19 09 2008

What is it about cats and empty boxes? I spent the entire day cleaning my studio and every time I cleared a box of papers out, in jumped Jasper or ZenaB. Here’s a shot I got of Jasper in a black canvas storage box.

Speaking of spring cleaning…it is amazing (and somewhat shameful) what things I find when I go through boxes I’ve put aside “to file some rainy day.” Here are the more interesting items I’ve come across so far today:

— a bank envelope with $41.00 (prompting delight then dismay then delight again)
— an old letter from an old boyfriend (a valiant effort to console me, the “dump-ee”)
— 20-year-old letters from my Dad; one that mentions he and Mom were going fishing. This was a revelation. I never knew she was interested in fishing.
— three letters of acceptance for jobs I had when I was in my 20s…one where I was informed I would make $838 every two weeks. Wahoo! Ah, I recall the days of an unairconditioned apartment, ramen noodles, burned biscuits setting off the fire alarm in the building, staying up ’round the clock doing multiple freelance design jobs, and scurrying roaches (in the apartment, not on the menu)
— various birthday cards from acquaintances I’ve since forgotten how I knew them. Egads….the boxes are dusty and so is my brain, apparently.
— a National Enquirer clipping where Cassandra Delaney claims, “John Denver kicked me out of our bedroom for 8 months!” Yes, I’m a John Denver fan…why else would that be in the pile?
— a newspaper article from the Washington Post titled, “On the Road: From Mortgage Slave to Happy Vagabond.” P.S. I’m still a mortgage slave and not (yet) a happy vagabond.
— A copy of my friend Karen’s resumé before she started working at the place where I met her in 1986. Wonder why I have this?
— A 1994 letter from Sue Feld, then Editorial Administrator for American Photo, notifying me that I had two photos to be published in two categories in their 3rd annual contest for reader photos (I had two out of the total 146 images published from about 46,000+ images) Ah, that was a day of elation at the mailbox!
— the formula Karen gave me for growing perfect tomatoes. Yes, readers, I will share the magic formula shortly!
— glow-in-the-dark animal tracks decals from The Nature Company (doesn’t everyone need those?)
— a printed transcript from an AOL live forum conversation with John Denver, dated 8/2/1995. My question posed to him was: “Years ago, I read about your interest in photography. I also saw a photo of yours in American Photo magazine’s Celebrity Photographers Issue. With all the traveling you do, you must have a vast collection of photos. Have you ever thought of publishing a book of your nature photos and personal essays on the environment?” His reply was: “Oh, we thought about that and I’m not sure it’s going to happen as a book of photo nature essays, but I’m not really sure I ever want to do another book!” I suppose I could have asked him “why did you kick Cassandra out of the bedroom for 8 months?” but I doubt it would have passed the muster with the AOL forum host!
— my laminated ID, dated June 21, 1985, that I had to wear when I worked for the U.S. Customs Service as a Clerk-Typist (and made something like $12,000 a year as a Grade -4 (what it felt like). I moved up from the Rio Grande Valley, lived with my parents for a year, and Dad found me this job in the FOIA office (Freedom of Information Act) at Customs in D.C. I typed 100+ words a minute, so the job was easy. My co-workers were really nice, my boss was most certainly not (and in the end, I did get the chance to let her know what I thought of her—tactfully and truthfully, of course), and I was just biding my time until I could find a job in graphics (pre-computer days, mind you…see how that fact dates me?). I commuted with my Dad to work (which was actually quite fun), and I typed letters to prisoners (mostly), informing them their request was being handled, blah, blah, blah. When the papers were ready, I typed a “Dear Prisoner Man” letter telling him how much he (it was almost always a he) owed for the copies. The photo on the ID shows a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed (figuratively), unjaded twenty-something with a really good hairdo (which is unusual, trust me), and a hot pink blouse (did I dress in the dark?). Where did that girl go?
— my prom photo with my friend Ray…I didn’t go to prom when I was actually in high school. Ray was a year behind me and asked me to be his date after I had already graduated. I decided I was “too mature” to wear a long dress (the thing to do in those days), so I wore a knee-length, seafoam green, polyester dress (sounds ugly, but it was actually quite tasteful). My Farrah-Fawcett-wings completed the look! UPDATE: My prom dress was silky, and when I came across the prom photo, the word “Quiana” popped into my head. I did some reading and I was right—my dress was made of Quiana, a slinky nylon fabric popular in the 70’s. I was so cutting-edge with my fashion choices, wasn’t I? Raise your hand if you want to see my prom photo!
— a very lovely letter, dated July 12, 1995, from nature photographer Art Wolfe. He thanked me for writing (I praised a workshop I took with him in Cape May, NJ) and for sending him a package of my Polaroid transfer notecards. His letter ended with him off to Grandfather Mountain, Cuyahoga Valley, Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Paris, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, New York, and back to Kenya for a Smithsonian assignment. Sigh…do you need an assistant for low pay, Art?

See more photos of my pretty boy here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Golden girl

26 02 2008

This is a shot from a series I did of a friend many years ago. An image very similiar to this pose is the other shot that placed in the 2nd American Photo’s reader images contest (in the portrait/fashion category). They ran it horizontally by mistake, but I got published—so there were no complaints from me!

The hair is all Nicole’s (lucky gal!), and not a wig. We always called her Rapunzel (or Goldilocks) because of that gorgeous mane. She has beautiful big blue eyes, making it easy to focus on that critical area for portraits, and she was such a joy to photograph. And the “clothing” was simply satin draped into a “romance cover” type of gown. The lighting? A torchiere lamp (these were pre-studio-light-budget days, remember)…hence why the light is so golden. Hey, it works in this shot. The only thing missing is Fabio (or one of his contemporaries)!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Happy birthday to me!

23 02 2008

Okay, it’s not really my birthday, but I did shoot this image of a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia) with fruit on a birthday getaway with my Dad. This cactus was on the grounds of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, Arizona (

To learn more about this edible plant, go to

This image is a scan from a 35mm slide (pre-digital camera days, if you can imagine that time); one of several I entered in American Photo‘s 2nd annual contest of reader’s images. It was published in the nature category. I also placed in the fashion/portrait category with a photo of my friend Nicole (I have to find that slide and scan it). Getting published in one of my favorite magazines (twice!) was a highlight in my photography career. I was also one of seven follow-up interviewees for the following year’s competition in their “where are the winners now?” article. A neat twist—Nicole, the model in my winning fashion/portrait entry—photographed my head shot for the follow-up profile.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.