Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Funnies

I just love this guy's cartoons too!
More to say about him later!
You can find more of his work here:

Da da da da da....

Another one, PERFECT for the day, from ASBO Jesus.
Says it all way better than I ever could...Really! Thanks Jon!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Favorite Paper

Discovered Ilford Galerie Smooth Fine Art Paper yesterday. Printed 2 things -after a short wrestling match with my printer because it didn't want to accept the paper through the paper feed. Have I mentioned how much I hate this printer yet? ;) - Now I'm addicted!
This is AWESOME paper with great color saturation and fantastic texture. It's rag paper so it feels wonderful!
The only problem is that it is a bit pricey, well for my budget right now it seems pricey anyway. Box of 10 sheets was $14. But that's really not going to be a problem cause I'll never buy a SMALL box again!
I love this stuff!!

Friday, September 28, 2007


From Jon Birch here:

I have a feeling that there were at least a couple pew warmers saying the very same thing!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Went to pick up my photos from the fair today and there was a business card attached to my paperwork. There was a note written on the back asking me to contact them, so I did.

The guy just wrote back and said he wanted to buy a copy of my merry go round pix!! He hadn't done so at the fair because he would have had to drive about 3 hours back into town today in order to pick it up.

Very happy to now have met my goal of selling at least one image to someone I don't know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Camera Position Podcast

Jeff Curto has a great podcast called "Camera Position" which you can download from itunes. The thing I like about it is that he talks about the creative side of photography and photographing and not so much about the technical aspects.
He has a supplemental web site where you can view the photographs he's discussing with each episode here.

Good information on historical photographers, books, and techniques.
Check it out and let me know what you think.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blog Nazis

Is there really ever any reason to kick a polite, well studied and respectful person off a public blog just because they happen to disagree with the majority opinion? I don't think so!
But I saw it again today at a place I used to frequent. It was pretty sad actually. A guy that was respectful, polite and in no way derogatory got banned simply because he wasn't saying the "right things" in the way that the majority of the "ruling party" wanted them said.
They basically got tired of talking to him, claimed what he said was "poison" and banned him. No warning, no "please refrain from speaking about this topic here", nothing.... just a sudden "No blog for You"


Bullseye Composition.....uggggggh

Spent the day at the State Fair Weds and while there, went in to check to see if any of my images had sold (nope). I had a GREAT experience though, when I unexpectedly met one of the judges of this year's contest.I asked him if he could mind giving me some quick feedback on my images and ended up getting what amounted to a 30-45 minute "master class".


One of the first things he asked me was if I was going to show in a gallery. (Insert shocked face here) I told him that I would actually like to do that some day so he proceeded to tell me how to make some changes on my images to make that happen.

First, we spent some time going over the image that won in my category. He talked about how good the composition was and how your eye was led through the image because there was a diaganol line created by the center of the flowers. Ok, fine, now I understand.......but I still don't like that picture. ;-)

We then moved over to talk about my images. I figured he would say that my presentation (mats) weren't up to snuff, but instead he told me that my composition was off. (insert another one of those shocked faces here). No one has ever told me my composition was off. In fact, that's something people usually tell me is a strong suit.

The first thing he told me was that my door image (for those of you that have seen it) was too symmetrical. He said "good composition has no symmetry". He also said I was "still using too much left brained thinking". That really stuck me as odd since I think that photography is the least left brained thing I do. Spent alot of time thinking about that comment over the last couple days though.

In fact, today I dug up the first 2 images that I'd entered in the fair many years ago. I won first place ribbons both of those years. I was totally surprised by to see that both of those images had "near perfect" composition and neither of them were symmetrical in the least!! Now I'm wondering what the heck happened? When did I get so "balanced" and "orderly"?? Is it the IT work I'm in that's done it to me, is it just being visually tuned out for all these years, the desire for shooting images to "report" back to friends and family about what I saw, or is it as simple as the viewfinder on my crap camera sux? I do know I'm conscious of the fact that I can not trust the viewfinder on that camera to give an accurate view of the final image the way I can with my SLRs so I consistently take one giant step to the right before hitting the shutter button. Perhaps,the awareness of having to make that adjustment iss making me "more left brained thinking"? Not sure, but I do know that whatever "it" is , it's showing up in most of my recent images and now it's annoying me. Need to ask for exercises or ideas on how to loosen that up.

Next we looked at my merry go round shot and he told me that the reason it hadn't ribboned was that it had "Bull's Eye Composition". That means that the place that draws the eye's attention first, in this case the purple of a rider's outfit, was smack in the middle of the image . I honestly hadn't seen that before but he was spot on. My favorite saying of his, and one I'm going to make my motto for a while...."If you have Bull's eye composition, then you have no composition"

He said some nice things about how my stuff definitely had great impact, color saturation and presentation. It was only my composition score that kept me out of top place and from getting another ribbon. I was only down .9 points from the winning image score though so that's not too bad!

Thought for sure that my french red store shot hadn't ribboned because of the black matting, but he said that wasn't it at all. It was, yep, you guessed it, the symmetrical composition. He pointed out how the doorway, smack in the middle of the frame, is solid black and different than any other part of the photo, thus drawing the most attention. He said although it's nicely done technically, it's not going to score higher because of being symmetrical. Drat! Funny how I didn't see I was doing that before I turned them in, but now that he's pointed it out, it's glaringly obvious in a lot of my recent images. Uggggh.

He did say that he thought I "had something" with the door image and that with a few tweaks, if I wanted to enter into other competitions I'd probably do well with it. He gave me some great suggestions about making it bigger, not putting it into the 4x5 ratio, using a photo shopped border instead of a mat and printing on metallic paper (at only $5 a sheet. Holy COW!)

Thought it was cool when he said my work was "really more 'fine art' than the scenics and still lifes" they usually see. Not sure what to do with that information, but I thought it was a cool never the less. He also said I obviously had a very good handle on how to use photoshop and that I obviously understood the "judge's lighting". Huh?? ..never even heard of "judge's lighting" until that day...Of course I didn't tell him that. ;-)

He was very gracious to give me as much time and constructive feedback as he did and I'm grateful for the lesson!! Not only that, but he was kind enough to give me his email address so I could follow up with him for feedback on another image I have done recently.

He happened to be the judge at the camera club competition the next night, so I got to hear another 2 hours of his critiques on over 100 other images. My brain is soaking with information now.

Good Stuff!!

My mood today

Not sure why, but I've been listening to John Denver for hours now while studying. This is my favorite John Denver song of all time....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I just like this

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Tonight at our Toastmasters meeting my friend Dan mentioned that he'd helped me with pricing my art and that I'd put some stuff up at the coffeeshop. Then he said if I wanted to say anything about it I could. My first thought was to say "no thanks" or make a joke about it. But, instead, I decided to take myself seriously and speak about it for a minute or so.

Not even sure what the heck I said, but I'm glad that I said it.

One of the reasons I've postponed the "opening party", besides the fact I'm not even sure my stuff is actually hung up yet, is that Paul, the owner suggested I could have a talk about my work. Well, what the heck would I say?......"Hi, my name is Laura and this is some of the work I've done over the last year. Hope you like it, now whip out your wallet and buy a couple pieces."?

How does one start talking about themselves and their work in that way? It's a total brain shift of identity really. How does one pull it off without sounding pompous or full of shite?

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Stopped by the coffeeshop today and it ends up that they hadn't really sold those 4 images after all! Basically, they decided to rearrage my stuff after they hung another person's on another part of the wall. So...they were moving my stuff around but didn't tell the gal that I talked to yesterday. Grrrrr

Feeling a bit disappointed and slightly irritated at the folks that own that shop right now. She said she over booked the space because although she knew I was going to turn in my stuff for sure, she thought the others weren't going to because the last 2 people she scheduled, didn't show up. So she over booked the space! Uggggh

Now, because we're friends, my stuff is getting shuffled all over the shop and rearranged over and over to make room for other people's work.

Have to say it's really hard not to just get a "diva" attitude and insist that she puts my stuff where she said she was going to in the first place. Definately have learned a valuable lesson about getting the details in order during the committment process. Wall space, pricing and commission fees are part of the negoiation process from now on!

So, the bottom line is there's been no sales...


Friday, September 14, 2007

How you Ever Gonna Know?

Went by the coffeeshop today to help hang the rest of the photos and found out that at least 4 of my images were sold already! I've been in shock the whole rest of the day.

Not sure if I've accomplished my goal of selling to one person that doesn't know me or not, but frankly, right now, I don't care so much who bought them. Just the fact that any one would willingly part with cash in exchange for my work stuns me.

Tomorrow there's a birthday party for Paul, one of the owners of the shop. Gonna go hang out for a while during the party and talk to whomever is around and see if I can sell even more. As my friend Bob says, it's all about networking! It's scary and exciting at the same time.

Why do it then? you may ask. I find one of the best answers in the Garth Brooks song "How you Ever Gonna Know?" It's off his "Sevens" album and is a great song to play whenever you need to dig down and find the motivation to just push through whatever it takes to get you to the next level!

Wish I could find a video but all I have is the lyrics.

"How You Ever Gonna Know?"

That old wind that's whipping out there
It's whistlin' your tune
That wind blew pyramids to Egypt
And footprints to the moon

And that old star that you been wishin' on
Is shinin' mighty bright
But it's the fire inside your heart
That's gonna lead you to the light

How you ever gonna know
What it's like to live there
How you ever gonna know victory
How you ever gonna know
What it's like when dreams become reality
How you ever gonna know
How it feels to hold her
How you ever gonna know
What it's like to dance
How you ever gonna know
If you never take a chance

You know failure isn't failure
If a lesson from it's learned
I guess love would not be love
Without a risk of being burned

Anything in life worth havin'
Lord, it has its sacrifice
But the gift that you're receiving
Is worth more than the price

How you ever gonna know
What it's like to live there
How you ever gonna know
What you never knew
How you ever gonna know
If you're down here doin'
What the good Lord put you here to do
How you ever gonna know
If you could have done it
How you ever gonna know
How it feels to fly
How you ever gonna know
If you never dare to try

Listen not to the critics
Who put their own dreams on the shelf
If you want to get the truth to admit it
You gotta find out for yourself

How you ever gonna know
What it's like to be there
How you ever gonna know
If you're the best
How you ever gonna know
What you believe in
If you don't put it to the test
How you ever gonna know
How it feels to hold him
How you ever gonna know
What livin' means
How you ever gonna know
If you never chase the dreams

How you ever gonna know
Your potential
How you ever gonna know victory
How you ever gonna know
What it's like when dreams become reality
How you ever gonna know
How it feels to hold her
How you ever gonna know
What it's like to dance
How you ever gonna know
If you never take a chance

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Done and Dusted!

Tonight I officially became a professional photographer!

Having my first ever photo showing at a very cool local coffeehouse. Very excited to have finally accomplished this goal which I orginally set back about 4 years ago but which has been a dream for about 20 years.

I'm really happy with how the images looked in their matching black metal frames mostly white mats. Had a pretty good variety of images of what my friend Bob called my "coffeetable book travel of stuff and my 'I'm baring my soul' stuff" Think I had too many images but I really didn't know how much space I was going to have nor how many images would fit in that space. I'll know more tomorrow about which images they chose to hang first. Really, the important thing was taking the risk of putting myself out there for others to see and judge my work. That's what payments are after all, judging your work to see if it's worth exchanging their hard won income on. Because taking the risk and following through on the dream was the goal, it doesn't matter to me where they hang them, just that they hang them.

My next goal is to sell just 1 image to someone that doesn't know me. ;-) Although...if you know me and you still want to buy something, please feel free!

This was a much more time and money consuming project than I had anticipated at the outset. Definately need to buy my own mat cutting equipment for the next go round! Spent about 3x as much as I would have if I didn't dislike cutting my own mats so much that I'd rather pay through the nose than do it myself. Need to get over that or be skint (broke).

The number and intensity of emotions I experienced during this time has been quite surprising. All the books about "living the dream" make it sound like following your passion leads only to sheer bliss. Well...that's not exactly true. On the way to bliss, some times it leads to sheer terror. Will people laugh at me for thinking I'm any good at this? Will they just think "oh man, those suck"? Will they think I charged too much and I think too highly of myself? Is it merchandise or is it art? What if NONE of them sell? What if I'm really not that good at this after all? What if, what if, what if....

Well...what if? What if all that happens? Then what? The worse thing would be that I've spent an inordinate amount of time and money to create something that made me very happy. That's a good thing in and of itself so who cares? It's the process of creativity and the process of risk taking that matters here. Not the outcome of making money. I can make money at my "regular" occupation, this is about something else all together.

The thing I'm most proud of, the fact that I actually had everything completed and turned in to meet the deadline I'd arranged with the owners. Any of you that know me in "real life" know what a MAJOR accomplishment that was! ;-)

This has pretty much taken up all my time, energy and concentration for weeks and weeks and I'm happy with the effot, the process and the outcome and I am proud of myself for taking the risk and "baring my soul"

Now....on to the next thing.

If only I knew what that was....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you?

Fortune Cookie

Took a break from framing pictures for tomorrow's deadline to go eat lunch at the local Chinese place.

Got this fortune in the cookie

"A trip down south will bring you more happiness than expected"

One of the companies I've been interviewing with told me last week they were going to try to get me hooked into a big project in Tenessee.

It's a sign. ;-)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Love Hate Relationship

I have a love/hate realationship with my printer.

Today, it's HATE! Damn thing KNOWS when I have a deadline, I just know it does.....


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Throw me a rope!

How many times to you think God is sitting up there (or wherever) head in hands thinking “Dang…what do I have to do to get that one’s attenion? I’m throwing out a life buoy to them and they reject it saying that if I was going to save them I’d use a rope? I just want them to grap ahold of the dang buoy. I’ve thrown it a hundred times, knocked them upside the head with it a couple times thinking that might just get their attention, but no….keep missing it because they insist on a rope! uggggggh”

I’m sure he’s done it with me loads of times. I want a rope, he throws a buoy…..

Egypt or Bust!!

Few weeks ago a very good, long time friend was in town on sabbatical from Cairo, Egypt where he and his wife teach school. They invited me out for a visit any time I wanted and tonight I decided to take them up on that offer. Just sent him a note letting them know!

I have no idea exactly how I'm going to work it out, or when I'm going to go, but I'm definately going to go. Now I just have to learn as much as I can about the language, culture and geography as possible in the next few months. Don't want to be an "ugly american" tourist.

Decided that I'm going to continue working in my current field for at least the next 3 years and in that time go to as many places in the world as I can so I can build up my portfolio and my bank account.

Next stop...Egypt!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Farewell Madeline

Author Madeleine L'Engle died on Thursday. Her Wrinkle in Time books were some of my favorites as a kid and some of her work for adults is pure beauty. She'll be missed.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

It's official

Tonight I attended an event for early viewing of art entered into competition in our state fair. It was hugely successful. Way more people that they anticipated which is great news for people who were selling their work!! I won 2 ribbons this year in the photography competition.

All the competitors were given plastic name badges as we entered the building. The badges had our names, hometowns and the word "Artist" printed on them. The laynards said "2007 State Fair Artist" on them.

So, it's official then, I can call myself an artist!!