It’s not all about the art.

Sometimes I think the goal is to make a great emotionally packed image and sometimes I don’t. If it was all about the perfect photo then why are we sharing on Instagram, Facebook, Flickr and Google+? These are all social media sites aimed at connecting people with like interests. People you know and people you don’t know…yet.

I recently received in the mail a very special print from +Me2. It is my favorite image of his (amongst many) and I will cherish it for many years. He is someone I wouldn’t even know existed if it wasn’t for this amazing thing we call the internet. This past weekend I went out photographing with good friends, all of whom I have met through the power of social media. A few weekends ago I met a couple of lovely Instagramers from a town three hours away and because of mutual interests became fast friends.

Suffice it to say, my life is filled with new, old and future friends met through my interactions on multiple social media platforms.

I may not be able to sell a photograph to save my soul, but I know my life is all the richer for the friends and connections I have made all over this planet. My only goal now is to make enough money so I can take a world tour and meet everyone in person.

Now that would be a gift of inconceivable value.

What is most important to you as you play on your various social media sites? 
Why are you participating? 
What does it mean to you?

~ xxsjc

Now if only Me2 would drop by the blog soon, I am starting to get maudlin. I dread how far I might sink tomorrow  

Out of the mouths of babes…

I was editing photos from this weekend’s photo shoots and I showed this image to my daughter. Her response caught me off guard. She said: “I like it, but why?” I looked at her blankly and she continued… “You have aliens on bikes and swamp monsters in swamps, why is the swamp monster on a bike?”

Personally I really liked the image but I understood what she was saying. What was the story? What was I trying to say?

I am continually torn between a good image and a good image that also tells a story. To me that is where the magic happens. If only I could figure out how to take photographs with more intention, rather than photographing like a blind folded darts player.

Do you think about the story you are trying to tell? Or are you like me, and just surprised and happy when it all works out?

~ xxsjc

It is a trap …

I managed today to end up in the wrong hotel (they had me on file, just not for today :).

Luckily I did not take the wrong plane and was still in the correct city so a I managed to get myself rescued out of the trap.

Let us know your craziest trap when traveling this planet or beyond …

Me2

Footnotes to self:
Day XXII in my personal challenge (make sure you don’t step in the trap).
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …   

In Flight

This month is one of those crazy ones where everything is awesome, yet running from one place to the other does mix up some routines …

First, I failed to connect to the internet of things the last two days when on the road (using trains not planes) so when I finally hit The Studio last night to get some clean stuff for the next trip kicking in tomorrow I felt too tired to do a quick post. My respect goes to all those 365 days heroes that manage to produce a steady quality and grow in their personal journey day after day.
I managed to get my first glitch on day XVII instead of CCCLXV.

That said, it was a glitch and I will not give up and continue …

Second, Shelly is doing a great job with asking all the right questions and pulling some legs.

What are we doing this weekend, why are we taking pictures of ourselves and our fellow plastic friends and foes, and happily touches upon the printing topic (the first prints have arrived with Wibeke and Lynn) which actually touches upon a lot of deep philosophical topics.

Right now I am just on a roller coaster of mash ups, hangouts and formal board room meetings with friends and foes alike around the Universe  (and I got another special invite which I will come back later on) with my favorite body still in repair (so limited pictures) so I don’t really have the time to sit back and reflect and just have to enjoy the ride.

Now, while traveling on intergalactic trains with limited internet connections, I am trying to pick up on a different topic me and Shelly have been discussing.

The one of mastering the art.

Stay tuned, and discover if it was Scott, Trey or Lynda who finally beamed me up …

Me2

Footnotes to self:
Day XXI in my personal challenge (I skipped a threesome).
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …    

  

What are you doing this weekend?

My husband is constantly telling me that “If you want to know what someone wants to do, then just look at what they are doing. ” Normally he isn’t very perceptive…in this case he is.

I have a wonderful weekend planned that involves a trip to the toy store for photo props, a “photo safari”with three awesome fellow toy photographers, videoing Rodrigo y Gabriela for KEXP and a wonderful dinner with my family for that dreaded US Hallmark holiday, “mother’s day”.

Yup, this weekend is filled with so much awesome, just thinking about it puts a stupid grin on my face.

I haven’t always been this blessed, for much of my life I didn’t even know what happiness was. When you are completely miserable there really isn’t any where to go but up or out.

So I urge you to hang with your friends and whoever you choose to call your family this weekend. Play with your toys, take a few photographs and think about what makes you happy and then go and do it.

~ xxsjc

If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” – Katharine Hepburn

What Is Your Inspiration?

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information. – Man Ray

I could spend my time explaining photography technique, talking camera gear or trading tips on editing apps…but I think a more interesting question is why do we (all of us toy photographers) take photographs of Lego mini figures.

I did not grow up with the toy, it is not a part of my history, it is not a big part of my cultural heritage. In fact I am probably one of the most inept brick builders on the planet. Think Emmet at the beginning of the Lego movie. My greatest skill I bring to my family’s Lego obsession (their’s not mine) is my impeccable sorting skills.

So what is so attractive about these little plastic friends? Is it our ability to project our own thoughts and dreams on the many different characters created? Is it a need to revisit our child hood and rediscover the joy of play? Is it sheer boredom? Is it a release from the stresses and pressures of life? Is it simply proximity and easy access?

What is your inspiration? What keeps you motivated and moving forward photographically?

Once you know this, life will not be able to side track you, no matter how hard it tries.

~ xxsjc

Ansel Adams, the WSJ and a bowl full of mush.

This morning while I was enjoying my morning bowl of mush and reading the Wall Street Journal I came across a wonderful article on photography. It had me on the first paragraph:

Ansel Adams, a piano prodigy before he picked up a camera, once declared that the photographic negative was like a musical “score,” while the final print was akin to the concert “performance”. – except from What does Art Look Like by Richard B. Woodward

This brought me right back to the conversations that +Me2 and I have been having about the pros and cons of printing your own work. Yes, printers are a pain in the ass and the ink expensive. Yes, you can send your files out and get a perfectly serviceable image back. But if you want to take your game to the next level there is nothing to compare to making minor and major edits to a print based on seeing a proof come directly out of your own printer.

When the world was only shooting in black and white it was not uncommon to have a dark room in your own house. With the advent of color printing this became unfeasible and most photographers where content to send their film to a lab for printing. Now with excellent inexpensive printers (a relative statement I know) plentiful, it seems a shame to send out what can be done easily in the comfort of your own home.

I’m not usually a control freak, but I find it indispensable to see what my images look like off the screen before I deem them worthy of showing and selling. Light, color, shadows, highlights all look different and once the image is on paper. I will often see corrections that need to be made that I could never have foreseen by looking at a screen.

So call me old school, but I agree with Ansel Adams and feel that to fulfill your potential as an artist you need to print your own work.

~ xxsjc

Go ahead and read the WSJ article I mention earlier, it refutes everything I just said. 

In further defense of printing, if I had not enlarged this image myself, I would never have seen the spider climbing on the rock. This is a detail that can only be seen at A2 or larger, but in my opinion it makes the image. 

Stuck in the dungeons …

The coming weeks will be silent from my end.

From secret meetings rooms without smartphones to underground sessions in non disclosed locations will make it a challenge to post long and deep posts here.

I will however try to get out a daily #selfie out.

Footnotes to self:
Day XVII in my personal challenge.
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …    

  

Monsieur Croissant

Today Shelly and me had an interesting discussion about influences, copyrights, inspirations and bluntly stealing (I should not have taken that donut from her).

I am sure we have not said the last here on this topic, and while I want to stay far away from big ticket items like copyright infringement and big Inc. owning the worlds of our dreams, there is a big difference between stealing and stealing.

Like Shelly wrote in her post earlier, steal like a real artist and get inspired but don’t just copy without the credit.

So, if you are liking someones style or art work, and you work hard to recreate it in your own, then give credit by starting of with an homage.

Tell the world who is inspiring you and which dreams you want to explore …

It not only gives you the chance of being recognized by those who have inspired you, it also makes the difference between stealing like an artist and being a douchbag.

 Me2

Footnotes to self:
Day XVI in my personal challenge.
As always, stay tuned and leave your view in the comments below or on your social platform of choice …