A NEW ERA

Please let me thank you personally for coming here to read a bit before looking at my brand new work. Generally, I tend not to be very short winded, yet I will try to keep it to the point(s).

To be an artist, to be creative… How many actually understand that this is not only in one’s DNA, it is also a vocation, often most only reap meager rewards from? Tracing back to about the age of seven when I wrote my first story about a young girl and her horse, I see that I was born to express. And those who know me well know how very expressive I indeed am! When deciding about college back in ’82, it was either going to be art or law school. Due to my thirst for the party life back then, I chose art because having one’s nose in the books as intently as it takes to be a lawyer was simply not in my cards at that time. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have forever been hell-bent on JUSTICE. After 24 years of multiple forms of therapy, I recently uncovered a very deep suppressed memory as to why it has been this way for me. Albeit monstrous, that memory was the last core of the onion skin, the very last piece of the puzzle, the invaluable information I needed to complete my upcoming book – a memoir of my 56 years of living on this “The Hospital Planet.” As I said to my EMDR therapist the other day, “I am no longer that helpless and silent teenager. “I AM POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE!”

Photo taken by Gary Braasch in 2013 – Spruce Head Maine

Back to photography… It’s certainly no accident that the unveiling of this new work happens on one of my favorite mentor’s birthday. (actually due to the technical gremlins it was slated on the 16th and we had to postpone until those buggers left) Ann Mandelbaum was my photography professor at Pratt Institute back in the 80’s. She took a very special group of us to Israel for a summer program in 1985, a month long study abroad in photography at Camera Abscura in Tel Aviv, a trip which so completely altered my life in so many aspects I cannot even begin to list here. My declared Art Direction major fell to the wayside. And my wanderlust bug was unleashed in a massive way. Although there are many different ways that I have barely supported myself since leaving college in the late 80s, photography has always remained my true passion and my true love of artistic expression. I recently had a falling out with a friend who was judging my life and I told her that she could not even begin to know what it means to NEED to live your dharma. And my dharma is expression through both written word and how I see the world through my lenses.

I’d like to say a few words about #vanlife here as I have been doing this long before it became fashionable. I’ve caught ALL kinds of criticism over these years, mostly I have come to find from those who are jealous or envious of the way I live. (To even state here what some have said about how I live is a waste of precious time.) Apparently, for the last 5-10 years, living out of a van and traveling often times with a partner, seems to have become numerous folks’ dream and Instagram and Facebook sensations. Stated here for the record, I have been at this game of traveling in a Westfalia camper since 1999 when a friend let me borrow hers to drive from San Francisco to Santa Fe where I had been teaching at the world renown Santa Fe Photo Workshops.

My partner at the time flew down from San Francisco and we drove back to the Bay Area together stopping to rest one gorgeous full moon lit evening in Monument Valley. OMG!!!!! The exhilaration I felt left me speechless AND sleepless. The very next year I bought my first Westy from two sweet gay guys in the Oakland hills for a song. My current van, KaraVan, is my second. It wasn’t until 2010 when I left my home of 18 years in the bay area that I began living semi full-time out of my van. Although many people tend to be intensely envious of my life, I will not go into graphic detail here about what transpires when you run out of gas on the side of the road in

Montana in January when it’s 10° and it takes roadside service two hours to get to you. Or when you break down and parts are just not available and you must stay days in a shitty hotel waiting for their arrival. What I wish to express here is that as exhilarating as van life can be, it also has its INTENSE challenges. It takes very large cajones to do life this way. My best advice to anyone is to make sure your vehicle is solid and well inspected and just hit the road! You must be able to let go of all expectations and be totally flexible. Many women on some of the van life social media pages are MOST afraid of breaking down. IT’S ALL PART OF THE ADVENTURE! Rest assured I have had many, a few of which I will relay in detail in my upcoming book.

Although I very much enjoy ALL travel and always will, I feel that the time has come for me to put roots down again. My plan is to go back to my homeland, Croatia, to which I ventured back in 1988 for the very first time when it was still part of the former Yugolslavia. I completely fell in love with the country and my family there. I’ve since been back 6 times and the last time I was there in 2008, I sailed on the glorious Adriatic sea with two friends and their 18 month old little guy for 9 days. When I left Croatia that time, I cried harder than ever because I knew that I had to go back and make home there sooner than later. It’s quite apparent that the time is now for multiple reasons. I no longer enjoy life in the intense division and tension that currently exists in this country.

In regards to these displayed new galleries of work, (CALIFORNIA, TEXAS, SOUTHWEST, DEATH VALLEY and my new favorite, AMERICAN DESERTS) most are very recent from travels leaving New York on the first of the year with destination for potential roots/home again in California. That has obviously changed course mostly due to this corona virus crap. There are also a number of archived galleries that many of you have seen before, some have added and subtracted images. I encourage you to take the time, (hopefully on something larger than your handheld mobile device,) to view as much as you have time for. I was pleasantly surprised by the Longhorn state! Although my claim to fame is purism, I felt the need to color alter my images a bit from the desert, to reflect the feel of the stark and harsh nature of it’s beauty. Other than some very minor cropping and some very minor color adjustments, my images are straight out of the camera, a skill not many possess or utilize in these times of image manipulation to the hilt, such as HDR imagery which I am personally not fond of at all. As my good friend Betsy Dee always says, “Don’t get me started!” I have never liked the altering of imagery as such. I do not categorize it as photography and feel it somehow might fall into the realm of fine art/photo manipulation. Just my opinion.

I have a few people to thank profusely for this new display of my imagery. Back on May 6, I very creatively wrote an ad seeking a web developer on Craigslist. I received numerous responses and got bids all the way up to $7000 for some minor changes to my site, not even including the ever important SEO. (crooks!) There was one person in particular (and only one) who wrote the perfect response. That would be my web developer Katie T. I owe her so much more than the meager amount of money I have paid her. She is worth 1000 times her weight in gold. I do believe that everything has its divine purpose and I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have found her and know that we will not only have a lifelong business relationship, but I do also hope a lasting friendship. It was the first time I had felt comfortable enough to let someone else do some of MY work, to release control which is next to impossible for this perfectionist. One cannot imagine how much goes into building a site like mine. Katie will tell you… She was hired on May 7th…

While extending gratitude here, let me include the infamous Carr Clifton, (https://carrclifton.com) who took me on two amazing excursions as a baby shooter, first to Alaska in 1998, just he and I camping on Prince William Sound off his pontoon boat. And second we went on a house boat journey to Lake Powell in 1999. It was on that trip that I learned just how important clouds are (or lack thereof) to a great composition! Carr is a true master of the landscape, an EXPERT printer and a real character to boot. Of course, there is Ann Mandelbaum, and last but definitely not least, the beloved Gary Braasch, (http://www.braaschphotography.com) who captured the portrait of me pictured here back in 2013 when I took a workshop with him at the Maine Media Center. Gary left us way too soon when died at the age of 72 while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef on March 7, 2016. His passion for our stunning planet, and attempting to save it by documenting climate change as well as biodiversity, forever impacted my life. Not to mention his sweet and gentle nature. I hope as part of this new chapter in my life, that I can continue documenting the immense beauty of our planet that more often that not leaves me in tears and speechless. My thanks end here, but there will never be enough for my parents, Mary Barbara Morog and Anton Culig, first for birthing me, second for mostly letting me be who I needed to be and also handing out some greenbacks when the supply ran low.

In conclusion, being the staunchly opinionated outspoken soul that I am, I have definitely ruffled some feathers – to be blunt, really pissed some people off over the years. My upcoming book is also sure to raise some eyebrows and although I try not to be intentionally unkind, (vengeful for the hurt I have had to endure in this life at the hands of many) there are some very harsh truths inside. Hence, my comments are shut off on my blog and all of my social media is privatized. It’s all part of the story, the many journeys which have led me through the sheer depths of purgatory here on earth to find deep peace and true happiness. I hope my book helps one other person and I shall have been successful! Should you wish to discuss anything with me, please feel free to send me a private message through my email  – feedback or a specific print request that is not in my section. As most of my tried and true friends know, should you not be able to afford a print or the price is listed, I am always willing to work with individuals should you really NEED a piece.

Thanks ever so much for reading all of this. I’d be honored if you would purchase a piece and please do when you check out, leave me a note and let me know if you wish it to be signed as it must be done digitally.
Until our paths might cross in this wonderful life 🙂 Namasté

PS – As in keeping with the good ole American way of incurring excessive debt, I NOW ACCEPT ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS! Discounts for cash if you contact me personally.)

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