10 Questions

The last few classes before summer break were a whirlwind for me. The instructor wanted us to leave with one or two ideas for a summer project based on our "perspective". During the 10 week course, each class assignment was to bring us closer to knowing what we wanted to do for our project, and the last few weeks were a bit more intense.

We had to write the answers to 10 questions... Questions like:  Who are you? What inspires you most? What is your main character trait? What do you love about photography? What is the meaning of life? And more... We journaled our answers.

In the meantime, our photo assignment for the last week of class was to shoot at least one photo a day. I had to come back with 7 or 8 pictures that told "My Story". What would these 7-8 pictures say about me? The purpose was to analyze myself and my life in relation to photography in only a few shots. 

Here are my 8 photos I used:

I happened to be going to visit my son and his family, so I used my grandchildren to express what I believe is important to me in a couple of the pictures.  If you click on the photos, the title says a little bit about each photo. Basically, I used the 8 photos to represent what is important to me or permeates my day; The solitude of my morning runs, looking forward to the future, making sure to have fun, appreciating special relationships, intense focus (that's just who I am), relaxing and sharing, and peace of mind.  I didn't realize it at the time, but the journaling and this photo exercise just seemed to clarify my direction.

Back in class on the last day, we showed our pictures. We then, went through our journaling and picked out words and phrases that came up a lot. Some of mine were: family/children/husband, goals, purpose, independence, self sufficient, strong, lucky, happiness, give, love, a larger sense of being, hard work, planning, sacrifice... 

The time to reflect and decide was upon me.  I had to look back on the 10 weeks of class and decide. What was purposeful and meaningful to me, here and now. 

My project will be to add to my "Maxine" portfolio. It will be hard, as I expressed in my "Will I Turn Left?" blog. It is something I must do. I'm not sure why yet, but I will know once I progress down the road.

In addition to that project, I will plan to also continue to focus on seeing the world a bit differently through the lens.

It's going to a great summer!

~ Jody 

Scavenger Hunt!

Our instructor wanted us out of our comfort zone. What better way than to give us a week to shoot 8 items. That may sound easy to you, however, when you want to "find your style" and present eight respectable examples, a week is not a lot of time. One of my classmates said she could spend a week on each item. My sentiments exactly!

So here's the result I presented. Groceries; flower; tree; face; doorknob; multi-generation; stairs; small town.

So, a few interesting facts to know: I got chastised at the grocery store for taking pictures of my basket. Go figure. The tree is a reflection in a sculpture at The Botanic Garden. I will probably add my "multi-gen" picture to my Maxine collection... definately, the topic becoming a prime candidate for my summer project. We shall see.

It was a fun challenge and it made me think a bit to create something a bit interesting out of the ordinary. 

I also want to give a special shout out to my cousin, Jeff Lazar. He gave me some tips on post processing (ie Photoshop). I used it on the face and it seemed to amp it up a bit. He's been a great resource of info! Thanks, Jeff!

Until next time, I'll be behind the lens...

~ Jody


It's official!

I have a hard time calling myself an artist. I wasn't going to change my linked in "job" until I felt I could really call myself an artist with some level of confidence. But hey, someone "official" lumped me in a category of "conceptually driven fine artists". Wow! He also featured my photograph in his blog on "Chicago Fine Art". Click here for his blog (pinch me!)

In addition to that excitement, I saw they used my photo on the sign for the show "From Nature". It's officially time to change.

As my granddaughter would say' "It's been a fun day!"

~ Jody

Will I turn left?

On this journey of discovery, there is a path I will eventually travel. It is the path to understand all the wonderful things it means to have an artist for a mother. This is not the natural path for me. It's easy to take the right turns, and harder to take the left ones. This one is a big left turn for me... so, I just started to veer in that direction and I'll see how it goes. 

On my last class assignment, we were to take a few related objects to photograph in different ways. They could be related by shape, color, texture, etc. I chose objects related to my mother and her art. On one hand, it is hard to look through all of the scraps, half completed work, used supplies, and books that she left. On the other hand, it brings to life for me the way she thought, how she learned, and the way she saw the world. It won't always be pretty, if I take the left turn. So I started out easy with the following:

I remember when she was going to classes to learn watercolor. By that time, she was a proficient oil painter with a following in the Chicago area. I could see her struggle and get frustrated with the new medium. There is less control than with oil. But not surprisingly, over time, she mastered the technique. As I now look back, I can tell she wasn't ever comfortable with watercolor because she did not complete a lot of work in that medium. But I can tell that she used the tools she learned in other periods of her work.  

I then moved on to another phase. I wasn't too fond of this phase, but she LOVED it. How do you sell pictures of BUGS? But that wasn't what mattered. It was the discovery of a subject that she needed to master. 

It was interesting for me to take these photos. It took me out of the position of daughter, and put me in the position of fellow artist (although, I would never suggest that I have the same depth of talent as Maxine). It allowed me to see things differently. It allowed me to see her differently...

More to come when I can journey further down the road past that left turn...

~ Jody


I'm excited to say.....

.... I got in the show!  Below is the image that was accepted. I am calling it "In the heat of the night"

Thanks to all of you who wished me luck. I guess it worked. What I am learning is that a bit of luck is quite helpful in the art field. Not to mention good mentors, a big network, and a lot of persistence.. Notice I didn't say talent. In my opinion, many people have talent. You need more. I keep coming back to how this relates to my previous career. A lot of people do a fine job at work. Many people are smart and have good ideas. It's exactly the same: good mentors, a big network, and a lot of persistence... and a bit of luck that help make someone successful.

Now don't get me wrong. I am NOT successful at photography. I am having fun with the journey (see my first blog) and learning a lot about myself in the context of a new passion. And as I said, there is so much to learn.

My class helped me pick which of the three prints of this photo I will frame. They also gave me good advice on how to frame it, what to price it, and where to get it framed. My teacher is such a great mentor. She said I could contact her if I had any questions since class is on break now. So, I have my task ahead of me for the framing. Tasks are always a good thing to help me focus!

The show is at The Art Center-Highland Park, May 7-July 10. Opening reception is May 22 6:30pm-9pm

By the way, just so you know, my confidence is still shaken... I did NOT get a prize or honorable mention in the Botanic Garden Orchid Show. Below are my entries:

Oh well.You win some, and you lose some. It sure helps to have friends wish you a little luck along the way. ;-)

~ Jody

My next assignment: Finding passion!

As you saw from my last post, my assignment was to take black and white pictures in my house using the light and shadows to make interesting pictures. I started out excited, as I always do, then get antsy to try something else. My cat, Mandu, helped make the light more interesting for me. She loves to sit in a patch of sun in our bathroom in the morning.

I have a feeling in the class critique, I will not get "artistic points" for these. However, they do make me feel warm and fuzzy, and sometimes that has to count for something. Am I right?

I then took some other pictures with shadow, shapes, and light. We will see how these are received in a future class critique session. 

Meh. I have more, but I wasn't thrilled with most of them. I'll keep trying though. But when I went out on a snowy day, I liked some of these shots...

I'll bring them to class as well, and see which the instructor likes better.

I went to a networking event for artists and photographers. Everyone was so willing to help me learn and grow as a photographer. The climate was very collaborative (to use an over used word)... but it was very real and the help was sincere. Most everyone I met asked me what I am passionate about shooting. Other than my children and grandchildren, I am really not sure. I think my instructor is also looking for that passion in me. I know I will find it as I take this journey.

I know what it's not...

....It's not shooting inanimate objects in my house. 

~ Jody