Monday, March 29, 2010

Catching Up....!

You may or may not have noticed...but I did not post here last week. Monday got away from me...and then the rest of the week sped by. So here it is Monday again and I almost let it go another week. Not very good for being accountable.

I spent a good part of last week, thinking. A wonderful fellow photographer, Daniel Sroka, wrote his own blog post about the dilemha we artists have when deciding whether to create work from our hearts, work for the market or if there is some magical place of convergence that we can consciously work towards. Please take a look at what he wrote. it rang true to me. And in these times where we artists are stuggling to figure out if and how to make a living...perhaps what he has to say is even more important. But for those who don't wnat to read his post...the upshot is....we must continue to make what we love, or we betry the impetus that makes us artists.

So you can see by the shot I posted above, that I am still pursuing what I love and hope that it will move all of my work in the necessary directions.

I have done more work with my new Bronica camera. I still love it and hope to show you all some of those images next week.

One of the things that I have realized this week, is that my Spring and Summer this year will be crazy busy and not with my own work. Those of you know me personally, know that I have a 15 year old son who plays drums in two competative BagPipe bands. Last year one of the bands took us to Scotland for the World Pipeband Championships and that band placed 3rd in the Juvenile division. This year, while still competing Stateside with that band, he is also playing in one of the two top competative bands in the United States. And guess what...we will be going back to Scotland this year. In addition, he is going to Italy in the fall to spend his Junior year of High School as an exchange student. So from now until September I will be filling my weekends chauferring him from youth exchange orientations, to band rehersals, to competitions. I am a very proud mom, but I do understand that I have to give up some of my art career time for him. But there won't be many more chances to spend this kind of time as a family. So I am glad to do it.

Those of you in the horse world may be familiar with the United States Olympic Dressage rider Courtney King-Dye. What you may or may not know, is that she suffered a terrible fall from a young horse that caused skull fractures and multiple other injuries. While she was in a coma for quite some time, she is now in a head trauma recovery center. One of her riding sponsors, Succeed by Freedom Health LLC has organized an auction page on EBAY with the proceeds to go to help with Courtney's medical expenses. I have donated an original print of my photograph, Symmetry. Please take a moment and check out all of the items on the auction page. You may find something you would like and by purchasing help a wonderful rider and a special person. I "met" Courtney last year and through email conversations with her, discovered that she had at one time supported her riding lesson costs by painting equine portraits. It was a very nice connection to make.

I go with my son to New York City tomorrow for a trip to the MOMA. I plan to revisit old favorite works of art. And to see the new space housing the photography collection. I have not been there in over 20 years!

Have a wonderful Passover and Easter to you all,


Monday, March 15, 2010

New Cameras...and Inspiration

There is very little in life as exciting to a photographer then falling in love with a new camera. Or stumbling across new inspiration.

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to see a post on twitter by a fellow photographer announcing that he was selling one of his cameras. A Bronica 2 1/4 (medium format) body with two lenses, two film backs, a angled viewfinder and some extras. The price looked excellent and although I already had one med. format camera. This one had more accessories with it that I could find useful. I would give it a try and if i did not like it, I would sell it. Last Wed. was the first chance that I had to take it out and give it a try....and I am in love. This camera fits my hands so well. The lens choice I have between the two will give me a range that I need. It is easy to load the film in. The bright screen addition is super to help these old eye to see well enough to focus it. And the images it takes are crisp and beautiful. Now...bear with it is going to take some time for me to get used to framing square images. I have been working in 35mm rectangles for so long it is hard to adjust to something this different. And to keep the square image for the final print, you need to crop exactly in the camera or will have to crop equally all around. So framing these images in the viewfinder is a slower more deliberate act. I like that. So wish me luck with my new tool...and expect that I may be selling my Hasselblad soon. Get on the list if you think you might be interested. I can't wait to see where this new way of photographing takes me.

And speaking of things like that....some of you may know that I have been contemplating working on a series of still life shots this year. I have wanted to start some natural light work with bones, horns and antlers. Detail shots in B&W against simple backdrops. The day that I took my Bronica camera over to the barn last week to play with it....I also took my horse out into a field at the farm to ground drive him. Basically, for those that don't know, that means I put him in a harness and walk behind him holding onto the driving reins. Like you would if you were plowing or doing farm work. I like to do this because it is great exercise for us both. While walking down the field...I spotted a wonderful collection of bleached deer bones. The best part was that the spine was still intact! So when I got done driving...I went back to the spot with the bronica and photographed those wonderful bones in situ. Collecting them after to bring home for later photographic use. Below it the best of those images. Note the extreme short focal area of the image. Nice, huh?

Days like that just can't be beat. When they end, know that life is good.
Enjoying the beginnings of Spring!

Monday, March 08, 2010

SILVER SECONDS AUCTION - Session 2 Livestock

The SILVER SECONDS AUCTION - Session 2 is under way.

Not quite the best & not garbage either! These prints are images that I think have merit but are not up to the standards of the work I put on my website and in galleries. That makes them SECONDS. They are all handprinted in my darkroom with the same meticulous care as my first run work. I am starting the AUCTIONS of these prints at $20.00 and bids are to be increased at $5.00 increments. Each auction will last for 7 days. This one will end Noon EST Monday, March 15th. Scroll down to see the photos. To bid on a photo....type your bid in the comments. Shipping price will be based on the winning bidders location. (if your bid does not show up in the comment box, be sure to contact me)

Social Networking and Being an Artist

There are some major components to being an artist. Especially to being a successful one.
Talent, of course.
Technical knowledge of your medium
Vision - the thing that makes your work unique
Time - to pursue creating
Marketing - making the work available to the public

Talent is something one is born with. Technical knowledge must be learned. Vision is something you develop over a lifetime. Time on the other hand is something you have to carve out for yourself. It is extremely important to carve out enough that you are not rushing to get work done. Time to create is slow time. Which brings me to the dilemma.

In this economic crunch fewer and fewer galleries are risking taking on work of emerging artists. Many established galleries are closing their doors. Rents are sky high. And the return on selling art, not enough for them to stay in business. So how does an artist get their work out into the public eye. Well, by doing it ourselves. Marketing that is. We are selling through websites and virtual art shows. And we droves....joining the ranks of those using the Social Networks to get a public presence. It is an amazing thing to find yourself having fans all over the world. And when we sell direct...we get to keep all the profit for our work. And why not...we have done all the efforts it takes to sell that work. So you ask, where is the downside? is in that thing we discussed before....TIME.

I have found Facebook and Twitter. I have made more friends and fans than I could have ever thought possible. But to keep in the public eye through Social Networking takes a huge commitment of time. You have to be willing and able to be there every day. I am lucky in that I am a very social person. I love to talk. And I love that so many people have now seen my least online somewhere. But it is easy to get sucked in. And to forget that to create more work you have to stop networking....walk away from the computer....and for me, get out and photograph or get down and spend the day in the darkroom.

And so, while social networking has given artists the tools to contact our customer base directly...we have to remember....that if you want to see new artwork...we have to take the time to do that too. What a juggle this modern life has become!

For me...this now means...if Monday is blogpost day. Social networking day. Then Tuesday is Darkroom day!


Monday, March 01, 2010

A Week of Weather and Disappointments

The week that was!

At least it is over and a new one begins. Last week began with computer frustrations that thankfully got resolved, but not before several storms hit our area knocking out power at our house for over a day. At least we have a gas stove so that we could cook warm meals. But we got cold sitting around here and spent much of our time over at the local cafe, Taste Bud's, where there was camaraderie, warmth and internet access.

But the weather effected one more important thing for me....I had to cancel my trip to Santa Fe! My flights were cancelled and I lost too many days of the trip to make it worth going even if I could get to the airport to fly out. I will tell you that I am very impressed with, as the customer service person worked hard with the airlines and got me a full refund on my ticket. So I have been able to reschedule for later in April. Perhaps in the end it is all for the best, as the snow will be gone here and fact the desert might even be in bloom when I get there.

So instead of being on vacation, I got to shovel a lot of snow and do some more organizing. Two more entries to shows were sent out last night. I know....I know....I said I was not going to spend time entering shows this year. But maybe the key is to enter so many that I lose track on them and will be less disappointed when I don't get in. I am being a bit more careful not to enter shows with expensive shipping costs for short runs. Some venues now even have deals where you send the prints and they will mat and frame them there. That is a fantastic idea.

The two images I have on top here are two that I think are my best work and have been entered in various shows. Older pieces from the Equiscape series...Glacial Edge and Waterfall. To see more from that series

I think the Silver Seconds Auction went well and will make some collectors very happy. Added some new collectors to the mix too. I will run the next one in a week or two. I will be sure to post it here. The next auction will be Livestock images. So be sure to stay tuned.

I expect this week will see more organizing getting done. We see the accountant on Thursday and I am not looking forward to that. I intend to start posting some object and stuff for sale on my Etsy store later this week. Right now it is all my photographs. If you haven't seen it yet -

And best of all....I will get into the darkroom this week. My paper is here and I am ready to go. I just need an uninterrupted day. What most don't realized about the darkroom is that the process is so time consuming. 1/2 to set up....hours to print from just a few negatives...sometimes, just one if it is difficult....and then 1 hour to wash prints and clean up chemistry. So I need a good block of time to do it and it can't be rushed. I am hoping for we will have to see. Here is a nice quote about the kind of printing that i do, from photographer David Robin from an interview in LensWork magazine...."What I loved about silver printing and traditional methods,,,was that every single print was a one of a kind. It wasn't instantaneous.....each one (print) was unique. I like that on-of-a-ind quality form traditional methods. Everything is unique. There's something to be said for the slow process, the deliberate process that happens in shooting in a deliberately slowed-down process, where you examine each step as it moves along."

It smells this morning like Spring outside and I have a few early flower buds peaking up along the South side of the house. All good signs that we are coming out of this winter. Enjoy your week. I will head over to the barn soon to brush some shedding hair off of my horse. Things are looking up!