Archive for October, 2009

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Regaining My Stride

October 28, 2009

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Coming off another tough week, I remained lost in my own thoughts.   Those thoughts still were about me questioning why am I pursuing this master’s degree.   Am I doing it because I have to or if I want to?     Filled with questions about how to sort though my work and goals,  I went to one of my professors and he said that I need to reconnect with my joy of photography and discover again what started me on this journey.  This was great advice from someone I have come to respect.   I admire his deep understanding of the evolution and sensitivities of the photo professional and I am impressed with his passion, accessibility, and experience.  He stands out.   I feel like he wants me to succeed; this is an ingredient that has been missing from my professional life for the past five years.   I made the jump to NYC five years ago due to my strong desire to live in the city.   And despite me not regretting it (0verall),  I realize now that somewhere along the line I forgot to make that “ingredient” a priority with my employment choices.

So I am looking for that joy and I am trying to slow down to really take in this experience.   All of this really is a gift to myself to be able to detach from the “real world”  and learn all that I can.  I am so very very thankful for my partner and friends who are helping make all this happen.  I can reconnect with my creative side – something I have longed to do.   This creative energy need to be a constant part of my “work” life.

The video camera is now in hand – a device unlocking a new world of exploration.  It is indeed still all about story telling and visual communication, yet I have been a bit perplexed with this creative leap.   I am perplexed in a positive way as I explore the different rhythms associated with this way of working…….all the while becoming more and more fascinated with the power of the “moving” image.   This may be an awkward association, but I have always been intrigued by the motion picture industry (the beauty of movie making)….so, as I  “logged and captured” my video footage this week, I felt a small spark…..something inside hinting that I can dream bigger….that there are more possibilities and more adventures to consider.

I hope the doors open………and I can find my way to them.

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Failing

October 16, 2009

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Professionals in the business say don’t be afraid of failing.

I can’t seem to find a way to get comfortable with that notion.   I know that approach makes us stronger, but when you are fighting your way through the pain those words don’t feel reassuring. Maybe they would bring a sense of calm if I knew the next three or four steps ahead of me.   The problem is I don’t know where some of the first steps are when I am down and trying to rebuild.

I can see how my editing experience is helping and hurting me.   It helps me sometimes as I anticipate my photo work – I have a general sense of what I need to accomplish with a developing project.  On the other hand, I am self-editing myself ahead of time or during a shoot.   This is causing me to shut down too early in those moments of exploration; I become too frustrated too quickly when the moments and images aren’t coming together.   I am placing that very “high bar” of expectation on myself.

The rhythm of my shooting has become too familiar and formulaic.   I am searching for a way to breaking through these walls.  I want to find a new way of seeing.  I am trying to find new ways of getting my vision on to the screen, composed with what I feel and with what I want to communicate.

For years I have been reviewing photography that is special and compelling.  I am now hoping I can channel that inspiration into my education.   I don’t know how to bridge the two sometimes.

I have been taught through many years of experience to display myself as patient and self-assured – to avoid excuses and don’t complain.   It seems it takes so long to build a reputation and so quickly for others to make wrong judgments.   As this point in my career, I no longer want to worry about this.  I only want to do good work – working with a supportive, creative team that striving to do the same.

I now have the opportunity to surround myself with supportive professionals and I only want to keep those who want the best for me in my life.

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Avoid the Ugly Place

October 10, 2009

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Leaves are falling from the trees and the long dreaded Winter isn’t far away.  I took a quick afternoon ride over to Skaneateles to drop off some gifts for my photo subjects from the Fall Workshop.   On the way back, I picked up a pumpkin at a roadside vendor; I immediately asked myself what the heck happened to Summer.

Central New York winters have been a frequent topic of discussion since I started my grad program back in July.   I have been warned to watch out for a change in attitude and mood as I make my way through the program.  Second-guessing why I have chosen to put myself through this growing process might lurk around the corner, I am told.   Yesterday was one of those days as I struggled setting up my next photo project.

A man running a hospice didn’t want to put his guests in a compromising position.  The health department said clinical environments were basically off limits.  A monastery refused access while commenting on the fact that Oprah Magazine had just interviewed them.

Somehow I started going to that ugly place – Why am I doing this?   Am I strong enough to take on these new skills and improve my career?  Will my photography improve?  How will I maintain my inspiration and motivation?   Not a very good day…..

Today, I reminded myself how lucky I am to be here and to have this chance to become who I want to be.  I was given a boost of support by an organization willing to help me show my future work in local galleries and in a possible traveling exhibit.   I left that meeting re-charged and eager to produce compeling stories.

The evolution continues…..

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Post Production Obsession

October 5, 2009

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If you are a detail-oriented Virgo like me, then you might understand how I was able to slip into place of obession as I fussed over every frame of my latest project.   It is still a work in progress, but the wonders of video editing allow for endless tweaking.

I was drawn into the art of crafting a project that has become personal.  It is an expression of an idea.  It is chance to share a journey of story telling.  It is a collection of moments that I have to combine with a sense of responsibily to display with care.

I opted to tell the story of two sisters who are losing their memory at a senior living facility.  I didn’t expect that to be the main focus of the story but as I spent more time with them I realized it was major element to their lives now.  It was something I had to document.

I realize now I was subconsciously drawn to this subject matter due to my own fears.  My fear of growing old in a way that seems too quick and wondering what happened to the best years.  I fear winding up in a nursing home of some sort and having my own memories slip away.  It is something that seems incredibly sad; at the same time, maybe it is just something I don’t understand yet.   I guess we all face this at some point to some degree.

I find it interesting that the world of journalism takes me on unexpected journeys.   One can’t help being affected by the stories one tells, yet there has to be a balance between the involvement and the detachment – the participant and the observer.   The pros figured out how to continue on from one story to another; however, I never want to end up as a photographer who just goes through the motions.