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KurDish HaCk3rS WaS Here
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One of the Atlanta-area locations on my Photography “Bucket List” is the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA. In addition to being home to some beautiful architecture, the Monastery is also well-known for their bonsais, and…some delicious fudge!
Upon arriving at the Monastery, visitors can take a walk through the Heritage Center and learn more about the history of monks. You’ll also pass through the Bonsai Garden. It’s amazing that such tiny, manicured trees could be over 100 years old! I was in awe over the tiny forest.
After the Bonsai Garden is the Barn – the place where the monks originally lived on this piece of property. What I find amazing is that, when the monks migrated to GA, they tried some traditional farming crops and agriculture – and none of it was prosperous to support the Monastery. And so, the monks turned to other crafts: stained glass, fudge and biscotti, and bonsais. The Monastery happens to be home to the largest selection of bonsai pottery in the U.S. Who knew?!?
After the barn, you can stroll down the Prayer Walk on the way to the Abbey Church. It’s a quiet stroll and allows you to take in some sights on the property.
The Abbey Church is…breathtaking. So simple, yet so inspiring. The stained glass gives the interior a blue hue. It’s calming and peaceful. And, as a side note…since there is absolute silence, many of my pictures of the inside were taken with my iPhone. It’s amazing how loud a camera shutter can be when there is no other sound to be heard!
I have to say – I look forward to visiting the Monastery again, but on a much cooler day. Since there’s no air conditioning in the church, it’s not an ideal setting during the humid days of August (if you’re sensitive to the heat!). I can imagine that the grounds must be absolutely gorgeous in the fall as the leaves change color.
Photographer’s Note: All photos in this post were taken as part of my portfolio work and are copyrighted to Landscapes of Life.
When I began to get serious about my photography journey, one of the things I struggled with early on was “What’s my style?”. It was a thought that gave me some anxiety…everytime I looked at the work of the many of the photographers that inspire me, I saw that they all have a style! “I need a style!” I thought to myself…but what is it?? Every time I got behind my camera, I would try to “make” a style. I would try so hard to come up with something that would make me stand out amongst the crowd. I would be editing and would think “well, this photo looks good like this but, I don’t know if I want my photography style to be defined in that way.”
Exhibit A: These photos are of two completely different styles, and yet I like them both…what’s a girl to do???
And then it hit me: my photography style is something that should come naturally and with plenty of practice behind the lens. So, when I started 2015, the pressure to “find my style” is out the window. Instead, through practice and enjoyment of photography, I’ll let my style find me. Maybe it will be defined by the end of this year…maybe it will be next year. Regardless, it’s time to enjoy the actual journey, time to learn from others…and from my own work, and time to keep practicing!
As part of my practice, I’ve embarked on a 365 Project and joined #thebethadillychallenge on instagram. When I look back on the past few weeks, I can definitely see my editing style start to take shape. Come visit…and join in the fun!
I admit…I have a little bit of what some may call “stage fright” when it comes to my photography and I am slowly learning to overcome it. When I started to more seriously practice my photography, I was proud of my art…yet I was afraid to show it to anyone I knew! I wanted to sell my work, yet didn’t want to approach a gallery in person. I wanted to find a local photography group, yet was nervous to go at it alone. So, last year I made an effort to start “putting myself out there”, and while I’m still working on this, I’m much farther along than I was before!
Here are my 5 tips for overcoming photographer’s “stage fright”:
- Display your work in your home and/or office. I know, I know, this may sound obvious…or shocking, as in “Why wouldn’t you display your work in your home???”. Well, I’m guilty of this. Sure, there have been plenty of candid family photos in my home for years…but that area of photography is not my passion. My passion is with landscape/nature/macro/etc. photography and yet, I didn’t have any of these photos hanging in my house. So it came down to this: how can I expect (or hope) that someone else would hang my work in their environment if I’m not displaying my work in my own? What was keeping me from decorating with my own work? Indecision. Perfectionism. And a little bit of fear. So, with my husband’s help, we started by displaying some of my photos in our newly redecorated dining room. And ya know what? It feels pretty good!
- Share your work online. Start a blog, use Instagram, share via Flickr, set up a Facebook page, share on your personal Facebook page…etc., etc.! There’s no wrong answer here…find what works for you and get your work out there! Last year I found that Instagram has been the #1 tool to push me along in my journey as it has allowed me to connect with other female photographers in such a positive way. Plus, seeing the work of others has inspired me and helped me to find my style. Also, I was able to overcome a big hurdle: I created a Facebook page for my portfolio work and shared it with…get ready for this…people I KNEW! Because if there’s anyone who will support you, it will be your family and friends that love you.
- Connect with other photographers (a.k.a. Find your people!) This is a big one that will always be in-progress for me. Through sharing my work online, I have found some of “my people”, but I’m still always wanting to connect…not just to promote my work, but to be inspired and learn. But something was lacking, which brings me to a happy coincidence. Somehow, through a long trail of somewhat unrelated Google searches last spring, I ended up on a website for a local nature photography group. I was intrigued…and I loved what I saw. This was a statewide group of amateur photographers who had a passion for landscape and nature photography…AND, this group had a chapter IN MY TOWN! What? I was so excited. I paid a $35 membership fee for a year and attended the next monthly meeting – all by myself. Each month, this group provides an educational session, and this group also goes on regular field trips in the area, the members share their tips for photography and locations, and they are all incredibly talented. Yes, most of them are retired…but it’s inspiring to see this group of people advance in their art. And, I have learned more than I could have – especially about my local area – than I would have learned by networking solely online. Through this group, I have tried new techniques, visited new places, and have gained confidence to “put myself out there”…which brings me to #4.
- Enter photography competitions – online or local. I started by entering some online competitions (after reading the fine print!) but eventually…I went local. The online competitions I entered were helpful, but I found that the local competitions were more in line with what I want to accomplish with my art. For me, the challenge was not necessarily in winning a competition, but to just submit something that people would actually see. Local competitions are a more active way of helping me achieve one of my goals – which is to display my work in an art gallery. I didn’t get accepted into the first competition I entered…and I was okay with that.I was proud that I simply submitted something! But, I DID get accepted into the second competition I entered which happened to be hosted by my local photography group! There were over 120 submissions and I made it into the group of 50 photos that would be on display for over a month in a local community space. In addition, the photos were judged by a local, professional photographer. To say I was excited would be an understatement. My work would be on display! So my family and some friends went to the opening reception…and the work on display was incredible. I could not believe that I was accepted among these amazing photographers. I turned the corner to see my photo hanging…with a ribbon! That’s right…I won an Honorable Mention for the Landscape category! Being accepted into the competition was enough to keep pushing me towards working on my photography, and to keep sharing my work. The award was just icing on the cake.
- Be confident, be proud, – and remember, all art is subjective. That’s what this all comes down to, right? Be proud of what you’ve accomplished each step along the way. Be confident in the art you’ve produced because, ya know what? Only YOU can produce that piece of art! Yes, there are technical elements to a great photograph…but at the end of the day, if you are proud and happy with your work, THAT is what matters. And maybe there will be someone (or many someones!) who will love your art as much as you love it. But always keep in mind that the beauty of art is that it is subjective – yes, you may have a photo that you absolutely adore, yet you seem to be alone in that feeling. You know what? That’s perfectly ok. Don’t get discouraged…if you’re proud of your work, that is all that matters! There are no wrong answers in photography and art. This is a journey…keep moving forward!
Being that the new year is quickly approaching, I’ve decided to embark on a 365 photo project (i.e., one photo a day, for a year!), beginning January 1, 2015. Truth be told, I attempted this in the fall and completed about 50 days until I fell off the wagon. So what happened? Well, for one, I didn’t carry my DSLR with me every day so I relied heavily on my iPhone…which didn’t always inspire me to take photos. And, I got distracted with life…and the holidays! Even though I didn’t finish the first attempt, I am far from discouraged. It was an excellent warm-up and it allowed me to connect with other photographers out there.
Since I miss the photo-a-day project, in 2015 I will be joining up with the #thebethadillychallenge on instagram, created by Beth from www.bethadilly.com. This way, I’ll have prompts along the way to keep me inspired and motivated. Joining in on #thebethadillychallenge on instagram will be a crucial piece of my Project 365…but it’s not the only piece! I’ve also added this site to the Link Up on Click It Up a Notch.
I welcome you to come back and visit She-Clicks! through the year…the Project 365 is one step in my photography journey. Also, I hope to see you stop by my instagram feed!
Happy New Year!!
She Clicks is a photography blog for female photographers. What makes this blog different from the others is that this is specifically focused on non-portrait/people photography. Don’t get me wrong, there is an incredible amount of beautiful portrait photography out there. along with amazingly talented photographers. However, my personal passion lies in the art of non-human photography – that is, landscape, nature, macro/close-up, pets, wildlife, and photography of all of the little elements that make life so wonderful. In my constant quest to learn more about the art of photography, I’ve noticed two things: 1. a majority of the photography websites and blogs by women – and for women – focus largely on photographing children, families, weddings, etc.; and 2. the websites and blogs that focus on everything else are developed by men. I realized that there was a gap and a need to learn more about photography from other female photographers. Surely I’m not the only woman out there who was looking for an online network of other women who are also mostly interested in photographing non-human subjects! So I took matters into my own hands and She Clicks! was born. I hope to grow this blog into a website that allows women to learn together, grow together, and bond over photography.
She Clicks! is only one part of my photography journey, and I hope it becomes a part of your journey as well!
With that being said…let’s do this!
P.S.: I have a portfolio website called Landscapes of Life and would love for you to visit!