Tag Archives: plant life

Film Noir State of Mind

I have begun going through my archive of work, sometimes as photographers you need to sit on your work, and only when the iron strikes, you share it. Its intuitive. I took this shot in my bothers basement in LA, a few years ago. My work is highly narrative and emotive. I tend to look at all my fine art work as portraits on the self. I am driven by personal experience and the human condition, the vast forms of expressing ones true self and spirit are endless. There is real beauty in the gift of the phoenix. Yes, she burns, but she also continues to rise, again and again.

We tend to have many lives, within this one lifetime. I like to think of it as the abrupt cuts that are so popular in Film Noir. The shifts our lives take, some shifts happen overnight, and we are left to move with the pace of life or get swallowed by it.

This is my film noir state of mind.

 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

Botanica Obscura

I recently began collaborating with an artist friend of mine. He challenged me to see my work in a new light, almost quite literally. Here is a process shot of what the installation is gonna look like. Animated 2D static images, projected onto a series of scrims to create a “scrim box” or volumetric 3D projection of the animated botanical images.

Botanica Obscura will make its debut at the BWB Luau Fundraiser this Saturday, July 22nd from 2-10 pm. What began as an idea for the luau itself, quickly manifested into an installation I intend to show in more than one venue. If you are interested in showing Botanica Obscura, please get in touch with Gordon Krummel @gsk443 or myself @thelensbaby23

 

 

IMG_3643-2

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Tiny Vignettes of Life

In continuation with my series of intimate portraits of plant life, I’ve titled this piece Tiny Vignettes of Life because I feel it is important, especially in the current political climate, to hold onto ones own humanity. This photo could be a tiny vignette into any one person’s day. Maybe while doing laundry on a rainy day in November, the way the light falls on drying plant hanging in a window catches your eye, so you take note. In fact, I was doing laundry, and the light did catch my eye, but it was January in Chicago, and snow had now been replaced by rain, even thunder storms. During a time when climate change is denied,  our education system on the verge of being privatized, the very real possibility of the DAPL being constructed, our civil rights at stake; loving our neighbor and embracing our empathy as intelligent beings has never been more crucial.

In this fast changing world, holding onto the moments that make me feel human have helped manage the stress of what is potentially to come. Cooking a communal meal, observing the light and how it falls on an object, participating in good conversation, watering my plants and reading are rituals of living. What are some of your rituals? What makes you feel human?

I’m interested in what you have to say. Please send stories of your human experience to courtney@courtneypenzato.com.

 

Ting Vignettes of Life

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Wilted in Sunlight

This is my first blog post since August, its rather incredible to acknowledge how disconnected I have become to my work. Its intimidating in the sense of not remembering how to begin again. But really, all you have to do is begin. Its a similar feeling when I complete a photo project, afterwards I feel this sense of loss, a void is present for some time. Then I remember to go out and photograph something, anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, and that reassurance is there and I am reminded of why I choose to use a camera as my artistic tool.

Needless to say, 2016 beat me up a bit. I have accomplished a lot of the goals I set for myself; I moved back to Chicago. I didn’t share the ride with anyone. I spent three days in my car alone with my radio, and crossed Illinois state lines on my birthday, which was pretty great. I reached a goal and upgraded my camera equipment. I also grieved with the rest of the world over Standing Rock, a Trump election, Aleppo, ISIS, the most farcical election season of my life, just to name a few, however, I am grateful for the growth and experience this year has offered me. I feel like a wilted plant sitting in a windowsill of sunshine. Beaten, bruised, aged, yet basking in the harsh light of the world.

 

dsc_0018-edit

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

The Feeling of Solitude

Greetings fellow fans and readers, I know I know, its been forever. I’ve had quite the adventure since my last post. Since then, I left LA and moved back to Chicago. The drive was lovely, it was mine and mine alone. I spent three days in the car, with nothing but jams and quiet thoughts. I regret not stopping and taking more photographs, but I was under a deadline. I have not shared with you all the work I made while in LA. Some great work has yet to be posted! I have a pretty demanding job these days, which has affected my ability to post on the regular. I hope to find a balance and be able to make time for my work again (for my own sanity) With that said. I share an image I made in my brother’s yard in Glassell Park, a lovely neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles.

I feel more connected to the narrative of this piece now, then ever before. I have spent more time feeling disconnected to the things that have always ignited me. This bubble of work and sleep is like an out of body experience, as if I am floating high above the artistic burner in me, looking down at someone that I used to know well. The solitude doesn’t bother me, its how its spent that does.

For those of you who don’t know, my botanical portraits invoke the narrative of everyday human emotion and the human condition.

This is my feeling of solitude.

 

feelingofsolitude

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

You Are Here

sometimes we have to get

a bit lost

in order to be found

You Are Here

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Lavender at the End of Summer

As some of you may know, I have relocated to Los Angeles, California. I also have a new website, which you can see here, (www.courtneypenzato.com). In an effort to cope with my homesickness for Chicago, I have revisited some images I took towards the end of summer in my mothers backyard. I have posted from this series before. Portrait-like images of the plants she grows in her garden.

Picking up your life and moving over 2,000 miles away has an almost nauseating effect. The parallels between excitement and fear are almost impossible to distinguish. The feelings you get in your body when experiencing either one  are practically identical. My creativity has come to a halt, and has been replaced with creating a new resume and looking for a job. Allowing time to feel whatever it is this particular day or that. Learning my new environment, creating a space within myself to call LA home. It’s not as easy as I had anticipated, and I’m slightly embarrassed by my naivety in this regard. I was ready, so I thought. But home is home, and not even paradise can take that away.

The lavender flower is a spectacular plant. It comes from the latin word, lavare which means to wash. The cleansing properties it possess are both immaculate and divine. It is a time of self-destruction and rebirth for me. It is both painful and joyous at the same time. I reference the phoenix quite often in my writings, as I feel it is my spirit animal. I am the phoenix, yet again. Like the flower shown here, it has lost its lustrous purple/blue color and has become dry. However, when springtime comes again, so will its essence. One attribute that remains with this plant through the midwestern fall season, is its scent. The most powerful of all the senses. It is both soothing an healing. Calming and relaxing.

Lavander is a totem for my transition.

 

Lavender at the End of Summer

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Spider

In reference to some older posts titled, My Chastity Belt and Spider Plant and I, I’d like to take a minute and talk about the spider. To me, spiders are absolutely fascinating. I once went to watch the sunrise on top of this old landfill turned forest preserve near my house. The sunset was divine, and the mosquitos were the absolute worst. On the long walk back to the car, I stopped and noticed a spider weaving its web in the brush. I sat and watched that spider for what seemed like hours, but was only a few minutes. How simple its life, up early working, building its house, in a what was pretty misty morning. I was in awe. I completely forgot about my seemly silly life, always rushing here or there, doing this or that, yet not really doing anything. Somewhere, little spiders are diligently working just building their house. I remember feeling wasteful in this moment. Wasting my time and my energy on things that didn’t really pay off, that weren’t for the greater good. I envied the spider. I wished for such simplicity in my own life. I wanted to do something more by doing less. Marry simplicity with a work ethic.

I view the spider plant as an abstract symbol of an actual spider. The resemblance is almost uncanny! And just like the spider, the spider plant diligently works to make its babies in order to spread its seed. Here again, simplicity and a work ethic in perfect harmony. This plant in particular I have had for over ten years. I absolutely adore this plant. On several occasions I have clipped the babies off and transplanted them in to smaller pots, only to give them away as gifts. Its a very rewarding feeling; gifting. Some places build an economy around it. Simplicity along with a work ethic are spiders’ gifts to the rest of the world.

We could learn a few things from this glorious insect.

Spider Plant

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Rocket

There is this Sylvia Plath quote from her book; The Bell Jar, that has resonated with me ever since I read The Bell Jar in high school. I adore Sylvia Plath, I feel it is the most tortured women that have the courage to reach deep down inside of themselves and transform real pain into true genius. Sylvia was one of them, along with Virginia Woolf, Francesca Woodman, perhaps even Nan Goldin and Cindy Sherman, yet they remain among the living. Having that said, the quote that I have carried around with me in my pocket, as my mantra and philosophy for so many years goes like this.

“The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Forth of July rocket.”

I have sprung from all directions in life, some have been treacherous and some have been magnificent. Not a single experience would I trade in hindsight. If it were not for all the living I have done, who would I be? If one event in my life were altered, who would I be? I believe so faithfully that every experience we encounter makes us who we are. If one were different, our entire being, along with our destiny could be drastically different. Therefore, I don’t believe in regret. I think regret is a waste of time. I prefer to learn from my mistakes, not regret them. In regret, there is no growth, no room to become something more. If I had a dollar for every time I was the Phoenix rising up from the ashes, covered with soot and sweat, blood and tears. Crying and laughing as I fly by… I’d be a wealthy woman.

My father always told me that, I preferred learning things the hard way. He was right. I don’t remember many things my father told me, our living relationship was not the strongest. I do, however, remember that. Simply because it remains true. I need visceral life experience in order to get anything out of it. I am easily bored, so I make a mess or run carelessly into the eye of the storm bashing around for a bit, only to be reborn sometime later on. Its exhausting, and I shed a lot of pain at times, but I become strong where I was once broken. It’s a beautiful thing.

This is my rocket. This is me exploding.

Rocket

Tagged , , , , , , , ,