Do you like leggings?

Yes, I do.

Do you wear leggings?

No, I don’t. (to be sing-songy sung)

Anyhow, I wish I did wear leggings because they are fun to design over at Redbubble where I have recently set up shop under the name of Fortuitous Photos. Why that name, you might ask, and I’d answer that Lucky Shot was gone.

For years, I’ve used my photos to design notecards, pillows, cutting boards, various utilitarian products as gifts for family and friends. Generally, these one-of-a-kind items are expensive and totally lacking in quality control, not to mention frequently weird. When I visit my daughter, I have to wonder why she has a cutting board from her Hawaiian vacation consisting of a half inch of a beach scene and the rest of cloudless blue sky or a serving tray featuring the enormous head of a giraffe with a disgustingly protruding tongue, or a garish peacock feather pillow. What was I thinking? She has been more victimized than gifted by some of my creations.

Now, however, the whole world can partake of these moments in time. I can put the images “out there,” and they will live or die, according to their desirability. Great freedom in that. However, while feeling no responsibility for the images themselves (because on the site, the customer is choosing them), I do feel the heavy burden of making sure that the product is of good quality. That means I’m making a lot of Redbubble purchases myself and tweaking accordingly, that is, removing products that don’t work. I suspect I will be my own best customer.

The impetus to go public with my photos was provided by my 21-year old grandson, immortalized in the “One Blazing Glance” song cycle. Here’s what happened: My most recent holiday gift was Dump Trump memorabilia (cups and tote bags) from the 2017 Women’s March in Albany. My grandson suggested that if I wanted wider dissemination of this photo (which I was indicating I did), I should try marketing them on the internet.

 I did a lot of research and decided to start with Redbubble, under the name, as above, Fortuitous Photo. The images I’ve added to the site are trending away from the brash and weird toward delicate florals. I expect I will be adding and subtracting images to the site frequently because it is so much fun and my taste is rapidly evolving. I may even get brave enough to someday wear one of my wearables— if not leggings, one of my divinely inspired orchid chiffon tank tops.

In the meantime, if you are in the market for an amazing Dump Trump tote bag ($22, shipping included), contact me at fortuitousphoto@gmail.com. Quantities limited.

Can There Ever Be Enough Sunshine?

A visit to the Boca Raton Museum of Art on a recent rainy January afternoon provided another kind of sunshine, Norman Sunshine, to be exact, and his exhibit DAMES, a series of digitally manipulated portraits of 25 influential women, mostly of uncertain age. He created the series by beginning with iPad photos of women powerful both in terms of their wealth and their philanthropic, civic and art accomplishments, many of them in his own social circle. Then he rendered these snapshots into works of art with iPad apps. Large Giclée 57 x 42 inch watercolor prints on rag paper, massed to good effect on the museum’s 2nd floor. 

It is exciting to see digitally manipulated photography in the hands of a master, and it’s exciting to see this exhibition in a museum.  I also can happily while away hours with an app and a few good photos. Sometimes it seems almost too easy but as Sunshine is quoted in the Palm Beach Daily News as saying, “Everyone has apps. But they don’t have my eye, my emotions, or my sense of composition and color.” Duly noted.

Beyond the technical fascination these portraits held for me, I was entranced by the Dames Themselves. I was not familiar with most of them, although the brief biographies provided for each portrait made it clear that I should have been, given their amazing accomplishments. I kept looking at these women, though, who have made it to the top of their various professions and thought, do they look happy, fulfilled, at peace? A few of them might have, but I was dismayed at the many somber, sad or sometimes contentious expressions. They cetainly looked like they thoroughly understood Yoko Ono’s words, “winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” To reprise Wordsworth, can perseverance, recollected in tranquillity, work? 

Since I am myself of uncertain age, I’m particularly interested in balancing lightness of heart with courageous acknowledgment of facts on the ground. I didn’t find many role models among these Dames. And then, spoiler alert that was not provided at the exhibition—in the same newspaper article quoted above, Sunshine acknowledged that he requested the women not smile when he took their photos. Aha! We therefore can draw no conclusions from these portraits. And so we persevere…