike was a bit nerve-wracking straight off a six hour flight with nighttime approaching. We only missed one tunnel and were lead back smack into the heart of the downtown. But there were plenty of friendly Bostonians to point us back in the right direction.

After an hour drive, we reached our accommodations for the week; a charming little beach house in Fairhaven. The moment I stepped outside onto the back deck I felt myself take a deep breath and release it in a long, slow sigh. I could hear the ocean lapping at the shoreline mere yards from the house.

I was in love. Yet again…

The next morning revealed an astounding view of Buzzard’s Bay from the big bay window in the living room.

“Buzzards Bay” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

There was a quaint little beach shack directly behind the house that held fishing poles, clam rakes, a kayak and anything else one would desire to use at the beach.

“Beach Shack” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

In between shooting the pre-wedding events, we took as many side trips as time would allow.

No journey to Mass would be complete without riding the “T” into and around Boston. We drove to Quincy and hopped on the red line that lead us to the orange line that was supposed to lead us to the blue line where we would walk mere yards to the Long Wharf to catch a Boston Harbor cruise.

“The T” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Well, being a tourist is simply not being a tourist unless you end up lost at least once. We exited the “T” earlier than we should have after speaking to a local who told us we could hop out at Downtown Crossing and take a short walk through Quincy Market and past Fenueil Hall to the Wharf. His version of “short walk” and ours were worlds apart. So we missed our cruise.

We discovered how nice Bostonian’s could be when the ticket agent not only gave us a full refund but booked us on the next cruise for free! That gave us time to have lunch at a seafood restaurant where I drooled over a bowl of lobster bisque and fresh out of the oven french bread. I washed that all down with a wonderful Maine-brewed Hefeweizen.

“Boston Harbor” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The harbor cruise was relaxing and informative and provided a glorious view of the city skyline.

“USS Constitution” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

After the harbor cruise, we chose to follow part of the Freedom Trail up through the Italian section to the North Church, past Paul Revere’s house and then back to the Olde State House.

“Olde State House” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The next day, we had lunch in Providence, Rhode Island and walked the hilly streets that were lined with incredible Cape and Victorian-era houses.

We strolled through beautiful Brown University where I began to think of ways I could attend Brown and acquire yet another degree. It’s good we didn’t visit Yale or Harvard or Dartmouth because I would certainly feel conflicted. Yes, I also fall in love with educational institutions. Especially the ivy-league kind that I could never afford to attend.

We drove to Falmouth and took a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard one afternoon. Everything about Martha’s Vineyard embraced me. From the oldest working carousel in the nation to the quirky and colorful gingerbread cottages that line the MVCMA.

“Gingerbread Cottages” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

And then there was the steamed lobster…

Alex lovin’ on his steamed lobster – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

On our last day of the trip, we decided to drive all the way up the Cape to experience Provincetown. Of course I fell in love with every little historical town that lined the cape thinking “I could live here. I could live there.” The sense of history and beauty of the area was astounding.

Though quaint, P-Town was a bit too touristy for me. I can certainly understand its lure during the non peak season. We had lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall cafe that served incredibly delicious Lobstah rolls.

Lobstah roll in P-Town. – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

On our way back down the Cape we stopped in at Highland Lighthouse and were pleased to spot a pod of whales feeding just off the point. I got great pleasure posting this on my Facebook status: “Whatcha’ doing right now? Oh, just watching whales swim by off Cape Cod… Nothin’ special :-).”

Lighthouse at Truro on Cape Cod – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

It was such a magical trip for many reasons. I fell hard for the history and beauty of the area. I fell hard for the friendliness and happy demeanor of the people. I of course always fall hard for any town near an ocean and beaches, but these little towns drew me in like few others.

I could only imagine the lure of the Fall colors and how that would have sealed the deal for me. I would have adamantly refused to climb back on the plane for home if the wedding had occurred but a month later in the year. But that is one more of many good reasons to visit the east coast yet again in the future.

“Alone Time” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.


Showing Up for the Gig

“Eros” – Featured on The App Whisperer’s Flickr Top 10 – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

One of my favorite former instructors gave me the best piece of advice I have ever received. It was during a time when I was feeling a bit lost and frustrated about launching my career as a photographer.

She said, “Just keep showing up for the gig every single day.”

These words may seem simple and not too profound to most, but there was something about that little sentence that resonated with me.

I began to make it a point to “show up for the gig” every day of the week. I would create a piece of art, take a couple of photos, enter a contest, send out my resume, write, submit my work to websites, send my portfolio to galleries; anything I thought would bring exposure to my work in the “real” world.

And you know what began to happen? I saw my work featured on a number of key websites, I was accepted into several gallery shows, I was asked to write a piece for an anthology that is being published by Seal Press, I was asked to teach a workshop on social media at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference in Mexico and most recently I signed a contract to rewrite the “Business Practices and Principles for Photographers” course at my alma mater – the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

And it just keeps on coming…

My solo show, “iPhoneography: An Obsession” opened at Gallery 1075 in West Sacramento on Thursday.

And the “Summer Photo Show” opened last night at The Lunch Box Gallery in Miami where four of my iPhone photographs are showing.

I have also been sitting on exciting news for the past few weeks but I wanted to wait until the final list came out before I wrote about it.

Several weeks ago five of my pieces were shortlisted for the cutting-edge LA Mobile Arts Festival to be held at the Santa Monica Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA. I received word at the beginning of last week that not only did the five pieces make the final cut but they decided to add a sixth to the show.

The works of around 225 artists, with over 500 pieces, are being shown at the LAMAF. The show opens Saturday August 18th with an artists reception that begins at 7pm.

The LAMAF is a first of its kind mobile photography and art show. Here are just a few examples of what can be seen at this show:

• Light Impressions, an installation of 40 iPads, rigged to a re-purposed metal roof-top that was found on the beach after Hurricane Opal in the Florida Panhandle. The old/new world electronic installation includes the work of 40 iPhoneographers from 10 countries and 52 cities around the world, and will arrive at LA MAF as part of an international tour including a stop at a recent TEDx event.

• A series of Digital Daguerreotypes combining the old-world aesthetic of many contemporary mobile artists with cutting-edge print tech- nologies. These images on high-tech mirrors will recall the old daguerreotype and collotype origins of traditional photography.

• An Olde Curiosity Shoppe of mobile art, film-based and environmental installations, a showcase dedicated to those using mobile technology specifically for drawing and painting rather than photography, an exploration of today’s world of mobile apps, and a visual history placing mobile art in the evolution of photography.

The LAMAF is not to be missed!

My work was also included this week in a piece for the Huffington Post on the LA Mobile Arts Festival [“Illuminati” appears in the slideshow].



This week my work also ended up on Lenscratch with a write-up on the “Summer Photo Show” which is being held at The Lunch Box Gallery. Lenscratch is considered to be “one of the top 10 Photography-Related blogs you should be reading by Source Review, Wired.com, and InStyle Magazine.”

So whatever you are doing, whatever your goals or wishes are in life, just keep putting yourself out there and showing up for the gig.

It’s not magic nor is it some miracle formula that will bring you everything your heart desires. It is simply reward for keeping your nose to the grindstone and doing it with focused intent.


Carnival of the Bizarre

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Illuminati” – Apps used: vintage cam, camera+, perfectlyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam


Since beginning my journey in iPhoneography my work has taken a number of iterations. But no matter how far I stray, I always find myself gravitating back to the bizarre, the whimsical, the slightly humorous oddities that make you pause and go “Hmmmmmmmm…”

I have always been intrigued with anything that exists outside the box of “normal.” Not much of a surprise since my childhood was anything close to normal; but I think my inherent sense of curiosity is what drives my attraction towards things of the bizarre nature.

Life would seem oh so boring if everything were white-bread perfect, dressed in a pinafore and a pair of Mary Jane’s.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Asphyxia” – Apps used: vintage cam, camera+, perfeclyclr, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

When I was a kid, my imagination ran wild and I was constantly drawing up plans and building strange contraptions out of scraps of wood, springs, tin cans, rubber bands and basically any spare part I could get my hands on.

I was certain I could build a rubber band powered space machine that would launch me to the moon and even devised a plan to build an amusement park in my backyard out of cardboard and lumber. Most likely influenced by my affinity with Jules Verne, there was rarely a day when I wasn’t dreaming about my next gadget.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Tin Can Rabbit” – Apps used: vintage cam, perfectlyclr, camera+, juxtaposer, pixlromatic, scratchcam

Through some subconscious connection to my young, creative mind, the last few weeks have moved me towards a more Steampunk oriented phase of my whimsical photography. I am suddenly envisioning strange breathing apparatus, windup rabbits, mechanical x-ray eyewear and parasols that illuminate one’s path.

In ways I feel like I am creating my own Carnival of the Bizarre. Soon you might just find me standing on a street corner balancing a top hat and barking out an invitation for you to take a peek through the curtains at all the oddities I have created.

You can leave a penny in the tin cup…


An Ocean Full of Muses

In the psychological realm of dream interpretation, water is the harbinger of “emotion.” In the world of creativity, emotion is the motivator for the creation of meaningful art.

A “muse” is a person or object that provides creative inspiration to another. Whenever I wander along the shoreline, emotion makes its way to surface and I am transported into that deep creative mental space of artistic possibility.

I become embraced by an ocean full of muses.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Blue Tide” – Apps used: vintage cam, perfecly clr, wood camera, scratchcam, snapseed

As I walk in the soft sand, I find myself hypnotized by the waves lapping at the shoreline and am somehow transported to another, simpler time in life.

I breathe more deeply.

I walk a bit more slowly.

I feel embraced by this endless body of water.

I feel powerful and so peaceful at the same time.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Pathway to the Sea” – Apps used: vintage cam, perfectly clr, wood cam, scratchcam, lens light, modern grunge

From the North coast of California’s rocky formations formed over time by harsh winds and churning waves, to the white sands and azure blue waters of the Caribbean or Hawaii, I have been moved and touched by the oceans power quite often and with depth.

The ocean has been the place I have journeyed to when life became too stressful. It became my “safe place” in the midst of staring down my ugly childhood during therapy. It became my “happy place” when my son was young and I could sit for hours and watch him build castles in the sand and dodge the tide as it rolled onto shore. It has become my “creative space” in later life whenever I need to find my muse.

The following images are iPhoneography pieces I created after a recent trip to Northern California’s beautiful coast. The rocky shorelines found there are hypnotic and mysterious and have a way of conjuring mental images that at times exist outside the “norm.”

As I wandered those beautiful beaches, I found myself wondering about the people who have wandered there before me. I could of course peruse the historical photographic archives of the area in order to quell my curiosity, but why do that when I have such a vivid imagination?

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “Rubber Band Man” – Apps used: vintage cam, juxtaposer, perfectly clr, snapseed, wood camera, picture show, scratchcam

“Rubber Band Man” was featured on Pixels: The Art of the iPhone on May 19th. The pixels site can be viewed here. If you view this blog post after May 20th, you can do a search for “Tracy Thomas” and you will find the list of my images that have been featured on Pixels over the last several months.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “On Pointe” – Apps used: vintage cam, juxtaposer, filter mania, picture show, scratchcam, modern grunge

“On Pointe” was chosen for Pixels: The Art of the iPhone on May 19th and was chosen as the “Pic of the Day” for Pixels this morning. You can view it here. (Again, just do a search for “Tracy Thomas” if you are reading this after May 20th).

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. “An Elephant’s Kiss” – Apps used: 645 pro, juxtaposer, wood camera, scratchcam, photoforge2

“An Elephant’s Kiss” made it into The App Whisperer’s Top 10 Showcase this morning and can be seen here. This piece was also chosen as a feature on Pixels: The Art of the iPhone this morning, here (click on Previous Entries at bottom of the page if it is no longer on the first page).


More Humble Accolades

Just a quick post to show a few new iPhone photos and some links to recent accolades.

My piece “Drowning in a Speed Queen” was chosen as a featured photo for this week’s Life in Lofi: iPhoneography‘s Faved on Flickr Showcase (here). I was very happy to find myself in this mix. There are some amazing iPhone artists in this showcase and I feel humbled and honored to be included this time around.

“Drowning in a Speed Queen” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. Apps used: vintage cam, juxtaposer, picture show, filter mania

I have been very pleased to have several of my pieces chosen for Pixels: The Art of the iPhone site, curated by Knox Bronson, over the last few months including: “Drowning in a Speed Queen,” “Blue” (seen below), “Spare Pennies 4 Pizza” (below) and recent pieces “A Day at the Beach” (below), and “Grapes of Wrath” (also below). You can view the site here.

“Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. Apps used: vintage cam, filter mania, picture show, snapseed

“Spare Pennies 4 Pizza” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. Apps used: 645 pro, snapseed, scratchcam

“A Day at the Beach” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. Apps used: 645 pro, snapseed, picture show, scratchcam, filter mania, jazz

“Grapes of Wrath” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. Apps used: 645 pro, perfectlyclr, pictureshow, photoforge2, scratchcam

For the month of August, my iPhoneography portfolio will be on exhibit at Gallery 1075 in West Sacramento. I am really looking forward to this show and am planning to include several QR codes that will launch step-by-step videos of how I created a few of my pieces. Ahhhhh, cutting edge technology – love it!


A Stranger at the Gate

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "A Stranger at the Gate" - Apps used: hipstamatic, juxtaposer, iquikdof, pictureshow

My whole life I have struggled with the presence of a stranger. A shadowy figure who lingers at the periphery of my existence. I have seen him in my dreams, this man without a face. Lurking… Watching… Waiting…

I never knew what he wanted exactly, but if it was fear he meant to instill, I felt it.

Hyper-vigilance as an adult is a reality for most who were victims of childhood abuse. Since trust becomes a big issue, every human encounter comes into question. I would wonder why that man on the street corner glanced at me a certain way. I was positive he meant to do me harm so I would cross the street in order to avoid him.

For many years I would double-check my blinds, pull the curtains tighter, glance into the back seat of my car before climbing in. A constant vigil of fear, bordering on paranoia, in order to protect myself from the lingering sense of danger.

It took many years for me to make the connection between that lurking stranger at the gate to the memories of my father. Eventually I realized I was still giving him power over my life by dwelling in the fear of what “might” happen.

I learned with the help of many wonderful, caring humans how to face my past and throw the ugly parts away. When the dirty memories would begin to creep in again, I would metaphorically throw them into the washing machine and cleanse them from my life.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Every year around this time that stranger has a way of creeping back into the shadows to pay me a visit. An ugly reminder that he played a role in the creation of my being. His unwanted DNA is intertwined with my own. But today I hold the power. He is no longer allowed to creep back into my life and cause me fear, not even on the day I was born. He did not earn that privilege, instead he lost it through his endless brutality and attempt to destroy my soul.

Today I am doing a little laundry. I will toss the dirty dregs into the machine, turn the scalding hot water on high and walk away with a smile.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Drowning in a Speed Queen" - Apps used: vintage cam, juxtaposer, pictureshow, filter mania


Four Levels of Women

Just the other day I realized I have been so obsessed with creating iPhone art that I haven’t written any fiery musings about politics, strange religious movements, same-sex marriage, or even arrogant bastards in quite some time (yes, these are links to past blog posts if you are interested).

Since the political atmosphere of late seems to focus on all things related to women, I have decided to jump in on the conversation and use some of my iPhone art purely for illustrative purposes.

Women are of course as varied, unique and complicated as any other creature on this planet, but for today’s purposes, I plan to explore four levels of women.

The first being the “Geisha.” We have all of course been awe-struck by the beauty of the Geisha girl in movies and on television. However, the history of the Geisha is not so pretty. Though most were entertainers, poets and writers, the majority were held in slavery and many served as prostitutes. Their life was focused on one thing; to bring pleasure to men. They never spoke without being spoken to nor did they ever disobey a man.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Geisha" - Apps used: vintage cam, flowpaper, juxtaposer, filter mania, photoforge2

There seem to be many Geisha-like women existing in our country today. Most have been swept up into right-wing conservative or fundamental religions that preach antiquated doctrine which states the man is always ruler over a woman. And a “woman of God” is a subservient one.

Though these women are not physically bound by slavery, they are being held by the power of a belief system that appears to be picking and choosing verses exclusively for the benefit of men.

Not all women are subjects of religious tyranny. Some are simply silenced by the misogynistic men they have chosen to accompany through life.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "She Lost Her Head" - Apps used: camera+, juxtaposer, iris, pixlromatic, modern grunge

These are the women who have lost their own thoughts, their own voices, their own independence, after years of unending verbal and or physical abuse. These women become the doormats of overpowering male bastards who want nothing more than to dominate and control.

I feel sad for these women and I implore them to dig deep inside themselves and find a way to get out, now…

But there is one level of women these right-wing conservative control freaks and these misogynistic idiots, seem to be overlooking. These are the women who have had enough of the caveman-like attitudes who are attempting to keep them in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. These are the fired up, politically savvy, more than just pissed off multitudes who won’t sit quietly on the sidelines any longer. These are the women who fight on the front line, who use their voices loudly, who will cast countless votes against the barbarians whose desire is to squash their inimitable power.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "We Are Woman Hear Us Roar" - Apps used: vintage cam, pixlromatic, filter mania, photo studio

These are the glass ceiling breakers. These are the women who will rise up and vote. These are the women who will march en mass through the streets of our nation while making a very loud and angry noise. These are the women who will roar and make a difference for the future of their daughters.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Moon Angel" - Apps used: vintage cam, filter mania, art wings, snapseed, scratchcam, photoforge2

Many in this country have a decidedly sexist view of a strong woman. When a woman speaks her mind she is labelled a “bitch.” A man doing the same would be called “strong” or “admirable.” When a woman rises to the top in business or politics and raises a ruckus for the rights of other women she is labelled a “feminist.” When a man rises to the top in business or politics he is labelled a “success.”

This has to change. Women have been fighting this battle for far too long. But there is hope.

A strong, peaceful woman is a woman who always follows her convictions and states her mind without fear of being silenced by a man with control issues. Always believing in ourselves and the strength and beauty we have to offer this world is the attitude that will send us over the moon, forever rising up to the top to the place that was meant for us since the beginning of time.

It does not matter what kind of woman you are or at what level you currently exist. All women have the potential to be great women. Women of conscious, of great strength, of great and equal power.


A Bad Case of the Quirkies

I have been busy lately with all the important, responsible tasks one must attend to in order to run a viable business. For several days my brain has felt like mush and I began to develop a severe case of the antsy’s. My iPhone sat patiently next to my laptop while my hind end became numb from the hours at my keyboard.

Yesterday I reached the point where something just had to give so I went on a nice long run. While on that run I spied a beautiful grove of live oaks in the middle of a freshly plowed field. After my run I returned to the grove and took a couple of shots with my iPhone.

“Ahhhhhhhh…” deep sigh of relief. But once I was home and scrolled through the few snapshots I took, it all seemed so empty… I knew it was way past time to shake out all the cobwebs and start “puttin’ on my quirky” once again.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Where Puppies Fly" - Apps used: vintage cam, artwings, lenslight, juxtaposer, modern grunge, jazz

I have no explanation for how or why the neurons in my brain decide to fire in the way they do, but when these odd synapses occur, I am compelled to honor them.

This past weekend I happened to capture a quiet photo of one of our dogs sitting in the yard. So, the photo of the grove of oaks was graced with the presence of my dog who suddenly sprouted a pair of butterfly wings and multiplied into a whole herd who to took flight beneath a full moon. And “Where Puppies Fly” was born.

All this thanks to several great little iPhone apps: Juxtaposer (for the montage); Lenslight (for the full moon); Art Wings (for, well, the wings); Modern Grunge (for that hip, scratchy, grungy look); and Jazz (for some popping highlights).

Then there was this morning…

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Little Monsters in the Candy Store" - Apps used: 6x6, juxtaposer, blurfx, jazz

It started when I decided to shun all responsibility, grab my iPhone and do a walkabout through Old Sacramento this a.m. in search of some fun iPhoneography fodder.

There were hordes of elementary students touring the train museum and I just happened to walk by a candy store at the same time a whole classroom of 4th graders converged on the barrels of sugary sweetness.

For reasons beyond me, their teachers decided it was a good idea for this group of hyperactive, screaming and screeching urchins to buy a supply of cavity-inducing, attention deficit disorder petrol on their way back to the classroom. Hmmmm…

All judgment aside, I knew I just had to whip out my iPhone and snap this madness in progress. I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with it, but my gut told me to shoot away.

After leaving the candy store I made my way to “Evangeline’s,” a famous costume shop in the middle of Old Sac. I can wander through this store for hours taking shots of all the creepy goodness that is on display. When I made my way upstairs, to my delight I discovered a whole wall of rubber monster masks.

So I shot… and I had a quirky neural synapse… and I smiled.

When I got home I immediately set about merging the monster masks with the scene at the candy store. This was achieved with Juxtaposer, then I added a little blur effect with BlurFX and a bit of grunge with Jazz.

This piece became “Little Monsters in the Candy Store.” It’s not that I think children are inherently bad you see, but I believe we can all agree this white, granular American staple can at times turn our kids into unrecognizable little demons post sugar binge.

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved. "Danger! Diver Dan" - Apps used: vintage cam, juxtaposer, modern grunge

Who remembers the television show “Diver Dan?” Yes, I am dating myself by admitting this, but I used to watch this show all the time as a wee little pup. For those of you too young or perhaps too age afflicted to remember, Diver Dan used to swim around in the ocean with an old-fashioned diving suit and helmet talking to the passing fish. There was a beautiful Mermaid named Miss Minerva and well, just see for yourself:

And you wonder why I have such a bad case of the quirkies. Yes, my childhood was filled with talking fish, flying monkeys and lions seeking courage. I have an excuse…

Anyways, as luck would have it, Evangeline’s just happened to have a mechanical diver fighting off a giant squid hanging in one of their entryways. Diver Dan swam immediately back into my memory so I whipped out my iPhone and brought him home.

What’s a diver without water? I took a shot of our backyard fountain and proceeded to merge the two shots in Juxtaposer then added a bit of grunge in Modern Grunge and a new episode called “Danger! Diver Dan” emerged.

I have a feeling my creative energy will dwell in this quirky state for the next few days. I still have a whole lot of photos left to edit and a lot of memories squeezing their way to the surface.