Monday, July 15, 2013

Where's Carol? Fighting with "Stuff" That's Where


Antiques_0586, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
So, you might be wondering what I've been up to lately. I know it's been rather quiet around here, but that doesn't mean I'm not up to some "stuff."

For starters, I have been fixing up my home a bit. Clearing out boxes, trying to clean out some stuff, getting things fixed like my garage door, my washing machine, my window blind that fell and broke. I've been tackling what could best be described as a "honey do" list, only, since I don't have a "honey" I'm doing it myself. Oh, I even got the car inspected too. And I went to the eye doctor. (I now were bifocals and am very happy I can see again.)

All of this "stuff" while wonderful to get done, has not left much time, space, energy, whatever for my art and photography. Yes, it's true, Snowflakes, Queen Flake has been busy tidying up things, getting things in order, getting setup so that I can then move forward.

I can't say it's been the best of times. I mean, I'm happy things are getting done but, man, does it feel like a chore! I *hate* doing this kind of stuff. Some days, especially, it seems like things are getting way worse before they can get any better, any better at all. But, like it or not, this kind of "stuff" needs to get done. I have a monster "To Do:" list and, I have to say, it feels a bit good whenever I can cross one thing, anything off of it. Anything at all, even like "water the plants" or, you know, "put up the laundry." Phew! Just another thing down and a huge, massive list of things waiting to get done.

No, I know too that I'm *so* looking forward to getting caught up. I know that, once everything is in order, so to speak, I'll really be able to fly. And, I have big plans for that time, believe me, I do. It's just that, well, for now anyway, I need to play catch-up on all of this stuff. I hope you'll understand.

Getting these massive things done, I must admit, feels pretty good too. It's de-stressing my life in oh so many ways. I know that, once things are in better order around here, I'll be a much happier camper (as they say.)

So now you know what's going on and I hope you'll understand. It's for the better, really it is (at least, it has been anyway, even on the days it seems like I'm not moving much at all. I can still spot a glimpse of progress. Things are, slowly but surely, coming together for me again.)

Until next time...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Amateur Hour


HI_0141-2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Somebody posted something on Facebook today that has irked me a bit, so I thought I would vent a bit today. The post reads something along the lines of "you are an amateur in photography, nobody goes on to being a pro without doing this..." and then has a link to some page with some pointers/tips on how "real" photographers take pictures. It all sounds very nice and good, but the trouble with this is, well, it's just *wrong.* Allow me to explain.

For starters, what is a "pro" photographer? Somebody who makes money? How much money? If you get paid two cents, does that make you a pro? What about if you shoot a grand, lasting image and donate it to a museum, does that make you a "pro?" Even if you didn't get any money for the shot? What about if somebody pays you $250 for a framed piece of yours, but you paid the model $300 and you spend $2500 on camera gear? Pro then? At what point do you become pro? When you make most of your money from photography? I've said this before but, what happens when somebody makes $50,000 a year on the stock market and also makes $10,000 (say) on their images? Are they considered pro? Even if they do not have a job? What about all of the people who work in high-tech but shoot/sell images on the side? Are they pro? Would they become "pro" if they quit their higher paying "day jobs" but went and got another day job, working at, say, a fast food joint? Would that make them "pro" because, according to the definition, you have to make "most" of your money from photography, right? So, suddenly working for McDonald's and not working in high-tech would make a high-tech employee a better (read: "pro") photographer? That sounds wrong to me on so many levels, it's not even funny.

Of course, amateur is anybody who is *not* pro, right? Even somebody who, say, has been shooting for 50 years, is happily retired, takes the craft of photography very seriously, but just isn't interested in selling any prints? Complete rank amateur you got there, right?

Then there are the "tips" themselves. I'm always leery when somebody says, "all pro photographers do this" no matter what it is. I know probably hundreds of "pro" photographers and, newsflash here, not all of them do the same thing! There is no be all end all everybody *must* do this in the bunch. Every one of them, each and every one of them, became "pro" in their own way, in their own right. Every photographer has his or her path.

Some photographers, for example, go to school to learn photography. Others don't. Some attend continuing education class. Some study art. Others study music or philosophy or whatever and transition to photography latter on in life. Some photographers, you could say, are born with a camera in their hand. Their dads or moms or grandparents or relatives were all photographers and they were given cameras at the ripe old age of 3. Others? Maybe they got stuck taking pictures one time when they were in the army and it just sort of stuck, they liked it. Some photographers are trained as artists, others journalists. Some are storytellers, others frustrated painters. Some shoot people, others buildings, some do nature or flowers or grass seeds or...my point is, there's no one *thing* any pro photographer does. Saying "all the pros do it" is akin to saying "but, Mom, all the other kids are doing it" in the schoolyard. In case you can't follow that reference, Mom's pretty smart and pretty sure that not all of the other kids are, in fact, doing it (whatever "it" might happen to be.) No, sorry to inform you, there is no magic bullet that will suddenly make all of your images look like a "pro" took them. Such a thing just simply does not exist.

I've always told people I "live a photographic lifestyle." What I mean by that is that I'm always doing some form of art or photography. Always. Even if it looks like I'm at home watching the news or ironing or whatever, there's always a gear, sometimes in the very back of my head, slowly turning, churning out new images, even if they only exist in my mind. Even if they never come to be, I'm always working on my next shot and things are always turning around in my mind. That mental gymnastics doesn't make me a "pro" photographer, anymore than, say, having a $10,000 camera does, but I like to think it makes me a serious photographer (on some level.) I'm serious about image-making and I'm devoted to the craft of photography, trying each and every day to get better and better at it.

In photography, there's what you like and what you don't. There are images that inspire, images that you want to take and sometimes too images that you just get. They are yours. You have to learn to take what the camera can give you and stop trying to chase some magic elixir, which doesn't really exist. In the words of the famous Nike ads, "Just Do It!" Don't let some dweeb on the web define for you what you *must* do in order to be a pro, just continually take images that are better and better-images that make you happier and happier, because they come closer and closer to your own, personal "vision" as an artist. Do that, and people will think you a "pro" no matter how many burgers you flip or how much your prints sell for in the aftermarket.

It's amateur hour all of the time. What's that they say? "All the world's a stage and all of the men and women merely players..." Sounds about right to me, even if I'm not "pro" photographer myself (whatever that means.)

Until next time...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Just Too Good To Pass Up


RadiosAndFans_0611, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
So, I was home tonight flipping the channels on the TV as I usually do, when I happened upon a description in my on-screen cable guide. The description said something along the lines of "Great Performances" and then detailed an evening of acoustic music filmed live at the Vienna Opera House featuring Joe Bonamassa. This really captured my attention because, prior to tonight, I did not know who Joe Bonamassa was, nor did I know what type of music he played. After I pulled up more information on the cable guide, it informed me that he was, in fact, a blues musician.

This really got my attention for a couple of reasons. First off, I had never heard of the guy. An Italian operatic tenor, perhaps? The name Joe Bonamassa would certainly fit that bill but, a blues musician? A little bit odd. Then there was the whole "Vienna Opera House" thing. I mean, they don't just let people stroll on in there. Whoever this guy was, he had to have some serious chops, right? I mean, to play blues music in the Vienna Opera House? Coupled with the fact that it was an acoustic performance? This was really sounding quite interesting. In the end, I decided this description from my on-screen cable guide was just too good to pass up, so I popped on over to the cable channel that was broadcasting this event and watched for myself.

My hunch was right. This Joe Bonamassa guy was just incredible. What a performance. I can barely stop thinking about it. As I was listening to the music, much of it southern-style acoustic blues music featuring his incredible guitar playing, my mind started to drift. I started thinking about photographs I would take, about paintings I would paint. It was creative inspiration coming to me on very many levels.

My first creative idea is one that I'm going to implement right now. I've decided that I'm going to do a new feature on the blog. Since I'm so inspired by music, and I consider myself to be a bit of a music hound, I am going to start up a new feature called: "Music To Paint To." It's going to feature, as the name implies, music that inspires me to take photographs, pick up a paint brush, or do some other creative task.

Now, there are a lot of music review sites out there, I'm sure, and I don't intend to compete with them, no. Rather, this is more of a feature (I hope to become regular!) that will highlight some music I feel is good inspiration for painters, photographers, and other creatives who need a soundtrack for their studio. As you might guess, Joe Bonamassa is going to be my first victim (I mean, um, "featured artist." Yeah, that's it!)

Other stuff will flow from tonight's creative musical adventure, I'm sure, but I wanted to get this one going. Look for some musical inspired paintings in the future, as well as maybe even a photo shoot or two, thanks to this type of creative inspiration. I can't help but listen to music like this sometimes, just close my eyes, allow my mind to drift, and let creative ideas pop into my head. It's a wonderful thing, really that is. I swear I wish I could bottle it and sell it but, alas, all I can do is recommend that, should you happen to get the chance to check out any Joe Bonamassa live at the Vienna Opera House, you not pass up the opportunity.

Until next time...