BE STILL...and SEE Photography

Reflecting on who I am...what is important to me...and the gifts I offer the world, I have reorganized this PhotoSchmoozer blog into separate pages for your viewing. I am about so much...people - relationships - drums and rhythms and especially photography...and I realize that although separate, they are all so INTEGRATED into the Whole of who I am!! It's a very peaceful thought and I am thankful for the intuitive gift to see the connections and the relationships. Enjoy the journey through the blog...and WELCOME.
Contemplative photography is about being totally present and seeing exactly what is before you, without filters or judgment. It is about seeing with your heart.Doesn't everyone see what is before them? Not really. You may see a candle on a table. Do you also see the shadows it creates? Or the reflections that the light casts on it? Or it's underlying shape and form?

DRUMS, Rhythms and Relationships

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In My Own Little World

It's been a long time. A few days after I wrote the last blog about adventuring in Kensington section of Philadelphia with 'the gang', I opted for surgery! Yes, it was by choice if you can consider that getting rid of pain is a choice. The right foot was looking funny and then skewed the spine and the rest of the body. My doctor said "I was an interesting woman" and proceeded to tell me all of the things going on with my toes that made this so. Lucky you...this is about photography and seeing - not my medical ills!! So I am now the lucky owner of straight toes (though I won't know that for days yet til we go back for a check up) and this big ugly black open toed boot that is my faithful companion for six weeks. I am confined...and not champing at the bit like I thought I might. I almost find it relaxing to sit upstairs in the recliner with my foot up on a bunch of pillows.

But wait!!! This is about the PhotoSchmoozer and seeing. What can I do if I can't go out and about?!? Well...simple my photography friends...stay in and within and see what is right in the world around me. There are windows to the outside and amazing little wonderful things right here in this room that have lots of meaning. My niece Rebecca found some cute little duckies at the local hobby shop, so there too are photo ops. Then there are all of my 'chatchkas', goddess statues...the choices are infinite. In the days to come, I will share some of those. For healing in my chair. As the New Year approaches, I can be filled with gratitude - a foot on the way to healing, a great new job and wonderful family and friends who nurture and care. Happy Days and always be still to just look around you. It is amazing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shopping the Avenue

It was a cold and blustery day. Now you can tell that from the way people are dressed?!? Hats and scarves; heavy jackets and gloves. Isn't the hat on the little guy cute? How come kids can more easily get away with that cute stuff anyhow? When we got there, very few people had ventured out. There were those guys who were selling their wares (I'll introduce them another day), some delivery people and a few guys walking the street. There were some hanging around a program for AA and NA, and others who were walking up the street having gotten free bread from the food bank or shelter. As we were there, and it warmed up a bit, the 'ladies' and the women with children seemed to come out to look at the round racks of clothing out on the sidewalk, head into the stores to buy Christmas decorations and just look at 'stuff'. What fascinated me were the variety, sizes and shapes of the people - ages too, and the colors they dressed in. There were coats and jackets, of every type of fabric - even the 'big' guy with his fur coat and red shoes (he'll come visit the blog another day!" We spent several hours. Some people we just photographed walking along the street; others I chatted up and asked for their pictures. "Of course, you are an interesting subject and you have a great smile!!" Who could say no after being complimented?!? Some stared but I discovered that when I smiled at them, they could share their smiles. Ever notice that? Just go out walking in a neighborhood other than the suburbs, and you will discover that there are a wealth of treasures there for you to take pictures of!! Have FUN and allow your 'little child' to come out and play! Remember to dance your way through life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In the Beginning...

Today I want you to meet 'The Gang" before we went out to the neighborhood. You get a different picture of all of us as we respectfully sit and watch/appreciate the work we have brought to share. Now what is Hinda saying?? She is talking to us about VISION. She has just shown us pictures in her books that are easily recognizable as those with a vision. Funny thing...their pictures were mostly black and white - except for the amazing Annie Liebovitz with Bette Middler amidst the roses, and Whoppi Goldberg in her milk bath!!
Now she is challenging us to share our pictures and discover what our vision might be. Yes, there is a blur in this picture, because Hinda talks with her hands - a lot - and it is just a part of her!! Now there is 'rumor' that Panasonic Lumix, NY main office, might just take our pictures and write a story about our adventure in the neighborhood for their newsletter. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The "PhotoSchmoozer" Gang

Meet the 'gang' and aren't we a group!! It's a wonderful thing to be The Photo Schmoozer, but it is really so much FUN to find a gang and go out in a neighborhood together to chat people up and explore!! This is what I did on Saturday, 12/6.08. But when I started out that morning, or even more, when I signed up for the Panasonic Lumix workshop, little did I know what would be happening!! Our 'fearless' leader, Hinda Schumann, workshop leader for this day, describes our shoot this way:

The class spent a couple of hours shooting in the lower Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. The EL (Subway Line) runs over Front Street- which is the main shopping district. Behind this main street are blocks of empty factories, though someone told Ellen and I that in the basement of one of the empty looking factory buildings was a tropical fish wholesaler. It could be true.. then again.. But we chose this location because the light changes with the shadowing from the overhead subway, there is city scape and residential streets, there is empty warehouses, and lots of people out shopping, and getting ready for food pantries to open, meals to be served, and lots of street life in general. We discussed that going to a suburban development would yield very different pictures, and probably people who would not be as open to being photographed. In other words this neighborhood had a something for everyone element to it.

What a diverse group of individuals we were. Looking at the picture, 'the guys' brought their big SLR's and lenses, wielding them and being noticed on the neighborhood foray. 'The girls', had smaller point and shoot cameras...but as Hinda said to us, "I have seen great photos coming from cell phones so it is the photographer and the 'eye' that captures the moment." I agree!!
Just a quick left to right:
Julius: a cardiologist up from Florida to visit his family
Martie: the Photo Schmoozer
Bert: a self described 'paper pusher' with the State of New Jersey
Ellen: a recent high school graduate and a waitress at a Sushi restaurant
Dan: a teacher and a priest

We started out showing samples of the work we brought, talked about 'our vision' and how our pictures captured this. Then we talked about what our goals were to be as we went out into the neighborhood. (Note: My first teaching jobs eons ago in Philadelphia were in these same neighborhoods. I used to walk my kindergarten class to 'the Avenue' to see the world and meet the shop keepers)
We all agreed that we wanted to 'capture' the essence of where we were and the people who lived nearby. We all had different ways of approaching the people and the environment. Needless to say, in my Photo Schmoozer style, I smiled, flattered and 'chatted people up'. Once again, I discovered, and NOT to my amazement, that they responded!@! I watched Hinda, and she engaged people too, but in a quieter way. As I chatted, one of my new 'buddies' was right there with me taking fantastic pictures. He said that he was a bit shy though about walking up and talking to people. So are so many people!! It takes comfort and practice. So welcome to the world of Kensington and its residents!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

He Knows He is Not Perfect!!

The 'woman' with the funny nasally voice called yesterday to let me know that my books were in at the library (actually it is a computerized voice!) so off I went to bring home yet more books to read. Hey, it's a great way to learn about the world when your foot is hurting and you can't walk too much!! When I got out of the car and was walking in, this guy was standing out front, drinking his soda and smoking his cigarette - listening to his music as well and talking on his cell phone!! Multi-talented!! I couldn't help but overhear some of his conversation as I walked past: "Hey I know I am difficult at times but I know who I am and I know I am not perfect and I am working on it. Stay with me." Hmmmm I thought. He's rather communicative and knows about himself. YES~~ When I came out, I had reflected about his comments and decided to share my thoughts about his words. I said, "I couldn't help but overhear what you were saying when I walked past. I like how you know yourself and work on who you are." At first he just looked at me, but then realized that I was saying something positive and we chatted. Or maybe I should say, I listened. He proceeded to tell me all about what he knows about himself, that he is not perfect, but that it is God's will that we recognize our imperfections and work on them. He had a very strong belief and I told him that his words made a lot of sense. What I would have missed if I only went in to get my books...see, I would rather learn from people and that is why I enjoy talking to them and learning about their stories and adventures.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vanity and Views from the Chair

Vanity and grey hairs are my reasons to schedule a 'regular' every six week appointment for 'beautifying' myself! Aside from that, visits to the salon are fun. The 'girls' are no older than mid 20s and I get to learn so much about another generation, their lives and partying at clubs. It's a world so removed from mine, but living it vicariously is a 'hoot'!!
Once the color gets spread on the graying roots, there is time to sit, rest, reflect, nap or...half an hour or so. This day, I started looking around and my fingers started jittering. "Get out the camera" and see what is really involved in this business. Awesome!! It was a grand tour of all of the tools of the trade. The 'younguns' did not have my same sense of humor and questioned my crazy self about what I was doing, but hey, a girl's gotta have some fun and this is way better than reading about movie stars and other celebrities in People magazine!! So take a minute and cast your eyes on the familiar and the unfamiliar. My point? Until you have time and stop to REALLY look around at your surroundings, you never know what is fascinating in your world. Enjoy!!