Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Keeping Time, Staying Present..........

In between shooting flowers and preparing for my studio move, I have also been working on a potential calendar project that my agent pitched to a company at the Atlanta Gift Mart earlier this month.

The theme is "staying present" and other zen like states. It didn't dawn on me until later the irony of a calendar (which you sometimes use to help plan the future) and the topic of mindfulness and present moment awareness. 

I guess it doesn't hurt to be reminded once in awhile.

Since I am knee deep in this project, I thought I would share a few of my favorite "months" in my post this week. (You will probably recognize most of the images, but enjoy the quotes......)

July - ©2014 Dianne Poinski

April - ©2014 Dianne Poinski

June - ©2014 Dianne Poinski

February - ©2014 Dianne Poinski

May - ©2014 Dianne Poinski

If this doesn't get picked up, maybe I can use the images for my own 2015 calendar.............

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Moving My Studio.....Again

I am moving my studio........again. And then I am moving again in April. Both moves are into smaller spaces down the hall. The first studio that was available is much smaller than what I have now and the light isn't great, which is why it is a temporary situation. 

I have been wanting to downsize since last summer, but the opportunity did not present itself until recently. 

I found out about the first vacancy in December.  I decided to take it even though I knew it wasn't exactly what I wanted. The money I was going to save made it very hard to pass up.

The landlord rented out my current studio and I move out next week.

And then it happened.........a studio with wonderful light, perfect location and size will be available April 1st and I have already cleared it with the landlord to move again. (Remember my post about "trust"?)

Knowing my time in my current, very spacious studio with the beautiful light is coming to an end, I am making every effort to take advantage of what I have. That means making a mess and photographing flowers. 

Part of this mess is also "moving chaos"........

I am having a delightful time, but the clock is ticking............

 I did find time to process a couple of images however..............

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I accept that things might get a little crazy here, which is why I am going back to posting once a week for awhile. In the meantime, I will be clearing out, downsizing and photographing blooms and blossoms........ stay tuned!

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Would Ansel Do?

I feel that one of my responsibilities when showing and sharing my work is to educate viewers about what they are seeing.

On "Second Saturday" this past weekend, I was asked the exact same question by three different people: "Did you do something to these photographs?" My answer is "I did quite a few things to these images". It use to be easier. I would explain my hand coloring technique and most would walk away satisfied and happy that they had noticed something was different about the print.

These days however, it's a little more complicated. Some pieces have been hand colored, some digitally processed and now I have my iPhone work on display as well.

The other night I found myself telling the story of how Ansel Adams dramatically altered his negatives in the darkroom.       Most people were surprised to hear this.

(c) James Alinder
Jim recounts Ansel describing these photos, “The print on the left is a straight image. No dodging and burning. This is what Ansel saw on that November afternoon in 1941. And the print on the right is what he felt.” -  (This is from an article entitled: "Remembering Ansel Adams....")

My favorite part of that quote is "the print on the right is what he felt".

Here is what I saw Thursday morning:

This is what I felt:

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I know one photographer who explains that he is not a "photo journalist" but instead a "photo illustrator".  

Art is about expressing your vision..... not recording what is in front of you. Not that long ago I felt a little guilty about the fact I "did things" to my images.  Not anymore.........

This topic has been discussed here before, but it's been on my mind since Saturday, so I thought I would share.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Treasure Hunting...........

I find inspiration in many places. The flowers on my dining room table, outside in nature and sometimes in thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets and antique malls.

For me, wondering around spaces filled with vignettes and displays of old and sometimes odd items is just what I need to get my creative juices flowing. 

A recent outing resulted in quite a few "finds".......

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I will be honest with you..... a lot of these places may be uncomfortable with you photographing the items they have worked hard to display so they can be sold. This is their art and I like to respect that. However, I am not above putting my phone on "silent" and exploring corners in the back, out of the way. (PS I definitely don't recommend pulling out your large DSLR for this sort of thing. All of the images I show here are iPhone photos.)

I do feel better if I buy something and then ask if I can photograph. I try to do this as often as is financially possible and is what I did when I was at the Brooklyn Flea Market last year. I bought one of these baseballs and then asked if could photograph the box of balls. He was fine with that and appreciated that I asked first.

©2014 Dianne Poinski

Garage sales are fun because sometimes you see things you normally would not see on the front lawn. Like a bed........

©2014 Dianne Poinski

Stores that offer vintage items are a great place to shop for things to use in floral and still life setups. This can also be part of the "treasure hunting" fun.

Julia Cameron in her book "The Artist's Way" recommends taking an "artist date" with yourself once a week. Even if you don't photograph, simply observing and taking in the details of the displays can be enough to stimulate ideas. Visual "eye candy" is sometimes all you need.

To learn more about "artist dates" click here: Julia Cameron

What is your favorite way to rev up your creative motor?

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Path.............

"When you step into the unknown, you are on the right path--the road less traveled.  Enjoy every moment of the journey."
~  Joey Green

©2014 Dianne Poinski

Photographers and viewers of photography have long been drawn to scenes depicting paths or roads leading to an unknown destination. I think that same quality of mystery is why many people also love images of doors and windows. What's on the other side?

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I have been out hiking quite a bit these last few weeks (I do feel a little guilty given the weather conditions in other parts of the country........). There were a couple of outings where I left the Nikon at home with the intention of simply enjoying the walk, but  I did have my iPhone....

While I tried to keep the shooting to a minimum, I started noticing paths everywhere, which of course I photographed.

©2014 Dianne Poinski

It didn't dawn on me until halfway through writing this post how much the quote above relates to my word for the year - "trust".  However, I don't think "enjoying the journey" entered into that discussion. I realize now how important that is.

I do need to trust, which means I have to keep walking even though I don't know where the path leads. 

I love the work I am doing right now. I am having a blast, but I don't know where it's going to end up. Much of it may live on my hard drive forever, but that's ok. It doesn't matter. I am learning, discovering and "enjoying the journey"...........

©2014 Dianne Poinski

All of these images were made and processed with the iPhone. I used the "Mextures" app on most of them, with fine tuning in "Snapseed".

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Practice...........

During the weeks I rented the D600, I made a point to take it on quite a few little "adventures". These included many trips to the river and a couple to the coast. In addition, on each visit to the grocery store (remember, this was during the holidays.....) I picked up some flowers to photograph. These bouquets would then be placed not on our table, but by the window in my home office/studio.

During the hustle and bustle going on around me, I would find my way to the office, quietly set up the tripod and start shooting. (A couple of times the flowers caught my eye as I walked by and I would stop to take a few shots with my iPhone just for fun...) 

Usually these sessions only lasted fifteen or twenty minutes, but I always walked away refreshed, clear and happy. I know that photographing flowers is like a meditation for me, but having the deep contrast between activities during December, cemented that idea.

(The images that follow were all made with the D600, using only window light and processed in Photoshop.....)

©2014 Dianne Poinski

Photographing landscapes is seldom a solitary experience. Even if you go out by yourself you are likely to come across other people. Hiking and carrying your equipment is usually part of the experience as well. (The hiking I like, carrying  equipment - not so much.)

But with flowers, it's different.....

©2014 Dianne Poinski

There I am in one spot, by myself. Sometimes there is music, but most of the time I forget to put some on. Then I begin.

Rarely are the first frames any I will work on. It takes time to notice the light, the curve of the stems and the different parts of the blooms. Pretty soon I am so into what I am doing that nothing else matters. I am focused.....deeply focused and deeply satisfied.

©2014 Dianne Poinski

I found this definition of meditation that sounds like what I am entering into:

The goal of all forms of meditation is single-mindedness -- to let go of all distractions and focus on one object of attention or devotion. 

I have tried many different forms of meditation. I have taken classes, bought stools and cushions and even installed an app on my phone called "Simply Being", but I have never been able to develop what could be called "a meditation practice".  At least I didn't think I had.........

©2014 Dianne Poinski

The health benefits of meditation are well known - so now I have one more reason to not feel guilty about spending money on lush bouquets in the middle of winter. 

P.S. It's funny, but while I was writing this, I came across this very recent post from Kim Manley Ort: "The Meditative Quality of Photography"

Friday, January 3, 2014


©2013 Dianne Poinski
First sunrise of 2014

A funny thing happened this week......I discovered that I wasn't ready for 2013 to end. It was a good year for me. Usually I am big on saying good bye and moving on to a blank slate, but not this time.............

Some of the highlights of the past year included traveling more than I have in a long time. New York City, the pacific northwest, a couple of visits to southern California, and of course, Ireland.

This past year was also a great one for business. I began the year with a very nice commission for a local health care facility, saw my work featured in a national magazine and was thrilled to see my images on cards in some well known stores. In addition I revamped and relaunched

So here I am with a brand new year in front of me and I will be honest, I am a little scared. 

A couple of months ago I wrote about the decision I made to not schedule any workshops this year so I could focus on my licensing work. Since then I have had more than one person question the financial wisdom of that decision. Believe me, I have asked myself the same question, but I think a break will be good for me and I never want "making money" to be the main reason for doing workshops.

Second, there are indicators that the licensing market has become overly saturated and many companies have begun using "in house" artists to create the images they need. I also do not have any big corporate art projects looming on the horizon.

In past years you would have found me on January 1st with pages of "business plans" with goals and objectives listed in order of importance.  Not this year.......... I do know what I want to work on, but more important, I am getting clear about "how" I want to work.

If you are a frequent visitor to the "blogosphere", you have probably read about choosing a "word" for the year instead of making resolutions or goals. This resonates with me on many levels. I love the idea of choosing a way to feel or be in the world as opposed to picking an action that may or may not be sustainable.

Given the circumstance I find myself in as the new year begins, it was easy to choose trust as my "word" of the year.

It is my intention and deep desire to slow down and just "be" this year and it seems like the stars are aligning to make that happen. 

I found this quote which pretty much sums up what I would like "my word" to represent: 

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” 

While I don't feel like I am "flying aimlessly", I do feel like I need to simply do the work in front of me and then let go of the outcome. Trust that it will work out the way it is suppose to and be open to opportunities and surprises as they make themselves known. 

I guess my job is to train myself to love the "not knowing".

Stay tuned...............

If you chose a "word" this year, I would love to hear about it!