Last week, when I was writing about Leacey and Henry, I noticed that I was working on my 49th post, which meant that this week, I'd be writing my 50th. Perhaps that's not the world's largest accomplishment, but it felt like a milestone nonetheless, and I was left wondering what I would write about. Should I blog my 50 favorite captures? 50 goals for the future? (Yikes! Pressure!!) 50 ways to leave your lover? I didn't have any set ideas as I walked away from my computer, but figured I'd come up with something. And y'all? Something came up with me! Something beyond worthy of the all-powerful 50th post; something I'll post about several more times in the coming weeks; something I'll remember for the rest of my life. Something really, really exciting.
CreativeLIVE is the Seattle-based company brainchild of Chase Jarvis. Don't know who Chase Jarvis is? Are you interested in photography? Well, then: you should find out. Suffice it to say that when Nikon hires you to take the photos for their ad campaigns, you're pretty much the Official Bomb Diggity. Anyway, beyond being a rockstar photographer, Chase Jarvis is something of a dreamer, and CreativeLIVE was the result of his dream of "democratizing creativity". He brings industry-leading instructors in all creative walks to the internet community live, FREE, via streaming video. If you miss the live broadcast and are interested in a particular lesson/tutorial/workshop, the downloads are available for purchase for a fraction of what you might pay these instructors individually... if you were even given the opportunity to work with them. It's such an amazing model - opening the educational doors wide and creating space for an open exchange of ideas among artists from every experience level, income bracket, and geographic location. Two of the classes - Tamara Lackey's class on child portraiture and Jasmine Star's live wedding weekend - have helped my own practice as a photographer immeasurably - and I have several more in my queue waiting for me to have the time to watch them and take copious, copious notes.
A few weeks ago, it was announced that Bambi Cantrell - wedding and portrait photographer to the stars; author of several seminal photography texts; named in the top ten wedding photographers in the WORLD among countless other awards - that Bambi Cantrell: THE Bambi Cantrell, would be presenting a workshop on posing and lighting on CreativeLIVE March 18th-20th. I immediately marked my calendar in the hope that I might squeeze a few hours of live streaming out of my weekend, but was certain I would pre-order the download as well, since lighting and posing - two of the central principals of photography - are also two of the most difficult to grasp. Many can stumble on good light or catch a perfect pose, but the mastery of creating good light and directing the perfect pose are what define the work of a professional portrait photographer. And what more professional advice and knowledge could one hope for? I knew Bambi's workshop would be fantastic.
Last week, in anticipation of this week's class, I added @BambiCantrell to my Twitter feed. A little later, she tweeted that she was taking applications for six in-studio audience members for the upcoming workshop. The application process was simple: make a video explaining why you'd like to be in the audience, upload it to youtube or vimeo, then tweet it so Bambi and creativeLIVE could find it. "I should do that," I thought, "I'll just have to figure out what I'm going to say." Over the course of a week, that same sentence ran through my head several times, but I didn't have any real inspiration... nothing that would be interesting enough or clever enough, anyway. Then all of a sudden it was Thursday - the day submissions were due. The morning came and went, then the afternoon shadows started to stretch. I sat down at my kitchen table determined to come up with something, and started playing around with the word "pose". A little while later, I had a poem in hand - nothing elegant, but maybe a little funny - and I figured it was better than nothing. I set up my tripod, taped the poem to the window behind it, did three takes, and came out with this:
I imagine if you've read this far, you know what's coming next. I got the email Friday evening, and literally couldn't believe my eyes. The weekend was a mad rush of preparation - work coverage, child care planning, travel arrangements, etc., etc. - and now it's here: Tomorrow I leave for Seattle for Bambi Cantrell's workshop on posing and lighting, and I can not tell you how excited I am, or honored, even if it's not my skill as a photographer that got me there (and God knows it wasn't my skill as a videographer!). I can't wait to spend three days with a group of people as passionate about photography as I am. I can't get over the fact that I get to watch Bambi Cantrell work her magic in person. I can't believe how nervous I am that she and a huge internet audience are likely to watch me try to do the same...
I was in Seattle last a little over four years ago visiting my brother. I carried my then-still-pretty-new D70 - my first DSLR - everywhere, drinking that amazing city in through the lens. The pictures in this post are from that trip, and though I'd like to think my photography has come a long way since then, I know I was pretty thrilled with them at the time. The thing is, I've come to understand that much of my continued passion for photography stems from seeing the room for improvement in every frame, and working to inch ever-closer to that elusive perfect shot. I expect to do A LOT of inching this weekend.
Wish me luck, everyone, and if you're interested, register for the class here and swing by to see me... you might even learn a thing or 50!
(Matt snapped this last shot of me and Oliver on the ferry between Seattle and Bainbridge... it's one of my absolute favorites, so I had to include it... thanks, love!)