Monday, June 21, 2010

It's time for me to admit I was wrong.

I was a horrible Boot Camper.  I was like the kid in the back of class.  My head was down & I was doodling.  I was listening to every single word Maegan was preaching, but I wasn't raising my hand very often.  I did stand up on Day 2 & now I should raise my hand again.  Here's my "Thank You" & "Apology" all in one.

I put this post up early in the morning.  And by the time I was doing dinner's dishes, I knew I was wrong.  I had read & absorbed the comments which forced me to rethink my words.  I'm not sure why I was so reluctant to add those titles.  Because honestly at least one of those titles was used a lot when I was younger.  Why was age making me skittish about accepting it once again?  Let me break it down.

"I like to take pictures"  that's not true.  I know people that like to take pictures.  They seem to always get group shots.  Their big events are masterfully captured by pictures.  They take a lot, print a lot, & post a lot on sites.  Some are blurry.  Some aren't rotated.  But the photos are up & out into the world.  I'm envious of these people because they get those group shots.  People say cheese.  Birthdays are remembered & everyone there is photographed.  I'm bad at taking pictures at events & actually capturing a variety of people.  I don't like to take pictures.  I love to take pictures.  I can take 10 photos of an object/person at one angle.  And then reposition to take another 10.  One might be blurring & one might be perfect.  I whittle down a pile of 80 photographs to 10.  I see things through my viewfinder when my camera is in the other room.  I want to take a photo that makes your heart ache.  I want to remember the first time my kid pops a pea.  I want those moments that are easily forgotten to be frozen.    And I want my camera to capture it.  Photographers do that.

My paternal Grandmother (Chocolate Milk Grandma-cause she gave us chocolate milk-duh) was an artist.  I'm assuming that when she had leftover money, it was spent on art supplies.  I wasn't told this, but she always had lots of art books & supplies.  And I know that money was always tight. Her medium was oil paints & she used a variety of items as her canvas.  Saw-blades, logs, & backs of cereal boxes were what I remembered.  Out of her 4 grandchildren, I was the only one that inherited her talent.  And my parents spent years cultivating that talent.  I was in art classes with peers.  When they felt that didn't challenge me, they asked the art museum to let me take classes with the adults.  High school was for preparing me to enter art in college.  By the time college rolled around, I was done.  I wasn't pushed into art.  It's what I did, but I couldn't see myself making art for a living.  I didn't have a passion for it.  I was good at it, but there was no passion.  I didn't feel bad entering college as a computer science major (dropped that too).  And that was it.  My days as an artist were done.  No regrets.

{SOOC not the best photo}

 {"I thought they just came out of your camera like that" -Bridget said while I quickly edited this photo}

It was easy back then to believe I was an artist.  I was given a blank canvas & my hands created something that few could.  I held the charcoal.  I sketched.  Me.  I struggle saying that my photographs are art.  Disclaimer: I do not believe that anyone with a "good" camera can take a good picture.  I don't believe that it's the camera.  I know that it's the taker.  I felt for a long time that Photoshop made my pictures better.  I can't deny this.  Jay & Silent Bob might say I'm a tracer.  I use other people's products (Actions & Presets) & apply them to my photos.  Anyone can do that, right?  Tracers aren't artist.

On Day 2 of CBC, I sat with those comments.  And realized that I was insulting to myself.  Like many of my inspiring friends on Flickr, I take one photo & crop it to show off the emotion.  I use an action or preset to convert that picture into two totally different photos.  I'll tweak the Contrast, Saturation, Curves, add Textures, etc.  Even though, I know that picture A is the winner.  I will toggle back & forth.  Picture A.  Picture B.  Repeat 20 times.  Until one picture speaks.  One of those pictures tugs at my heart.  One that was changed by my finger is the winner.  One of those pictures was edited to match my emotions I felt when I hit the shutter.  I decided when to take it.  I decided what to keep & what to enhance.  Me.

Even though Grandma used a different medium, she gave me that Eye.  And I owe it to her to call myself an artist & a photographer.  If I want to cultivate my own children's talents, I have to accept my own.

I am an artist & I am a photographer.

There.  I said it.  By saying it, does mean I'm bragging.  It doesn't mean I'm the best.  It just means I accept it.  We all have our own talents & we shouldn't be afraid of saying we've got them. 

I'll get off my soapbox now & go back to my dishes.  They're piled up again.



  1. you ARE a photographer!
    and you speak right from my heart here...

    THANK YOU!!!

    now i know really know that i am a photographer, too. maybe not the best one. maybe one who knows too little about technics... but a one with a photographers eye.

    thank you...

    who blew up creativity boot camp before she even started, because she was afraid.

  2. i'd like to say.... i told you so... but im so happy you believe it at last.... you're also a writer, but maybe that's too much to cope with in one day. i love your work, you know that, right? i've got to practice what i preach and keep believing myself.... x.

  3. i had to rethink my post for day two ... in fact i even wrote a new post too ...
    your writing is so truthful and from the heart ... you are an artist and im so happy you are accepting that title :o)
    i am slowly saying i am a photographer, an artist, or at least i think i have an artists "eye" (note to self : must cut out the word 'think.')
    like xanthe above, i need to practice what i preach!

  4. Fantastic post. Last week you inspired me to learn about CBC, and now I'm committed to being a boot camper. Thank you!

  5. I agree-you are a photographer and an artist. I am so happy you started a blog. :) This is a fantastic post. YOu can put into words how so many people feel. I think you need to write "I am a writer" as well!

  6. What a wonderful post!! You are totally an artist..I'm so glad that you think so now too! I also agree that you are a talented writer as well!

  7. I'm so glad to finally see you accept this. YOU are a damn fine photographer. YOU. Photographer. There. I'm spent.

  8. Erika...
    thank you.
    for this, for all of it.
    just, thank you.

  9. Fabulous, Fabulous, Fabulous. That applies to your post, your photos and you! Thank you xx

  10. okay, i got here by a long and circuitous route, and i know i'm late to the game but this post, and your BAM post reminded me of a Nelson Mandela quote:
    "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us...And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."