Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"I Wonder" Wednesday: The Evolution of Dreams

*photo found at

sometimes we follow our dreams.  sometimes dreams follow us.

i've heard that when our dreams come true, they're so much better than we ever could have imagined.  i've always believed that...mainly because our imaginations tend to be limited to those things to which we can relate.  so even with a great imagination, we really have no frame of reference for what's possible.

so, often, as our dreams evolve, we begin to strive for things that weren't even on our radar initially.  this also happens as we begin to realize our own capabilities.

so, in light of all this, i wonder:

should the people who make up our support systems be expected to automatically support these new  dreams (or new incarnations of existing dreams)?  or should the loss of support from some people just be considered a natural part of the evolution of support systems?

related garden reading:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ruby's Garden: Grandma's Hands

today would have been my maternal grandmother's 86th birthday.  she left this earth quite some time ago, but i still think of her fondly on her day.

she was the essential "big mama" in every way.  and she taught us girls that if our hair and feet looked good, everything in the middle would fall in place.  i still live by that (tryna stay on her level, lol).  she fed us well (and with love).  she gave whatever she could, whenever she could.

i wish i had a picture to post, but as a cousin reminded me today, she hated posing for pictures.  fly as she was.  hm.

happy birthday, Mimi.

be.  fly.
ruby's granddaughter

and i usually don't post videos that i can't embed, but i'll make an exception here (since it's Bill Withers)...just come back and say somethin' when you're done watchin' :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Letter from the Garden: Dear Stars

Just keep tryin' and tryin'
It's just a matter of timing
Though the grindin' is tirin'
Don't let 'em stop you from smiling

Just keep tryin' and tryin'
Sooner or later you'll find it
It's surprisin' how inspirin'
It is to see you shining
'Cause in the dark of the night you're all I can see
And you sure look like a star to me...

-Cee-Lo, from Kelis' "Lil Star"
dear stars,
just a friendly reminder from the garden to "keep ya head up."  we're all working on things, big and small (though i assert: "no point in dreamin' small"), and sometimes a little encouragement goes a long way.  so keep shining, stars.  we never know who we are yet.
be.  fly.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sister Story: Sharvon P. Urbannavage

*photo of Rose Rollins by someone else :)*

check my profile pic.  it's kinda hot.  i feel like my inner Tasha was channeled (which i didn't notice until after).  wishful thinking?  anyway, i can only take small credit for the hotness of said photo.  most of the magic came courtesy of one Sharvon P. Urbannavage.  she just may be my favorite photographer.

i present to you Sharvon, owner of SP Photography:

SisterGarten: when did you first know you were a photographer?

Sharvon: I've been into photography since I was a kid, due to my father being a photographer when he was in the military. However, I didn't realize that I had "an eye" until I was in college. I took photography to fulfill my art requirement and to learn how to use the SLR (single lens reflex) camera my dad got me in high school. Through my coursework, I learned to find dope images in the oddest places, and got great feedback from classmates and professor.......and I've been shooting non-stop ever since.

SG: what is your favorite subject?

Sharvon: People. All ages, shapes, sizes and colors. I'm naturally an observer, which is why I tend to be so quiet when I'm actually around others. Its a little weird, but I just find myself staring at random people when I'm out and wondering what their "story" is. If I'm at the train or in the airport, wondering where they're going or coming from. If I overhear something they say, wondering what the full context of the conversation is. I'm interested in people's stories, and have been surprised at how interesting my story is to others. I like helping people tell their story through photographs.

SG: what inspires you as an artist?

Sharvon: Light. I had an assignment in college that was an experiment with light. We basically just had to photograph interesting ways the light reflected off of things. These were the best photos in my portfolio during the whole semester, and it taught me to appreciate how something as simple as light, can make the most abstract object look beautiful. So now when I shoot, I find myself looking for areas where the light is doing interesting or weird things. You can see this throughout my portfolio. I'm now delving into experimenting with studio light and I'm excited to see where my creativity goes with that.

SG: what obstacles do you face as a black woman in your field? what obstacles do you face otherwise in your field?

Sharvon: Its definitely a challenge to be a black woman in any field. There are female photographers whose styles I admire such as Annie Leibovitz (of Vanity Fair) and Mary Ellen Matthews (of SNL), but in all the photographer profiles I read in my magazines, I rarely, if ever, see black women. Throughout high school, college and in the workplace I've always felt I had to work twice as hard to even be on an equal playing field. But once people see my work ethic as well as my skill level, they realize how truly talented I am, so I've never really let being black or female be an obstacle, per se. It's simply part of who I am, as a person and an artist, and it allows me to have a different perspective on the world that I shoot.

SG: if you could shoot anyone (living) in the world, who would it be?

Sharvon: I really can't think of any ONE person I'd like to shoot. An obvious answer would be a celebrity, but those are people who have been photographed thousands of times. Going back to what I said before, I'd like to photograph someone whose story I want to know more about. Such as cancer survivors...what they did to overcome the disease and their struggle. Young soldiers....why they chose the military over other options. Those are just a couple examples, that actually hit close to home for me. Hopefully I didn't just give my ideas away to someone else!

SG: what do you want your work to say to/do for people?

Sharvon: I want my work to show people that everyone is beautiful in their own way. I personally am not the most photogenic person, but I have photos I've taken of myself that have been the greatest self-esteem boosters. I've had clients who make coy, self-depricating statements like "I look horrible.....I don't take good pictures.....I'm gonna break your camera with my face." Then they see their pictures and are in LOVE with themselves. Anyone can be photogenic....its all a matter of knowing your flattering angles and finding good light. And any good photographer will be able to bring out the best in you.

SG: what's the craziest/weirdest thing you've done to get a photo?

Sharvon: Several! From dodging in-and-out of traffic, to laying flat on the ground in Old City [in Philadelphia], to running non-stop for about an hour, to standing on barstools (I'm super clumsy!), to nearly being arrested for trespassing. My style, to date, has been what I like to call "strolling shoots". I pretty much scout a general location where I want to shoot my client, and then we'll just walk around and find good spots. I've stumbled across some awesome backdrops shooting this way, and it allows me time to get to know my client a little more while we walk and chat, which I feel helps me bring out their personality and essence through their photos (plus its also great exercise!). I've had to do some interesting things to get the shot, but I'm just glad I've always had clients who are totally willing to just go with the flow. Can't ask for anything better than that!

for more information on Sharvon and SP Photography, visit

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Throwback Sends Me Swingin'

i love me some Mint Condition.  sometimes i wish i had been old enough to date when they debuted.  seems like some good young dating music.  posted up in your room with Mind Condition playing, thinkin' about meetin' your boo at his locker the next morning, hoping he wears that cool purple and teal vest you like so much...


be.  fly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Letter from Jimi: Happiness is Within You

Letters of Note is a website that shares authentic letters, notes, postcards, etc. from celebrities, and other historical figures.  today they featured the following letter from Jimi Hendrix:

so damn smooth.

for the transcript and more interesting letters, check out the website.

be.  fly.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Return of Huey Freeman: Boondocks Season 3

excuse me.  everyone, i have a brief announcement to make.  Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the devil, and the government is lying about 9-11.  thank you for your time and good night.  -Huey Freeman

he's baaaaaaaack.  May 2 (11:30pm) brings the return of Boondocks to the Cartoon Network.  i, for one, am too hype.  and i'm sure the return will bring with it the controversy that's followed the show (and comic strip) from inception.  in a discussion with a dear friend who was "amazed" that i like the show, i offered:
i think it's a necessary voice. i think some of the more disturbing things he portrays need to be discussed, and he's created a dialogue. i think it's akin to when "gangsta" rap began telling its stories. the stories already existed, yet some were mad about them being told.
so, i'll be watching and supporting.  will you?  if not, i won't ban you from the garden.  promise.


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