Friday, November 5, 2010

Ignoring the urge

Nothing is really original. Not with photography, nor furniture, not even with music. We are all influenced by those who have come before us. Some of those influential people are still alive, some are dead, and some have past before we were even born. The most lovely part of this line of influence is the interpretation of a style and also the reminder that, our work evolves. That our work and a certain piece is beautiful for what it is right now without comparing it to anything else we have done. Okay, that is a complicated statement. But here's the gist.

I have been looking at my photo books lately, well, mine in that I own them. But the books full of collections by such amazing photographers as Lewis Hine, Robert Doisneau, W. Eugene Smith, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. These phenoms have had great influence on me and my work lately, in several ways.
Not every photo is perfect. Some images are perfect in their imperfection. With digital manipulation (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc) we get caught up in making the image look just so in order to sell. But I did not have that intention in mind when I clicked the shutter. The goal was to capture this unique scene. Period. So enhancing an image is meant to suit my eye. Not the feeling that I need that image to look just so in order to sell.

I have caught myself forgetting the main reason I am a photographer, what with the urge to get out there and sell sell sell. When I was looking at W. Eugene Smith's work, it hit me. Of course, I want to fill the world with my images, but only if what the buyer wants is what I have produced. The objective is to continue to produce what I love and almost ignore the urge to have it sell.

I am most certain that urge comes from wanting to do what I love every day. I am certain that urge comes from wanting to be able to pull the car over when I see a stunning sunrise over a misty field, as was there this morning, and not have to rush off to work. You can't rush what is meant to just happen. I cannot force success, at least not the monetary kind.

I have found again, to my utter joy, a community of photographers happy to share what they know without fear of their idea being stolen. Nothing breaks one's spirit faster, than envy and jealousy. The best of advisors and mentors are those who know that no idea is original. And that sharing the joie de vivre of their art keeps them alive, too, by passing down the thrill of being an artist. It is that drive that keeps people feeling alive and allowing them to live through their artwork. This is why art will never die.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Camera obscura

I see images in my head. When there is a memory, I tend to see it like a movie. Moving with characters. And yet, I also see images in my head that I captured with a camera. I have recently been scanning many a negative and slide from years back, thanks to a great local photog who loaned me his scanner.  These images have been tucked away in my closet and way in the back of my mind. Every so often I see one or a series of 35mm x 24mm.

Recently, I have been seeing these shots from Seattle. I went there with a good friend back in February of 2002. I used my favorite B&W camera, my Minolta Hi-Matic with that beautiful Agfa Scala slide film.

Yes, black and white slide film. I know, yummy, right?

And the scans came out as great as I could hope. Now, I can see how they print. Joy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Looking back, a tribute to New York City

It's really surreal thinking back 9 years ago. Actually, my mind starts back to sometime in late August nine years ago. My good friend and I had the great honor of being flown from Portland, OR to Stockholm for a business trip.

We were the top sales women at Pro Photo Supply and were flown over by Profoto, the line of photo lighting, to check out their factory and be schmoozed some while in Sweden. We could not have believed our luck with this one. Hard work really does pay off. We had a hefty layover in NYC, technically Newark, before jumping the Luftansa jet to Stockholm.
And thank god we did and thank god we decided to get on the train from Newark that put us right next to MSG (aka Madison Square Garden) in the heart of NYC. We had the best time roaming about with cameras in hand photographing everything. Everything. I had heard from some people not to ask native New Yorkers for directions, esp in the subway. But you know what?  They were the nicest, most helpful people. These natives enabled us to ride the subway from the Canal Street Station to Chinatown and back without a single glitch.

My friend had asked me if we should go to the World Trade Center. And at that time, not knowing what massive changes were about to come, I said no. "No, it will always be there." Yeah, that is what I said. I will never forget that.

Especially just a few weeks later when my alarm went off at 6:30am PST. I thought it was just a prank. One of those stupid morning radio show pranks. Until the announcers didn't stop discussing this plane that went into the one tower. I jumped out of bed and turned on the TV in near perfect time to see the second plane hit.
No one will ever forget. Nor will I forget the strange sensation walking to work that morning and hearing nothing. No planes in the sky. No cars on the road. Everyone was glued to their TV or radio. No one was moving. They were certainly moved, but no one was capable of traveling. Both due to being stunned, as well as being locked into their current location.

I posted a bunch of photos on the brandMOJO Images Etsy page with the main goal being to celebrate what glorious time we had in NYC and to celebrate what makes this country so fabulous. I hope to sell at least one photo since I am dedicated to donating 10% of each NYC image sale to the New York Fire and Police Wives' and Children's Benefit Fund. It's the best way I can give back. And to share the snipits of time I captured before life in that city and this whole country changed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A black hole of sorts

It's weird how you notice things that you never really gave much thought to before. Those things have a vibrance, I think, mostly because you had overlooked them before. I wouldn't call it rejected. Just passed over for something brighter. More sparkly. More entrancing.

Again, not tossed overboard, just set aside in the corner. I run into this with elation when I go through old photos. Old negs and slides mostly, since things have evolved. The best example I can ever give with my own work were the NYC subway shots I took with my Minolta Hi-Matic of people's feet. Deep. Dark. Haunting. Very blurry. Very sleek. Also, the first 3-5 shots you are to take beginning with a new roll of 35mm film. Start a new role, take 3-5 shots. Click, advance. Click, advance. Click, advance.

In this case, I was at the top of a NYC subway going to and coming from Canal St Station. Since I was hurrying to capture, I never put the lens cap back on. Total accident. When the negs were first processed. I overlooked these shots as the beginning of the roll. Today, a literal 9 years later, those are some of my favorite from that roll.

I suppose it is just like fashion. Our tastes change. They evolve as we grow. As we experience. What was once a film camera is now a digital camera. The film is gone. Those first 3-5 images of chance. No longer.

As of today, I was reminded of how sharing the photography community really is. That is something I grew to find as precious some 10 years ago. There had been (and still is) a glorious community in Portland. Where, I suppose, I found my footing. Or maybe my toe was steadied.

Years later, I have seen it again. A true love of the art. The process. The experience. And some of the most revered individuals are more than willing to share what they've learned. It is the most genuine exchange. The master and the apprentice. Of sorts. More like, an equal curiosity and fascination with the process of photography as well as each individual's vision. Their eye, what they see at that moment.

This is what I saw before, but didn't recognize it as what I see it as today. Stunning.
Cheer. Clink clink. And, click click.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A thing of beauty

As a woman, watching Sex and The City has always brought a strange sense of beauty into my life. These four woman (or one total woman, as my hubby says) each embody a different version of a beautiful woman. As I have gotten older, I have learned to accept my body as it wants to be.


I still do what I can and what I need to to stay healthy and fit for myself, my future, and for my family. I love doing Pilates and have been for a long time. Each time I do Pilates, I watch a SATC episode. Yesterday, the episode was when Steve has lost his testicle to cancer.

This episode must have been written by a man, not because of all the ball mentions. No. Rather, it becomes apparent when Carrie compares men's balls to a purse. What??? I would like to think that a woman would compare it to her breasts.

Losing a breast is a tremendously awful thing that happens to many women. All I think of, each time I see this episode, is how women's beauty is surrounded by their curves, especially their breasts.

So today's blog is dedicated to all of those women out there beautiful in their own way. And to these Etsy artists that show a woman's beauty in its different forms, like Botticelli, Edward Weston, and even Egon Schiele did. 




Please remember to do a self-examination regularly, ladies. And you too, guys.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The wild, wild Mid-West

On our recent trip to the Mid-West, I brought both my Powershot point-n-shoot and my Nikon and all the lenses. I wanted to and did take a bunch of photos. Ones to share that will be hung in one's home for years. The kind you give in a nice frame.  I digress...
While out and in this crazy wilderness known as the mid-west, we drove upon and through one corner of this crazy storm. [Cue: Crazy by Patsy Cline]

You can see why people are so fascinated by Storm Chasing. Case in point, my brother-in-law who gets to see this stuff all the time and loves chasing storms. And Laurie Excell. Check out her fabulous blog and images.

This being the 2nd time up there and the 5th trip across the mid-west, you really need some Patsy Cline. Johnny Cash, too. Good ol' horse back riding music to take this part of the country nice and easy.

Easing on towards Bloomington, the storm got intense. 

My mind went towards those tornadoes that my hubby is used to from growing up there. We get a few here back east. Small ones, except that unique one from just about 2 months ago. Tore up High Point good. Then the ones in PA, too. Took out my Kinzua Viaduct bridge on its way.

I tell you what, if it weren't for my Nikon and that glorious 50mm f/1.4 mf that I have, these would have never emerged from what I actually saw happening. I could shoot straight through those windows in the rental car. Barely appearing.

But when I wanted to show it, and nab that crazy storm we went through, slow the shutter down enough and mess with the apeture. And look what it gives. The full feel of driving the interstate during a crazy storm.

We turned left at Bloomington and came out on the eastern side of the storm. And all was good. Just like that.

Yet another adventure for this crew.

Friday, June 11, 2010

They call it isolation

We watched Three Days of the Condor the other night. The 1975 movie with a cute Robert Redford and a gorgeous Faye Dunaway. She is a photographer in the movie; he is a book translator, CIA researcher. At one point when they are in her apartment, he comments on her black & white photos being lonely.

I have been thinking about this very statement since then. Sure, many b&w's are lonely. Most things that photograph remarkably well that way are metal, steel: bridges, benches, etc.

Then again, for me, b&w creates a sense of other worldiness. We do not see in b&w, so the perspective on an image is stunning.

It is also lovely utilized to enhance the texture of an object or even a surface, such as a face or a petal, even fish.

So I am not sure if lonely is the right notion. Black and whites can hone in on a sole impression. Maybe that is what he really meant. Or maybe just like with a poem, it is the observer who denotes the interpretation.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rainy memories

We have been having the most glorious Spring like weather this past week. Major downpours that are just feeding my gardens, especially the budding veggie garden. It is a thrill to pull fresh greens from the garden for a giant salad. Mmmm. And all started from seed, too. But I digress.

Yesterday, it was this gentle rain, no thunder, just a sprinkle, then a harder rain, then it would subside. I was working in the shop on the mirror frames for our master bath: steel wool, then buff. Wood is so gorgeous in its natural state. But Scott had a great idea to shoot this Cobbler's bench in the rain.

The finish is such that it can handle anything, including a deluge of rain. It was quite interesting as he shielded my D90 from the rain with an umbrella, while I guided him around to find the right angles, the right shots. I set the camera for a high rapid-fire shutter to capture some droplets of rain.

They came out great, but every time I shoot with my camera, which I love, I find myself thinking back to the way cameras used to feel. If you didn't have a motor-drive grip you weren't shooting rapid fire shots. The drag of the crank would dictate how your shots would evolve. The pull of the film through the camera with just your right thumb had a sensation of completion. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the easy access of an image immediately, as opposed to waiting until you could get the film developed. But the feel isn't the same. I do miss those shots. But, I would not have been able to capture images such as this with my F3HP.

What do you think of it as a diptic?

Or with a slow shutter hand-held?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Itchy trigger finger

I am dying to shoot. Dying to go out and shoot something. I had this past weekend off from shooting so I could work on the brandMOJO Interiors website, which worked out great. A good number of products and thereby my images went up onto the site, especially Accessories. But I didn't have any unique pieces to shoot. 

So I am jonesing to snap something. I was perusing whiteboxwedding's blog and looking at Sara's gorgeous shots of kids and people. There was a shot with this adorable and spunky little girl holding a Canon rangefinder. 

Oh, sadness, as my Minolta Hi-Matic, my favorite camera for B&Ws, is out of commission. It made my finger itch. And long for those by-gone days (for now) where I could just disappear and shoot. 

Having multiple jobs makes going out for a random shoot that much more difficult. I need to go and shoot something. The last time we had a real photo shoot was on Trade St in Winston. You remember, we met Jimmy Jams. There's nothing tastier than having a random shot come upon you and to have someone so deep and worn, smile so genuinely. 

We need to get back to shooting. I need to find a way to get back and get through this crazy hectic time for one of my j-o-b's so I can have time to do what I love.  I have such sweet envy for people like Sara who is out shooting and loving every minute of it. Well, I can't speak for her, but there is something not as satisfying sitting here typing when I should be out shooting. Scouting. Searching for just the spot, just the right light. And getting that glorious feeling when I hear that click. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

My chi-quong

Music creates this soundtrack for my life. It can literally set the tone, alter the tone at my choosing. Getting one's chi straight becomes this lovely game. Well, maybe "hunt" would be better there.

With music comes visuals that also adjusts one's mojo, if it is indeed out of balance. Wonky, as they say here in NC. Sometimes it can come in a pull towards one vision. Such as creating a vision of the tone that makes chi run like a well machined yin-yang.

Here are three samples of how a tune and a visual alter whatever you are doing right now.

Song:                                       Lonesome Whistle Train

Song:                                           Flight of the Bumble Bee

Song:                                                      Boogie Chillin'

Lose your chi? Try creating it. Someone mess up your mojo? Think on it. Have a full on conversation with yourself.

It's amazing to me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sleepy, oh so sleepy

This is day three of not having coffee. I am attempting to "fast" from such delicacies and to drink green tea with honey for awhile. Give my body a break, basically. But with the time change, it is dark in the morning, and I have been sleeping so much better that I do not wish to rise in the a.m. So I am dedicating this blog to everything that gives me the warm fuzzies and makes me wish I were back in bed. Back in bed with my hubby and my three furry kids, all cuddled and warm.