Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 29, 2012

There was something about this tree that really struck me.  Maybe it's the vines, or maybe the full canopy of leaves, or the maze of branches.  Some have said that it reminds them of Jack and the Beanstalk.  To me it symbolizes age, strength and maturity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 28, 2012

Back in the late 90's and early 2000's I did a lot of recruiting for my former law firm.  One of the places I visited regularly was Chicago.  My annual visit to the Windy City usually coincided with Chicago Carifete, where I could soak up some Caribbean culture and food.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Photo(s) of the Day: August 27, 2012

Awww.  Photoshop.  Love it or hate it, you've got to acknowledge the power of this photo editing giant.  This photo, which was created several years ago, consists of the following elements: the face on the side of the building, water and people all from Chicago, the sky from a sunset in Atlanta, the stairs and wall on the left from the Carter Center in Atlanta (look familiar?), the tulips from the Georgia Capitol, and the mountains in the foreground from North Carolina.  The inspiration for this photo came around midnight.  I got out of bed and stayed up all night to finish it.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 26, 2012

When you've got the photography bug, you can find a good photo anywhere.  This photo was taken at an outdoor concert at Chastain Park in Atlanta, GA.  I was sitting with a group of people when this bottle caught my eye.  The folks around me didn't even know that I was shooting.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 25, 2012

Stairs often make for interesting photos.  These stairs are at the Carter Center, one of my favorite places in Atlanta.  This photo rouses my curiosity about what could be at the top of the stairs.  I also can't help but wonder whether the dark clouds are giving way to blue skies, or whether the clouds about to overtake the sky?  I suppose it depends on your outlook in life.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 24, 2012

It's getting close to midnight and I haven't posted for the day.  I just reached for my cell phone on the nightstand to search for a photo that would provoke enough thought for a blog entry.  Ah, some unlit candles sitting on the counter.  When I think about it, unlit candles have so much potential.  With the stroke of a match, they can produce light, heat, and energy.  They can create a warm mood, or come through for us in an emergency.  They can also cause destruction if used improperly.  Yet if they remain unlit, they do nothing but take up space.  Sounds a little like people.  Good night world.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Drawing of the Day: August 23, 2012

I mentioned that I used to love drawing, so I thought I would share some of my work.  I loved capturing the details of real objects on paper.   My biggest challenge was trying to draw people, so I focused on still life drawing.  This drawing is significant because I never picked up a pencil again to draw anything after finishing these shoes in 1986.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 22, 2012

Several years ago I was washing my car and I noticed that the soapy water was pooling in the corner of the driveway.  The patterns in the suds caught my attention so naturally I grabbed my camera and snapped some photos.  I thought to myself that someday I would do something cool with those photos.  A few months later the inspiration hit me.  I opened one of the photos in Photoshop, added some colors, applied some filters, and the rest is history.  The before and after photos show that you can create art from almost anything.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 21, 2012

Although I enjoyed the view from my office every single day, some days were more spectacular than others.  This photo captures one of those days.  There were many times when the tops of the buildings were covered by clouds or fog, but I had never seen a day like this with the buildings emerging from the fog and clouds like this.  Let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Reemergence of the Lost Artist

After three years of the Artistic Lawyer, it just occurred to me that I’ve been selfish with my art.  Yes, I’ve shared my comical stories.  Recently, I’ve even branched into fiction.  But this morning I realized that I’ve never shared my drawings or the vast majority of the thousands of photos that I’ve taken over the years.  Even if you’ve seen some of the photos, you have not heard the stories behind them.  Well that is about to change…    

From the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I practiced law with a large law firm in Atlanta, GA.  My plush window office was on the 31st floor of a midtown Atlanta high-rise that offered astonishing views of the Atlanta skyline, as well as breathtaking sunset views.  Those sunsets would speak to me every single day.  But since they were so fleeting, I felt an incredible urge to capture them.  In 2001, one of my co-workers sold me a Nikon digital camera.  My life was forever changed.  It didn’t take long to discover that I could shoot through the glass and capture the sunsets perfectly.   I kept that Nikon at the office and started shooting the sunsets on a regular basis.  The news of my new-found passion spread quickly throughout the firm.  When there was an especially awesome sunset, my co-workers would ring my phone off the hook to make sure that I had the camera ready.  I’ve shared a photo of  my favorite sunset taken from the office.  Yes, it does look like it was taken on Mars.  Yes, it is completely real; no Photoshop involved.      

Although the desire to capture the sunsets got me started in photography, I have always had an artistic side.  Many of you might recall the magazines ads from back in the day which asked you to draw a turtle, pirate, or some other character, and then send in the drawing to some far off art school.   Of course I sent in a drawing, and the next thing I knew some recruiter was knocking on our door trying to get me enrolled.  Although that school probably recruited everyone who sent in a drawing, his visit sure made me feel like a true artist.  In high school, my outlets were drawing, painting, pen & ink, and scratchboard.  My work earned a membership into the National Art Honor Society.  My art teacher literally begged me to pursue art as a major in college (but that’s a story for another day).  Needless to say, I chose a different path. 

After years of not creating any art, it was (ironically) the view from my law office that got me into photography and back to my artistic roots.  When I started working in that office, I had no idea that I would become enamored with the sunsets and discover photography as a passion.  That just goes to show that if there’s an artist in you, it is going to find its way out, one way or another.    

Welcome to the Artistic Lawyer’s Photo of the Day.  Get ready for a photographic ride.  I’m not sure how long it will last.  Actually, I do know; as long as I have photos with stories to tell.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chapter 2 - Token of Appreciation

It couldn’t be time to get up.  Not yet.  No way.  I’m normally an early riser.  In fact, I can’t stand lingering in bed in the morning.  But on this particular morning I just couldn’t get up.  Sure, I didn’t get enough sleep.  But the lack of sleep was only part of the problem.  The other issue was the slightly bruised ego caused by the mystery woman.  As I laid on my back staring at the twirling blades of my ceiling fan, my mind kept replaying the night before.  Her image would not leave my mind; nor would the feeling of standing there alone in the flashing blue lights.  All night I wondered if there was anything I could have done that would have led to the conversation that I desperately wanted to have with her.  By now I would have known her name, where she grew up, some of her hobbies, and maybe even her favorite cereal.  As I replayed the evening yet again, my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the appointment reminder on my phone.   I glanced at the screen.  I had a meeting with a potential new client in an hour.  Time to get up.

            Like most people, I am a creature of habit.  Every morning I take my phone into the bathroom with me, and tune in one of my favorite sports talk shows.  But sports talk was not going to cut it this morning.  I wanted some music; not just any music, but some good lively music.   I picked up my phone and browsed through my Pandora stations.  This felt like a Classic Hip-Hop morning.  Each song that played took me back to a different stage of my life, and took my mind off of her.  As I shaved, showered, and dressed, my mind drifted through a constant stream of daydreams.  I pictured myself as a famous rapper performing before a capacity crowd.  But I wasn’t the typical rapper.  I was rapping in a suit, white shirt, and bowtie, looking more like Minister Farrakhan than Tupac Shakur.  But that look was my hook, and the crowd seemed to love it.  The truth is I could never get on stage in front of a crowd to perform.  The stage fright would overwhelm me.  Thank God for the shower.   

            The music totally transformed my mood, and I managed to get out of the house feeling re-energized and surprisingly upbeat.  I was really excited about this new client.  I had been chasing his business for quite a while.  Hopefully, I would close the deal today.  I also couldn’t wait to tell my secretary Anita about the mystery woman.  I knew I was going to get a lot of grief for the outcome, but I was prepared for that.  But she always knew that right thing to say and I was anxious to hear her thoughts.  I arrived about ten minutes before the start of my meeting.  As usual, my voicemail light was lit.  And, as usual, I didn’t feel like checking it so I would just let Anita do it.  I didn’t really have time anyway.  I never like to cut it so close to my meetings but at least I was there before the client---long before the client as it turned out.  But I just had to deal with it because I was expecting him to write a nice check, and that sure has a way of making me a lot more patient.  The client finally showed up about an hour late.  The first thing he did was thank me for being so understanding in pushing the meeting back an hour (mistakenly assuming that I had received his voicemail message left the night before).  I told him that I had received the message and that it was no problem at all.  After about an hour, we finally wrapped up our meeting.  It was a done deal.  He signed the engagement letter, pulled out his checkbook and stroked a very nice check for my retainer.  After a few minutes of chit-chat,  I walked him to the elevator, we shook hands, and he was on his way.

            Now that the client business was done, I headed straight to Anita.  As I approached her desk, I was completely distracted by an extremely large, colorful and exotic floral arrangement.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  Of course I asked her who had sent them to her.  Her response startled me.  “They’re not for me, they’re for you.”  I was stunned.  “Are you serious?”  I had never received flowers in my life and I was completely at a loss as to who could have sent them.  “Open the card, silly boy!”  Yes, yes, I was getting to that.  I grabbed the envelope and ripped it open like an over-anxious presenter at an awards show, desperate to find out who has sent such a wonderful arrangement. I read the card silently as Anita looked on in anticipation.  The first line of the card read, “Dear Braxton, do you chase women through red lights every Thursday night?”  Oh my God!  The flowers are from her!  But how did she know who I was?  I guess it’s true that women are always one step ahead of us. 

All of the emotions that I felt at that moment—joy, excitement, relief, were evidenced by the huge smile on my face.  I was so lost in the moment that I barely heard Anita screaming, “what does it say, who sent them, who sent them?”   I continued reading in silence.  “I wanted thank you for taking care of the ticket for me last night.  That was such a thoughtful gesture.  Sending these flowers was the least I could do.  I’d also like to thank you in person.  I have a reservation at Fabio’s at 12:45.  I hope you can join me.  Vanessa Boudreaux.”  I looked at my watch.  I had to go.  “Anita, I’ve got to go!  I’ll explain later.  Please cancel my afternoon appointments!”  I rushed to my office, grabbed my keys off the desk, and sprinted out the door.  As I entered the elevator, my heart began to race.  I began to breathe heavily, as a bead of sweat rolled down my forehead.  I was dying to meet her but at the same time, I felt a bit like a puppet on a string.  Was she just playing me?  Was this all a big joke?  Is she really going to be there?  What if it doesn’t go well? 

I really needed to gather myself.  I couldn’t meet her with all of those silly thoughts racing through my head.  When I got to my car I noticed a scratch on the side of my car.  Now, despite the rush, I had to take a second to check out this scratch because I do not play when it comes to my car.  I sat my phone on top of the car and bent over to check out the scratch.  I rubbed my finger over it, and it magically started disappearing.  The relief of not having an ugly scratch on the side of my car seemed to calm me down a bit.  That calmness would be short-lived however, as the lunch-time traffic was horrendous.  I tried to avoid the main streets but the side streets were just as bad.  I glanced at the clock every few minutes as it raced toward 12:45.  I tried music as a distraction but I found myself constantly switching stations, unable to find just the right song.  Nothing seemed to help.  I looked at the clock.  12:41.  It wasn’t a question of whether I would be late.  The real question was how late I would be.  I needed to call the restaurant.  I looked in the cup holder where I normally keep my phone.  No phone.  Where the hell was my phone?  Then I realized that I’d left my phone on top of the car!  So, not only was I going to be late, but I couldn’t call the restaurant to let them know.  I tried to remain calm as the clock continued to race---12:48, 12:52, 12:59.  Finally, I pulled up to the valet at 1:03.  I grabbed the claim check and hurried toward the front door.  As I walked in, I stopped and took a deep breath.  I approached the Maitre’d and told him I was there to meet Ms. Boudreaux.  “Ah, sir, we’ve been anticipating your arrival.  Follow me please.”  He led me through a maze of tables toward the rear of the restaurant.  Finally, we arrived at a private dining room.  He opened the wooden sliding door.  The room was beautifully but simply decorated.  There was a single table covered in fine linen with extravagant place settings for two, a bottle of wine, floral centerpiece—but no Ms. Boudreaux.  “Have a seat sir, I will be right back.”  So there I sat all alone in a room built for two, feeling emptier than I did the night before.  Then the door slid open again.  The Maitre’d announced, “Ms. Boudreaux will be joining you momentarily.”  It was finally time to meet this woman.