January 28, 2013
While testing my new old school Gossen Luna Pro light meter for the first time yesterday, I was greeted by two highlights.
First were the rich and deliciously true light readings for my camera’s exposure settings. The second came with one of the test shots, unveiling a haunting resemblance of my father through my reflection.
January 26, 2013
I have a list of favorite things that wrap themself around my life. Even after deleting a few of those faves from my youthful years, my list still stretches longer than I can reach.
Following last night’s wintery weather, I spent today’s lovely Saturday morning with a few of my listed items. Each of these faves played a big part in preparing my breakfast feast of egg, bacon, and mozzarella on thick cut fresh baked whole wheat bread; arugula, spinach, and avocado salad with balsamic and parmesan; navel oranges; and steaming pot of freshly ground java all accompanied by a soundtrack of Grover Washington, jr. arrangements.
It’s important to note that these are in no particular order of preference since each carries about the same weight of goodness in winter survival… or for any day.
- cameras of various kinds
- a spinning turntable
- aromas from the kitchen
- hot coffee
- warm socks
- deli cheese
- fresh produce
- obedient pups (who also scored breakfast eggs for their good behavior)
- more coffee
- a record collection of 43 years
- a flickering fireplace
- me time
- love of life
January 20, 2013
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be lots of things in my life. Unquestionably, one of those things I’m most proud of was the younger version of myself as a youthful, dedicated, full on, wrap my world around it Dad. In my children’s bright young eyes, they made me feel like I was their superhero. In reality however, I was just a man, doing my best, with what I had at being Daddy.
With the kids well into their young adult lives now, those days have long passed. I still remember them though, even if I didn’t get the chance to wear a cool cape or fancy boots. Those years were the most inspiring, creative, and loving times of my life. Super powers aren’t just for comic book heroes.
Live life. It gives far more back when you do.
A big thank you to my good friend Matt for tripping the shutter on this image.
January 18, 2013
I seldom find myself in front of the camera. My place is to stand behind it.
For this photo, I maintained my normal position while waiting for guests to arrive to the holiday party I was assigned to document. This particular setting provided a welcoming invitation with its placement, framing, and available light. It was far too perfect not to use.
Despite the joys of the holiday season, a brightly decorated Christmas tree, and party festivities, my mood at the moment was numb. This reflective self-portrait was captured just moments after hearing the tragic news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. I was heartbroken. Still am.
January 15, 2013
After a well needed and successful breather from classes over the past month, today is the beginning of my Spring semester and my yearlong sprint towards a December graduation. Aside from the annual reruns of holiday soundtracks, television programs, mountains of sugar coma sparkly treats, and family fruitcake, I was happy to occasionally locate some quality time for my own thoughts during the academic break.
Usually with a coffee mug at my side, I spent plenty of hours during the holidays with my varied and extremely eclectic film and instant camera collection. Dating as far back as the 1930s, each of them are secondhand, left behinds, or strays and all beautiful works of art in themselves. All have their own distinct character and personality and I can only imagine the stories, celebrations, and places they’ve each seen. Our eclecticism seems to parallel one another perfectly, promising an exciting journey as I search for light through their viewfinders this semester.
Together, we’ll have a story to tell. No fruitcake required.
January 11, 2013
March 20, 2012
I’ve rarely given much thought about the motivation driving me to place one foot in front of the other. I take it for granted as something I’m simply expected to do. Through my years of parenting, I did my best to be the father that I wanted to be, a good one. Looking back now, as I’m able to spend time with our three grown children, it’s apparent that we all survived our younger years quite well. Myself included. In addition to my role as a stay at home father during those influential years, I also balanced my adult life as a fulltime studio artist. My career was far from a nine to five routine, and I loved every moment of it. Finding the stability I needed to balance my role as a fulltime Dad with a business centering on creative self-expression, marketing, promotion, and forward thinking, taught me quite a bit about myself, most of which centered on commitment, ambition, and fervor. A number of years later as our children prepared for their own young adult lives and I approached fifty years of age, the idea of my returning to college became incredibly important to me. I was driven. Two years later at the age of 51, I received my Master’s Degree with honors from the VCU School of the Arts in December of 2010. Though I’ve never labeled it as such, it’s clear that my life’s path has been directed through personal innovation.
My blue-collar upbringing was honest, hardworking, and continues to be an inspiration in my day-to-day passion for life. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my father for many of those life lessons. He was far more scholarly than his partial high school education, and he taught me skills about treating people honestly and the importance of working hard towards creating something better, not for yourself, but mainly for others. My father’s unexpected death in 1993 was a giant hurdle, but I recovered. The day before he passed, the two of us spent several hours together over a long father and son conversation. It was simple, honest, and beyond life touching. His blue-collar way of life didn’t always understand my fine art world. He was however, very proud of the things I’d accomplished in my career, as a father, and as his son. He made it a point on that sunny afternoon to encourage me to do all of the things I wished to do in my life. I replied to him with a promise that I would. I continue to do so. The following morning, he passed away just as I arrived at the hospital. My father was a hard worker, a good man, a teacher, an inspiration, and an innovator.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve made it a point to continually evaluate my life’s focus. It’s a healthy place, always providing me that personal opportunity to think ahead and move forward. I believe in it. I’ve also discovered the truth in surrounding yourself with the right people. During the past decade I’ve been extremely fortunate to be involved with some of the most influential people I’ve ever known in my life, most of whom I’ve met through my circles in education. I have the greatest respect for these friends and colleagues, especially their commitment, dedication, and willingness to make such a positive impact on others. While I find it to be such common nature to do what I do, I continually find it humbling to receive warm accolades from those I consider principal influences in my own life. Their praise and inspiration never go unnoticed as they continue to inspire and propel me.
Innovation. My life has continually been directed by that very concept. As a parent, a fine artist, or middle aged adult returning to college, there have always been a few common threads running through each of those chapters in my life… forward thinking and reinvention of self. My rewards in return have been personal growth and knowledge. As I near the age my father was when we shared that long talk on that warm afternoon in 1993, I look back and realize that very little has changed since I was the young, curious, and spirited son of that blue-collared military man. I continue with my promise and my life path, always hoping to move in that direction ahead of me. Forward.
March 16, 2012
Over the past month or so, I’ve spent a great deal of time in self-evaluation mode. It’s a healthy place and provides me that personal opportunity to move forward.
I’ve never had much faith with the idea of sitting and letting life come to me, even as a child. That certainly isn’t to say that I haven’t had my share of wasted time or even days. I have. Plenty. But as I grow older, I’ve discovered my time is far more valuable than ever before. I understand it, evaluate it, and move in that direction… forward. Tick, tock.
February 26, 2012
Since I was a child, I’ve often thought that the car someone drives resembles the driver; the headlights, the grill, and the smile of the bumper each miraculously makeup an uncanny likeness of that person behind the wheel. We’re drawn to things that remind us of ourselves. That same likeness thing is present with pets and their owners. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself.
This morning, following last night’s dynamic VCU regular season finale win over instate rival George Mason, I woke to a similar likeness situation. I believe in the VCU Rams. It’s apparent and with next week’s CAA Tournament, my horns are coming in quite nicely.
My pups and I may just take a relaxing Sunday afternoon ride later today. You won’t be able to miss me. I’ll be the one that looks exactly like my passengers and my truck.
Be the Ram!
January 15, 2012
Between the news I heard last week and the question I was asked this morning, I’ve spent much of today taking a far closer look than normal at myself.
Following my morning coffee, weeding through emails, and a few good morning kisses from the pups, I headed out the door for Sunday worship. Recently I’ve missed more sermons than heard and today I wanted to change that trend. It is after all a new year. For me, the best messages aren’t those that are simply well prepared and delivered from a pulpit, but instead the ones that suggest deeper thought and self-evaluation. Today was one of those kinds of sermons. The takeaway as I made my walk to the car was quite simple, “what defines me?”
Ironically I’d already begun asking myself this very question on Friday afternoon upon hearing that a friend had passed away. I was shocked by the news and to my surprise, she hadn’t passed recently, Friday marked the fourth anniversary and I never knew. Naturally, I spent the balance of Friday in memory mode. It was a healthy mental time and two days after receiving the news, it continues.
The older I become, I find myself holding onto my past more than I once did. I certainly don’t make it a point to live for the past, but I have great respect for it being responsible for much of the very thing my pastor discussed this morning. In all of it’s greatest, worsts, and more than it’s share of mediocre days, my past defines the very man that I am today.
Reflection is a way I continue moving forward. That evaluation of knowing where I’ve been propels me. My father guided and taught me more than his share from the time I was a child through my adulthood. His far too early death nineteen years ago however didn’t erase those life lessons. I still use them… many of them daily.
Although we hadn’t seen one another in several years, the news of Donna’s passing still saddens me. To say that she died too young is such a cliché, but it’s the best I can come up with and the fact is, she did. I’m incredibly grateful however for all of the life and laughter that she brought to mine. Each of them are now blessings.
The passing of time continues to move quicker than it once did, all the while defining me and defining us. Hold onto it.