Category Archives: with.in

artist with.in

This week’s word is artist. To me, an artist is someone who chooses to share their passion with others. This could be a painter, a crafter, a musician, a dancer, a singer, a photographer, a writer, someone who draws or anything else that shows expression. To be an artist takes courage because you open yourself up to criticism because you choose to share a part of yourself. Criticism is difficult because it can trigger so many emotions. You can question your abilities if people do not like your work. You can question your medium or subject based on feedback you receive. You may not feel as passionate or become even more passionate about what you do. You also know that you have touched others with what you do because you have caused them to think and form an opinion. They may not agree with your work, but you have enlightened others.

An artists subject is also important. You must feel for your subject whether it be negative or positive to be able to convey and evoke emotions in your audience. You also have to understand your audience and what you want them to feel.

As a photographer, there are times when I have taken a picture and fallen in love with the result. However, when it comes time for my client to order, that shot is not even in the top group they have selected. I can’t let that discourage me. I simply have to read my audience (client) and produce other images that will be of their taste. However, I still have to stay true to myself and offer the images that I prefer along with others.

I face the same issue when I make soaps or sugar scrubs. Some customers request fragrances that I would never think of producing, or that I may not like. But I still work my best to attempt to produce what they like because not only they, but others may enjoy those scents and it will gain me clients.

Knowledge with.in

I don’t know why, but this prompt of knowledge has been the hardest for me so far. To me, knowledge tends to define who we are in society. Your knowledge can sometimes define your job function. It can define your hobbies. You can be known as a photographer because you have knowledge on how to take pictures. You can be known as a crafter because of your knowledge on how to make things. You can be known as a chef for your knowledge on how to cook. But what drives that knowledge? The thirst to learn.

This past year we were out at the in-laws’ ranch. My mother-in-law had a bar of handmade soap in the bathroom. I saw it and became intrigued. The thirst began. I smelled it, ogled it, touched it. Took in everything about it. Then I wanted to know more. I went to the maker’s website and it drove me to dive deeper. I wanted to know how to make my own. I continued my research. I went to websites and forums that listed recipes, tools, and had a vast array of knowledge from experienced soapmakers. I decided this was an adventure on which I wanted to embark. I found my first recipe, gathered the necessary tools and ingredients and soaped away. My first batch was acceptable and not a total failure, so I saw this as something I could do. I wanted to be able to make my own soap to use, share and sell. I have made several batches since then, some of which were utter failures, but I continue to learn and fine tune recipes.

i think the best way to look at knowledge is to treat it as an adventure. My learning about soaping was an adventure to me. Most of my skills are self taught, like crocheting and knitting. I hope that by quenching my own thirst for knowledge, I am setting a good example for my daughter. I hope that she sees that if you are interested in something, you can set out to learn more about it on your own. I try to encourage this when she comes to me with any questions. I help her research whatever it is that she wants to know instead of just giving her the answer outright. I want to give her the tools to be knowledgeable and how to acquire that knowledge. I want her to see that learning can be fun, and not just work that you have to do at school. Here, our schooldays are focused so much around testing and teaching to testing standards, that I think the teachers have lost site of teaching children to make learning fun, and how to use the knowledge that they have in everyday life.

I worked for the school district for a while. During my stint there, I presented the idea of Project-Based Learning to the school board. Even though at the time they seemed somewhat interested, I now see that my presentation fell on deaf ears and non-motivated people. I wanted to work at showing teachers how to make learning more interesting and show children why they were learning what they were and how to incorporate their knowledge into everything they did. Projects would also help teachers to utilize the strengths of the students. They could put children in different roles during the project that would show their strengths. If a child was more creative, they could put them making posters or flyers or creative items. If they were more analytical, they could review results of research. If they were comfortable in front of people, they could present findings. So many possibilities that are dreams now because no one was strong enough to accept that change was needed and to try to implement that change.

Light with.in

This week’s word is Light. This can be interpreted in so many ways as a photographer. When shooting a client, you hope for the best light. Not harsh sunlight. If you’re like me, you selfishly wish that your client would choose early morning ┬áto schedule their session so that you can take advantage of the golden light that is available in the wee hours while others sleep or sip on their morning coffee. Sure there is equally beautiful light in the evening, but most locations my clients choose are busier in the evening, so I have to contend with the general public. We all strive to find that perfect glow that somehow enhances the true beauty of the photo (even if it is only in our minds). Sometimes this means waking up early and traipsing out in 32 degree weather to get the shot that the client desires, and I just love.

Sometimes schedules don’t mesh for you to have what you consider to be the most optimum light. You have to make it work with what you have got. This may mean positioning the subject in just the right way. Sometimes the light needs to come from behind.

Sometimes you have to use window or doors to have that directional lighting.

And sometimes everything just works as is.

I also work to capture the light of the subject. The inner essence that makes them who they are. I don’t want just the same old same old poses, but I also don’t want something that makes the picture something to cringe at. I want my photographs to be a true reflection of the subject. Something that they will want to look at day after day, year after year, to remind them and display to others the person they truly are. I try to get pictures of moments when they are least expecting the shutter to click. Some of the best pictures, and the ones that draw the most emotional attachment from clients, are usually the ones I snap in between poses or test shots for the next pose. They just seem to capture that spark of the person when they let their guard down and just be themselves.

Let them stand of things, if it’s appropriate and allowed.

Give them someplace to relax, kick back, and throw up their feet.

Capture those genuine moments of love.

Or just work with small children to learn how to snap, snap, snap to get their full range of emotion.

I always try to remember to look for the light, both outside and within.

romance with.in

This week’s word is romance. What is romance? The definition is a love affair or love idealized for its beauty or purity. I think that society has greatly defined the image that appears when we think of romance. As girls, we all want our Westley to our Buttercup, our Peter to our Wendy, our Prince Charming to our Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Snow White. But are those images really attainable? If we’re extremely lucky, maybe, but more likely not than so. Most of us, hopefully, end up with someone who loves us. It would be nice to be able to add unconditionally, but we are human – and that is our condition.

I am happy to have met a man who does loves me. Though in the beginning it took his persistence for me to take notice. He was a friend of a friend, and I had just come off a long-term relationship that did not end on cordial terms. As any woman would be, I was wary of a new relationship. My heart had been broken by someone whom I thought I would be with for quite some time, only to find that in his words “the years we spent together were nothing but a waste of my (his) time.” I was not looking for another heartbreak. My emotions were exhausted.

Then in swoops this man who would eventually turn my world around. He loved me when I thought no one did. (Rejection will do that to you.) I rejected his advanced, but he continued. Then, one night, I thought to myself – why can’t someone love me? Just because one person doesn’t anymore doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t allow someone else to try. Just because one person hurt me so much doesn’t mean that this person will. They are not the same person. So I accepted the fact that he liked me and we became a couple.

Dating and living together eventually turned into marriage. This year marks our twelfth anniversary. Those 12 years have not gone without their trials and tribulations. We spent the first year in a house with no water due to weather issues and the timing on when they were drilling the well and laying out the septic. We’ve been through ours ups and downs. Debt, arguments, tears, laughter and most of all love. And I must say that on this Valentine’s Day, I love this man as much, if not more, than the day we were married. I hope that he would feel the same way. He may not be the most romantic guy in the universe, but he is my Romance.

the story with.in

So I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon it, but I did. What is it? The with.in movement. People from all over sharing their personal journeys with others. I really thought about if I wanted to join in the fun or not. I mean, did I want to open up myself? Did I want to be completely raw? Could I force myself to be completely honest? Did I actually want to come to terms with myself and my story? What was I afraid of…..

So I decided that I am not afraid, and I will participate. The first word to prompt sharing is Story. What does story mean to me? I believe that everyone has a story. A book, if you will, and their experiences are chapters within that book. My book is a sealed diary. I don’t share much with others. Why? For fear of being hurt.

My parents divorced when I was 4 months old. My father came to my graduation and to my wedding. He passed away last year. I only found out by my sister (not related to him) seeing his obituary and letting me know. I have a stepfather, but he is just that – a stepfather. Nothing more. It hurts to say it, but hey we’re being honest here, right? I was a trophy child with sports and academic accomplishments. When those years were over, I wasn’t an interest to him. If I wasn’t winning or excelling at something, then I wasn’t something to be bothered with. That was my first round of hurt.

It was difficult for me to open up in relationships because of always trying to be what someone else wanted me to be. Trying to please them, and not worrying about pleasing myself. It still is difficult for me in some ways. Friendships are limited to close people whom I trust. Work relationships are calculated. It took the persistence of my husband for him to actually become my husband. He worked to get me to let him in my little walled in world. I finally realized that there was someone out there who genuinely loved me. Even though I still strive to excel, to please people and not be a disappointment.

I am working now on finding myself. Finding my passions, both personally and professionally. I have recently found myself wanting to be more creative. Growing up, I wanted to work in the puppeteering/special effects industry. I allowed this dream to be crushed by a very inept calculus professor (long story for another day). I used to draw very well, but the lack of practice over the years has diminished my abilities. Unfortunately, to me it’s not like riding a bicycle. I can’t just pick up the pencil and create the way I used to do. To me that is disappointing and discouraging, so I have filtered my creativity to other outlets. I am a photographer, a crocheter, a knitter and make soap and sugar scrubs. I also dabble in digital scrapbooking.

In my quest to find me, I’m working on finding a career path at work that caters to my creative side. It is a challenge, but one I am taking very seriously and working very hard at. I do my current job and go above and beyond (again the pleasing side of me) while trying to find my niche. I’m hoping to find something in the marketing department or somewhere that allows me to be creative without stifling me.

On the personal side, I’m a photographer (admittedly with not as much clientele as I would like to have). I like being able to be a person to capture someone else’s story. That moment in time that is special to them. High School Seniors – It is a time of transition. A time when they should be working on finding themselves (not waiting until they are in their mid-30s), and shaping their futures. Maternity and babies – It is a time of discovery and taking on a new role. The parents are no longer responsible for themselves, but now have an additional person in their lives who are 100% dependent upon them. I want to start a program for photographing people who have made a change (either in their lives or in the lives of others). I know this has been done before, but I think with some thought I can put my own spin on it. We’ll see. I’ve also recently started getting crafty and making soap, sugar scrubs, fascinators and photography props. I’m slowly selling them, but am being encouraged to sell more. I just need to get off my lazy butt and make it happen.

I would like to scrapbook more than I have. I’ve only been scrapping the past few years for the ADSR competition and that’s it. I think that scrapping helps you capture the moment with not only pictures, but objects that help you tell the story. Embellishments can make all the difference around photographs and journaling can define the story. I need to work on capturing more of my daughter in these early years because I know when she hits those teenage years it’s going to be a challenge.

So I guess in a nutshell, my story is me being torn. Torn between losing myself to pleasing others and living up to their expectations and finding myself, defining who I am and what I want to be.