Artist’s Pick

Welp, even if I’m not doing so great at getting out there and taking photos right now, at least I’m still submitting things to shows here and there.  I’m happy to say that two more of my photos have been selected for another show at the Bowie City Hall!

This one was a fun one — artist’s choice!  So I went through a couple of my favorite photos from this year, and two out of three were chosen.  The other one was too large, unfortunately, but at least it was too large because they had such a huge response this time.  I’m glad that more people were participating in this show, because that always makes things fun!

So enjoy, and if you’re in the area on the 29th, stop by and check out my stuff!

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Driven to Abstraction

Well, I’m happy to say that I’ll be showing a few more pieces in another exhibition!  It seems like things for these photos just fell right into place.  They’re actually from a project that I did earlier in the semester, centered around “the decisive moment” and composite images.  I was at such a loss for what to do with this project, and I tried a million things.  Finally, I decided to do something a little bit different.  So I started experimenting with color, and light, and dropping bits of food coloring and milk (yuck) into a small fish tank that I have.  After about 700 photos, yes, count ’em, seven-zero-zero, I had enough photos which had compositions, colors, and clarity that I was happy with, and started piecing them together.

Once the editing and construction of these images started, I really tried to hone in on making them representational of something more than just color and movement.  The end result was five images that express different emotions and feelings, represented as my imagining of chemical reactions which take pace when these feeling occur.  They were far more abstract than anything I’ve done before, but these were a lot of fun to work on.  The only thing that was a little disappointing about this whole process was the critique.  While people liked them, and said they were “visually pleasing and interesting”, I expected a little more from a group of students at such an open-minded art school.  They totally didn’t get it.  I had to explain it, thoroughly, and then some people still weren’t seeing it.  At least my professor was on my side; he literally had to break it down to them and say hey, even though these are abstract, they’re still valid, and you should critique them the same way you would any other representational photo.  Nice try, the class was still a little stubborn, but oh well.  In the end, I’m happy with the images I produced, and apparently, other people are too!  So here are the three images that will be on display:

The show is put on by the City of Bowie Arts Committee, and will be on display at the Bowie City Hall from April 23rd through June 18th.  I’m super excited to have my work in another show, and can’t wait to see all of the other work it will be on display with.  So if you’re in the area during that time, you should stop by and see it, or even buy something!  And if you’re curious as to what the other two pieces were for the project, here they are.  Enjoy!

How Many Will There Be?

So, I did a fun little project in class that I thought I would share with you guys 🙂

I’m taking this class called “Contemporary Directions in Photography”, which sounds interesting, but to be honest, has not been the greatest thrill of a class.  We’ve been talking about a bunch of photographers who deal primarily with appropriation, particularly things like Google Street View, and things like that.  I know we’ve talked about other things, but it just keeps going back to something like that, so it’s all I can think of.  Our first project was to make something in response to “screen culture”, meaning, the culture in which we now live where nearly everything is presented to us via a screen, consuming out lives.  I mean, think about it… I’m sitting here typing this to you on a computer, with my phone on the desk.  You’ll see this on either one of those two things, or a tablet, or something else.  We watch TV, have GPS, are constantly monitored by security cameras, traffic cameras, you name it.  The list literally goes on an on.

I don’t really like that.  I know, it’s nice, and convenient, and we’ve all gotten to the point where we think, “How can I live without my (enter technology here)!?!?!”.  The truth is, it’s too much, though that probably won’t change any of my current habits.

What that did get me thinking about was how things have changed so drastically just over my lifetime.  When I was little, we had one TV in the house, and that was it.  We didn’t even have a wireless phone.  We didn’t get our first computer until I was in 7th grade, and I didn’t get my first cell phone until I could pay for it at 18, and it wasn’t “smart” at all.

Then I started thinking about photography.  To this day, my mother likes to take pictures of everything that happens to us which she is present for; the camera is out on birthdays, Christmas, parties, vacation, you name it, she’s snapping away.  The only difference is that now, everything is digital.  All of the pictures that she’s taken over the last 15 years or so, that’ I’ve been there for, and have most likely been in, I’ve never seen.  Growing up, everything was on film for us, so we could just flip through the photo albums, or anxiously await for a roll of film to get developed to see whatever it is we took photos of a couple weeks ago.  Regardless of the why, the what is that we actually had pictures to look at.  Tangible, physical things, not just digital files to be tucked away and ignored.

I suppose what started this train of thought was something(s) I read over the last few years.  This current generation will be the most photographed generation in the history of photography.  Wrap your head around that.  They will also be the generation with the least amount of photographs.  Double wrap your head around that.  Isn’t that crazy?  People are obsessed in taking pictures for Instagram and Snapchat, posting things to Facebook and Tumbler, and Twitter, and you name it.  In a blink of an eye, however, an update of technology, a glitch in the system, it could all be lost forever.  You can argue that the same could be said for film photos, since you know, disasters happen, but I don’t think the majority of people taking all these pictures realize just how fragile they are.

So I began thinking about all the photos that I had that existed in only a digital state.  When I went through my photo back up, it appears that my digital era started circa 2003, so that’s a good 12-13 years of photos that I’ve never printed.  I decided to start printing every photo that I’ve ever taken, so that when everything goes south with how I have these stored (since some of them are originally stored on CDs…yikes), I will at least have a physical copy of the image, and of the memory.

Now, I didn’t realize how much of an undertaking this would be.  I started with 2003….ok, not much there…then 2004…same….2005, 2006, eh….then 2007…over 1000 pictures.  I think that was the year I bought myself my “first real camera”, my little Cannon Powershot (loved that thing).  After that, it’s essentially all down hill.  Looking through my Lightroom catalog that I started in September of last year, I already have over 5000 photos that I’ve taken.  That’s a lot for essentially only six month’s worth of work!  So since this project only had to be a “proof of concept” I decided to stop there for the moment.  That, and I had to replace the ink in my printer…again…so I was annoyed at how quick that went by, and how expensive ink is.  But look…!

That’s pretty cool, right?  The first five years of my photo taking history, over 1500 photos, all printed and wrapped up in a nice little bowl.  Well, not wrapped, but you know what I mean, it’s a cute little presentation.  I wanted to have it in a vessel which would allow people to interact with it, swirl their hands around, grab chunks of photos, and just check out what was going on in there.  I also started writing on the back of them, which is something I think I want to revisit should I ever complete this project.  I might just start over, because the printing size in inconsistent (I was a little indecisive when completing this project), so that will give me a chance to write on everything.  I did the writing prior to cutting the strips of photos, once I started writing, which gave another interesting element to the project, since now there are also little puzzles hidden in there.

I have to say, I’m rather fond of it, and I’m glad that this project seemed to be well received.  I’m sure I’ll finish it up one day, but the longer I wait, the more I’ll be printing.  Oh well, it’s not like I’m busy or anything, right?  The question I keep getting is, “well how many photos do you have all together?”  I have no clue.  Too many to count, I would say, but I guess I’ll be finding out soon!

Oh, and incase you’re wondering if there’s really that many photos in there, there are.  Here’s what they look like all together, because you know, I needed just one more thing to do on my list, so I collaged 1500 pictures 🙂

collage.jpg

Time Slipped Away

Well, it seems as if finals and everything that this semester has brought has gotten the best of me.  When starting this blog at the beginning of the year, I thought to myself, “I’m never going to miss a week!”  Well, can’t say that it turned out that way, but at least it’s for a good reason.  I also didn’t think that I would be in school for something that I love, so I’m happy for these little “personal project” delays.  Ok…maybe not happy, but still, you know what I mean.

I am happy, however, to report that this is the last week of class for this semester!  A bittersweet feeling, because I have truly enjoyed (almost) all of my classes, and I’m sad to see them end, but I need a freakin’ break!  I’ve been going nuts with projects, and research, and papers, and begging people to model for me!  It will be strange to not have that nagging little feeling in the back of my head that I’m forgetting something, or that I have a million and a half things to do.  I can’t wait for it though!

So as things are coming to an end, I’m starting to refocus on this little project, and end this year with a bang.  In the meanwhile, here’s a little GIF I created as a little extra for one of my final projects.  It’s not the best quality, but hey, I’m still learning, and Premiere is giving me a really hard time for something that should be easy!  I promise, it looks great on the screen.  Guess I’ll just have one more little thing to figure out!

Sun-setting, semester ending, it all works.  Enjoy!

sunset movie_2

 

“Well, Welcome to This One.”

I love it when people have just the right things to say.  I also like it when something gets me right in the feels, for lack of a better word, and catches me off guard when they do.  I got that from one of my professors the other day, so I’d thought I’d share a little more about it with you.

It’s been a crazy few weeks since starting school, as I’m sure you’re well aware by my constant reminders.  But even with all the craziness, it’s been filled with some pretty great moments.  First off, everyone thinks that I’m 21…max!  I’m even being mistaken for a teenager, which makes me question some things, but I’ll still take it as a great compliment.  I’m finally starting to feel a little more comfortable, and that I may be someone who is on-par with this “art world” that I’ve flung myself in to.  Yes, I know I made it in to MICA, and that should be reassurance enough, but it isn’t.  “They”, the powers that be at MICA, even send out emails, or did at least, to new students telling them just that — “don’t be scarred/intimidated/depressed/stressed/etc…you made it here, and that means a lot!”  When coming from the world of strict business attire,where the only creativity being expressed was that of craftily written procedure or performance review, it’s hard to see yourself amounting to anything creative.  No matter how bad I want to succeed at this, I’m essentially terrified.

When I think about where I came from, the life of banking, management, stress, abuse, and all things wrong in a corporate environment, I have two feelings that have stuck around: abandonment, and escape.  Pretty conflicting thoughts, don’t you think?  As if my feelings towards them weren’t complicated enough, they still continue to be, even almost a year and a half leaving.  I suppose some of the emotions you could equate to this would be depression, anxiety, PTSD, failure,….freedom and relief?  Like I said, it’s complicated.  I whole heartedly gave over 10 years of my life to this company, only to be targeted, bullied, and attacked.  And when I fell ill as a result of this, they didn’t care at all, and wanted nothing more to do with me.  Don’t get it twisted though, no matter how it may sound, I played the hand I was dealt the best I could, and ended up resigning.  Some what reluctantly, but still, it was my choice to leave — at least they didn’t get that satisfaction.  Either way, it was a heartbreaking change, even though at the same time I wanted to do something different with my  life.  I wanted to make it better, but I was terrified of failing.

But like I said, you have to play the cards you’re dealt, and my game had just changed.  So I decided, why not, apply for this school that I’ve been wanting to go to forever.  I was just about to finish up my associates degree, because I could only handle baby steps, and didn’t see myself making it this far.  Going to school, an art school, to get a Bachelor’s degree seemed unobtainable for me.  After getting in, it was then the financial aspects that had me burdened, because let’s face it, you can’t pay for the “ivy league of art schools” on a non-existent salary.  No one was excited about the news except a few, literally few, friends, so in trying to be realistic about it, I didn’t let myself get excited about it, or celebrate.  I’m 30, and just got my first college acceptance letter in the mail, I should be excited.  Oh, wait, except for the fact that I’ll be 30….in college…with teenagers — another issue of concern.  I convinced myself I was too old, and just needed to buckle down and get a “real job”.  Oh, and back to the no job thing, I had to move out of my apartment, my safe haven, my home….my life was falling apart when it should have been on the up and up.

So I decided not to go, and things got dark, really dark, and fast.  I started looking for banking jobs, admin jobs, anything office job like, and to no avail.  What was the end of an already incredibly depressed year, I was even worse for the wear.  Then a friend hired me to bake a cake and photograph her wedding, and another friend asked me to photograph her baby, and it felt great doing things that were artistic, and that I got paid for!  Imagine that.  I figured, as the deadline for the deposit was fast approaching, I’ll just take this money to pay for the deposit.  As irresponsible as it may be, and even though it’s most likely only delaying the inevitable, I’ll have a little more time to pretend that this is still an option.

In the mean while, I still looked for “normal” jobs, but also worked on art, this blog (yay), craft fairs, and school stuff — scheduling, talking to advisors, financial aid, and so on.  I had it all figured out, except how to pay for just a little bit of it.  So annoying.  With all the work I did, this little percentage of tuition that I couldn’t come up with was going to hold me back.  I begged family to help, co-sign, anything, but they resisted, insisting that I needed to get off this vacation mode and get my life back together.  I have to say, my family has an interesting perspective of what vacation is if my life was the model for it.  Then, out of the blue, my parents, though they were very clear that they disapproved of my idea/plan/decisions/everything, that they wanted me to be happy.  What?  Seriously?  I was dumbfounded, but took their help as quickly as possible.  Though I have to hear about it all the time now, I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to give this a go, even if the future of it seems uncertain.

So then I’m finally there!  Orientation.  Oh my God….can I say that it was exponentially worse than I expected?  The school and facilities seemed nice, but the people — some of the other students are down right…..just, immature, and not good people, and incredibly filled with entitlement, and unappreciative.  It’s a little astounding, and overwhelming.  I felt like crying, and leaving, and never coming back, but I knew I couldn’t let these people, who really didn’t do anything to me except make my age difference become even more apparent, control what was going to be my outcome of going here.  So I did what I knew I would do, what I always do.  I worked.

It felt great to finally have something consume my life again.  While it was nice being away from work, it was pretty boring at times, even with all my little projects that I tried to fill my time with.  Not only that, but I actually started working again, and not at some terrible place that was irrelevant to what my goals were.  I’m busy again, and it’s a great feeling.  I’m successful in this busyness, which is even a better feeling.

Even though the feedback from some of these professors has been minimal, I have enough information to come to the conclusion that I have an A in each of my six, count ’em, six classes.  I would say yay, but I worked my ass off, and there is no yay for me when it comes to grades.  I either get all A’s and am contempt with it because it’s the only acceptable outcome, or I flirt with the line between A and B, and I’m really mad about it.  It’s about half way through the semester now, and I’ve received a couple of mid-term reviews, and hope to have a couple more.  They’ve been informal, and though email, so it’s nice to have the feed back, because not having it drives me crazy, but it’s also a little impersonal.  Lucky for me, I have one professor, my sculpture professor, who is very profession, and a great communicator.  He set up mid-term review meetings with each of us, and actually sat us down to talk about our progress, grades, and future expectations.  Now that gets a yay 🙂

So in that meeting, I heard some great things — I have an A+, something that he only gives out like once or twice a year.  How unexpected.  What else was unexpected was that he told me that I took to sculpture like “a fish to water”.  I have to say, out of all the classes I signed up for this semester, this was the one I was most apprehensive about.  I never work three-dimensionally, so this was all new for me, and in having such high expectations for my self and my grades, this was going to be a challenge.  We chatted a little more, and he got the point of saying that he could tell that I was very dedicated.  Of course — do you have any idea of what I had to go through to get here?! Of course not, I’m being irrational, and joking.  I did say, however, that yes, I’m incredibly dedicated to being here.  I went through hell with the life that I had before, and I’m never going back to that world.  And then he said it…”Well, welcome to this one”.  He went on to say, many more positive things, what expectations he had for me, and that he saw me doing great things, but that little sentence stuck out to me even more than that.  I know that with the grades I’m getting in the school that I’m now attending that I should have more confidence in my work.  It’s amazing to hear that he views me as an A+ student, a natural at this art, and that he, and incredibly successful artist in his own right, sees me being successful as well.  But that welcome, as silly as it may seem, hit me hard.  I’m here, I’m still in one piece, and I’m doing the thing that I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m doing the thing that I pushed out of my mind for the last 15 years of my life.  I’m doing something that will change my life.  It’s hard to believe, but I am.  I’m doing it.  It’s crazy.  Crazy good.  I don’t ever have to go back to that life now, not if I don’t want to.

At the end of all my rambling, I’ve included some photos of things that I’ve been working on for various classes – sculpture, digital photo, studio lighting, and EMAC, which is like a sampling of all this electronic and digital in the art making world. I didn’t include anything from my art history classes, cause I figured you probably wouldn’t appreciate having papers shoved in your face to read.  And it’s ok if you think some of these are a little wacky, cause to be honest, I do too, but I like them 🙂   And what I like even more, is that this is just the beginning of a change so grand that I can’t even imaging how great things will be when I finish.  I imagine a very tear-filled graduation on my part, but only happy tears.  So thanks for the welcome, and just so you know, there will never be a goodbye.

So Much To Do, So Little Time…

Oops.  Looks like I haven’t been here in a while, and I certainly haven’t been following up with my 52 week challenge like I’m supposed to be doing.  Don’t worry though! I haven’t forgotten about you, or the projects!  I’ve just been slightly losing my mind with how insanely busy I’ve been!

Yes, I’ve started school!  Going in to my 4th week and things are starting to get interesting!  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to make it through this semester — perhaps taking six classes during my first semester at a new school was a little ambitious.  Oh well, I’m in it now!  It’s crazy to think that so much time has passed already.  4th week.  It doesn’t sound like much, but when you think of it, I’m 1/4 of the way done already, and it feels like it’s all just begun.  I suppose the structure of classes only being once a week (although 6 hours each, yikes), makes it seem like I’ve barely been to some of my classes.

Also, I’ve started both of my jobs.  Seriously folks, the insanity of this schedule, and driving, and everything is really starting to kick in!  I can’t complain though.  I’ve missed being this busy, and it’s a little crazy to think of what I was doing the last time I was this busy.  People at school, particularly at the job I have there, keep asking questions about what I used to do, and where I came from.  In thinking of that so much lately, I’m so thankful that I’m never going back to that again.  Do you hear me?  Never!  I know, it sounds crazy to me, too, but I love it.

So even though things have been crazy, I’ve still been out shooting.  Nothing for the current “natural elements” theme (or the next week’s theme, which I haven’t even begun yet!), but I’m shooting none the less.  Hopefully I’ll be back on track after this weekend; I do have some school projects to shoot for, but I also have ideas brewing for the two themes I should have finished already!  While I get ready for a busy day of fun, photography, and homework tomorrow, I’ll leave you with a couple of images, courtesy of my digital photography class first day shenanigans.

Apparently, my professor has some type of competitive thing going on with one of his associates.  They’re each trying to one-up each other during their first class exercise.  I’m very happy about this, because I really enjoyed this little outing.  When reading the school site the night before in preparation for the class, I’ll have to admit, I was not that excited when I read something along the lines of “we’re going outside for an exercise — it’s supposed to be hot — come prepared”.  Hmm, what the heck are we going to do, and how lame is this exercise going to be?  Not lame at all, as a matter of fact.  My teacher, with the help of his TA, proceeded to throw brightly colored juice in the air for some fun abstract shots.  When that grew tired, he then put on some plastic bio-hazard type suite so his assistant could throw juice and soda on him, as well as so he could experiment with the whole mentos in a soda bottle thing.  Fun times.  Then, as another lighting scenario exercise, we went inside and took pictures of a miniature space set up that he created.  Things are looking up being at this school.  I mean really, where else can you do stuff like this?  Enjoy!

Around the Garden

Spending more time outdoors this summer is something that I’ve really been trying to do.  I haven’t been super successful, if I’m honest, but at least I’ve gotten out there and tried a few new things.  Babysitting a house which has been under construction for the last two weeks doesn’t really help in this goal, but it’s what I’ve been up to lately.  Luckily for me, my aunt’s house backs up to practically a forest, and my grandmother likes to spend a lot of time outdoors while we’re there, you know, just hanging out in the garden and tidying things up.  She’s forever busy.  I decided to take my camera along for a couple of days to see what I could capture.  It rained, and rained again, and things were busy, so I didn’t get to get out there as much as I wanted.

While inside a few of those days, I had spotted a few adorable bright yellow finches.  Knowing that we weren’t going to be there for much longer, I decided to pop the big lens on and just sit out on the deck for a while, waiting for them to return.  Of course, they didn’t — just my luck.  The bird feeders were empty by then, and my grandmother and I couldn’t find the food, so perhaps it wasn’t completely my luck.  Never the less, the birds were a no-show, and I was picture-less, so I decided to wander around the yard for a bit to see what I could find.

I came into quite a few little surprises, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain about my luck 🙂 .  Flowers which my aunt described as “daisies”, and dead, were still very much alive and actually more orchid like while attracting some interesting little fly-type bugs.  I’m thinking they’re called Gilt Edge Toad Lilies, after doing a little research (these are also the pics that I mentioned in my post about low-key, which were a surprise as a final result, and gave me a little insight of how I should handle the background for those images).  Another part of the garden was filled with bumblebees buzzing around these tiny purple flowers while clinging on to huge chunks of pollen.  While I was just about to go in after my second trip to the garden, since it rained once more, and I was just checking out how things were looking while wet, I spotted the infamous garden visitor; La Tortuga.

My aunt mentioned that she had spotted a turtle one day, but with water nowhere near by, and some pretty thick brush just outside of her fence, we were all a little skeptical.  We kept our eyes open, however, even venturing over to the neighbor’s yard, who said she had spotted it too.  No turtle in sight.  We all assumed it had just moved on, and we would never find it, saying “la tortuga” in that eye-squinted, slowed down whispery type voice every time we mentioned it, like it had bested us.  To my surprise, I turn to walk back inside after snapping a few last shots, and there she was!  Snuggled up by the fence, with her little face tucked under a small plant.  So cute.  I called my grandmother back outside, and we reveled in our small victory.  So as the summer winds down, enjoy a few of these summer creatures and flowers.  Hopefully this won’t be the last I see of these things this year!