At the expense of becoming a punchline, and already made fun of by the fine writers of Portlandia, I still believe birds can be used in functional, non-ironic decor. Just as shells have been coopted as the pattern-du-jour for beach houses, birds can usher in a tropical, modern feeling.
These toothless, egg-laying vertebrates come in myriad forms. Biologist estimate that ten thousand different species, an extraordinary variety, exist today. Think of the difference between an ostrich and a stork. A hen and a condor. A penguin and a hummingbird. Each of those different forms and colors can lend itself to a different style of home decor and clothing.
“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.” – Aesop
The crisp in the air, the spotted gourds, the harvest pumpkins, the flint corn and the bales of hay: things I love about the final quarter of the year. In the northeast, especially in New York, we feel the four seasons quite distinctly. Although I might be pretty isolated from expansive farmland, we Brooklynites still feel the harvest season in special ways.
Pernille Folcarelli’s Unika Hand Leaf Prints
The sunday farmer’s market carries arugula, apples, chard, chestnuts and Crispin apples (my husband’s favorite – juicy and tart). Sweater weather also brings the best layering fashions. I am a sucker for heavy-knits. Finally, the leaves! In Carroll Gardens, I happen to be pretty close to some of the trees planted in the Million Trees Project, a citywide, public-private program with an ambitious goal: to plant and care for one million new trees across the City’s five boroughs over the next decade. The foliage on my street is astounding! I also happen to have a 70 year old dogwood tree in my backyard.
Pernille Folcarelli’s Unika Hand Leaf Prints
The various shades of the deciduous trees and shrubs on my walk to work range from fire-engine reds, to a crimson brick, to cornmeal yellow, sunset oranges, tyrian purple, and worn-leather brown. The tones are inspiring.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ― Albert Camus
Botanists and scientist know a lot about this yearly phenomenon. As the trees are ridding themselves of chlorophyll and reabsorbing it along with other nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous to store them for the winter, they also suddenly begin to expend energy creating anthocyanin. Chlorophyll normally masks the yellow pigments known as xanthophylls and the orange pigments called carotenoids — both visible when the green chlorophyll is gone. We understand the chemical changes of the colors, but plenty of questions still remain to as to ‘why’.
Valerie Chiang is a wunderkind photographer from Raleigh, North Carolina who began her artistic career as a teenager. Born in 1992, by the current, ripe age of 22 she has exhibited in Mexico, Australia and across the USA. Did I also mention that she speaks English, Chinese and German? Whoa.
Now living in Los Angeles, California, Chiang’s goal in photography is to turn ordinary, sometimes even banal, surroundings into something more magical and imaginative. She shoots dreamscapes that reflect her love of the make-believe and strives to offer viewers a chance to stretch their imaginations and form their own stories from my photographs. She would love to go on a dinner date with independent film director and screenwriter, Jim Jarmusch. She thinks that the ocean always has the best colors in nature and would like to steal and display in her home anything by Edward Hopper.
Chiang’s work features touches of surrealism ala Renee Magritte, but also the quaint New England vibe of a Robert Frost poem. A master of escapism (the Houdini of the Lens), her work looks as though it’s been shot through a cloud and tumbled through hazy memories. Touting herself as a “professional human being,” her Instagram channel is following by over 25,000 other homo-sapiens who look to her to capture quite and under-appreciated moments: a shadow on a coffee cup, the dizzying height of redwoods, an empty parking space.
“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” ― Carson McCullers
Aside from having a killer eye and visual instinct, Chiang also dabbles in personal playlists that are instantly transportative. Check out her dreamy and “shoegazey”mix meant for cruising down the highway at 99 mph during sunset.
1. From The Morning Heat // Craft Spells
2. Drifter // Wild Nothing
3. Now Is Not The Time // CHVRCHES
4. Sometimes // Beach Fossils
5. Time Will Tell // Blood Orange
6. Only Heather // Wild Nothing
7. Follow // DIIV
8. Second Chance (RAC Mix) // Peter Bjorn & John
9. Bring On The Dancing Horses // Echo & The Bunnymen
10. These Days // The Jesus & Mary Chain