Yes, of course they are always this well behaved

Yesterday after school Megan and Katie wanted to go to the library, I think it had more to do with the toys and colouring pages rather than their love of reading but I’m not complaining. It was relatively uneventful, which is always a good thing.

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Other than hanging out with the littles, I haven’t been up to much. Treatment was this week and I started a new bone treatment last week, so I haven’t been feeling the greatest. I have an exciting vacation planned over the March break though, so you can expect to see some new work very soon!

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House Sitting

I spent ten days house sitting and dog sitting, so of course Megan and Katie had a blast coming over to ‘Em’s house’. On one of the days I was feeling adventurous so we made our own whipped cream. I was trying to whip it by hand but then I noticed the blender on the counter so we used that instead.
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On Valentine’s day we made chocolate fondue and spent the rest of the night cuddling on the couch watching The Lorax 🙂
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And of course, the puppies got to be models too!

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Jordan

I am officially back in Ottawa! At this moment, over 650 photos are importing to my computer from my camera. Luckily, I just finished up editing all the photos of Jordan from Thursday, so now I can tackle Oliver’s photos and then start on the ones of Danielle, Sammy, Nico, and of course: myself.

I had so much fun with Jordan! It’s been way too long since we have had a chance to hang out and talk. Jordan is that one person I can call at any hour of the night with any sort of existential crisis – she has the ability to talk anyone through anything. Not only that, but she is incredibly talented. She creates beautiful mixed media pieces with photos, drawings, writing, and odd bits of materials that no one else could think of to use. I am constantly in awe of the things she comes up with! We were partners in crime in photography class all through high school.

And I accidentally stole a book she lent to me, which means I now have an excuse to visit again very, very soon.

Without further ado, here are some of my favourites from Thursday!

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Kristina

I met up with Kristina yesterday because it has been much too long since we have seen each other. We walked around the Ryerson campus and took some photos, then snuck into the library. I wish we could have stayed there longer, but it was really, really quiet. It was the kind of quiet where I would rather panic and choke silently into arm than actually cough out loud. I have a really bad habit of knocking over really loud things whenever I find myself in this type of environment, so it’s probably better that we left quickly.

Kristina is one of the most talented people I have ever met. A lot of people can write, but very very few can actually create art with words like she does. Not only that, but she is an amazing friend and all around great person. I was so happy to see her again and actually photograph her, because as you can see she is gorgeous and I have very very few portraits of her.

Without further ado: meet Kris!

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The Craziest Thing I Have Ever Done

On March 25th, 2013 I stayed home sick from school. I spent most of the day in bed, not really doing much of anything and just feeling lousy. Eventually, I heard the excited shouts of my little sisters returning home. I sat up with my ratty pink blanket wrapped around my shoulders and watched through the window as they ran up the driveway.

Seeing them come home made me realize that it was 3:00, and I had spent the entire day in bed. To make myself feel better about having accomplished absolutely nothing, I set up my tripod and took a simple self portrait – with the blanket still draped around me.

After editing the photo and posting it on Facebook, I realized how much better I felt. There is something about documenting my day that makes me feel more fulfilled – even on the most ordinary of days. In a split second, I decided to turn this simple selfie into an ongoing project.

I was wary to call it a 365 – I was afraid that if I committed to an entire year and was unable to complete it that I would have failed. I reinforced my belief in this decision fifty-three days later, when I ran into a rut and decided I didn’t want to take photos anymore. The fifty-third day of the project was very similar to the first one – it was a simple photo of my exhausted eyes looking emotionlessly into the lens.

Some time later, my strength began to return. I suddenly felt inspired again. I got out of bed one night and lay down in the middle of my street with my hand outstretched to the sky – I called this photo day fifty-four.

I wish I could say that after my extended break I reinforced the commitment I had made and pushed myself to create each day – but that is not what happened. I struggled. I hated the project, then I loved it, then I was at my wits end – pulling my hair out and screaming in frustration from the stress of trying to create something new every single day. My “365 day project” lasted for 650 days. One year, nine months, and ten days. 15600 hours.

There were days when I took a photo that I absolutely hated and I posted it anyway. There were (many) days when I spent endless hours creating an incredible photo and didn’t write an essay that a teacher thought should be written. There were days when my photo adventures ended with me in the hospital. And I wouldn’t undo any of it.

At the beginning of the project I was a little lost girl, quiet and mousy and afraid of myself and everyone else. Forcing myself to work in front of and behind the camera each day made me more comfortable with myself – not just my physical appearance but also my personality. I have learned to accept and embrace my flaws. This self-confidence has crossed over into all the areas of my life – I am more productive and motivated, I am more outgoing and I don’t let people walk all over me.

I have learned how to shoot in raw, create double exposures, utilize backlighting, improve my composites, pose myself, use Aperture, envision my final product, retouch skin, use Flickr, manipulate tones and colours, express myself visually and in writing, channel my energy into productive work, and love myself – among a million other things.

On the last day of my project, I was ready for it to end. I had been dragging out the last photo for weeks. First I was sick, then I was just too anxious. I had no idea what to do when the project ended. I was afraid that without something to work on I would forget all that I had learned and end up back in the same dark place I had come from. I debated jumping into another 365 project right away.

Eventually, I forced myself to step back and make a plan. I will always be a self-portrait artist. I will always love using my art as a way to express myself. Instead of forcing myself to take a sub-par photo each day, I can now take more time to create more meaningful artwork. I joined a weekly self-portrait project called Let’s Get Creative, so that I knew I would be forced to create often enough – even when I feel uninspired.

The 365 project is the best thing I have ever done for my photography, and also for myself. I recommend it to everyone. With that said – here are some of my favourite images from the project. Some of them I now dislike, but at the time they were created it was the best that I could do. None of these images would exist if it weren’t for that terribly uneventful day and my impulsive commitment to the craziest thing I have ever done.

Thank you for journeying through this part of my life with me – I feel at peace now with the fact that this chapter is closed. I am ready to continue on.

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From What We Cannot Hold – Behind the Scenes

My ideas for images always come in different ways. Sometimes I catch sight of something and immediately see an image in my mind, other times I can sense an idea just out of reach and I strain myself to catch it, and once in a while my ideas are so powerful that they actually wake me in the middle of the night. Those always end up being the photos I am most proud of.

This was one of those times. Ideas to me have always been something I have stumbled across, they are never forced. An idea is not a tangible thing, yet they can be moulded and expanded. This photo represents the ideas, discoveries, and beliefs that each on of us attempts to keep.

From what we cannot hold the stars are made. – W. S. Merwin

I started out with this photo:

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I expanded with the extra photos of the background that I took, and applied a couple gradients around the edges. Then I began adding more feathers with the lasso tool and layer masks.

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Eventually all that was left was to adjust the overall photo to my liking. I used curves, selective colouring, a matte action from Sarah-Beth Photography (http://sarah-bethphoto.com/blog/), and other small adjustments until finally I had an image I was happy with.

6The feathers in the original image were taped to my skin or held in place by my hand, while the floating feathers were added from other photos I took of them by themselves.

It’s been a while since I have taken a conceptual self-portrait, and it felt good to return to my roots. Hopefully I will be able to create something even better tomorrow!

Our Christmas

I made this blog almost a year ago – and haven’t posted in about ten months. This isn’t exactly how I envisioned this endeavour. I suppose I should have foreseen this, I have a horrible track record for completing personal projects. However, I am also incredibly stubborn – so here we go again.

Today is Christmas. Though I have nothing particularly inspirational to say about it, I do have plenty of photos to share. I spent Christmas eve in a rented hall getting into tons of trouble with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and other assorted members of the family. At the beginning of the evening, I was alone with my sisters. We played a very energetic couple rounds of hide and seek, then foosball. Eventually they went outside to await our guests, and I watched through a pane of glass. I am getting better at letting them be on their own, rather than clutching them too closely. I don’t panic when they round a corner out of my sight anymore, because I know they will always come back home.

Once people began to join us, I put my camera down and let myself get lost in conversation. I watched the goings-on through my eyes rather than my lens. I’m getting better at doing this also.

Though my blog was not as successful as I had hoped this past year, I have grown in so many other ways. This year I will continue to work on myself and maybe – hopefully – it will be chronicled here as well.

The night ended with a rousing game of shooter checkers – the game board actually has shot glasses instead of pieces. We played on teams of two, and not surprisingly, my team won. We then moved onto a very intense game of air hockey; this time I lost – but not for lack of trying. I limped away with injured pride, several pulled muscles, and a small cut on my hand. We take games very seriously in my family.

Now I will allow my photos to tell the rest of the story, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and Happy 25th of December to those who don’t.
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A thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs

I’m writing this because somehow it’s 2am and I’m not sleeping yet. I got home from work at nine and went to bed shortly after, but I gave up on sleep temporarily around midnight. Now I’m just listening to music and editing random photos.

I haven’t posted here in a while, so I’m going to run through my week in photos. I kind of took a break from my self portrait project because of lack of inspiration/no time, but when my remote shutter release arrived I threw myself back into it! The first photo I took with it is one of my current favourites, not because it’s an especially good photo, but because I actually went out and shot a concept that meant something to me. It had been too long.

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I took that on Wednesday night after I got home from the hospital. I have treatments for my asthma three days every four weeks, and this was day two. 

On day three, my Gramma and I were driving back and I saw these beautiful trees and she pulled over and waited for me while I frolicked in the forest. (I use the term frolicked loosely, as I am still in a brace).

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I spent about an hour on that last photo, mostly because I was wearing a huge bright blue brace that I had to remove in Photoshop. *sigh*

I put all three of those on Flickr, and the response has been awesome. I never expected any less though, because everyone who is on Flickr is amazing and I love all of you.

The last day of treatment was long and exhausting. I did an hour of physio first, so by the time I got there I was already ready to go home. I ordered some chicken noodle soup and took some selfies to pass the time.

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And then on Friday I took this:

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I haven’t actually shot anything new since then. Thursday and Friday night I was photographing a play called “Porridge” by Stage Children’s Theatre Group, and then Saturday I had the flu and today (yesterday?) I had an eight hour shift at the grocery store. What I’m trying to say is: TOMORROW I AM TAKING A SELFIE GOSHDARNIT

Anyway. I think I have used up more than enough of my night writing this, and I have definitely wasted way too much of any-poor-soul-who-actually-read-this-far’s time. I’m going to try and get some rest now. Lucky for me, I get to sleep in until my physio appointment tomorrow at 9:30. Woohoo!

Nighty night!

 

Taryn’s Winter One-derland

Yesterday I got to hang out at Taryn’s first birthday party! The theme was winter one-derland, (which I thought was amazing, just saying). Even the food all went with the theme! There were melted snowmen (water bottles), veggies in the snow (veggies in ranch dip), and ice chips (chips). I think Taryn’s favourite part was the tissue paper she got to play with, but it could have also been her own personal cake that she got to destroy, (I mean eat).

I finished editing all 150 photos today, so here is a sneak peak!

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