May 30, 2008

Follow your bliss

"Follow your bliss". Joseph Campbell

This has been one of my favourite quotations for a very long time. My particular problem was that I didn't know what that was. At least not until I became passionate about photography about 3 years ago.

I finally heeded that advice. Today, I worked my last day as a Technical Writer to pursue my photography career. I'm about 90% excited beyond belief and 10% utterly terrified. But I suppose that's perfectly normal, and not a bad ratio.

And now, off to celebrate!

May 27, 2008

Whatever happened to my modelling career?

When I was about 9 years old, my mother signed me up for a modelling class. I think that someone convinced her that I could start bringing in the big bucks … perhaps as the new face of Woolworth’s. As a single mother (my father had recently died) who had immigrated from Poland only a few years before and suddenly had a mortgage on her hands and a child to raise, money was a serious concern. Nothing ever came of it, except that I learned how to twirl on a runway. And pose. Awkwardly.

I looked up some posing tips for models on the Internet. Let’s see how I did:

  • Don't keep both arms entirely straight. Bend one or both arms, even if only a little, to make the pose look less artificial. Likewise, don't keep both legs entirely straight.

    C-: I fail this one miserably in both standing poses. At least all limbs are bent in the seated pose.
  • Don't always look straight at the camera. Instead, use a variety of head and eye positions: Try turning your head, tilting your neck to one side or the other, or looking off to the side for some poses.

    A: Okay. Not bad. There’s a variety of positions here.
  • Don't use a big smile for every pose. Sometimes try a small smile, a pout, a laugh, a scowl, or even a frown, to give some variety to your facial expressions.

    D: Hmmmm. I had big smile and slightly smaller smile in my repertoire.
  • Rest most of your weight on one foot or the other instead of evenly on both feet. Doing so makes poses look less artificial and gives a slight slimming effect in most positions.

    A++: Maybe my arms were straight, but at least I pass this one with flying colors. And look at how slim I look!

May 19, 2008

Talking to strangers

This weekend I finally had a chance to take my Polaroid camera out to play. And what a great day I chose to do so. I timed my visit to the Montreal Botanical Gardens perfectly. The trees in the arboretum were in full bloom and the scent was intoxicating.

I also managed to overcome a photographic hurdle that I have, which is approaching complete strangers to ask if I can take a photograph of them. But I couldn't resist. I spotted these three girls dressed in kimonos walking around the arboretum, and an image popped into my head. Essentially the one at the top ... their three feet and kimonos peeking out through a cascade of blossoms. I started to essentially stalk them, taking photographs in their vicinity, while watching them out of the corner of my eye.

At one point I chickened out and started to walk away, but then I realized that I would go away disappointed in myself if I did so. Instead, I turned around and finally approached them about taking their photograph. Of course, the entire exchange ended up being a great pleasure and they were really into it. It turns out that the three of them get dressed up in their kimonos once a year to come to the botanical gardens and walk among the blossoming trees. How sweet is that! One of them, upon seeing my polaroid camera, exclaimed "I love polaroids!". So naturally, I took a photograph of the three of them and gave them the polaroid.

Now that I'm emboldened, look out strangers!