September 18, 2013

Mopeds Ruined My Life

Who the fuck are the Casserollers you ask?

The Casserollers are a moped gang based out of Minneapolis, MN. Over the weekend Craig, Walter, Tex, Brent and myself blasted six hours southeast of the border with a truck and trailer packed with bikes to participate in the Casserollers second annual Tot Fest moped rally! To say the least, it was quite the experience.

There was beer and BBQ at nearly every stop over the course of the weekend, along with roaring fires, flowing kegs, prizes to be won, dice games, 'tatertots galore and an overall enthusiasm I couldn't get over. It was awesome. A real privilege to witness and enjoy firsthand.

Baby's first rally was a good one! Thanks America.

We arrived at five in the morning on Saturday and spent the day tearing up the city behind our fearless leader and host, Jed. Craig tuned up our bikes primo early in the morning (including a full motor rebuild on the fly for this lucky gal) while I wandered the neighborhood. Once the bikes were ready, Jed led us to local watering hole Legends Bar in the afternoon to meet up with the rest of the gang with plenty of time to mingle before the scheduled evening group ride.

And then it started to rain. But it must be said that we Winnipeggers are all-weather party animals and ride we did. The 50 riders quickly dwindled to 15, 11, 7 as the rain poured. Thanks to my excellent mechanic and the natural elements, my water-cooled motor never ran better! It was a hell of a ride in the pouring rain without a hot clue which direction was north; there was no choice but to keep up. I'll never forget that night. There was much whiskey downed, layers peeled and supreme dancing that followed upon our soggy return to Legends.

Sunday was the scheduled long ride out of the city. It was sunny, dry and epic. Two large moped groups converged beautifully at an intersection before the scheduled breakfast pitstop at the Wienery diner. The following route was scenic, winding, well-organized, well-paced for all to manage, not to mention traffic conveniently corked by Casseroller captains making for a smooth ride. Stuff of legends, really. No camera necessary, I was too busy blasting alongside the Mississippi river.

Monday was Race Day. There were many heats for separate classes of mopeds and I was happy to shoot and observe my main squeeze as he tore up the track on the only Peugeot at the rally! The Casserollers rented out a large go-kart racetrack for the day and the weather was right. Not much more to say. I learned a lot about leadership and hosting this weekend. Thanks again to the Casserollers for a HELLUVA time.

* All photos shot with Kiev 60 TTL // Tmax 400

September 12, 2013

Mama's Bun

Nikaela and her boy Ives. Winnipeg/ early September 2013

Last week I was invited into Nikaela's home to shoot some photos of her and her son in their natural environment. A porch morning it was-- complete with black coffee, a bareback diaper baby, strong light, open cookbooks to browse through and very easy subjects to capture.

There is something incredibly inspiring about witnessing a parent's deep and easy love for their kin through the camera lens. This is my favorite style of portrait to shoot given a good amount of time and space to do so properly. The morning spent with Nikaela and Ives was natural and easy. Like blasting through rolls of 120 kind of easy. Her little boy was giving the goods away for free. Click to see more over at her corner.

Below are a few more images of mamas and their babes who were kind enough to let me in--if only for a moment. All images shot with the Kiev 60. Tmax 400, HP5 or Delta 400 depending on the mood.

Tracy and her girl Heidi. Winnipeg/ early Spring 2013
Little baby Honey Bea. Winnipeg/ early Spring 2012
Sara is as good as Rusty's work-week mama (daycare). Winnipeg/ early June 2013
Colette reads to her boy Leo. Winnipeg/ July 2013
Bree with her girl Aida. Winnipeg/ April 2012
Heidi takes in her cousin Birdie. Winnipeg/ early Spring 2013
Dayna and her girl Beatrice. Winnipeg/ early Spring 2012

September 11, 2013

Breathing like a baby

The sound of geese overhead, the shake and rattle of trains passing through, the warmth of earl grey tea in hand. This is the state of affairs tonight. I cleaned out my closet, packed up some books and rewired my Grandpa's old shop lamp. Temperatures dip, sweaters claim bare shoulders. The old season makes way for the new. Autumn, your quiet changes are always welcomed.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.

All too often I catch my body held tense like a coil. Did I breathe today? I must have, though I have no awareness of it. This week I have spent much time watching a new baby girl sleep. Her inhalation is full and her whole body moves to circulate her good work with each draw. Exhale baby. It is a wonderful reminder to be mindful of my own body's good work and to help along the process with deep and even breaths. Mabel reminds me of many things. She is three months old. When her momma steps out to do her own thing, I am left to make sure this wonderbabe lives on. She is a good sleeper. Today on the other hand, she felt completely abandoned by her milk maiden upon waking and she squalled and kicked with impressive strength. It wasn't me she wanted to swaddle, sing and bounce. That was an interesting moment when both Mabel and I realized that I couldn't give her what she needed. In all my years working with kids not my own, today was the first time I didn't know what to do.


It's a new season so naturally I have taken on new work with a new family now that my friend Leo has moved away. Oh how I miss his little body. What I would give to put him to bed tonight. Plenty. Alas, he has moved forward and so must I. This is the hardest part of being a nanny. I can't help but fall in love again and again.

Someday when I have my own host of swaddled squallers, I'll shake my head at the days I used to get paid to be someone's personal organizer. Then I'll think of Mabel, Sadie and the Leo's and all the hours I spent watching them hard at sleep and I'll remind myself to breathe in and out once again.


Huy shot this of me after a late night ride last weekend. This is how I feel today: Rather reflective

September 9, 2013

Man & Chicken

Here is an honest portrait if I ever saw one. Craig caught this bird in a large riverside coop with impressive finesse. Catching chickens is much more difficult than anticipated. I caught one eventually, though sadly there is no photo to prove it.


January 31/14 UPDATE //// just found and scanned a goodie from one of Craig's many print piles in the darkroom. I call it, MADGE CARRIES A LIVE BIRD BARE HANDED.
Woman triumphantly parades the bride's barnyard coop with a live chicken up in arms. Photo. Craig Dueck

September 8, 2013

Reason to Believe

In my dreams last night, I saw Marj Heinrichs walk up to an open window across the room from where I was sitting in a busy cafe. There was no door to rush out of to embrace her after such a long time apart, so I ran to the window where she smiled radiantly. She reached into her linen jacket pocket and pulled out a dinky-toy from my childhood and placed it on the sill between us. It was a camper trailer with a hitch, no longer than my index finger. She looked right into me and said "You'll be fine wherever you go Megsy". Then she turned to leave and was gone without the slightest trace that she was ever there. I looked at that miniature trailer and suddenly it too vanished and all that was left was a word turning over and over in sleep-thought: HOME

Thanks woman, I needed that. Home is what you make it. Sign enough for me. You are missed daily/ hourly. Hard to believe we are nearing the third year without you. Grief never leaves those who experience great loss, it simply changes form. What I would give to crumple your green linen jacket with a strong hug today. Dreams will have to do. I haven't seen that crazy woman in my dreams in two years. This was the first dream I've had since she died that there was no water to be found. I wonder what that signifies?

Swim on hot fish. But come back soon.

September 1, 2013


Sunday salute from the Barber house. Just got in from a zip around the city. Nothing beats a full tank and a list of errands to run. Cool air makes for good performance. Quick-time knock-off. Watered three sister's gardens and picked up a roll from the lab featuring the recent greenhouse wedding of Sam & Tristan with a couple of Top Dead Moped double exposures thrown in. Run out of film? Shoot over.

Before the wedding, I ducked over to the MCC thrift shop in Steinbach, MB. I always find some treasure there and last Saturday was no exception. An Olympus Sport 35 fixed lens rangefinder lying belly up caught my eye. Five dollars? Sweet. Nice little tank of a pocket camera from the early sixties. Meter is surprisingly accurate and the original battery still works! Miracle and perfect addition to the old stable. Here is some fruit of labor. Loads of characters illuminated by the party flash!