Monday, May 25, 2009

of photographing weddings ...

Every year - May til about 0ctober - I do wedding photography. This type of gig is not for everyone, believe me. In fact, it's not really for me. Why?

I dislike it. I dread it. I fret over it.

And most of all, I don't want to hate photography because instead of doing what I want to do, I'm doing what others want.

Let me explain that better. I used to be a painter. It wasn't easy for me, but I was pretty good. I'd have people request that I paint things I had no idea how to paint. Needing the money, I'd try it and eventually give them what they wanted but not before breaking out in hives and feeling horrible.

I discovered photography and within a year or so decided never make the same mistake - I would only take photos of what I wanted. If someone wanted to purchase them - fantastic! If someone didn't like my style they could walk on by. It worked well for me.

I began to do wedding photography as a means of buying big ticket items (lenses, a new camera, getting the car fixed, etc.) I rememeber my father's warning (he had been a wedding photographer) about it being very hard work. I jumped in feet first and knew right away it wasn't something I'd ever do for a full time career. I am good at it.. in fact, the bridal couples I've shot have raved and recommended me to others.

I made a decision this past Fall after a very trying wedding where I lost everything off a 4G memory card (thank god it was recovered). I decided I would only do weddings the way I wanted to - photojournalistic style. Candids are my favorites and I think what I do best. When people inquire about my taking their wedding photos, I explain my style and add at the end of the response letter that "I know this style isn't for everyone. Thank you for considering me."

Yesterday was my last traditional wedding shoot (they had booked me 1 1/2 years in advance). I will say it was the most fun I've had shooting a wedding. Great people, beautiful wedding, and a whole lot of fun being had by all.

Here are a few shots that I've processed so far - I have over 600 do work on yet.

sigh ...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Solo Photo Book Month - SoFoBoMo begins

Through a friend I heard about this Solo Photo Book Month - - and decided to give it a try. I've been taking lots of photos, mind you, and they are good, mind you again, but they are the same genre and I'm TIRED of it all.

Okay, maybe not tired of it all, but totally ready to find something different to snap me out of a semi-photographer's block.

The theme/title I've chosen is "An Ordinary Hero". I'm a firm believer in "there's no such thing as a coincidence" and for a week now I've been relentlessly playing "There Goes My Hero" by the Foo Fighters. As I listen I imagine a montage or slideshow of heroes - but not necessarily the usual heroes that come to mind. I believe we see everyday heroes on a daily basis. And I believe being a hero doesn't always mean someone who saves a kitty from a burning house.

I believe they are people with the courage to live the life they have.

I almost changed the theme because I'm not sure I can find those photos easily.. but then I realized that was what a challenge was all about. And I'm making SoFoBoMo a challenge for myself.

The photo above won't be in the book because it was taken last Fall on Veterans' Day. But it is one of my favorite photos and I wanted to share it with you.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Father ...

That title makes me think of Judy Collin's lyrics her song of the same name:

"My father always promised us
That we would live in France"

And even though - as the song continues - we lived in Ohio then, there were no promises of living in France. I think my father saw enough outside the United States while serving as a Navy photographer in WWII.

You must think I learned my trade from him, but I didn't .. not intentionally, at any rate. I actually started photography in 2003 and only saw my father on once-a-year visits. He was very proud, which was something I had tried to achieve my whole life.

We had a head-butting relationship most of my child- and teen-hood. I was as stubborn as him and because I didn't think I could make him proud, I purposely did things to annoy him. I will say, though, that we mended our relationship when I finally matured and he mellowed out.

In February of 2007, my husband and I went to Cleveland, Ohio to visit my father who was near death. Every day and every hour, someone from the family was rubbing his head or his feet because touch was the only thing that made him feel better. He passed away a few months later with his whole family around his bedside, including my mother who, although they had been divorced for over 25 years, had grown to love him as a friend.

When he passed away, all I could think was why did I never ask his advice? Why didn't I want to absorb his knowledge? Not sure what the answers are, but it's the big regret of my life.

Something that stuck with me from Sociology class in college was that some people who are never touched in their lives - people who are alone and have no one - eventually begin to think that they don't exist.

These photos are taken by me and I think capture everything about him - his joy at being with family, his love of photography, his sense of humor, and the comfort he felt in the end.

The photo where little hands rub his head is titled "In the End, We Ease the Pain..."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring Showcase prep ...

Although I discovered early on that buying a showcase on Etsy didn't necessarily bring sales, I decided to buy a Spring Showers one for this Thursday, March 12th. The theme is about weddings and babies - anything to do with "showers."

I decided to list a few baby-related photos I have squirreled away. I love how sweet they are and how one can feel so different while viewing chubby little hands, and big, wide eyes.

Here are a few of my new listings:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

let me introduce you to my lil' friend ...

I fancy myself an adult - really, I do. But some of the "monsters" I've seen handmade on Etsy are so damn cute I have thought about collecting them. Actually, I do think they are more "adult" toys.

why does that sound dirty?

At any rate, I found my little friend Beckett in a wonderful shop by CreaturesNorthwest and fell in love so he traveled from Minnesota to my house this past week. I have to say he was even cuter in person. I keep picking him up and looking at him. According to his creator, Anne, "Beckett speaks only in binary code and fears aluminum foil."

My grandson came to spend the night and was just in love with him .. and he's 12 - what I deem to be the start of the "puke" stage before teendom - you know, when they're too cool to like baby stuff and are trying to assert their independance?

has many more cuties - from wild-eyed Steve who's hopped up on caffeine:

to Spitfire who has anxiety issues:

Now I'm off to watch The Amazing Race with my buddy ;)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

down with the sickness...

God I love Disturbed..

BUT I'm being literal here - been sick for about a week. It is not fun in any way, shape or form. It takes a lot for me to go to a doctor but in I went and out I came with prescriptions in hand. Thank God they're finally working and my cough is just about gone.

just about ...

Reason #18 why I haven't blogged. :S

I'm finding that it's hard to get into the flow of blogging. It's not because I'm not a talker ... I'm a mouth and a half, for sure. I just like the sound of my voice better, I'm thinking (my husband would nod vigorously noting that I babble the entire drive to work at 6 a.m.).

I'm a fast typist so it's not the drudgery of typing. I think it's that no one will give a rats bottom what I talk about. And I suppose there's no guarantee, but I'll try.

I think a few times a week I'll feature Etsy shops or items that I like.. maybe a few I've bought from ... maybe some brand new discoveries, too.

Today I'll end with a photo I did recently that I absolutely love. I hope you do, too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wanna laugh?

This photo was taken for the newspaper this past summer at a park where geese run rampent. I was taking pics and all of a sudden a city worker comes bounding up in his pickup and starts "chasing" the geese families towards the water. It was a bit shocking and I started snapping, thinking something wrong was being done. Apparently, though, the geese are such pests to people in the park that they are herded into the water a few times a day.

These goslings are what was left after the mama's and papa's jumped in. They were honking for the little ones to jump in and they all stood very terrified. I just put the camera on continuous mode and shot. They eventually all jumped in.

While looking at my photos that night I found this one and I honestly laughed so hard I cried. There is something so damn funny about him. Maybe it's the idea that he might have slipped on a banana peel .. maybe it's the goslings in the back looking over each other's shoulders to see what the hell "earl has done now"..

It is, strangely enough, my most popular photo ever taken. In the newspaper as well as online. I have found it in blogs in Russia, as well as Japan, crazy uber-teen blogs, etc.

People have asked me to sell it but it's not very sharp, really - not like it should be. I am entering it in the Associated Press awards contest in a few days. Who knows, maybe technicality isn't everything?

Enjoy.. laugh.. and tell me what you think the title should be!


P.S. I realized that I sometimes want to post photos that I do for things other than fine art in my blog. I mean, isn't that what a blog is for? To learn about someone?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tagged for Life

I've been tagged by Theresa's Treasures and I'm going to continue the game :)

Each blogger has to reveal 7(8 according to some) random facts about his or herself.
People who are tagged have to post the rules.
At the end, I have to choose 7(or 8) people to tag.
I then need to leave a comment for each person who has been tagged, telling them that they are "it".
The "taggee" needs to then leave a comment for the person who tagged them to read your list.

Here are my random facts about me:

1) I'm a huge football fan (U.S.) and try to go to at least one NFL game a year.

2) My name is jude and I'm a reality tv show junkie. My favs are Top Chef, Project Runway, The Biggest Loser, and, of course, Survivor. I hate the ones where they fight all the time i.e. I Love New York, Charm School, Tool Academy (brand new one where boyfriends who treat their women crappy are declared "tools"), but I've been known to watch them anyway. Favorite line from a reality show? Tool Academy's elimination proclaimation: "I'm sorry, you've been eliminated. You're JUST a tool."

3) My grandchildren do NOT call me Grandma, under penalty of death. I'm "Meema" not to be confused with MeeMAW (lord have mercy). Actually, I wanted to be Nana with my first grandson but his other grandmother picked that name (grrr). I capitulated and became "Grandma." When he started to talk he couldn't say Grandma and Meema was born - which suits me fine :)

4) I went to an all-girls Catholic academy for high school. "That explains a lot" comes from many people who find out about that. :S

5) I didn't go to college until I was 30 and my husband applied for a Pell Grant FOR me. When my application got accepted he told me I was going to school the next September whether I liked it or not. I was terrifed having been a horrible student in high school, but it was the best thing I could have ever done. Even with 4 little kids I managed to be on the Dean's List every semester.

6) Twenty years ago, I was the Lifestyle Editor for a newspaper and won awards for my humorous columns. My kids were the subject most of the time - they alternately drove me nuts and made me laugh my ass off.

7) My husband and my "song" is "Someday Soon" by Judy Collins.

8) I really have no idea what I'm doing most of the time ... I'm not kidding.

Now, on to who I shall tag. I hope a few decide to play:

1) Almay Alday
2) ArtSnark
3) LB Accessories
4) Joy White
5) La Belle Savage Jewerly Design
6) Leigh (Create)
7) Burgandy
8) KrazyFashion

Friday, January 23, 2009

time to relax

I couldn't be happier that it's Friday. Time to relax and .. well, work on photos? Not exactly relaxing, but not running around desperately looking for news photos either. So, I'll take this cold, cold weekend and use it for creating what I love.

I've been working on trying to up my marketing. I took some advice from the etsy-wiki site where it a few ideas were suggested. One of them is Google's AdWords.. So far I've had 3 whole clicks. Ughhhhhhhh.. I just don't get it. I mean, isn't SUPPOSED to be true that artistic types aren't technical? no? just me?


I was trying to figure it out this afternoon at work (I was done with work... really) and a co-worker pulled up AdWords on her computer and within minutes had translated all the abbreviations and codes so I understood them. If I win the lottery tonight I promised to hire her to do all my technical translations. My best friend has already been marked to read all my camera manuals and explain them to me. He had to promise not to primal scream at me when I " don't get it" fast enough :)

I love this photo - I found the rose hanging upside down drying at a craft store where a friend worked a few years ago. I'd never bothered with it and found it on an old CD of photos the other day. I wanted to name it "Love is a Battlefield" but also didn't want Pat Benetar to come and sue me either. So, "Love - A Battlefield" was created.

I know that some people don't like images that aren't "pretty" in a normal way. I have no idea why I love decay and creepy, haunting images ... but I do.

Here's hoping others do, too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

limited edition

For years friends in the art world have been telling me to do limited editions of my work. I've sort of ignored that, thinking it would be difficult. Recently, though, I began numbering certain pieces of my work that I love. My love for said pieces make them difficult to let go of, at times, but I realized if I only did "so many" it might be less of a tugging at my heart.

Today I decided to list one of my limited editions on Etsy to expand the offer further than the galleries my work is featured in.

This one is called "Offering" and was taken at a local farmers market I go to during the summer. It was just sitting on a vendor's table - something their child had picked and put in a convenient styrofoam cup until they went home from the market. I think of days I picked flowers (dandelions!!) for my mother when I was a child, and also of my children handing me assorted weeds and flowers from their grubby, chubby little hands.

I miss those days .. I miss my children being children.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekend Sale in my Etsy Shop...

I've decided to have a little sale for the weekend to show a little lovin' - through Sunday, January 18th at midnight PST (Pacific Standard Time). Any purchase of $30 or more and the buyer gets a free 4x6 of their choice. I've uploaded a few new items this evening .. come take a look at my Etsy shop - judemcconkey

Here I go ...

Okay, this is my first time posting. I have no idea what I'm doing (maybe I'm supposed to pretend I do?) but am giving it a go anyhow.

My purpose to have a blog is to give anyone interested a glimpse into my daily life. There are many photos I take that aren't ever sold on Etsy or the galleries I have work in, or used at the newspaper. I love taking photos and, although I'm down from the 300+ daily I used to shoot when I started, I still am in constant lookout for something intriguing - or even just something normal but beautiful to me.

I do dabble in photoshop a lot - having been a painter in the past - and to me it's an embellishment to some photos I take. My work for the newspaper has to be untouched by photoshop (except to sharpen or lighten) and my need for "artsy" would starve to death if I didn't play a bit with the pieces I consider to be fine art.

My obsessions including vignetting, queen anne's lace, deserted buildings that are falling apart, creepy thing, and most of all, snowfall captured by the camera.

I also plan to feature people from the Etsy site I post my work on, and other photographers from great sites that I've had the pleasure of knowing.

Here's a photo I took during the sub-zero weather of this past week: -20 at 2 p.m. on a sunny day is a little crazy to me, but the hoarfrost on everything near water was really beautiful.

And I hope I can figure it all out ;)