JRR Tolkien told us “It’s a dangerous business going out your front door.”
If that’s the case, I was thrown off the cliff this morning when I bitched that my internet was down, and all the things I should be doing wasn’t going to get down. “Pick a new word” she responded, and I knew right away she was right. What the hell was I doing inside on a beautiful summer’s day in NYC anyway? I went to the study, grabbed the can & drew the word.
Something about a door always sparks a curiosity in me. When those hinges creak open, what’s on the other side? Who has the key to that door in their pocket? I get insane desire to peep through the keyhole, spy the world that exists on the other side.
Doesn’t everyone want to look inside a medicine cabinet when in someone else’s bathroom?
In the end though, strange doors are still magical and mystical, but could never to compare the greatest door of all… you’re own.
I wonder what a road feels like.
A road is the thing that takes us from point A to point B and back again. It speeds by under the tires of our big fuel guzzling SUVs without even a glimmer of appreciation. Sure, perhaps we’ll glance out the windows at the trees whizzing by, ooh and ahh at the houses and scenic views, but mostly they go unnoticed.
Today I left the house with a new word in my pocket. Its a word that should have been so simple that I could have completed it by the time I reached the corner, but something wasn’t there today, I couldn’t see anything through my lens, no matter how far I walked, especially when it came to seeing that word. I walked farther along until I came to a pretty busy road that runs through a park, one of the biggest roads in Queens. It gets pretty wooded, the two lane black top snaking through a forest which most of the area would look like if not for the work of man.
The word I had come to look for had already slipped so far from my mind that I could barely even remember it. I carried my camera in my hand listening to the whizzing cars rush past me. In between them, the silence of the woods returned only to be shattered within seconds by another passing car. As I walked, I became aware of the road. My eyes drifted along and I began to notice not only the road, and as I said, how ignored and unloved it was, but even worse what was left along side of it. Trash littered the curb, things tossed out a car window, discarded by the owner.
We live in a society being eaten alive by our own garbage. I don’t want to interject my own feelings on global warming or how we’re beating our planet to a horrid death, so I’ll just leave it as saying I was appalled by the litter around me.
I looked at all the trash around me, I looked at it through the lens of my camera, and when I was done, I did something I never do when shooting, I destroyed what I found. Using a plastic bag I found at my feet, I cleaned it up. I picked up the trash laying along the road, stuck it in the bag, and threw it all in the garbage can supplied by the nice people who run the park
My life is in a bad place right now, I have little control of my fate, I’m desperately looking for break, praying for a way to get back on my feat, with very little that I can actually take control of. But this… this I was able to fix… so I did.
Yes, I know it will be back tomorrow, and no I wasn’t able to get all of it, but the bits that I did not only made me feel good, but made that stretch of road that much nicer to look at … if someone else would ever decide to slow down and appreciate it.
Oh … and I left the toilet… it was too big to carry.
Well, now that 2008 is over, and good riddance, it’s time to get my big ole butt in gear.
2008 was a year of personal challenges, and I’m really hoping to avoid that kinda crap in the new year. (Yeah, I know, let’s just pretend, ok?) That will leave me plenty of time to focus on my professional life. While my number one priority will remain to find a day job, there are a number things I want to accomplish in my hobby of photography. As the ball dropped the other night I reflected on them, and thought I should write them down, maybe writing them down would force me to accomplish them. But then I found the loophole that if I lost the paper I wrote them on…. which is why I’m here posting a non-photography related post on a PhotoBlog .. how ghastly!!! I mean what’s the chances of my losing the entire internet, right?
So, this is what I want to do this year….
Resolution # 1 – Sell – I never wanted to make a million dollars off my work, and I never want to do it professionally, but I’ve got all these images sitting around, and maybe there’s a little old lady in Kansas who would love a photo a graffiti covered staircase in her living room. I’m going to use sites like Ebay and RedBubble to sell a print here or there. I’m also gonna actually listen to my sister, and try to find out about art fairs. Might not sell a damn thing, but I’ve got learn that for myself. I’ve got to learn the fine art of tagging my photos and I’m currently brokering a deal with a brilliant mind that will be paid in slices from Carlos. Wish me luck.
Resolution # 2 – Upgrade – Santa didn’t bring me all the nice shiny gear I wanted for Christmas, which means I’ve got to go out and buy it myself. Well… maybe if I do a good enough job with resolution #1…
Resolution # 3 – Keep Up With My Blog – Dawg was right, my blog is horribly erratic, but unfortunately it mirrors my current life. That shouldn’t be the case & I promise to do better. By the way, thanks so much for the recognition, I’m shooting for making the list next year too. I’ve joined PhotoBlog community to draw traffic to my blog, but how interesting will it be if there’s never anything new? In short, I’ll write more.
Resolution # 4 – Keep Up With My Comrade’s Blogs I know so many amazingly talented photographers who go out of their way to share their great art with the world and I should be paying attention more. I promise to keep up with the going on’s of my granny, Sue Henry, Jen Rinaldi, Heather McCullah, Julie Lawson, Scott Bulger, Lincoln Palmer, Jake Easley and more. I should also be keeping up with the wealth of advice and knowledge give by Damien Franco on Your Photo Tips and great blogs like Lightroom Killer Tips, Pro Photo Show and Epic Edits. All of these site mentioned, and any I may have forgetten not only entertain, but inspire me, and help me better myself and my art. I’ll be more active in 2009, reading and commenting.
Resolution # 5 – Keep Shooting All of the above will seem pretty silly and pointless if I have no new material. I need to get out more, see more, shoot more. I’m gonna promise to work harder on the A to Z Challenge at YourPhotoForum. I’ve drawn the first work of 2009 and it’s staring at me from my desk. I’ve got no idea where I’m going in 2009, but I promise to bring my camera with me… and thus, all of you.
So now I need your help. Basically, I need you to break my balls every day. Hey – it’s leap year, you even get an extra day to do so. If you see me slacking, yell at me, slap me in the back of the head, call me at 4 in the morning and scream obscenities at me. It’s ok, I probably deserve it.
2009 will be a year of moments, and I promise to grasp as many as I can.
Ask my mom, I always hated homework.
Homework I give myself seems to be just as difficult. The “Inspiration A To Z Challenge” at YourPhotoForum was my idea, and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve once again found excuse after excuse not to work on it. So, it was with great resolve that I drew another word out of my coffee can of words to work on.
That was over a week ago. What can I say? I’m a slacker.
In case you’ve forgotten, the point of this assignment is simple. There’s a list on YourPhotoForum of words, basic, everyday ordinary words. I wrote all these words on a slip of paper, folded them & stuffed them in a coffee can. I draw a word, and photograph it. When I’m done, I draw another word.
Well, I’m done… next word….
Strolled around Williamsburg today. I dunno, maybe it was that I stayed up to the wee hours last night reading the blog of the HDR master Louis Trocciola but I just kept seeing all the great color and detail around me.
Now I’m in no way trying to copy his work, even if I tried I couldn’t get close. Visit his blog, and look at his images and let me know when you jaw finally closes. I’ve also been learning a lot at my favorite photo stomping ground Your Photo Forum from the HDR masters there, Jake Easley and Lincoln Palmer. Their stuff will blow you away. They’re both great guys too, and I’ve gotten lots of help and advice from them.
For now anyway, I’m still trying to find my way in this art form. Not every image will work as an HDR, and if nothing else, I’m getting better at taking a photo and making a mental note to run it through Photomatix when I get home.
Here’s what I saw today…
The next word I drew from my inspirational coffee can. A Little tougher than my first… Seen Here. I had one ground rule for this, no “slanted T’s”. It had to an X. Drawing another word now.
Unfortunately, even sitting in a bucket of water with a lighting rod helmet on the roof of the tallest building doesn’t bring inspiration shooting from the heavens above. I did however have a pigeon make a nest on my shoulder.
Its amazing how I can walk past the same plot of ground day after day and never see anything interesting and then one day – BAM – it’s there. The next day it’s gone.
I was stuck in my house one miserable rainy week and walking around, camera in hand, just looking for something shoot, anything. Then I saw it… and to be honest, I was baffled why I had no seen it before. It was so beautiful and it almost beckoned to be photographed. The amazing detail … the colors.. the textures… so I shot it… picking it apart in detail so it could be appreciated for all it’s wonderful glory…
But now that’s done.. what next? What mystical source will give me the next inspirational charge?
The help speed the process along, me and my friends at YourPhotoForum.com including the great Sue Henry and Lincoln Palmer have agreed to start an “Inspiration A to Z” challenge. The idea is simple. Using a list of words, we all have to write the words on paper, toss them into a can and draw them out one at a time. You can’t move to the next word until after you’ve shot two or three images based on the word you’ve drawn.
So I started today… and was shocked at my first draw… the word “Inspiration” itself. Yup, out of all the words I had to choose from…
Of course, the source of all my inspiration these days was an obvious choice…
Finally in the words of the Grateful Dead… “Inspiration, move me brightly. light the song with sense and color; Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.”
So where will inspiration come from next? In what form will it be? I have no idea… but I know if nothing else, I’ve got a coffee can of words to get through.
I still scratch my head when people say my photos are good. Ok, yes, I’ll admit even I think some of them are, but I think it’s tough for me to accept the fact that something that brings me such peace and joy is also something that could touch others.
This doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling I get when I get positive remarks on my work by other photographers. I’m the past few months I’ve begun to follow work of photographers that I basically idolize. I get advice and pointers from brilliant minds like Chiller, Lincoln Palmer, Sue Henry and of course the amazingly talented Jon Mikal who have become a real a “photographic family” to me at YourPhotoForum.com.
Each month at YPF there is a Photo Of The Month Contest. The really unique aspect of this contest is there is nothing submitted for it. Instead any member of YPF can nominate another member’s work for the contest.
The first time I was nominated I was blow away. I didn’t win… hell, I didn’t even vote for that photo! The winner that month was well deserved but then the next month, I was nominated again and this time I won! I still don’t think I’ve gotten over the shock of that!
Well last month I was nominated again and I was ecstatic. Then… another photo was nominated. Then… another!!! When voting began last week I had 3 entries in the contest and I’m proud to say I won. (LOL.. had good odds, right?)
and the winner…
So if you’re a photographer, and you’re looking for a great forum with some real supportive and encouraging people – not to mention the most amazing collection of talent I’ve ever seen, stop over at YourPhotoForum.com. Hope to see you there!