Who's Blocking and Tackling for You?

The last few weeks have been more hectic than usual for a number of reasons, not least of which being getting reading for the exhibition at the RMSP gallery. I basically had a list of things that needed to get done and worked my way down the list until I was done. If I’d wanted to do anything evenly vaguely creative in that time I couldn’t have because I didn’t have the space I need to think. I find that I need some breathing room to have and to develop new ideas, that if I’m flat out busy I just don’t have. How to get that space can require a shift in thinking and attitude. For me whenever I’m feeling that I’ve lost balance and perspective I rely on David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
to get back in control. Typically this involves taking an inventory of all that I have going on, all the projects that I have underway and the associated ‘next actions’. More often than not once I’ve done that I realize that I have more going on than any sane person would commit to and begin saying ‘No’ to any new things that show up until I’m back in a place where I have some time to catch my breath. That’s where I am now, enjoying a break until my next adventure. I’d be interested in how you get back under control and in a place where you can create.

Pictures From An Exhibition

I’m back home after a cool and crazy time in Missoula last week. Hanging my show ‘Going Coastal’ went relatively smoothly, Alyssa and Melanie from RMSP were a huge help in getting the prints up on the wall and in dealing with the problems that cropped up along the way. I even got my name on the window out front. The RMSP staff are terrific and I’m looking forward to having a chance to go back later in the summer.

5 Things I learned Preparing for my RMSP Exhibition

I’m very excited about my upcoming exhibition at the RMSP gallery that runs from May 4 – Aug 3. The opening reception is this Friday May 4 from 5pm – 8 pm. Please do stop by if you get a chance.

I wanted to print and frame the work myself at least this once, even though I know that there are people who tell me that photographers should photograph, printers print and framers frame. It was a good experience and I learned a few things along the way that I should have already known. Here are 5 of those things:

1. It took longer than I was expecting

While I thought that I had a good handle on how long the various steps in preparing, printing, framing and shipping my photographs would take I was very wrong. It’s always the same whenever you’re doing something for the first time, or come back to it after awhile, it takes a while to get into a rhythm that is efficient.

2. Stuff happens

While you can’t know what’s going to go wrong you need to anticipate that something will go wrong and plan and prep before hand to allow you to be able to deal with whatever happens. For me, I ran out of ink while printing the prictures but i was ready for that and had new ink on hand, getting the glass took a little longer than I had expected, and then I broke one of the large pieces of glass. That I hadn’t expected but was lucky in that I had a spare piece on hand from an early framing effort.

3. I enjoyed the process of framing my prints

While the novelty would surely wear off if I were framing dozens of prints a day, I really did enjoy the process of framing my prints. Not sure whether the purists would consider it really framing, in that I bought the glass from a local glazier and the assembled wooded frames and matt-board and then just assembled the sandwich. I enjoyed the process and could see myself doing more of this in time.

4. I like big prints

Until this exhibition the largest I’d printed my images was about 10 x 16. 24 x 36 by comparison seems gigantic and comes with a whole set on handling issues that I wasn’t ready for. For instance, I ended up doing all the framing work on our dining table because I didn’t have another flat surface, other than the floor, that was large enough to deal with both the print and the frame. 44 x 66 would be completely out of the question. It also made me think hard about image quality. When you are up close to your image at that size you see all the imperfections. Even if I don’t print every image at this size in the future, knowing that I might will make me step up my game and look for ways to maximize image quality.

5. The product of the work is the print

While I had always considered that the print was the destination, seeing this project through to a completed set of prints under-scored that thinking. I will certainly make more of an effort than I have in the past to work up images regularly to framed prints, even if it’s only one a month.

My 2012 To Do List

Happy New Year!

I’ve had an extended break from blogging in a vain attempt to catch-up with all of my other responsibilities and draws on my time. I’m not fully caught up but I’m back.

I know a lot of people look forward to the new year with a list of resolutions. I do something similar to that too, although my list is usually a combination of the pragmatic and the impossible. Things that I absolutely need to get done and things that only in my wildest dreams would come true. Usually there’s not a lot of stuff in the middle. In no particular order here are a few of the things from my list:

1. Publish a book of my photographs

It is becoming easier and easier to self-publish. The recent announcement of the Beta version of Lightroom 4 includes integration for Blurb. One can only imagine that a raft of self-published photobooks will ensue. Makes me think that if everyone’s going to be doing it then I’ve missed the boat but then I could say the same thing about photography too!

2. Complete the planning for a trip to Shikoku in early 2012

Shikoku sounds like an interesting place to visit. A little off the tourist path but there is a well known pilgrimage around the 88 temples here. There was an interesting article in the National Geographic Traveller about the island. Check it out here: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/shikoku-japan-traveler/

3. Learn Japanese in anticipation of my Japan trip

While languages are certainly not my forte Shikoku appears to be far enough off the regular visitor trail that some Japanese could come in handy. The Rosetta Stone language immersion program looks like it would be a good way for me to get started.

4. Complete preparation for the show at RMSP gallery

An exhibition of my photographs will be up at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography gallery for 3 months starting the first week in May. Very excited about that. Please stop by and say hello if you’re in Missoula the first Friday in May.

5. Live more sustainably

I’m not much of a tree hugger but when I see things such as the albatrosses that Chris Jordan shows with his work it makes me want to be more conscious of the things I buy and how I get rid of it. Quality over quantity has to be a good thing.

Still on the sustainable living theme – the image below is taken from Azby Brown’s book ‘Just Enough Japan’ which is a look at how the Japanese in the 1600’s facing a lot of the same problems that we face to day dealt with them. Very interesting reading.