Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A different spin on a senior photo

Now for something... kind of different.
Paige's senior photos.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Evaluating another photographer's work

I got an email on facebook from an old friend from high school.  "Do you have the historical society on your friends list?  They just posted a photo of your family."

It took a matter of seconds from getting that email, until I requested being added to the group of other people sharing the heritage of our hometown.  The curator, Sandi, had acquired boxes of negatives from a 40's/50's era photographer.  Lovingly she scans each one, and shares the results with the group.  Many people seeing relatives long passed.


In this group of thousands of photos, were a few taken of my dad and his siblings as young children.  The above photo I've seen before, that's my dad on the upper left.  He's the oldest boy.  The only one missing is his older sister who was living with my great-grandmother out of state.

Most would look at this photo and see their family...
"Uncle's tooth is missing"
"Look how she dressed them as twins, even though they're not."
"What's up with the high waters?"
"Love the pomade dad."

As a photographer though, I evaluate other things...
"Posing is pretty bad, but great considering 5 kids under 10"
"What happened to Uncle's hand?  Horrible crop."
"What's up with the random chair?"
"Off camera flash?  I see you have problems with that too."


{Never before seen photos of my family, around 1946-ish)

Then I remembered that we all start somewhere, even if it was 60 years ago. I will reserve MY early work to scare away mice under the house.

But as I looked at other pieces of his work, I saw something else. Here was a guy (because there weren't many female photographers back then) that was really trying to push the envelope.  He was shooting in people's homes, yards, and in their daily surroundings rather than a studio.  I'm guessing he didn't have one.

He was experimenting with posing and with light.

He was taking on jobs with people I know were lower income (my family probably being one of them, hence multiple trips to this photographer as evidenced above).

He worked sometimes in shallow depth of fields (which blows my mind).

He sometimes worked with odd random props.

It was then that I realized, that the man was a visionary, a man ahead of his times. I've looked at thousands upone thousands of vintage photos in my life (I have a collection), and I've never seen work like his.   Most photos you will find are either snapshots, or they are studio shots.  I don't ever remember seeing work in a family's home specifically, or while they are playing in the yard.

These are things you see now, 60 years later, and he was doing things things either out of desire our necessity.  I'm assuming necessity since he had no studio.

Then I realized, that he and I have more in common than I could imagine. Technically his work might need some work, but the vision is the same.  Make people happy.  Give them what they can afford.  Go to them when you don't have a place to put them.  Work on the technical aspects to do your best.  Improve your work 10-fold.

And for that, I give us both a pat on the back.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let's try something... different

Recently I had an epiphany. A big one. One about my life, something that I hadn't really hadn't considered before.

I realized that many things that I do, centers around trying to recapture the happier parts of my childhood. I didn't have a horrible childhood, but it wasn't exactly great by most measuring sticks. What's the point into going into lots of details really?

I never realized that the Christmas ornaments I choose, the places I vacationed to, the gifts I bought for others, were just a way for me to relive those happy moments one more time. Or maybe, an attempt to make an old sad moment, and make it into a happy one. Imagine how difficult it was for me to stumble across some of my childhood books in an antique store - I wanted to take them all home with me. I was even making life long decisions on where to live based on these ideas!

I have since realized that I can let some of this stuff go. Where would my life lead me, if instead of looking backwards sadly or happily, I looked forward with curiosity?

Things I've done on tradition alone, I've let go. No longer am I tied down to do anything, just because that's what I've always done, or what I've always thought I should do for some reason.

One of those small events I've changed was photos - of all things. Every year as a child, I remember the day after getting our school pics back. Everyone would bring all their school pics to school with their signature on the back to trade. I still have almost all these pics of my old schoolmates.

So when the boys were little, I kind of wanted them to live that moment too. Except here in Maryville, it's either not done, or really not a big deal. Finally this year, we decided to just completely forego photos all together!

After all, he has a mother that's a photographer right?

I realized that I like these so much better than the crappy ones the school gives you. I have an opportunity to make them look more like Tanner's personality and at the same time, they got to be Tanner's childhood memories.

Not mine.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Frankie says relax!

{sunset over SW Iowa, 11-6-11}

I made it to the other side.
I'm so happy.

No, I didn't die or anything. I just made it through hell month, I mean, October. A million shoots (ok, a lot), several weddings (one in Oklahoma, next day one here in NW MO), and lots of editing. I still have editing to do, but the shoots will die down, my back will heal. My feet will rest. My butt will probably get wider (even though I'm working it off!)

There is peace in my head, and housekeeping to be done.

relaxxxxxxxx... ahhh.

I promise to post more now that I have my life back!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You'll regret asking me what I've been up to.


I decided to step just a little out of my comfort zone, and push more towards a goal I have... to sell my art/nature photos for people to decorate their homes. I printed up 2 photos. My favorite, and Gene's favorite (because he kept pestering me!) as 16x20's and then added them to my booth.

It felt like a small victory.

And if they sell, I won't make hardly anything, but it'll make me all super happy anyway ;)

I need a little more exiting set up.

In other news:
1. I have a crapload of work to do this week.

2. I have a student coming here to my house to job shadow Wednesday and I feel like a bomb went off. I'm going to scrape the worst of it into a corner. I'm seriously considering hiring a housekeeper.

3. I felt my first earthquake on Sunday. I was sitting in my office chair and it started wobbling. I thought the cat was rubbing it and looked down, no one was there. Then it kept wobbling. Come to find out, that earthquake in OK, made it all the way to MO.

4. I felt my second earthquake on Monday. See above. I told Gene "There's another earthquake! I can feel movement." he said, "There's nothing moving." (kind of indigent.) Ha. Should have bet him a fifty.

5. Said earthquakes were in Oklahoma.

6. Btw, I'm going to Oklahoma later this week. yessir.

7. Meetings with brides left and right lately. Everything is a time crunch it feels like. Things are good on the business front, but I feel like I'm getting less and less stuff in the rest of my life done. (hence: housekeeper)

8. Finally got everything sorted with the insurance company from the August 21 storm. I had to have a minor tantrum to finally make it happen. Other people had completely new roofs and siding and I didn't even have a stupid check yet. Not cool.

9. Which means some huge changes on the homefront here next summer. I don't know how we'll have time for it all. I'm hiring contractors - apply within. (but only if you actually show up and don't do crap work - do those exist?)

10. Two payments left on my last credit card and I'll be credit card debt free. First time since 1988! *get out* *Elaine shove* Next in line: The house.

11. My trusty old Neon is in the shop for the entire week. It has a minor transmission problems. *I do not want a new car. I do not want a new car.*

12. Shoot in Nebraska city on Saturday, in Creston, Iowa on Sunday. I feel all worldly except for the part where it's just Iowa and Nebraska.

13. Speaking of worldly, I wasted 1/2 hour today looking at vacation packages to Dominican Republic. All I could think of was someplace warm. I'm already wussing out on winter.

14. Gene and I were talking the other day about how neither of us had ever had caviar. We spent some time online looking at caviar for sale. The very next day, we were offered caviar at an event we went to (weird) and now we totally get it. That could be an expensive habit.

15. I could keep going but I see your eyes are getting droopy.

16. So are mine! Almost 1 a.m.! Nite ya'll!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Like a ninja. A short, fat, middle aged ninja.


I'm here.
I'm like a ninja, always in the shadows then POW.. there I am.

Or maybe I'm just really crazed at the moment.
"at the moment" *snark*

It has been nuts here and I'm so happy October is over! Yay. I know, that's so sad, but it's always the busiest month of the year with weddings and people wanting their Christmas photos. Now we'll be super busy processing photos to get Christmas rush orders out. I feel a little bad being neglectful over here, but really I wouldn't have much to contribute other than "Oh, I processed some photos today" or "Oh, I took some photos today." or "Oh, I put the cat on the floor 47 times from blocking my view today."

The only exciting thing about winter coming is the fact that I'll have lots of time to get some other things done that I haven't had time for for a while. Like some trash to treasure projects, working on my blog, cleaning my house.
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