Tag Archives: art

Holiday Print Sale!

23 Nov

It’s that time again!  Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday time!  Now, I personally am not one for shopping (I think I was born without that gene) but I do love supporting small businesses, and if I’m going to buy a gift, I want it to be meaningful.

If you’re the same, and you want to pick up some wall art, I’ll be running a print sale until Dec 1!

All 5×7 photo paper prints are $15, all 8×10 photo paper prints are $20.  But wait!  It gets better! 20% of the sales will go to help the victims of the wildfires in California, who are in desperate need of pretty much everything right now.

It can’t get much better than that, right?  You support a local business, you get some art from an artist who definitely appreciates your support, AND you get to help the people of the devastating Paradise Camp fires.  Win-Win-Win!

For a look at what prints you can get your hands on, go here.  Or here.  And if you see anything you want larger/smaller/on canvas or metal, just shoot me a message and we’ll find something that works for you.

Thank you all so much for your continued support.  You’re the best!

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Using Your Art for Positive Change

13 Aug

Pretty excited to announce my article about using art to make positive changes in the world is now published in this month’s copy of @landscapephotomag ! If you have a subscription, be sure to check it out. 😊

Also feeling pretty dang grateful to share the pages with so many other talented photographers! And that cover photo by @j_r_moran_photography , amiright??!

Big thanks to @barber_gains and David Lovelace (the creative mind behind Cat Lazers) for their help while I was writing the piece, your insights were invaluable! 🎉🎉🎉 .
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https://landscapephotographymagazine.com/magazine/issue-90/

Name Suggestions Wanted

26 Jul

IMG_0878sm

 

Sometimes I think that one of the hardest parts of releasing a photo is thinking of a name.  Anyone have any good suggestions?  I’m all ears! (I mean, not literally. I couldn’t type with just ears.)

Oh…and yes, this is a photo.

This image was a long exposure, of a stand of trees bathed in some tasty golden light, while moving the camera vertically.  As you can tell by the silly-string looking wisps, I do not have the steadiest hand for slow-panning.  In this case, it turned out alright though. haha

Interested in learning a bit more about the various techniques I use in the field and while editing?  I teach!  Email me for information. 🙂 seespotsphoto at yahoo dot com 

 

The settings, for those who like that technical stuff: f/11,  sec, 135mm, iso 100

Can Someone Please Explain…

12 Feb
The House on Grass Island, one of many images featured in my new ebook.  Get it now!

The House on Grass Island, one of many images featured in my new ebook. Get it now!

…what is up with all of the negative attacks on photographers/photography lately?

(Spoiler alert…Devil’s advocate time!)

Right around the time Peter Lik is reported to have sold that expensive slot canyon shot, I also saw at least two articles about how photography isn’t art, and another purporting the term artist isn’t applicable now. We are all “creative entrepreneurs”.

Now, within the last few weeks, I see a rash of photographers attacking the work of their peers.

I guess my question is, “To what end?”

Really, please, explain it to me.

My perspective on photography as a whole is this: it is a medium to express yourself, therefore it is art. The articles I read specifically compared it to painting, suggesting the camera does the work, therefore it is not art.

By that logic, doesn’t the paintbrush do the work?

The tool is just that. A tool to be used in bringing your vision to life. Photo shoots usually require planning, scouting if ‘on location’ and vision. It may not always go to plan, but vision is part of the process.

Most prints require some work – the amount to be determined by the artist. If you stop at simple dodge and burn in a dark room, so be it. If you create a surreal landscape in Photoshop, good for you. Photography is an opportunity to express yourself, your feelings and your perspective. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t lie to people about your process (such as claiming its straight out of camera). You shouldn’t have to defend your choices.

No matter what level of manipulation or editing or non editing you chose, without a human involved in the process, there is no photo. In my mind, that human element makes it art.

So why are we belittling the medium and the photographers involved in it?

I’m going to lump my thoughts on attacking our peers and label together.

First, the title of “creative entrepreneur” vs artist. The argument made is that the term artist implies struggle and experience with no regard for money.

In response, I’d like to mention The Last Supper, commissioned by Davinci’s patron, Sforza.

The statue of David was a commissioned piece, purchased by the Opera del Duomo from Michelangelo, one of the best paid artists at the time.

Ansel Adam’s history included a private gallery, commercial work, books, etc…all of which he made money on.

Three masters of their respective fields, all making money off their art?? Obviously, there are infinite examples of artists getting paid for their work. They should. They have dedicated their time to learning and/or practicing something, and are able to fill a demand for that thing…so why the recent trend to try shaming photographers for making a living with their art?

From a personal standpoint, I don’t care if you label me artist or entrepreneur. Labels and attacks on another’s work only serve to reflect poorly on the people doing the shaming. If its not constructive or thoughtful feedback, it won’t affect my choices with my art.

Now, let’s touch on a recent trend of bashing current photo trends, specifically in landscape photography. Their complaints seem to be that conformity is bad for photography as a whole. Specifically, I’ve seen people up in arms about the uniform look of the front page of 500px (who, by the way, is probably loving all the press on these recent debates) and the superficial nature of social media interactions.

My thoughts on this are sprawling…bear with me here.

In regards to conformity, why are we critical of an artist looking to cater to public response. Be it for personal accolades or for business marketing, the person behind the camera is recognizing the current trends in photography and creating marketable images for the moods of the public. Now, I can only speak for my own work, but I can tell you that while I make my art for me within the limits of editing that I am comfortable with, I also like being able to pay my bills with income from my art.

Trends come and go (HDR, anyone?) and people’s styles will always evolve to match them or they risk being irrelevant. Only a few hold outs to a particular style ever end up thriving long term. I don’t blame people for wanting to continue to be able to put food on their tables.

Besides…the idea of trends isn’t unique to ‘now’ or to photography. The era of Impressionism? Surrealism?  Shall I go on?

In regards to the superficial nature of social media interactions…duh. We have had a huge cultural shift over the last few years. The newer generations are being raised in sensory overloaded, short attention span inducing, technology laden environments. We are also living in an era where any perceived slight could result in a lawsuit. Between those two things (among other factors), it seems obvious that social media is a platform for superficial interaction.

That being said, I do think you get out of it as much as you’re willing to put in. You can get meaningful feedback, but you need to embrace a personal online culture of such. Start feedback swaps. Ask for tips. Etc.  For better or worse, social media is now “part of the job” and viewing it as such does help to keep it in perspective and keep your emotional investment at a reasonable level.

I can absolutely empathize with how frustrating it can be to work a competitive environment, or to see a photo you poured your heart into go unnoticed. It happens to all of us. Self doubt definitely comes into play when you rely on the fickle hearts and minds of the public to make a living. In my opinion, the way to combat this isn’t by attacking others, but rather, by embracing the joy you get from making art in the first place. Don’t do things you feel compromise your integrity.  If you’re unhappy with the current trends, don’t participate in them. If social media is dull, find meaningful interaction elsewhere. Respect other’s opinions and more importantly, recognize that while their art doesn’t speak to you, it is still something they labored over. If you want to work to change the current trends, do it…by creating something the people didn’t know they needed until you provided it.

I’m going to leave you with some perspective about playing nice….

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

You can’t control most things in life, but you can control how you react. Choose wisely.

So…….that’s what I think.  I normally don’t put up things like this knowing they may get people fired up, but I felt it needed to be said.  Negativity begets more negativity, and I’d rather have an environment of understanding, tolerance and mutual goals to improve our craft to reach our personal goals.

 Feel free to put your opinion in the comments.

Interview with Laura Macky

21 Jan
Laura Macky - A Way Out

Laura Macky – A Way Out

Laura Macky’s creativity is a bright light that cuts through a lot of the noise on the internet.  I discovered her blog a while back and have consistently enjoyed seeing the art she makes and the way she sees the world.  This interview was a chance to get a behind the scenes glimpse at what goes into making her images, and a chance to share her bold, painterly, thinking outside of the box images with you.  Hope you enjoy! 🙂
Where are you located?
I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area in California

Laura Macky - Sailboat

Laura Macky – Sailboat

How did you get into photography?

I used to play the piano as a hobby but developed a nerve issue in my right hand from a neck injury/surgery and I couldn’t play like I used to.  For several years I had no hobby and one day I thought it might be fun to try photography because it was in the arts, and I’ve always been a huge fan of the arts!  So off I went to our local camera store to buy cheapest DSLR, a Nikon D3000.  I remember going out with the camera for the first time and being scared to even press the button in auto.

Laura Macky - Fog Wave

Laura Macky – Fog Wave

Laura Macky - SF Skyline

Laura Macky – SF Skyline

One of things I love about your work is the creativity and bold edits. Do you have a vision in mind when you shoot, or do you let the photo edit develop as you start working with each image?

I love this question Shannon.  Thank you!   First off, you can probably tell I love color and vibrant color to boot!  I do a bit of B&W too but color is definitely my favorite.  It’s important that my personality show through in my photos and because I think I’m anything but demure lol, I think you pick up on that side of me through my editing.  As to the second question, usually I’m driven by mood of what I’m seeing at the time.  For instance, if I’m standing behind a willow tree and I see beautiful light and I feel magical, I know that I will try to edit the photo to match my feeling at the time.  Or if I’m zooming in on a tiny flower and I see it as a jewel box while I’m there, I will try to edit that way later.  Once in awhile I get an image that’s in between and then I let myself go in photoshop and see what I come up with…no preconceived idea up front.

Laura Macky - Flying Mallard

Laura Macky – Flying Mallard

Laura Macky - Windswept

Laura Macky – Windswept

What/whose work inspires you? (Doesn’t need to be a photographer)

What inspires me are artists who are original and come from a unique viewpoint.  I see a lot of images that look the same and you can’t really tell who took the photo.  It’s inspirational to me to see someone who takes a chance and expresses themselves out-of-the-box.

 

Laura Macky - CA in Pacifica

Laura Macky – CA in Pacifica

Laura Macky - Willow Glow

Laura Macky – Willow Glow

What are your goals for your images? Are you trying to convey anything with your art?

My goal is to express the mood I felt at the time I took the photo.  I hope to evoke someone to feel the same as I did when I took the photo.  Since I’m fairly new to photography, I feel like only recently have started to be able to do this and while I’m not always successful, it’s what keeps me motivated to improve.  When people comment on my photos with certain words that I was already thinking, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

Laura Macky - Here Comes The Bride

Laura Macky – Here Comes The Bride

Laura Macky - Tangled Coneflower

Laura Macky – Tangled Coneflower

How can people find you? Website, email, twitter, instagram, etc.

You can find me at http://www.lauramacky.com/, www.lauramacky.wordpress.cominfo@lauramacky.com.  I’m also on G+, Twitter, and Flickr.  The links can be found either on my website or on my blog in the sidebar.  Thank you for the opportunity to share!

The Creative Process

3 Sep
Shades of Gray

Shades of Gray

Having a creative outlet has changed my life.  I’ve been places, I’ve met people, I’ve poured myself into projects, come out of my shell, taken risks, failed and learned to persevere, and I’ve experienced life all because I involved myself in ‘The Process‘.

When people ask me what I want to do with my life, ultimately, I always come back to photography.  There are times when I tell myself to be more responsible, to try to get another (more useful) degree with which to make more money, to do something with computers or math or business.  Make more money.  Live easier.  Be more…adult?

Ultimately, that little voice dies out (until such time where I’m struggling to pay a bill) beneath the irrefutable logic of happiness.  I simply can’t fathom pouring my energy into something that holds no appeal.  I’ve wracked my brain trying to imagine what sort of business degree I’d want to spend years paying for, so that I could get a firm grasp on…..some…..one…else’s dream?  The only answer I keep coming back to is that I want to grow MY BUSINESS.  Investing in my skills as a photographer and building my brand never seems like a hardship.  It’s not easy, but most things worth doing aren’t.  And more importantly, my photography is rewarding in countless ways.

I long ago decided that one of my life goals was to experience life.  It would seem that owning my own business and investing in my photography has been a great catalyst, ever propelling me in the direction of living.

 

I life skill.

For all it’s creativity, running a business is still a business.  I set goals, have budgets, write contracts, hire, coordinate travel, negotiate, make deadlines, and do math.  You know….adult stuff.  Boss stuff.  CEO and owner stuff.  (Impressed with me yet?)

 

I travel.  

In my life I have…

Photographer's Life

Photographer’s Life

….climbed to the top of many somethings just to photograph the view.  Or sometimes, the lack of view.  lol

Moray, Peru

Moray :: Peru

….been to several countries, most recently Peru.

Bones in the Sand

Bones in the Sand :: Maine

….explored as many states and spaces and things within my own country as I can, getting up too early and staying up way too late, driving more hours than most sane people probably do all in the name of photography. 🙂

 

I meet people.

I’m incredibly shy.  I mean, I put on a good face about a lot of things, but in the end, reaching out to new people is a very intimidating thing for me.  However, having a business has given me a reason to network and honestly, I’m so grateful that I have.  I have made good friends (like co-host David Pasillas, among many many others) simply because of the power of the internet and the drive to make art.  In finding the courage to reach out and to make myself accessible to others, I have developed a strong network of friends, of confidants, of supporters, of knowledge, of stories and experiences…all of which have greatly enriched my life.

Networking, by the way, also brings great opportunity.  For those of you in the CT area, who happen to like wine and good food, I will have my prints hanging at Francesca’s…all stemming from a friend putting in a good word.  And this is me, returning the favor! lol  If you’re in the Collinsville area, check them out. 🙂

 

I take chances.

Yeah…they don’t always work out.  And sometimes, it kind of sucks. haha  But the times it does work out more than make up for the times it doesn’t.  We lose 100% of the shots we don’t take, right?  And I view the misses as learning experiences, so really…even they aren’t that bad.  We can’t expect people to understand our genius, our art or our stories if we hide them away in the shadows.  I’ve learned that you have to take chances, to be loud, to try new things, accept critiques, be open to whatever life hands you and be willing to promote yourself both to grow your business, and to grow your soul.

 

And speaking of growing your soul…. I appreciate.

How can you create beautiful images without first appreciating what the world has to offer?  Photos are more than just a place or a moment.  A photograph is an emotional memory painted on film.  Without that emotional spark, that outpouring of feeling, that bit of care taken to make an image shine…most photos will just fall flat.

Enders Falls - Mono and Moody

Mono and Moody :: CT

A finished, edited image doesn’t just represent the way a person, place or thing looked at a particular moment in time.  It also represents patience.  It represents years of growth and skill.  It represents the way the photographer felt at the time the shutter released.  It represents the way the photographer felt when he or she sat down to edit the image, and as with all art, it represents how the viewer feels when they see the final product.  All that, and more, in one little photograph.

When you think about it that way, photography is a strong reminder to  A) learn to truly see the world and depth behind everything around you…. and B) appreciate both the good and beautiful things the world has to offer…and C) recognize the inter-connected nature of life.

 

I…well…have a creative outlet.

The last one may sound obvious, but there is a certain joy that comes along with having a creative outlet.  It is a release for negativity and stress, its a place to lose myself, to escape the day to day, and to bring a sense of accomplishment and pride to my life.  It is one of the best sources of relaxation and frustration, and by far one of the most therapeutic addictions I have. Photography grounds me and motives me at the same time. 🙂

 

I expect if I think hard enough about it, I can find a million little ways that having a creative outlet has impacted my life, mostly in a positive way.  Truly, I can’t imagine my life without creativity in it.  In all it’s various forms, it feeds my soul.  Music, photography, writing…eating a chef’s imaginative meal…enjoying my niece’s interpretation of the world reflected in her drawings…building a piece of furniture with my father…hmmmmm…speaking of, I have to finish the blue print for that bathroom vanity at Mom and Dad’s house. lol  Uh.. Anyway…  Creativity is everywhere, and often can be found down non-traditional but fulfilling paths.  Sometimes its just a matter of taking that first step and before you know it, your creative spirit will run free.  If you feel a bit stifled and constricted by your everyday life, I encourage you to find your muse.  Once you experience the joy it can bring you, you won’t look back. 🙂

This is just one of several blog posts going around, talking about what having a creative outlet means to your life.  Please, check out the other artists and creatives who took the time to express what it means to their lives and businesses.  The hub with all of the links is here.  If you want to be part of the discussion, put together your own post and send me the link.  I’ll include you in the hub.  If you post it on social media, make sure to tag David or I, and add the hashtag #create. We’ll find ya. 🙂

We Were Together, I Forget The Rest

19 Aug

GrowOldWithYou_SpecialElite (1)
Earlier this month I asked for your help – submissions of your best feel good or love quotes – to create a piece of Pinterest-friendly photo art.  Today, I present to you, the final project! 🙂

So many thanks to everyone who sent in a quote.  Between all of the social medias, I had more than enough to choose from.  It was a bit of a unique and interesting project, in that I got a bit of insight into what you thought about when you saw the photo.  It was really cool to see everyone’s interpretation of the image, and how it made them feel.  I always feel like, in creating my images, I give a little bit of myself to the world.  Those of you who submitted quotes…well…you gave me a little piece of your world, and I am grateful for that. 🙂

Now, the winner of the print is Marie over at Miles Don’t Matter.  One of the quotes she submitted was actually a paraphrased version of this Walt Whitman quote.  I loved both versions of the quote…her submissions, and the exact line from the poem, but went with the full quote because the phrasing felt less modern.

Another great big huge thank you goes out to my friends at Print Therapy.  The font needed to convey the mood and tone of the project, and Melissa at PT really helped me narrow the font options down.  This old typewriter font that she picked out felt perfect.  It went with the aged and worn feel of the trees, while adding to the feel of old time, committed love that the quote conveyed.  All in all, this was a super project to work on.  I loved it so much, in fact, I may try this again in a few months…so keep your eyeballs peeled for that bit of fun.

In the meantime (no rest for the weary, right?) the next project – a blog tour – is brewing.  Expect to see more about that in Sept!

Ok, friends…I’ve got some photos to edit.  Until the next blog post…

XO
Shannon