21 March 2010

Great Resources and Learning

Something I try to do always is to learn. There is no such thing as knowing all there is to know about everything. There are those who can play a good game and act as though they DO know all there is to know, but inevitably they know nothing, OR they are talking to talk to prevent anyone else from getting in a word to prove their ignorance. I think this is what my biggest issue in IT and technology was. The meetings were long, the "language" was needless and dreary and "took a blue sky  and holistic approach to a plan where we would parking lot issues so that they would be put into a straw man for later performance management. In the end someone would throw it against the wall and see if it sticks and move forward to the best practice".

Ahhhh... sanity..

Though, I have learned it is not just an IT issue, it is a personality issue. I do not see it as a type of weakness but as a way to learn as much as I am able at all times. I have the ability to ask questions and get answers from all perspectives at all times. If someone chooses to think that I am less than they are, that is on them.. but lucky me.. I get to pick up more information.. And something my hero told me when I was little.. (My Dad) Knowledge is Power. Not that he made that up but.. it is one of the most important things I ever learned.

As I am teaching, I am constantly learning, be it from my peers, from those I meet in galleries, from other artists, from surfing the web, from books, and even from accidents. One such thing I found is the site Lynda.com. One of the things that I have been working on with the night classes that I teach are layers. For the coming semester, it will be a half of a semester and it will be blended. What this means is it will be both online and it will be in the classroom. BUT... a great thing is.. there are mini tutorials to help out once the students get home. I will be able to have them go home and work on their assignments and reiterate what I said in class. I think this is brilliant.
There are many sites out there, like this one, and people out there and lessons. Make sure to learn and grow from all of them.I hope to continue..

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14 March 2010

Wistawa Szymorska's Lot's Wife

 Shot by: http://israelinsider.ning.com/profile/Gaia
While at dinner at a friend's house the other day, we got into a discussion on our travels and how some made impressions on our lives and clarified our future visions.  One such trip for myself was one of my trips to Israel in the mid 1990s. Something I noticed during this trip was all of the lessons I learned in Sunday school and growing up as a minister's daughter. It was meaningful to me on two counts.
  1. I was in the places where I had read and heard tell about. I saw the Dead Sea. I walked the Stations of the Cross, in sneakers with a camera and bottled water and was exhausted at the end.
  2. I began to come to my own in my journey.

One thing, though.. that I thought would be the best thing to see was Sodom and Gomorah. No idea WHAT I thought I was going to see when I got there. Was I going to see them dancing and worshiping the golden calf still? I have no idea. I was looking for the pillar of salt.

During this dinner we discussed my silliness and ridiculous expectations in this trip. My disappointment that EVERYTHING that was supposedly "holy" was now preserved in a tomb and laden in gold. Which I THINK is what drove me to want to go to Sodom and Gomorah MORE. Maybe THERE I would see all that was not being protected, covered in gold and worshiped and considered lucky if touched. (The supposed manger in a dark hole in the "Inn", and the station of the cross where Mary Magdalene helped Jesus stand back up and he put his hand.)

ANYWAY.. I digress.. The point is, my friend brought to attention this beautiful poem. "Lot's Wife" by Wistawa Szymoska. And it hit me in such a way that I have reread it about 5x since. It is as if she took my thoughts of what was going through Ruth's mind right before she turned to salt.
Alas.. Ironically the one thing I wanted to see proof of, there is no specific "place" there is no defined pillar of salt. There is no defined place as was The Old Man in the Mountain in NH sadly used to be. But, Ms Szymoska made this the most real place and deepest feeling of my entire trip. I'd like to share this poem.

Lot's Wife

They say I looked back out of curiosity.
But I could have had other reasons.
I looked back mourning my silver bowl.
Carelessly, while tying my sandal strap.
So I wouldn't have to keep staring at the righteous nape
of my husband Lot's neck.
From the sudden conviction that if I dropped dead
he wouldn't so much as hesitate.
From the disobedience of the meek.
Checking for pursuers.
Struck by the silence, hoping God had changed his mind.
Our two daughters were already vanishing over the hilltop.
I felt age within me. Distance.
The futility of wandering. Torpor.
I looked back setting my bundle down.
I looked back not knowing where to set my foot.
Serpents appeared on my path,
spiders, field mice, baby vultures.
They were neither good nor evil now--every living thing
was simply creeping or hopping along in the mass panic.
I looked back in desolation.
In shame because we had stolen away.
Wanting to cry out, to go home.
Or only when a sudden gust of wind
unbound my hair and lifted up my robe.
It seemed to me that they were watching from the walls of Sodom
and bursting into thunderous laughter again and again.
I looked back in anger.
To savor their terrible fate.
I looked back for all the reasons given above.
I looked back involuntarily.
It was only a rock that turned underfoot, growling at me.
It was a sudden crack that stopped me in my tracks.
A hamster on its hind paws tottered on the edge.
It was then we both glanced back.
No, no. I ran on,
I crept, I flew upward
until darkness fell from the heavens
and with it scorching gravel and dead birds.
I couldn't breathe and spun around and around.
Anyone who saw me must have thought I was dancing.
It's not inconceivable that my eyes were open.
It's possible I fell facing the city.
Wislawa Szymborska

All images other than image by http://israelinsider.ning.com/profile/Gaia shot by Elisabeth Neville copyright 1996

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11 March 2010

Spring has Sprung

I fear the title of this entry, but I am going to do it anyway. Spring has sprung. I remember hearing my mother recite that little rhyme when I was little..

"Spring has sprung
The grass has ris'
I wonder where them birdies is.."

Yep.. It's getting near that time. I must admit. I found myself in that familiar spot, at a light on a busy road.. in traffic. Cars in front of me, and cars behind me. And in the distance I hear multiple motorcycles approaching. It is as if they are calling me. It is that time... It is that time... We are back..
All of a sudden from behind me, about 10 bikes appear, some of the riders with their girlfriends on the back clutching on from way up high and some are solo on their beautiful bikes. Then, as if just to taunt me, the last bike comes up. I believe in my own mind, they were leading this bike, as if it was the king of all bikes. The beautiful Yellow Ducati. It was almost as if time stopped. I was in a movie, it slowed, the rider was moving in slow motion beside me It was the sexiest image I have ever seen.

 Unfortunately, the bike tore off quickly to the sounds of horns, and one finger salutes around me as I realized I was staring and the light had changed and I was sitting staring and coveting the bikes around me. Well, one day maybe one day... Maybe next spring when them birdies ris'...

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09 March 2010

Kids

I have to say.. one thing I never thought I would have fun doing is photographing children, but you know what? It is actually a lot of fun. The key, I have found is NOT to try to get them to sit still in an unnatural pose on a chair staring at the birdie. NOT so put them on a bear rug and have them look up at the camera, or to even have them sitting on Santa's lap. I have ALWAYS had issue with those pictures. There is just something scary and well, unnatural about them. (Thank you Sketchy Santa's website for some proof on this one.)
Needless to say.. There are SO many BETTER ways to capture youth. What would be a better way to capture this little girl at Christmas time? One that I could immediately think of is opening her presents ad holding up the one that she loves the most, in her favorite outfit. If it is something that needs to be for a card to e sent out, then I would say her out playing in a fun colorful outfit and capturing her at play and looking over her shoulder at the photographer. But this... this.. Let's just scroll up and look again at this. 

OK, so I think my point has been made. 
Some friends have asked me to take portraits of their kids.. you know.. or I have been hired to do the same by clients. What I have found to be the easiest is to have the siblings or parents there and to allow them to just be natural. Yes, you may ask.. how natural can one be with a camera pointing in your face. There are lights, there is a person with a lot of camera and studio equipment staring at you.. how is it even possible? 
It is in fact fairly easy. Send in the parent, send in the sibling, send in the favorite toy. Send in the book. Let that child be a child. Get into THEIR space. Do not force them into YOUR space. If need be, play with them and then pick up the camera when they are distracted with a toy or game. Yes it will take a little longer for that shoot, but the results are well worth it. And no scary Santa pictures!

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08 March 2010

iPhone camera success

After many many attempts at shooting images with my iPhone.. last night I had my first true indoor success. Mind you it also included a wonderful dinner with glorious company and Chilean wine. The dinner gurgles and bubbled for an hour on the stove as we chit chatted on everything from growing up under the eye of our towns and families to religion. We finally giggled about my starting last year losing my "Lucky jeans" in the streets of Boston because of an incident above my control to ending the year losing my "True Religion jeans" as well as the rest of my clothing in the tunnel of Boston in an incident that has been previously discussed.

Anyway.. before dinner we snacked on Macintosh apples with goat's milk brie cheese.. Delic... then.. as the smells of the final dinner warmed and enveloped us in the kitchen we realized the time had come... it was time...
Eagerly we filled our bowls with this fantastic concoction and blend of smells and tastes and I thought.. I HAVE to take a picture.. Then I said out loud.. you know.. I say to my students.. you should have a camera with you a lot, some form even if it is your point and click, the quality is not as bad these days. I thought.. hmm oops.. look at me.. no camera to be had.. and unlike most cases when I am out these days, I DID have my cell phone with me. I snapped a picture expecting nothing but a blurry, badly lighted image. But.. thankfully I got something that was almost worthy of the delicious meal I was able to enjoy with my delightful company. As great as this picture is.. it STILL is not as good as the meal OR the company..

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07 March 2010

First Fridays and connections

What a wonderful experience First Fridays was this past weekend at 450 Harrison Ave in Boston. After the long trip looking for parking... around and around with my friend Melissa we finally made it to the Kingston Gallery to see Barbara Moody's opening. The week before, when I was asked if I was interested in going to this opening, the name swam around in my mind as something familiar. I have been around so many wonderful artists in the Massachusetts, national and international arena of late that I was almost SURE I had just heard her name. But, something about this name... Barbara Moody seemed even MORE familiar to me.

 
Making Synthetic Water, acrylic on canvas, 52" x 68"

Lo and behold... Barbara was one of my professors at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly. I must admit, though I was there too short a time, I think I was the most creative and free with my work in my entire life. I loved each and every assignment and my mind truly flowed. It was wonderful to see one of my professors that I remembered and admired.
After meeting, again... this artist and having her recollect me by face..(very nice of her to notice also that I have grown to be an adult :) ) Also, it meant the WORLD to me to hear that she was proud of me making the move to do my art, and for being a professor of something she remembered being my love. What a great feeling.

While Melissa and I walked around this same show, I continued to see a man walk by that looked very familiar to me. Something about him.. And, uncharacteristically.. I walked up to him and I asked if he and I had met in the past, or if he was an artist whose work I had seen in the past. And AGAIN... it was another professor of mine, now it was not as strange that it was a professor from Montserrat.. Ethan Berry. ANOTHER professor that I highly admired and missed when I left the school. It meant so much to run into them both. I hope I see them both at any of my shows. I was so excited to see them

Then .. we went to the next gallery.. and who did we run into there? Lou Jones.. what a wonderful evening. Thankfully he invited me to his studio to sit and chat. I need some sit and chat time with him and help settign my head straight and in the right direction.. What a productive evening.. I KNEW there was a reason Melissa and I went AND we stuck out looking for that perfect parking spot.What a great evening... Thank you Meliss!!!

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03 March 2010

Social Networking, Twitter

Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Social Networking, Marketing... all these things are the next things to getting your name out into the technilogical ether. 
Well... Elisabeth Neville Photography has taken that step out there... 

ENevillePhotog is now on Twitter... check it out. There is also a link and stream on the side.

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