Monday, February 3, 2014

Fading Farmer Project

I am very touched by the life of farming.  I grew up on a dairy farm, and I can relate to those who are farmers very well.
Sadly the farming industry is rapidly disappearing from the Dairy State.  It makes me deeply sad to see farms of family, friends, and neighbors void of activity from milking, working in fields, functioning as a farm.
I started a few years ago a Fading Farmer Project sharing the stories and showing those who don't know the demise of the American Farmer.  Here are some images from my project.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I don't need a title...

Yes, I am a photographer, but I am also so much more...
I have recently discovered about a project called: The Exploratrice, I think it is wildly interesting that it is uncommon for women to travel independent...adventurous...bad ass...sensual...and I think...really? Maybe because a lot of my friends fit this description, because I live this description it isn't a surprise or uncommon to me.
There are all these categories to fall into to be... an "exploratrice"
Bad Ass - ride a motorcycle, shoot things, scuba dive - sweet! I'm a bad ass! I started deer hunting at age 12, I own a motorcycle, and I am OW!
Adventurous - snorkel, ride horses - anyone who knows me, this is a "duh". I started riding horses at age 13, and trained for 15 years, I was also heavily involved with rodeo & have roped my share of cattle and horses. I have snorkeled often in the ocean, I have also kayaked in the ocean, I go caving...enough said.
Sensual - dancing, swimming...(not sure how the swimming fits in) but I would think my years of a dancer, ballet, jazz, tribal belly dance would fit this category.
Athletic - I would think with all the farm work, dance, horse training, 5K's I've run, caving, hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, the softball team I played on & the volleyball team I was on in Memphis at some level I would be considered athletic. Caving is the best sport I have ever participated in - and the most healthy.
I don't think twice when I want to go see a movie and end up going by myself. If I want to go out to eat and no one is around, I go alone. If I want to get up and move from Wisconsin and travel across the country to live in Oregon...I pack the car and go.
For many years I have been called a gypsy, a free spirit, independent, strong willed woman who seeks after what she desires. Yes, I have fear, yes I am human and get scared, sad, lonely, but if I want to dance, I dance, if I want to travel, I get in my vehicle and go, I want to learn an instrument, I pick it up and play it.
I don't know...I like this Exploratice project, but at the same time I don't get the big deal over independent, adventurous, strong, athletic, intelligent women doing what they want...maybe because that is who I am & I don't know who to be anything else. Or maybe because I am fortunate enough to have so many women friends who are all that and more...we don't think twice about what we do...we just go do it...we don't need a title.
This has gotten me to want to put out to the world the things I have accomplished in which defines, me.  I will be developing an album under the various "exploratrice" categories and others I may add, which give me passion, motivation, energy and joy.  Details and photos to follow...

Supporting local High School Music Program

I love that middle Tennessee is filled with schools which have music programs.  Something incredibly dear to my heart are the string orchestra classes, for several, due to the work I once was doing I was fortunate to be blessed with opportunities to be face to face with string teachers and students in the local programs.  Two, I play the fiddle and love string music.  Three, I was blessed with piano lessons growing up, and anyone who has an interest in music gives me energy to support them so they have the opportunity to play music too.  Four...well, I could go on and on about my passion about music, paying it forward, etc.
Ok, so I was fortunate to implement a practice challenge with a local string program.  To my surprise THREE students finished this challenge, which consisted of: practice three hours a week for three months.  I put together prizes that added up to over $1,000.00 for these kids, which included a donated photography package, strings, music stand and other great opportunities to support their playing.
Here I am with the three kids at the school after I presented them with their prizes.

The arts are important and ALWAYS the first to get cut when it comes to educational budgets.  You will be able to participate in arts your entire life, however, sports often have limitations due to injuries and age.  Support the arts, it will be the best and most rewarding thing you will ever do.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Season for Giving

I have found it quite fortunate to be involved with wonderful organizations like Music City Youth Orchestra, and others which support the arts in the community.
One organization which I have been encouraged to get involved with for the past two years is Help Portrait.  Due to time restraints I have not been able to be involved due to work responsibilities in the past.  However, this year I signed up as one of the Photographers for the event.
Help Portrait is an amazing opportunity for people who are Photographers, Photographer Assistants, Hair and Make Up Artists to donate their time to give portraits to those in need or homeless.
It was quite an experience, the stories and people I was fortunate enough to meet wonderful individuals who came to my studio space we had set up for their portrait.  Tears of joy fell, eyes full of hurt and fear walked into my presence, and I felt honored to give the gift of love, kindness, compassion, joy and share my photography that day.

Help Portrait goes beyond the setting up photography studio space, hair stylists doing other peoples hair for free, and make up artists sharing their talents.  Help Portrait is simply about giving of your time to someone who could use help.  Maybe you have a neighbor who needs help with their garden, his or her computer, or errands?  Maybe there is someone in your community who would simply enjoy your conversation.  What does it take?  Nothing but time. What does that mean?  You slow your own life down for more than a minute, put down the cell phone, turn off the computer and go help someone else.  It doesn't have to be every day, it doesn't have to be every week.  It just means you take a step in the direction of giving someone else comfort.

New Years Resolutions come and go just like the Holidays.  Instead of making a "resolution" to make a change, make a commitment to help one person in the year 2014 and those years which follow.  You will be amazed at the transformation which happens....not just in that person you help, but within yourself.
When you give to others, the true gift is what comes back to you.

 Me as we were winding down from setting up
 My studio space!  I was "Photo 2"
 Busy hair and make up artists!!
 The group photo area...(Jeremy & David I think you need a bigger light!!!)
 The hustle and bustle
 Santa Cow & Santa himself meet...
 Yay!  They were buddies in no time.
 Thanks to new technology, Santa can check the "naughty and nice list" right on his phone!
 Live music played throughout the day
Loving, happy people I was blessed to photograph