Frustration

Hi all. I hope your lives are calming down from all the holiday craziness, and that things are going on back as usual. I know my life is, though it will be soon up rooted once again once the semester starts back up.

Today I would like to talk about what frustrates me the most when people respond to my statement that one day I would like to have a full time career as a photographer. It’s not “How are you going to support yourself?” or “I hope you have a back up plan” or “At least you took a some classes that could land you a practical job if that photography thing works out.” No these don’t bug me, at least not anymore, as I am very comfortable with my career decision. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but this is what I love.

No, what bugs me the most is the phrase, “I hope one day you’ll be famous” or “You’ll be the next Annie Leibovitz.” I know all these people mean well, and are just being encouraging; however, I did not choose this career because I want to be famous. I love photography, and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Sure, it would be nice to be famous. But it’s not a goal. My goal is just to be able to make a decent living as a full time photography. Famous is probably 9th or 10th on the list of things I would like to accomplish with my life. And let me tell you it’s a short list… So it’s pretty far down there. If it happens, it happens. If it doens’t, well at least I accomplished everything else and I will be happy with that.

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Realization

Have you ever had those moments where you figured out what you exactly what you wanted to do with your life? Or least you realized something you liked about yourself? Well I had one early this month. I had received my first Dance Photography job for a showcase event at a local studio back in November. The event was set for December 14th, so I had about a month to get really really nervous prepare.

When the day came, I was completely excited, and super nervous at the same time. I really wanted to make a good impression with the studio and dance professionals I was working with as well as the dancers, and parents of dancers who attended. Who wouldn’t be nervous about that? I made it through the event with only a minor crisis regarding memory cards and me not realizing that I reached capacity until I tried taking more pictures and I got the cute little “CF FULL” where my light meter should have been… Luckily no one noticed, except for those closest to me and my computer.

For four hours I was living my dream. I was taking photos basically non-stop (my only breaks were the 1-2minutes between sets). And it wasn’t just mindless snapping of photos either. Between focusing, zooming, and making sure my camera was receiving enough light, my brain was thinking at a mile a minute (and that’s more than I can say for my current day job). By the end of it my head was spinning, not only because I saw that I had taken about 930 photos during those four short hours, but also because how much I actually did during the day, and how much I had to be on top of my game. It truly was an exhausting experience for those who haven’t experienced anything like that before.

But being exhausted wasn’t a bad thing for me. I was incredibly happy as well. It was in that cold hobble walk back to my car, and relatively quick (but sleepy) drive home did I realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Sure, I knew abstractly that Dancesport Photography is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but actually living it completely set that into stone. There are no questions, no ifs, ands, or buts.

I am so grateful that I was able to have this experience, and to have been able to share my love of dance and photography with the dancers in my local community. I am also proud to say that I was able to network at the event and am looking forward to the future.

If you want to see the photos from the event, go a head and check out my new website for my business: Anastasia Poulos Photography. I hope to add a blogging section to that website too where I will go into more details about the events I shoot at. Also feel free to stop by my Facebook Page and give it a “Like” and my Indiegogo Campaign!

I’m Finally Done!

Hello all! As of 2pm today, Tuesday Dec 17th, I am done with this semester. May the grades roll in. Overall I think this semester went pretty well, and there was only the one class that I completed loathed (digital media). But I will take the positive outlook and say that I am so glad that there are people in the world who love doing that sort of stuff, and that I discovered I was not one of them. I like editing and doing MINOR touch ups to my own photos, but that’s about the extent of how I want to use those skills I learned in this class. So until late January, I am home free in terms of school.

Things may get quieter on this blog for a couple of reasons. First being that my Indiegogo Campgain has met goal! Thanks to my wonderful family I was able to reach my $500 goal. The campgain will still run throug mid-January, per Indiegogo’s regulations. So feel free to stop by and check it out for a bit. With the campgain being succesfull, I will be creating my own website on zenfoilio.com. I am in the works of using the trial time to set it up and get it exactly where I want it, but I will let you know when it is up and running. This hosting site for photographers has a pre-made blogging platform on it. I plan to use it for the professional side of my business.

Now it comes to this blog. I don’t know exactly where I want to take this as I am taking most, if not all of my photography stuff over there. I think what I will do is keep this one active at least through my remaining 2 semester to post projects I am working on at school, while keeping the other one competely professional. Let me know in the comments below whwat you think of this plan.

And while you are at it feel free to check out Facebook Page, Twitter and Indiegogo Campaign for the latest updates of what I am doing with my photography!

Class Update

Hello all!

So the semester is winding down (only one week to go before finals) and I though I would give you an overall update of what’s been going on.

In painting we have been working on our final two. The first is a 24x36in canvas and it could be whatever we wanted it to be. So I chose dancing (of course). It took me WEEKS to figure out what to paint. I probably went through 10(!) different sketches until finally my professor let me start working with my canvas. Here is the painting so far:

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It’s an abstraction of a develope. It’s a high extended leg position that you develop (here’s your ooo moment) over a certain measure of beats. I still have a lot to work on. During critique the major issue was I need to be more loose and really let my paint brush dance across the canvas… We shall see how that goes.

Our second painting also could be whatever we wanted. In this past week, I’ve been working on a few sketches of it. Here are my two sketches:

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The basic idea is dancers on a dance floor. The size of the canvas will be 36x48inchs! Crazy big but I think it will work well with this idea. The top sketch is the first one I painted. I just wanted to get my basic idea across. I did one other that I am not showing here that does not reach the boards of the paper (like the first one), but where the brushstrokes and colors are more defined, like the bottom one. Now my professor pulled me aside and said he really like the concept but wanted to show me how different the feel would be with clear boarders. The sketch became more than just the paint, and the experience of the paint. The layers of color became more defined and the boarders added more depth to the painting, which I enjoyed. This led me to my third and final sketch (the bottom image). I really do look forward to painting this next week.

In digital media we created a magazine of our artwork. We had to make a front cover, a back cover, and an interior. For the covers we had to use Illustrator.  We had to make the front and the back covers really pop, and show our use of Illustrator. They could not be basic. They also had to be cohesive with each other. For the interior we used InDesign. We came up with our own artist statements and added photographs of our work thus far. I used a lot of my photography, and a few pieces from my casting and painting class. This has been my favorite project thus far. Unfortunately I do not have any picutres of it. We also just completed our animation project, which I disliked even more than our photoshop projects. We are currently working on our websites using Dreamweaver. I’m not in love with this project either, but such is life.

In photography, I have been focusing my efforts on ballroom dancing. I photographed our comepition, DCDI, on a 3200 speed roll. Here are a few pictures from that:

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As you maybe able to tell, this film has a lot more grain to it, which gives it an almost darker quality to the prints. I really like this feel and I think I’m going to use this speed film for all competitions from here on out. It also allows to shoot in lower light situations which is great for competitions.

I have also focused on getting some of the members of my club to let me take pictures of their practice and classes. I am still working on printing those, but I hope to have more completed next week.

That’s all I have for today! Until next time, check out my facebook page and indiegogo campaign to see more of my work and to learn about what I am currently working on!

 

Indiegogo Campaign

As  you may or may not have noticed, I now have a new page to go see on this blog entitled Indiegogo Campaign. It will take you to a page that briefly tells you what I am doing and why. In this post I am looking to go more indepth of why I started this campgain, and why it means so much to me.

As you know if you have been following, art, specifically photography, is my first love and my life choice in terms of career. Over the past three years at Maryland, I have grown as a person and as an artist and have come to terms with what I want to do with my life. I have made up my mind that I want to be a photographer. It’s not an easy choice to make, in fact it is quite daunting. It’s a highly saturated field, with a huge failure rate, and sporadic income. Well doesn’t that sound like a bundle of joy. But working at my part time, secure job has made me realize that I don’t want to be stuck at a desk all day for the rest of my life. I would be miserable. So I made that leap. I promised myself that I want to be a full time photographer in the very near future.

Ok the hard part of deciding what I want to do with the rest of my life is over. Whew… Got that stuggle out of the way. But what’s this? A whole nother slew of struggles of how to get from Point A, “now I know what I want to do”, to Point B, “making the dream the reality.” That’s where this blog comes in. I decided that I wanted to get my art work out there and hopefully start a gathering of people, while also talking about my second love dance. It was in this almost half a year of blogging (gosh has it really been that long?) that I realized that I wanted to mesh the two together. I have been dancing since I was little, and in college I fell in love with ballroom dancing. And you know what they say, stick to what you know. Well I know photography, and I know dance– so why not tailor my portfolio to dancing.

That makes it one step closer to getting to Point B. In the latter half of this semester, I have been using my photography class to just sit down and force myself to just take ballroom photos. And guess what, my photographs have turned out better because of two reasons. The first being is that I understand my subjects. I understand how their bodies move. And I have been developing my skills to understanding how and when I should snap that photo. The second reason being is that I actually enjoy taking these photos. It does show in your work when you truly love what you are doing. There is a certain care and love that comes out in those photographs. I do not feel like this is work when go into these photo shoots, because it’s fun. I am not constantly check to see how my shots are left in my roll of film. In fact, half the time I don’t realize that I only have one shot left and am completely surprised when my camera starts rewinding the film back into the canister.

I have also started a facebook page, which I will link to below, to further showcase my photography. In the past 2 weeks that it has been up, I have gained 85 “likes,” which is amazing! I am truly pleased with the outcome so far! I have also been connecting with the local ballroom community, and I hope to have a few events lined up in the future. I have also been in contact with the school’s Student Start Up Incubator, Startup Shell, to gain business advice and support for the next year I will be attending school. All of these things above are what I have done to get be to my ultimate goal of Point B.

Now I am in need of some help. As you know, I am a college student, which means I have a limited access of funds. I work part time, but it is usually only enough to get me food, gas, and  supplies during the school semester. Right now, to grow my business even further, I want to start a full fledge website for my photography. I want to be able to professionally showcase my art, as well as provide client access for prints. Unfortunately I do not have the funds to create one myself. This is where you, my readers and followers, come into play.

I have started up an Indiegogo Campaign for my website (link below). I am asking for $500 dollars to set up my website. The cost includes webhosting the main page with wordpress.org, and the webhosting through zenfolio for the photography portion of the website. I am currently at 20% of my total goal. If you can, I would greatly apprciate any support you can offer. Whether it be donating to the campaign, or sharing the campaign with your friends and family. This would mean so much to me. Thank you so much in advanced and for all the support you have given me thus far.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe holiday!

LINKS:

FACEBOOK PAGE

INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN

Painting: Post Midterm

Ok, so you know how paint was going really well… Well now it’s not. We have now moved on from learning techniques, do using those techniques to come up with our own post-modern (as that’s the current era of art we are in) painting. I’m trying to do dancers, because that’s what I know… But every sketch I do just isn’t coming out right. My professor is trying to get me draw influence from the futurist painters. But I’m still having trouble. Every sketch I show him isn’t quite what he’s looking for. I tried going down to the art library to find a folio of futurist art, but guess what… It’s no where to be found. The catalog system says that it is shelved, but is it on the shelf? Nope. Is it on one of the reshelving carts? Nope. The clerk at the desk said she would have someone contact me once they find it, but right now I don’t have a lot of faith.

I completely understand why my teach is pushing me towards a more futurism approach to my painting. The futurists really focused on creating movement in their works. Futurism came out of the Cubist movement. The Cubists wanted to showcase every side of the image they were painting. Futurists, however, wanted to show that thing in motion. One of the more famous paintings is the dog walking on the leash. 

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As you can see in this painting, the dog, the leash, and the feet all are in the various stages of walking. You can see the progression from one end of the canvas to the other. My professor wants me to lean towards this style of painting, but be even more abstract. He is especially pushing me this way since I am not the greatest drawer in the world. In fact, drawing is my weakest area of the art world. Thank goodness I love photography, right? Hopefully I can come up with something soon, as I have until the end of the semester to come up with 2 more paintings, including the current one I’m working on now.

The reason I’m spending so much time on my sketches is because he commented that was the weakest part of my Mid-Term Review. He stated that he wanted me to work more on my sketches so that I have a clearer and more precise map for the canvas itself. And he’s completely right. If you have a really good road map on the small scale, the larger scale will go so much faster, and will turn out better in the end. I hope I can come up with some really good final sketches soon so I don’t fall too far behind.

Healthy Mind

When it comes to any type of career or hobby that is subjective, it is very easy to slip into a bad state of mind. Take competitive ballroom as an example. You practice, take lessons, buy the proper attire, do you hair and make up, in order to please a 4-6 judges to make it to the final, if not first place. Almost everything a serious competitive dancer does it to please someone else. I can just hear some of them now saying “No, I only do this for myself, it’s fun!” Say that to me with a straight face a long with the phrase “I really don’t care about my placement.” This this sport, as with many other artistic sports, we are looking for that stamp of approval from an outside source to say that we are doing everything right, or that we are improving. The problem with this sort of attitude it can lead down a terrible path inside the mind that could lead to a breakdown. And no one wants that.

There is a real problem with having your only self-worth coming from an outside source. Maybe you only have this attitude for dancing, but it still isn’t healthy. You need to have confidence in your own dancing first, before anyone else can boost it. Now I’m not saying this because I have it all figured out… Please, I’m a college student whose job is to please people to earn good grades. Even when it comes to dance sometimes I even forget this concept, and rely on judges marks to affirm my dancing self-worth. I’m saying this so that we can work together on keeping our minds and body happy. There are so many factors that go into judging you on the floor. First, judges at most only have about 3 seconds to look at you. 3 seconds. They don’t see all the hard work you put into your dancing. They don’t see all the coaching sessions you’ve done. They didn’t see your amazing practice rounds this past week. They only see those three seconds of dancing, and it better be a good three seconds if you want that callback.

But like I have been saying all throughout this post, getting called-back isn’t the end all and be all of dancing. You have to realize that, no matter the call backs, you have done well. You have improved. It is very unlikely that you haven’t improved. As long as you have taken lessons, private or group, and you have practiced what you have learned in those lessons, you are making progressed. You have improved from day one. Just take a look at your old dance videos. Cringe worthy yes, but they will give you perspective and let you know that you have improved. Also talking to your coach can give you some perspective. They can tell you what you did right, and what you did wrong at the competition. More likely then not, they will say that yes you did this and this wrong and you could have done this better, but these other things you still did really well.

Although we do this crazy competitive sport to win, we also do this because we like it. If you don’t like it, you shouldn’t be on the floor. Just remember that knowing that you are improving, and that you enjoy dancing is what really matters in this game. It’s not the ribbons, or the satisfaction of someone else putting their stamp of approval on your dancing. Those things are nice. But in the end it’s your how you view your dancing is what really matters. As long as you feel like you are improving and getting somewhere that’s what counts.

I Don’t Know

There are a lot of things I don’t know, but the one thing I am struggling with right now is selling myself. I am having this issue of trying to write this email to an event manager to see if I can get a spot as being one of the event photographers. I have this huge lists of reasons of why this would be a great opportunity for me to take photos at this event, but my list of why they should hire me… consists of nothing. Besides being cheap, why would a large event want to hire a student photographer? The only positive thing that currently sets me apart from the other photographers they have hired in the past is that I really want to shoot the event on film and on digital. It would provide them with a completely different feel to the photos. Films’ grains give a warmer, softer feel to photos sometimes then pixels. I would be the only one at the event shooting with film. Of course I would definitely have my digital camera with me as well to take pictures, as I can take a lot for very little cost on my end. And I’m not asking for a lot on their end. All I really want is a chance to shoot, and to have my room and travel expenses covered, which is a lot cheaper than hiring a photographer on for the full weekend. If anyone out there has any advice of selling oneself to a potential client please comment below. Any suggestions are welcome!

Major Class Update!

Gah sometimes the time gets away from me and I completely forget to post. This is one of those times. So I have a couple updates about the classes. The first painting in completed, yay! Here is a quick look at it.

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I offically turn it in along with painting number two next week on the 24th for our midterm. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!

The second painting that I mentioned is a series of four smaller paintings done on a 24×24 canvas, each image being 12×12. Here we are learning four different techinques, overpaint/underpaint, wet in wet, glazing, and impasto. The first techinque, overpaint/underpaint, is exactly what it sounds like, layers of paint overlaping each other to form the final design. Think impressionist. The second, wet in wet, involves adding paint on top of paint and smoothing the colors together to great a more blurry line of transitions between colors. Glazing, the third techinque, involves adding a thick, white medium to the canvas, and adding very light layers of pure colors and shades (adding black) to it. This gives you the purest and brightest colors out of all of the techinques. Also note, we do NOT add any tints, or adding white to our colors, in glazing. We only go down the color scale. Impasto is the last techinque we are applying to our canvas. This also involves adding medium to our canvas, but instead of trying to acheive really rich and vibrant hues, we are trying to ad visable, touchable texture to the piece. We are trying to build up the surface of the canvas to really make certain objects pop of the canvas.

So far I have only  managed to finish my overpaint/underpaint. I think I am almost done with my wet in wet, but I have not touched the other two. I have brought my canvas home with me to work on the wet in wet so that I can focus competely on the other two techinques on Tuesday in class. Here is what I have so far.

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Although I haven’t been able to print much in photog, I have been able to get one picture competely finished and I have taken about 4 rolls now on film. It is from our Vantage Point roll. In this roll, we were suppose to take 4 objects and take 10 images of 3 of the objects, and 6 of the last (on a 36 count roll). The ones my professor liked the most of were the pictures of my beat up practice shoe for dance.

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It’s probably really hard to see in this quick snap shot of the photo, But I took this on a cloudy day, with probably a mid shutter speed (around 1/250 or 1/500 of a second) and a low depth of field (probably around 4.0 aperture). This caused the background to blur out a bit to make the shoe really pop. On the enlarger I used the fspot (aperture) 8, which is a middle range of light, for a total exposer of 3 seconds. I dodged, or waved a piece of cardboard around to block the light, the shoelace area in order for that information to come up. I did this instead of lowering the time or aperture anymore so because the rock and front part of the shoe looked perfectly exposed, while that one area looked a bit too dark. I might do one more print, and dodge that area for the entire 3 seconds.

Finally I have completed two projects for digital media. Below is an image  from the first project. In this project we had to take 15 items, scan them, and then use them in compositions. Plot twist, we could not make it look like a cut and paste image. We had to use the objects to create a whole new environment. This was incredibly hard for me to do, but I ended up with the three compositions. This class is truly pushing my creativity. The image below used bobby pins, rhinestones, a sheet, a lock, and sweater to create a stormy sea setting.

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Let me know what you think of my work in the comments below, or feel free to link me to some of your work. With my club’s competition coming up I will prepare a couple posts about ballroom and competing!

Painting Continued

Hello everyone! I hope you all have had a good week. So yet again, I am still further in painting than the other two studio classes that I am taking at the moment. In photography we shot one color roll so far just to make sure our camera’s work. I knew mine did but I had to shoot it anyway. I had the film developed at a CVS and they totally messed it up. The paper they used was fogged, meaning the pictures, though taken with a working camera and with sa person who is used to taking photos on full manual, looked under exposed. This made me incredibly angery, but I’m moving on. Also I learned the lense I used for this role is meant only for my digital camera. It causes a vignetting around the image. Lesson learned there. If you would like, I can make a serpate post about those two errors.

As for digital media, things are going slow. I am really not used to creating a whole new image out of nothing with photoshop. What this project entails is taking 5 scanned objects and turning them into a completely different composition. We need 3 of these compositions, meaning 15 total scanned objects. We have a critique next Wednesday and I am worried about it. I am really at a loss of what to do. But hopefully this weekend I can figure it out.

Okay, on to my painting class. On Tuesday we had to turn in the sketches that I had posted on last week. We also started on the 18×24″ canvas on Tuesday as well. I started out taking vine charcole, which is meant for use on canvas and paint, to get the general sketch out on the canvas. Then my professor came over, approved of my small scale sketch as told me to make the shoes on the canvas much, much bigger in order to really activate the canvas and the compostition.

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This is just the start out the outline I did in vine charcole. You can see all the renditions I did before I was satisfied with how it looked as a sketch. Next we started on the cartoon. Now this isn’t the normal type of cartoon you would normal think of in the newspaper. In painting, cartooning is laying on a layer of black paint, and only black paint. Now you may say, “Well, what’s the point of adding only black? Wouldn’t that that just make your canvas one giant blob of black that would destroy your sketch?” My answer, no. In cartooning, you dilute the paint, acryllic in this case, with medium. Medium is a viscus fluid that thins the paint and evenly distributes the pigment. Using only water to thin the paint would not distribute the pigment evenly. We cartoon the image in order to let the white stand out when we paint over the cartoon. It gives the white paint a chance to pop, instead of blending in with the white canvas.

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This image is of the beginning of the cartoon I did for this project. You can see a greyscale come out. This is from strict black paint, with only medium added. Today, I finished the cartoon and I started to add the first layer of paint to the image. We started out with figuring out where our blackest blacks would go, and then moving up the greyscale from there, all the way to the whitest white. I had a basic idea of where I wanted to go. As you know, I really do love putting movement, or the idea of movement in my art work. So I really wanted to explore that in this painting. So I really let the brush strokes come through. I tried not to blend them together, and just let the paint and the brush dictate the movement in the painting.  I think I am really starting to get that down in the painting. I still need to work on the painting a bit more. I think we are still working on it through next week, so we shall see where I decide to go with it. Below is where I left off today before I left class. Let me know what you think in the comments!

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