Building support

I love shooting portraits. Unlike a lot of my fellow photography fans I chat with online, however,  I’ve never really gotten the support to build. I have lots who praise my work (or invite me to events and nonchalantly inquire whether Cam has tagged along), but few have  ever said “she takes great pictures and I want her to do my family portraits.” Or it’ll be suggested in passing, but there’s no effort to set an appointment or treat the session like an investment. Letting me take pictures becomes a favor – free practice outside my immediate family  (or something ).

At times I am discouraged. At other times I take solace in not having the pressure of a potentially critical client.

Delving into Online Classes: My Daily Digital Images Experience

Week two begins

feet

I’m taking an online class. The intention in my enrollment is to fulfill a “teacher recertification” requirement. Yes, I must leave school every day with a bag full of papers needing to be graded and still find time between interactions with my family (and procrastination about aforementioned grading) to take classes. Three degrees mean nothing to the folk handling my credentials. It’s about new and “innovative” teaching techniques, theories, and, let’s be honest, repackaged ideas for meeting the same goal: increasing student engagement and real learning.

Anyway, the class is called Daily Digital Images. It called me to it from the title. I do, afterall, take digital images daily. And yet, a week into the class finds me already behind one assignment. Yes, I’m participating in the forums, but I didn’t do all the work.

Today, especially, I’m finding little motivation to continue. The learning goal for this week is to explore my camera and what features it offers. When I post replies, I do so hoping not to sound pretentious. I don’t want to be the student masquerading as the know-it-all. I’m not the expert in utilizing digital images in the academic classroom. But I know my camera. I shoot all the time. I edit pictures, make art pieces and portraits, and document life. So I find it hard to “contribute to the learning community” with relevant responses (considering my background) while maintaining what will come across as a “positive, supportive and professional tone.” Everytime I post reply, I wonder if my intentions are clear. And I check back to see if there’s further discussion on my point or my question. I really don’t like being the one with no replies!

I’m hoping to shoot around when I get home tonight so I can complete the week’s required exercise. I’ve got to try “something new” with my camera. I’m not sure what that will be. Maybe a new subject? A study in the chaos in my foyer in macro? A test of my lenses with a single, stationary subject? A fiddling with my studio lights?

Metaphor-in definitions on 9.17

An abstract to concrete excercise:
love is a warm blanket on a cold night
hate is melted chocolate in my purse
kindness is a smile from a stranger in the crowd
pride is a hot air balloon in flight
a secret is is a dandelion in the wind
fear is a strong wind slapping my face
deceit is a fun house mirror
curiousity is a toddler peeking inside a cabinet
culture is a paint tray after the art is done
trouble is a puddle on a New York street
deceit is (also) a rock in the car’s windshied
sympathy is a hug when feeling alone

begun circa 2013, continued 2014 (September)

How to… completely botch a shoot

In five easy steps:

1. Pick out matching outfits; then, when you’ve reached the hustle out the door we’re already late point, discover that part of it is stained or, worse, missing.

2. Fix hair and make up. Inevitably, the weather will turn and you’ll wilt before you arrive at the scene. You will, then, become the “scene.”

3. Travel to the shoot location, set up your tripod. In the natural order of things, turn on your camera – or rather, try to turn it on and discover the batteries dying or dead.

4. Check supplies for back up power. But you’ll quickly realize that the case that holds your essentials is not there, as you intentionally carried it out of its usual spot in the car to inventory, charge, and organize the contents.

5. Pack up belongings and leave the venue. Note: you will not have taken a single shot save the ones your memory captures.

written as a model-the-prompt sometime in Spring 2014

SWF: Still here

Standing, though not tall as yesterday
Discouraged and a bit disappointed now
Keeping my head high weighs heavy
I can. I will. I am:
Strong. Wise. Determined. Worth the effort.
Wondering still where I failed them.
My best efforts thwarted, cause unknown.
And my judge and jury, anonymous.
Still, I am here. I strive.
My heart, though hurt, still connected.

What’s my motivation?

It seems that every year’s beginning I have to ask myself this.

I don’t do well with back stabbing, loose talk, and deceit. Perhaps I don’t have it in me to engage in it, ’cause I am pretty clear about my feelings towards people. I’m never intentionally mean, never unkind, but there are people I just plain don’t vibe with. I don’t have a “poker face,” try as I might to call on my inner Lady Gaga. But in my career of current, I like to believe in the intrinsic good of all (despite what is outwardly presented). I have to, even when time and time again, my faith in people is challenged. I work with teenagers who are still seeking themselves – in every way. I know well that their present personas will evolve drastically in a matter of months, of years.

But imagine how it feels when I am so often the source of adults’ coded, clandestine conversation. You know the kind – when you happen upon a group sharing info they’ve garnished from somewhere and the conversation suddenly seems less animated the closer you draw near? I catch a sliver of conversation, but enough to surmise what wasn’t said (or not made audible).

“Let go. Do your best. Pray on it. Move on.” It’s my mantra for this year. I can’t please them. They don’t have to like me, and it’s not in me to try to make friends out of those I would never associate with even casually outside of work.

I’ve ordered myself reminders of what is important. Photos of those I work for, those I live for. I’ve positioned reminders of those I’ve impacted – those who’ve moved forward in their own lives and gifted me with a piece of themselves.

I will force myself to remember why I try.

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