words of inspiration

...from her, age nine.

Some people do art for a living. Others just do it for fun. Most people think art is just drawing or painting, but it is other things like photography or architecture. There are many different types of artists in the world. My mom is a photographer and so she is an artist.

My favorite thing to do in leftover time is draw. It soothes your mind when you’re angry. No one is bad at art. Everybody has their own style and texture. As I get older, I hope to become an artist. I hope that my artwork will mean something to everyone. I hope to be a painter or photographer when I grow up. People often tell me, 'oh, you’re drawing is so good!' and I tell them the same thing.

I love art. It is my life.

upcoming workshops

i'm super excited to have THREE future workshop opportunities available: 1.  ADVANCED ONLINE WORKSHOP | may 20th - june 3rd details and registration information below.

2. ONTARIO, CANADA WORKSHOP | june 22nd - 24th details and registration information HERE. only a few seats still open.

3. BALI WORKSHOP | tentatively august 12th - 15th details and registration information coming soon. seats will be very limited. if interested in being on the workshop notification list, please EMAIL ME.

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ADVANCED ONLING WORKSHOP | continuing the journey  a two-week online workshop april 29th - may 13th space is very limited registration details below

TOPICS: purpose of photography passion & vision advancement of style fine art photography inspiration meaningful shooting previsualization & storytelling developing your portfolio showing and promoting your work

EXERCISES / CHALLENGES: accompanying exercise with almost every topic a minimum of three photo challenges

details for early registration:

1. this workshop is held via the bloom form & therefore, all participants MUST BE bloom forum members. if interested in registering for this two-week online workshop but are not a yet a member of bloom, you can join the forum (for 3, 6 or 12 months), by clicking the bloom logo below... The Bloom Forum 2. once a bloom member, you can register for the workshop in the bloom forum, here:  Bloom News section under Mini Workshop Information 3. the workshop will run from monday, may 20th - june 3rd, with daily posts, exercises and interaction 4. price:  $325.00. 5. the private workshop information will be available for one month after the workshop ends. 6. there is also a private facebook group for all past continuing the journey participants, to continue  interacting and sharing with one another.

and here's what a few former continuing the journey participants had to say when the advanced workshop was done:

CTJ is exactly that--a journey.  Deb expertly builds on the BTM foundation with immeasurable dedication, deft guidance, and a whole heart.  She meets each and every student where they are, providing both deliberate, thoughtful lessons and spontaneous, profound discussions that allow you to search yourself in ways you've never explored.  By far, it's the most personal, in-depth class experience I've ever had, and I truly believe it's because of the talent, perspective, and care Deb not only provides, but also cultivates among her students.  While Deb's content is spectacularly rich and thought-provoking, students are also openly encouraged to generate & share materials, ideas, links, books that elicit both intelligent conversations and emotional relationships about work, self, life.  Just like in BTM, the class lives on in me, brewing & bubbling little nuggets long after the forum closes.  CTJ is a true gem.

It's hard to write down what CTJ does for you. It is full of thought-provoking content; each lesson has you delving deeper into yourself. It's not about the technicals of photography, like exposure, lighting, etc. It's about inspiration- asking yourself why, answering your questions, creating more questions. It has you searching for answers; it has you stopping to take time for serious thoughts. It takes you on a journey through so many different levels, not only in photography, but also life. These journeys that are a part of us, that contribute to the images we are creating. I honestly am sitting here trying to put into words what the workshop did for me, & I'm not sure I can adequately do so. It is an incredible class, & one I would certainly take if you're looking to get to know yourself better, as a person & as a photographer. Thank you Deb for all of your amazing insight, inspiration, help & knowledge; you so willingly shared so much with all of us!

First of all, I am so very thankful for this workshop, for Deb's spirit and her openness. This workshop is for anyone who wants to be challenged and move forward in their journey as an artist. The topics and exercises were just awesome. Each one really served to take me outside my norm and forced me to think a little differently, to dig a little deeper. I feel that both of the workshops I've taken with Deb have helped me to find more clarity and confidence within myself.

As with Breaking the Mold, I found this workshop to be thought provoking, moving, and so productive for me. I have never participated in a workshop in which the instructor invested as much of herself in the daily conversations as Deb does. Thank you so much for that.

I loved both these workshops over the last month and feel sad that they have come to an end. I've felt inspired and empowered by Deb's honesty, clarity and positivity. Deb's message of focusing in on ourselves seems so simple yet, before BTM and CTJ it was the furthest thing from my mind. I feel like I had lost the point of what it was that photography meant to me. And Deb reminded me that ultimately it all came down to me. CTJ seems very much the bigger sister to BTM. I feel very much like my head is buzzing with everything Deb has shared and I can't wait to revisit all the material and digest it all again.

i hope you'll join me!!

online workshop starts monday

BREAKING THE MOLD a two-week online workshop april 29th - may 13th space is limited registration details below

some topics that will be discussed are: inspiration creativity thinking outside the box finding your style creating strong images building a strong portfolio

participants will receive the following: an honest and intimate look into my photography daily, interactive communication assignments followed by feedback an inspirational e-book

registration details: 1. this workshop is held via the bloom form & therefore, all participants MUST BE bloom forum members. if interested in registering for this two-week online workshop but are not a yet a member of bloom, you can join the forum (for 3, 6 or 12 months), by clicking the bloom logo below... The Bloom Forum 2. once a bloom member, you can register in the bloom forum, here:  Bloom News section under Mini Workshop Information 3. the workshop will run from monday, april 29th - may 13th, with daily posts and interaction 4. price:  $225.00. 5. the private workshop information will be available for one month after the workshop ends. 6. there is also a private facebook group for all past breaking the mold participants, to continue  interacting and sharing with one another.

and here's what a few former breaking the mold participants had to say when the workshop was done:

I am sad that our time has come to an end in your new workshop ‘Breaking the Mold’. I have enjoyed it immensely.

We so often second-guess our instincts and I have learned lately that mine are very loud and rarely go away. It is funny too, I don’t often shy away from it, unless there is fear involved – fear of rejection, fear of not being validated, fear of moving forward, fear of dwelling too much on the past, fear of trying something new, fear of the competition. Your workshop has not only validated me, my strengths, my weaknesses, but it also brought my journey to a whole other level. I hope that I will continue to adapt and transform and ask myself all the questions you asked of us in your workshop. It was fast moving, made me reflect and helped me see things way more clearly. That is a gift.

There are very few people in my life who have truly given me inspiration, made me want to move forward and try something new. But you sure have! You have allowed me to let loose and share in a comfortable and giving environment. You were warm, generous and giving!!! I so appreciated all your candor. In our short two weeks, you have definitely given me confidence, helped me make sense of the issues and doubts I have been feeling for awhile and made me want to be a better me, for my clients and for my family and friends. Everyone needs that someone to get you “unstuck”. Your words, your exercises for us, and your explanation of your own photography has heightened my love and passion for photography so much more than I ever thought possible. - SARA

i’m so sad that our workshop is over, but i just wanted to take a minute to send you a quick note. this was the very first workshop i have ever taken, i had no real expectations. i can tell you that the last three weeks were unlike anything i thought i would experience in a photography workshop… it was almost like therapy for me, really! i am self taught, and have struggled with the mentality that i’m not up to par because i don’t have the piece of paper to prove that i deserve to be here. i finally think i’m starting to see that i don’t need to be technically perfect to be great at what i do. really, i could ramble on forever but i really just wanted to say thank you! thank you for helping me believe in myself, for bringing so much passion and inspiration to me in a short time and thank you for taking the time to teach us all and for being you!! i have never really surrounded myself with a group of my peers, it’s been an amazing ride. – Lila

I can’t thank you enough for your amazing workshop. It went above and beyond anything I had ever expected. I came into the workshop hoping to learn more about photography, I never dreamed of the personal journey it would take me on or the growth I would have. I have come away appreciating my vision as an artist and not worrying about others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so open and honest. I have grown leaps and bounds and look forward to continuing to grow even more. - STEPHANIE

lessons from grandma

today, i want to celebrate the life of grandma mary, who passed away in her sleep this morning.grandma was a woman who: was a woman of faith embraced life did not fear death felt blessed was happy, positive, optimistic, gracious and proud was strong and wise was practical and down-to-earth had a lot of common sense was organized was grateful was compassionate and thoughtful respected and was respected admired mother nature and father time loved the colors of nature graduated from college at 61 saw the world and traveled until 81

you can grasp a bit of the beauty that grandma mary was, when reading her final requests and wishes:

She wanted to be treated with kindness and cheerfulness, not sadness. She asked that her time of dying and death be used as a time of personal growth, for the family as well as her. She wished to be forgiven, for any time she hurt or offended her family, friends, or others. If you must bury something, let it be her faults, weaknesses and all prejudices against her fellow man. Lastly, if you wish to remember her, do it with a kind word or deed to someone who needs it.

i feel that if everyone had just the tiniest bit of grandma mary in them, this world would be a better place.

i'm so grateful that we were able to visit grandma a few weeks ago. while we were there, i asked her what's the secret to a long, happy life and she replied, "always have a pleasant disposition".

so here's to embracing life with a pleasant disposition.  rest in peace grandma!

being good enough

a friend of mine shared with me that she saw one of my photos on the hands free revolution's facebook page this morning. so i went to look. i was so happy to see that they had credited me for the image.  but then i read. their words were perfect and beautiful. and as a self-proclaimed perfectionist, being good enough is something that i often need to remind myself. so today, i embrace and celebrate things in my life being 'good enough'.   yes...good enough!

Children are learning how to be adults by watching the adults in their lives. I want my children to grow up to be adults who embrace “Good Enough.” Here is what Good Enough looks like to me…

Good Enough is spacious. Room for spills, or unkind words, or loud public meltdowns, fielded with love and understanding in-the-middle-of-the-grocery-store-with-the-ice-cream-melting-and-the-produce-overflowing-the-cart when we all agree to just walk away and try again tomorrow.

Good Enough accepts mistakes. Voices them. Owns them. Apologizes. And moves on.

Good Enough asks for help. And never refuses it when it is offered, no matter how awkward it is to send baskets full of dirty laundry home with a friend who is offering to wash, dry, and fold load after load when the dryer is broken.

Good Enough know that “best” requires balance. Especially when life circumstances tax your emotional reserves. When the basement floods, the television is a fantastic substitute for that fabulous, intentional care you typically provide but can’t because you are knee deep in flood water. When your partner travels and you don’t have support with child care, then fish sticks, pizza, or ice cream, (or all three!) are the perfect dinner.

Good Enough doesn’t wallow in defeat. But instead, assumes a posture of problem-solving and solution-seeking. Not in pursuit of perfection, but as a way to a fuller life." -Emily Plank

When we embrace our imperfectly perfect life, we give our children the freedom to do the same. I invite you to read the post in its entirety and be inspired by Emily's enlightening perspective. It's the essence of letting go to grasp what really matters.

thank you hands free mama for sharing.

her gift

i sometimes wake in the early morning & listen to the soft breathing of my children & i think to myself, this is one thing i will never regret & i carry that quiet with me all day long.- storypeople

hilary emailed me months ago, sharing that the only thing she wanted for mother's day was for me to photograph her family, while they were vacationing here in florida. she wondered if i was available. i made sure i was available.  hilary, i'm flattered and honored and i hope that your photos are everything you dreamed for and more.  thank you for trusting me!

the girls are night and day from one another.  one loves math.  the other loves to sing. one is serious. the other giggly. one couldn't wait to get in the water.  the other never got in.  and i had an awesome time photographing each of them.

i hope you're all treating the moms in your life to something special for mother's day.

oh yea... and happy earth day.

 

who are you not to be?

our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. it is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. we ask ourselves, 'who am i to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' actually, who are you not to be? - maryanne williamson

april online workshop | BTM

BREAKING THE MOLD a two-week online workshop april 29th - may 13th space is limited registration details below

some topics that will be discussed are: inspiration creativity thinking outside the box finding your style creating strong images building a strong portfolio

participants will receive the following: an honest and intimate look into my photography daily, interactive communication assignments followed by feedback an inspirational e-book

details for early registration: 1. this workshop is held via the bloom form & therefore, all participants MUST BE bloom forum members. if interested in registering for this two-week online workshop but are not a yet a member of bloom, you can join the forum (for 3, 6 or 12 months), by clicking the bloom logo below... The Bloom Forum 2. once a bloom member, you can register in the bloom forum, here:  Bloom News section under Mini Workshop Information 3. the workshop will run from monday, april 29th - may 13th, with daily posts and interaction 4. price:  $225.00. 5. the private workshop information will be available for one month after the workshop ends. 6. there is also a private facebook group for all past breaking the mold participants, to continue  interacting and sharing with one another.

and here's what a few former breaking the mold participants had to say when the workshop was done:

I am sad that our time has come to an end in your new workshop ‘Breaking the Mold’. I have enjoyed it immensely.

We so often second-guess our instincts and I have learned lately that mine are very loud and rarely go away. It is funny too, I don’t often shy away from it, unless there is fear involved – fear of rejection, fear of not being validated, fear of moving forward, fear of dwelling too much on the past, fear of trying something new, fear of the competition. Your workshop has not only validated me, my strengths, my weaknesses, but it also brought my journey to a whole other level. I hope that I will continue to adapt and transform and ask myself all the questions you asked of us in your workshop. It was fast moving, made me reflect and helped me see things way more clearly. That is a gift.

There are very few people in my life who have truly given me inspiration, made me want to move forward and try something new. But you sure have! You have allowed me to let loose and share in a comfortable and giving environment. You were warm, generous and giving!!! I so appreciated all your candor. In our short two weeks, you have definitely given me confidence, helped me make sense of the issues and doubts I have been feeling for awhile and made me want to be a better me, for my clients and for my family and friends. Everyone needs that someone to get you “unstuck”. Your words, your exercises for us, and your explanation of your own photography has heightened my love and passion for photography so much more than I ever thought possible. - SARA

i’m so sad that our workshop is over, but i just wanted to take a minute to send you a quick note. this was the very first workshop i have ever taken, i had no real expectations. i can tell you that the last three weeks were unlike anything i thought i would experience in a photography workshop… it was almost like therapy for me, really! i am self taught, and have struggled with the mentality that i’m not up to par because i don’t have the piece of paper to prove that i deserve to be here. i finally think i’m starting to see that i don’t need to be technically perfect to be great at what i do. really, i could ramble on forever but i really just wanted to say thank you! thank you for helping me believe in myself, for bringing so much passion and inspiration to me in a short time and thank you for taking the time to teach us all and for being you!! i have never really surrounded myself with a group of my peers, it’s been an amazing ride. – Lila

I can’t thank you enough for your amazing workshop. It went above and beyond anything I had ever expected. I came into the workshop hoping to learn more about photography, I never dreamed of the personal journey it would take me on or the growth I would have. I have come away appreciating my vision as an artist and not worrying about others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so open and honest. I have grown leaps and bounds and look forward to continuing to grow even more. - STEPHANIE

working together

she said she usually cried at least once a daynot because she was sad but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short. - storypeople

over the weekend, steve and sky built a ladder together. a ladder so my kids and the  boys behind us can climb freely over our backyard fence.  when steve and sky were working on our neighbor's side of the ladder, the boys helped too. and it all makes my heart so happy.  and well...i'll just leave it at that. the end.

 

canadian workshop | june 22nd - 24th

i am absolutely thrilled to be holding a 2-day photography workshop at the beautiful oakwood resort in ontario canada.  together, we will discuss, share and explore.  we will laugh.  some of us might even cry (good tears, of course). we will learn.  and in the evenings, we will relax and share some more, on the beach by the bonfire. you will receive an intimate look at my photography and business (and even my life; i'm an open book).  you will be encouraged and inspired to find and embrace your unique photography voice and path.  this workshop will not only foster enlightenment, creativity and growth, but also promises to encourage and challenge you.  while the core information has been set, this workshop will be custom-tailored to the unique desires, needs and wishes of the group in attendance.  i hope you'll join me for this amazing experience!  please find all the details below.

RETREAT INCLUDES: • june 22nd - 24th 2013 | 2-1/2 day instruction by deb • 2-night lodging at the beautiful, serene oakwood resort • dinner friday evening • breakfast saturday and sunday morning • snacks & drinks during workshop • inspirational retreat photo book

TOPICS: PRE-RETREAT: access to private online group exercises to work on in advance, to bring to retreat

DAY ONE: Saturday, June 22nd (6 PM - 9 PM) dinner, followed by welcome mixer on the beach

DAY TWO: Sunday, June 23rd (10 AM – 9 PM) discussion • strong images & portfolio • inspiration • creativity • voice & vision • meaningful shooting & storytelling • natural light (discussion & demonstration) one-to-two outdoor family shoots (weather permitting)

DAY THREE: Monday, June 24th (10 AM – 3 PM) discussion on organization & workflow processing of images from previous evening’s shoot open Q & A optional open-discussion portfolio reviews (starting at 1 PM)

while some aspects of technique will be discussed, this retreat is not centered around learning the basics of camera technique or image processing.  you should already have a good understanding of the use of your camera (shoot in AV or manual mode) and image processing (PS, LR, etc.).  if you have any questions if this workshop is the right fit for you, please email me.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: DATES: June 22nd - 24th LOCATION : oakwood resort, ontario, canada TUITION : $1950 ($1800, if paying in full, at time of registration) RETAINER: $750 deposit to reserve your seat. remaining balance due no later than may 15th. CLASS SIZE: limited to 10 photographers TRAVEL: london, ON, canada (YXU) is approximately 1-1/4 hours from resort. toronto, ON, canada (YYZ) is approximately 2-1/2 hours from resort. if traveling from USA, you will need a passport. participants are also responsible for vehicle transportation to and from airport.

TO REGISTER: please email deb@debsphotographs.com for payment information.

*all payments are non-refundable; however, if cancellation is necessary, you may sell your seat to another photographer.

image below taken last year at the oakwood resort by our workshop host, hilary camilleri.

 

working on me

last year was my year to try and take a photo every day. for no other reason than wanting to. this year, my goal is to get in front of the camera more -- something i greatly struggle with and want to change. i don't like photos of me. i always find a way to rip myself apart. but i know in 5-10 years, i will love these photos. and i know that my kids will love these photos in 10 years...in 5 years. i know that they will love photos of me NOW! and i really do ache to be part of my family's photographs. so my goal, for the remainder of this year, is to take at least one photograph every week that includes myself.  me with one or more of my kids. me with my husband. just me. i guess this is my own personal learn-to-be-in-front-of-the-camera-and-like-it therapy. so here i am. today. nothing fancy. dreads tied in a knot (always one sticking out). leftover makeup from the day before. not smiling (because unless it's authentic , i don't like it). here i am. just me.

quiet

have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully. - norton juster i've been quiet the past few months.  i needed to.  last year was amazing but i needed to digest all that happened and reflect. i needed to do some soul-searching. i needed a break. i needed to focus on my family. i needed to bring balance back into my life. i simply needed some quiet.

yes, i've been quiet... but i am here, striving to be present, fully present, each and every day!

and i wanted to share this incredibly beautiful video and the story behind it. took my breath away...

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

february online workshop | breaking the mold

BREAKING THE MOLD a two-week online workshop february 11th - 25th space is limited registration details below

some topics that will be discussed are: inspiration creativity thinking outside the box finding your style creating strong images building a strong portfolio

participants will receive the following: an honest and intimate look into my photography daily, interactive communication three assignments followed by feedback an inspirational e-book a few special giveaways and more!

details for early registration: 1. this workshop is held via the bloom form & therefore, all participants MUST BE bloom forum members. if interested in registering for this two-week online workshop but are not a yet a member of bloom, you can join the forum (for 3, 6 or 12 months), by clicking the bloom logo below... The Bloom Forum 2. once a bloom member, you can register in the bloom forum, here:  Bloom News section under Mini Workshop Information 3. the workshop will run from monday, february 11th - 25th, with daily posts and interaction 4. active seats are $225.00 per seat. 5. silent/read-a-long seats are $175.00 per seat. 6. the private workshop information will be available for one month after the workshop ends. 7. there is also a private section for all past breaking the mold participants, to continue  interacting and sharing with one another.

and here's what a few former breaking the mold participants had to say when the workshop was done:

I am sad that our time has come to an end in your new workshop ‘Breaking the Mold’. I have enjoyed it immensely.

We so often second-guess our instincts and I have learned lately that mine are very loud and rarely go away. It is funny too, I don’t often shy away from it, unless there is fear involved – fear of rejection, fear of not being validated, fear of moving forward, fear of dwelling too much on the past, fear of trying something new, fear of the competition. Your workshop has not only validated me, my strengths, my weaknesses, but it also brought my journey to a whole other level. I hope that I will continue to adapt and transform and ask myself all the questions you asked of us in your workshop. It was fast moving, made me reflect and helped me see things way more clearly. That is a gift.

There are very few people in my life who have truly given me inspiration, made me want to move forward and try something new. But you sure have! You have allowed me to let loose and share in a comfortable and giving environment. You were warm, generous and giving!!! I so appreciated all your candor. In our short two weeks, you have definitely given me confidence, helped me make sense of the issues and doubts I have been feeling for awhile and made me want to be a better me, for my clients and for my family and friends. Everyone needs that someone to get you “unstuck”. Your words, your exercises for us, and your explanation of your own photography has heightened my love and passion for photography so much more than I ever thought possible. - SARA

i’m so sad that our workshop is over, but i just wanted to take a minute to send you a quick note. this was the very first workshop i have ever taken, i had no real expectations. i can tell you that the last three weeks were unlike anything i thought i would experience in a photography workshop… it was almost like therapy for me, really! i am self taught, and have struggled with the mentality that i’m not up to par because i don’t have the piece of paper to prove that i deserve to be here. i finally think i’m starting to see that i don’t need to be technically perfect to be great at what i do. really, i could ramble on forever but i really just wanted to say thank you! thank you for helping me believe in myself, for bringing so much passion and inspiration to me in a short time and thank you for taking the time to teach us all and for being you!! i have never really surrounded myself with a group of my peers, it’s been an amazing ride. – Lila

I can’t thank you enough for your amazing workshop. It went above and beyond anything I had ever expected. I came into the workshop hoping to learn more about photography, I never dreamed of the personal journey it would take me on or the growth I would have. I have come away appreciating my vision as an artist and not worrying about others. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so open and honest. I have grown leaps and bounds and look forward to continuing to grow even more. - STEPHANIE

my portfolio review experience

a couple weeks ago, i had the awesome opportunity to attend the photoNOLA review in new orleans.  it all started quite a few months ago when i went to register for photoNOLA, only to find out that the review was full.  each year, they limit the number of participating photographers to 65.  bummed that i missed the opportunity, i put my name on the waiting list.  a few weeks later, i received an email informing me that if i was still interested, they had an opening.  it took me a couple of hours to clear the dates with my husband and then i quickly emailed photoNOLA to let them know i was delighted to attend, registered, paid and -- i was officially set to attend my first portfolio review. from that moment on... i stressed. i worried. i was anxious. i was nervous. i was super excited. and the preparation began.

on my to-do list: fine-tune artist statement (for the 1000th time) fine-tune bio & CV determine which portfolio images to bring (approx. 20) print the best quality 16x20 prints possible (which ended up being 17x22 prints) order clamshell portfolio box determine what i wanted to leave behind with reviewers design & order leave behinds design & order business cards establish editioning & pricing (i hadn't sold prints yet) review & rank reviewers (not every reviewer is a good fit) learn as much as i could about attending a portfolio review determine what i wanted to verbally share with reviewers regarding my work practice my spiel

some things i thought about during the preparation process: what do i want to say with my work? what is my goal for this work? what size would i want to exhibit this work? how do i want to sequence my photographs? which photograph will be the first? the last?

and this was only the beginning.

portfolio box, prints, leave behinds, business cards and a few other miscellaneous items in hand, i left on november 28th for my 10-hour drive to new-orleans. i had enrolled in aline smithson's creating the fine art portfolio workshop , which was the best thing ever. her lecture was extremely informative and preparatory and the workshop concluded with an optional portfolio review.  without a second thought, i opted in.  i was so nervous, i was shaking and wanted to throw up, but presenting to aline gave me push that i could do this and it got those initial extreme nerves out of the way. aline also gave me lots of things to think about over the next couple days, prior to my photoNOLA reviews.

the following day, i attended the CURRENTS show opening and shelby lee adams's lecture. both held at the ogden museum of southern art. both were incredible!!

my eight reviews were held over two days (saturday and sunday). i also won a lottery, which allowed me a ninth review. i ended up with four reviews on saturday and five on sunday. each review was 20-minutes long.

siting in the room, waiting to be told it's time to line up (to then enter the review room), i was pretty darn nervous. actually, i was really nervous. my first reviewer was jason landry, from panopticon gallery,  and he made me feel very much at ease. he opened our conversation with,

why are you here? what do you want to get out of this review? i want to know about you; i don't want to just hear your artist statement.

i shared with him that i dream of one day having gallery representation and a solo show. he commented that that's quite ambitious. i replied, why shouldn't i dream big?  seven years ago, when i bought my first camera, i never imagined i'd be attending a portfolio review -- and here i am.

once i got through that first review, i remember thinking, I CAN DO THIS!! all my reviews went really well. that doesn't mean every review was completely positive; plenty of my reviewers offered suggestions and constructive criticism. and plenty of the feedback i received was contradictory of what i had heard from another reviewer. one reviewer's favorite was another reviewer's least favorite. one reviewer encouraged me to pursue my more abstract work.  another thought the more abstract photograph didn't fit.  i wrote down as many notes that i could remember and i will continue to digest their feedback and thoughts.

saturday night was the photoNOLA walk, where all the participating photographers displayed their work, for anyone who was interested, to see.  again, i was nervous.  again, everything went really well.  i was blown away to have a couple reviewers, who were not reviewing my work during the formal reviews, stop and peruse my entire portfolio.

sunday, after the reviews, i had the opportunity to visit a gallery for fine art,which has the most diverse and awesome collection of photographs i've ever seen, and meet keith carter, whose work i have long admired.

in conclusion, this was an absolutely amazing, surreal experience -- one full of inspiration, meeting new friends, networking, sharing, dreaming and so much more.  i HIGHLY recommend attending a portfolio review, to anyone that has a cohesive body of work and feels ready. what is ready?  well, each person is different and only you can decide.  something to keep in mind -- participating in a review is a large financial and time commitment (much more than i had originally anticipated). for me, it was really important that the first impression i was presenting was a great one.

i am beyond grateful for the friendships that i made (some who i have LONG admired), while at photoNOLA. i met so many kind, supportive, wonderful people that i would have not otherwise had the opportunity to meet. and i learned so much through this process, not only about my work and the industry, but also about myself.

and my biggest news of all... I WON PHOTONOLA REVIEW'S FIRST PRIZE!!!

and as part of my winning, i will be exhibiting november 2013 at the new orleans photo alliance gallery  -- a SOLO SHOW (#5)!!

i'm blown away. i feel like i'm living in a dream world. and i am so incredibly grateful to all those who have encouraged, supported, helped and believed in me -- and simply been my friend.  from the bottom of my heart, i thank you!!  work hard and dream big, my friends.  DREAM REALLY BIG!

if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section. i am more than happy to answer / offer my thoughts, in a subsequent blog post.

screenshot of some of the photographs that i brought to photoNOLA...

peace, love and hope

your journey has molded you for the greater good,and it was exactly what it needed to be. don't think that you've lost time. it took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. and now is right on time. - asha tyson

i stay out of politics as much as humanly possible. but of course, i have seen a lot of politically-inspired posts via my facebook feed over the past few weeks.  i'm happy to say that i personally have not seen any negative, mean or hateful posts BUT a lot of my friends are sharing about others posting nasty and hateful comments (directed to those supporting a certain political party). really?!! it all makes me so sad. and i just don't. get. it!!

and then i came across this post from my dear friend, becky earl and well, i think she sums things up better than i ever could...

It's no wonder kids these days are cruel and mean to others. They get it from their parents. I am sick to see people on my feed say they 'hate' people who voted for the other party (seen it on both sides). Can we be a little understanding and compassionate and even actually Christian (if you claim to be) for one minute and realize people come from many different circumstances, environments, households, religions, financial situations?! Each person has a to the core, passionate reason why they vote and or believe in someone to make a better life for them. It's not always the same as you. Get over it. Don't teach hate. Kids are sponges and I pray they aren't at school today saying they hate someone cause they think differently then themselves. Instead go hug your kids and love them and teach them to be charitable and loving and kind and to be tolerant of all different thoughts. The change starts with YOU not our president. Peace and love.

as always, becky, thank you for your inspiration.

wishing you all peace, love and...

what _____ looks like | month fourteen

a bit different than my typical monthly post because this past month was  just that -- a bit different.  it was a month largely filled with dealing with a negligent roof job, city roof inspections, hiring an attorney, hiring a formal roof inspection (who found 143 issues with our roof), dealing with roofer's insurance and ours, and applying to an HGTV show (we made it to the next casting round and should find out if we're going to be on their new show in a couple weeks). ETA:  i just heard from HGTV and we've made it to the NEXT round. our video has been forwarded from the casting team to the network. so we're now waiting to hear if the network approves our family to be on the show, which could "take a while" (per the casting team).  holding onto every bit of hope i have to hold onto!!

but, in celebrating having a roof over our heads (even if it's a shitty, leaky one) and the comfort, love, warmth and charm of our home, this month i share... what my house looks like.

the front of our 1927, 1600 square foot house

living room

kids' messy bedrooms

our bedroom, which has endured a bulk of the interior damage from our negligent, leaky roof .  :-(

office, which is a little cubby area on the side of our bedroom

dining area, with cut-out view of kitchen

galley-style kitchen

spare bathroom, which steve did an awesome job completely redoing this past year

 

 

 

backyard

i've also been working a lot on our annual family book this past month, so i also share... what our 2012 family book looks like.

the full book spread ( larger image HERE)

and a few of my favorite single pages and page-spreads from the book...

front cover

back cover

opening page

 

if interested, you an see 2011's book layout here and 2010's here

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this 'what ____ looks like' monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] — starting with christy williams | sarasota, florida photographer.

 

there will never be a perfect time

you will never have this day again.each day is a gift. breathe and notice. today. every day. relish the beauty and charm of the present. enjoy this day because... before you know it today will be gone. [modified from poem by jan hatmaker]

for my dear friend, robin, who i met during my air force days (we worked at the military hospital in tucson together). we haven't seen each other in over 12 years, but she will forever remain one of my dearest, truest friends.  a few days ago, she wrote on my facebook wall...

My beautiful, talented friend....So I pose a question that lots of my friends are requesting an answer to as well...... I MUST get family photos done, but I hate the way I look in pics. I would like something hip and funky to wear.... Got any advice on photographing moms like me? Seems all the families you take pics of are BEAUTIFUL. Also, if you lived in a cold area, would you postpone your sessions until it warms outside? XXXOOO your fluffy friend.

short on time, my initial reply to her was that she is beautiful and fabulous through and through and THAT is what the camera will capture.  and i shared with her that she needs to read THIS.

i told her that i would post a cold-weather chicago shoot here on my blog, for her to see.  so here it is. i was supposed to photograph this family three weeks prior to our actual shoot date (when it was much, much warmer), but i was really sick at the time and had to delay my chicago travel. the original planned 70-degree weather ended up being in the 40s.

i also think it's important to include the words from my client, emailed to me after she saw her gallery for the first time...

I LOVE THEM!  Thank you so much for the amazing pictures. You delivered exactly what I had hoped to get! I have looked over the gallery several times before sending you a note so that I could let you know some of my favorites, to impress upon you, more than just a simple thank you -- how happy I am. But I ran into the problem that I could not choose.  I love them all.  I'm so happy that I can look past the weight I need / wanted to lose before you took our pictures.  Love love love.  That is a lot of love coming from me.  They make my heart happy.  Okay YEAH...so excited!

of course, can't help but love the last two photos of the night.  after our shoot, the kids were excited to show me their play room, so of course, i brought my camera back out and took a couple more photos.

and here's a few photos from my family's cold-weather session in kansas (2009), courtesy of leigh miller photography.  it was FREEZING!

fav finds | twenty-nine

good words to read with the start of each day.

this too.

pretty boots.

because i'm currently obsessed with owning a working, vintage typewriter at the moment.

love absolutely everything about this outfit.

i believe in random acts of kindness.

new awesome and super easy crockpot recipe. chicken breasts 6 Tbs franks hot sauce 6 Tbs chicken broth serve over rice, with beans, as taco meat...whatever. YUM!!

i make a modified version of these every christmas and give to teachers, neighbors, etc.  terribly addicting.

all kinds of cool 'did you knows' (most of which i didn't)

this article, which includes this quote:

The beauty of storytelling is found in a series of images that translate truth—not our truth, but theirs. When we, as photographers, let go of our selfish needs to create the best work, capture award-winning images, or be featured on the covers of magazines, we allow the beauty of others’ circumstance to resonate through our lenses. This is art. This is humanity. We are able to show others that their story has significance, that their lives are beautiful and profound.

this video, which had be laughing, but the poor thing.  she tried so, so hard.

and this video had me laughing so hard, i was crying.

last but not least, this video and the life-changing power of a good teacher!!  personally, kiele wouldn't be where she is today without a few amazing, special teachers in her life, who believed she could...when everyone else said she couldn't!