June 6, 2011

Feeding the Photographers Soul –

“Make no small plans for they have no power to stir the soul.”  -Niccolo Machiavelli

Continuing the photography journey… portrait, landscapes and food.

When people ask me how I got into photography, I always struggle with the answer.  It started when I was very young, I want to say that I think I was born to be a photographer.  Is that true?  I have no idea.  But I love it and I’m trying.  It’s a constant learning process, just like everything else.  I remember as a child, pouring over our collection of National Geographic magazines, and being amazed with the photos.  I received my first camera when I was 8, a pink Le Click 110 camera.  As an awkward preteen my friend and I used to go to the mall and ask random people if we could take their photos with my pink Le Click.  My bedroom was covered floor to ceiling (and actually all of the ceiling too) with photos.  I’ve taken photos for as long as I can remember.  They have been my passion before I knew what passion was.  I’m not going to say it’s easy and constantly fulfilling though.  It’s been a constant roller coaster.  Some days are inspiring and delicious.  And let’s just say the other days I feel as if I might cut my ear off and move to the south of France.  And then I think of my favorite cheese there and think it’s really not so bad of an idea.  Maybe Van Gogh had something there?   Do other photographers feel this way?  I don’t know, do you?  I would assume so, being that we are driven by beauty and emotion that is felt through that beauty.  But who knows?

I studied abroad in college.  My amazing friends were either annoyed with my constant photo taking, or laughing about me and my camera.  While traveling and living in France, I forged a stronger relationship with my Nikon N90 and Reblochon cheese, and learned about French food and culture.  By the time I graduated from college, my N90’s film door was duck taped shut.

Now, many years later  I am a photographer of all things that nature provides, whether that’s people, places or food.  People say you can’t do it all- pick one.  But wasn’t that said about Amazon.com too?  ; )  I have no idea whether that is the correct “way to go”, in fact one of my next blog posts is going to be about being unique.  But I do know that as a photographer we love the picture, we love the beauty of the moment.  We savor the moment.  That’s in everything.  It’s not just with people, or just with landscapes.  I think we should be so proud of that.  To have anything in life that helps you savor the moment, it’s a good thing.

Enjoying all types of food, beautiful places, strong coffees (and margaritas), and inspirational photographic moments.  Enjoying growing at the trade.  Giving ourselves assignments to continue learning and growing, and more importantly, feeding our photographic souls.  This blog is going to be an outlet and my call to you to join me in weekly assignments.  Whether we master the weekly assignment or not, we at least get out there and shoot, and therefor we grow.

So friends,  join me in this project, this journey.  It will only help us flourish!

December 9, 2011

Show me the way, Auntie

December 8 Reverb Broads Prompt: Why blog? Why do you or why do you like to blog (recognizing that these are not always the same thing)?

I’d love to say that eventually my blog will help to share, learn, and follow through with the creative process that inspired us all to start on the photography journey in the first place.  And as we follow the path, we need to lean on each other and find inspiration to keep progressing. (And I’m not talking about the kind of lean that I did this week, leaning a little too far for a picture and falling on my face.) I’m talking about why I blog, and why photographers should blog in general.  It’s like finding that one writer who says something that strikes a chord with you…  you feel like there really is someone else out there that understands where you are coming from.  We all need those connections.  It pushes you further.  If you can find a photography blog that does something similar, who knows where it can take you and your photography?  And the experience of sharing it with others only broadens our horizons and opens up new opportunities.  By sharing with each other and trying new things, we will grow.

I was taking a shower after I wrote this, and for some odd reason my aunt came into my mind (is that weird that she came in my mind when I was taking a shower??).  Auntie was an amazing writer.  She focused on poetry.  And she dedicated herself to it.  She consistently wrote and continually focused on challenges and improving.  She passed away a few years ago, and at her funeral my family handed out books they had put together of her poems.  People who barely new her were coming in and taking arm fulls of the books.  I heard one of them say, as they were grabbing, “I’m taking as many as I can, these are going to be worth something one day.”  At first I was horrified.  Coming to a funeral of someone you don’t know well to run in for a second and grab books of her poems??  Really??  But then I thought about it, Auntie consistently, throughout her life gave herself to her passion, poetry.  She make a name for herself by focusing and continually chipping at that block.  She had her ups, her downs, just like the rest of us.  She was by no means famous.  But I hope she was proud in that moment, proud to see that people respected her work enough to do that, and proud of what she had accomplished by continually trying.  Fortitude… she wasn’t the next Shakespeare interviewed on tv.  She didn’t need to be on a reality show to keep herself going.  She didn’t need to be noticed, she kept writing.

It’s helped me come up with a blogging goal for 2012.  I’m having a hard time with the whole food photography scene.  I get the other stuff.  I understand portraits and landscapes.  I’m not Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz, but I get it.  Food is a mystery to me, one I really want to solve.  I’m going to be making my way through all of the aspects of food photography in 2012.  I’m going to MAKE myself learn it and learn it thouroughly.  Each week is going to be one different aspect… southern light, northern light, tiny aspects of styling.  52 weeks of minute details about food photography.  I’m going to get better at this, and by the end of the journey I hope to be completely comfortable with any food photography situation, have my own style, and hopefully others can join me on the journey as well… or just learn from my posted stupidity and mistakes.

December 7, 2011

Never Say Never Again…

December 6 Reverb Broads Prompt: List 10 things you would never do.
Courtesy of the lovely Katrina of katrinatripled.blogspot.com.
From a photographers stand point, I promise you I will never...
-I will never make one of those photos, like from the 70’s and early 80’s where there is a head shot and then a profile shot lighter on the same photo
-Wow… I will never do that to anyone.  Not unless it’s a joke anyway.
-Nope, I won’t do this… NOT sexy, not at all..
-I’m embarrassed to be a part of an industry that took part in that one.  The never is in caps on this one…. NEVER will I do that.

This is one of my favorites

-Oh my.  What’s that saying?  A photo is worth a thousand words?  I WILL NEVER DO THIS TO ANYONE

Woops!

Woops!

-I will never put your baby on his face for a portrait session

-I will never let you look like this in front of my camera, I promise.

Oh Dear Mom

-I will NEVER laugh at you when your mom makes you wear this for your photos, I promise.

Chugga Chugga Poo!  Poo!

Chugga Chugga Poo! Poo!

-I will never force this kind of “artistic” idea on you.  NEVER.

And my final NEVER:

-I promise never to cause you nightmares for the rest of your life because of a situation like this.  Oh Lord.

And now the personal side:

-I will never drink my own pee, even if it is in order to survive
-I will never (again) eat liver
-I will never change my career path in order to become an OB/GYN or a proctologist

-I will never tight rope walk in between high-rise buildings

-I will never be on one of those family game shows where everyone wears matching unitards and tries to make it over a pool of colored goo.

-I will never be on Dancing with the Stars

-I will never do 90% of what Bear Grylls does in nature.

-I will never, ever understand people who abuse children.

-I will never become obsessed with football.

-I will never wear just a barrel and jump off Niagara Falls

-I will never try to cut my hair with a wood chipper.  (?)

There are so many endless things to say here that this list could go on non stop forever.  Pick something, anything, and we could find something never to do with it.

(Photos lovingly borrowed from the Ellen DeGeneres Show Site, under Photos You’ve Paid For)

December 6, 2011

“He was a fiddler, and consequently a rogue.” – Jonathan Swift

December 5 Reverb Broads Prompt: What is the one thing you finally did this year that you always wanted or said you were going to do, but in your heart of hearts never thought you would actually do? courtesy of Amy at 2bperfectlyfrank.blogspot.comHa!  I laugh at this question!  (Does that mean I don’t have to answer it?? Please??)Let me apologize in advance… this turned out to be kind of cheesy.

Elizabeth's Fiddle

Photographically, I always said that I would spend time taking photos of something wonderful.  Something that meant asomething to the world, that gave back.  That was one of those look deep into the sky, tilt your head and let your eyes become foggy as you say it type things.  I never stick to those ideas.  Well, after being a student on a live 3 day internet course last spring, a kick was put into my jump.  I met enough inspiring people to actually make me react.  I came home to Steamboat Springs and volunteered my time and photography to a greater cause, The Humble Ranch.  This is an amazing ranch where volunteers teach equine therapy to people of all ages who need some help.  It’s an amazing place.  I strapped on my cowboy boots and cowboy hat for 4 hot mornings and evenings at the ranch, taking pictures of a blind child with cystic fibrosis smiling and petting her favorite horse.  I saw assisted adults from The Horizons home (here in Steamboat) laugh and gallop down some beautiful mountain trails.  I saw loving and kind people make their lives richer by enjoying each moment that they were allowed to help.  I saw autistic children who were smiling because they realized they had a connection with those big animals.  It was awesome.  I was often wiping away tears of beautiful moments.  I can’s share those photos, they are private and wonderful memories of Humble Ranch, but they will stay in my heart for a long time.

Personally… All day I have been thinking about what a dreamer I am.  I come up with a different idea, well, probably every day, but at least one a week.  Oh, and they are real and doable.  Oh ya!  Doable for me?  Maybe not.  Doable for someone though.  So on the list this year, there have been about 200 different ideas that, at the time, were TOP PRIORITIES!

One of those… for some odd reason in elementary school I fell in love with the violin.  I played through high school.  I have missed it, and I dreamed I would pick it up again one day and actually learn how to play some good ol’ Irish fiddle music.  I usually let these dreams reach on for decades and then slowly fade out of reality.  About a month ago, I picked up my violin and started reacquainting myself with the notes.  It made me feel sorry for beginning music teachers.  Oh my aching ears.  But, I try to pick up my violin everyday now, maybe just for one quick song, but I try it.  And I’m remembering the notes by sight again.  And I remember what each string is called.  And every once in a while I get a glimpse of what I used to sound like when I had been playing for years.  This week my neighbor is forcing me to brake my silence and join her.  A few weeks after that I know she is going to talk me into joining her fiddling group.  I’m scared. I’m excited.  I’m glad I crossed one thing off of that list.  And I’m glad I wrote this, it’s making me appreciate it a little more.  I’m amazed and kind of proud that I actually did cross a couple of things off!   Maybe it wasn’t such a bad year after all?  ; )

December 3, 2011

Trying To Be An Adult

I’m participating in #ReverbBroads11, a month of blog prompts promised to be silly and reflective. Today’s prompt is: How did you become more of a grown-up this year? Or did you pull a Peter Pan and stubbornly remain childlike? via Bethany at  bethanyactually.com
(bare with me, I’m typing with a head cold today so my thoughts are scattered, actually, I guess they are just like normal.)

On the photography side of things:  I think artistically to say that you have grown up is kind of a sad thing.  Maybe your tastes, your style, your focus has grown, but hopefully we all retain our childlike enthusiasm when thinking about our next project, or while taking our photos.  The whole point of photography is really to capture a moment.  I think photography and being childlike have a very strong link.

Even in critiquing photos, the photos that we like the most… what do they do?  They bring back some form of imagery or memory that has to do with being a child.  Whether that’s seeing something in a new way, that we haven’t experienced before, seeing something from an angle that we haven’t experienced since we were little, a photo that brings back childhood memories, or photos where you can actually get a sense of the childhood magic that is happening, and has happened to us before.  It can almost be a moment of traveling back in time.  I think as we get older we cherish those photos that relate a sense of that innocent, unknowing, explorative and totally open time.   Before today’s world shaped us.  It’s one of those shared moments, you and the photo share a certain something.  Something that helps bond you emotionally.

How can we go back and (creatively) be like a kid again?  We need to put ourselves into situations where we can try to see things almost for the first time.  We feel the excitement, the newness, we can easily get lost in the wonder of it.   If not, then it might be time to find what does excite you like that again.  Maybe a different type of photography?  Although we talk about photography as one big category, people have their niches.  Maybe you get lost in the moment when you photograph flowers, or butterflies, or food?  Maybe you love landscapes?  Maybe catching that magic moment with children?  Or catching moments of true love?  Weddings and engagements.  Maybe incorporating your old love of art with your photography and learning to paint your photographs?  When you find what you love, you become child like again.  You lose yourself in your work.  Hours can go by and you don’t notice because you are so passionately involved in what you are doing.  It’s bliss.  Like watching a child play with something for hours, and getting lost in his/her imaginary world of play.  When we find what we are passionate about, it is the same thing.  We can get lost in it.  Your mind goes to another world.  It’s one of life’s gifts.The “grown up” part of photography I think is the most difficult for the super creative people.  They don’t want to think about to-do’s, finances, schedules, editing 500 photos and getting them out the door in 2 hours.  It’s disheartning that in my mind grown up = responsibilities.  I guess there is another way to look at the “grown up” side of photography. If we put our adult knowledge to work, it gives us the opportunity to be creative for good purposes.  To help out organizations, charities and people that we have wanted to help, but were always too young and inexperienced to assist.  It also allows us the know how to be able to step forward.  It allows enough background to know that we should step forward and take advantage of moments, that those moments can and will pass if we do not seize them.

copyright Kat Walsh Photography 2009

Happily Lost in the Flowers

The key of course is the blending of the two.  The blending of the child like magic that can be captured in a beautiful moment by a good photographer, and having enough of the “adult” in you to still run a business and make it profitable.  I think it is a rare thing to find someone who is truly special at the first part, the creative capturing, and have them be good business people.  I’m sure they are out there.  Maybe further down the road we will try to explore this and find people we think are fabulous on both sides.

The personal side is much easier for me.  I am a child.  I sometimes look like an adult.  I’m much more of an adult when I am judging others.  (ha ha!)  If I die at the age of 90, I can promise you that I will still feel like a child.  And I’m not saying that’s good.  Every once in a while it would feel great to feel like I was a responsible adult with most things under control.

My husband Tim was lucky enough to have this amazing grandmother, Grandma McKenna (Irish accent and all).  When I first saw this question, I started thinking about how embarrassing it was that I feel like such a child.  Then I remembered Grandma McKenna.  She was an amazing, loving, big eyed and open hearted 6 year old girl in a 90 year old’s body.  When she was 90 and living with her son and daughter in law, she used to walk around their cookie cutter suburban neighborhood everyday.  The neighborhood was today’s normal neighborhood.  She would see someone walking to their front door, from their car after a long day of work, smile and yell hello, then immediately walk up to them.  No matter what.  She stopped and talked to everyone.  She knew everyone’s names, she smiled and loved them all.  Even the crotchety people.  She found something she loved in each of them.  Maybe it was just their dog, but still, she’d smile, stop, and talk to them about their dog!  And I fell in love with that attitude.  And she stood out to me, she stood out as something rare.  I hope this year that I can add more of that open attitude to my life and my children’s lives.  I wasn’t proud about saying I was still childlike at first, but now I am thinking it has it’s bonuses.  I just hope I can keep it until I’m 90.  And it would not hurt for me to learn how to be a tad bit responsible as well.

December 2, 2011

Stupid Things I’ve Done, Photographically and Personally

What bag?

(Warning, this could be long)

December 2 Reverb Broads Prompt: “What is the stupidest thing you did this year? What about in your whole life? You can take stupid to mean: embarrassing, dangerous, funny, lame, whatever you consider “stupid.”

Wow, how to choose.  So much to choose from.  I wish I could say it is like choosing a toe nail polish color from the mani/pedi shop… but no, it’s much, much bigger.

This first part has to be photography based, this year and life long.  Life long stupidest photography moment…  hmmm… it would be a tie between…  my first photo shoot working for a wonderful studio in Denver.  I was so nervous.  I had taken photos before, but not 4 families in a row in the middle of the day, 20 minutes apart, in full sun. I was scared.  I was so scared and so focused on completing that I didn’t look around. I didn’t notice background people in the park, yes they were far off, but they were there.  I didn’t notice my camera bag on the side of the shoot.  I had 20 minutes for each shoot, and I didn’t have time for that kind of thing.  Woops.

After learning my lessons on that shoot and doing many more, I decided to save my money to do a workshop put on by one of my favorite (at the time) children’s photographers, and another very well known portrait photographer. BIG MISTAKE #2.  Yes, life long, this was one of my biggest photography mistakes.  These two photographers put on a one day, learn it all workshop.  Neither one shared worthwhile information.  They arrived 30 minutes late.  Breaks came early.  Breaks lasted twice as long.  Lunch break started early.  They were 20 minutes late coming back from lunch.  They were not set up for the workshop and couldn’t get the technical items to work, so they laughed it off and said oh well.  Meanwhile, I watched $1,000 go down the drain.  It only got worse as the day went on, and afterward when some of us got together and complained, they wrote awful, ugly notes back to all of us.  I was amazed that they were both considered good business women.  Bad experience in general, and a really stupid way for me to waste $1,000.00.  My advice for you…  research your workshops.  Make sure they get amazing reviews.  Much later I did Penny De Los Santos’s class.  A WONDERFUL experience!  An inspirational person.  Learn from me, do your research before paying for a course.  Even if you like their photos, make sure they are good teachers and decent people.

On the personal side, after a little thought about my year, and plenty of options, I’m going to have to say that the stupidest thing that I did this year, is the thing I actually lacked to do on a daily basis… it is not saying “I love you” enough to my kids.

The stupidest thing so far in life?  Guys, turn around right now.  I’m giving you fair warning.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  I’ll even pause right here, right now so that you can be certain you don’t read further and gross yourself out.  You somehow think this kind of thing is disgusting, even though most of you clean your bathroom once a year and have luggie hawking competitions with your buddies.  P A U S E  P A U S E  P A U S E  P A U S E  P A U S E  P A U S E  P A U S E

It was the last week of school, I was in the 5th grade.  My good friend’s mom called my mom and asked if I could go with them to a big water park to celebrate the end of the school year.  I was so excited!  She was a good friend, and for a 5th grader, an invitation to a water park is like Christmas in the summer.  I had been looking forward to it for weeks.  The morning finally arrived, my friend called to let me know that they were leaving to come pick me up.  I was waiting, impatiently, for them to arrive.  Something didn’t feel right.  I decided to go to the bathroom.  Oh my gosh…  my world collapsed.  I was bleeding!  I obviously had a terrible form of cancer and was starting to die!  I came out of the bathroom sobbing and told my mom about the cancer.  My mom wrapped her arm around me, sat down and had a quick mother/daughter/that time of the moth talk. (ok, a little late, I realize.)  Like a good mom, she comforted me and let me know everything would be ok.  She then went into her bathroom and came out with absolutely the largest and thickest maxi pad I have ever seen to date, and a safety-pin.  She reassured me that it was no problem, completely normal, and all we had to do was safety-pin this gargantuan thing into the bottom of my little girl swimsuit, and then everything was taken care of.  Yea!  I was still going!  I wasn’t dying!  All was good!  I thought…  A few hours later, my friend’s mom is completely astounded at the fact that I have a huge, water logged maxi pad pulling down the crotch of my swim suit.  She was obviously totally amazed that anyone could be so stupid.  I was told to sit out until the end of the day, because I could not spend another second in the water like that.  The friend’s mom then went on to tell every person that she came across (while pointing at me) all about it and how absolutely ridiculous it was.   I do wish at that time that we would have had the internet.  That could have saved me from quite a few more embarrassing moments in the next couple of years.  Character builder…. yup.

December 2, 2011

Joining the Blogging World

Reverb BroadsI have met some amazing people in my life (and I’m not even THAT old).  I have a terrible memory, but I’m pretty sure I met my friend Kassie in 3rd grade.  We spent many years around each other in school.  I always liked her, but never took the opportunity to really get to know her.  Boy am I sorry.  The more I read of her blog, http://bravelyobey.blogspot.com/ the more I realize what I missed.  What a heart!  And what a talent!  This beautiful and kind girl asked me to join her talented group of bloggers on a mission.  I’m new to this blogging thing, and totally clueless.  And just like this assignment, I’m sure I’ll look back one day in the future and be embarrassed of the lessons I had to learn to get me where ever I will be.  This is a quote from Kassie’s blog, about this adventure…

“Good Morning! Here is our first prompt for our brand new Reverb Broads blogging group for December. In case you missed it, our group of witty, lovely, intelligent bloggers will be writing on a variety of clever, interesting, silly prompts for all 31 days of the month. Go here or here to learn more and join us in the writing madness! So let’s get this thing started:

December 1: Reverb Broads Prompt: “If the you of today could go back in time and give advice to any of the previous yous, which age would you visit and what would you tell them?” via Kristen at kristendomblogs.com.”

Well, since my goal here is photography, and growing as a photographer, I had to think about this post and the future posts that are going to be done for the month of December.  I’d like to get in a habit of posting to my blog.  I’d like it to be inspirational to me and my photography, and you and your photography.  The thing about photographers is that we use these moments, these emotional moments of our past to create our pictures.  For a while I thought it wouldn’t be right for me to post these “assignments” on here.  I was wrong.  Each one of us needs to do these types of assignments.  Not only to help inspire our next photograph, but to remember what brought us here.  Remember the original forces that brought us to where we are today.  Even if you don’t have time do write a long note to yourself at a younger age, jot a few things down, or think about it tomorrow.  It helps us remember where and why we are going, even now.

Dear 14 year old me,

First piece of advice coming to you from your future? Buy horse blinders.  They’ll help you keep your focus.  In the future they test for something called ADHD, you might want to get tested for it, even if it’s after the age of 40. Anyway, I’m writing to give you some extra advice for the next couple of years.

-Find good people, attach yourself to them, and don’t let them go.

-Find what you think is beautiful, and spend a lot of time exploring it.  

-Look for things that inspire you, follow those things and when you start to get down, force yourself to find more inspiration.  

-Especially this year, don’t say yes and decide to just wing it when someone asks you if you know how to drive a stick.

-Try really hard to be yourself, and whatever you do… be respectful of yourself.  

-Create things in your life.  

-Don’t spend a moment looking at your negatives, find your positives, the things that are wonderfully special about you and focus on molding your life around them.  

-Please start to learn to listen to yourself.  For some odd reason it takes a long time and I’d appreciate it if you could start now.

-On your 21st birthday, when you are wearing that tight miniskirt, maybe it’s not the best idea to ride that mechanical bull while the bar staff are mixing shots in your mouth.

-Understand that life is a roller coaster, then savor your favorite parts of the ride.  The parts of the ride that you don’t like, sit back, it will be over in seconds.   

-If your dream looks too big, too daunting and too far away, break it down into little pieces and focus on taking smaller steps instead.  

-Relax, like yourself and enjoy the moments.  

-Study, it’s a sure way to help your future.  

-Those funny stories of your big brothers crazy, drunken times…. much funnier on them.  Be your own person.

-Read, because it’s awesome and there are so many amazing artists who have made magical pictures with words.  You’ll never get to see those masterpieces if you don’t explore the books.

-Don’t worry about boys.  There are so many of them.  More everyday.  The special ones will stick by and the really special ones will hopefully be there forever, in some way, shape or form.  

-Focus on finding subjects that excite you.  In order to do that you have to try out a lot of things.  That’s going to be hard to try all of those things while wearing horse blinders, but oh well, try it anyway.  

-The time in a few years when the song ”Stars Fell on Alabama” comes on and Dad starts ballroom dancing with you in the kitchen, hold on tighter, dance longer and enjoy every second.  

-When you have a dream, break that dream down into little steps, and start on the path.  Who knows where it will lead you.  Just keep your happiness in the back of your mind, and at any point, if you are not heading toward something that makes you happy, do a u turn.  

-Explore while you can, live many places, see many styles of life.  Note which ones ring a bell with you and don’t worry about what others think.  You come from a huge line of individuals.  We tend to take our own paths, as long as you know where that is leading and it’s a direction that makes you happy, then go.

-Don’t worry about what other people think!  Blinders.  I found some for sale for $79.00, that means they are only about $40 bucks for you right now.  I promise, it’s a good investment.  Better than Enron.  

-When you are 16, please don’t drink and drive.  And if you do it, don’t go over 80 miles per hour down State Line Road in front of a cop and then turn off your lights and drive down a cul-de-sac to hide.  Really stupid.  

-Don’t not do things because you are scared or worried about being embarrassed.  Put yourself out there, you have to if you want to create.  Your going to be scared or embarrassed many times in life, whether or not you are on the path to doing something you love.  So it may as well be on a passionate path, right?  Every time you get the feeling that you can’t do something because you don’t want to be embarrassed or nervous, do me a favor, commit to it and take a deep breath.  Take time afterward to congratulate yourself for growing.  

-If you want something, make it work.  Learn to put the fear aside.

-Along with those blinders, get a good to-do list.  You need it daily.  

-When you get to be an adult, promise me you’ll try your hardest (at times) to still act like a child.  

-Even though your parents get mad at you for being sad, getting angry or crying,  realize they are musts in life.  If you are missing some of these, then something is off.  

-Maybe you’re first move away from your home in Kansas doesn’t need to be New York City.  You might appreciate NYC a little more after the age of 17.  Although pat yourself on the back for thinking bravely.

-A Christmas Carol was correct in teaching that greed is not a good or good looking thing.  

-That quote that people have been telling you since you were little, the whole, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, stop quoting it, it’s not exactly true… it makes us experienced.  And then you need to do that laughing, crying human emotion thing to get through it.  

-Your health is important to you, mentally and physically, remember that always and act on it daily.

-Step outside your comfort zone every once in a while, it will help you see things more clearly.  

-There is a quote, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.”  It’s very true.  Drop the perfectionist thing and be brave about being you.  Do it, or you’ll never know and you’ll always wonder.  

-Perhaps a last minute decision to study abroad in France would be more beneficial if you knew the language?  Go ahead, study abroad, but this time maybe you could learn some French first?

-Don’t lie.  You don’t have a good memory at all.  You hardly can remember what really happened yesterday. Life is so much easier, a big breath of fresh air, when lies are taken out of it.  And stay away from the people who do it.

-Laughter is a blessing.  Do it as much as you can.  And when you have your own children, savor the moments of their laughter.  It  is the most beautiful sound ever.  

June 6, 2011

“What Just Happened Here?”

Two weeks ago I flew home from Seattle after meeting an amazing group of photographers and food lovers who changed my life forever.  All of these people were brought together by a person whose photography I delighted in before I met her, and whose photography and huge heart I now idolize after meeting her… Penny De Los Santos.  She is someone who has the rare gift to help us “feed our souls.”  Penny is like a life coach/amazing photographer/fantastic person all wrapped into one cute package.  If you have a chance to hear her speak, or luckier yet, attend her workshop, by all means take the opportunity and seize it.  Penny knows the art of teaching and inspiring.

Penny’s inspirational teaching has helped me step back and think about where I am going on this journey; where I would like my photographs to take me.  One of the many fascinating stories that Penny shared with us was about a day long experience she had while photographing this woman who made barbacoa.  This woman was not a citizen of our country, and she was reluctant to let Penny photograph her story.  She did, and at the end of the day when they were saying their goodbyes, the woman started crying.  Penny explained it to us as a “What just happened here?” experience.  I now understand what she means…

Penny and many other photographers have stressed the importance of personal projects.  Check out Penny’s website (www.pennydelossantos.com) if you are wondering why.  She helped me realize the importance of emotional photos.  If we don’t show the emotion in our photos, then what are they?  JUST a picture.  They don’t stir any emotions, pull any strings.  I’m going to be working on my personal project starting in the next couple of weeks.  I’m scared!  I’m trying to remind myself that it’s hard, I need to take chances and I need to step outside of my box.  When I was chatting with Penny at her workshop I was talking about how special and soul touching the workshop was for me.  I was saying that as we get older we just… and at that point we both finished the sentence.  I said, “we just don’t get many of these moments.”  And at the same time she said, “we get more of these moments.”  All of a sudden that exchange of words put our lives into perspective for me.  Mine… sheltered, safe and in my cozy box.  Penny’s… explorative, looking to constantly challenge and grow her perspective; grow as a photographer and a person.  I hope I can learn from her example.  Looking back at Penny’s workshop I find myself wondering, “What just happened here?”