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kiota and her living lens

At last.
Aaaaaaaat last.
Just came from an organizational meeting for Identity Project 2008.
Apparently the Outreach Coordinator wants to bring me in as his assistant.

IP 2008 is a project of Spectrum Youth and Family Services, here in town. It involves kids making photographs of their trauma, their direction in life, their tragedy, their triumphs. And displaying it publicly, for commentary and sale. The kids have been sexually attacked / marginalized / thrown out of their homes / shunned because of their sexual orientations / addicted to drugs / all of the above / you name it. [If this sounds familiar to careful readers of Kiota's blog, well .... it should.] Six attended the meeting. I got a chance to talk about Kiota and show a couple of her photos to illustrate exactly what is meant by expressing trauma through photographs that are brutally honest. I also got to introduce Kiota to them a bit: talking about her trajectory through life and how much effort and compassion she'd put into her art, and into TeenHelp, and what exactly TeenHelp was, although some of them knew precisely what I was talking about.

The backstory is that there was an Identity Project 2007 and I met the counselors for it, got Ki's permission to link them to her photo sites, they loved what they saw and thought about planning to make a safe space for her in the 2008 exhibit. To say that she was totally awesomely excited about this is an understatement...she posted about it. Now .... well, that's somewhat changed , in fact a LOT changed, by April 13.

But it felt so damn good to talk about photography this evening ---- photography as an extension of your heart and your eye, to validate your experiences this way and show them if you chose. And to talk about Ki and her dreams and her art. Two of the kids resolved to go out into the rainstorm right then and start shooting. Yay!!

And *Jane and *Allison came up to me afterwards and made a point of praising the prints I'd shared. Kiota's art had spoken to them, right here, right now. From Jerusalem to Vermont. They'd been there. And, are there now.

About time I got out of this med libe with its tragedies. This is a witness to the living vision of Kiota and the lenses on her cameras and the lenses in her eyes.

There are immense parts of Kiota that survived April 13 --- --- and in order to honor her life and achievements we need to know that, and what they are, and how we can carry on her work if we choose. And I, of course, do.

*is happy and dancing*


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 27th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
That's a wondrous and mysterious icon, Mari ---- did you take it?

One of the cute things I left out of my post involves lenses and the first time she and I webcammed .... she was all apologetic about wearing a pair of big, oversize eyeglasses that I thought were absolutely darling: they made her already big eyes seem way way bigger, she looked like this all-penetrating owl. She explained that she'd worn contacts since she'd been 14 and got too lazy to put them in that night for our cams. One time walking on campus the one in her right eye slipped out, but it was so big we easily found it ...

It also thrilled me beyond measure that some complete strangers --- her peers --- completely got the messages of the shots and were inspired by them to go right out and start on their own personal statements. One was "Gritty", which moved you so much too. The other was my personal fave, "The Discarded." Some of her landscape shots are awesome, too. My icon here is the first pic she took when she arrived on campus last fall.

It always dismays me that in 2006 she self-evaluated herself as a mediocre photo artist, in a DA statement that's still there in her journal or comments somewhere. I think her output is uneven, but some images are timelessly powerful. Of course, you should not expect yourself to be Sally Mann or Jock Sturges or
Richard Avedon or Ansel Adams at 14, life is for experimenting...

It's almost as though, on some deep level, she knew her life was going to be very very short and she wanted to be as effective as possible as quickly as possible while she was near.....I think this shows up in practically everything she did....

And I'm getting weather from the Baltic, still: rain and 3 degrees tonight. Maybe 2 degrees. These are a gift from you that send me scurrying under my blankets. Happily, in fact!
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kiota too late for the stars
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