Ahhhhh….the drama of the STUDIO….

The young ones all over the kitchen...

The young ones all over the kitchen…

So, I’ve explained that I’m on a journey here. I’m on a heck of a journey. The universe sort of burped, snuffled and laughed once I made my intentions clear. I decided to OWN this photography thing. I mean, OWN it. I would school and workshop and dive into every aspect of all of it and know everything I can know. I decided this about 7 years ago.

I went to school. I took digital and film and attended workshops. I got pregnant after my (then) youngest was 12. Shock. OK, I can still own this career and home school and have a baby. GO! Well, sadly, my sweet surprise baby was stillborn. Fortunately, we had a birth photographer there. (my first clue into how priceless a photo can be). Take a year off to grieve, recuperate, etc. Then, back to it. After that, my husband went into kidney failure. Hospitals, dialysis three days a week and now on a transplant list. ONE MONTH after his kidneys failed… we got two foster babies. They were 6 months and a year and a half. We had them for a year and BOY did I learn some time management through that year. Husband gone most of the time, keeping my grand-babies who were almost 2 and 4, the foster babies who were 6 mo and almost two (ended up with a 1 1/2 yr old, two 2 year olds and a 5 year old) so four kids 4 and under, and a home schooled 16 year old. WHEW. I’d get up at 4:30am to edit my shoots just so I could still cling to MY thing.

Now? Well, I’m down to three kids during the day. They’re getting older and easier. The teen drives and has his own car, husband is still waiting on a kidney..things are calming for me bit by bit. Now it’s time for a studio. I’ve gone through at least five different options. One I held on to for MONTHS while the landlord gave me the runaround. I was heart broken when it wasn’t happening as I’d envisioned it. I couldn’t figure why the universe wasn’t working WITH me.

Today? I met with a builder. No more land lords to-be, runaround, hoping, stressing over space, driving around looking…nope. I’m building. I hope. Today was the first day where I laid it out and said what I needed/wanted/hoped for. The builder is getting the quote together. I’m crossing my fingers and eyes and toes and everything else. I actually could have my own studio. I actually could have it SOON.

My own space to shoot the images for my CPP image submission… to do my newborn shoots… to never have to cancel due to weather because I don’t have a REAL studio. I can see so clearly the shoots, the clients coming in to view their images, the classes I’ll hold… I have big plans for this space. When I say big plans… I have a diverse set of plans. I want to make art. Do alternative processes. Do amazing shoots. Learn more about lighting than I can imagine. OMG. I’m going to have MY OWN STUDIO SPACE!!!!!!!! So please, blogville…everyone in blogville, start crossing things for luck. For lots of luck. I’ve done babies in every form and even fought sickness and kidneys alongside my husband…I’m still here. Kids are getting big. I feel positive that a kidney’s gonna come….and art is about to happen. IN. MY. STUDIO.

SQUEEEEEEEAL!!!!!

Why would I do that?

In my journey to own my studio, rock photography in general and achieve something great…I’ve discovered it’s the fun side roads that can make this journey more fun and more enjoyable and more diverse.

I’ve taken classes in digital photography, photoshop, lightroom, film photography, color theory, studio management, posing, lighting, portraiture, and now an entire class in alternative processes. Yep. I want to own a portrait studio and I am absolutely loving the idea of learning more processes. Will it help my portraits by learning these chemicals, by creating funky art and by spending weeks and weeks NOT shooting with a DSLR, but rather…a Holga? Why waste the time? Why not focus on only studio knowledge?

Well, I’ll tell you. YES. My personal belief is that it will make me a MUCH better portrait photographer. WHY? Because I live in a small town where I could throw a rock and probably hit 20 mom-tographers. Yep…the mom with a rebel that charges $20 for a CD of images. I swear, they’re born and bred here in my town. And ya know what? I started off as one also. (although I’ve said that and had people shocked that I’d claim that. They swear I never was…) No hating on them. I was that mom taking pictures of my kid on the baseball and football fields…taking “portraits” of friends’ kids for their senior photos, baby pictures. I thought I was AMAZING. I believed what people said. Then I decided to learn. First think that I learned was that I was NOT amazing. I couldn’t take the camera off “auto”. For real. I didn’t know how. So about a decade ago, armed with YEARS of “shooting” but not learning…I decided to own this gig.

I’ve done some alternative processes. I’ve shot with a Holga. I actually own several of them. I’ve done cyanotypes, vandykes, and gum prints…But to really focus in and make more art? To notice completely different aspects of prints and composition and light and shadow… to expand my mind in more creative ways? THIS. This is one of the things that will set me apart from the average person with a camera. THIS. I can play in chemicals and make art. I can shoot and edit and digitally enhance and develop film and do alternative processes and create art in all of these ways. I’m so excited about this. I cannot wait to get down and dirty in art. ha!

In 30 years I completely see myself as this little groovy woman…making art…maybe running naked in my personal forest somewhere and talking to the butterflies. Yep.

My personal reminder…Get the print.

Yesterday, I drove my 17 year old to Austin to attend a week-long workshop. He’s a musician. He’s home schooled. Sometimes, getting the right “instruction” comes at a price and a lot of work to find it. He’s a drummer. A jazz drummer. To attend the music schools he wants to be a part of, he must play the marimba, also. Therefore; he’s attending an intensive marimba workshop this week.

As I drove the 3 1/2 hours to Austin with him, laughing, listening to HIS music, basking in every single moment with him…I realized, it’s my last time to drive him to “camp”. He’s gone to a camp every summer since he was in fifth grade. Aside from vacations and road trips, this is my last time to drive him to do his “own thing” besides when we drive him to university. I knew it. I realized it. I loved every moment of that drive with him.

My personal reminder came when he said “no” to any mom and baby boy selfies. No photos in front of the music school at the University of Texas. No pics in his room. None with his roommate. I realized…so many times, we take the photos, we put them on facebook, we share them right then, and that’s it. There’s no photo album to look through and many times they never make it to a frame or on a wall. So many moments, lost to the internet. Not a good thing. Not at all. We need to hang these photos. We need to HAVE photos taken. Make it happen, even when they roll their eyes and don’t WANT to have them done. I’m lucky. I have so many photos that I’ve taken. I’ve printed. I’ve hung. My kids have modeled for me for the better part of their lives. I have two “big” kids, I have a teen and I have two grand babies. I had two foster babies here for a year. They’re ALL on my walls. I’m at every game preserving all those moments for me, my husband, my mom, my daughter, my sons. I have two musician sons. I am taking photos of shows, concerts, games, portraits…you name it.

So thinking personally…and professionally…it makes me wonder why I have so many clients that want digital copies. They don’t want a print, they want a CD. You DON’T WANT THIS! Get prints. Don’t put a CD on your shelf that will lose those memories in a few short years. These years are fleeting. Everything changes. That little league kid will grow and change and morph into an adult before you know it. Get the prints. Hang them. Look at them and SMILE every time you pass them. At first, it will be because you did it….then one day you’ll look and say “OMG! Look how little they were! Look how young WE were!” Time. Frozen. I will be using this knowledge…of a mom with adult kids. A mom with a teen kid. A grandmother of preschool kids. A foster mom of babies. I’m steering clear of the CD images. I’m pushing the prints. Moments frozen in time should be cherished, not lost on the internet after 40 likes… One of my fleeting moments of my teen is this photo I took of him when he got dreads. I thought they were the coolest. They’re gone now…I miss my dread head little guy…He’s more of a man now at 17 and cut the hair off…Get the print.

My teen. During his dreadlock phase...

My teen. During his dreadlock phase…