… and making room for magic…

I’m not a writer. Ok, *technically* that’s not true.

Finally found a use for that macbook pro box I can’t throw away — perfect for manuscript storage!

I’ve kept journals since I was ten. I write stories for my photography blog. I’ve written a few articles here…and there.

And technically I have published a few books, if self-published books full of mostly photographs count (lots of pretty pictures in my Art of Train Travel book if you like that sort of thing).

What brings me here though — to write about writing — is the odd fact that I find myself now three (four?) …

{ two stories of one hour on the same day }

fuzzy pollinator | photo by Jennifer Koskinen

3pm yesterday, Springfield ILLINOIS:

A fierce, ten year old girl (who happens to be my niece) presented testimony as the opening witness on a bill she’d worked with her State Representative to craft with the goal of protect pollinators.

Her vision is long and her approach was wise, resisting the late push by environmental groups to change the bill that only existed on account of her research and initiative. These groups and others wanted to add more to the bill. She convinced them all on the merits of getting *something* through, rather than trying for too much and getting nothing.

2020 Womxn’s March in Denver | photo by Jennifer Koskinen

ON THE 47TH ANNIVERSARY of Roe v. Wade (a ruling which didn’t begin abortions, but ended an era of women needlessly dying from them), and against the backdrop of anti-abortion measures being pushed through state legislatures across the country in record numbers— in the year 2020 — I am once again thinking about the time, just a few months ago, when my sister texted me this question:

“Without using google, what percentage of pregnancies would you estimate are terminated in the United States?”

As I stared at her text, blinking, it dawned on me that, despite how passionate I am…

a favorite tree in different seasons | photos by jennifer koskinen

Chasing light as a landscape photographer, I was never sure if it was a byproduct or the cause of my photographic pursuits, but either way: I fell madly in love with the exquisite perfection of our planet, over and over, dozens of times a day. So hard it frequently took my breath away.

And as both a mother and a senior portrait photographer, I fall in love with the future generation, over and over, client by client. This generation is profoundly impressive: compassionate communicators, fighters, artists. They — YOU — are an inspiring bunch of humans.

Turns out these two…

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Let me just get this out of the way up front:

I’m swimming in the thick of it today.

For context:

  1. Our orange-hued, dickwad-in-chief predictably assassinated his way into a global testosterone-infused pissing match over the past week which, at best, kept a large portion of the world sleepless with anxiety over the impending brink of World War III, and at worst, might still get a whole lot of people killed.
  2. I’m a 40-something woman experiencing a wicked case of PMS.
  3. I made the mistake of checking FB before bed last night.

So yeah, buckle up guys.

I’ll start at…

photo by Jennifer M Koskinen

My jaw hung open at the great fortune that we were on this exact flight pattern on our descent, circling Manhattan prior to landing that evening. Overwhelmed by an intense sense of wonder, I held up my tiny film camera and snapped this sunset photo from my airplane window. It was the year 2000. I don’t remember the exact timing, but looking at the angle of the sun I’m guessing it would have been July.

I loved how the sun highlighted one of the cross-town streets, how it marked one kind of symmetry in the skyline. But as an architecture…

our fragile atmosphere, photo by NASA

Humans are funny. We’re so easily seduced by a good story, but our curiosity is moved to the point of action only when it’s convenient. Or when a story is extra sexy. Or if it has aliens.

And it may be just me, but I can’t help but marvel at the strange quirk of human behavior revealed in the near simultaneous unfolding of these two stories this week, and the collective response to each (one of them is a joke and the other arguably spells out our collective demise as a species. …

America’s Story inside the Dome of the U.S.Capitol Building | Photo by J. Koskinen

I’m still trying to break the habit of listening to the news while I work. At least not all day.

Most days I fail miserably. Yesterday, the direct result of this failure was that my editing hours were accompanied by repeated triggers on the news, riling me up about an issue that perpetually bugs me: the tendency journalists and citizens alike seem to have to tear to shreds any politician who dares to evolve on a policy position.

Frustrated with what I was hearing, I posted a non-partisan plea on Facebook:

Journalists: PLEASE stop bashing politicians when they evolve on…

My sister and I couldn’t help giggling when we heard the sudden, overwhelming rumble of the organ pipes. If you’ve experienced the heart-pounding sensation of this particular instrument, perhaps our visceral response will resonate.

Moments before, in a decidedly out of character move for a secular gal from Illinois — a gesture inspired by the overwhelming history and human ingenuity that built this space with gravity defying, soaring vaults designed to inspire us to ponder the heavens beyond our daily lives — my sister had been inspired to light a candle and say a prayer.

Sunday Service, April 7th, 2019 at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris | photo by Jennifer Koskinen

Her lighting of the candle…

Photo by Laura Lee Moreau on Unsplash

It was well established early on that she could hold her own against even the greatest warriors in battle. And we’d already cheered as we watched her save Steve Trevor’s life in the alley (a brilliant twist on the classic “Clark Kent saves Lois Lane” alley scene).

So when Diana mounted the ladder and stepped into enemy fire in No Man’s Land, breaking all precedent in the bloody landscape of an unwinnable war, boldly assuming a leadership role driven by her sense of integrity and moral obligation, it took me by surprise to find myself wiping a copious watershed of…

Jennifer M Koskinen

photographer | writer | creative

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