Friday, March 1, 2013

Who Are the Jones Anyway?

Linking with Kat, for the next installment of soul searching on the topic of apologizing.  Surely fascination trumps apologizing.

A real photographer?  Hmmm. Well a real photographer definitely has "the stuff".  You know the multiple lenses, the big ass bag, that round silvery reflector doo-hickey thing-a-ma-bob, and they talk about filters, and bouncing speed flash off the ceiling and how many seconds it took.  They are super duper on photo processing-magicians of Lightroom or Photoshop. They also make money.  For their photos.  Maybe at weddings or snapping pics of seniors in high school.  Or maybe they work for the newspaper, or even cooler they get those amazing stills in Iraq or Japan or Brazil when despair, heartache, and tragedy rain down.  They work in a global environ. That's a real photographer.

Yah, I've apologized.  I bet I still apologize and don't realize it.  I know I passed up the opportunity to photograph a "mother to be's" formal shower.  My apology there was my lack of skill set/experience, appropriate gear (no flash or fast lenses), and on the uniqueness-a one day event that can't be redone.  What if I screwed up?  That would sit on my shoulders very heavily.  There is no apology if that were to happen.  I declined gracefully and explained why.  The grandmother to be appreciated my honesty.

Someone said "BUT" is an eraser word.  That anything you say before it is erased by what comes after it, like.....I'd really like to photograph your baby shower, BUT......I don't "blah, blah"....I do try to make note of but, BUT I miss it sometimes.  I think the word try has similar negatives.  Something like if you try then you don't do.  Life has so many damn rules.

In many ways I've stopped apologizing.  I post a lot of photos on Facebook.  I change my cover photo a couple times a week; sometimes I post a shot I found beautiful.  You know what?  I get lots of "likes" and compliments.  How cool is that?  That has given me more confidence.  Somewhere along the way I became comfortable calling myself an artist-that was a biggie. 

Two Old Bucks
Two Old Bucks

Biggest step forward?...taking on the challenge of going to Cuba this past summer as the ONE and ONLY photographer there to document the trip.  Any screw ups and I'd be disappointing 111 people, and myself.  No pressure. :~%

BUT, and I'm not erasing, I did it anyway.  Whoot!  Maybe you can use but the right way....put the negative part first and erase it with the positive part.  I was going to eat 6 gallons of ice cream for dinner BUT I had a salad instead.  Magic.

Another challenge I pushed thru was taking some senior portraits for a friend short of money.  I did apologize, and let her know I hadn't done that type of work before, BUT I'd be willing to give it a go.  I took way more pics than needed just in case and ended up doing just fine.  I saw mistakes and learned from them too.

Owning the Road
Owning the Road

This black and white was her favorite.

Looking at You
Looking at You
BUT, I liked this one the most.

Other stuff?  People images.  Taking more of those and not feeling guilty like I'm invading someone's privacy.  I do try to be kind with my camera-that's important to me BUT being in public is being in public.  Big brother-c'mon cell phones, security cameras, facebook-we're all being photographed way more than we think we are.

Skate Park
Skate Park

In Her Housedress
In Her House Dress BW

Another Cuba shot.  Love this woman's expression.

After being asked (or pushed) a number of times, I've taken the jump to hang images in the local library for the month of October in their rotating gallery.  The first time someone suggested this I felt my anxiety go thru the roof.  While it still is uncomfortable, I am going to do it anyway.  People are pretty interested in my Cuba shots.  Check in with me in September to see how my anxiety is hanging in there.

Textures and Patterns
Textures and Patterns

Another thing I recently decided is I'm not going to just give my photos away anymore.  I suppose there's the pricing and potential to sell yourself short-which would be a form of apology-BUT baby steps.  Last photo someone wanted I hid my apology in "I'm not giving my images away anymore, so if you could throw me like $5-10 for my design time, that would be great."  She gave me $7 and was happy to do so.  I notice I asked for money for my time, but not my art.  Hmmmm.  Have to work on that.


Here's a photographer.  A professional.  I was sitting right beside him in Cuba, waiting for the choral festival to begin.  It was stage lighting and I was trying to figure out my metering and settings.  I looked at him and thought "I am sitting next to the professional, in fact I was in this spot first.  He is metering; I am metering.  I am a real photographer."  That was a cool moment and why I love this photo.

I'm going to amend my "real photographer" paragraph to better suit what works for me.

A real photographer? Hmmm. Well a real photographer definitely has "the stuff". You know the multiple lenses, I could use some of those the big ass bag OK-I have one of those, that round silvery reflector doo-hickey thing-a-ma-bob, and they talk about filters, and bouncing speed flash off the ceiling and how many seconds it took. They are super duper on  can photo process ing-magicians of  in Lightroom or Photoshop. They also make money. For their photos. I hope that's coming. Maybe at weddings I might like to be a 2nd photog responsible for candids or snapping pics of seniors in high school. Or maybe they work for the newspaper, or even cooler they get those amazing stills in Iraq or Japan or Brazil when despair, heartache, and tragedy rain down. this sounds pretty cool to me. They work in a global environ....I guess going to Cuba would count. That's a real photographer.

I'm not going to apologize for writing so long.  It's my journey, so I can.  BUT, if you read it all, you get brownie points and my thanks.


Kathryn said...

Susan, you're cuba pics really are stunning, rich, emotional and full of character. Congrats on the Library thing, I'm sure your images will receive lots of great comments and maybe encourage a few sales for you too. You should definitely be charging for your time and prints. People will take you more seriously when you do. :0)

By the way I wanted to let you know that the Scintilla Project is starting up in a couple of weeks. I think you mentioned last time that it was something you would be interested in. It's the one where you get a prompt in your inbox for two weeks and you write a post in reference to it. Anyway, here's the link in case you are.

shirley said...

Susan -

Your post really resonates with me. I have the same "buts", the same anxieties. Some of the same triumphs (although I think your Cuba experience trumps it all).
I hope you post the images you select for the library exhibit - sounds like a fabulous opportunity.

You are definitely an artist, definitely a photographer. A real photographer tells stories with their photos. Yeah, I think you've got that covered....

Sarah Huizenga said...

Susan - you are always such a breath of fresh air to read! I love your Cuba shots and the one of the lady in the doorway could go in National Geographic! I see great things in your future :)

Brenda said...

Susan - yes, that pesky "but" - it can certainly wipe out a lot, can't it? I so admire your Cuba work - what a HUGE and brave step forward. To have responsibility for all those chorus members and all the trip activities - I so admire you for saying "yes" to that work. And I have loved the images you created there. Glad to hear you consented to have your work on display at the local library - another big step - and well-deserved. You are an inspiration.

gina said...

Susan, I think your Cuba assignment was a pivotal event in your creative journey. I've seen some of those images, and they are amazing -- you should be proud to display them! I'm glad the but word is fading from your vocabulary, and you are claiming your right to say you are a real photographer.

And, one more thing: $5-$10 is WAY too cheap!

Carol Blackburn said...

OK Susan, this is an awesome post today. Yes you are a real photographer and don't you forget it. Can you post a virtual exhibit of your library exhibit for us, please, please, please. It too would be an awesome post, I am sure. :) I hope you have this weekend off and are out on this sunny day doing what you do so best. Enjoy your day!

Kat Sloma said...

I definitely think the "BUT" cancels, whether what comes before is positive or negative. It's nice to realize that! I agree with Gina that the Cuba trip was a pivotal event for you. It pushed you in ways you didn't expect, and continues to push you. I can't wait to see the images of your photographs up at the library. You can do it! And the more you do it, the more comfortable you will be.

Stewart said...

thanks for the deep exploration of this topic. you've done a lot of letting go and it shows. lOved the rewriting of your original paragraph.

Deborah Tisch said...

If we read the post and make a we get extra brownie points???? I'll take mine, please.

All kidding aside, I have to agree with Kat and Gina, your trip to Cuba and the amazing images you brought back has to have given you greater confidence in your abilities as a real photographer. I so admire the work you do no matter where you went to get the images.

Yes. You are an artist. A real photographer in my book.

Cathy H. said...

Susan, you are one of my favorite artist/photographers! I love visiting you space here and seeing your unique view of the world! Your trip to Cuba was an experience that will forever influence your photography! You've shown us so many wonderful images, like the lady in the doorway! I love how you rewrote your last paragraph!!