Need a Signal Boost…

I have a problem knee. It started years ago after a car accident, and ended (or so I thought) about 3 years ago after the gradual wearing away of the cartilage in my right knee started to become painful. I had it treated, I went to Physical Therapy… and it was fixed. Or so I thought.

A little more than 3 years later and I start having knee pain again. Another round of treatments, more physical therapy, and it was starting to get better again. And then…

One evening earlier this month, during an otherwise uneventful hike through Griffith Park, I took a step up an incline and felt a sharp pain and a large crunch. But because I was at the top of a mountain, I walked it off and got back to my car. And after the initial crunching, honestly, it seemed okay. The next day it was sore. I chalked it up to the normal soreness from overexertion, put some ice on it and went on with my day. The day after that I woke up to my knee the size of a grapefruit and the inability to bend it at all. It was stiff, sore and HURT. Again, walked as much as I could, got it loosened up, iced it and gave myself the next 3 days off working out and generally sat on my ass as much as possible.

Flash forward to 3 weeks later and though it’s gotten generally better and it’s manageable, I am noticing that it’s always stiff, it’s always sore and remains a bit swollen. I can’t bend it. My range of motion is limited and I’m in constant pain. So back to the doctor again. Another MRI, and this time, it’s not just the same old thing. The crunch I felt during that hike was apparently a pretty big tear in the already weakened cartilage. On the MRI I could see the spot where it was missing plainly. No need for doctor translation on this one – look there’s a chunk of my knee missing – easy to see.

And this time, I will need surgery to repair the damage.

And herein lies the problem.

I am a freelance photographer. And I don’t get paid sick days. I have been told by my doctor that recovery from this surgery will require me to be on crutches for up to 6 weeks. Which means, I will not be able to work for at least that long. I have health insurance, but I am going to be responsible for paying part of it and even with insurance, I’m looking at a couple thousand dollars.

I hate asking for help.

But there it is.

I need help.

What I am asking for is this – simply a signal boost.

I have an Etsy store filled with prints of my photography work – I need to sell them. A good number of them are already framed from having shown in local galleries over the last few years. I have a few things I’m selling on eBay (and I’m sure once I’ve taken a moment to go through my closet, I will have more).

Here are the links:

Lauren Elisabeth Photography on Etsy (

and my seller ID on eBay is TheTankGyrl, my auctions are here:

Friends and readers! I would appreciate it greatly if you could pass these links along to your followers.

Also, for the next few weeks before the surgery, I’m going to need to work as much as possible. If you need headshots, portraits, have a party or event that needs coverage – my work is at

Thanks for taking a moment to read this.


Thoughts on the New Instagram Terms of Service, And It’s Subsequent Responses

Earlier today, a friend re-posted an article with the tweet “by someone who actually bothered to read it” regarding the new #Instagram Terms of Service debate. Well, dear person who wrote that, I would kindly like to invite you to go fuck yourself.

Contrary to that snarky little troll’s suggestion that all the uproar was by people who didn’t even read what they were complaining about, I did, in fact, read the new ToS that Instagram posted and the terms and language was pretty damn clear to me. I am a photographer and producer who constantly deals with the legalities of image use both in my own work and for other photographers. There was no question to my mind, or the minds of a number of other users what the intent was.

It said that Instagram could use my photos for advertising without my permission and very clearly stated that they could even get compensation for my images. There was nothing UNCLEAR about that statement. No, the language did not say that they could directly sell my images, but does that matter? A blanket statement allowing a social media network to use my photos and get compensated for it – however that compensation breaks down – is not okay. Whether its an image from an upcoming fine art series I’m working on that I feel like sharing to get feedback or a random picture of the foam bird the guy at the coffee shop put on my latte, no one should have the right to use those photos without my express permission.

This language was so widely “misinterpreted” that Instagram quickly back-pedaled after the outcry of users who did read the ToS, saying, like a sheepish boyfriend trying to apologize when he knows he’s wrong – “I didn’t mean it like that.”

Um, I’m sorry, but I’m calling BULLSHIT. They meant it like that. The language and intent were clear, there is no question. Instagram only started to “Clarify” after a large number of celebrity users started dropping the service like it was a blanket covered in small pox. Facebook owns Instagram. And Facebook has long been trying to figure out a way to get away with this kind of crap. The ToS on FB is questionable at best and it seems to me that this may have been an attempt to see just how far they could push things before their users would indeed jump ship. Judging from the fact that it has taken me all day to get into Instaport (to export all of my images from Instagram in preparation to leave the service) and that the Instaport service has been crashed from overuse for most of the last day that there is a large number of people who know exactly what Instagram meant and didn’t like it.

And if I was even the least bit unsure of my own interpretation of the ToS language, there is this: That – to everyone who supposedly “misconstrued” the language in question – is pretty damn clear.

National Geographic – one of the most respected and long running magazines on the planet – has suspended it’s Instagram account because the powers that be at NatGeo thought the language on the ToS was clear enough that they want no part of it. I don’t think the lawyers at National Geographic had any doubt in their minds as to Instagram’s intent when they read the same lines that I did. They think it’s shady. So do I. So should you.

Pancakes & Booze Los Angeles

So last night, I went downtown to check out the Pancakes and Booze Art Show and Party at Lot 613 Warehouse. Tom Kirlin has been doing these shows every few months here in Los Angeles, where the parties were born as a concept and those attending this weekend’s festivities were promised art, pancakes, booze, music and a zombie fashion show. The show is running for 2 nights, and at a $5 cover charge, it’s a pretty good deal for a Friday night in LA.

Though, having attended a few of these shows and shown work in a few of the original shows back in Kirlin’s old small warehouse space on East Jefferson years ago, I think it’s come to the attention of the public that these shows aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Though a good time and a FANTASTIC idea, a few years on and I feel like they should have worked out the kinks by now. And there are a quite a few kinks…

Though it is an amazing thing to see a variety of art work from a number of new and upcoming artists on the walls, there needs to be someone to actually curate the shows in order to make them more cohesive and more engaging. The fact that it seems that Kirlin just throws the art up wherever it will fit with no real design to the shows makes the amount of artwork shown a bit of a mess. It’s too much. The eye is bombarded by the sheer amount of different work all butted up against each other mixing artists and styles. It’s confusing to view artwork this way and makes the experience a bit of visual overload. Editing down the amount of artists showing and limiting the number of pieces each can show would go a long way to making this show a more visually entertaining experience for everyone.

Also, giving each of the shows a general theme would go a long way towards that goal as well. At the show this weekend there is everything from graffiti art to painting to photography and mixed media pieces but none of them had any theme or connection to each other. Again, it made viewing the artwork a bit epileptic and makes the viewer feel like they have ADD. You truly don’t know where to look. Giving each show a theme – even if it’s a general theme – I think would work better towards the greater goal of the Pancakes and Booze shows – which is to get new artists shown. But the truth is that some of the pieces shown last night were just plain bad and some were downright offensive, and though it’s a 21 plus crowd, there is no need to show pieces that are more suited to the Playboy Mansion than an art gallery. (Before you all start flaming me, I would like to state for the record, that as an artist, I agree that art is subjective and meant to raise questions and sometimes eyebrows, but the graphic nature of some works combined with the fact that they were just bad paintings are just unnecessary in my humble opinion.)

As usual, the pancakes were quite delicious, though the wait for them was 45 minutes. For ONE pancake. Let’s get on it, if you’re going to do such a big party and offer up free pancakes, maybe it’s time to add a second pancake station. I spent more time in line for my one tasty breakfast treat than I did inside the show.

Now that I’ve ranted on about the art and the pancakes, all I’ll say about the booze is that it’s not free. Once upon a time at Kirlin’s old location, the booze was free, but since the party has moved to its new location, it’s a cash bar, kids, just as an FYI. But the drinks aren’t entirely overpriced and they do offer you an ATM on the premises in case you forget to stop by the bank on your way out or if you’re like me, you just never carry cash.

Which brings me to my biggest disappointment of the evening. The flyer and advertising promised a Zombie Fashion Show. I was really looking forward to that, honestly. I mean, ZOMBIES AND A FASHION SHOW – the possibilities are awesome and my head walked into the show with visions of a runway filled with models in the latest styles from a local designer hobbling and wobbling bloodied and with brains on their mouths. What we got was a few girls in tacky unimaginative bathing suits with badly done zombie makeup walking into the room to the hoots and hollers of the men present. Only ONE of the models took the zombie theme to heart and did the zombie hobble – which I have to say must have been wickedly difficult to do in heels. The rest just did the boring “model strut” and walked in and out with no nod to the fact that they were supposed to be the undead. My friends and I all thought this part of the show could have been done a lot more creatively and successfully than it was. Even one of my friends made the comment, “I feel sorry for these girls.”

Don’t get me wrong, my friends and I had a good time last night, but most of that was down to our own interactions within the background of the event. Overall, the Pancakes and Booze Shows are good and I think they’re worth the $5 cover and can be really fun. I just think that they could be SO much better and they have the potential to be GREAT. But they’re not there yet.

Washington DC

Another group from my current series of shots for my latest project.

©LaurenElisabeth Photography

Mommy, Can I Have A Luck Dragon?

Last week, as I was trolling around on the internet as I usually do in preparation for my weekend and in order to try to find some fun and inexpensive ways to waste time and get off of my own couch, I saw a post on Twitter about a “Double Feature Drink-Along” at a theatre downtown of two of my favorite super awesome 80’s fantasy kids movies of all time: Labyrinth and The Neverending Story. I instantly sent the link to a couple of my friends with the subject line of “WE HAVE TO GO TO THIS.”

It was decided, though, a few other friends who had been invited couldn’t make it, that my good friend G and myself would hook up early, grab some grub and then head down to the Downtown Independent Theatre on Main Street in Downtown LA for the main event. Organized by the theatre and Cinema Speakeasy, this was sure to be a good time. But because I wasn’t sure how many people would indeed be attending, I didn’t buy tickets ahead of time. (I wish I had but we’ll get to that.)

G and I arrived slightly after 7 pm and found that the parking was easy – there is a $5 lot just next door to the theatre and the theatre itself is a gorgeous strikingly modern building that sort of stands out next to a Latin dive bar in a section of town that’s not quite there yet in the massive gentrification of downtown Los Angeles. Outside the theatre was one security guard checking pre-purchased tickets, but as non-ticket holders, we were told to wait outside. So we did. For about a half hour. This was the downside to the evening.

When the event managers finally did come outside, they simply told everyone to go in and buy tickets, which begs the question – why were we made to stand outside? During the films, G and I both noticed that there were more than enough empty seats inside the theatre, which made our waiting unnecessary and kind of irritating. Not to mention that a number of the people who had been made to wait had actually bought tickets ahead of time, but they were on the Will-Call pick up list so didn’t have tickets in hand. It seemed to me that the security guard should have been given more clear instructions in the situation and all that waiting could have been avoided.

But whatever, we got in and got our first round of drinks. The drink prices weren’t great ($6 for beer or wine) but weren’t horrible and with the purchase of a ticket, the promoters generously gave everyone a Tecate to get their evening going. The beer choices were pretty good actually – limited yes, but at least it wasn’t all Tecate.

G and I found seats in the upper end of the theatre and settled in. Not long after, our hosts came through to outline the rules of our game and all bets were off. It wasn’t just a drink-along; it was also a sing-along, shout-along, heckle-along, as well as occasional dance party and comedy night. Best line of the night, I think came from the man sitting just behind us. As the opening credits came up on The Neverending Story, someone shouted, “Whatever happened to that kid?” at the name of Noah Hathaway who played the fearless, feathered-haired pretty pretty warrior child and said guy let go without missing a beat “I’m sitting right here.” (By the way, since I was actually curious, I looked it up. It turns out the former child actor owns a tattoo shop with his wife and races motorcycles here in Southern California. I wonder if anyone has ever asked him for a Luck Dragon Tattoo?) Honestly, the minute the lights went down and the first film started and EVERYONE in the theatre started singing along to the brilliantly 80’s theme to the Neverending Story, I knew I was in for a fun evening.

After the first film, there was a short intermission for bathroom breaks and to gather more beers for the next film, so G and I went up to the rooftop bar at the theatre, which offered a beautiful view of the LA skyline and a place for smokers to top off. Being in those situations always almost makes me wish I still smoked, but truly I wasn’t drunk enough to wander over to bum one off of anyone.

Again, the comments from the audience started as soon as the opening credits rolled on the second film, Labyrinth, that classic Jim Henson creation featuring the legendary David Bowie as the Goblin King with the most magnificent mullet ever created by a hair stylist and a series of disturbing crotch shots (which was featured as part of our game as we watched the film), not to mention the introduction of Jennifer Connolly’s baby blues to the world (as well as her then caterpillar like eyebrows) as she screeched “It’s Not Fair” throughout her fantasy world.

It was a good night. I laughed my butt off and for the low price of $12 plus drinks, I got a little tipsy, had a good time and got to see a luck dragon in all it’s 80’s bad computer graphics imagery on a large screen again. The idea is a simple one and yeah, it would be cheaper to do this at home with a group of friends and DVD rentals, but still, you can’t replace the random commentary of a lot of people feeding off each other throughout the night. It was the best part; and in hindsight, totally worth a little waiting.

Next time, I’ll be sure to buy tickets ahead of time and probably will try to get an even bigger group of friends to go with us. Maybe I’ll even go one step further and show up in costume (as was encouraged on the event listing, but sadly only a few brave souls took that to heart). Okay, yeah, probably not that last bit, but I’ll be sitting in the back with friends singing along as loudly as I can.

You can sign up for the Downtown Independent mailing list here:

Also, sign up for Cinema Speakeasy’s mailing list as well… they do events in both LA and San Francisco and they’re always worth checking out.


Recently, I had the realization that in most of my traveling, no matter where I go, a lot of my favorite pictures are taken on my phone.

So I’ve decided to put together a project of the favorite shots from each city I’ve been to.

Not too many to start, but here’s the first bunch.

From Baltimore, Maryland.