Greetings Ron,

It is an honor to ‘meet’ you and have the opportunity to share my answers to your wonderfully introspective first mission of your Advanced Photography Mentorship hosted on Google+ through the G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers. As a bit of background, I will begin by sharing the history of my artistic expression. Truthfully, art did not appear in my life until I was 10 years old, prior to that I was being raised to practice the beliefs of Jehovah Witnesses’, and ‘art’ taught in school is most commonly centered around the holidays, which that tradition does not recognize and/or celebrate… so I logically removed myself from the lesson. It was at the age of 10 that I began living with the foster parents that raised me and my mom had a love of art, taught it at a local community college even, and my best times with her centered around arts-n-crafts. It was during those years I also spent time with my father as his volunteer son and got to apply my artistic eye to our remodel projects. At school it didn’t take long for teachers to discover my strong grasp of math and science, so I was always encouraged to pursue that. I have to admit to sketching all over my biology notes, that my assignments (especially back in the day of handwritten work) always LOOKED good… it was my subversive expression of my artistic side. I remember vividly jumping for joy the last semester of my middle school year and senior year of high school feeling like I was having way too much fun, when I had literally maxed out all of the advanced math and science classes and got to take shop, calligraphy, stage craft (building sets for the drama performances) and a drawing class. I considered those classes as a reward for working so hard, which shapes my art as more play than work. Although photography called to me, other than the times I borrowed my dad’s camera and snuck away to crash the photography class lab in high school and rebelled with a B&W photography class for one term of my freshman year of college… I did not truly connect with a camera until I was 30 years old. The rest is documented in photographic history on my hard drive and to have the opportunity to take a really hard look at that part of me through this mentorship is an amazing gift, so let’s get started…

What has me pick up my camera…

For years it was about capturing the moment, which went through a progression of first taking photos of EVERYTHING, retelling the story, til the concept of less-is-more took over and I began to see the story has nothing to do with the experience. Now when I have my camera along, which there are times I intentionally don’t to give myself full freedom to just BE present, I find I am either on a relentless hunt for the captures that express my deep thoughts and/or feelings, commonly getting caught up in the shot, to the point of standing on my head if I thought it would make the tiniest difference, or flowing along with perfect opportunities arriving effortlessly. I also find myself envisioning something I WANT and staging shots more… actually have to thank the first mentorship for that.

No matter the impetuous, my camera over the last few years has become an extension of my mind/heart/soul, I can tell a complete story in one photograph, contain all the emotion of a person in one look, and represent profound thought in a solitary frame of nature… all of which is my self expression fulfilled.

When I choose, what do I shoot…

Honestly… everything I shoot is by my choice.

If time and money were of no concern, what then…

I will take this to mean, I had a never-ending supply of time and money… and admit I would own far better equipment/tools, to include what other photographers may consider essentials. I currently can fit everything I have in a bag smaller than the right cheek of my rump… either that means I have very little equipment or a big bum, I will let you make that whatever you will. I would also travel more and use majority of my time/resources to give back/make a difference in the world.

Discover ‘the ties that bind’…

What I’ve naturally been drawn to capture or create is expressed in a few formats, in addition to photography, I do a fair amount of interior design/crafts, and a bit of sketching/painting. In all of those, I see more realism and bold color/contrast, than the softness/dreaminess my eye can appreciate. After acquiring a DSLR I got to dive into playing with depth of field and have a special magic there, so my creativity these days lean in that direction. I find my landscapes are commonplace and recognize that as a future place for exploration.

Speedy Pinning…

I dove into this assignment with gusto… I had never thought to seek inspiration from others, silly I know. I intentionally spread the exercise over multiple sessions/days, selected different times of day, even forced myself to pin when I wasn’t in ‘the mood’ to do so, and had one instance in the middle of the night when I HAD to search out gems.

What I uncovered was the more I looked, the less I liked and I have very strong interests/themes. Beyond the obvious flowers, moon, trees, leaves, waterdrops, waterfalls, flowing water, gems, clouds, waves, etc… I saw a pattern quickly emerge of sharp color, reflections, silhouettes, depth of field, perspective, and a general feeling of warmth.

(Photos pinned found here).

What I want ‘help’ with…

I would have to say, offer me a soft place to land. I have not related to myself as an artist, had not the freedom to express, and/or share the depth behind my art. I see this mentorship as the perfect space for me to find peace in sharing, a much needed call for community, and a chance for me to see myself as a ‘photographer’.

I can’t thank you enough and I embrace the journey with all my heart.

Responses Welcome...

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