San Francisco Calling | March Free Desktop Image

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Five years ago, I received a phone call from an editor at a magazine in San Francisco offering me an opportunity to work with their publication…Mother Jones Magazine.

After the recent end (of many ends) of a yoyo relationship that shadowed most of my small town St. Louis existence as well as most of my twenties, I leapt at the opportunity to walk through a new door and leave the Midwest. (Or Run should I say) It was the stuff to base a ‘coming of age chic flick’ on. A tragically broken heart…an opportunity…a road trip…with Cat Stevens in the backseat singing the soundtrack to my life.

It was the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. I was 26 and soon to fall in love again as well as soon to face a year of hard work, hard play and learning the joy of running and dancing barefoot in parks.

Day three in California, I was robbed of everything I owned minus my camera, a bag of clothes, and my car which I wish had been stolen to avoid the thousands in future parking fines and tows.

I landed in a North Beach hostel called The Green Tortoise that I called home for the next ten months. I shared a room with a rotating door of colorful roommates who all brought a mixed bag of stories and smells. Our room number was 30 and properly coined ‘Dirty Thirty’. (the room itself is a whole separate post)

Between the magazine and working at the hostel, and photographing more than I have ever, I worked 70+ hours a week. Add poor sleep, poor nutrition, and a few too many parties and you’ve got a full-blown exhaustion concoction. By October, I was seeking help for fainting spells and general fatigue. By December, I could barely recognize myself in the mirror.

I returned to my Missouri home and was diagnosed with Extreme Adrenal Fatigue and put on bed rest for 6 months. Later, it was discovered that I have a wheat allergy contributing to the fatigue. I spent year 27 recuperating and preparing for my return to the west coast…my new home.

This image of my good friend, Claudia, was taken on the roof of the Tortoise just before my return to Missouri. Claudia was in art school and asked me to photograph her see-through-clothing line and it so happened that day it rained. (even better for see through yes?)

It is my ‘sunshine on a cloudy day shot’ as Claudia often takes that role for me.

Year 26 was epic in my book. When I look back at this image, I am reminded of the family I made at the Tortoise, my west coast roots, and the magic of what happens when taking a leap of faith. Thanks Mrs. Gordon for your energy and inspiration and congrats on your new marriage!


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