Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When the Work Becomes Professional

I love photography. If it sounds like I have said that before, it's because I have. Like, a million times.

Lucky me, because lately I have been doing a lot of photography work, and actually making money at it. WooHoo!

While the fine art stuff I do just because I have a wild hair is my favorite stuff to shoot, and is what I hang when I have a gallery show, the stuff that tends to pay the bills are portraits, head shots, and commercial gigs. I am getting more and more of these, and could probably have a full schedule if I were to hit the pavement and ask for more work.

Right now I have enough on my plate, but perhaps I'll start seeking more work in early December. My father has a fairly large mass that is causing him pain (located behind a kidney and pressed tightly to his aortic artery.) They are not sure what it is, but already we've heard words like "surgery", "chemotherapy" and "lymphoma", so needless to say I am worried and distracted.

However, despite the day to day anxieties and business I have, I try and focus on what's good and exciting, and certainly continued work is one of these.

Local Flavor Magazine is one of these, I've enjoyed quite a bit of work with them this past summer and recently, having shot a local radio station, KHFM, Nob Hill Bar & Grill (left), Keller's Farm Store, Que Chula!, Just a Bite Bakery & The Wild West Cafe, and this past week Prairie Star Wine Bar.

One of the pluses to these shoots is that I get to find great new places to shop and visit. Several of them I may never have seen until I dropped in to do the work, then I became an instant fan and frequently return as a customer.

Other work which has fallen my way this past year has been usually because of networking connections I have made over the years, which goes to show that hermit status isn't a bonus here. More than half the work I get comes to me by word of mouth, and you can't beat that.

A billboard I did this past Spring was this kind of project. A friend of mine for many years asked me if I would be willing to donate some work for him for a billboard. I was thrilled to do it, though I had many people tell me that free work was a waste of my time. I found that the shoot itself not only connected me to several new potential clients, but it gave me a billboard to put in my portfolio. Another bonus was that several months later when they needed professional business portraits for their employees, it was me they came to, and paid me.

I could certainly use help in the advertising and self-promotion department. This is evident if you spend any time on my website. The truth is that I get a great idea for my site and start it, then find I don't have enough time to do what I planned so I rush through it, and when it's done I hate the disaster it is -- but I have far to much work to do for someone else to fix it. This is a vicious circle that keeps repeating itself, and I am currently in the process of trying to get some professional help.

No. Not that kind of professional help, though I am sure I need it.

I'd smack myself on the back of the head for my faults, except I have grown so much better over the years that I can't help be proud at my own progress. There is, quite certainly, a great deal of work and re-focusing that needs to be done, but over all I can honestly say that where I am at now has surpassed my expectations from six years ago, and I have great plans for the future. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taking Moment to Say Thank You

(Thanks to Pam Roth for the Photo)

Veterans Day is important to me.

According to Info Please there were 23.6 million veterans in the U.S. in 2007. With numbers like that, the likelihood that you know a veteran are high.

Both my grandfather and my great grandfather served in the military, my father served, I served, both of my husbands served. Having been a member of the armed forces and having lived as a military wife for nine years I have known and been friends with more military personnel than I have ever known civilians in all my life. Even after becoming a civilian myself I worked for several years with an organization for helping needy and homeless veterans.

For me, celebrating Veterans Day isn't about what beliefs that either myself or anyone else might hold about politics, or the country we live in, or in war in general. It's about honoring those people who sacrifice to serve their country. And it is a sacrifice. For whatever reason a man or women joins the service, they give so much, and usually get so little in return.

They often risk their lives, they get very little pay, and if they have family even their family sacrifices. But usually the service member is happy to do it. Proud to serve, proud to know they are doing their part to keep the country they love strong.

Last year my eldest son introduced me to one of his friends, and part of the introduction was... "...and hey, my mom is a Veteran!" He told me later how proud he is when he can tell people that. It meant so much to me, because so often it easy is to feel like that part of your life is unappreciated and unimportant anymore.

If you know a veteran, tell them thanks today. Tell them how proud you are of them. They love the United States, make sure you let them know you love them back :)

Veteran's Day Tribute

When America had an urgent need,
These brave ones raised a hand;
No hesitation held them back;
They were proud to take a stand.

They left their friends and family;
They gave up normal life;
To serve their country and their God,
They plowed into the strife.

They fought for freedom and for peace
On strange and foreign shores;
Some lost new friends; some lost their lives
In long and brutal wars.

Other veterans answered a call
To support the ones who fought;
Their country had requirements for
The essential skills they brought.

We salute each and every one of them,
The noble and the brave,
The ones still with us here today,
And those who rest in a grave.

So here's to our country's heroes;
They're a cut above the rest;
Let's give the honor that is due
To our country's very best.

By Joanna Fuchs

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Clowning Around

Or: This Isn't So Funny

Do you like clowns? If you currently like clowns, did you as a child?

I like them well enough now, and I even recall enjoying their antics when i was about 9 years old or so at the Circus while they were crawling out of cars (you know... the classic 15 clowns in a car that shouldn't fit one grown man in it gig) and doing funny tricks. But when I think back to memories I might have of clowns before that, I don't think I thought they were funny. Or cute. Or adorable. I thought they were creepy and menacing.

Even as an adult, I can see why. Even though they are dressed in bright colors, covered in silly motif's and carrying around balloons, there is something just not right about a face with that crazy make-up on.

For that matter I can't remember my children, my nieces or nephews, or any other child I have ever known to not react with trepidation to an approaching clown, if not outright terror.

That's me in the photo up there. Hired out to be the happy spot for the kiddos birthday party. The adults thought I was a hoot. The kids cowered in fear. Mom and dad asked that I hold the birthday boy up for a shot of us together. I noticed he didn't look happy, they said" Naw, he loves you! He's just tired!"

Hmm. Dunno, I think sometimes we as parents might try to hard to live vicariously through our kids. Or maybe I am just being too serious.

After all... who listens to the clown?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Always Looking Up.

It has been a full few weeks. Not good, not bad, but certainly containing element's of both.

I've had several photo shoots I was excited about, but which evaporated before fruitation, and other unexpected photo shoots which turned out wonderful.

Two shows in the past thirty days, (the second which begins tomorrow) and others up and coming.

Quality time spent with my oldest boy who I don't see nearly as often as I'd like to.

Frightening news that my father has a "mass" of unknown origin behind a kidney, for which we have to get a biopsy for on Tuesday.

Continuing arrival of paid photography work, which is certainly a good thing in this economy.

Discovering a friend whom I have long missed will be returning to Albuquerque within the next two weeks.

The thrill of watching Obama win the election last Tuesday, and knowing it was in my lifetime. And I was part of it.

There is so much, everyday, which happens in my life, and I have many years of practice in which to find the best of it all and be grateful.

It is a magical world I live in, and I am looking up.