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A Blast From the Past

While thinking about the future yesterday, I couldn't help but think about the past, more specifically my beginnings as an "art photographer." Most of you know Bruce gave me my first digital camera for a Christmas present in 2006. Practically the moment the battery was fully charged I began taking photographs. I'm not sure what #1-7 looked like because I no longer have them, but here is #8.
This is Michelle, my now daughter-in-law sporting her beautiful engagement ring. I took many more that Christmas day including #10 photo of Dave.
You have to remember that I knew not ONE thing about menus, or camera settings at that time. I know much more these days about menus, however, I'm still a little shaky on the settings! Matthew taught me most everything about using the menus while he was home that Christmas; little did he know what I would do with it! I loved my little Panasonic DMC 3, or whichever number it was, as inexplicably, I lost it one day while walking Baxter. I can't tell you how sad that made me. Here I am with it in the bathroom of Valencia College while I was still a student.
I no longer have the camera, or the blonde hair, but I still have that top! Maybe I should have that blonde hair again?

Then, only three months after receiving my camera, I began selling photographs at the Orlando Farmer's Market, a very different market from what it is today! Once again, it was Bruce's idea that I could do something with my photos although I was mighty skeptical! I couldn't seem to find my first day at the market while scanning my photo library, however, here's one from June of 2007 which shows you just how dead the market was in those days. I still remember spending nearly all day talking with the woman selling books adjacent to my booth.
After meeting Mr. Roger in July of the same year,  it took me quite a long time before I ventured into the world of canvases although he swore I would sell them. I can still remember how excited I was with this, my very first canvas which Bruce hung in the garage to keep it nice before we took it to the market.
That's Lake Jennie Jewel, just down the street from our house. I called it Solid Gold for the color, but, as it turned out, if you remember that term used for music hits, you'll recall it meant a big hit. Same here--people loved this photo and still do for that matter.

Our very first show was in Baldwin Park, again while I was still a college student. Bruce set it all up with he and Dave manning the booth until I could go there after finishing my Saturday stint as an intern at the Polasek Museum.
The only canvas I had was hanging from wires on the left side in front of Bruce. As I recall we did pretty well--maybe $500 for the day? I'm still selling some of the photos shown on the back wall. In that regard, it sometimes seems to me that either I've gotten pickier about what I sell, or not much better, because the ones you see were all taken with my Panasonic point and shoot, long before I had fancier equipment.

Whenever I could get people to pose for me I would---my classmates and professors at Valencia were no exception. During the whole semester, this young man, whose name I've forgotten, wore his hair in awful dreadlocks. Who knew how handsome he was? Only his mother....
I might have taken three horrible math classes with this woman, but for the life of me, I can't remember her name any longer.
As time went on, I graduated Valencia, all the while taking more and more photographs. Staggering numbers actually, practicing day in, and day out. Pretty much from the start I had a liking for still-life pictures, creating them all over the house and yard, using only natural light--still do for that matter. And, of course, flowers:
I used to troll the very neighborhoods that I ride my bike through looking for anything to photograph. Back then, it was my MINI Cooper, now it's a bike. Along the way I've made many new friends, mostly because I'm not afraid to knock on doors! The more things change--the more they stay the same...

Choices, I now have so darn many that I like to sell that my sister Lisa says I give people TOO many choices. So does Bruce. What can I say that I haven't said many times before--I need an editor!

This photo, taken in our garage one Thanksgiving day, made me happy when I took it and still does!
That's Maureen looking at photos, with Jenn looking on, while Ruth takes their photo.

This is another one from the old days, make that about five years ago, of Matthew, who was kind enough to allow me to practice people shots.
 It's not easy to act as a model for your Mom! These days I'm often asked about taking family photos and most of the time I say no--not because I don't think I can take an interesting shot, but most people are looking to have their photos seriously edited which we all know I can't do. Personally I think the faked out photos most people like look just that--fake, however, I am definitely in the minority on that score.

Somehow, despite no real training or editing prowess, I've managed to do pretty well selling photographs. There is no explanation really except that I think people sense my passion for doing something I NEVER thought I'd be able to do. Along the way I've had so much encouragement which is far more important than schooling in my humble opinion. My family has been so supportive--without them this experiment would have died out long ago.  Putting my year end sales total together the other evening, Bruce informed me that I had my best year since 2008 which is very exciting news indeed.

Where will things go from here? Who knows?
I can still remember knocking on a door in February 2007 to ask permission to photograph this blooming dogwood tree, which has actually now been cut down. Anyway, I suppose the lesson learned is, with the right attitude, and a little daring, anything is possible!

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