For me, today is a new beginning. It is the birth of "The Photo Schmoozer" , my new persona, and I am excited to present this concept to you, my friends. In November, 2007 (only 8 short months ago) I signed up for a Creative Photography class at Gloucester County College here in southern NJ. I had been a vacation snapshot person and wanted to discover what else I could add to my world. The instructor was lively, the group was welcoming and I began to develop my own identity within the photography world. The camera I took to class I call Baby Fuji", fx31, a compact point & shoot pocket camera . It fits in my pocket and has always been there for me. This began an eye opening relationship and love affair with my world. I have always been joyous, exuberant and curious, but somehow with the camera, I saw differently and more. I looked at everything and everyone around me as a potential subject. WOW!
Now I was seeing through mulitple lenses:
1. The lens of my eye
2. The lenses of my glasses (been wearing them since I was 9!!)
3. The lens of my camera
4. The lens of my heart...my intuition
5. The lens of my experiences
and the filters of my experiences and perceptions of people and my world.
Within weeks, I quickly discovered that "technical stuff" like ISO, aperture, depth of field, etc. made me weary, my eyes blur, and my mind fuzzy. (Thus the first picture on this blog...what I did during a technical discussion - took off my glasses so I could have "clear vision" from my heart! ) I wanted to see and to see things differently! This was my gift to me. We saw a video in class with DeWitt Jones, a National Geographic photographer, and I got this message: BE OPEN TO ALL OF THE POSSIBILITIES, and when you think you have exhausted them, turn around and there are more!! The world is a wide open "studio".
Throughout my professional career as a teacher and workshop facilitator, I realized that I had a gift of guiding people to discover themselves and recognize the special individuals that they are. For me, it was easy. I simply "schmoozed" and empowered people to feel good about themselves. Others have shared that they are "scared to death"! What do I mean by schmoozing??? Here are some of my thoughts and I would guess that you have more to add. Together we will build the definition.
1. Actively and intentionally engaging people in relationship building
2. Asking good questions and then LISTENING
3. Making it easy to get in touch
4. Conversing casually/chatting idly
5. Using myself and the camera as a "friend maker"
I have taken to extending this schmoozing to my photography. How do I do this? That is the focus (no pun intended) of this new blog. I want to share some of my photo adventures and how I "dance" with people and tell people's stories. I want to ask you to share yourself and your skills as well. I find that most people, if approached respectfully, love to be flattered, have their pictures taken, and share their stories! It makes them feel worthwhile.
As the days go on, we will talk about building relationships, how to listen, how to approach people with body language and words, how to gather and share people's stories and... on and on. I believe that this forum will only be limited to the energy and creativity that I and YOU, my friends, put into this.
My main forum for picture posting is Flickr ( I use the name "daretoaffirm", also my consulting business www.daretoaffirm.com ) and I have met many friends from around the world who share my same philosophies of "be still" and engage people. We are all story tellers. My wish is that we ALL facilitate each other's learning. No one is a teacher but we are all mentors and facilitators of learning. We are ALL experts in our own special ways.
Post your comments or send your picture and words in an email and I will make sure that this gets out to the world. firstname.lastname@example.org
My wish...this is new, so let's be patient, open and understanding with each other as we go forward on this adventure together.
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