Friday, October 15, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Since my last post I have been doing some thinking, I know, you're shocked. I also had a couple of family portrait shoots. After giving the families their images I felt so happy and satisfied. I know what I LOVE about photography! I love when my client feels fulfilled, as though I somehow captured a moment in time that they will never lose. I remember when Paul Gero took some images of my Emma. I was so happy he was able to capture who she really was up down, good and silly. As a parent this is what we never want to lose sight of. I want to deliver this to my clients, a moment that cannot otherwise be saved in time.

I had a client send me a note today that said,"When I opened them up and saw that first picture, I got to say my heart melted and brought me to tears. I saw her true beauty and innocence at the same time. I have never, nor has anybody else ever done that for us. "

Seriously, that is why I take pictures. It is truly my heart's desire. I feel invested in you and who you are. I think that's why I can't handle the basic event shooting. I am not emotionally invested, nor does anyone there want to connect with me as a person. Its either, whip people in and out in font of a backdrop, or capturing images of anonymous people at a party as they all look at me sideways because they aren't sure why I'm pointing a camera at them.

I love shooting events for friends and family because I'm invested. I love shooting weddings because I have gotten to know the bride and groom and the people who love them and again, I am invested. If I am with you and taking pictures of you I can guarantee you I am listening to you and learning about you and finding who you are.

For the same reason I love creating fine art. I get to put a piece of myself into the image. I get to show you tiny pieces of life through my eyes. After my last post I had some great comments from some of my friends but I have to tell you the comment I received from an artist friend of mine really spoke to me and basically whipped me back into shape.

Being an artist is difficult in that you have to inspire yourself and motivate yourself to press on. I LOVE talking to other artists and reading about their journeys because it reminds me I am not alone.

Joey Remmers is a friend of my husband's and mine. We met when he gave me my first tattoo. He was this young, single,blond haired kid with a backwards baseball cap, listening to Dave Matthews with his collection of plastic horror film characters at his station. He was really sweet to us and we just fell in love with him. Over the last several years we have watched this "kid" grow into the man he is today. He is a wonderful father and husband. His art work is ridiculous and amazing. I so respect what he said to me in the comments of my blog. Not only did he really understand what I was feeling but what he continued to say pulled me out of my funk and inspired me to shut up and move on.

Being that I know I have some fellow artists reading my blog I thought I would share what he wrote because I think it will serve to inspire! Enjoy:

Hi Kelley!
I've found that has an artist this is something you will go through often. I will have 'dry' periods where I can do the work but the real drive just isn't there, or I just to seem to have no imagination or ideas. Just enjoying our medium isn't always enough and I've found that having some kind of end goal to work towards will keep me motivated. While painting is different than photography I think the creative process is very similar, especially when you decide to make it a career. I can share some of the things I've learned to always keep myself engaged and they may help.
When I started taking art in college my very first instructor made all of us keep journals, and always have them with us. Has an artist you never know when you'll be struck by inspiration or come up with a great idea for a series. While having a camera makes this much easier for you I would still suggest a small journal you can keep with you. Mine was always full of photos, magazine clippings, notes, sketches, etc. You'd be surprised how many ideas you'll capture and retain that would have been otherwise fleeting.
The next thing I think is very important and took me a long time to figure out is to always have personal goals and projects running, never just work. For years now I've had fairly consistent work (galleries, commissions, etc) but if that's all I did I would have given up a long time ago. I went through a big slump with my tattoo work for this exact reason. If you spend everyday doing what other people want you'll get disenchanted and it'll start to feel like just a job pretty quickly.
I agree with Steve completely in that you should always have goals both personal and professional. Always be engaging yourself and challenging yourself. I'm constantly looking at other artists. Their technique, use of color and light, subject matter, etc. Basically, if I can make myself feel like I suck compared to others I get motivated pretty quick ;)
Doing planned series' is always a great way to get inspired and stay motivated. My process is so involved now that I'll be working for a couple months on a project before I even start to actually paint. I like to plan everything out, like writing an outline for a novel, and let the idea grow and evolve before even starting.
Collaborations are also always fun. Getting to work with someone else and bounce ideas back and forth is always exciting and motivating and forces you out of your comfort zone to try new things. I'm always up for some collab work, let me know, it'd be fun to see if we can mix paint and photography ;)
In regards to promotion, the thing that always moves me is that once I have finished work I NEED feedback, good or bad, just something. Look at promotion as a way to not only get your work out there and generate business but a way to find where you fit in your field, and more importantly where others see you.
So....Hopefully some of this nonsense helps, I tend to ramble when I write. We should discuss further with family and wine ;)

Yes! Are you motivated? I am and it shows in my life this week and last! I feel renewed and as though I have a jump start in my career. And the feedback I have received from my last few jobs have confirmed for me I am doing the right thing for who I am.

PS we are so going to make some art from photography and paint...


  1. So when are you going to get working on a series that we can display at our showroom? We're ready for you!!!!

  2. woo wee! I'm on it! I think the water series printed on metallic paper...

  3. I love your blog and especially the photography on it. The gift you gave to Jeff was amazing and something only you could have given him. There might have been other photographers that could pull off some great shots, but not with the love and bonding that you gave the product and I'm sure the shoot itself. You are special to so many people because of who you are and the way you shoot. Keep going :)