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Playlist: vanessa lowe's Portfolio

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Shake it - a modern Polaroid love story

From This Instant Productions | 59:00


Can you hear it? Click, whir, wait, shake - ahhhh! 

Taking a Polaroid picture is a totally sensory experience. But it is more than just the sensation of a snapshot; there is something special and social about seeing, giving & receiving that white-framed photo.

Taking and sharing instant digital photos these days is second nature. But what is it about that white-framed, square pic that survives in our digital lives (hello, Instagram)?  Does it make moments more special? Do the vintage-y filters make our art history?  Or our history art?  Why has the Polaroid design so clearly marked current digital photography apps and photography memes?  This nostalgic devotion is simply amazing – and Polaroid is seeing a recent resurgence in popularity, even as a Polaroid Museum opens in Las Vegas in Spring, 2014.

We look at these human and visual connections in “Shake It", an hour-long public media documentary. We weave personal narrative with interviews with experts and enthusiasts in the world of art and film, Polaroid history & digital photography, technology and design. "Shake it" has rich and diverse music, sound effects and sound beds - including shutter clicks, a vintage Eames Studio ad for Polaroid, a pop music parody and more.

Hear vox pop and short interviews with Polaroid photographers and enthusiasts, such as polaroidsf.com . We talk with Christopher Bonanos , author of  “Instant: The Story of Polaroid.” And with Dave Bias, who created savepolaroid.com and now is Vice President of The Impossible Project , a company that saved hundreds of thousands of vintage Polaroid cameras from extinction. And we sit with Gus Van Sant , noted film director and Polaroid photographer, to talk about how he used Polaroid photos in his creative process.

Beat Pedaler

From vanessa lowe | 30:01

Beat Pedaler is an in-depth exploration of rapper, inventor and educator Paul Freedman’s passion for bike culture.

Beat Pedaler
vanessa lowe


He goes by the name Fossil Fool.  But Paul Freedman is nobody’s fool.  He’s a rapper, an inventor and an educator.  And he’s on a mission to spread the word -- about biking that is.  He does this in a number of ways – the most visible involves embodying his alter ego, “Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper”.  Fossil Fool rides around on El Arbor, a 15 foot Tree that is also a bicycle, as he performs original rap music about bike culture.  Beat Pedaler is an in-depth exploration of Freedman’s passion for bike culture, and his motivation for calling it from the mountaintops.  Freedman envisions a world where “bikes are cool and cars are lame”, where everyone has discovered that shedding the protection of cars allows them to become more connected to their local communities.  Getting people out of their cars has another benefit for a nation dependent on petroleum.  Fossil Fool believes that creating community by celebrating bike culture will fuel a shift in attitudes and behaviors that just might save the planet.

Before You Do This

From vanessa lowe | 04:09

This piece was produced for the 2nd Annual KCRW 24-Hour Radio Race, by Vanessa Lowe and Kent Sparling. It made it to the top ten finalists out of 139 entries!

Toby_small Toby Hawkins struggled with addiction for most of his life.  He finally asked for help from the right people at the right time. Now he's been clean and sober for 5 years.

Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy

From vanessa lowe | 01:00:00

An hour-long radio documentary, featuring the voices of fourteen women who have breastfed their children between one and four years. Some of the major topics covered include dealing with judgment and criticism, public nursing, benefits and challenges, changes in perception, weaning, nursing while working, and support. Also featured is commentary from Dr. Nigel Rollins, of the World Health Organization, Dr. Jay Gordon, a Fellow of the American Association of Pediatrics, and Dr. Katherine Dettwyler, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Delaware.


Extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding past one year) is arguably among the most heated and controversial child rearing choices, occupying an emotionally fraught landscape along with co-sleeping, sleep training and discipline.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months, and then for at least a year, or as long as is mutually desirable.  The World Health Organization recommends that a mother breastfeed her child for at least two years.  The recommendations are based on countless studies showing significant health benefits of breastfeeding for babies and children, as well as for mothers.  However, science and societal views don't always align.

Because of the potential for judgment about the basic merits of their parenting, many mothers keep quiet about the joys, frustrations, challenges, and struggles of nursing their kids past babyhood.  This can lead to mothers feeling isolated and unsupported.  It is this lack of support, in addition to the fear of public criticism that leads many mothers to wean before they and their children are ready.  

The goal of this radio documentary is to stimulate dialogue about breastfeeding past one year in the United States.  In addition, it aims to educate mothers, family members, and health care practitioners about the benefits and challenges of breastfeeding past infancy.  Finally, the piece aims to give voice to breastfeeding mothers.  

"Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy" was produced by Vanessa Lowe, whose background includes a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, as well as four years as host of a radio show on KWMR, a community radio station in Point Reyes Station, CA.  She is a musician and songwriter, and has released four records, with a fifth due for release in 2011.  She is the mother of a five-year-old son.  

Kent Sparling, a Bay Area composer, sound designer and re-recording mixer associated with George Lucas' Skywalker Sound, completed the final editing and mixing of "Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy".   

Ep. 0 - Welcome to the Night

From vanessa lowe | Part of the Nocturne series | 15:14

An introduction to Nocturne.

Nocture-corrected-itunes-1400_small An introduction to Nocturne.

Ep. 1 - Night Owls

From vanessa lowe | Part of the Nocturne series | 19:02

Nighttime feels different to different people. Some are at their most energized and creative, while others are a little creeped out. Which side of the night are you on?

Nocture-corrected-itunes-1400_small Nighttime feels different to different people. Some are at their most energized and creative, while others are a little creeped out. Which side of the night are you on?

Ep. 2 - Portal

From vanessa lowe | Part of the Nocturne series | 17:39

What happens for a visually oriented person when the darkness of night takes away all of the reference points for making a memory?

Nocture-corrected-itunes-1400_small What happens for a visually oriented person when the darkness of night takes away all of the reference points for making a memory?