Church of the Bleeding Heart

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You enter a small room lit by candles and a single bulb on a string. They all look as if they’re about to burn out. As your eyes adjust you become keenly aware of your breathing and your heart thumps loudly in you chest. thump. thump. thump. You aren’t nervous, but something feels off. Is the floor crooked?

Once your eyes adjust you see a kneeler- it is very similar to the one you remember from Easter Sunday at your grandmothers church. The discomfort of youth floods back to you. The uncomfortable new clothes. The bread and wine. How do we do this? How do I take the wafer from the priest? Do I really have to drink from the same cup as that old man?

You approach the kneeler and notice the details are different. The cross-stitched cushion is more macabre than you think your gran would appreciate. The rails are damaged, look like they’ve been in a fight. As you kneel down in the now familiar pose of prayer you breathe deep and look up into the altar.

Your heart wrenches and a sadness overwhelms you. The altar looks strangely familiar. A dream you once had. Or a nightmare. It draws the empty spaces in your soul to the surface, but refuses to fill them. You feel the lack. It overcomes you and the tears start to well up.

You close your eyes and listen. thump. thump. thump. Breathing slowly you try listen to what your heart has to say but it just keeps beating.

You release.

You feel feel something die.

You let go.

How much time has passed? Your eyes open slowly and you half expect to see a black robed priest with a wafer and a cup in front of you.

But there is no one.

Only an altar, a book, a memory.

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The American Road: Old Route 66 Memorial

Sometimes (oftentimes) the best way to travel is slowly. Take the long way, stop and smell the desert rain, eat a sandwich on the side of the road while the sun goes down. This is how I like to travel. Avoiding interstates, absorbing the land and enjoying my own company.


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31 May, 2015

Old Route 66 between highway 95 and Oatman, Arizona

Sunscorched, battered, tattered and left to disintegrate in the desert- it feels as though there are parallels to be drawn and meanings to be inferred from this memorial in the sun. Is this me languishing in the sunny part of the world? Is this America and the tattered remnants of a dream that no longer fits the world we live in? Or is it just a flag marking the place where a life was lost?

This tattered flag marks the spot where someone very real was lost forever.

Life Hacks for Creative People Seminar

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I was asked to sit on a panel for a seminar at HTB Focus (exciting!). It was a great experience and a good exercise for my own creative practice to have to sit down and think about what it is that I do in my daily life engage with my art practice.

Just a note, I feel quite strongly that all people are creative, and some people work in the arts.

Life Hacks for Creative People Seminar hosted by Al Gordon and featuring Alex Douglas, Martin Smith, and myself.

Enjoy!

On Baptised by Blood (Part 1)

I did what I set out to do, and I did it really well. So why do I feel so lost?

Finishing a project of this magnitude feels like a break up. It’s exciting and consuming, and then all of a sudden it’s over. All of a sudden there is nothing. There is nothing left to occupy my thoughts and my heart. After a breakup, one is left piecing a broken heart back together, rubbing fingers along the sharp edges to feel the intensity of the pain which seems to lend value of the now broken relationship.

With art the pain is similar, but there is completion. Something whole and real has been extracted from my soul for all to see. In my minds eye it looks like a giant, sharp piece of obsidian that’s been painfully pulled from my center leaving me empty and breathless. I look at the photos and reread my thesis in the same way one traces the raw edges of a broken heart. I want to feel the weight of it in my chest again, the emptiness hasn’t brought the relief I expected.

I was asked to write a reflection on Baptised by Blood, but I just can’t do it. Not yet. It’s too close. I am still too stunned.

What I can say is that I set out on an academic pursuit to find a space between art and religious practice. I think I found it. I set out to make work that is intelligent but accessible. I did that. I set out to raise the money to make a huge installation happen. We did that. I set out to make work that is personal and honest and painful and sacrificial. I gave it everything.

My hope now is that it was worth it. That it brought joy and honor to the Father. That it started conversation and interest and thought. And that somehow, someway that project will pave the way for future projects.

(Photos from the installation will be live on CaseyMacKenzie.co.uk this week.)

Best. Week. Ever.

To say I’ve had a big week might be an understatement.

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Last Sunday night I went with some of my all time favourite Londoners to a secret Prince show in Shepard’s Bush where we got in for free. Prince?! For free?! Spectacular! The gig was freaking awesome and seeing a legend like Prince felt like participating in history. Plus, it was an awesome adventure with my friends. THEN we saw Funk Legend George Clinton walk into a kebab shop down the street… and suddenly we were all hungry. We went into the shop and got to talk to and take photos with him. SUCH an amazing night- especially because it was completely spur of the moment.

On Monday morning I started a new job at Univeristy- it went really well. I think it’s going to be a great fit!

On Wednesday the digital news editor of Dazed & Confused Magazine found my tweet about Shia LeBeauf doing a Skype performance for my class last week (yeah, that happened, too!) and asked to interview me. A few hours later… Dazed posted my interview. WHAT. Someone wanted to talk to me about something I am super interested in and publish my opinions!? It’s a dream come true.

On Friday I had all access to four London Fashion Week shows to photograph backstage and the shows. An actual dream come true. (!!!!!) It was a fantastic,exhausting, exciting, wonderful, rainy day. I loved it. I got to photograph some British celebrities and some really, really beautiful clothing (and people). And if that wasn’t enough, LOVE Magazine posted a photo of me shooting backstage at the Todd Lynn show!!! 

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On Saturday, amidst all my editing (runway shows = deadlines) I went to a Fashion for Christ prayer meeting at Somerset House, where most of the shows are. It was so so good to connect with people there! I then stayed up all night editing before heading back to LFW!

ImageToday I shot a show for a designer I hadn’t heard of, but while I was waiting for the show to start Lynn Yaeger walked in! That might not sound exciting, but she’s just one of the real fashion personalities! She’s been a staple in the American fashion press (Vogue!!) for ages and has a very distinctive look. I love her and I got to photograph her!!

I ended the best week ever back where it started: in the pub after church with the best people ever. All the amazing and wonderful and fun and exciting things happening in my life would be nothing if I didn’t have people to share it with.

London. Londoners… I love you.

Wedding: Ben & Ambler

Photographing Ambler & Ben’s Sacred Day at The Farm at Putah Creek was an absolute pleasure. Ambler is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I have always admired her work ethic, her relationship with her (fabulous) family and her genuine, caring spirit. Ben is cool, too. (Really, though, I adore him. So does my dog, Stella.)

Before I get to sounding too Hallmark, let me say that The Maugerstein Wedding (a hybrid of their last names) was the hottest wedding I’ve ever shot. The weather in the Valley hovered around 105 all afternoon and I was working on a badly sprained ankle. A recipe for misery? Not this time. Nothing in the world could have distracted from all the love and joy of this union. I swear I am not exaggerating. It was an absolute honor and pleasure to be asked to capture Ben & Ambler’s Sacred Day. I would do it a hundred times over given the chance.

Once my three hours shooting time was up, I morphed into a wedding guest. Awesome! I got to eat and dance the night away with friends and family from all over the world. At the end of the night, after the band packed up to go, they served (absolutely, positively, delectable) home made French onion soup around a bonfire. Perfection. (I ate three bowls.) At the end of the end of the night all the wedding guests piled into busses to go back to their hotels in Davis… who jumped in the car to hitch a ride with me? Why, the Bride & Groom, of course. Perfect.

the beautiful bride

first look…

the gorgeous couple

Did I mention the food was to DIE for? Cause it was.

1am and piled in the back of my little Jetta. Love it!

Editorial: Glitterati

il·lu·mi·na·ti noun (plural) /iˌlo͞oməˈnätē/
People claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge of something.

glit·ter·a·ti noun (plural)/ˈglitərätē/
People claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge of glitter. Attractive, exciting, often superficial.

Model: Meesha Jones

Hair & Makeup: Brianna Scheff