Being an Artist

Shooting my SisterPhotography has appealed to me for as long as I can remember…  even longer, actually.  (I don’t remember the scene pictured at the left, for example.  Yet there it is:  a moment in my history – saved on film!)  My mom had a 35mm camera when we were kids and took plenty of slides.  Sometimes when she was taking pictures of us, I would pretend the camera case was my camera, and I would shoot some film, too.  Here, as you can see, I’m instructing my subject (baby sister) to act naturally. Next, I try to get some interesting shots – from unusual angles.
Shooting my Sister
Mom had a projector and screen, too, and we would have Slide Show nights (with popcorn, of course) to look at our childhood on the big screen.  As I think back on it, these Still Nights (as opposed to Movie Nights) were probably much more fun than attempting to see 4X6s in a photo album that can only be seen by 2 or 3 people at a time.

When I learned that our high school offered a photography class, I considered taking it, but I became discouraged when I found out the price of film and developing and printing… a pattern that repeated itself when I got to college.  I satisfied myself with admiring others’ photographic efforts in magazines like Life.  I gave up the dream of becoming a photographer myself.

Queen Anne's LaceThen came the digital age.  The Kodak Easyshare CX6445 became a permanent part of the stuff I carried in the Fall of 2004.  Man oh man did I love that camera.  I took pictures of everything and everyone.  I learned all the built-in features and exploited them as best I could.  I created, in my (not so?) humble opinion, great images!  It didn’t take long, though, before I wanted more features… like manual focus, more megapixels, the ability to use a variety of lenses…

As my fiftieth birthday approached, I wanted a fun way to celebrate.  My family offered a birthday party bash, but I said, “I’d rather have a camera.”  Being supportive, they let me buy a Canon Rebel XT, which is a bit clunkier than that Kodak, but still goes everywhere with me. 

MonarchI’m not aware of the flow of Time when I’m outside with my camera.  I also don’t intentionally think, “Now, what would make this shot artisitc.”  I just shoot – anything that appeals to me – from a variety of angles – with the light coming from the front, the side, the back, the top…  I don’t edit in the field.  I just shoot.  When I get home, I load them into the computer to see what I got and it’s like taking the walk all over again.  Time doesn’t exist as I fiddle with the photos.

Queen Anne's Lace SeedsI had issues as a kid with regard to being an artist.  Tremendous fear of failure caused me to avoid even attempting things.  This medium – digital photography – has freed me from that fear.  Lousy shots are deleted with the touch of a button.  Marginal shots can often be cleaned up quickly with a few clicks in a software package.  To me, it is total joy.  I finally feel like an artist.

I joined the Audubon Photography Club in the fall of 2006.  The club members’ photos will be featured in two shows this spring.  I’m so excited!  For the Prendergast Library show, I had two of my images (above) made up really huge and they just got back from the processor yesterday.  The Queen Anne’s Lace (Kodak) is now 20X24 inches, and the Monarch (Canon) is 24X36!

American TamarackFor the Lakewood Library show, I borrowed 3 11X14 frames from Audubon.  Photo Club members were very helpful in getting three more of my favorites matted to go into those frames:  Queen Anne’s Lace Going to Seed (Canon), American Tamarack (Kodak), and Skunk Cabbage (Kodak).

The shows are both in May.  If you’re in town, go to the libraries!

Skunk Cabbage Green

7 thoughts on “Being an Artist

  1. God – you are good. A book should be in your future.

    Your writing skill is right up there too. I have always considered you an artist…but I can also relate to your self-doubts.

  2. Congrats! I can very much relate to what you are saying. It took me a long time and much pushing from my friends to finally take the leap and start selling my art. I put a display at a show and was voted best in show and heard nothing but amazing comments all day long. It really made me see that my images were images others loved and not just me.

    Keep going. You’re doing great. 🙂

  3. Lovely lovely photos. Photography is something I really enjoy, so I love to come upon someone with an artistic eye.
    Keep shooting–I love the photos of you trying to take photos of your baby sister!

  4. Such a wonderful back history with your photography and how you got your love for photography. As you would guess, love the Monarch photo best! Lots of action in it and without a doubt you are an artist!

  5. I can’t wait to see these images in all their 20″ plus glory! My experience with large scale prints has led me into a small addiction with seeing my work larger than 8×10. I am so happy that the photo club has decided to do these exhibitions. I hope that we will continue this as an annual project.

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