a color story

There’s a basket on my dresser (one of several) in which I keep odd socks. You know the ones, the socks that went into the washing as mates but came out single. I hang onto the lonely socks for awhile, though I’m not sure why, exactly. I have a name for these socks, a name that I’ve never admitted in public, and in fact, I think there may only be one other person in the world who knows of this name, and he said that it was almost unbearably geeky. I call them Penelope socks, after the lonely wife of Odysseus, who sat at her loom waiting for her husband to get done odysseying around the Aegean (among other things). (There’s just no excuse for me, really.) In my basket of Penelope socks, I sometimes keep other stuff, such as the charger for my camera batteries and a tiara (I’m a very organized and logical person, obviously), and sometime not too terribly long ago, I threw in a red scarf.

I have this scarf, which I bought nearly a hundred (or maybe 11) years ago at this shop off of Piazza San Marco in Venice, that sold scarves and stretch bracelets made of Swarovski crystal. I’m sure there were other things for sale there as well, but those are the things I noticed. It’s a decadent scarf, deliciously red silk, and I hardly ever wear it, because I’m not much of a scarf person. I like them in the winter with my coat, but for winter scarves, I tend to choose materials warmer than deliciously red silk. Because Michigan is a cold, nasty bastard.

So, and I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m sure you can forgive me if I repeat myself, one of the things I do for Utata is to manage their special projects, which is a pretty cool gig, and today we published our latest: Color Story. It’s absolutely beautiful, and definitely worth a look. It’s not like you have anything else to do… go on, check it out.

But even though I was managing the project, I hadn’t taken any photos for it. I am almost always a last-minute entrant into these things, spending most of the allotted time working out an idea and then finally realizing that oh crap, there’s a deadline, and I guess I’d better shoot some photos, but this time I didn’t even really have an idea. I had a pair of purple earrings sitting on my desk, and I thought about them, but not too hard. Yesterday I realized that oh crap, there’s a deadline, and I guess I’d better shoot some photos, so I tried a few with the purple earrings, and hated them. Then I realized I needed to charge my camera battery (I wouldn’t have but it turned out that my back-up battery was also dead) so I reached into my basket of Penelope socks to get the charger and I had to move the scarf. I tossed it on my bed and plugged in the charger. Then, once my battery was all fired up and ready to go, I picked my camera back up and looked at that deliciously red scarf on my white sheets and an idea was born. Sort of. It was a half-baked idea at best the entire time I shot my project photos. In my head, the idea looked exactly like this:

It’s true. My brain has handwriting just like a third grader.

Scarf hanging out of the bathroom sink? Why not? Standing in the yard trying to find the exact right angle on the scarf hanging from the clothesline and blowing in the breeze? Sure! (Also, nearly decapitating myself on said clothesline because it’s gotten a bit loose.) Scarf thrown in the air? BRILLIANT. (The photo that leads this post is one of the scarf-in-the-air shots, and it turns out I love that whole series. I giggled the entire time I shot it.) I used to have such fun with photography, and then I just… stopped. So even though none of these images involved complex set-ups that took an hour and risked personal injury (like that time I broke a toe when I dropped a photo prop that I was trying to tie to the ceiling (I’m a big fan of nonsensical things tied to the ceiling) and it landed on my foot and I then dropped about 45 f-bombs in a row because I am always such a well-mannered lady), it was fun doing whatever popped into my head because it entertained me and I might possibly get pretty photos out of it. I think I did alright. My final set is here.

I’m glad I was able to sneak in under the wire. And seriously, do have a look at the rest of the project. One thing I’ve learned over the years of managing these projects is that the members of Utata never disappoint — they make some incredibly wonderful stuff.


3 thoughts on “a color story

  1. So this scarf came all the way from the Piazza San Marco in Venice to brighten up an evening in Albion, Michigan, which then resulted in brightening up the lives of Utata folks all over the damned globe. Most scarves never accomplish that much in their entire lifetime.

    That’s a really good scarf, right there. I’d hang on to that scarf.


  2. That is a decadent scarf. The whole series is glorious, really. But the best part: reading about how you made such rich images, anticipation in seeing how the idea looked to you, and then scrolling below the fold to have Scarf Pretty! scrawled in 3rd grade red smack me between the eyeballs. It was great.


  3. The Color Project was great fun. I was going to stick with only one color, but realised after a while that I could do more ,and in the end I did four.


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