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.
Today's post started as a Facebook post for my photography page, like they do every so often. Here's what I wrote:
I see it all the time in my photography practice - people longingly looking at my camera, as if I've done something magical to make a little money with it through the years. But it's not magic in the sense that it happened by chance, or only to the lucky few of us privileged to follow our passions in our work life. It is magic in the sense that when you touch it, something true about yourself becomes revealed through photographs that only you can create. #gomakemagic#whatdoyousee #goshootsomethingtoday
Let me continue by saying it's a work in progress. I have days where I doubt, where I fret, where I go look for a day job. It's hard 1) owning your own business, 2) running a business based on perceived luxury, 3) that requires you to put yourself and your craft out there for praise and criticism. In short ... it's not easy to follow your passion into your work life. So I'm not advocating that everyone quit their day job to go open their artisan business tomorrow.
I am advocating the demise of perceived elitism in the work of the arts. I create amazing photographs that change me, inspire me, and sometimes help others with my camera ... and so can you. Whether you start with your iPhone or your new DSLR, start. Because you, and the rest of your community, are missing out when you don't. When you leave your camera on the shelf, or in the car, we miss out on the world you see; we miss out on being transformed by your perspective; you miss out on the same, and the joy of sharing in it with those around you.
Given what I've learned about life and beauty and how we grow spiritually, art isn't a luxury -- it's often a deprived necessity. Beauty has a power to go in deep inside and transform us, bring us hope, and inspire courage. I need more beauty around me, and I wonder if you do, too.
Oh, you do? Great. Go make some today. Join me in capturing the truth and beauty of what's around you today--maybe a sunset, a piece of fruit on your table, the patch of grass outside your office. When you do, please share it with me on my Facebook page. I want to see what beauty you find today. I'll do the same.
Today in my role as Education Manager at Tuttle Cameras a former student of mine I hadn't seen in well over a year came back to the store to take a photo class. I recognized her immediately in that familiar but it's been a while sort of way. She looked the same and different at the same time.
As she beamed at me, she began to share with me where she'd been and what had happened over the time away like old friends do. As she did my heart began to break.
This woman had conquered a mountain of illness and related health challenges. Some of her experiences were down right traumatic. I was stunned. And she was smiling. We hugged.
It reminded me that although these relationships start with a lot of camera talk, we move through the layers. I hear about their families, they hear about my passion projects and art. We so often become friends. And I like it that way. Because most of the time people are amazing beings; fascinating because of our differences, familiar because of our similarities. Bonded by them both.
I can't wait to see who else I get to meet and work with in 2016.