Sunday, September 29, 2019

Forbidding Joy

I shouldn't have been surprised when it happened, all the warning signs had been there. I would be happily processing photos in Lightroom, my battery at 50% or more when suddenly the screen would go black. I couldn't get it back until I plugged it into the charger and hit the eject button. It always came back. Until it didn't. One morning I flipped open the lid of my seven year old laptop and was greeted with the black screen. It had already been charging all night.

I Googled MacBook Pro and black screen and tried all the various suggested fixes, and in a brief moment of joy I thought I had done it. I was able to load the photos I had taken that morning for a project I am working on, process the ones I wanted and exit out of Lightroom without a problem. At lunch when I flipped up the screen, blackness greeted me. There was no bringing it back this time. It was done.

I had been hoping to delay the purchase of a new laptop until the end of the year. Switching everything over in January. A new beginning at a new beginning. But that was not to be. The time had come to make a trip to the Apple store.

It wasn't that I didn't want a new computer, I did. I knew everything would be so much faster. It wasn't adjusting to something new, we learn new things much faster than we expect. It wasn't that I was afraid to spend the money (much to my husband's chagrin), I had been budgeting for a new computer for a while. What I was afraid of was transferring all the precious data. By God's grace, I had done a backup the day before it died. But still, could I trust that everything would transfer smoothly and quickly. I envisioned days of transferring, and having to reload Lightroom and Photoshop, praying that seven years of photographs would all end up in the correct place. Yes, I was scared.

I am really good at forbidding joy. I bought my new laptop on a Thursday. I didn't take the plastic off the box until Monday. I kept telling myself that I didn't have the quiet or the hours that I needed to focus on this process. Finally Monday afternoon after lunch and taking the dog for one more walk, I got the little red Swiss Army knife out of the drawer and slit the plastic wrap.

All my fears were unfounded. It was so intuitive to set up, the backup obviously making a huge difference. My Lightroom and Photoshop programs are subscription based so I just had to log in. The only small annoyance was that I had to download a new Adobe Cloud desktop app, which also went very smoothly. A lot has changed in seven years.

How many things do we put off due to fear? And then when we actually do them are so easy that we want to kick ourselves and say, "You should have done that sooner." When will we learn there is nothing to gain from forbidding joy, and everything to gain from taking action?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Box of Memories

We all have one, an old shoe box or stationary box, shoved to the back of a hall or bedroom closet.

The box may have originally belonged to our grandmother or a great-aunt, but somehow we have become the keeper of it.

Inside is a jumble of memories: childhood moments, former cars and houses, and gone-but-not-forgotten beloved pets.

What do we do with this hodgepodge of visual stories? We were trusted with the box, trusted to keep the memories alive. But how can this be done when there is no complete story?

We write a new story with the bits and pieces.

But what happens when we take our responsibility to be a box keeper so seriously; that when we see somebody else's box of memories on a table at an antique store we must buy that box too.

We feel a deep sense of sadness that nobody is willing or able to be the keeper of these memories.

We're not quite sure how we will write this story of someone else's life, but we are willing to try. Even if that story is just some pretty pictures of forgotten memories in a box.

**Module Three of the photography class I am taking is all about Still Life photography. I am not much of one for pretty styled photo shoots, so I instead I found my way to tell a story with a still life set up. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

This Is Real Life

"Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see, I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy.
Because I'm easy come, easy go, little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me."
Bohemian Rhapsody ~ Queen 

I'm sorry if those lyrics are stuck in your head now. They have been stuck in mine all week, so I thought I would share.

This was week 2 or Module 2 of the photography class I am taking - A Month of Multiples taught by Kim Klassen. The theme this week was documenting real life. There was a slew of suggestions for what to do for your real life series. I decided to document my daily morning walks with Atticus and make it a five day series. We would explore one of our favorite destinations every morning. 

Of course the "finish" of the daily walk/project was posting the photos from our morning walk as a Story on Instagram. I chose to use the new-to-me app Unfold. I can not express enough how much I love this app. Now, Instagram on the other hand, I have a love/hate relationship with. 

Photo Credit: Karen Lakis

On the hashtag #amonthofmultiples you will see a lot of beautiful photos, but I have to question - is this real life? And even my personal friends where posting photos of dreamy walks, gorgeous flowers and tranquil morning coffee scenes. And I am taking photos like this...

On the surface, people would call me out and say my photos were dreamy and tranquil as well, but the reality is that for every ten I took, I got one where Atticus was looking at the camera, and not ripping the flowers off a bush at a public garden, or munching on a stick, or yanking on my arm as I tried to push the shutter button on my phone. 

That is real life. Why are we afraid to share what real life looks like? The clutter, the mess, the upside down photos, which yes can be fixed, but isn't the story better in the original version?

I will occasionally look back at my daughter's early years and let out a sigh of frustration. Why did the counters have to have so much stuff on them? Why was my house so messy? Oh right! Because I lived there and had a young child with toys and two dogs, and not a lot of storage space. That was real life. 

If you looked at my counter right now you would see a tray of blueberries drying, two loaves of hot, out-of-the-oven banana chocolate chip bread cooling, an open box of crackers, a half eaten cheese board, and a half empty bottle of wine, a calculator (no idea why that is out), and an open recipe binder. I no longer have a young child, most days only one dog, and I have lots of storage, but still the clutter remains.

When I talked to my friend about her tranquil morning coffee with her grand pup, I realized it wasn't as tranquil as it seemed. She was trying to balance a cup of coffee, her camera and hold the pup's leash, and get a decently composed shot. All is not as it seems. Tranquility comes with work. After seeing her photo, I tried to duplicate a similar one with Atticus, minus the coffee. It looks pretty good, but in reality he is trying to eat that leaf on the ground. Thankfully the blur diminishes that reality.

I love taking and sharing a beautiful photo as much as anybody else, but there is a whole lot of real life that happens before that photo become reality.

My Instagram feeds for both my Atticus Adventures @paisleyandatticus and my feed for my art and photography @twistedroadstudio will never be influencer perfect, but they will be real.

**Thanks to my friend Karen for allowing me to use her photograph and for the great conversation this week about real life and everything in-between.  Please check out her blog Gingham Notebook for her take on real life.