Came across Reverb10 the other day and love the idea of reflecting on last year and manifesting the coming one! I have been silent on this blog the last little while because my brain has been so filled with plans for the future I can’t seem to quiet it long enough to write. That and the usual business of a crazy work day at the hospital and family time! I also have a new little project , a tumblog, for capturing the fleeting special moments!
So I’m 11 days behind with this Reverb10 thing and need to do a little catching up! I’m going to try to make it short and sweet!
Day 1 One Word – one for 2010 and one for 2011
For 2010 the word is Closure. Four years and two miscarriages later, we’re done and we’re happy. Another child would have been wonderful but now I am able to see how having one child gives me the joy of being a mother and yet frees me to make a difference in the lives of many! And for 2011, Dream is the word! I am going to Dream big! I have been somewhat of an observer the last five years in my professional world: the healthcare system. And there are so many things that just make no sense! So I am dreaming big about how I can make a difference! That means having big dreams about what my dream job is. I’ve already begun to dream and 2011 will be the year to make it happen!
Day 2 Writing – What gets in the way?
Everything! I am a total procrastinator! I love the idea of writing and I often think of things to write about but when writing doesn’t come easy, which I know is true for most people, it’s so easy to find every reason you don’t have time. Especially when most days the only way I would ever have time would be to either sit down at 9pm after a very busy day or get up at 5am before the day starts. And I like my sleep so that’s no small task!
Day 3 Moment
It was earlier this year when my work day started with a call to the pediatric intensive care unit. There had a been a horrible accident and six year old girl who was to have her first day at school the next day was dying. I spent the day with her wonderful family, trying my best to help in some small way as the day unfolded upon them. It may seem strange that this day made me feel alive but when you confront death and how powerless we truly are over it, I felt a hightened awareness of my life and what is truly important.I felt such a strong desire to not waste one single second with mindlessness and complaining!
Day 4 Wonder
This year I have tried to really live the photographic life. To me that means to take every moment and think about what visually appeals about it, to find WONDER in the cracks in the sidewalk as I walk to work or the young family I drive by walking their kids to school each morning. I can’t always take a picture but I see it in my mind.
And for all you on Day 12! Wait for me! I’m coming!
I took some time away from blogging to make space in my life and mind so I could jump into the photographic life with both feet. And it’s been wonderful. So much has happened in the last few months to completely confirm that this is the path for my creativity. Summary: possible project at RISD, saw Mary Ellen Mark not once but twice, CE class at RISD, and lots of reading and looking at images online! As I’ve said before, I can’t (don’t really want to) quit my day job but I’m thinking about photography kind of like breathing. You do it be cause you have to, because it feels good. Taking pictures that is the constant behind all the other roles you fill. It is not another role or project but something that sustains you!
My first venture into photography was back when digital was very new. I took a community ed class and everyone was still using film. I have to admit it was very difficult and expensive to learn! Not long after my Dad gave me a very nice digital for the time and I just couldn’t put it down. I was amazed at how much I was able to learn about exposure with the instant feedback. That led to a DSLR shortly after my daughter was born but I was still thinking of myself as someone taking snapshots of their family. Pretty much my daughter was my life and breath not leaving much room to think about anything else! The pictures I took then were for me and for my M’s future. The memories of our time together. I hope I never lose sight of those moments in search of “bigger” moments. When I’m at the end of my life, I know that where ever this photographic life has taken me it will be the memories I captured for my family that will mean the most.
So much more to say about this journey but M has just arrived for breakfast so need to wrap up!
So here’s the latest snippit. I’m taking a class and this week we have to do portraits of someone we know and someone we don’t know very well. And no children which rules out the usual subjects! I really like the challenge of taking pictures with a purpose but I don’t like the time frame. A week is not nearly long enough to do the kind of work I would want anyone to see. Mostly because I really only get one brief shot at it. This will be our fourth assignment and although I’m enjoying it the information is coming much too slowly. I have to remember to pace myself and not lose sight of what is most important in the process! I’ll try to post some of my work from the other classes on flickr this weekend. Feel free to give me a little feedback!
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
It’s funny how just changing the way you think about yourself changes the way you look at things. This week, in between running around like a crazy person trying to meet the demands at work, I really thought about myself as a photographer and took a few bold steps in that direction. I found a wonderful local photographer, John Foraste, emailed him to see if he would meet with me and let me pick his brain and he said YES! We are planning to meet in a week for breakfast no less and I am just so excited to really talk with someone who has spent their life as a photographer.
I also finally contacted Dennis Hlynsky, a contact I was given at RISD. And guess what, he also responded right away. He had some very interesting things to say. What struck me most is that he really encouraged me to find a way to do the project I have in mind on my own, to find a way to remove any limitations and to own my idea. I thought that as soon as I told him I was an “amateur” photographer and a social worker, he would dismiss me and send me straight to the continuing ed program. He did just the opposite and really spoke to me with respect for my idea and validation of my passion. After talking with him, I’ve decided that I’m going to put my project in a safe place for now and focus on building my skill. I still have so much to learn about how to capture the image I have in my mind.
The great thing is, with the internet, so much material is available and free! I have found more than several photographers whose work I want to study, like Mary Ellen Mark, Fazal Sheikah, David Duchemin, and Ed Kashi and Dawoud Bey. And I was so thrilled to discover the Center for Photography at Woodstock. They have some amazing weekend workshops and only three hours away! I may not get there this summer but I’m going to try to develop my portfolio in preparation for next summer!
And after much research, the Nikon D90 is what I have my eye on. Now I just have to save a few more pennies. Good thing is the D50 I have has taken many great pictures and will continue to do so until I can get my hands on the D90. Hopefully soon you will see more of my images here as I figure out the best way to display them. Until then be sure to check out my flickr account!
Over the last month or so I have obviously done little blogging but I have done lots of thinking and reflecting on what it is that I am truly passionate about and whether I am putting my time and effort in the right place. Here is what I have concluded so far.
- I have a job that not only pays the bills but 80% of the time is very rewarding. Anything that takes me away from my daughter had better be extremely important. I found that trying to build a blog was feeling like a second job with fleeting rewards. The intensity of trying to post every day and comment on other blogs regularly left me distracted and not very available to my family even when I was home.
- I don’t want to blog with the agenda of building a business that will make money. Even if I committed every free moment, sure, I might make enough in a year to buy a new camera but at what cost. I have a job with a decent salary so if a camera is so important then just go buy it!
- I want to connect with real people both online and in person who are interested in a friendship. I don’t want to comment on other sites in hopes they will comment on mine or their readers will comment on mine for the main purpose of building my traffic. I want to connect with people who I can share with and learn from.
- I want to be a photographer, no, I am a photographer. There I’ve said it. And I want to be a documentary photographer. There I’ve said that too. If I do anything with my free time, I want to be capturing real life in images. Through the last six months of blogging and reading others blogs, many about photography and creativity, I’ve realized what I love about photography is capturing honest moments, the ones that tell a story or ask a question. I’ve found an intersection between my creative life and my work life. Technically I am a clinical social worker but in essence I am a listener. My heart is filled with 20 years of the most amazing stories of resiliency, pain, reconciliation, grief, and love. These are the stories of real life and I want to capture them in photographs and share them with the world.
- I don’t need to quit my day job to be a photographer. In fact I really don’t want to run a photography business. I want to take pictures that will tell a story and maybe make a difference. It will take some time away from my daughter, but I hope she will learn, by my example, to follow her dreams and live life passionately.
And here is the plan:
- I have a dream and I need a dream team so I am going to seek out real live people in my community who I can share my ideas with, who will encourage me and guide me to realizing my dream and not giving up when I’m feeling like I’m not good enough.
- I am going to start blogging again but this time I’m going to blog about my creative journey with little mind to how many people are reading. I hope there are like minded people out there pursuing their own dream that will say hello and share their journey. I hope those reading will encourage me and remind me that I am good enough. I realized how much I need encouragement this past week when I shared with someone what I’m really passionate about and she said, without hesitation, “I think you would be really good at that!” I couldn’t hold back the tears!
- I’m going to get a new camera(as soon as I sell my old one!)
- This blog is going to be about my journey to change the world in some small way through pictures and not about building a popular blog. Some of it will stay the same and some of it will change.
- I am going to stop being afraid of getting out there and documenting the stories of the people living in my community: the struggling family, the elderly, the illegal immigrants, the everyday people, the unemployed, the uninsured. They all have a story we can learn from.
- My family will always come first. My husband and daughter are my first dream come true. Time with my daughter will stay my number one priority. I will not spend my time with her distracted. I will carve out time to pursue this dream and move slowly forward. Some day she will be off pursuing her own dreams and then I can pick up the pace. Hopefully I’ve got another 40 years. I think that’s enough time!
And if you have a small dream whispering in your ear here are some of the people who have helped me realize mine and who I plan to continue to follow until my dream is a reality.
- Tracey Clark – I am enough
- Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin
- Todd Henry of Accidental Creative
- David duChemin of Pixelated Image
- Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Nonconformity
- Tara Sage Steeves of Create Your Life (an old friend I serendipitously ran into a couple months ago!)
These are folks who will feed your creative soul! I’d give them each a big hug if I could!(look out, Tara, I know where you live!) And a big thanks(I’ve already hugged them a few times) to my husband, my mother, my father, Claudia, Heather, Heidi, and Marianne! Thanks for listening, encouraging and most of all helping so I can have the time to pursue my passions!
When I Am Among the Trees
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~ Mary Oliver ~