Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why I Hate Christmas

     I absolutely hate Christmas. Now, before you say anything negative about my negative statement, hear me out. I only hate what Christmas has become. It's supposed to be about one thing, I'm not going to bring religion into this, but everyone has made it out to be very greedy. Yes, everyone is buying presents for others, but there is no real heart behind it anymore. They buy them because they feel like they have to because that is what society tells them that they have to do. *Takes a breath* That was a mouth full.

     Being a person that obviously grew up celebrating Christmas, I've become more bitter each year about it. There is the whole "What do you want?" question. Me? I want nothing. If you're going to give me a gift, give me one at random and from the heart. Don't give me a gift because it's what we're "supposed" to do. Then there is the whole "What do I get that person?!" question we all ask ourselves. Everyone puts themselves under so much stress trying to find a present for each of their friends and family. Not only that but it puts everyone in debt. Well, the people that can't afford it. Face it, no one really saves up a fund all year just for this day. They blow their money last minute and then can't pay for bills because they bought their kid a $99.99 North Face jacket just because that's what "everybody" is wearing.

     That $100.00 could of bought food for people on the street that NEED a home and need food. Christmas has become less about giving back and more about buying expensive things and "What did you get for Christmas?!" Comparing prices of items and seeing who has the most. If you really want to feel like you're giving a gift, do something for someone that has NOTHING. Giving your spoiled rotten kid the new iPhone because the new one that came out a month ago has already been replaced by a new "upgraded" model, isn't giving back. It's teaching your kids to be spoiled. Most kids throw down their iPad after a few months or never touches the xbox game you bought them.

     I remember every Thanksgiving and Christmas my parents would invite a homeless lady named Jacky into our home and give her family love, a present (usually clothes or something she could actually use and need), and food. We couldn't give her a home but she didn't care. She was grateful for what we did do. That's what we as a society should be doing. Actually giving back to others.

     I've worked in retail the last 2 years and I honestly think people are so ignorant around this time, same goes with Black Friday... Wait, weren't you just "thankful" for everything you have and then next day you punch someone in the face for a marked down big screen at Wal-Mart? Not the subject, but I hate that "holiday" just as much. Anyways, I've heard people complain and yell at me because something wasn't their size or if we ordered it online for them it wouldn't get to them before Christmas. You're buying over $1,000.00 worth of crap for your grandchild but you won't even donate a dollar to the Children of St. Judes?

     What is society teaching this generation? To be greedy. To have, have, have and blow money on pointless items.To talk bad about the homeless and drive right past them and flip them off as they stand on the corner of the road with a sign asking for anything. A simple act of kindness could change a person's life. Tis' the season.

Bahhh, humbug!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

     Drama, it's going to happen. How you deal with it depends on how bad it can get. I've been in situations before where I wasn't even apart of the drama but since I listened to the gossip it automatically made me just as bad as the person talking. Listening is good but sometimes listening can get you into a lot of trouble. I've been trying really hard lately to stay out of it all. I don't enjoy being upset or angry. I don't enjoy being talked about behind my back and called terrible things. I'm sure no one likes that, but it happens.
     The best way to stop the drama is to cut it off at you. If someone comes up and they start talking about someone negatively just stop them right there and don't listen to it. Venting I personally would call it gossip as well but at the same time if you're seriously upset at something, with a good reason, I think listening to that person's issues is fine. Everyone needs someone to vent to but be careful. Sometimes venting turns into gossiping. If you find yourself saying mean things or untrue things about someone just because you're mad... you may need to take a step back and stop talking.

     I'm a person that is all about telling the truth even if it hurts someone's feelings. What if you see someone doing something bad to another person yet you do nothing to prevent it? That makes you just as bad as the people doing it. We all have the power in us to make a difference whether its good or bad. The way to make an impact is just a simple act of kindness. If you see someone hurting someone, verbally or physically, you have every right to stick up for that person especially if they can't stick up for themselves. Situations like someone bashing another person behind their back and you're either the one being talked to or you hear/see it, you have every right to try and stop it and stick up for the person that can't be there to defend themselves.

     Staying out of drama is pretty hard. Especially if people are purposely starting things just because they feel like it or it makes them feel better because they're bringing someone else down. Unfortunately, that's how the world runs. If you listen to the gossip, gossip, or do nothing to try and stop it... you're just enabling things to get worse. I understand completely about getting angry at someone and then saying anything bad about them just to make yourself feel better. I've been there and I've done that but in the end it made me look childish. An adult is slow to anger and thinks before they speak or show actions. Biting your tongue and holding your emotions back doesn't make you a weak person, in fact, it makes you a strong person to be able to control yourself. Not everyone has the ability to control their own minds and bodies. It's a constant struggle I deal with everyday. There are plenty of things I'd like to do, say, wish I would of said or did, yet I don't because what you say and do can be carried with you for the rest of your life and I'd rather not be known as anything less than a happy and positive person.
"Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


     As an artist I've set some goals for myself. I believe every person, artist or not, should set goals to look forward to and want to achieve. Having goals in life is what drives us as humans. We HAVE to have something to look forward to in order to do anything. If we didn't have something to look towards for the future then nothing would get accomplished. 
    I have 3 main goals that I've always wanted to achieve since I was a child.
  1. Galleries- I've always pictures myself in galleries. When I was younger I thought I'd grow up to be a fine art drawer, little did I know I'd be drawing with light and photoshop instead of charcoal and graphite. I don't want to be in just 1, I want to be in many. I want to share with others my work and what I see. Ever since I entered a fine art contest and I saw my work displayed I had such pride, even though at the time it wasn't good work, I fell in love with my work being displays for all to see. 
  2. Teaching- I love to know things and I love to teach the things I know to others as well. I actually contemplated being a photography teacher at a university for a long time and then I fell out of that when I actually got into college and realized how immature adults can be as well. What I really want to do is host workshops of 5-10 people IF that and just teach them. Not just photography techniques but teach them how t art completely involved and inspired by art and even their own works. 
  3. Books- I've always wanted to be in magazines. As many as I can. It's always been a dream of mine. What I want mainly is to have my OWN book. I'm not the best with my grammar and punctuation, I'm sure you can tell, but I've always wanted my own book with my work in it.

     These are my 3 main goals I have for myself and all of these have been life-long dreams of mine and I truly want to achieve each and every single one of them. Not a very long list but it's a list that I cherish and WILL accomplish one day. I have my eyes, heart and soul set on these and I'll do anything I can to make them happen! Just getting started is the most difficult thing a person can do. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Artistic Style

     I mentioned a little bit about my style in a few other blogs and you can clearly tell in my photos. My whole life I've always been drawn to the darker side of things. Paranormal, horror movies, various religions, etc. I had this itch to know more and see more. I've always loved trying to find beauty in death with my images. I used to create gore images and eventually got out of that because as much as a shock value as it was, it wasn't what my heart truly loved to create.

     I'm not really a person that likes glitz and glamorous things. I've always lived in my means and tried to stay true to myself as an artist and person. Some key things play into almost every image that I create.
  • Bare Feet- I personally hate feet. They're nasty and people don't know how to take care of them but at the same time I love the natural feel my photos have without shoes. Shoes can add or take away from an image and I feel like the type of work I do really doesn't need shoes. Also, as a kid I hardly ever wore shoes. I loved walking outside barefoot playing in the dirt and grass.
  • Natural Appearance- I like to have no makeup, or hardly any, in my images and I like to have hair as natural as possible. Every person has natural beauty and I love creating beautiful images without having a load of makeup or fake hair. It's just something I prefer.
  • Dresses- I mainly love older vintage dresses! They're my favorite. The reason behind it is because my mother would always dress me in these cute dresses trimmed with lace. They looked like baby doll dresses and I loved them! I guess that's just one way I use to incorporate my mother into all of my images. Not to mention she generally buys all the dresses you see in my images. 
  • Long Hair- I am absolutely obsessed with long hair. I used to have hair down to my butt as a child and I just love how longer hair flows in the wind and drapes across everything so eloquently. I cut it to my shoulders as a kid and I have regretted it ever since. My hair is a lot longer now but I want it to grow more! 
  • Texture- I LOVE textures. I got into this hole with my photography for a while where I was a purist. I didn't edit images and I tried to keep them to-the-books, but after I realized who I was truly as an artist I started to incorporate textures more. I have a whole texture library saved on my external hard drive of textures I took images of during a shoot or while exploring a location. I can't get enough of them! I really love the painterly effect they give an image. 
  • Colors- Colors play a role in my images as well. Mostly colors are used to represent something like death, life, purity, good, or evil. I like to keep my colors in my images very low. I desaturate my images a lot because I don't really like colors too much. Okay, that sounds a little morbid but what I mean is while editing colors like hot pinks, bright reds, vibrant greens and yellows all really hurt my eyes to look at and I tend to try and get rid of them. For some reason my eyes are just very sensitive to brighter colors and bright lights in general. I have to wear sunglasses outside or my eyes literally burn from the light. I remember my mom having to hold my hand to walk me to the car one day because my eyes would NOT open as much as I tried... just a silly side story.
  • Diffused Natural Lighting- I can not express how much I dislike studio photography. I can do it, I just don't like it. To me there is nothing like natural light. Ever since I started photography I've always shot in natural light. I've experimented with studio lights but never got anywhere with it because it's not something I'm generally attracted to. I love to shoot in completely diffused lighting. I hate hard shadows that the sun creates and much prefer "flat" light. I shoot either in the shade, when it's overcast outside, or during magic hour. Those are my favorite times to shoot and I love the beautiful lighting it gives.
  • Abandoned Areas or Wooden Areas- I generally shoot in these types of situations and I love them. I expressed in my blog "Inspiration" why I love these locations so much.
     This is just a general list of the types of things I always try to incorporate in my images and why. I try to always go back to this list and make sure I'm sticking with it so I'll have a cohesive portfolio.

Here is a link to a short video of the location used here --> Behind the Scenes 
"Watered Down Fables"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Fall

     I talked some about what inspires me and that kind of told a little bit about my style but my style goes a bit deeper than just a location. My art has always been on the darker side not always but mostly. I've always knew what my style was I just didn't know how to execute it properly until recently when I finally sat down and taught myself how to do these processes easier and what would be the most effective way to do things.

     Like I've said before, I get a concept in my head out of nowhere most of the times and I used to take that and run with it and end up doing a half way decent job of my concept, but not actually achieving what I wanted to in the end. The last bit of concepts I've actually sat down and planned them. I drew some sketches and wrote a little bit about each concept so I wouldn't forget and also would be able to reference them for when it came time to shoot them. Doing that has made shooting my concepts a lot easier and more therapeutic for me as an artist.

     When sketching, I would draw what kind of outfit I want, what the pose would look like, how I wanted things to lay out, etc. I'd also write things out like what colors are going to be involved in the image, location, if I want a blonde, brunette, or redhead, and write a little about the concept that way when I get to the location it will only take about 5-10 minutes of shooting and I'm done. It also helps when I have a model come out because I have specific instructions for my vision that makes it easier for them to understand.
     I always make it a point to have some sort of emotion in my work. Whether you feel it right off or not and whether it's the same emotion as someone else or not, I still try to tell a story with my work. 

     I usually don't talk about my work because I want the viewer to take what they want from it and interpret it in their own way, but I figured it would be nice to explain what I personally had in mind for my concept. This first image is called "The Fall". I originally had a vision that expressed my love for fall but not in the conventional way you'd think. What I tried to achieve with this piece was to show how fall is beautiful yet sad in a way. It's the death of one season but life of another. I symbolically showed this here. The leaves start out as fresh, green and healthy and slowly changes into brown, crumbling, dead leaves to symbolize life and death. I also chose red with her dress to symbolize this as well. Red can be portrayed as so many different things. Some people think of love while others think of power. Here in used red as blood. Blood in life and blood in death. I personally dislike the color red but symbolically it has so many different meanings plus it's a general fall color and it coordinated with the green from the trees. I used the red dress and green trees to also symbolize winter. What holiday is in the winter? Christmas. What colors do people think of to symbolize Christmas? Red and Green. 

"The Fall" (1/2)

      While I had "The Fall" in my head... I was laying down to go to sleep and couldn't stop thinking about my concept and how to push it a little bit further. I thought of how a girl became the season itself and became the tree that was losing its leaves. While the first image showed more of a happier side of it the image "Autumn" shows the, I guess you could say, reality of the season. People love this time of year and find so much joy in it but once you break it down and think about it... its all about death yet people still think its beautiful. There are so many things in this life what are beautiful and for people to find beauty in death is a little cynical don't ya think? Just a funny way to think about it.
"Autumn" (2/2)

Monday, November 4, 2013


     Inspiration. I get asked a lot about where I get my ideas and how I continuously create. It has a lot to do with my imagination and my whole life being completely engulfed in creative thoughts. I realized once my thoughts were free, open, and positive, I was able to allow myself to create easier. My mind wasn't cluttered with what celebrity was wearing what, who broke up with who, or he said she said nonsense. My mind was open to make my reality whatever I pleased.

     I get inspiration mostly from my dreams, feelings, or a story I want to portray. I get inspiration from colors, music, other art, poetry, or anything possible. Locations I love the most are wooden areas or abandoned places. I have this real itch to always shoot in the woods or abandoned areas. The woods I guess would be because of my childhood. As a child I would constantly go play and get lost in the huge wooden area in our back yard. Hour and hours I dedicated to climbing trees and just playing out there. I wouldn't really be doing anything specific but just play with my imagination. Ah, the memories already overflow me with happiness. I think the love for abandoned areas comes from the old abandoned junk yard in the woods behind my house. It wasn't big or anything but enough to just go on for days as a child and play. Also, there was a house down the road from me that was abandoned. Everyday after school I'd stare at it as we drove past it and always begged my mother to let me go inside or look around. She was too scared I'd get hurt or that there would be snakes in the grass so alas I never got to explore it. Later they tore it down and built a huge cul de sac of many two story houses. I'll never know what it looked like on the inside but my memories remember the outside like I visited yesterday. 

Middle floor of the building. There were 3 floors and 6 wings each. Quite an
adventure and took maybe 2 hours and I'm still not even sure we got
through it all or not.
     Another reason why I love abandoned areas is because I love how they each have their own story. Every time I walk into a house like that I can just feel the history and little bit of sadness but I love the ones that still have furniture in it. I know of an amazing one that still has photos and books and other things in it. It's kind of funny because there isn't an obvious place of what room was a bed room or a kitchen. The bathroom is obvious but for a two story house it's actually small on the inside. A good 4 or 5 models of mine have braved it and walked across a floor that shook every step you took. I love it so much! I think the adventurous side of me comes out when I find these places. "The Hunt". I never disrespect these places though. I generally don't touch anything and I don't destroy anything in the property. I respect it even though its abandoned. One thing I can not stand is when I find these places and they're completely ruined with graffiti or there is evidence of beer, needles, drugs, and other things. 

Taken while exploring. The texture
photos I got from this place is
     Something else I like is placing new or pure subjects in the frame against the old, tore away background of the location. Something about the old with the new, clean with dirty, or young with old just makes me love it even more. I generally love models with pale skin and I will put them in pale or white dresses to give that essence of the pure with the old and decaying. 
     Like I said, anything can give me inspiration. Lately fall and just October has given me so much inspiration it's making my head explode with all the ideas I have. I love this month more than anything! Lately what has really inspired me has to be dresses. Not just white ones but really old vintage and long dresses. I just love the look it adds to my photos. I feel like it starts to complete them in a way other outfits couldn't. I'm not much of a fan of smiling in my photos or anything "glamorous". I try to keep it as natural as possible unless I have an idea that I really want to achieve using crazy hair and makeup. I don't use shoes in my photos, which is funny because I have way too many and I love buying more, but I keep it bare foot with natural hair if all possible. I will get into talking a bit more about my style and why I love it in another post!
Taken while exploring. I'm not a fan
of vandalism but this made me
chuckle. "Hello Again."
Let me paint a better picture for you. If
you've ever been in a really old church...
you know that old carpet smell? It was
like that x100. I couldn't breathe it was
pretty potent. 
     For this photo my inspiration came from a dream I had a couple of years ago. I'm not really sure what the dream was about or what it meant but this was a part of the dream and ever since I had that dream I searched for the perfect place to photograph my dream. I had no luck finding a place with a lot of stray books or papers anywhere until one day I visited this place and stumbled across this room. I saw it all the way down a hallway and I instantly knew that was the room that would be best to portray my vision. I made a straight line for the room and even stepped on glass along the way but completely ignored it and went in here and I turned to my boyfriend and looked at him and said, "This is the room! This is the room I've been searching for a couple of years now." Though he didn't really have a clue what I meant he didn't have any issues with escorting me back to this location when there was more light outside to shoot! If you look closely you can even see his reflection in on of the windows.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


     Growing up I was always the weird kid. I had an amazing imagination that could take me anywhere at any time of any day. I used that all the time too. I used it to get away from the bullying I endured, I used it to get away from family issues (hardly any but when they did pop up...), I used it to get away from all the problems I've ever had to encounter. It was never hard for me to cope with stress, pain, or even emotional problems but my imagination wasn't what others thought was socially acceptable.

     I took up numerous different things to deal with everything. I started off drawing and singing. I loved both so very much but I was always too shy to show people my talents. Even today when people compliment my work to my face I blush and get bashful over it. I guess I'm so used to the rejection that when I finally get "praise" for my work I still do not know how to take it. I continued to draw and sing but also picked up piano along the way. This was something that I could physically, with my own hands, express how I felt about everything that ever happened to me. I love classical music... it's so dark and bright all at the same time and it all expresses exactly how I feel, an emotional extremist. 

     When I finally had the courage to show off my work people called me a liar. They said that I wasn't smart enough or talented enough to be able to create some of the things I did. I had people tear up my drawings or draw over them (scribble them out). It was really hard for me to show anything I loved to other people because they would constantly tear it down. Everything I loved was a joke to them. I didn't actually start getting good feedback until I was in the 8th grade. Even then, I was still very shy about it and never felt like I was good enough. 
     One thing that I knew I was good at, according to everyone, was being weird. Halloween was easily my favorite holiday/time of the year. It gave me the opportunity to be as weird as I wanted without being judged, though I still was I just didn't care as much. I never dressed as anything cute, I was always a devil, witch, grim reaper, anything that let me be something else than this shy little girl. I was still weird but it allowed me to embrace it without it being weird... does that make sense? 

     October is the best time ever for me. It's so full of happy memories of trick-or-treating, hanging with my true friends, and being with family. I obviously outgrew it for the most part but fall will always be my favorite time of the year. The leaves change, the air lightens, I become a happier person. Every day I walk outside and feel the weather it flashes me back to a happier time and instantly puts a smile on my face. This month and holiday made me fearless as a child and eventually formed me into who I am today. It has a lot of influence on my work as a photographer and influence on my life as a person. It gave me a creative outlet that allowed me to just be myself and not be shy about it because I was "hiding" behind a mask. I don't think it's always bad to have something to hide behind as long as that something eventually lets you be a stronger person and grow from it and eventually you can let go of it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Flak to Encouragement

     As a photographer I go through so much criticism daily. You would think it would be from random people about my work but it's not. Other photographers can be harsh in this type of work. I've seen people completely destroy someone just because they're a beginner and their work isn't up to the standards of other more experienced photographers. It makes me sad because while it is weeding out people that can't handle the pressure, it is also making the photography world lose a potential artist. I'll admit that it's pretty hard to give people compliments because of how people treat each other in this day of age. Bullying gets younger and younger each year. Not my point though.

     Since I've started doing my work and publicly displaying them whether it's on facebook, blogs, deviant, or printing for gallery hangings (wish I had more of these, ha ha) I've noticed just how discouraging other's can be.
              "Oh, she copied that idea!"
      That seems to be the running quote of other photographers. While some things are obvious that they may or may not of copied another photographer's idea, we all have to remember that nothing is original anymore and if another person does something similar to you just know that you encouraged them! It could be as simple as taking a photo with balloons in it and then someone else a couple of days later will take one similar. It's not a bad thing for other people to do this, yes, it does get irritating, but it has taken me a long time to just let it go and know that I stand in my own area in photography and my work is original to myself. I've tried to be a family, children, newborn, etc. photographer but that's not me. That type of work doesn't reflect who I am as a photographer.

     We all influence someone in our lives, whether it's good or bad, and we have to keep in mind that what we to do others can really make or break them. Referring back to my first post, Art As An Outlet , I've been heavily hurt many times by other people's actions and words. I eventually too fell into hurting some people that I cared a lot about because those bullies rubbed off on me. Now, I didn't do anything extreme and it ended real fast when I realized I hurt this person. Basically, if a person doesn't ask for criticism then don't give it to them. That's what this generation is lacking is passion and if everyone lets their jealousy take over then we're all destroying each other and eventually you'll destroy yourself.

     I think what makes us all so critical is that we're jealous... jealous of other's potentially "stealing" clients from us, being better than us at our own game, or even maybe they're a better person in general. Instead of giving people flak if you're honestly jealous of another's work or personality then why not just change yourself? Now, I've seen cases where people take that literally and try to become that person and that is definitely not what I mean at all. If you're jealous over someone's kind heart then soften yours. You don't have to act, talk, walk, and photograph like that person but inspiration can come from anywhere including other people. I personally wish I wasn't so head strong and against most people. Childhood bullying can either kill you, make you a weak person, or make you too strong of a person. I kind of fall into both weak and strong. I have a very kind heart towards people in general but at the same time I can hate a person pretty easy as well. I feel like I keep trailing off on my original topic, ha! Sometimes my thoughts just take me away!

     Critiquing isn't at all an extremely bad thing but only when it's necessary. A humorous example would be one time a new photographer buddy of mine, which is still new a producing some great work ideal wise, posted an engagement session and in one of the photos I realized she had her butt hanging out of the bottom of her dress. I instantly messaged him and told him to change it. That is an example of a friendly not asked for critique. I could of easily said to him that this, this, and this was wrong just because it wasn't my style of photography and to me certain things are "wrong" in my book (which there wasn't anything wrong but the butt). Since he is still learning, I don't give him the boot, I give friendly yet firm suggestions and let him take what he wants from it.

     Let's face it, the art world is dying. When I say art, I mean ART. Yes we still use photography and other artistic forms for advertising and other things but art in general is getting less and less each day and we should all encourage one another to continue what we love no matter what. I chose the path of a starving artist and while I struggle with a few things in my life... I am more thankful and happier than I've ever been because I'm doing what I love and not settling. I'm also so very happy to be able to encourage others to better their work or even themselves.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Artistically Placed

     Recently I have decided to quit all general public photography and just focus on my Fine Art pieces. In the beginning I only shot inanimate objects or animals, mostly still life. Once I progressed into more creative photography I had other friends doing similar things to what I was producing. We would all share ideas and work together as a team until all of us found our style and kind of went our separate ways photography wise.

From my old Sony Alpha 300. One of the first photo shoots
I did. July of 2011.
Same girl but I used my Canon EOS 7D.
September 28th, 2013.
     Being around these people helped me a lot with getting my name out there and it gave me practice with models as well. Eventually I started to slip into doing "normal" portraits of children, adults, families, and within the last year I've added weddings. You can tell the obvious change from when I first started to what I produce now but it got to the point where my heart wasn't in it anymore. Doing this type of photography is not what I ever intended on doing in life. While I love shooting weddings and I still have a lot more to learn, especially with indoor photography, I still can't get myself to completely just love it.

     When I do my fine art pieces I lose myself. I forget time exists and I don't stop. I don't feel temperature when I'm shooting... I just have my mind set on what I want to accomplish and forget the rest. I've stepped on glass, falling through wooden floors and stair cases, and I've even been destroyed by insects just to get that shot I envisioned. My models, when I get great ones, go through so much for me as an artist as well. A shoot I had last August is a great example of what my models do for shot as well. We went to an abandoned house and one of the areas that was the most beautiful to me had the floor completely missing minus the supports. At this time I was still using my Sony camera so unfortunately we didn't get a great shot but I still have that image in my head and one day I'll get it! I spend hours on my editing and making sure it's exactly how I want it. My love for my creative pieces far exceed any kind of emotion I could have for normal photography.

     One of the biggest reasons I stopped, well I think my lack of passion is the main thing, is the way people treated me. Not just me but photographers in general. I've had people complain about my prices being too high, too cheap, not enough photos but when I did give more than expected they complained about them all looking too much a like. I've had other photographers try to drag my name into the ground just because they messed up something or I took "their" client. I've had people threaten to sue me over photos and I've had people complain about the times, locations, just anything people could complain about... they did it. It got to the point where it made me hate photography. I dreaded doing these sessions and I dreaded editing the photos from it. The difference between my regular works and my fine art pieces is apparent. I wouldn't even pick up my camera to just photograph anymore. That wasn't me. I completely stopped doing my fine art pieces and fell behind in what I wanted to achieve with my photography which is art. I was trying so hard to make other people happy that I wasn't making myself happy and in the end these people don't care about me, they just want my services and then they're done with me. I know that's an emotional approach to the situation but if I'm not happy then this isn't where I need to be.

"Self Reliance" Taken October 25th, 2013. Canon EOS 7D.
    Now that I quit that type of photography I feel like I can breathe again. I can be myself and create. Let my mind and heart be exactly where it needs to be. I feel refreshed and whole again. This is what I want to do and I have big dreams and one day everything will happen for me. I just have to wait until it's my turn to shine. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Art As An Outlet

     Hello! My name is Samantha! I've been wanting to make a blog for a really long time now and just didn't know where to begin. I actually had a post from March here but I removed it because it wasn't what I wanted to say. I've started a couple of other different blogs and the only one that I ever really kept up with as a kid was my xanga. Saying that out loud makes me feel really old... I'm only 22. I'm at the perfect time in my life to start this blog because of all the changes that are happening and will be happening in the future for me.

     Growing up I always had an active imagination. Outside was my canvas and I used it up that's for sure! I think I finally stopped playing outside and with imaginary friends when I was 13. My childhood was kind of a dark one when it came to school and dealing with other children. I was constantly the outcast and it didn't matter what I did to fit in kids always picked on me. I remember when barbies were a big deal and just because I didn't have the next-best-thing basically I wasn't allowed to play with the other girls. Eventually I got heavy into the 2 in. Polly Pocket dolls and everyone loved them and wanted to play with them but after they bought their own they wanted nothing to do with me anymore. It's not like I was one of those kids that was a constant annoyance because I kept to myself most of the time. 

     Eventually it got to where I gave up on fitting in and then I got picked on even more! What can a girl do to just be left a lone? As a coping mechanism I started to draw and sing, though I was very shy and didn't show anyone my drawings until I was in the 5th grade, I loved it with all my heart. It gave me the perfect outlet to let me get emotions I had inside from being bullied out in the open. I used to go home crying almost everyday because of how the children treated me. The most pathetic part is that I went to a private Christian school and the kids still acted that way. I was bullied for not having the best clothes, toys, house, etc. 
     My parents are smokers and kids would always cough really loud around me and ask what was burning just to embarrass me for something that I couldn't control. One time in the 5th grade a girl spread around that I was a lesbian just because I wanted to hang out and play with the other girls, like a normal female child. At that time I didn't even know what being a lesbian meant! I tried to ignore it and eventually talked to my parents about it and they went straight to the school about it. It's been so long that I can't recall if being called that stopped right away or not but the name calling definitely did not.

     Girls were the worst to me growing up. I was always shoved over, my drawings ripped up, being called names... the list goes on. Girls aren't the only ones to blame, I've had my fair share of boys bullying me as well. There were two guys in the 6th grade, I was in the 5th, that would purposely kick soccer balls at me during recess. It didn't matter what I was doing a soccer ball would come from nowhere and hit me. Eventually it got to being punched in the face. I don't want you to think that I didn't fight back because I did. I wasn't afraid to tell a grown up what was going on and who were the ones that hurt me. 
     Being bullied in middle school wasn't the worst because the names got more intense and so did the bullying.

One of my very first extreme edits on a photo
probably around the age of 14.
     When I got into the 7th grade I remember watching America's Next Top Model and just for hours obsess over how beautiful the models were and more specifically the photographs. This become my new creative outlet. We didn't own a camera but we did have a web camera! I started to take "snap shots" on the webcam we had and I felt so artistic and beautiful. It was something I looked forward to doing all the time. When MySpace came around I met this one girl on there with the name of "Mary Miyavi" and she would post the most amazing photos I've ever seen! I have more of a darker personality so her gothic photos were right up my ally. I would follow her page constantly and just wanted to be like her one day. She was also and amazing artist, she drew, and that's what made me look up to her even more! I started to play around with photoshop at 14 years old and I would be on it for hours doing nothing productive but just playing, learning, and creating. My first manipulation was a photo of me in a mirror and I made the other side all dark looking. I thought I was the most amazing artist ever! I look back on that image now and laugh because it's nowhere near what I'm at now. 

Jason. One of my very first
photography subjects. I
have many photographs of
him when I first started
using a camera. 
     I moved from a webcam to a Silver Kodak point and shoot. I could not stop taking photos. I took photos of myself, my animals, glasses, everything! I couldn't control the love I had for photographing things. I chewed through so many batteries that it would make my parents mad because when they needed the camera it was always dead. My parents knew my creative side and knew how much I loved photography but could never afford a dslr. 

     One day a family friend bought me my very first dslr! It was a Sony Alpha 300 and I loved that thing more than life itself. I entered a photo contest a couple months later and entered a macro (not very great I should add) shot of a drop of water hanging off a Daisy petal with more daisies reflecting in the droplet. Needless to say I didn't win. I was so confident in myself. The image that won looked like something from a magazine, it was so amazing and perfect I didn't understand how my images were not coming out the same.

     I still continued to photograph as much as I could. Eventually just taking photos was NOT enough for me. I wanted to create worlds and show people what I dreamed of, so I started doing photomanipulation pieces. They were all stock images and could never actually be used for art but it was something that helped me to learn what I really wanted to do in life which is to create these worlds.
Obviously a bunch of stock photos and brushes but this was a
piece that I was truly proud of because I worked really hard on
it and it was the type of work that I've always wanted to produce.

    I took my very first creative class in college and my very first photography class as well! It started out in film and I instantly fell in love with film and the process of developing and just how tranquil the dark room is to work in. I still love it and would love to have my own dark room one day! College is were I really developed my talent because I was open to critique the other students and teachers had to give me. I think everyone should just let their guards down and let others in to help and everyone will improve dramatically. I know I did. 
My weenie dog Ella. Shot with a Minolta 35mm film camera
with a 50mm lens.
My old roommate Mandi helping me out with a class project.
Shot using a Minolta 35mm film camera with a 50mm lens.

     I got the courage to make a facebook photo page, Sleeping Awake Photography, back in July of 2011. I soon received a lot of positive feedback that helped me in so many ways. All the love and support really helped me to keep pursuing my dreams and to just continue to further my education and love for photography. There isn't a day that I'm not dreaming up a photograph to create.

    My fans and friends have been a great support but most importantly my family has been there through it all. They encouraged my piano, drawing, singing, photography, or anything I put my mind to! My parents play different roles with my photography. My father is the one that has helped me buy things for my work like lenses, backdrops, photoshop, etc. and my mother is the one that helped at shoots or with my self portraits. She even buys me all the dresses you see in my works. My mother even let me wrap her up in yarn for a conceptual piece I had in mind! Link: Mother of Yarn! I couldn't ask for better parents! They've kept me going all these years with their constant love and support and even if I made mistakes they never once told me what to do. They just stood back and let me make my own choices as a person and was here for me when I made bad ones. They never judged me and still to this day continue to support and give me as much encouragement and love I could ever ask for! I am truly blessed!

    Many years of searching for myself and finding it then losing it and finding it again, I never once lost who I was as an artist. I can't wait to show the world what I can do and what I have planned! I have dreams bigger than myself and I just want to share my world with others. I thank everyone who has modeled or supported my work. You'll never completely understand the gratitude I have towards everyone's hard work with creating my portfolio!
My latest piece titled "Breathe No More". Created and posted on October 17th 2013. Shot using a Canon EOS 7D with an 18mm lens.  ISO 400 @ f/3.5