Friday, November 30, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Glassblower Makes My Day

Once upon a time, I worked for a newspaper. That job allowed me access to tell the stories of so many amazing people. One of my last assignments before I left was following a very talented glassblower, Teddy Halstead.   I met Teddy at his shop and was visually blown away from the moment I walked in the door.

The brilliance of glassblowing is too complicated and in depth for me to actually write out. However, the end product is fabulous

A year later, a surprise showed up at my door step.

This glass-blown wine glass was created by Teddy and his brilliance.  Thank you Teddy for sharing a little bit of yourself with me. This is a treasure forever! I highly suggest, if you are looking for a gift that will literally leave someone speechless. Contact Teddy, wine glasses are just the beginning of what he has to offer.... Jedi Glassworks.

Professionally: You just never know who you are going to come across.  I'm surrounded by a world a talent and I only hope I can add to that pool of sheer amazing and never insult it.

Personally: Sometimes, just thinking of how things have taking a complete 180 in work and life. I believe that every one I have met along the way has played a role in creating my work. This might sound cliche, but that's ok.  My family has supported me, my children inspire me, God created me, people have helped me, criticized me and loved me.  Love is the strongest of all these, love is the reason art even exists.

Inspiration point:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: It Only Takes One

I offered this advice to a friend just last week. "Not everyone will like what you do, you have to choose what best reflects you and go with it and not keep adjusting to everyone's likes and dislikes."
That's great advice for an artist right??

Professionally: The separation of emotion and business. Perhaps that can be done if you are, I don't know, an accountant.   But for anyone who has made a professional choice based on an art form or something they truly enjoy doing, that separation is an ironic notion at best.   On the professional side, keeping a level head to do business is half the battle. People will compliment and criticize; complain and sing your praise; tip you and question your pricing...and that's one morning. However, it's all part of this thing we call business interwoven with this other thing we called art. You just have to do it!

Personally: Great advice for a friend, but when I had to heed my own advice, I didn't like it.  It took one person to say something critical and I will admit, it ruined my day.  Not to mention when I went back and looked, over 35 people had written something sweet to me that day. 35!!!  35 wonderful things to 1 not so great one and that one drove me crazy.   I am still on that learning curve of dealing with the fact not EVERYONE will like what I do. (I can hear my own gasp on that one).  What? Yea, not everyone. Now, hopefully the majority will!  My style has come along, it's different, perhaps more on the whimsical side than the hard core magazine style. Neither is better than the other, just different.  I like different, but along with different will come some questions, perhaps even some dislike.  I'll deal with that.  Why? Because I just had a bride call and say she wanted me to do her wedding, because I was ....different.  :)

Inspiration point: Girl on Fire : Alecia Keys and Nicki Minaj

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Why A Radio Reminds Me To Be Thankful

This little old transportable radio with the slightly broken antenna has been in my possession since the first grade. (Yup, that's kind of a long time.) However it's existence is my reminder to be thankful. It sits on my desk in my studio, ironically right above the stationary and pens I use to write thank you notes. Here's why its reminder is important.

Thank You.

Professionally: It's easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with a busy business that you own. BUT! How great is that? It means I'm busy! A year ago, I had no idea what was to come of letting go of a full time job. Who knows what comes next, but it's always good to remain thankful. Thankful to my first clients who trusted me and who have returned. Thank you to those who have entrusted their wedding day to me and other major life events. Simple handwritten thank you notes and messages to anyone and everyone makes a world of difference.

Personally: The radio. It's a result of a Christmas wrapping fundraiser my school held when I was in first grade. The competition was to sell wrapping paper.  I don't even remember understanding what it was all about. My dad did all the work. He sold wrapping paper and earned me some major points at school.  Little did I know, I sold the MOST in the entire school. I earned the credit, walked up in front of the entire school and received the top prize. This brand new, portable radio...(so dating myself huh?)
I was excited. I told all of my friends. I carried that thing around like it was gold. A day passed and my mom pulled me aside and told me she was taking the radio away for a couple of days. Oh the tears. Why ever would she do that??  Because, she had told me, "never once did you thank your father for what he did for you". 
She was right.  I never said thank you. The memory is super clear. The radio survived middle school, high school, college, life. It sits here. I'm not sure it works anymore, but the function it serves supersedes the radio waves.  It reminds me to say thank you.

Inspiration point:
1 Thessalonians 5:18 - In every thing give thanks

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: Workin' On It

This week has been a whirlwind. I spent more time in New York City and New Jersey than home and it was an interesting inversion of events.  I admit, I'm a homebody. I am much more comfortable to curl up on my couch with friends and family than take a night out on the town. So, to break loose of the structured and planned definitely catered to a slightly more spontaneous "me."

Professionally: This week I have been stretched and pulled in every facet of professionalism.  Downstate photography demands were an extension of my photojournalism background, while editing my last wedding of the year during my downtime. Throw in a few family shoots with small children and I have run the gamut.   It has also challenged time management skills (still working on that one), organization and the temptation to eat more nachos than normal to comfort my small stress levels.
Sandy...the aftermath.

this pic of me makes me looks like my feet are on backwards!
Personally: How to balance it all? I am still not sure. A lot goes on in this head and heart of mine. Sometimes it's easily communicated, sometimes it's not. However, the love of what I do is multiplied when the images come to life and a story has been told. I like stories. If I had nothing better to do, but write stories, I would invest endless amounts of time weaving words together in happy endings.  However, I enjoy the challenge of making images tell a story without using words.  That's why darn twitter is so impossible.. 140 characters or less? please!! Can't a girl get a paragraph or something??
Challenges make us stronger, belief makes us fly and love makes us crazy.
I admit, I can get overwhelmed, emotionally and professionally, but most of the time it's an overwhelming of all good things.  How can I not love that? It's like falling in love with crazy.

Inspiration point? Christina Perri (love this video) and every person who made me laugh this week- you know how you are.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Upstate NY photographer: Downstate after Sandy

The one amazing thing about this job is that you NEVER know what is going to come up next.  The scariest about this job is that you never know what is going to come up next.
You never know if/when you will book a wedding or a shoot, you also just never know when a phone call from Virginia will come through asking you to tag along with their company to photograph relief efforts after Sandy.

Professionally: This was something I knew how to do. 10 years of photojournalism and a lot of habits kick back into gear. There was a lot to take in and see! Wednesday night we shot in a near blizzard conditions near Fort Dix NJ. I drove south and hit the first storm of the year. Go figure. It was freezing and I was literally shooting out from underneath an umbrella and towels to try and keep stuff dry.  It was nothing compared to the people providing the relief efforts that had been outside for approximately 10 hours.  The next day we shot in bright sun and the pitch darkness in northern New Jersey. So, if ever there were three extremes in two day, we found them.
Thanks Shelly Wood for the photo!

Personally: Irene, Sandy, Katrina..are all infamous names now.  It's heartbreaking to walk through wreckage, to lose loved ones, to lose  a sense of safety. I get it. Irene was my home town's devastation. There is an underlying resentment of who didn't help who during which storm. I get it.  In a way, many cities and states didn't get what was going on here after Irene. However, now that Sandy did her damage, it's almost as if some people are resentful of the help they need.  I didn't lose my home or any family, but I walked through the mud, cleaned out homes, cried with my friends and spent days of exhausting efforts trying to find our town I feel I have a little justification in this.   If/when tragedy strikes, you have choices.  You can choose to ignore it, you can choose to be resentful or you can be the one who "gets it" and come along side the next victims and help.
I don't say this lightly (and forgive the long winded answer) After my brother's traumatic brain injury - there were many people who didn't "get it". Many people did. Some people chose to not really get involved, some people did.  I could choose to resent all those who didn't let it affect them and refuse to help those in future need..or come along side the next family suffering the event of a brain injury. Why? Because I know the hurt, I know the sad, I know the anger and fear. I can empathize.  I chose the latter. I love the people I have come to know because of such a tragedy. The same thing happens in a situation such as this. Resent the help we maybe didn't receive  when we wanted it or offer it with open arms now because...we get it.
bringing fuel to hospital personnel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Upstate NY Photographer: One Year Ago....

November 1, 2012 - marked the "one year ago" date.  The day I actually walked out the door of my full time job as a writer and photojournalist for a weekly paper in Stamford.  So many maybe's ahead of me it was mind numbing.

Personally: Irene had just devastated so much of what I knew to be home, my slight quandary seemed a little less dramatic.  My maybe's turned into knowing. I KNEW photography was what I wanted to do. There have been some ups and downs along the way, if I told you any different ..that would be a lie.  My confidence ebbs and flows with the tide of my personality. Just like you, sometimes I feel like I've nailed it, sometimes I scratch my head wondering what I did wrong.  It's what make me.. me.

Professionally: I am learning to love light. Sound weird?  It's a love/hate relationship.  As a photographer you have to learn light. Sounds professionally anemic to say that, but I know many people who shy away from truly learning what light is about. I have A LOT still to learn, but the very concepts that used to make me queasy, I find more thrilling.  Speedlights, off camera lights, sunlight, soft box, low's all starting to pull together as I find my niche.
Someone asked me what I would like to specialize in...and I had to think.  Honestly, it came down to one word. Emotion.  Trust me with your emotions and everything else falls into place.

 Inspiration point: Jasmine Star, Irene hits home,

It's not about the ending, it's about the story.