Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Fun

I recently had some high quality scans made of a few of my favorite negatives. Up to this point my digital experience has been with images taken with a digital camera. I have really enjoyed this new way of making photographs, but I have quite a few images that I love from the “olden days” when I still shot film.

This week I finally got to work on one of the scans. I chose this image not only because it was one of my favorites, but also because it was very difficult to print in the darkroom. A lot of dodging and burning was required which was never my favorite activity. While it still required a lot of work, making adjustments in Photoshop was a dream compared to standing for hours inhaling questionable chemicals. I also experimented with a few edge variations on this piece. The possibilities really are endless and I love that!

The next adventure will be hand-coloring the inkjet print. I have worked on this image a number of times using oils on my fiber darkroom prints so it will be interesting to see how this turns out using the pastels.

Once again I am reminded how lucky I am. I find so much joy in doing photography and adding this new element has just sparked more excitement and enthusiasm. It is in this spirit of gratitude that I would like to express my wish that everyone take a moment and reflect on all the things that bring passion and joy to life. My list is extremely long and that fact alone is something I am very grateful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let the fun begin!



Monday, November 17, 2008

Occupational Hazard?

“So ……what do you do?” This should be a simple question but I frequently stumble over my words when trying to explain what it is “I do”. Of course what I usually say is “I am a photographer”. Easy - right? You would think so, but what invariably comes next is something like “do you do weddings?” or “can you take pictures of my kids?” After this exchange I usually launch into something about how I “hand-color black and white photographs that I have taken of flowers, landscapes and/or architecture". If they seem interested, I might talk about art festivals and my studio, but due to the awkwardness I feel, I usually l try to change the subject.

Now what would it be like if when asked, I say “I am an artist”? My first reaction is “oh I couldn’t say that, it sounds so pretentious” Why is this? Isn’t that what my art festival ID badges all say? Why can’t I say it? I would still have to describe “my art” because no matter what I call myself, I still feel an explanation is needed.

Maybe this dilemma is a result of a question I was asked at an art festival once. While viewing my work, someone asked “is this photography or art?” By the look on my face, it was apparent to them that they had asked the wrong question and they quickly mumbled something and left.

It has taken many years for photography to be recognized as an art form, and perhaps I am doing a disservice to the craft itself by my reluctance to declare with confidence and enthusiasm “Yes, I am an Artist!” Just writing this is hard. The committee in my head has gone into overdrive. “What do you mean you are an “artist”? “Your brother is the artist, not you!” “You never took art classes in school, how do you justify calling yourself an artist”. This is just a small sampling of the cacophony of voices in my head.

Sometimes I wonder if it would have been easier to have become an accountant. That would have rolled off my tongue easily………. but at what price?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sabbatical

It’s been a week since finishing up what will be my last art festival until 2010. Even though I had tossed around the idea of doing a few local shows next year, I recently made the decision that I was not going to do any shows in 2009. It’s been an interesting week. It feels like all I have been doing since March is working to “get ready for a show”. Not having that pressure feels great but it is also a little unsettling. I can be very focused and effective when I have a deadline looming, but give me time to think about “what to do next” and I start to feel very scattered and even a little anxious. I have a long to-do list but what I may need is time to regroup and relax.

One of my goals in the coming year is to learn all I can in an effort to improve my skills as a photographer and an artist. I just signed up for a one day photography workshop this Sunday. This sort of activity goes by the wayside when all my time seems to be spent on applying for shows, making hotel reservations, sending out postcards, producing and packaging inventory and everything else involved in participating in art festivals (I forgot to mention “obsessively checking weather.com every 15 minutes”). But now with this break, maybe I can slow down and devote my time to my craft and not just on my sales and marketing. Of course I am still going to try and get my work out there, but just not in the intense (and expensive) way I have been pursuing the last 10 years.

Another exciting aspect of this “sabbatical” is the opportunity to explore different ways of teaching and sharing what I have learned and developed in the last few years. My next workshop on December 6th is full, with a waiting list, so you can be sure I will be offering more classes next year.

So while I may be feeling a little “off” now that my shows are over, I am excited about the possibilities that could unfold as I explore this new way of not only working, but living with authenticity and passion.

Don’t forget to vote!