jnicolegraves on Jun 9, 2016
The picture was beautiful.
Blessing on Feb 6, 2016
Brilliant and fabulous print! Thank you!
Paul Clark on Jan 23, 2016
Beautiful photo, Catherine is a very talented photographer, my photo was well packaged for its journey to the UK and it arrived quickly to be the first in my collection.
In Pursuit of Beauty
As a child, the world through my eyes was a place of peace and beauty. Having been home-schooled by my no-nonsense parents, and raised at the end of a rugged, dirt road in the secluded hills of Topanga Canyon— all my earliest memories were of the mornings I spent working busily away at my math books and building my puzzles, and the afternoons I enjoyed alongside my four adventurous siblings: collecting eggs from the chickens, finding and picking up snakes in the garden, chasing one another on bicycles, and journeying beyond the boundaries of our homeland to get lost in "the woods". Each day concluded with plenty of scraped knees, bouquets of wild sunflowers, and stories of the footprints we had found from the mountain lion who was "new in town". On a weekly basis, we walked a mile or two down the hill to visit with the other neighborhood children— and some evenings, when our parents (of whom my mother, Elena Roche, is a plein air painter) were invited to an art reception in Santa Monica or Pasadena— we'd wash our hands, dress up like little ladies and gentlemen, and spend the next few hours rambling among adults in a maze-like gallery: viewing the paintings, speaking to "the grown-ups" with simple language about those we thought "beautiful"... and telling them with perfect bluntness which ones were "ugly" or "stupid". There were no such words as "statement" or "evocative" in our vocabulary; hence, we didn't so much as flinch when someone exclaimed: "but that's a Picasso!", because our only response could be: "what's a Picasso?". Then when we got bored with the adults, we'd form a plan to stealthily raid the refreshment table, and go off in search of an adventure (or to play with someone's "service dog").
Come 2008, when the Recession began and I was just turning 10, life took a new direction. Throughout the year as the markets struggled along, the renters who once provided our income left the neighborhood, leaving us with two empty houses standing side-by-side down the road, and the threat of empty pockets as well. My parents devised a plan to transform these houses into a bed&breakfast which we would run entirely by ourselves— and over the course of the next several months, every last member of the family pitched in as we built this new business. There was no major remodeling; we were off to a very humble start.
At the same time, I began paying interest in the world outside of Topanga as it began paying interest in my world. I followed the election closely, stayed behind after dinner to listen to my parents talk of economics and politics, and furthered my education beyond school-material.
Two years later, the scene was changing quickly: the Inn was getting busier and busier, and my workload (both for schoolwork and inn-keeping) was getting heavier— with more toilets to scrub and fatter books to read. Political situations both at home and abroad were getting complicated... and yes, I did by then learn who Picasso was (though I still didn't like his ideas about art). The water bills were rising, and the once-so-green garden was getting browner as a drought slowly set in. It was at this point— at the age of twelve, in which I rightfully referred to myself as a "big kid"— that my regard for the beauty which surrounded me began to change. I no longer took it for granted; I realized the conditions of my childhood weren't here forever, and what I had was precious. Thus, I began asking for something to capture this beauty: a camera. I asked, and after waiting patiently till my grandparents had come to visit, I received "a Canon SD1200 Digital Elf!". I carried it everywhere with me, whether to work or on the occasional family-outing, and took photos of all the things which made me happy, put me at peace, or quite simply deserved to be remembered.
Six years later— as I turn eighteen, anticipate another busy summer as the Inn's manager, and chart my path through college— I am as aware as ever of how delicate is the peaceful existence which I had been blessed to have. When I journey off into "the woods" with my larger, more advanced Canon SX40, I find myself surrounded by rustling trees, singing birds and trickling steams; when I return to civilization, I have classical music, books of all sorts, and a loving family to help me on my way into life... but I know there are very few who have enjoyed the same. I know there is a lot of ugliness and suffering in the world; I need only recall the massive organization of terrorists across the globe who are committing genocide at this moment, and who wish to destroy my way of life.
With all this in mind, as an adult, my life's goal is to embrace all in our world that is beautiful. I believe that beauty means much more than art and nature— and so, beyond photography, and beyond raising a family of my own to whom I will pass down these values, I hope to accomplish my goal in business, politics, science, or even medicine. Whichever path I follow, I hope it will be a meaningful journey... though always, along the way, I will keep my camera— and continue sharing my vision of the world through images.
Photographer, Creator, Owner
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