Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The importance of being able to explain your work

Explain your work. Verbalize it. Talk about it. Express it. What does it mean? Why did you decide to do it that way? What does this mean to you? What were you trying to express? What is your favorite part about this image? Thanks to a conversation I had last night, I now really understand the importance of these questions. I also fully understand the importance of the answers as well.

 These are words, and questions that every artist and art student has heard before. These are the things that people want to know. People being professors, other artists, gallery owners, curators or just the every day viewer. They want to know more about the art. They want a deeper connection.

Until I started art classes in college, did I really experience these questions. Or so these demands. (In the intent of this article, the word demand is used in a positive manner.) My first college art class was taught by my favorite instructor. Mr. David Holmes. That was my first experience with a whole class critiquing each students work. The first thing he would always ask me is, how do you feel about it? What do you like? What don’t you like? Those seemingly simple questions would make me hesitate before spewing out my answer. David would then add his thoughts, and asked the class their thoughts. The whole process was always nerve wracking. It would make me cringe. I think it would make me cringe due to the fact that I was putting my heart out there. When those words would come out of his mouth and would form those questions, I was not just letting those paintings (at the time I was taking a general art class that consisted of mostly creating paintings) speak I had to verbally explain things.

Fast forward to the present time…. I am in my fourth year of photography school, and this demand of explaining things has grown ten fold. The importance of being able to verbalize your work was the top of the things to learn on the lesson plan. Even being in my fourth year, the professors express that rule like it was your first year.  At first I thought that explaining your work was just because it was online classes, and you need dialog to create a learning experience. Because in that venue of learning  that is what you rely on. I didn’t think words could weigh that much.

I wasn’t too comfortable with verbalizing what I was relying on speaking for me. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand that there really is a lot more behind an image. When my professors would ask about my images, I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t expecting to have to explain them. I was na├»ve. What really freaked me out, was that they didn’t want to know what the picture was of, they wanted to know the tough stuff, the stuff I wasn’t even sure of. They wanted to know if I could intellectualize my pictures into sentences. They wanted to know if I could take my work into the next level of professionalism. Thank the world for online classes, because I was lost. With online classes, I didn’t have to respond right away. There was time to think and contemplate. I didn’t know what to say or how to explain the emotions, feelings, and concepts that I created in these images. I thought the image was going to do that for me.

During class, I have seen some amazing work from other students. Those students sometimes can’t put the words to the image, and the image gets lost in the sea of my brain. You can have a strong image that gets people too look at it, but if you can’t explain it, then you might have missed the chance to have that image stick with the viewer. There is something comforting about being able to explain your image to someone, and also being a viewer of art I am comforted to hear those things about the image. There is a connection that is created. That connection can keep the image alive in someone’s memory, and to me that is one goal any artist could agree on- to be remembered.

Being able to articulate your work, is a must. You must be able to tell someone about that piece of work you did, create that connection, create that comfort, and create that memory. When I hear professors say how important that skill is, now I can fully appreciate what they are telling me. I can agree and understand that is a skill I need to master. Now when I hear professors, or other professional artists speak of their work, I get it. I understand why they must verbalize. A picture is worth a thousand words, so use them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Jacksonville, NC county fair
Jacksonville, NC county fair

This coming September I am taking a matting and framing class. I am very excited about this. I have always wanted to cut my own mats, but now I will be able to do it for sure! The reason why I haven't starting doing that, is because I cannot cut a straight line. Haha... Plus I have heard some horror stories. Now, it is my turn to learn how to cut my own mats. This will hopefully open up some new doors for me to experiment with sizes, and custom orders. I hope this will be a freeing and positive class. I will keep you guys posted with the results.


Band shoot...

I have many friends that are into the music scene. Some of which I have known for the longest time, and are close friends of mine. Well, these gentlemen were in a band together for a great while. Unfortunately the band is no longer together, but before their untimely demise I was honored when they asked me to take some band pictures! By the way it seems like that phrase is somewhat dry and dull (band pictures, blah). I took them out to a few of my spots that I have gone shooting at, and I had such a blast telling these five guys what to do. Hahah..But really, I loved the connection of the guys, the locations, and the results I was getting. They wanted to call it a wrap, and I just couldn't help but keep dragging them to new locations. Either way, they loved the results, and that to me all that matters.. Here they are....

P.S. In only three of these images did I use slight photo editing to just add tints or vignetting.

If you or anyone you know would like band images taken, I would jump at a chance to do this again. Please contact me if you do!

Just pictures

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In honor of my two oldest nieces...

This post is in honor of my two oldest nieces. It was both of their birthday's with in the past two months. You might ask yourself how this ties into my photography...and that is that they both are two of my favorite people to shoot pictures of. This is a small fraction of my short stint in portrait work from the last two years. I am not an avid portraitist, they just are not my thing. Like always I had a blast with each of these shoots.  



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This has grown to be one of my favorite images from last semester. I am so glad I saw this, stopped, walked backwards to it, and captured this image.

 I just like these... simple, clean, and quiet.

This is a Ralph Gibson "remake". He is one of the masters of photography who does amazing, amazing work. Make sure to check out his photos. (This image was done for a school assignment 3 years ago.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thank you Milwaukee Domes Art Festival!

My booth number/my booth space! Isn't it pretty?
My whole booth set up, on one cart!!

Here are some pictures from this past weekend at my very first art fair! I was booth 30, in the best spot (I believe). My booth was tucked away in a corner at the end of the corridor. You can some what see what is taking shape as the corridor of booths in a couple of my images. I really enjoyed the lay out of the festival. I just wish the music was more audible from where my booth was, but I was very pleased otherwise.

I was very thankful to have met SO many great people. That was the most marvelous thing about the weekend. It was great to hear what people thought about my images, and how they saw them in their eyes.  It was surprising to see the reactions people had when I told them it was my first show. I am glad that it was a surprise to people. It made me smile. Everyone was nice and gave me encouragement to continue to keep going. It is funny, because going into this, I was nervous, negative, and out of my mind, but after it was all over with, I was a little sad to leave the positive energy of the weekend behind. That energy will keep me going for a while though.
Since this was my first show, my booth set up was quite modest. The "walls" that my work is hanging from, is a whole DIY project that took a day to create. The boxes that my images were in are all thrift store/rummage sale finds. I heard a few people comment on my vases, that my flowers were in, and those I painted as well!! Well, it isn't paint, it is actually alcohol ink. Cool huh? I thought my setup was a pretty good reflection of myself, and my work.
It started raining, then thunder storming on Sunday... Only for a little bit.    

It's a giant dome!!!

I love the light in this image...
Art fairs have been something I have wanted to do since high school. It was nice to finally dip my toes into it. After being an attendee for many years, I can now say, I am a participating artist. There were many things I was worried about getting ready for this event. I tried to do as much research as possible, and I tried to not let things ruin my drive to do this. Negative feelings and being overwhelmed with getting ready for this art festival really made it hard to not give up. Thanks to my close support group, I went through with it, and I couldn't be happier. The results were more then I could have ever asked for. The connections with people, and the first sales of my art, were small milestones in my photography endeavor. I want to thank everyone again for all the support, gracious words, time spent talking with me, asking questions, and standing there gazing at my work.  

Of course, if anyone has any questions or comments please feel free to share or ask!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Milwaukee Domes Art Festival...this weekend!!

I have a pretty big weekend coming up. This weekend is going to my very first shot at doing an art festival. I am shall we say....nervous? I am trying not to use any colorful language, so in the simplest way, I am nervous! Haha... I am, however, excited and ready to go out there and meet new people. I have been in a pretty down mood lately, and I am so ready to go talk to people about PHOTOGRAPHY! Yay!!

Since this is my first art fair I have been busy busy busy getting things together, thinking on my set up, and researching everything I think I could. No matter how much you think you are prepared, nothing prepares you for the things that actually happen, or don't happen. Last weekend, I spent about 15 hours building my set up. Tomorrow is the actual set up day, then Friday will the be the opening day of the festival. I am going to tell you, I am really excited about this art festival, because it has food and music! Two of my loves....(other then art) There will be a great variety of music acts during these three days. I cannot wait to check out some of the bands and other performers.

Anyways, I will be posting pictures of my set up and everything later next week. So make sure you stop back and check them out! Sorry if this post is pretty scattered. I have so many things running through my head it is insane. I want to thank all of the many other bloggers, and websites that helped in my aid of getting ready for my first art fair. I just love that with this phenomenon of the Internet that I can get the advice from so many people. I truly love it.

I am going to stop blabbing now, and I hope to meet some great people out there this weekend, and make sure to check back for an update on how the show went, and also PICTURES!!!

Katie Jean

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yea, I am an Ok Photoshop-er

Before PS-ing

After PS-ing

Yea, It's OK for my first time.

Reflections, oh my weakness...

I think I am weird, because I love reflections!! I am always so drawn to them, and to the possibilities that reflections offer. Honestly, I have about 400 or more reflection images, and I still can't get enough of them. It is my weakness. I think one day it would be crazy exciting to have a show of all reflection images. Hm, maybe that will be on my long list of things to do...

This first set of images, was taken for a street photography assignment. Since it was my first "official" ( official meaning school assignment, assignment) I was overwhelmed with it. The day I took these was a freezing cold day in November. That really made it more difficult to capture some great street shots. Side note, my class mates, and I all asked why in the world would you have a street photography assignment in November!? But, anyways, I was again draw in by the reflections of people, in a place where they felt more comfortable, and I was on the outside looking in. I liked this assignment and the fun I had with people on the street that wanted me to take their picture, or the ones who didn't. haha....

This set of images, is a set I took back in 2009 while on a visit to Wisconsin. These images, are all reflections in the Racine Art Museum window that is located down town. Some images are of the Johnson building next to the Racine Art Museum, and some are just reflections of the things in the museum window. This has always been on of my favorite series. A lot of people are really drawn to these images as well.

Purchase my work on Society6!