Friday, January 29, 2010

train stations, tests, penpals, snow.

my apartment, which is located near the train tracks, sort of serves as a train station of sorts.
people are always there. a few weeks ago i had 13 people sleeping under my roof. yeah. wild.
well, i have 5 room-mates. and so it goes.

so a few weeks ago my friend ryan (from rhode island who, turns out we have been friends for TEN years!) came through town with his touring band. fun! it was so cool to see him on southern turf, because usually i come see him in RI.

that SAME weekend, my penpal came to town with her brother!
we have been letter writing (snail mail, not e-mail) for the past four years. it was so awesome to get to finally meet her! in person, just like her letters- she is the sweetest girl alive.

this is jennifer (my penpal) and her brother corey:

and this is ryan from rhode island!

there is this Febreeze commercial where the lady is something like "i have kids and they play sports, so you can bet that i use Febreeze".
and everytime i see it i think "i live with 5 boys. you can bet i use Febreeze just about every single day.

this is josh, 1 of the 5 boys i live with, helping me with test shots.

my past days have been blurry.
i started teaching the photoshop class at Lee. i have been editing and working a lot. reading too (i will never get into kindles, by the way. cool idea, but i need the smell and texture of paper). applying for government jobs in Germany (which is a lot of paperwork!) and daydreaming a lot. it takes me longer to do normal things because my mind will trail off into a daydream.
this is something i'm trying to get better at- as in...i WANT to daydream more. it's like a creative exercise (when done at the right time).

and so, newsworthy stuff: it is snowing in Cleveland, TN. like, pretty bad.
these are my footprints coming from my car, when it first started.
it took me 45 minutes to get to work (it usually takes me 8 minutes).

but i work part-time at a hotel and they're putting me up so i won't have to drive.
i absolutely looove staying at hotels! (also loving this leather jacket i got from victoria's secret. this is the kind of thing that makes me want to have a daughter so i can pass it down to her).

this is the end of this specific blog post.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

the most encouraging thing i have ever read...

alright, so...
i wanted to share this letter i received a few months ago with you, the internet world. this letter was like a warm bubble bath hug. because let's face it, life can be terribly stressful. the fact that we need money to be some sort of happy and taken care of sucks. and starting a business with no's hard!

but then you sit back and take things in stride and JUST DO IT.
in college i had a boss who would tell me "you gotta want it!". and i think that's true in all things. if you want something, you'll be willing to work hard at it'll probably get it.

just for fun, to take it back a bit...
this photo is from my very first roll of film, taken with my canon rebel 35mm camera.

so check this. this is a letter from a bride's dad to me.
his only fault is that he uses Nikon...(joke. sort of)

letter starts now:

First, I need you need to take a deep breath. You need to sit slouched in a chair with lots of pillows and your puppy sleeping in the crook of your elbow. I need your legs uncrossed and your head merely attached to your neck but just barely. Let it flop back against one of the pillows and breathe deeply for a few moments. Turn your wrists up and relax your fingers. Quit curling and uncurling your toes and just hang, fully relaxed, breathing slow and deep.

Now. I have been where you are. I have been fresh out of school and I have been deeply in debt because of it. I know the overwhelming feeling and the urgent crush of it. I know the daily waking panic of wondering how you're going to pay for it all -- not just the debt but life itself. I know. I seems nearly desperate, nearing dispair. But I want to tell you it's not. I know those are just words but they are coming from a person who knows that it really isn't desperate -- not even close!

You, my littlest friend, are so talented, you really don't know your own potential yet. You are at the threshold of your life and you're about to pass over that threshold into a wonderful existence. One where you do what you love to do with people who love what you do for them. Every day you will increasingly grow in awareness and artful design and clarity. You will see things you never saw before and capture them in a way you never thought possible. You will use your camera in ways nobody has used a camera. Sure you will learn from other people and I encourage you to never stop gathering techniques and ideas from other people -- they are a wonderful resource. But you, you personally, have a gift. A God-given gift for seeing the world in a wonderful, funny, artful, beautiful and clever way that few people see it. It's God-given! So it's perfect! And it's pure. And it's clear. And it's not confusing and darkening. It's happy and hopeful and easy.

These qualities are not had by everyone. I need you to REALIZE that. Anyone with hands and eyes can lift a camera, point it, and press the release. That is NOT photography -- not the photography YOU do! What you do is FAR MORE than photography. Do you get the disparity here? There's pictures. And then there's what you do. They are NOT the same thing. Do you get it? Do you understand what I'm saying? I'm sure you do but I just want to look you in the eye and tell you that I really mean what I am saying and you need to believe in yourself like I believe in you. The ability of someone like you is so powerful and so genuine that anyone who sees you and sees your product will automatically be sold and will tell everyone they know to go to you and hire you for their needs. Money will come to you. Money will chase you down and overtake you. Money will be the very LAST of your worries. God will bless you beyond your wildest dreams! In fact, He already HAS!!! Your talent is a GIANT blessing from which you will derive pleasure and money and relationships and travel and satisfaction and honor and joy and self-worth. It's HUGE! Can you see it? I pray that you can.

This is the message I wanted to give you. This is what I wanted to say to you. I hope you can really hear it. It's true and it's real.

Anyway, I'm going to stop now. I want you to read this email. Then go back and re-read it again -- from the top, with the breathing and relaxing and everything -- and really look inside yourself and realize you have "it" -- the "gift". You have what other people search for their entire lives and lay finally dying in bed wondering how they never found it. You already have it! I need you to realize that. Don't worry about your education loans. Those are a tiny distraction. Trust in God and you will have no trouble making money and lots of it! Believe me! People LOVE -- they L O V E -- to be charged! And when they see what they are charged for, they will RUN to bring you their money! Trust me! And they will tell all of their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers about you! They will! Believe me!

Again, I'm going to stop now. I am very excited about your future. You are a powerful force and you are just right on the verge of taking the world by storm! Get ready, I'm telling you. It's going to happen!


there you have it.
this letter geared me up. unstressed me. motivated me. encouraged me.
basically made me like a warrior princess leading my troops (which is a metaphor for my photography business) into battle.

and for all of you who send me these insanely encouraging e-mails and letters full of kind words- THANK YOU! you blow the top of my head open with your sweet kindness.

in conclusion,
be encouraged! be hard working. and in the words of my favourite television character barney (how i met your mother): be awesome.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

wood panel, hair cuttery, bingbing!

the first set of photo was taken last night, just messing around.
the first two boys ( on the left are 2 of my 5 (yes, i repeat 5) room-mates.
then there is myself, pre-haircut. and my friend black tony.

this second set is all of me, post hair-cut.
let me tell you a little bit about where i get my hair cut.

it's a little shop called Salon V where this big, muscular, tattooed up, NY accented, harley riding man named Victor runs the shop. i will not deny the fact that, if i ever get in a fight or am threatened in any serious way, victor is my first call.
victor's been cutting (and back in the day colouring) my hair for years. and he's awesome. he's taken me from black to blonde and back again. he wasn't angry when i shaved my head (i avoided him for months after i shaved my head because i was so nervous!),
and best yet- he actually knows how to cut hair and will work with you on styles.

i mean, really....good hairdressers are almost impossible to find!

(click on this for largeness).

these photos were made with one softbox. and in some of the ones of the boys, a silver reflector was used for fill.

and then, just for funny....
i was smoking my pipe hard, to get smoke from it for the photos, and it was just too much.
i accidentally inhaled and this face is how it felt:

the end.

ps. i start teaching a basic Photoshop class at Lee University on monday.
i'll probably throw up before the first class i'll be so dang nervous.

Monday, January 18, 2010

meet Beatrice Robin Matthews...the smallest baby i have ever held.

so...two weeks ago this little baby girl was born.
i got to hold her! and i suspect that my camera might weigh more than her.
it is SO WILD!

you might remember abby and sean from earlier in my blog...
i photographed their wedding, and earlier this year i photographed them while abby was pregnant with this darling girl.

i loooove this family.
sweet, smart, caring...gah! beatrice is a lucky little baby.

the matthew's are getting ready to move to TX and i am very grateful for this opportunity to meet up and photograph their budding family.

what a lovely family!

nyc lightbulbs.

for the past few nights i have been waking up at 230/330am with my mind flicked on like every lightbulb in newyorkcity.

this NEVER happens because i am a log sleeper, so i have been excited, thankful, and productive.

since i had such a productive morning, i took myself out for breakfast at cameron's.

i cried at breakfast. not like sobbing, just a quiet tear up.
maybe it was the extra egg my waitress gave me. or my brother's first phone call from germany to me, minutes earlier. or my current emotional state due to the fact that i am leaving america indefinitely. or my inability to sleep past 330am.
but probably, it was the extra egg my waitress gave me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

test shots: for the fun of it.

earlier this evening my bb desirae helped me figure out some test shots.
unfortunately, nothing worked for what we were going for...and we will have to try again (and so it goes) but we got these fun (and for me, hilarious shots).

the last photo is an actual decent shot.
but the point of test shots is humour, as far as i am concerned.

and so, here is desiare in my apartment, a few hours ago.

these are all test shots for a project that will be happening in a few weeks...a project i want&expect everyone to come out and be a part of.
details to come later this week (once i get a final test shot so i can promote it properly!)


while posting these i (may or may not have) realized that i am going to miss things!
like desirae. and this red chair. and maybe even my room-mates. and parallel parking (which i can now do). and comfort and familiarity.
i was born into the military, and so moving every few years (even months) has been my entire life. safe to say, i can handle it. but...cleveland, tn is by far the longest i have ever lived anywhere.

ah. no more tears. all that to say- it's good times ahead. i'm here for another month (maybe 5 weeks) so, let the good times tumble around us all.

Friday, January 8, 2010

on goals, and the imporatnce of.

click on this so it becomes larger, and read it.

this article, written by my friend tony eubank, was written when i was nineteen years old and just just just starting to make photos.

four years later and i have achieved every goal i made.
(hot dang!)

-saving up for a digital camera (now, three digital cameras later...)- check!
-graduating college and going to Hallmark Institute of Photography- check!
-actually moved to 1st street, in my favourite part of town- check!
-hearing the train a few times a day!- check!
-moving back to cleveland, tn after photo school to open my own business- check!

and then,
ever since i lived in germany (my last two years of high school) i put it in my list of goals to live overseas again. last year, when i wrote my career business plan, i put that in as a 5 year goal.
and (as my brother recently informed me), i used to send my brother postcards (while i lived in germany) telling him how much i wanted to move back to germany.

move to germany- check! (well, in a few more weeks)
ps. i'll be living in heidelberg.

goals are crucial.
i feel strongly about setting goals, being motivated, and working hard.

as my friend will once said (and this is my favourite motto slogan i have ever heard):

sleep well. stay warm. make goals.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ethos 3rd Anniversary Service.

it was my pleasure to attend and photograph Ethos' 3rd Anniversary celebration service at City Church in Chattanooga this past sunday. there are a lot of people who go there, and if you are looking for a community to get involved in, i'm going to throw at Ethos as a recommendation.

Shannon Chapman is the pastor, and he's awesome! His wife Mande is incredible! The whole staff are super legit, and the worship team is brimming with talent.

check check check it out!

i'm thankful for the opportunity i had to go and shoot here.