SOOOO many fantastic conversations are going on lately, all stemming from the whole “artistic voice” idea. I see it in communities where participants from my workshops and retreats gather… and in the greater artistic community, who is experiencing an even more persistent “Ahem!” from their creative souls than ever before. Continue reading “And Now For A Message From the Creative Force”→
I’ll admit it: scouting locations for my “Finding Your Artistic Voice” retreat in France is FUN!!
The South of France is truly a glorious place to explore photographic artistry, find your voice (in art AND in life), deepen your connection to your health and most of all: your most expressive, artistic YOU. Everything here supports that and I couldn’t wait to come back for the Fall installment of this workshop. New people, new stories, new images, new places!
One really nice spot is up on a hill by a big cathedral. It overlooks Cannes Harbor in one of those “Look ma, a POSTCARD!” moments. I thought it was a fine place to kick off this chapter of “Postcards From France”. Of course, the sun was so bright I could hardly keep my eyes open as I made this first vid of the series for this trip.
NOTE: all of these videos are low res, since the internet here isn’t robust enough to upload anything wooftier. But you’ll get the idea…
I just love Grasse. It’s SO much fun to photograph! I had heard there was scaffolding set up in town though, so wanted to make sure our cinematic view wasn’t spoiled like rotten cheese. Plus, I wanted to test out the bus system from Cannes (read that as meaning: make sure I knew where it picked up, dropped off and didn’t smell bad.).
So Tanya Wallis and I leapt on the #600 bus that picked us up right in front of our hotel and headed up the hill.
We made a video too. Grin.
Verdict on Grasse: no scaffolds, bus smelled great and the place still ROCKS!
The Boat to Île Sainte Marguerite
Last May when I was here, I didn’t have time to take the 15 minute ferry ride to Île Sainte Marguerite. It’s a marvelous excursion and easy peasy to do. I’ve heard several people talk about it – so this time, I wondered if it would be a good place to take the group and decided to find out.
The island is home to Fort Royal, which was known to be inhabited in Roman times. It’s also where the real life “Man in the Iron Mask” was held for 30+ years in the 17th century. His cell is alot cleaner now than it was then… but you can go inside and imagine spending over 3 decades in a stone cell with a mask on your face. Suffice it to say I was happy to be outside again!
Here’s the thing: I’m not a huge fan of boats. But to see the island, you gotta float on the boat. Ain’t no way around it. I decided making a new “Postcards” video was a great idea. Turns out, it definitely was – but ARGH! the audio on the video from my iPhone went all wonky, rendering it impossible to use. I was going to toss the whole thing and had a very sad face.
Suddenly Tanya starts laughing in this funny out-of-context way (with a scary wicked gleam in her eye) and says “I know just the story I can tell with the bits that aren’t too bad!” She was guffawing so hard, I just had to let her create her (clearly) deranged vision, cause I couldn’t POSSIBLY have said anything TOOO “out there”! 😜
This is the result:
Verdict on Île Sainte Marguerite: We’re ON! This is an awesome place to visit! We literally had only an hour… and in that short time, unequivocally knew this would be one of the adventures the group HAD to have!
The Retreat Begins…
The moment arrived: scouting done, locations dialed in – it’s GO time!
More photos and videos to come! Time now to get back to living the experience… 😀
Anytime I visit New York City, I always make sure I get into Central Park for some nice airing out. This trip was no different.
What WAS different is that I recorded a couple of quick video segments, sharing some thoughts I had about “when to photograph”… and about keeping eyes ears and heart open for special moments that happen along your travels, wherever they may take you.
Photo Plus Expo 2015 in New York City streaked by like a Jedi star cruiser! By that, I mean FAST. Really fast. Is everything gonna be like that now? Because if so, I need to get me one ‘o them speed suits like downhill skiers wear so I can slice the air more effectively. Sheesh!
Of course, I provided the titles and descriptions for each talk. They were:
“The French Mirrorless Diet”: How I shed pounds, freed my muse and discovered Raw truth in France with my Parisienne paintbrush, Lady Fuji.
“Find Your Voice, Free Your Soul” and
“Live Your Life As Your Art”:Your Soul’s Genius Unleashed
Yes, Fuji approved these beforehand! Besides their incredible cameras, you can perhaps begin to see why I love this company. It includes, but goes so much deeper than, gear.
The X-Factor is You
To me, the overall connective tissue amongst all of these talks is the real estate BEHIND the camera. (That would be you. And me.) It’s great to have “the best” gear… but what IS that, exactly? I looked around at the thousands of people streaming through the Expo over those 3 days and thought to myself “everyone here is seeking that magic bullet. Wants it. Desires that something ‘more’.” But do they know what it is? How will they know when they’ve found it? And what will they do once they have it?
Truthfully, IMHO the best camera is the one you have in your hands. If all you have handy is your phone camera… then by god, THAT is absolutely the best one! It is also true that if you actually find a camera that inspires and entices you… the way you see, the possibilities you consider, the creative roads you travel… will all shift. These are not mutually exclusive notions.
The wild card is YOU. What do love, what do you stand for? That’s where it begins.
I used lots of my own images as illustrations… and this was our fun and intimate stage.
It Boils Down To This
As I walked around the expo, I listened to snippets of how-to talks and gear presentations. Very interesting, all. However, I chose to make a different set of points.
Because, you see, I believe with all my heart that feeling fulfilled, creative, joyful and ALIVE… all starts here:
(My pal Laurie Rubin caught me doing that thing I love so much. The photo I was shooting follows):
That Print Question…
OH BTW – for those wondering how Fuji images look printed? Yeah, they look pretty freaking fantastic! This was the one I was so honored to see hanging right next to one of Bill Fortney‘s:
Why do I think any and all of this matters? It’s simple:
And that, my friends, is what I truly believe all those people wandering the hallways of Photo Plus Expo are truly seeking. That moment of beauty and grace that awakens THEIR soul to act and shed its magnificent light.
After all… photography’s raw materials are LIGHT and TIME. It’s what we work with… it’s what our cameras help us spin into our most precious message.
There’s a wonderful street photographer and super awesome fella named Paul Griffiths who does a webshow call “Live and Uncut”. In it, he talks about street photography, cameras (he’s a Fuji guy) and, y’know, all things photography. He interviewed me before I went to France, since I was going through my whole DSLR to mirrorless drama and testing period… and had just landed upon Fuji. You can see that first episode here.
When I got back, Paul wanted to follow up. See what shooting street was like for this landscape girl… see how Fuji had been for me… and generally welcome me back. I always love talking to Paul over in London and this was no exception! You can check out the blog post here… and below is our fun video interview.
Fun fact: He got that Fuji banner in the background of his studio JUST for this episode! Heehee.
Have you heard of Viewbug? It’s a website that has more photo contests going on than you can shake a stick at! I met Ori Guttin, one of the founders of Viewbug last year… super cool dude. In fact, when I visited San Diego in December, I did a Quick Chat with him, which I included right here.
I gotta say, altruistically I’ve never been a big believer in competition when it comes to art. And yet – it’s so incredibly popular! I can see why… prizes, prestige, getting known; all important in this day and age. Still, I’m squeamish about choosing winners and losers in art.
But I’ve come to learn there are different ways to go about contests. Viewbug and Ori’s team is ALL about it being a positive, building-up process involving community, feedback, support, monitoring how people comment on photos… and generally making it an experience to improve your photography and broaden your world.
1. I don’t have the flu. (appreciating health BIG time right now!)
2. I made a pledge to only move with opportunities that feel like “Aaahhhh…” on the inside. Such as…
3. I’m partnering as an artist with VIDA to create some awesomeness.
You’re the very first to know! Here’s their story:
Today being Thanksgiving, it seemed appropriate to share this story.
First, those of you who follow this blog know that I’m one of the 6 original Inception Masters in the Arcanum.
Back when it all first started, I wrote a two-part blog post about what it all meant to me: The Arcanum, Magical Academy of Artistic Mastery.
Now, 8 months later, I’m highlighting my Level 20 grads on my blog. I’m doing it because each of them has been on an incredible journey of spirit, soul and creativity. Their stories need to be shared. I’m doing it because they were the first bunch to take the leap when the Arcanum was still a baby in beta. I think each one’s story is incredibly inspiring, each in their own unique way. And I want you to meet them, because through them, you might just find that much-needed bit of inspiration or encouragement you were seeking, at just this moment in time. As they say, it takes a village!
Meet Dave Garber
So today, I’d like to introduce you to Dave Garber.
We got to meet in real life for the first time this week at the San Diego Zoo. So awesome! This was a photo we took right before the video we made for our cohort back home. It follows…
Last week while I was at Photo Plus Expo in New York City, I did a series of fun interviews. I decided to call them “Quick Chats”. Cause, well, that’s what they are!
The premise: Grab whomever I could for a couple of minutes and ask ’em a bunch of questions, man-on-the-street style. I was going for super impromptu, very real & authentic, fun – even silly. I just wanted to know what would happen if I said “Hi What’s new?” and let it rip.**
We kick it off with Alan Shapiro, who’s a dear friend and unbelievably creative and talented photographer. Alan resides in a world of creativity that is just rarified. I love how he thinks, love his work… love him!
He’s working on a book project called “Among Us’, which he explains. Of course, we horse around on our way to the point. Heh.
My fabulous friend and photography partner in crime Laurie Rubin shot the video… THANK YOU LAURIE! She did this on my Sony NEX-7. The video is organic, real and intended to feel kinda like standing right there.
** Note: No one I asked turned me down. It was really just an experiment… now I want to do more!
Throw on your backpack and come with me to school!
OK, not entirely… because I really did to a webinar recently!
It was for Macphun Software and their black and white plugin Tonality Pro, which I adore.
I was asked to take viewers through a few images, KHutt style. I love it when they turn me loose like that. Don’t worry, I didn’t go crazy, I kept it real… and demo’d some different ways I like to use the layers feature, some fun techniques for using color along with black and white, how blending modes create a whole set of options – and lots more!
And so that you don’t have to lift a finger, I brought the entire experience… right here… to you.
‘Cause that’s how we roll over here.
Always remember… if you decide at any point “I gotta have that!”… you can save 10% on any Macphun Product with the code KHutt.
I swear, a good deal an awesome product practically makes me swoon.
Being interviewed is fun – and always a bit surreal. Especially when an entire 1 hour show is dedicated to YOU!
But photographer Paul Griffiths makes it easy.
Recently, he asked if I’d join him on his video podcast (is that a “vlodcast”?) titled “Live and Uncut“, which he publishes on his blog: “One Camera, One Lens.” I was happy to do it. even though it’s a whole hour talking about myself – something I don’t always feel comfortable doing. That’s a whole lot of oneself!
Paul is an apprentice in The Arcanum, and is a member my friend Valerie Jardin’s cohort. They study street photography over there… but I guess he got landscape-curious. 😀
I guess cross-discipline-curious is going around, since I’m joining Valerie in Paris next year as a guest of her spring workshop. (did I say that out loud? Man, just LOOK at all the scoops you get here first! I’m not officially announcing Paris yet. But it’s coming. heh.)
Anyhoo, Paul and I had a good time on his show… which you can see right here. And check out his other episodes – they’re great!
2nd installment in a 4-part series of “Living Your Dreams… Lessons Shared”, featuring much of what I learned and experienced whilst putting on my first photography show in Truckee, California…
Sharing – and Vulnerability
As artists – and as entrepreneurs – we have to put our work out there. HAVE to. There are many, many ways to do this… and for me this month, doing my first-ever official photography show is part of the equation. Will I like it? Hate it? Will it be effective? Will I want to do it again? All things for me to discover. But in order TO discover anything, you have to set both feet in and embrace the opportunity wholeheartedly. For me, that also means sharing the experience. 😉
Aside from all the STUFF you have to do, there is one really important aspect that we must never forget. What we are doing here is sharing our art… sharing ourself. We’re putting it all out there; heart, soul, vision, love. We’re being vulnerable. Being authentic. It’s necessary – and for me, the occasional discomfort that goes along with really showing up is all part of it. If it makes me squirm, well, so be it. Because I’m not willing to stay small and safe in the hard candy shell of pretend-safety. If there were ever a time in our world to shine a light – this is it! However you can do it, with whatever part of you that can truly show up authentically and do that – you have to do it.
For this reason – and for this aspect of what putting on a show means – I’m sharing an incredible TED Talk from Brené Brown about this very thing. It might just change your life!
Lesson: Being vulnerable can be a superpower. In art… that’s necessary on SO many levels!
Tomorrow: Part 3
Selections? Print lab? Sizes? How many? Presentation? Ack! These are just a few of the issues you have to solve when putting on a show . Tomorrow, I’ll show you how I went about it. It might just give you some ideas for a show of your own!
It’s that feeling I get when I manage to re-imagine my own view of the world in my art. Of course, that’s always easier said that done!
Take photo processing for instance.
Personally, I have a set of colors, tones, textures and overall feeling I love to create in my photos. It’s all good – and is part of a “signature” that has evolved and defined itself over time. It’ll probably re-define itself many more times too!
Seeing Things Differently is Good
But sometimes, I’d like to expand my view. Get out of my same-old, same-old. See differently. Try some new tools.
Scott Kelby is an icon in the Photography world. And rightfully so! His list of accomplishments is a mile long and growing, his influence is global, his vision has helped evolve an industry. That would be reason enough to want to do a Chat with him… but he’s also a devoted husband and father, a photographer, a businessman and a human who genuinely loves what he does and loves life! He has made his art his life – and lives his life in a most artful way.
How This Chat Came About
I visited Kelby Media in Florida to visit with my friend (and Scott’s wife) Kalelbra Kelby… and while I was at it, joined Scott and Matt Klowkowski for an episode of “The Grid”. That same day, Scott graciously made time to sit down with me and share his views on art, life and business. And by the way, I have to share a story about that…
So, there we were. I had my list of questions at the ready, we were just about ready to start… when RC Concepcion leaned down to my ear, and in a stage whisper said: “Ask Scott to tell the story about what teaching means to him and what’s behind all of this.” Or words to that effect.. and of course, by “all of this”, he was referring to the world of Kelby Media.
What followed is this episode. It was a revelation; so moving, so deep, heartfelt and genuine. Scott opened up in ways that will probably take you by surprise. He is incredibly passionate about teaching – and about making knowledge accessible to the many, not only the few. You’re about to find out why… and discover the moment in Scott’s life that started an empire.
Alice Herz-Sommer was the oldest living survivor of the Holocaust. She died this year at 110 years old.
That’s notable all by itself, but is not why I felt moved to make a post about her. It’s her relationship with music, which moved me to tears when I watched this video.
Not tears of sadness… but the ones that happen when I hear or see something SO RIGHT that my soul practically leaps to the heavens. It’s like a visceral response to divinity. That’s Alice. The fact that I hear music in my head when I photograph, that I often feel like I’m scoring a musical piece when I process a photo… that I could replace everything she says about music with photography and its source within me (so woven in with music in ways I haven’t ever been able to explain)… makes her story a song of my own spirit and soul.
You can use them boldly or subtly, but the using a Gradient Fill Layer in Photoshop (I use CC) is a great tool for finishing touches on a photo. I’ll give you an example of subtle use from a photo I processed recently.
As our final evening was winding down, after a lovely glass of wine and noshes (The Castle is a fabulous winery), we wandering back toward our cars. The evening light was gorgeous… and the lights of the castle were on. Of COURSE, we had to shoot just a little bit more! This was a fun one of the courtyard… which I took with everyone tapping their toes, eager to drive down the valley for dinner. I could’ve stayed all night!
There was such a great response to my recent episode of The Chat with Keoki Flagg! Thanks to all of you who watched and appreciated. Keoki has such depth to his talent and perspective that it’s always a treat to chat with him. In the course of his episode, he shared so many awesome ideas and tips that I just had to highlight a couple!
This is just one of them… and perfect byte-sized minute for anyone who hasn’t seen this episode yet, or just want a reminder and a “think about it” moment to take home with them:
"Love your blog. I stop by for the photography, I linger for the philosophy."
Kelley Morgan, Portland OR
"A beautiful mind will produce beautiful results. And to say the least, yours is a beautiful mind! Thank you for your wisdom and your inner "speak," as they both produce true art from the heart …"
Joe Hudspeth, Prineville OR
"Thank you Karen. A wonderful story but only the tip of the iceberg, the bigger part below the water is all the thousands of photographers you have inspired to chart their own journey, I know as I am one of them."
"Karen, thank you for the wonderful two day post. Your insights are truly thought provoking. I have never been a teacher, nor will I ever be, but to see someone see the light is a wonderful moment. Thanks again."
"As usual, another terrific story. I’m glad I found you but I have to be honest. I didn’t find you on Google + but did on Scott Kelby’s “The Grid”. Thanks for the inspiration in both images and by the pen/keyboard."
"Gads-what a girl! Thanks for the story, it is beautiful."
"Awesome story Karen — I loved reading about your life transformed. Of course I loved the photography theme and the geek in me is forever curious about the power of tech and the power of social platforms. But … for me it is the arc of lives transformed that inspires. Thank you so much for sharing. See you on G+ and in the Arcanum!"