Inspiration is a funny thing…

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about inspiration. Knowing that I am on the threshold of a lot of changes, I examine things…a lot. I read everything I can get my hands on from actual literature, to biographies, to marketing material to business books. I read magazines, blogs, books…anything. I’m at a strange point in my life where I am more a sponge than when I was two years old.

My youngest kiddo is going to be a senior in high school. I have one more year to home school him. My grandkids (that I keep during the day) are growing quickly also. The oldest heads off to kindergarten this year. I won’t have her all day. The youngest? I’ll have him, unless he goes to an actual preschool this year. To every thing, there is a season.

I’m at a time in my life now where my inspiration can’t only come from my children. Oh, they still inspire me. I have one that tours with a rock band and lives his life on his own terms. THAT is inspiring. I have one that loves the corporate world and is diving head first into being an amazing business woman while raising her two adorable babies. THAT is inspiring. I have the teen who boldly walks from being my baby to being independent. He saved and just bought his first car. He teaches drum lessons to kids and almost daily makes a comment or discovery about “his kids.” His passion for music and drumming. His goals that he’s set, yet he’s a bit in the dark about what his future holds since he’s never walked a journey like that quite yet… THAT is inspiring.

I find myself looking forward to Sundays. It’s quiet in the mornings. I turn on “Super Soul Sunday” on the Oprah Network each week. I have found that listening to her interviews of just flat INSPIRING people, well, it inspires me. From the spiritual to the curious to the motivating. I am at my most creative when having their interviews start my day. My husband laughs at me. My kids make fun of my Sunday routine. I laugh, too. I know it sounds funny! I watch them all work towards their goals and can’t really get where they get their guts and inspiration. For some, it comes from within. It’s a natural desire. Sometimes I think it’s to prove some people wrong. Meh, we probably all have a bit of this, yes? But externally? What inspires YOU?

I really want to hear this…since mine seems to be all over the board. I’m inspired by art, photography, success, skepticism…I want to be THE BEST. I take classes. I attend workshops. I want to learn something DAILY that adds to my bliss…which means, I surround myself with inspiration. I’m never the “smartest person in the room” so I can learn. Sometimes, I pride myself on this. Sometimes, I think I should give myself a break. Sometimes I do take a break…and then that uneasy feeling of desire creeps back in. I want to learn. I want to excel. I want to be THE BEST.

It’s odd. I don’t remember this desire from my youth…. so I wonder… Is it who I have decided to surround myself with now? Is it the fact that I’m finally old enough to really focus on myself? Is it that I’ve finally found my bliss and this desire goes hand in hand with that?

So I’m curious. How do YOU gain inspiration? I’m really interested… Let me know!RobinThompson_Crichton

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.


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.

Hello, World!

So…I hear…that I need a blog. I need to keep everyone “updated” through writings. I’m not a writer. I’m a photographer. I don’t even keep a journal. I barely write letters. I only check email because I have to do so. I’m great at facebook because a sentence is all I need. I can read what OTHER people write. I look at other people’s art. I read news and opinions and stay inspired through the diversity on that little page. Here? Looks like the river of inspiration will flow the other direction. I will simply “output” here and see if anyone watches?

I created this site a week ago. It took me a week to figure out what to say or to show. I know my goals. I know what I’m good at, what I need to work on, what I aspire to achieve. I don’t really share it. My final decision on this blog is to document my journey from ignorance to greatness. It will happen. I’m lucky enough to be able to start writing about it now. Far enough into the journey that I know more details on the whole career that I’m planning…but not so far that I’m stuck in a rut.

I will start this with how photography started for ME. I wasn’t raised with artsy parents. I wasn’t raised around art, painting, photography, none of it. I was raised in Lubbock, TX. Music? yes. Art? no.

Fast forward to being 21. I had a baby. My father passed away. My father was an interesting character and his dying meant that getting the Nikon F2 SLR camera that he’d hocked at a pawn shop was my new inheritance. I got that camera and 11 cents. Yep. I didn’t know the first thing about the settings on that camera. I took photos of my baby CONSTANTLY and for whatever reason…they turned out great.

Fast forward again. about a decade later, I have another child. This one is a sporty boy. This football/baseball stuff is scary for a hippie mama. I discover that taking photos of it puts me just enough out of that world that it isn’t so scary. I stand on the sidelines. I shoot the baseball games and football games and become a standard fixture on the fields. People loved my photos. Parents would BUY them. I started getting HIRED to take prom photos, portraits, team photos, etc. I realized that this was my bliss. I was GOOD at it. I kind of EXCELLED at it. I decided to get a DEGREE in commercial photography…I mean, why not? I was a home school mom who had this GIFT! I should get educated, because I was so GOOD!!!!

I enrolled in my first photography class. This is when all of my naive confidence came crashing. I wasn’t good. I was DAMNED LUCKY. I was shooting sports. During the day. With a great lens. Standing on the sidelines. I had good timing, yes…but never once had I taken the camera off AUTO. Yep. Where I believed that I was amazing? haha not so much.

Fast forward another decade or so. I’m still home schooling. My son is about to be a senior in high school. I’ve been in photography classes since the last paragraph. I’ve taken film, portraiture, management, color theory, lighting, alternative process. I now own TWO Nikon film cameras, three Holgas, two Nikon dSLRs, I’ve taught photography to the homeschooled teens we know. We made pinhole cameras, we’ve developed paper, we’ve done gum prints, cyanotypes, hand colored with marshall oils….done it all.

Now you’re basically caught up. I’ve learned and workshopped and shot and shot some more and now? I want to be GREAT. I’m in the process of getting my CPP now, which is a certified professional photographer. It’s tough and rigorous. I’ve passed the exam and am on to the image submission part. I’m looking to have my own studio. I want to own my own. I’m there. So this is where we will begin. Each week….on my road to greatness. I can’t say success because, to me, I’m already successful. The road and the fact that I’m on it is success. I’m not the auto mom shooter I was, so I’m successful. I stuck it out, I learned, I humbled up and grew. I’m proud of that. I’m happy where I am. I’m ECSTATIC about where I’m going. So welcome to my world… it’s nice to have ya here!