Excuse me, but I'm going to cough all over you in this post today (#sorrynotsorry). I want to expose you to the contagion of creativity right now because I was re-infected this weekend by an artist named Kiel Johnson. During his talk at the CCCA conference he said he was infected by creativity and so he wanted to cough on us, lick us on the cheek, and do whatever he had to do to see it spread. Watching him share his passion it was hard to not get drawn in and want to cue up to be "coughed on" like a blessing by this passionate innovator.
Below is a short video about a project that kicked off his recent series of work: creating art with others. In this case, Kiel was invited to create with a group of high school kids and they kind of ended up taking over the(ir) world.
What's amazing is that the original idea, reported Kiel, stemmed from a Halloween costume he'd made. Someone saw that, asked him to help their high school students do the same. They did it, got excited; then a large corporation saw it and had Kiel come and make cardboard robots for them. All this prompted Kiel to begin working in a new project, with some cardboard (a cityscape), which he shared on social media, someone saw it and invited him to a TED conference. There he turned it into a community art project, and other people invited him to their countries to help their people create art based on their cities. Just writing it out now I'm struck by how fitting the contagion metaphor truly is.
All this got me thinking about (well, a lot of things, but in particular) why I create and offer photography classes (as opposed to only teaching through other venues, which would be simpler). It's much easier to show up, teach, and go home. But when I craft a class for you I get to cough all over you. We have the time and space to stop what were talking about, go on a mini-assignment to capture something. We can break up into pairs so those who need a little more attention from me for a moment can get it. We can imagine together what we might photograph next. And because we go about learning this way, you get to cough all over me and everyone else there. We learn together.
Ah! I'm so excited. I can't wait for our next photo time together: Saturday, March 26 from 2pm-4pm, where we're going to explore the more creative aspects of photography. If you want to come get coughed on, dust your camera off and register today, or click below to learn more.
Working with friends is fun. Case in point: this photo shoot for Bailey Fine Art Printing. Curtis is the premier fine art printer in Souther California. I've had the privilege of knowing Curtis for over ten years, back to when we both started out working at Tuttle Cameras. We rubbed shoulders every week as we sold film during the day, and practiced our craft in the back studio after hours.
Curtis focuses his craft of precision and nuance. He's a technical wizard, but he still feels the essence of the photo. It's a rare combination, and I'm so glad I'm still close enough to his shop to get my work printed by this master in his craft. He makes my photos look better then when I took them.
Bailey Fine Art is updating their website, and so when it worked out for me to shoot a few images of Curtis' work I was elated. Not only do I get to represent someone I deeply respect through my craft, I got to do so in the company of a good friend.
Today I read a story about a man, who after years of commercial writing failure, had an opportunity to ask his favorite author for some advice. He begged the author not tell him to merely “persevere,” saying he couldn’t take one more person giving him that same advice.
The author replied that he would not be so unkind to tell the man to persevere; instead he told him to quit. The author added that it appeared writing was giving the man no pleasure, for he was clearly in agony, and life was designed to be enjoyed. So the man should quit and pursue life. But if he found no other enjoyment after a few years away, he should return to writing and persevere.
Reading this story today I got chills. I've had many opportunities to throw in the towel; I've come close several times. By God's grace I haven't yet, and I'm still a working photographer (among a few other things) that pays the rent (mostly) with my camera or knowledge thereof.
After reading the story, and reflecting on my own, I started to think about the "Why?" Why do I keep doing this, as many difficulties as there are? What makes me not quit and go after an easier way to pay the rent? The reason, for me, was so simple it startled me: this is my craft. This is what I was made to do. As I recently remembered through an old box of family photos, this is what I've been doing since before I was 10-years-old. I am first beloved of Jesus, and my second identity is creator of contemplative photographs.
I don't throw in the towel because I can't. I mean, in the simplest terms possible I could pack up and sell my camera gear, and walk into a temp agency and get a job. But in the truest sense of those words, I can't abandon myself. And I am beyond grateful for the guidance, nurturing, wisdom of my husband, friends, and spiritual director who've continued to whisper my truth and truest self back to me when I forget.
And I wonder about you. I wonder my story is bringing up for you? I wonder if some part of who you are is sitting on a dusty shelf? I wonder if someone along the way told you it was impossible? I wonder if you feel like you never really had a shot? Maybe today you can take a chance, give yourself permission to type out your identity or your dream... to whisper it to me ::and the whole internet:: and give it a chance to grow restless within you until it comes overflowing out onto the world.
So share with me...