August break, Day 7

everything better

“Today is…” a kick-back-and-appreciate-life kinda day on my August Break…

And a cuppa tea or coffee (take your pick!) always makes everything better, don’t you think?

And another thing that makes everything better is spending a little quality online time with Dotti Rinehart and Terri Porter and the rest of the remarkable women behind the Focusing on Life blog: Judy, Kim, Carol, Leigh, Linda, Kelly, Susan, Cathy and Deanna.

I always find something to delight me — or inform me — or challenge me — or sometimes even comfort me — on this collective blog. And oh the visual treats! They just keep on coming.

And while each contributing photographer/writer has her own aesthetic and voice, they all blend and complement each other beautifully on the blog.

This past winter Dotti invited me to contribute a guest post. It was quite a thrill to be included in such an accomplished group.

If I were ever to meet Dotti (and you never know, maybe some day I will!), I’m sure she would serve me tea in one of her huge assortment of mugs and we would have a grand old chat about books and granddaughters — and photography, of course. We would sit on her porch and then she would show me her garden. I would be in heaven. I am such a fan of the magic Dotti makes with her phone and her DSLR.

I also feel very fortunate to own an actual piece of FOL herstory. Last year I entered their giveaway and emerged the lucky winner of one of Terri’s collage posters — a striking collection of colourful barrio doors. It is now mounted and hangs on my wall for my ongoing viewing pleasure. (I do so love pictures of doors and windows!)

Here are some recent FOL posts I’ve particularly enjoyed and admired, both for their insights and their imagery.

I want to mention Carol Hart here too because she is a former member of the group whose photography chops are also impressive. As is her garden!

So if you’re inspired by women who talk about the joys and frustrations of their creative lives — and all the rest of their lives — with candor and courage and compassion, and take splendid pictures to boot — then stop in at Focusing on Life for a wee while. You can also join in by adding your photos to their flickr pool and participating in their monthly themes.

 

 

 

August Break, Day 6

green pepper

August Break, Day 6, Gift from the Garden

Today is Day 6 of the August Break and we’ve been out in the garden cutting peppers and pulling beets.

So my image for today is a “gift from the garden”.

Another gift from the garden is captured in this impressionistic — almost abstract — image by Barbara Hurst, who is a supremely talented American photographer I’ve been following for some time now. Would that not look dramatic framed in large format on a wall?

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Image by Barbara Hurst Photography. Used with permission.

It seems to me that Barbara’s creativity has been on fire lately. Every time I’ve looked at her blog in recent days, I’ve marvelled at the sheer number of exceptional images she manages to take, process and post in even a very short time. This woman is prolific!

Barbara calls her new site a “visual journal” because she prefers pictures to words when telling the stories of her days — and of her passions. But she doesn’t need a lot of words because she is such a gifted visual story teller.

She is also a master of the perfectly composed collage.

Be prepared to swoon at her nature shots, her still lifes and don’t miss her lensbaby images.

 

August Break, Day 5

This month I’m joining Susannah Conway and many others around the world in the August Break project.

The idea is to post a photo a day, inspired either by the daily prompt or by something else.

I’ve also been sharing links to the work of photographers who inspire me.

K-Senior-Presentation

Lisa attended the senior project of her son recently. He found math “torture” when he was younger. Just look at him now! I love that Lisa captured this in her image. Thanks to Lisa Gordon Photography for permission to use this image.

Today I want to share my enthusiasm for the images of Lisa Gordon, who first caught my attention with her delicate, dreamy and perfectly composed homages to flowers.

I was drawn to her restrained use of colour and texture, which gives the flower’s form centre stage.

But that’s not the only subject Lisa turns her camera toward. I love that she is a versatile and experimental photographer who stretches herself on a regular basis, making images that range from landscapes to street photography to environmental portraits. What shines through all of them is a keen perception, a palpable warmth, and a real love and respect for her subject.

I very much enjoy her black and white photography too.

Lisa is a generous soul, regularly sharing kind and encouraging comments with her photo buddies; she also shares her photography itself through the Creative Commons.

Why not delight yourself with a visit to her photoblog at Lisa Gordon Photography or to her flickr photostream?

 

 

 

 

 

 

August Break, Day 3

windowgrandcentral

August break, Day 3, Windows

This month I’m joining Susannah Conway and many others around the world in the August Break project.

I hope to post a photo a day, inspired either by the daily prompt or by something around me.

Today’s is not a new image. I shot it back last October. But I’ve been working on reprocessing older images with newer techniques lately, so this is new in a way…

The prompt today is “Window” and I thought I’d offer the massive grandeur of the 75-foot Beaux Art windows in Grand Central Terminal in New York. This gorgeous building celebrated its centenary in 2013, as you can probably guess by the “100”.

I also wanted to share the work of an artist who is new to me and who has grabbed my attention this month.

It’s not often I find a photographer’s whose whole body of work makes me sit up and take notice. Today I’d like to introduce you to the work of Helen Boyd, who lives in the beautiful English Lakes District.

I stand in awe of photographers who can convey a distinct mood with their photography, along with a sense of place and story. Helen’s shadowy minimal landscape shots certainly do that for me. She is a master of the subtle gesture. The way she captures wisps of colour enchants me, as does her lovely black and white work.  She blogs at Helen’s Journal and is on Facebook too. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more from Helen.

 

August break, Day 2

patterns2

Day 2, Pattern

This month I’m joining Susannah Conway and many others around the world in the August Break project.

In addition to posting a photo a day, I’ll be sharing a link to the site/blog/portfolio/flickr stream of another photographer whose work I greatly admire and who is inspiring me on my photographic journey. (They may or may not be doing the project too.)

And I’ll be on the lookout for artists who are new to me but grab my attention this month.

Today, I’m excited about discovering Shawna Lemay who blogs at Calm Things. I ran across Shawna’s blog by chance following the links in another blog, as often happens. But when I touched down at Calm Things, I immediately felt both serenity and excitement, for there was poetry there, along with beautiful photography.

And everything resonated with me. Quotes and poetry from my favourite authors, monks and mystics…some I was familiar with, some I wasn’t. And quiet, homely and haunting pictures…What a treasure trove. Sheer bliss.

Shawna is a published poet who loves to make images. She’s a Canadian. Meet Shawna here.

August Break, Day 1

lunch

Smoked Havarti with handmade pear paste, sea salt crackers, salad and lemon water

This month I’ll be joining Susannah Conway and many others around the world in the August Break project.

I love that there are no rules to this project. (I’m a rebel like that.)

I hope to post a photo a day, perhaps using the daily prompt, perhaps not.

And in addition, I will be sharing a link to the site/blog/portfolio/flickr stream of another photographer whose work I greatly admire and who is a source of inspiration on my photographic journey. (They may or may not be doing the project too.)

And I’ll be on the lookout for artists who are new to me but grab my attention this month.

I invite you to go have a look at their incredible images. One of the joys of this project is the joy of discovery…

So why not check out the flickr pool and join up too?

Let’s get started…

First off, Susannah Conway herself! She is more well-known than many, having published several books and being a pioneer in the photoblogging community, so you’ve probably already heard of her.

But if you haven’t run across her work, do check it out here and here. I particularly love her soft and dreamy polaroids. I took her Photo Meditations course a while back and it sparked me to see ordinary scenes very differently. I admire her because she is a generous, authentic, kick-starting photographer.