Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reinvent Yourself

iPhone Artistry

"When we can no longer change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves."

Viktor Frankl

In nature, metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation. We commonly witness this process in insects and amphibians. The process is typically accompanied by noticeable changes of habitat or behavior. A very real transformation takes place usually in an abbreviated time span.

Self Portrait: Il Fotografo
Several years ago, I too began a metamorphosis. Its catalyst was the fact that I could no longer change my situation. As much as I tried to get back into the corporate world and fit into the many careers I had held nothing seemed to take any more. Like the Viktor Frankl quote, I was challenged to transform myself. The artist and photographer which had always been present in my life came to the surface. It found and opportunity to emerge and transform me.

It's been a painful process coming out of the corporate cocoon, shedding the comforts of the skin, and learning to fly with new found wings. This is far from the end of my journey, but rather it is the beginning of my new life as an artist and photographer. There's no looking back now. I've shed what's held me back. With the help of my friends and the sacrifice of my wife, the metamorphosis continues as I explore new creative options. Its all unchartered territory for me.

You see it in my work from the fine art landscapes to the weddings and engagements with a fine art flair. As an artist I am finding my voice. It's important to not only express myself but to also convey the emotions that I am experiencing while on the metamorphosis journey. The safety nets are long gone all that I have to rely on are my skills: survival, finance, marketing, and photography. This is now me; the metamorphosis has exposed the real me. 

Many of you are now faced with similar issues. While we all can't be artists, we can choose to transform ourselves. We are resilient and all of us have more than one dimension. Changes beckons us to adapt and to also change ourselves. Take the opportunity to reinvent yourself.

Capturing Emotion

Madre y Novios
Fort Worth, TX

Marriage is the golden ring in a chain whose
beginning is a glance and whose ending is eternity.
~ Kahil Gibran ~

Yesterday was a day spent digging deep for inspiration. At first it simply would not come; on a quest during the day, I sought the comfort of other photographers and talked about everything it seemed under the sun. Just was looking for some kind of spark to ignite the creative process in me.

Creativity begets creativity. By the day's end several projects came to mind and appeared resolutely as the fog lifted. One of the images, I chose to revisit was Madre y Novios (Mother, Bride & Groom). Decided to use various luminosity techniques for both interest and help tell a story. The bride obviously is the story but behind her is (perhaps watching) an unknown matron. We can see that the matrons face is clearly obscured by the lense's depth of field and we can only see the groom's profile. Both Bride and groom are pensive and reflective of words being said. The bride is not really melancholic; there's bitter sweet joy on her face.

Had I not reached out yesterday, to my friends, I don't think my emotions would have surfaced enough to recreate this special moment. For years, I've wondered why I was so sensitive. Now with my camera it bubbles to the surface and the opportunity arises to share them with my audience.  My process is about feelings and emotion. Art relies on the senses it's origins are metaphysical and translated back into the physical. Feeling is part of living. Suppressing feelings only detracts from living. We were made to feel and be moved. As a photo artist, I choose to capture a sense and recreate moods. If only, Rembrandt and the other masters were here to teach me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lost For Words

Lost for Words
iPhone Artistry

Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.
Emily Dickinson

Someone once advised me that I should open my heart each day to information, comfort, and guidance. Although I heard the words, its taken me a very long time to heed the unsolicited wisdom. There are many things that I don't comprehend and at times I can feel the undulations that life brings. When that happens, I tend to forget and get caught in the moment of the trough.

For someone who has spent a life figuring out financial swings and economic moods,uncertainty is far from welcomed. This is all new to me. Nothing is certain now. No more paychecks deposited automatically on specific days. Now all I know with certainty is that I must sell what I can create. In a very real sense what I think, see, feel, and capture is for sale. This is all raw and unchartered territory. It's unsettling.

There are times when I draw a blank. Neither words nor images flow. Today requires more effort as I dig deep within and find something to say. It's not automatic but it's something that I must do. I don't know what the future holds, but at the end of night, there's always dawn. In the mean time, pressing on is not a bad idea, nor is opening every door I can. Something is bound to happen that's positive for me. I refuse to give up hope. At this juncture, besides my family, it's all I have.

If you enjoy my art remember its all for sale. I have pieces available at various price points to meet all kinds of budgets. For those of you contemplating an event, please keep me in mind. You've seen samples of my wedding and portrait work also on this blog. You will not be disappointed. Contact me at . For now, I'm lost for words except two: thank you.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tell The Story

Novios Bailando
Fort Worth, TX
“Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.” 
-George Carlin

Behind a photograph there's a story. As I prepare for an event such as a wedding, I try to get to know the couple and their story. By the day of the wedding, I want to be able to not only capture the image, but to also convey the story. The only way this can happen is for me to allow my feelings to come into play; I try to open up my senses and I jot down my notes with each shutter release.

During the wedding ceremony itself, I am not simply trying to witness the moment, but rather I am trying to archive the emotion of that moment. As the photographer,via the lens, I act as the emotional witness to the event. Since it is mechanical, it relies on my intuitive judgement of the day. The more I know about the couple, the more likely I am to capture a meaningful image.

During Sarah and Camron Burke's wedding, the minister referred to a lone lit candle which was lit early in the ceremony. He mentioned that it represented the spirit of the bride's departed mother. He implied that she was present in spirit with Sarah on her wedding day. About that moment, I saw Sarah look down a little forlorn and holding back her natural sadness about her mom. I took the shot to capture the emotion. Keeping in mind her story and the moment. In a photojournalistic way, I caught what could be construed as perhaps Sarah's mother (a matronly lady in the wall portrait) looking over her daughter's shoulder.

No, I didn't plan it that way, but if I had not allowed myself to feel and take the time to understand, this shot never would have happened. It's an interesting contradiction that what I suppressed all these years (feelings) is now what makes my photography distinct. My work is not just about adding a Photoshop filter or effect. It's much more than that and will always be about warmth and emotion.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Under Construction
Keller, TX
If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Yogi Berra

Most major metropolitan areas have been deluged with simultaneous construction projects as a result of the stimulus plan enacted by Congress and the Obama administration. You don't have to travel far before you see a sign directing you find another way, go in a different direction.

Lately life has been filled with many signs mostly related to construction, things changing and being rebuilt. For the most part it seems that my journey has taken me through a zone that's under heavy construction and maintenance. I feel it and see it every day. What use to be routine takes twice as long. I'm constantly having to wait, circle, circumvent, and go around some kind of hurdle.

The fact is that the only logical choice is to accept the detour. The sign announces the warning of change and it's no up for debate. It requires no consensus on my part. It's forced acceptance. I have to forge ahead;  adapt with the knowledge I have at hand. It has nothing to do with what I desire. It simply is a fact: this road is closed, follow the detour.

In a very round about way, the detour will eventually take me to my destination. It just requires more time and perhaps even more effort. The choice is simply don't follow the detour and I wont arrive where I want to go.

As ridiculous as Yogi Berra sounds, hey, just take the detour. It's the only choice you have.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Life: At It's Own Pace

End of the Road
Canadian, TX

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
Mahatma Gandhi

When I was young, I wanted to be older. Times have changed. Little did I realize how foolish it was to wish days away. Now I preserve them and capture them with my camera. In my own way, I get them back and view them any time I desire. Sometimes I even get the feelings back of the instance captured.

It's good to enjoy life at its own pace. It's best not to rush anything but to just let it happen and at its own appropriate time things good and bad will happen. On average the good will outweigh the bad. We have to accept both.

This week I've been waiting for news some positive news, but regardless of how I feel it must wait and so must I. Been down this path way too many times. This morning I have to set it all aside and think about the wedding I will shoot this evening. It's time to focus on joy and celebration. No need to rush anything but I definitely feel the desire to simply enjoy the moments this evening will bring. Tomorrow I will have the opportunity to review them again and again. No telling what down the road will bring.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Refreshing Rain

Near Forrest, NM

A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain
 hoping to be struck by lightning.
James Dickey

All week long we've gotten tantalizing hints of rain and even clouds but nothing has been sucked out of the sky as yet. Our soil is parched and once green grass is dry and now the color of straw. No doubt, like most here in Texas, I've been thinking of rain and the refreshment it will bring us all. You might say I am very ready to welcome the rain of good news.

A reader mentioned to me yesterday, if I knew of any decent landscapes that were simple and that might be of interest to her client. This image quickly came to mind and it also coincides with my anticipatory mood. This is how I view the world, I truly don't think about it. I just photograph and write how I feel and what I sense. My point of view simply has me sitting squarely in the audience with you. You might say I write and photograph to please myself.

With this in mind mistakes are a way of life; feel free to presume my writing includes many of them both personal and grammatical. Like nature and all the elements within, I too am a work in progress.

At this stage, its time to let the creativity surface as much as I anticipate the rain. The rain will get here soon enough and of its own accord. My blades are ready to be refreshed by the rain as is the parched land I tread.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Little Reality

Lone Hand

My days are not necessarily typical of what most folks encounter.Today's elderly driving tour of duty took me twice to the doctor. There was nothing routine on my first trip other than that the oncological waiting staff was accustomed to the needs of their patients. To them everything was rote: complete the paperwork on the clipboards, note any changes, have a a seat and wait to be called. You will either have a CAT scan for post operative testing or you will be going in for chemo of some kind.

It was all so mechanical but I realized that each patient there was on some sort of accelerated time clock. There was a pretty good chance that for some their battle was drawing to a conclusion. While sad these folks all know with certainty that they have to live the amount of time allotted.  Seems rather unfair both the knowing and not knowing, but then again they have an opportunity to make remaining minutes, hours, days, and months count.

Those with regular day jobs have little time to think about what's down the road. We all envision this great retirement life where time will be our friend and we will be able to enjoy all the pleasures postponed. The reality is different. None knows what we will be able to do with any certainty. Postponed pleasure is simply that. You may never have the opportunity again.

We have today. It's ours to enjoy and live. Don't wait.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back Again

Arch Angel San Miguel
San Miguel de Allende, GTO, MX

Lately, I've been working on  new ways of interpreting my subjects both animate and inanimate. The single most frustration, I face is that while I can visualize art, I can't paint or draw to save my life. My brain while sensitively designed with the desire to paint has  no painterly capacity whatsoever. To that extent, I depend on the lens to capture my subject. Afterwards, I rely on my Photoshop skills to render my interpretation of both how I saw something and how it moved me.

The single most image, I've seen throughout my visits to San Miguel de Allende is the likeness of the angel warrior the Arch San Miguel, the guardian and protector of the city. With wings outstretched and a blazing sword in his hand he is a formidable champion. It's easy to see why so many are drawn to his likeness and what he represents.

We all need champions in our hearts that will fight the super villains that life throws our way. These villains: death, disease, drought, famine, and poverty have yet to relinquish their grip on us. Since our upright origins, man has consequently let his imagination create images to help overcome his natural fear. In essence,  he created images that were larger than and sufficient to intimidate fear. He created art of these images as archival reminders to both himself and to for the comfort of others.