Hello to Small-Discoveries

Hello Everyone!!

I can’t believe that I have been absent for so long on this blog. I would like to thank everyone that followed me for the last few years and kept checking to see if I had woken from my silence to publish a post. Please have a look at my new project:

small-discoveries.com

Thank you again for all the love, inspiration, and support.

All the best,

-Rachael Staudt

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Livermore-Golden Children

I was about to leave my coffee shop of choice in Livermore, when that moment of moments happened. I had been turned down for a photograph by a young woman at the table next to me. I decided to just hang out for a bit longer with my book, and see if anyone else was going to wander by. After a bit of engrossed reading, I looked up to see these two young people arrive at the cafe on their bikes. I almost fell out of my chair with the excitement of photographing their shiny, happy energy as the dismounted at looked around at their surroundings. I spend a few minutes chatting with them and trying different angles…and as if by magic I caught each person in the most lovely of moments. So after a year of striving to understand and master street photography….that instant were there was ease, beauty, and perfection between the observed and the observer, simply  happened.

And all I can say in retrospect, is how glorious it felt and continues to feel, even as I post this.

Thank you….

Beauty and Grace

San Francisco-Evening Stroll

I found myself in the city a few night ago. It was one of those classic California evenings…warm with a bit of a breeze. The moon was large overhead and I headed over to Naked Fish with the bro for a bit of  sushi love.

Since my return from globetrotting, the day to day details and niggles of my life have begun a ever gentle but steady creep back into my life. The quiet moments of blogging and photographing people seems to be fading a bit. I am determined to hold on to the fervor I was engulfed by while traveling, but like all enjoyable things in life, this to shall ebb and flow with time.

As I was walking I spotted a young man engaged with his phone. He looked up and gave me a huge smile…I am still refreshed every time someone gives me a random and full smile in this place. It reminds me of what is feels like to be home, to have roots, to have a sense of belonging. Many times while traveling I would flash a random smile…and was usually met with indifference or confusion. This was not the case in all the places I traveled, but it threw me a bit when it happened, and reminded me that ones approach to the world is not a universal truth.

Taking the ever unknown plunge I asked him for a photograph. In all of the time I have been photographing this year, he was one of a handful to ask me what my blog is all about. I told him of my need to photograph the gesture of an individual, the feeling they bring with their clothing, adornments, attitude and look.

In all honesty I have almost lost track of my original thesis, to capture candid moments with humanity. Enough Golden Russian Domes and Flashy Heels, it is time to get back to a dollop of street photography. I am overcome with the rawness of feeling and sensation, to be back in this place that I fear and long for, need to embrace with passion, yet keep at arms reach for fear of being overwhelmed. All of those beautiful moments, waiting to be captured in a passing look or expression.

It feels good to be home.

Summer Evening

San Anselmo-On a Sunday Afternoon

One of the parts of my life I missed most while traveling was Sunday morning brunch with friends and family. Waking up to smell Turkish coffee brewing and hear laughter and conversation through the walls. With the giggle of a young child I ran up the stairs to join my peeps. It has always felt like I might miss some great secret of the universe if not in attendance. I was greeted with hugs, jokes about the craziness of my hair, and pastries.
Such lovely creations, paired with Turkish coffee and fruit.
It felt wonderful to be home again, hearing the voices that I have come to know as a part of myself.

Oodles of Yum

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Waking Up

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One of the luxuries that I try to afford myself on the weekend, would be curling up with a good book. Sometimes the hardest decision I face, is which one I should choose…

My Favorite Reading Buddy

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Calistoga-Lounging Goodtimes

I spent the day taking the waters in Calistoga last weekend. It was a fantastic day spent with family,  mineral water, and a captivating novel. For once I left my camera at home….but ahh what have we here! My mother brought her camera along and took several lovely shots. I enjoyed her use of the evening golden light and the interesting angles that she choose for her images. It is always a pleasure to see how another person views the world, and how they will capture the moments that wander by…

Enjoy!

 

Pattern and  depth….

 

The Golden Bling

 

Where emo poetry begins….

 

Stripes, Sunshine, and Satisfaction

 

San Francisco-Colour

The sun has returned to us, and with it I can feel colour returning. The past few times that I was wandering through The City, I was taken back by how lovely the light has been and how vivid all the patterns and colours seem to be. They pop out in 3D, reminding me that the world is not always as flat as I think…

 

One of those afternoons…

 

 

 

Walk on by…

UC Davis-Florence + the Machine

Porcelain skin that seems to glow from the inside and a voice that moves the spirit in its roost. Swathed in a black flowing cape, with a beaded mantle to rival queens. The glamorous decadence of a theatrical pose, and the light hitting her form in such a way as to immortalize her on this stage forever.  That is how I find Florence, the modern day Ophelia. She represents a much needed archetype of epic beauty, truth, and goodness. Her presence is completely here, there is no other place on earth she would rather be, this is everything to her. And it is pleasure and pure, unadulterated joy to witness. When I think of my femininity in a physical form, I go to an image of Florence standing in a graceful sweeping gesture, all in white with a god beam falling on her form. She somehow represents chastity and purity as well as destruction and promiscuity. She holds her identity as a woman alongside her approach of being very human first.

When she performs, it is a theatrical performance. There is a sense of wonder and drama. Every image that I ever conjured up while reading the romantic poets is what she brings to the world. The sacred feeling of walking into a gothic cathedral for the first time and being met with the embodiment of communal soul life. She brings that to you through her voice. There were moments when a good beam fell across her form, and she was everything ethereal, magnificent, and otherworldly. Like a being that has taken form simply for the purpose of singing. The hand gestures, sweeping swirling body movements, and that all piercing voice overwhelmed me, and I lost my self…only if for a night.

So human, I hazard she is loved for her courage most of all. To sing something so deep and so passionate, with the amount of visible joy that she does most be draining to her life force, but also the performance is a shared experience, and she is fed through the appreciation of her craft.

I watched with fascination as young woman swooned at her presence, wanting only to commune with that voice and bask in its presence. I heard young girls excitedly raving on about there favorite song “Leave my Body,”

And how her gestures alluded to her actually leaving her body. With every once of their adolescent souls they listened to her music. I have almost forgotten how to feel that deeply, fully, with my whole being. Every cell gets on board and decides to be alive.

For thousands of years humanity paid for the construction of cathedrals and holy places for the sake of communal need. These places housed the soul life and beauty element so essential for any human life. Today we find ourselves turning to individual beings, that are able to  encompass that level of the divinity, and share it with the community in any way they can.

We are all longing to commune with ourselves, with the divine. When the mystic poet Rumi speaks of this holy shrine or temple of the body, I cannot always see it represented in myself. But to experience someone like Florence embodying this sacredness, I can allow myself the space and breath to reconnect with my own divinity. To be ecstatic, to be happy, to be move, to be touched, to be compassionate. These are all states of being that I wish to spend more time in touch with, but if nothing else I strive to be one with them after a performance like this one.

The cult of beauty, Pre-Raphaelite movement,  and Arthurian legend were all part of the imagery that came up for me while watching her perform. The lighting and the god beams were absolutely breathtaking. Someone told me that there experience of Florence was akin to something of a spiritual experience, and made a point to note they were not religious. No matter what it is you believe, there are beings that walk this earth that have the ability to breath in all that is divine about the human condition, and pulse with this golden joy that stirs the heart and moves the throat to song. For what other way is there to commune with ourselves then through the vibration of our chests, and our ever beating hearts?

Beata Beatrix by the Pre-Rafealite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Here are some of the shots I managed during the performance and also of glowing, happy people after the performance. I tried not to be “that person” while I attempted to capture a few concert pics. Unfortunately I left the big camera at home…at the moment I seem to be flying by the seat of my pants with photographing, but hey it works.

It always feels like I leave my camera at home on the days when the most beautiful imagery wanders by….

What the Water gave me…and a fantastic God beam was given

Epic Awesomeness…

A painting

Shades of Red

Love the Gramophone…

The lovely Lady Robinhood

Here is a video that someone took of the song Spectrum, from the concert. I think my favorite part was her being bare foot…