it’s me, it’s mine

Yesterday, I had the whole day free and the weather was nice, so I peeled myself off the couch to go take photos of fall color at Cherokee Park. When I meet new people and they find out that I am a photographer, they always ask me what my favorite thing to photograph is, and my answer is nature. In my graduate program, we were lambasted if we pursued such a basic subject. Photography should *mean* something, my professors insisted. Capturing beauty and form wasn’t enough. If I were trying to make a living as a fine art photographer, it probably wouldn’t be. I’d need to do something unique. But I’m not trying to make a living as a fine art photographer. I don’t mind a struggle, but that’s a struggle too big for me.

I drove my car to the park and walked all around. I started at one end, and walked the loop. At my first stop, a pond by the golf course which is always lovely in the seasons, as I walked toward the loop, I saw another photographer standing in front of a couple with a baby.

"Gootchie gootchie goo!" they said, trying to get the baby to perform.

Props to all the wedding and family photographers of the world, because I tried that. Weddings are fun, but extremely stressful and hard to do alone and it was hard enough to get clients to pay enough to make it worth my while, much less enough for me and a second shooter. And family photography- ughhh. I don’t like it, and because I don’t like it, I’m not good at it. I’ve done it, and will do it for dear friends, but all I could think as I walked past the group yesterday, was “oh thank god I’m not doing that.” I’ll leave it to those who have the passion for it.

I wandered around, and I took about 30 photos. I felt I wasn’t taking enough, but what I got sufficed. I uploaded them to my computer and processed them with Lightroom, which I’ve had for a few months, but have not had time to use. It was really nice to spend some time with my own computer, and my own projects. It’s nice also to not have the pressure to create. I can do it when I want to, for no reason other than just because.

it’s me, it’s mine

Yesterday, I had the whole day free and the weather was nice, so I peeled myself off the couch to go take photos of fall color at Cherokee Park. When I meet new people and they find out that I am a photographer, they always ask me what my favorite thing to photograph is, and my answer is nature. In my graduate program, we were lambasted if we pursued such a basic subject. Photography should *mean* something, my professors insisted. Capturing beauty and form wasn’t enough. If I were trying to make a living as a fine art photographer, it probably wouldn’t be. I’d need to do something unique. But I’m not trying to make a living as a fine art photographer. I don’t mind a struggle, but that’s a struggle too big for me.

I drove my car to the park and walked all around. I started at one end, and walked the loop. At my first stop, a pond by the golf course which is always lovely in the seasons, as I walked toward the loop, I saw another photographer standing in front of a couple with a baby.

"Gootchie gootchie goo!" they said, trying to get the baby to perform.

Props to all the wedding and family photographers of the world, because I tried that. Weddings are fun, but extremely stressful and hard to do alone and it was hard enough to get clients to pay enough to make it worth my while, much less enough for me and a second shooter. And family photography- ughhh. I don’t like it, and because I don’t like it, I’m not good at it. I’ve done it, and will do it for dear friends, but all I could think as I walked past the group yesterday, was “oh thank god I’m not doing that.” I’ll leave it to those who have the passion for it.

I wandered around, and I took about 30 photos. I felt I wasn’t taking enough, but what I got sufficed. I uploaded them to my computer and processed them with Lightroom, which I’ve had for a few months, but have not had time to use. It was really nice to spend some time with my own computer, and my own projects. It’s nice also to not have the pressure to create. I can do it when I want to, for no reason other than just because.

Why going into debt for (art) school is a terrible idea


internationalorange:

austinkleon:

In Steal Like An Artist, I wrote: “Get the education you need for as cheap as you can get it.” As anybody who’s followed my “you don’t have to go to college” tag knows, going into soaking debt for a degree is a bad idea, but even more so for artists. This graphic is from a recently…

Pardon me, while I go induce vomiting with my rolled-up diploma…

YEP. The only job I’ve ever had that’s paid more than I owe in student loans is the one I have now, doing creative work for a corporation. Don’t go into debt unless you’re okay with working for The Man.

O happy lazy weekend 

Fall is always so busy. Some of it is my fault- I pack my schedule with many things all the time, but some of it is just that fall is busy for work and for play. I do prefer the busy life. I pack my life with many things for the reason we don’t like to talk about: we only go around once, so if you don’t do it, you many miss the chance forever. Sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. I live my life mostly with intention, which means planning. I don’t like to waste time.

But. There is great merit in idleness from time to time. Our wise friend told us when we last saw him that he keeps Sundays free, believing that you should always have one day with no obligations and as much relaxation as you can manage. This is the same gentleman who said when pondering work conundrums where you have almost what you want but not quite (as is my situation) that we should not be so arrogant to chafe at what fate & circumstance bring us with work. AKA, in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try, you may find, you get what you need.” Wise words, my friend, and I took them to heart.

Back to relaxation. My dear friend internationalorange told me once that I don’t relax well, and that was years ago and he’s still right. Now, it’s more the Great Ticking Clock of Impending Doom that makes me cram all this activity in. I will be forty next year, and I know it’s silly, but it makes me think of all these things; it gives me pause. The cheery side of myself says, I have plenty of time, let’s make it good. The doom side of myself whispers, you never know…. And so, I do as much as I can. I work, I freelance, I volunteer, I spend as much time with my husband, family and friends as possible. I spend a lot of my money on travel, on experiences. I try to always keep learning and adding to my knowledge base.

Relaxing is important. We are lucky that in this culture, in this time, that we have the luxury to do so. I am lucky that I no longer work 4 jobs and have the luxury to do so, and so it is important to do it. My very favorite relaxing activity is to sleep in. That is my number one objective this weekend. I set my alarm for 9:30 (because I don’t want to sleep the whole morning away) and I didn’t wake up until it went off. I have plans to drink coffee for hours and to read, and my cat Henry is stuck like a barnacle to my lap. Later, I’m biking down to the waterfront festival to help out at the bike valets, and this evening I’m going over to my parents’ house to catch up. Tomorrow, I have no plans at all, other than sleeping in. If the weather is nice, I’ll probably go take some photos, as it is fall and things are starting to look so pretty. But that’s it and that’s nice.

Next weekend, I’ve strangled myself again: Saturday, a half marathon in the morning (walkjogging!), a party in the evening, and Sunday morning a shoot for work. So yeah… grabbing this chill time while I can, and will try to follow my friend’s plan for the rest of the winter- keep one day free, no agenda!

O happy lazy weekend

Fall is always so busy. Some of it is my fault- I pack my schedule with many things all the time, but some of it is just that fall is busy for work and for play. I do prefer the busy life. I pack my life with many things for the reason we don’t like to talk about: we only go around once, so if you don’t do it, you many miss the chance forever. Sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. I live my life mostly with intention, which means planning. I don’t like to waste time.

But. There is great merit in idleness from time to time. Our wise friend told us when we last saw him that he keeps Sundays free, believing that you should always have one day with no obligations and as much relaxation as you can manage. This is the same gentleman who said when pondering work conundrums where you have almost what you want but not quite (as is my situation) that we should not be so arrogant to chafe at what fate & circumstance bring us with work. AKA, in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try, you may find, you get what you need.” Wise words, my friend, and I took them to heart.

Back to relaxation. My dear friend internationalorange told me once that I don’t relax well, and that was years ago and he’s still right. Now, it’s more the Great Ticking Clock of Impending Doom that makes me cram all this activity in. I will be forty next year, and I know it’s silly, but it makes me think of all these things; it gives me pause. The cheery side of myself says, I have plenty of time, let’s make it good. The doom side of myself whispers, you never know…. And so, I do as much as I can. I work, I freelance, I volunteer, I spend as much time with my husband, family and friends as possible. I spend a lot of my money on travel, on experiences. I try to always keep learning and adding to my knowledge base.

Relaxing is important. We are lucky that in this culture, in this time, that we have the luxury to do so. I am lucky that I no longer work 4 jobs and have the luxury to do so, and so it is important to do it. My very favorite relaxing activity is to sleep in. That is my number one objective this weekend. I set my alarm for 9:30 (because I don’t want to sleep the whole morning away) and I didn’t wake up until it went off. I have plans to drink coffee for hours and to read, and my cat Henry is stuck like a barnacle to my lap. Later, I’m biking down to the waterfront festival to help out at the bike valets, and this evening I’m going over to my parents’ house to catch up. Tomorrow, I have no plans at all, other than sleeping in. If the weather is nice, I’ll probably go take some photos, as it is fall and things are starting to look so pretty. But that’s it and that’s nice.

Next weekend, I’ve strangled myself again: Saturday, a half marathon in the morning (walkjogging!), a party in the evening, and Sunday morning a shoot for work. So yeah… grabbing this chill time while I can, and will try to follow my friend’s plan for the rest of the winter- keep one day free, no agenda!

austinkleon:

I wrote a little something about reading here.

This is great. I always make time for reading, even in this distracted, digital age.

austinkleon:

I wrote a little something about reading here.

This is great. I always make time for reading, even in this distracted, digital age.

Anatomy of a chill evening at home


Escape work
Drive home
Get home, feed cats
Change clothes
Clean litter boxes
Make dinner
Eat salad & read newspaper while pasta is cooking
Eat pasta & bread while watching Chopped
Watch more Chopped
Fall asleep on couch
Finish watching Chopped
Go do revisions on freelance project, one hour in InDesign
Find, organize files for personal project, upload to printer
Retire back to the living room
Watch ridiculous shows on HGTV
Brush teeth
Retire to bed, read Outlander on my Kindle (a little cheesy, but entertaining)
Sleep

Anatomy of procrastination


Open file that needs work on computer
Check email
Answer email
Check email again
Answer instant message
Discover I’m out of water
Go get water
Decide I have to go to the bathroom because of said water consumption
Check FitBit- 9,395- almost there (10k is the goal)
Check email
Check Facebook
Check Twitter
Check personal email
Check tumblr
Get headphones out
Wake up computer
Have to pee again

Ah well, at least I’m good & hydrated. I said I’d have the file done this afternoon… I didn’t say what time this afternoon!

Things all us artist & creative types should remember 

I was talking to my husband, a museum professional, about conferences and how when you get back from them you are so energized and we both agreed that it’s hard to keep that momentum going, because, of course, as soon as you get back, you get sucked back into the day to day production grind. Then I read an article about this situation in the conference feed somewhere online and the author suggested that you schedule one hour for yourself the week after you return, and during this hour you are to reflect on what you learned, what action items you have for yourself and just what your plan is for all that. Very good advice. I’ve got my hour scheduled for next Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how things shake out. 

This is a practice we should all do, conference or no conference. Everyone has goals, things we want to do and learn. And we all have a spare hour or even just 30 minutes to pause and get things in order, get them planned. There are some people who like to just let things come, but for me, if I don’t plan it, it’s not going to happen.

In the day to day, I don’t know about everyone else, but I tend to take care of everyone else first. I work in house at a big company, I have a bunch of internal clients, and I have a tiny bunch of freelance clients, and there is the work I do for the arts organization on whose board I serve. Then there are the needs of my family, my friends, and at the bottom of that list, the needs of me. This is stupid, both personally and professionally. If you don’t tend to yourself, how are you gonna tend to everyone else?

This time keeping, these needs of me- this is time I must carve out to learn all the new things I want to learn, and time to pursue my personal work. Personal work is important for creative people not only because it is fulfilling, but also because it can lead to professional work. Way back in 2002, I decided I wanted to learn how to build a web site, and I built a blog site in Dreamweaver. That lead to me abandoning Dreamweaver for the easier platform of Blogger and other CMSs, which indirectly lead to the job I have now, which is a mix of all things creative. And so, you never know where dabbling will lead you. So book those appointments with yourself and make something good.

*The photo above is the Getty, which I visited this past Sunday. It is good to make time to go see other artists’ work too.

Things all us artist & creative types should remember

I was talking to my husband, a museum professional, about conferences and how when you get back from them you are so energized and we both agreed that it’s hard to keep that momentum going, because, of course, as soon as you get back, you get sucked back into the day to day production grind. Then I read an article about this situation in the conference feed somewhere online and the author suggested that you schedule one hour for yourself the week after you return, and during this hour you are to reflect on what you learned, what action items you have for yourself and just what your plan is for all that. Very good advice. I’ve got my hour scheduled for next Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how things shake out.

This is a practice we should all do, conference or no conference. Everyone has goals, things we want to do and learn. And we all have a spare hour or even just 30 minutes to pause and get things in order, get them planned. There are some people who like to just let things come, but for me, if I don’t plan it, it’s not going to happen.

In the day to day, I don’t know about everyone else, but I tend to take care of everyone else first. I work in house at a big company, I have a bunch of internal clients, and I have a tiny bunch of freelance clients, and there is the work I do for the arts organization on whose board I serve. Then there are the needs of my family, my friends, and at the bottom of that list, the needs of me. This is stupid, both personally and professionally. If you don’t tend to yourself, how are you gonna tend to everyone else?

This time keeping, these needs of me- this is time I must carve out to learn all the new things I want to learn, and time to pursue my personal work. Personal work is important for creative people not only because it is fulfilling, but also because it can lead to professional work. Way back in 2002, I decided I wanted to learn how to build a web site, and I built a blog site in Dreamweaver. That lead to me abandoning Dreamweaver for the easier platform of Blogger and other CMSs, which indirectly lead to the job I have now, which is a mix of all things creative. And so, you never know where dabbling will lead you. So book those appointments with yourself and make something good.

*The photo above is the Getty, which I visited this past Sunday. It is good to make time to go see other artists’ work too.

Mmmm, coffee

Hanging out in the LA airport after spending the past few days at the big Adobe conference, Adobe MAX. Do you ever have those moments when that song, “this is not my beautiful house… this is not my beautiful car, this is not my beautiful life” run through your head? (I may be taking just a few liberties with that song’s lyrics and meaning) 

So many things going through my head- first- I still can’t believe my work actually let me go. It’s expensive, it’s clear across the country, and I’m far, far away and not at my desk. But hey, don’t hoof a gift horse aka- take the money and run. 

Of course the conference was awesome, mind blowingly fucking amazing. I screwed up and have myself leaving a day before the sessions end, but I packed the two full days I was here and definitely learned a lot. Number one thing I learned is I still have so much to learn. This field is changing rapidly, super rapidly. We are no longer graphic designers- we are everything designers- everything creative is merging, and you need to know it all- design, photography, video, animation, web. For the 540th time (at least), I’m so glad I didn’t listen to the naysayers who challenged me, a photographer, when I attempted to enter the graphic design field. No one wants a one trick pony. And though I often feel like I know a little bit about everything, but not a whole lot about anything except photography, what I know is enough.

Enough to have and hold my job, but it’s not enough for me. I need to learn more, more, more, and I have the opportunity to do that at my current job. Instead of always searching for greener pastures, I need to sit down and enjoy the one I’m in. 

I’ve been yearning for a leadership role for the past several years. I’m not likely to get that at my current job in the traditional sense, but sitting there in the amazing main sessions of the conference in the Nokia Theatre, I realize there is another way, and I’m already doing it. I’ve sought out and befriended most of the other creative minds at my company, and we are working together more and more. We help each other, and if we play our cards right, that’s only going to increase and continue. I kept thinking, damn, I should not be here by myself- some of them should be with me! Maybe next year we can make that happen. I’m certainly going to ask.

So this IS my beautiful life. So many fantastic things have happened to me in my life, in my adult life that I have built. I am grateful, I am amazed, and I want to share it all and pass it on.

Mmmm, coffee

Hanging out in the LA airport after spending the past few days at the big Adobe conference, Adobe MAX. Do you ever have those moments when that song, “this is not my beautiful house… this is not my beautiful car, this is not my beautiful life” run through your head? (I may be taking just a few liberties with that song’s lyrics and meaning)

So many things going through my head- first- I still can’t believe my work actually let me go. It’s expensive, it’s clear across the country, and I’m far, far away and not at my desk. But hey, don’t hoof a gift horse aka- take the money and run.

Of course the conference was awesome, mind blowingly fucking amazing. I screwed up and have myself leaving a day before the sessions end, but I packed the two full days I was here and definitely learned a lot. Number one thing I learned is I still have so much to learn. This field is changing rapidly, super rapidly. We are no longer graphic designers- we are everything designers- everything creative is merging, and you need to know it all- design, photography, video, animation, web. For the 540th time (at least), I’m so glad I didn’t listen to the naysayers who challenged me, a photographer, when I attempted to enter the graphic design field. No one wants a one trick pony. And though I often feel like I know a little bit about everything, but not a whole lot about anything except photography, what I know is enough.

Enough to have and hold my job, but it’s not enough for me. I need to learn more, more, more, and I have the opportunity to do that at my current job. Instead of always searching for greener pastures, I need to sit down and enjoy the one I’m in.

I’ve been yearning for a leadership role for the past several years. I’m not likely to get that at my current job in the traditional sense, but sitting there in the amazing main sessions of the conference in the Nokia Theatre, I realize there is another way, and I’m already doing it. I’ve sought out and befriended most of the other creative minds at my company, and we are working together more and more. We help each other, and if we play our cards right, that’s only going to increase and continue. I kept thinking, damn, I should not be here by myself- some of them should be with me! Maybe next year we can make that happen. I’m certainly going to ask.

So this IS my beautiful life. So many fantastic things have happened to me in my life, in my adult life that I have built. I am grateful, I am amazed, and I want to share it all and pass it on.

Friendship for adults

Friendship has never been easy for me. I’ve always been shy. As a kid, I had whole years of school where I had just one close friend. One year, second grade, when I was bussed away from my neighborhood and everyone I knew, I had no friends. And now, all those many, many years later, I remember that awkwardness keenly. Standing by the fence alone at recess, not understanding some of the friendly overtures of some of the kids toward me during class… I still cringe, I’ll always cringe.

Now that I’m a married adult, I can cheat. I have my husband, and we can get by alone on our life raft, but neither of us want that; we love our friends- we want them near.

But time passes, bonds unravel. Sometimes they are still there- muscle memory, sometimes they fade. It’s hard to have that camaraderie from afar. And the distance isn’t always literal, though that is part. Sometimes it’s a question of life paths. I don’t know too many people with children, but those who I know who chose that path- though we still know and love each other- there is that disconnect. I will never understand what it is to be a parent. Not only that, but I don’t want to understand. I don’t ever want to walk that path. And I’m am outlier because of that. When you are an adult, most people follow the path- get married, have children. I respect that, but it’s not for me. Because of this, those who I do hold dear, those who take the time to understand me- they don’t mind. They accept me for who I am. However, many of my casual acquaintances don’t quite know what to make of me. I can feel the cross hairs of judgement sometimes, or the dismissal. It’s easier to ignore what you do not understand.

I am fortunate- I have many close friendships with people I’ve known for ages, and they know me, warts and all. They accept me, they do not judge. 

It’s hard to think about letting new people in. I am an introvert, I am shy, I am an observer, I am not easily a participant. I don’t make friends easily. I don’t trust easily. I am cynical, I expect most people to bypass karma and go all in for themselves. It’s the atmosphere in which I work. I don’t fit in, but again, I can cheat- I have the valuable tech knowledge, so I am needed, if not necessarily understood. That’s not the place of work, though. You don’t go to be understood, you go for the paycheck. I know that. With my teaching ideals, I hope for more, but I know what is true.

But. As an adult, caring for these existing friendships, cultivating new ones- it’s hard. Making a new friend isn’t any easier when you are 39 as when you were 7. In all those years, I’ve progressed a bit, but not a lot. Will there ever be a point in life when you don’t question yourself, when you don’t sometimes feel like you’re on the outside looking in? I suppose that is the Life and the Way of the introvert. Is that a cop out? Maybe. Maybe so.

Friendship for adults

Friendship has never been easy for me. I’ve always been shy. As a kid, I had whole years of school where I had just one close friend. One year, second grade, when I was bussed away from my neighborhood and everyone I knew, I had no friends. And now, all those many, many years later, I remember that awkwardness keenly. Standing by the fence alone at recess, not understanding some of the friendly overtures of some of the kids toward me during class… I still cringe, I’ll always cringe.

Now that I’m a married adult, I can cheat. I have my husband, and we can get by alone on our life raft, but neither of us want that; we love our friends- we want them near.

But time passes, bonds unravel. Sometimes they are still there- muscle memory, sometimes they fade. It’s hard to have that camaraderie from afar. And the distance isn’t always literal, though that is part. Sometimes it’s a question of life paths. I don’t know too many people with children, but those who I know who chose that path- though we still know and love each other- there is that disconnect. I will never understand what it is to be a parent. Not only that, but I don’t want to understand. I don’t ever want to walk that path. And I’m am outlier because of that. When you are an adult, most people follow the path- get married, have children. I respect that, but it’s not for me. Because of this, those who I do hold dear, those who take the time to understand me- they don’t mind. They accept me for who I am. However, many of my casual acquaintances don’t quite know what to make of me. I can feel the cross hairs of judgement sometimes, or the dismissal. It’s easier to ignore what you do not understand.

I am fortunate- I have many close friendships with people I’ve known for ages, and they know me, warts and all. They accept me, they do not judge.

It’s hard to think about letting new people in. I am an introvert, I am shy, I am an observer, I am not easily a participant. I don’t make friends easily. I don’t trust easily. I am cynical, I expect most people to bypass karma and go all in for themselves. It’s the atmosphere in which I work. I don’t fit in, but again, I can cheat- I have the valuable tech knowledge, so I am needed, if not necessarily understood. That’s not the place of work, though. You don’t go to be understood, you go for the paycheck. I know that. With my teaching ideals, I hope for more, but I know what is true.

But. As an adult, caring for these existing friendships, cultivating new ones- it’s hard. Making a new friend isn’t any easier when you are 39 as when you were 7. In all those years, I’ve progressed a bit, but not a lot. Will there ever be a point in life when you don’t question yourself, when you don’t sometimes feel like you’re on the outside looking in? I suppose that is the Life and the Way of the introvert. Is that a cop out? Maybe. Maybe so.

Lunchtime visit

Once in a blue moon, I go home for lunch & eat there & spend some quality time with my cats. It feels like a little slice of heaven in the long workday.

Lunchtime visit

Once in a blue moon, I go home for lunch & eat there & spend some quality time with my cats. It feels like a little slice of heaven in the long workday.