Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography: Blog en-us (C) Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography (Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Fri, 28 Oct 2022 16:06:00 GMT Fri, 28 Oct 2022 16:06:00 GMT Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography: Blog 120 120 Hold Fast to Dreams  




Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.


Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.


--Langston Hughes


Over Christmas break I was lucky enough to vacation in Tahoe. On a hike, I came across this vision of Lake Tahoe completely frozen with the snow-dotted Sierras in the background. Sure, I took other more exciting photos of the Sierras during my trip, but the sheer expanse of the ice-filled Lake was probably my first Wordsworthian encounter with the “sublime.”  Its size, emptiness, and shimmering beauty filled me with awe—it appeared infinite.


And yet, my mind immediately skipped from Wordsworth to Langston Hughe’s iconic poem “Dreams” Why “Dreams?” Well, poetry really began for me with Langston Hughes. In the 9th grade, my English teacher, Mr. Sheppard, asked us to write a 2-page essay on the poem. We were learning at once how to write an essay and how to “read” poetry—to interpret it. What Mr. Sheppard didn’t know was that at the time he assigned the poem I was one of those people who actually hated poetry.


Despite my hatred of poetry, something about this particular poem registered with me. And I honestly can’t remember working as hard at anything before as I did analyzing this poem. I turned in my essay. A few days went by. Mr. Sheppard finally passed back our graded essays. When I received mine, there was no grade only a note at the bottom asking me to see Mr. Sheppard after class. The bell rang and I approached Mr. Sheppard with a tentative smile on my face. But his face turned into a menacing grimace:


 “Lynn, how did you write this essay?”

Blinking quickly, I responded stupidly, “What?”

He said slowly, “Did someone help you write this essay?”

My smile flattened as I blinked again, “No.”

“Lynn, I’m going to ask you one more time. This time you need to answer me truthfully. Did your parents or someone else write this essay for you?”

My voice went up, “My parents??? No.” (I guess he missed the memo about my parents being drug addicts.)

“Okay, then, did you plagiarize this essay?”

“Did I do what?”

“Plagiarize. You know, borrow someone else’s words when you wrote this?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Well you are lying because you couldn’t possibly have written this.”


And so it went.


How could I explain it? How could I explain why words written by an African American poet in the 1920s spoke so clearly to me? That in so many ways, I was living this poem. I may have been a white, middle-class teenager, but decisions my parents made had pretty much taken away my ability to dream—and that at the tender age of 14 my life was already a barren field frozen with snow. Only a few weeks earlier I had been pulled out of my history class and escorted to the principal’s office with a police officer. It seems my parents were being formally investigated by CPS (Child Protective Services) for child abuse and neglect.


(The irony of this whole encounter hasn’t gone unnoticed by me as I think of the times I’ve had to have the same uncomfortable conversation with my own students at Berkeley and Davis, essentially accusing one of them of plagiarism. Life is indeed some weird circular joke. The farther we get from the beginning the closer we come to where it all began.)


So this “field” of ice in Tahoe this week reminded me of something I had forgotten. It reminded me of poetry. For it was Hughes’s poem that helped me to imagine that life might still have something left to offer me. To try once more to live. And even to dream again.  


[Note: This year Mr. Sheppard committed suicide. And I don’t think he ever knew that he was essentially the teacher who sent me down a path to study literature and bring the beauty of poetry to my students.] 


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Langston Hughes blue dreams frozen ice icy interpretation lake lake tahoe landscape literature mountains nature nature photography photography poem poetry Sat, 02 Jan 2016 16:00:58 GMT
Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity in Paris

Even though I’ve shot the Eiffel Tower many times, I don’t usually share my Eiffel Tower photos. This photo, however, was taken when I was in Paris last January during the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I was there during a period of violent, civil unrest as innocent people were killed for publishing cartoons that offended someone’s religious convictions. Cartoons. Yes, they died protecting our freedom of speech.

Within minutes of the massacre, the people of Paris came together under a single mantra, chanting “Je Suis Charlie” in solidarity. The city was plastered with “Je Suis Charlie” posters, graffiti, and candles that burned throughout the night, serving at once as memorials and micro-sites of resistance. Yes, people were shouting and they were crying, but they were also singing. Their protests became the very means of mourning.   

I’m sharing this photo then mostly because I think it illustrates the power of the Eiffel Tower. When you first see the Eiffel Tower, you’re almost immediately struck by a profound paradox—that something created out of metal could look so graceful—even delicate. Almost as if lace were woven from steel. The Eiffel Tower’s raw power and sublime grace linger with you. Indeed, they change a small part of you forever. Because the Eiffel Tower speaks. It speaks about the power of human ingenuity, and it never lets you forget that although humanity often stumbles, we are also capable of stumbling toward perfection.

This past week terrorists attempted once again to silence France. To silence all those who stand up for freedom. But what they fail to understand is that the Eiffel tower will always rise up from the Paris skyline with its radiant light and continue to speak -- Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) charlie hebdo eiffel tower equality france fraternity je suis charlie liberty massacre paris power terrorism terrorists Mon, 23 Nov 2015 03:03:05 GMT
600 Sales! :)

Writing today to commemorate a major milestone. I started thinking about doing my photography business in 2012. For some reason I kept putting it off. I didn’t open my store until July 2013, and I opened it in response to financial stress given I was now a single mother, and I had no safety net. I worried and still worry constantly about the future and not being able to keep a roof over my children’s head. So I opened my store simply because I could no longer afford to put it off. Being a parent and a mom means doing whatever it takes to keep them healthy and safe.

I had never done B2C sales or marketing before. So I was unaware that summertime is the absolute worst time I could have selected to open my store. I remember very distinctly thinking that if I sold one print I would be ecstatic. Just one. That’s all I needed. For one person out there to think my work was worth buying.

And then the miracle occurred. Someone bought one of my photographs. I remember thinking “Who is this crazy person who is willing to buy one of my photos? It’s just a fluke.” And then, bang, a second sale happened. And a third. And wow, before I knew it, I had a real store and I was making more sales than I could keep up with.

It’s been 2 years since that first sale. And today I achieved a major milestone. Before I opened my store, I remember doing research and found a very successful photographer on Etsy. I noticed she had made 600 sales. That seemed amazing to me. Seriously, I just didn’t know of any photographers outside of the really famous ones that had sold 600 photos. I’m not sure why, but 600 seemed like a better gauge of success than 500.  Well, today I just had my 600th sale on Etsy. Although it’s my 600th sale, it’s actually  closer to over 1000 prints sold because  I’ve sold over 95 print sets which is another 352 photos and had sales on other channels, including my personal website and Fine art America. 1000 prints! Wow, I honestly can’t believe it. My prints are now in homes, hotels, and businesses all over the world. I have made over 30 thousand dollars in revenue from this little side business. Who would have ever thought that my hobby would be the thing to help save my family and keep my children financially secure?

This level of volume keeps me very busy. I barely have time after I get home from work and put my kids to bed to fill all my orders. I often fall asleep while I’m in the middle of filling an order. But this means that for over 2 years I’ve just been working without any down time after work. My weekends are often dominated by filling orders. Whenever I have a free moment to myself, instead of doing something fun or relaxing I’m taking care of my little side photography business. I don’t’ even have time on the weekends to do work for my day job.

Anyway, I’m not really sure what this all means to me and I don’t know what the future has in store, but right now I just want to be thankful that I’m lucky enough to be making money doing something I love. And I want to say thank you to all of my customers around the world for buying my photos. Thank you!

P.S. why this photo? I dunno. It's a really subtle photo that I took pretty recently that I love. I'm just tired of all the flashy, over-saturated, over-contrasted photos out there. So much of nature is hidden or hiding and even when we come across it, part of the fascination is that you can't see all of it. With birds you often hear them before you see them. You have to look to find them. With this bird, which was black with white stripes on its wings, I really had to search. I wanted to capture that feeling you have when you hear but can barely see something beautiful in nature. I am probably the only one who likes this photo :)

(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Mon, 21 Sep 2015 05:13:53 GMT
Summer's Gone

Sing for your lover
Who's waiting at home

(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Thu, 17 Sep 2015 04:23:32 GMT
My Cuddle Bug


I'm all out of time. As usual, I'm exhausted. A four-day weekend is for me just lots of work. Always more work. And today I've spent the bulk of my time packing and getting everything prepared for my trip. I'm going to Ohio of all places for the Content Marketing World conference. 3000 of the best content marketers in the business networking and learning from each other. Fun parties. Not a lot of cool things to do in Cleveland, but what can I say? I need to make the best of it. 

I'm getting on a plane tomorrow and I'm flying back on 9/11. Yes, I wrote 9/11. I didn't think about it until after the reservation was made. If I hated flying before, I am honestly just going to be completely freaked out on friday when I come flying home. But honestly, I can't reschedule it because of paranoia. I'm just going to have to deal with it. 

I am writing of course tonight to let Blake and Jade know how much I love them should anything happen to me. I have made arrangements with Lane and Julian to become their guardians if I don't make it back. This blog post is, in some sense, a formal documentation of my wish that Lane should be their guardian.

Above is a picture of Bug -- My Jade bug. I don't have a lot of time. So all I really want to say today is that Jade did two things today that made me laugh with glee and smile with wonder. I took chubber and bug out for a 30 minute walk with the dogs. Jade was running ahead and it's just so cute how one--only one-- of his his arms kind of pumps back and forth when he's running. It looks like some serious business. He's like taking the whole "running " thing very seriously--as if there was nothing more important in the world to him. 

The other thing he did was say "Thank you " mommy after I had taken off his shoes. He said it very loudly and clearly. Jade is still speech-delayed. Him foming words is a critical thing. What made me smile with wonder is that he said "thank you" after a routine "mommy" task I completed. It was just really wonderful to have him acknowledge the small things I do for them all the time, stuff chubber always overlooks. It showed again his fierce attention to detail and his careful observation of the world around him. It also made me feel loved and appreciated today on a day I was nervous about leaving them and flying across the country. I luv my little cuddle bug. 

This picture above isn't one of the best photos of Jade, but it's very hard to capture him on camera. His special beauty doesn't readily translate to a "flat" image. Jade's face is more dynamic. Something you need to see in motion to truly admire. This is why, the pictures where Bug looks so amazing are always those photos where he's actually smiling. 

Anyway, I am too exhausted to write another syllable. Gotta go.

Blake and Jade I love you always and forever. Chubs and bug -- you are my little blue lights who I am grateful for everyday. 



Your mommy

(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Tue, 08 Sep 2015 05:05:09 GMT
Sherbet Moth She had sent him this message months ago. She wondered why he had taken so long to reply . . .


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:10:14 GMT
Black Rain

so what if trees reach?
like us,
they have a need
to write poetry on the paper sky.

does it not hurt?
to think of the sky
—which holds us
in and
keeps us

and wrung out

leaking our poetry
into a black rain 
that keeps washing us


Photo and poem by Lynn Langmade. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) black black and white photography poetry rain trees Thu, 05 Jun 2014 04:07:50 GMT
Easter This was Blake and Jayde's first Easter Egg Hunt.


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Sat, 26 Apr 2014 06:01:00 GMT
Glowing with Life My girls...basking in the warmth of the spring sun after a wonderful hike :)


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:06:01 GMT
The Dishwasher as Jungle Gym Hey, my little guys just decided it was time to get all up in the dish washer. Forget about all the fancy toys I've bought them. No. Instead of a trampoline or special learning toy, they want something very simple--to help unload the dishwasher.  :)

Blake had just reached in and grabbed this out of the top of the dishwasher.




And then I said "Oh Blakey Blakes, can you put that back?" And he looked at me very seriously and did just that! He put it back.


But no ... within seconds he was pulling something else back out.

Until along came a little Luv Bug named Jayde who saw what his brother was doing and just had to join in the festivities.


"Oh and while I'm at it," said the little Jayde Bug, "Why don't I just climb in there? What an awesome idea :D"

A pair of little bug feet in the dishwasher! Super cute!


The Dynamic Duo at it again!



(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Mon, 14 Apr 2014 05:52:17 GMT
Spring Day  

A few photos from this weekend. Saturday was especially gorgeous. Look and see...

Jayde crawling toward something that looks dangerous. Jayde has a kinda of thrill-seeker streak in him. He has no fear of anything. I often pick them up and throw them in the air. Blake will start crying if I actually let go of him for a mili-second. Jayde loves it and starts giggling. And again, Jayde's smile lights up his whole face. Almost looks like a different kid when he smiles.



Jayde Bug looks just like a doll here. So adorable the way he's picking the petals of the flower and how his little toes are pointed :)


Jayde is often fascinated by objects and things in the natural world. He can stare for eternity at small things most people never notice. He's enraptured here by a blade of grass.

Blake looking quintessentially luscious here. Exquisite.


Yes, Blakey Blakes, I'm looking at you. My goodness you have an intense stare! People often tell me that Blake has huge eyes. Lane always says Blake has "bedroom eyes." Compared to Jayde, they have never seemed large. However, in photos like this, I do see what people are talking about. So large and dark, they look like doe eyes.

I hope this is the first of many surprise shots I get. What's cool about this shot? Oh, nothing except the fact that Jayde came over to Blake to show him this cool piece of wood he found. And Blake is like "Whoa! super cool. What is it? Where did you get it!?!?" :D


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Mon, 07 Apr 2014 02:31:02 GMT
My Blakey Blakes Blake or Blakey Blakes as I call him.  He's also known as Mommy's Monkey and Luscious. Blake is Mommy's Monkey because very early on he was able to sit on my hip and latch onto me very firmly like a monkey climbing up a tree. Very at home hitching a ride on mommy's hip. I used to worry when I carried Jade around. Not Blake. Blake was like my little totem or mascot who would come with me everywhere I went. Blake has remarkable motor skills and I suspect will be doing something that involves hand-eye motor/ muscular coordination and strength, such as sports or dancing something. I call him Luscious because Blake's face is just lush. He has this amazing ivory skin color, very dark eyes covered by thick long black lashes and dark red lips. His nose is strange, but at the right angle it looks like a lion's. Very fierce. His nose is deeply masculine and it provides a wonderful complexity to what would otherwise be a sort of saccharinely sweet prettiness that he has. Sometimes when I'm changing him he looks up at me and takes my breath away from me. I think he will be king of whatever jungle he's in.

What can I say about this little guy? There was a period probably from about 8 months until 12 months when Blake was turning into a regular tyrant. He was prone to tantrums etc. It was bizarre. It was like he was going through the terrible twos only he wasn’t even one yet.  Every single morning when I got Blake up to put him on the changing table he would start shrieking and wailing and arching his back and trying to throw himself off the table. He would shriek so wildly that I actually thought my ear drums were going to pop. If you've ever seen the movie The Exorcist you'll understand what I was dealing with. I am not kidding. This was going on every single day for months on end. I tried everything to get it to stop. I finally read some articles about how children this age are going through strange emotions and that they often don’t understand the powerful feelings they are having. Forcing him to lie still for 10 minutes so I could change him was driving him crazy because all he wanted to do was roam and explore. He was constantly watching what Jade was doing and would follow him. If Jade grabbed a toy, Blake would take it from him. He threw tantrums whenever he didn’t get what he wanted. He was a veritable enfant terrible.

During this time I was very grateful for Jade. Jade began to come out of his shell and interact with the world. It is all very ironic because in the first six months when Jade was so sick I was very grateful for Blake. Blake is what got me through that difficult period. And then suddenly they switched roles.

But something amazing happened a few months ago. My Blakey Blakes came back to me. That sweet little baby he was when he was six months old came home again. He just woke up one morning after some developmental leap and when I put him on the changing table he only murmured a bit and let me change him and dress him like a normal infant. He actually started giggling and playing games with me. It was astonishing. Like a light switch was suddenly flipped on.  And since then he has just become remarkably sweet. And when they do wrestle for toys, Blake is now the one crying. Jayde digs in and won’t let go. Jayde has a wicked little grip on him and a fierce will and determination. Seriously. He is indomitable. You can’t win when Jade decides to go against you. And I can tell that even though Blake is taller and much heavier, Blake feels powerless against Jayde’s will. They will begin a tug of war and then Blake will just give up and start crying. And my heart goes out to him. Jayde has somehow figured out that the name of the game is stamina. If he can outlast Blake, he’ll win. He holds on with his iron grip and won’t let go. Little Jayde, it would seem, is the dominant one between the two of them.

When he and Jayde were fighting over a toy recently, I said to Blake “Can you share the toy with Jayde? Can you give the toy to Jade?” Blake looked at me very seriously as if he totally understood me, turned and handed Jayde the toy with a smile. He genuinely seems happy to give Jayde a gift. And he also likes to share his food with me. He picks up pieces of his food and tries to feed me. And if he succeeds in getting a piece of food in my mouth he starts shrieking with joy. As everyone remarks in daycare, Blake is just sooo happy. He’s always happy and bubbly now.  I can only hope this lasts.

The main thing that’s fascinating about Blake is that he’s able to do some complex problem solving. A few weeks ago he just decided he was going to open the door to the nursery and walk out of there. The problem is he’s not tall enough to reach the handle. So what did he do? He went over to the cribs, got a box, placed the box infront of the door, opened the handle and walked out into the hall. My jaw dropped open. He had barely started walking and the next thing I know he’s got free run of the house.

The photos I include here are from a hike we all took in Mount Diablo last weekend. Blake and Jayde were able to hang out and hike with their cousins and aunt all day. I have an all-terrain stroller and yes I pushed them all the way to the top!

(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Sun, 06 Apr 2014 03:54:00 GMT
The Luv Bug Yesterday something pretty darn cool happened. I picked up Jayde who has been so sick lately from the changing table and instead of simply holding on to me, he reached his arm around my next. No way to explain it, but it felt almost like a real hug. I’ve been kind of waiting for the moment when they wouldn’t just hold onto me but would actively “hug” me or at least understand the difference between a “hold” and  a “hug.” Jayde was definitely hugging me.

I call Jayde the "Jayde Bug"—think June Bug and you’ll get where I’m going with this. But most of the time I just call him Bug or Cuddle Bug or Luv Bug :) People joke that Jayde is a “momma’s boy.” In fact, when I was moving recently, one of the movers saw Blake and Jayde in their cribs, and he took one look at Blake and said “He’s really independent, right?” And he took one look at Jayde and said, “He needs his Momma.” He said this without reservation. As if it was some preordained truth. And I was shocked because at the time that’s exactly how they were. Things have really changed with Blake lately. But wow…Jayde does need his “momma.” He often just cries and won’t stop until he’s sitting on my lap with his head resting on me. And then he does this adorable thing where he buries and rubs his face into my neck or chest or whatever.

These are some photos I took of Jayde on my birthday, on March 13. That means…Jayde was exactly 15 months at the time I took these pictures. I was hoping to capture this kind of magical essence Jayde has—that inner Luv Bug.

(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Sat, 05 Apr 2014 03:02:00 GMT
Field of Dreams

I’m so happy today. I just found out that I won the Revvie award for my Social Campaign. They are going to be featuring me and my campaign throughout the entire Marketing Nation 2014 conference. I’m getting VIP access and will be honored at a huge lunch on April 9th. Hillary Clinton is the keynote speaker! Super psyched!

I’ve chosen one of my favorite newer photos “Field of Dreams” to go with this post. I love the idea of sitting in a beautiful grassy field looking up at purple powdery clouds and blue stars just beginning to shine and dreaming. Our dreams keep us alive and keep us whole. They are truly the one thing that can never be taken from us. I’ll relay a poem that I know by heart. It’s a poem I studied in the 8th grade. In fact I wrote an essay on it. I remember being so moved by it then. When my teacher returned my paper to me, he asked me to see him after class. He thought I had plagiarized my essay because he said it was so good no one my age could have written it.  Yup. True story. So here’s the poem that really ignited my interest in poetry.

“Dreams” by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams

For if they die

Like is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly


Hold fast to dreams

For if they go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow


I hope you never stop dreaming ;)

(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Fri, 04 Apr 2014 03:38:14 GMT
Santa Jammies Yup two little fannies in some Santa Jammies :P This is a shot of Blake and Jade opening up a present together on Christmas 2013. Not sure really why this one is so cute to me, but maybe it's because you can see Blake's diaper hanging out or that they are taking all the present unwrapping business so seriously. Either way-- oh em gee! effing cute!!!


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Sun, 30 Mar 2014 04:31:18 GMT
Holding On  

I’ve started this blog to find a quiet space for myself on the web. A place to think really. A place where I don’t really care if anyone’s listening or viewing. A place to be alone with my thoughts. A place just to be me. There are plenty of other places on the web where people can find me engaging with others socially, but none really—except here—where I am actually saying anything of significance. I’d like to be someplace on the web where I don’t have to censor myself or dumb down what I’m saying. When you have a PhD it is difficult to find people who understand your references and who can truly understand what you’re saying. But if I’m talking to myself, then I no longer have to worry about being misunderstood, right?

More importantly, I started this blog to contemplate the beauty I see all around me and in some sense to reflect upon that beauty. Why take pictures? Why now? Why these subjects? What does it all mean—to me. Not to my fans, followers, and advocates across the web, but me. Little old me. Lots of people take photographs, but not many are as passionate as I am about it. I can spend hours just getting lost in photography and creating art. I turn on music and begin to create and time both stands still and speeds up. I am in a perfect state. A state where I can’t think, just exist. A state where all my problems melt away, and I am singularly captivated and challenged with each new photo or visual artwork. This is what I call “flow.”  Very few people ever experience flow, and I think it’s a gift only true artists are given.  

I’ve also wanted to start a blog where I could feel free to post photographs of my children because in so many ways they are growing up, and I’m documenting that through my photography. I’d like to provide a living, breathing record of what their journey to toddlerhood, childhood and beyond looks like. At the same time I am also fully aware that these little people are important to me, but not really important to others.  So here I can feel assured that I won’t be annoying anyone by posting these photos. No one will be visiting right? However, it’s my goal to only post photographs of them that I would actually like if I weren’t their mother. That’s my goal; we will see if I succeed. Photographing really little people is exceedingly difficult. Getting even one of them to sit still for even a second or to get them to sit together is almost impossible. And once they are still, they are usually crying :P So this will be a challenge for me.  I can only hope that I will improve over time and in this respect this blog will help me to document my progress as a photographer.

yawn...I’m getting sleepy.

(Oh yeah, why this photo for my inaugural post? Not sure really. It’s obviously metaphorical. There are these two seeds together teetering on the edge of a dandelion stem. They shouldn’t be there. They shouldn’t even exist, let alone exist together. Yet they are breaking all the rules. All the known rules of physics and of logic and common sense. They are teetering on the brink of disaster, but they hold on. Lighter than air, by holding on to each other they stay rooted to what is important. And in holding on to each other they are invincible.)


(Lynn Langmade Fine Art Photography) Wed, 26 Mar 2014 20:09:00 GMT