Naked and broken...

March 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

barbie color page cindy harperbarbie color page cindy harperCindy Harper crayons The journey to here...

I was teaching a lesson the other day at school about blending colors together using crayons and when I finished creating my example (which was just sketches and not really finished at all) the students were fighting over who could use MY crayons for their project.  They wanted my crayons because their thought was that I had just created something they thought was wonderful with those exact tools.  So, if they used those same tools, they too would find success!  

 

Well those tools were the same ratty crayons buried in a pile of "naked and broken" crayons that everyone for years have been sharing.  You know the kind... labels gone,  speckled with every other flake of color from the others surrounding it... But even so, MY crayons were apparently special.  

 

It got me thinking...  You know people have been attempting to mimic great artists for centuries.  We yearn to find the "secret sauce" that makes what they do seem so easy.  People re-create masterpieces all the time.  We yearn to get inside their heads and think like them.  

Over the years, I have answered the same question many times over... "What camera should I buy?"  

It almost doesn't even matter to be honest...  They are all pretty good these days.  Most people want it for their children who play sports.  

What matters more is that you learn how to use it.  

The camera used to be a magical black box with a steep learning curve.  Photography was a mystery.  Then digital came along.  My, oh my, have things changed quickly!!  When I began this photography journey over 10 years ago something that actually bothered me was the fact that I was able to start a business with absolutely no official training whatsoever.  Seemed a little weird...Was it really possible?  I had no idea what I was doing when I began.  I just happened to make a handful of decent images of my own kid and people noticed.  It sort of fell into my lap.  So I had to learn quickly.  It probably wasn't the smartest way to begin, but I'm being honest.  Just like the hundreds of other people giving it a go... people told me I had an "eye."   I was a fine art major after all, and so I guess I felt like I would get a handle on it.  It was just another tool.  All of my fine art training didn't teach me how to use this digital "box," or how to run a successful and profitable business.  

But I knew ART.. if I could just figure out this "black box."  

 

I had to look for information to guide me through the digital unknown. I had to find out how to use my new "crayon".   

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Well dig is certainly what I did.  I dove in with both feet.  In fact, I, too, thought that perhaps there was a shinier crayon in a newer and more polished box.  I loved the idea of this medium so much and was truly fascinated by what was possible with a digital camera that I signed up for every learning event I could afford.  I'm still learning.  (If you ever think you have mastered this craft you are wrong.  You must never stop learning.)  Information was much harder to come across ten years ago, but I found it.  I read books and took online classes and traveled to events and workshops...  Read books on business and marketing.  I learned that I had a lot to learn.  

All the while.. I was sharpening my "broken and naked" crayon.  

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It took me a while to get a good grip on my "broken and naked crayon" and finally figure out what was possible with it.   I will tell you what kind of camera I have...it's a black one.  Many believed, and still do, that the camera is what creates art.  You see... what I SEE is part of the creation.  What know about light and color and composition is part of the creation.  We all  NOTICE different things from the next person with the same camera.  The camera is my tool.  I tell my camera what to do.  And... I could tell your camera what to do as well.  I am the art... Not the camera.  The camera is my crayon.  I learned what was possible with my "crayon." I pushed my "crayon" to the limit.  I made it work for me.  You see, I learned to "color" in a whole new way.   I, I am the one who made mistakes along the way, mistakes with my camera, with my business, but I, I am the one, who, after learning my camera and it's functions...I am still the art maker.  

And here's the thing....you can have the same tools.  

 

Give me a polished, perfectly new crayon straight from the box, or a naked and broken one from under the couch... I will make art for you.. because I, I am the person who makes the art.  The designer of the set, the color chooser, the idea master.   I have the props and the lights and the knowledge and ability. I am the person behind the black box.  And that, THAT is the most important ingredient.  

There are good crayons and bad crayons... but if you know what you are doing.. you can make something great with either one.  

Of course, my gear was a massive investment as was my education and accessories...  But what I am saying is you could make great things with less.. if needed. You can, indeed, DIY your own photography session...  Not everyone wants to... Not everyone has mastered the tool.  But, information is EVERYWHERE and it's totally possible to get great images at home with a little patience.  Try out your broken crayons.  We all need better images of our day to day. 

What's the secret sauce then?  Time. Time makes you better.  Study art... Learn the gear inside and out.  Practice.  There is no other way. 

Don't throw away the broken crayons.  They are fine.

I guess what I'm saying is...  I am an art maker...It's what I do.  It's always been who I am...  Camera, or no camera...   It's such a major part of me that I am not sure who I am without it.  The camera is one of my many tools...  But so are a million other things. Most images of my kids are taken with my iPhone.  

Why? The VERY best camera is the one you have with you...  Use the tools you have, they aren't broken. 

 

You are my art!  

I am booking just enough sessions to make me feel artistically fulfilled...  And it is SO awesome!  I have some time with my kiddos again!! There are a limited number of spring sessions left.

Thanks to all my super understanding clients!  You guys rock!! 

 

I feel human again.

 

 

I'm already booking fall 2017.  

 

Spring is almost full. And it's not even warm yet.  

 

Cheers and happy coloring.

Cindy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Hey There Friend,

Welcome to my little corner of the universe.  I photograph babies, children families and seniors.  I am a Chillicothe, Carrolton, Marshall Missouri area photographer.  Clients drive from  Iowa and Illinois and Kansas for a shoot.  My specialty is creating a modern day memory wall in your busy world.  Let's see if I can help you.  I work with awesome people.  I occasionally post information here.  I write about family life, photography, and anything nutty that crosses my mind.  I would love to be very good at this, but, life happens and I don't write as much as I should.  So, if you find some new and interesting stuff to read here.. That's GREAT!  Come on in and stay a while..grab a cup of coffee and hang out.  And please.. call me with any questions you may have. 660.542.4037

 

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