When I chose my degree, based on a careful consideration that a) I might decide to be a lawyer and b) I was in a big school and wanted to be in a small school, I found myself studying Philosophy at McGill. In retrospect, I think I chose well. Thinking about life, ethics and meaning was both invigorating and depressing and somehow through it all I learned some excellent skills that I have been able to apply to all of my work. I remember clearly that a professor once taught us early in the degree is that, “You are not philosophers. You are students of philosophy.” That resonated so well with me. What I love most in life is learning and, perhaps to a fault, I consider myself always a student. I learn from everything I see and do. I learn from the people I cross paths with. What I don’t consider myself is an expert in anything because in true philosopher form there is always more to learn. I suppose by now I’ve been doing some things long enough to have reached a certain level of expertise, but ask me to list any of those things and I will likely freeze like a deer in the headlights. In this age of websites and social media small companies can look big and big companies can behave like small companies. The clout that you could only get by following a certain path has a new roadmap no road map at all. The term “expert” and lofty titles are slapped on names willy nilly here and there. It’s almost comedic.
Part I: I am not a photographer
When I was in elementary school I had my first dark room experience. I continued in college spending time in McGill’s dark room developing photos (hmmm I wonder where those are now). I had a basic knowledge of my camera and a fairly good understanding of the process of developing photos. Since then, the lenses I lugged around Europe in a backpack are sitting in a closet somewhere with my relic of a camera. Since then, I’ve acquired a new camera with lots of settings and buttons that I am just now beginning to understand and explore. What has changed is the equipment. What hasn’t changed is my eye. I see everything in pictures and snapshots. Just as I see movement and choreography in music that I hear (less now that I don’t dance as much). I take a lot of photos (as anyone who follows me on Instagram knows all too well). I am a freelance writer so I have flexibility and mobility and I live in an amazing city. I have two busy, active, beautiful (no bias here) children. I have a husband who works his tush off so I can raise our children and pursue other things. It is the combination of all these things that allows me to play with my camera and capture some pretty cool shots.
Having access to all this doesn’t make me a photographer. Yes, I can snap a great photo. I understand light a little bit. I know what I like or dislike when it comes to composition. I get a few great shots because I take a lot of photos and play with my settings. What I can’t do, and what differentiates me from a photographer. I cannot strategically and methodically create the setting for the picture that you may want. I don’t have the equipment or the knowledge to produce a specific photograph on demand. What does this mean? It means I continue to take photos and learn. It doesn’t mean I won’t do a job for someone who wants photos for social media. It means I will take photos for you, but my limitations are your limitations and my fee will always reflect that. If you are a small business that needs a little help with photos for social media, I can do that. If you have a budget for a photographer and need photos for a website, print material and more then I will refer you to the many talented photographers in the area.
Part II: I am not a critic
I have a lot of opinions. I rarely filter my opinions and those who know me well understand that I am a harsh critic but only for things I care about and love. My family perhaps knows this best (for better or for worse). On my blog and in my writing, I do not want to be considered a critic of any sort. That doesn’t mean that I wear rose coloured glasses and sugar coat my writing. It means I don’t have a salary or budget to visit a single restaurant several times in a row, see a performance several times per program, and order multiple pieces from a particular clothing line’s look book. In addition to not having the budget, I don’t really want to be known for my reviews or critiques. I write because I enjoy everything more when I can share it with someone. The joy I get from art, good food, travel, beautiful design, or a great cocktail or glass of wine is so much better when there’s someone there to share the experience with. Do you the see the smile in Boston Ballet Principal dancer Misa Kuranaga’s face in the photo above? What I love about this photo is that little smile and glow. That’s the feeling I get when someone tells me they tried something, went somewhere, did something and enjoyed it as much as I did.
I write about my positive experiences not only to share them with you, but also to support the artists and artisans who share their work in some way with us all. I have to have a pretty bad experience to call out a person or place, because my goal is to share what I love and not waste time on failures and faults.
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