Monday, June 8, 2009 (24/365)

Extremely tired from a long day, but no shortage of excitement. . . .

It was good to see so many recent grads returning today to our advanced comp time slot (pd. 4A), talking about senior week and the trouble many found while in Ocean City. But I was most grateful for the help Amanda provided in helping me understand Photoshop a little more and introducing me to DeviantART. There’s a reason why this is so significant to me in the long run.

Now that Bellatrix is here, I’m able to resume my love for photography with seemingly no boundaries. In the past, though, I have been somewhat of a purist when it comes to my photos. I try to do all of my artistry through the lens when composing the shot. In a lot of ways, I feel like that gives me an advantage with my photography. Even in its rawest form, my photography (I would like to believe) is unique in that I capture life from my perspective, as I see it, through the lens. That is something I will never stop believing in nor stop practicing.

However, there is another artistic side of me that, in a totally different vein, loves to take existing, concrete artwork and add a unique and personal, abstract quality to it. This is entirely separate from the purist photography that I do. I do not digitally enhance my original photos to create something uniquely for my viewer that detracts from the subject. I believe those photo creations should stand on their own merit.

I enjoy working with the existing raw files to see if I can create another piece of artwork that is for an entirely different purpose, as well as audience. Until now, though, I haven’t had the tools or the knowledge to do that.

Granted, I barely have either of those things now, but Amanda has introduced me to both technique and audience to encourage me to finally realize that abstract/random artist within me, using my original photography. And, I feel like there is a genuine purpose for me doing this.

Like with my words in my writing, I want to evoke a strong response from my audience with my photo manipulations, and I want them to serve a strong purpose in communicating my beliefs about certain causes or issues. I struggled all afternoon (in the best of all ways, though) with how to use this new knowledge/audience to convey a need for hope and support for Lines of Love. How can I create a new piece of artwork that hits teens and their families in a strong, meaningful way and let them know the importance and power in love? How can I let them know that they are never alone, even in the seemingly darkest of moments? How can I let them know that, despite everything they believe in their hearts, hope and love await them, always, on the other side of those moments?

DeviantART is a website shared by artists who publish their creative works, whether they be illustrations, photos, digital, or a combination of several art forms. It’s free to join (with an option to upgrade to a higher-tiered membership with many more benefits), and it is quite addicting. Even if you are going to publish very little of your own work, the inspiration you gather from looking at and studying other artists’ works is priceless. As I scrolled through hundreds of original pieces (just scratching the surface of what has been published on this site), I kept asking myself the same question over and over: How did they do that? The artistic blends of various mediums is what strikes me the most, and learning the very beginning stages of Photoshop today introduces me to a world where I, as well, can communicate a little more clearly how I see the world.

A spinoff of this valuable session with Amanda was buying Dreamweaver CS3: The Missing Manual at Barnes and Noble. I was the very lucky recipient of some gift cards from my recent grads, and I used them wisely (I believe) on this bible for website development. Dreamweaver is part of the Adobe Creative Suite that includes InDesign (which I am very familiar with) and Photoshop and Illustrator; understanding how the four of these work together is, creatively, one of the most powerful tools anybody can have in the world of digital art and publication. Now that I have Bellatrix, it’s a little easier to understand why I am so excited for all of my creative loves–writing, photography, and art–to come together through the digital magic of Adobe’s Creative Suite package.

The websites you’ll see sooner than some of the digital creations, but I’m jumping in now, and I am excited to see what I emerge with in a few weeks. . . .

The night comes to a close as I have just returned from Starbucks to pick up some coffee for tomorrow morning. Yet, even something so seemingly benign as a trip through their drive-thru was not without adventure. When I pulled into the lot, I was rushed by police officers who were chasing–on foot–somebody that they had been looking for all evening. As the suspect ran past my Jeep, across York Road and into the darkness along Burke Avenue, followed by two officers who were sprinting after him, I felt both a rush and a fear that was awakening. How close we are to danger, at all times, yet in the guise of greater moments of tranquility and peace. We are never immune from the sudden rush of danger and the possibility of accident. We must never take this moment for granted. In those fleeting moments of the chase, I know that, a second or two earlier, and I could have been the target for a carjacking (which would not have been the first time).

I drove home from Starbucks with the radio off and the windows open, suddenly expecting to hear the sudden rush of footsteps behind me. I was alert, ready, prepared to defend. Prepared to act. Ready to respond.

Isn’t that the way we should pursue our lives with who we are? Allow our muses the chance to run, create, and be prepared for it in a moment’s notice?

I hope you all had a wonderful day….Storms on tap for tomorrow. . . . . 🙂

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