Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Strong Women

Hello again.  I’m a big fan of Donna Grossman and That Girl Knitz.  Her work is unique, creative and very fun.  Be sure to check out her website, you'll find a link below. Donna invited me to write a guest blog, I’m happy to oblige.  Bear with me, I’m feeling fanciful today.

Strong women.  They rock, they lead, they inspire.  A few of my personal favorites:  Mae West, Clare Boothe Luce, Eleanor Roosevelt, Katharine Graham, Beryl Markham, Freya Stark.  There are hundreds of thousands of them.  Many are known to the world, others are known quietly — only to their families.  I look for them in movies, in books, in my own life and I learn.

Strong women show up in my photography.  I see them on the street, I glimpse them in old buildings.  Hidden in plain sight, their messages to me are written on their faces and carved into the architecture of their bodies.

Flower Tattoo
 I took this shot while trekking across San Francisco on foot — the best way to travel with a camera in hand.  An oasis in a landscape bereft of beauty, she was painted by the talented female artistic team of Alynn-Mags, in brilliant, bold color.  Peaceful and determined, I imagine she’ll unfold long, graceful legs and step off that wall to rule the world.  She reminds me to breathe and stay centered.

Vintage Mermaid
This mermaid caryatid, perched just off the Florida shoreline, supports a carved stone barge with purpose and grace.  Embracing whatever comes, waves or wild weather, you can see she’s not a whiner. When she’s busy with other projects, she arranges for dolphin pals to “stand in”.   She inspires me to ask for what I need…and to take up swimming again.
Deco Lines

Art Deco.  An era when women shrugged off all those heavy layers of Victorian clothes and played with abandon.  The sculptor of this piece may think he has our muse clutching a phallic symbol of urban strength on her left, but here’s my take on it:  she’s fully embracing her masculine side (yin and yang you know) while remaining utterly feminine and holding wings to soar as well.  She encourages me to accept all aspects of myself.

You’ll find more strong women when you visit my shop.  These images and many more may be found in my Urban Art and Architectural Detail Shop Sections located on the upper left side of my home page, Shop Sections make shopping quick and easy.  Links Links and More Links:  

That Girl Knitz:  http://www.thatgirlknitz.com

Thanks for dropping by,
E. England

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Do You See What I See?

Photography is a blast — totally fun.  Why else would I do it?  It’s also widely open to interpretation by each viewer - as is all art.   I’ve been pondering that lately, so I thought I’d tip-toe out of my comfort zone and onto a tiny little ledge to personally share what I see in this photo, taken one day in the city.

Here’s the photo.

It’s an old, city wall with a clump of ivy hanging over it and a large, orange graffiti scrawl across the lower right side.  Based on an unsolicited critique (by a fellow photographer!) of another of my photos, some may see this as nothing more than a “casual snapshot”.  Look a little longer, there are some interesting things going on. Here’s what I see.

Our brains like balance, which is provided nicely here by four loosely color-blocked quadrants:  Green/grey, grey/pink, white and orange.  The rusting “chair rail” that cuts almost diagonally across the image creates a tidy top and bottom.  It’s trimmed with a heavily inked line of black across the top, adding depth and movement from left to right.  The two darkly rusted strips of metal that run vertically up the wall draw the eye upwards, adding more movement and a corseted structure.  

There’s more.  The heavy scrawl of vivid orange graffiti acts to anchor or ground the image while the cascade of deep green ivy provides (again) that comforting balance.  The black “@“ sign, or encircled ‘e’ to the left of the ivy feels vaguely hieroglyphic and I think about the level of importance future cultures may bestow on the Graffiti we are leaving behind.  There’s also a metaphorical balancing in the naturally wild, organic growth of ivy and the urban-wild scrawl of spray paint “growing” across the lower wall.  I could go on, but I'll show mercy and stop here.

Each viewer will see something different, or nothing at all, but I promise you, the longer you look, the more you’ll see.   Wondering what to do with a photo like this?  Frame it in basic black or in pale wood, adding urban “edge” to a Wall Grouping or ask for a deckled (torn) edge and float it in a plexiglass frame for a sleek, modern and thoroughly original living room focal point.  Oh, and feel free to use my crazy art interpretation at your next uber-sophisticated cocktail party!

Test your own Art Critic skills here — one pro didn’t do so well (neither did I):

All the best,


Here’s a link to my shop:

Here’s a link to more Urban Art:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Food for thought...

This recipe was inspired by something Martha Stewart posted just before Easter.  I love avocados and try to add the occasional egg to my diet, so Martha’s recipe caught my eye.  You should know I’m lazy;  to be clear, I’m actually very lazy — especially when it comes to cooking. My house however, is filled with post Easter hard-boiled eggs and I got hungry.  

Here’s what I came up with.  It takes me about 30 minutes to whip up — it will only take you about 10 minutes to make.  I’m appallingly slow in the kitchen.

Why it’s healthy (aka Ingredients):

2 hardboiled eggs, chopped 
1 avocado, chopped
2 thin slices of onion, chopped
1 slice of feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 lime
drizzle of olive oil (don’t be stingy)
chili powder
2 pita breads

Directions:  Rub a little olive oil on the pita breads and slice them into 1/8ths.  Pop them into the oven to toast if you like a little added crunch.  Combine the chopped and crumbled ingredients in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, the juice of 1/2 lime.  Add hearty shakes of the spices.  Mix well.  That’s it.  Gently combining the oil, lime and feta creates a creamy “dressing” without the mayo.  Serves 2 hearty eaters or 4 dainty types.  

Stop here if you care only about taste and not so much about nutrition or health.

Healthy Facts (based on a super quick internet search):

I loathe mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, homemade or otherwise -- it’s a taste thing for me, but I also love eating fresh and healthy, which lets me feel virtuous and indulge in my love of chocolate more often.  One little tablespoon of mayo adds up to approximately 94 calories; 10 grams of fat, no protein, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron or calcium, so it’s high in calories without much in the way of nutrition except for fat.

Eggs:  High in protein, contain all 9 essential amino acids, highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals and one of the best sources of choline (good for the brain) you can get.  Rich in  two antioxidants Lutein (eyes) and Zeaxanthine (whatever that is).

Avocado:  Excellent source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. Contains more than one-third the daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day’s requirements of vitamin K.

Onion:  A powerful antibiotic, onions exceed Red Wine in heart-protective properties by lowering cholesterol, inhibiting hardening of the arteries, adding elasticity of blood vessels and helping maintain healthy blood pressure.  Regulates blood sugar and racks up hundreds of scientific citations on anti-cancer properties.  Who knew?!

Olive Oil:  A monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), considered a healthy dietary fat — as long as you’re replacing saturated and trans fats and not adding to them.  MUFA’s may help lower your risk of heart disease.  They have been found to lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.  May also help normalize blood clotting, regulate insulin levels and aid blood sugar control.  (so says the Mayo Clinic)

Turmeric:  Anti-inflammatory - pretty color too.

Cumin:  Aids proper digestion and nutrient absorption. Cumin is also a source of iron, making it a good metabolic support for efficient energy production and robust immunity.

Chili Powder:  Boosts metabolism and immune system.  Inhibits inflammation. (I use Santa Fe Seasoning’s chili powders - they taste amazing)

Feta Cheese:  Lower in fat and calories than most cheeses, but so yummy.

Tasty + healthy.  Let me know how you like it!

E. England


Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Fresh Idea For Mother’s Day!

Send flowers.  Not so fresh you’re thinking?  Ah, but these flowers are crisp, romantic photographic images printed on luxurious, museum-quality watercolor paper using archival inks for a noticeable layer of texture and rich, long lasting color.  You can almost smell them.  Here’s a peek at a few flowers available in my shop that will last a lifetime.

Lilacs in a Ball jar.

White Dogwood in bloom.

Lilacs in the city.

White with the freshest green.
Simple beauty.  The daisy.

Green Man w/wisteria.

Pink Italian geraniums.

Fresh White with Hot Pink.

Mom’s not into flowers so much?  No problem, stop into my shop — I’ve got an unusual selection of Travel, Nature, Urban, Abstract and Nautical Photography to choose from.  Standard and custom sizes are always available.  www.ninedragons.etsy.com

Happy shopping & all the best,
Elizabeth England
Nine Dragons Photography

Friday, February 14, 2014


Happy Valentine's Day.  Today seems like the perfect day to confess that I love hearts.  I'm a glass-half-full kind of girl and I see the world as an astoundingly lovely place...which may be why I seem to find hearts just about everywhere.   Here is a photographic series of hearts I've "collected" and find very dear.  It's amazing where you see them once you start to look.  Each one is available in my Etsy shop: www.ninedragons.etsy.com  Or simply enjoy them here!

City Heart
Crusted Heart I
Marathon Heart
Sandstone Heart II 
Stone Heart
Urban Heart
Blue Valentine

Blowing little kisses your way, I wish you hearts filled with loving kindness, passion and joy.  All the best, E. England

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Strange Attractions...

Some things are little mysteries.  Like my somewhat strange attraction to the carved wooden figures of Native Americans that can be found outside of cigar stores or in high end antique shops.  They have an interesting history.  Tobacco was introduced to remarkably ungrateful early visitors to Virginia by Native Americans and as the fondness -- or craving -- for tobacco took hold, the two became entwined.  In England, small counter-top sized wooden carvings of Indians appeared in the early to mid 1700’s.  Life-sized “Cigar store indians” have been around in the U.S. since the early 1800’s.  Some are elegantly carved, others are more crude, but at a time when many were illiterate they clearly marked a shop as one carrying tobacco products.  

Like the large carved wooden signs depicting eyeglasses, the ubiquitous red and white striped barber shop pole and the over-sized key of the locksmith, these hand carved and brightly painted figures were effective advertising.  They were also, for the most part, inaccurate, as many of the craftsmen had never seen a Native American during careers working in shipyards carving fantastical mastheads of buxom babes for wooden sailing ships.  As steamships made their debut in the 1800's, craftsmen turned their skills to advertising and imagination.

To some, they are understandably controversial figures, but they evoke a tenderness in me I don’t really understand.  I see so much in their weathered and worn, aged-by-time faces, in their costume and in their stance — each one looks as though it wants to tell me a story. Here’s a small collection of some I’ve noticed and photographed.  What do you see in them?

Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson Hole, WY


Washington, DC

Philadelphia, PA

Lots of interesting things catch my eye.  Come visit my shop
Or follow me here:
 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ninedragonsphotography
 Twitter https://twitter.com/ninedragons9

Thanks for stopping by.  E. England

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Reflections of 2013

Wanderlust should have been my middle name.  I love to travel, whether out in nature hiking on my own two feet, carrying everything sufficient for three or four days or in cities large and small.  Because the cities require little planning and there is far less to carry, I explore them often.  Looking back at a collection of thousands of images taken over the year, I have become aware that I am attracted to shop windows.  I love the challenge of the reflective quality, each image becomes as much about what is or isn’t captured in reflection as what is on display in the window.  Here are some of my favorites.

Ames, IA
San Francisco, Mission District

New York, NY 
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Kansas City Plaza
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Washington, DC
Des Moines, IA
Princeton, NJ

I look forward to sharing my reflections of 2014 with you.  Come find and follow me here: