Pocketing seashells.


Some songs come from such a raw and tender place that they write themselves.  This, for me, is one of those songs.


Written, performed, recorded & mixed by Odawni AJ Palmer.
Photograph taken and developed by Odawni AJ Palmer.
Copywrite 2010.


:: Lyrics ::

Fear capsized this ship
into a black ocean
and the ocean swallowed me whole.
Under the waves
I’ve seen so many things,
so many things.

I’ve been pocketing seashells
wanting to share them with you,
share them with you.

“It’s too late”, he said,
“the damage is done.”
The damage,
the damage is done.
Is done.
Is done.
Is done.


Process of peace.

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Process of Peace.
Peace Park*
Seattle, WA

Assignment #2: Depth of Field

Artist’s Statement

The subject of this three-photograph series is ‘the process of peace’.

All three photographs were shot from the same angle and within the same compositional frame.  However, using different depths of field to create each picture gives each image varying compositional elements, and an overall different feel.

Each picture is divided into two parts by a horizontal line which is created where the tree-line meets the sky.  The top portions of the images are filled predominantly with a vibrant white cloud and the bottom portions of the photos, where the statue of a girl stands, is textured by the branches and leaves of the tree in the background.

In the first photograph (left to right) the fore ground is in focus.  This leads the viewers’ eye to focus on the statue of the girl holding an origami crane.  The chain of origami cranes, which lies on the statue’s left upper arm, creates an s-curved vertical line that moves upward to the statue’s right shoulder, and continues along her right arm which extends toward the sky.  This continuous line creates an upward movement within the image and focuses the eye toward the paper bird, which looks as though it is about to take flight.  The vertical line created by the budded flower in the bottom-right corner of the paragraph further creates this visual quality of movement.

The middle photograph shows the same scene but with the background in focus.  The statue is blurred and we can no longer see the detail of the statue’s hair, the paper crane necklace, nor the budded flower in the bottom-right corner.  The vertical s-curved line we see in the first image is no longer a predominant feature of this photograph.  With the background in focus, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the detail of the tree and the clouds.  This gives the image a feeling of expansiveness.  We can see more clearly what lies ahead.

In the third photograph, the background and foreground are in focus.  We are able to see the detail of the statue as well as the detail of the tree and clouds in the background.  All elements of the image are sharpened using this extended depth of field.  The viewer is able to focus on the statue in the forefront.  The vertical s-curve, as can be seen in the first photograph is present here as well; giving movement to the photograph.  The crane being held in the statue’s right hand looks as though it is about to take flight and fly toward the tree and cloud we see clearly in the distance.

In these images I wanted to convey a sense of hope, as is experienced during the process of peace – advocating for, building and maintaining peace.


*Peace Park was the dream of Dr. Floyd Schmoe, who after winning the Hiroshima Peace Prize in 1998 used the $5,000 prize money to clear a small lot near the University of Washington.  From a pile of wrecked cars, garbage, and brush, he worked with community volunteers to build the beautiful Peace Park.

Peace Park is the current home of the Sadako and the Thousand Cranes sculpture, created in 1990 by artist Daryl Smith. The statue is a life-size bronze of Sadako Sasaki, the young Japanese girl who survived the Hiroshima bombing only to die of radiation sickness at age 12.

The park was dedicated on August 6, 1990, the 45th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

(Taken from City of Seattle web site.)

Seattle, kiss kiss.

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Seattle, kiss kiss.
Collection: Boat Street.
Seattle, WA

When we listen.

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When we listen. ::: Gallery.
Collection: Behind the Wheel.
Seattle, WA
April, 2010

Snap in the lens, and take a peek.
Do you see what I see?

The paint has been peeling;
where once was gold
is kitschy opportunity.

But listen,
if rock bands are willing to reunite,
we have a chance.

If we provide kids the room to think, to speak,                                                                                                                                              to dance, to disagree,
our universal depth of vision,
is deeper than we think.

Knowing when it’s love.

“Knowing When It’s Love.”
Shoreline Community College Dark Room
Seattle, WA


I’ve finally succumbed to my obsessive cell phone photo habit and have decided it’s time to graduate and start playing with ‘real’ cameras now and begin to understand how they work.  So, I’ve enrolled in a beginning photography class.  My teacher is a nut and very knowledgeable – I love it.

Our first assignment was to create a photogram to get us acquainted with the enlarger and dark room equipment, as well as to have us start thinking about composition and how to set up images in a way that captures what we want to express.

We were asked to create an image using objects taken from home.  What I first envisioned and started out with turned out to be different from what resulted as I played with objects, filters, exposure times, development elixir timings and agitations.  Initially I was planning on using more objects than I ended up with, and the subject of my image was going to be titled, “Daydreams, memories and forgetting”, but it unfolded into something else. 

That’s what I really enjoyed about this assignment.  The focus was on the process.  Often, in life, we focus on the result or the means needed to create, generate or ‘get’ something.  I am a proponent of paying attention to the process.  To do this we must focus on the present moment.  I think it makes the end result a more honest one.  


To create the image above, I used a cotton black scarf (which is often found wrapped around my neck), a cloth flower I randomly found years ago and vowed I would find something to do with, and a necklace my dad sent to me from Kabul last year – a lapis lazuli pendant in the shape of a heart.

The image is a positive print or reverse negative of the first print I made, the negative.  To do this, you sandwich a blank sheet of photo development paper, emulsion side up, with the emulsion side (down) of a negative print, expose and develop.   


Assignment #1: Create a photogram

The subject of this photogram is ‘our recognition, definition and understanding of love’.

The darker bottom portion of the image, the ‘soil’, represents our idea of love – our emotional experience of love that we cannot define with words; our internal experience of what we understand love to be.  The lighter top portion of the image is our contrasting tactile experience of love – the tangible, visible expression of the love that we see.  Like the flower, our surface-level experience of love can be understood through the senses:  we can touch and see the flower’s petals, smell its fragrance, and taste it, if we want to.

The gauzy texture of the soil captures the confusion and murky misunderstanding of love that we experience; usually as adolescents and young adults.  The visual rhythm of the roots, as represented by scarf tassels, falling downward leads the viewer’s eye to the heart, the universal symbol of love, which sits in the bottom left corner of the image.   It is unclear whether the flower we see has sprouted from the heart or whether it’s tethered to one of the roots which holds nothing at its end.

The stark contrast of the white space of the top portion of the image brings our focus to the flower.  Above the soil it’s clear what we see – a delicate, blossoming flower.  This captures the idealist nature of young love – a love that we want to see and believe.  What we see in this dreamy reality is the flower, and nothing else.  At face value, a love interest can appear beautiful and grounded in our understanding of what love means, but below the surface, we do not know if the love we feel is anchored in reality.

Hands, holding.

Hands, holding – feet, running.
Madrona Playground

the day began:
eyes on aperture set to 6am windows,
open to wetted cotton candy cherry blossom branches

kissed lips kissing, lips
and honey-dipped fingertips
laced between the hands we held

camera obscura of the morning
suffocates the shadows of our story;
lucida keeps the parts intact and true.

Happy daffodil.

O: “I love it when the seasons change.”

She and Jake open the doors on either side of the Esteem and bend to get in.

O: “…luckily they’re always changing.”

Happy daffodil.
On 13th near Jake’s place

True love is half empty.

the belly of the bridge

had greater truths to tell

than you. did.

foaming at the lips.

lies sunken in

to laughing smiles

creased by fear and aggressive spirituality.

your eyes, kind

irises, frantic

with twinkles and sparks.


you hope.

and pretend – to see.


True Love is Half Empty

By the University Bridge

Seattle, WA


The moments.

Her words, un-minced
open curtains, open windows, open boxes, open doors.
Giggles, tickles, cuddles: sweet reminders
of the things our eyes forget to notice.

The moments
Rhiannon snapping shots of the male octopus.
Seattle Aquarium

Arms outstretched.

Branches are arms outstretched.  Their fingers shake and wriggle toward the sky.
This is when I close my eyes and listen: a gentle gusty wind weaves through a hundred naked trees.

North Seattle Community College
Seattle, WA
February 2010