Another Monochrome Madness 2:43 “Curves”

Time for the first Monochrome Madness  of 2016! As always, I love Leanne Cole’s initiative to inspire and develop photographic creativity (http://leannecolephotography.com). I highly recommend Leanne’s blog as it is treasure trove of her own photographs, introductions to other amazing photographers, photo tips, as well as links to other excellent photo blogs.

Here is my MM entry for February. I find that every time I choose and process a photo to send in, I learn an incredible amount about my own photographic style, what makes (or doesn’t make – and there are a lot of those!!) a good monochrome shot, and the powerful moody effects that black and white tones can elicit in our imaginations.

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WordPress Blogging U 101: Here I am!

This year I am finally doing it – I signed up and am actually participating in WordPress’ Blogging U 101. Our first assignment this evening is to introduce ourselves and to clarify our goals for our personal blog, take stock of what has been accomplished and what we still want to learn …..so here goes.

Who I am: I turn 50 this year (ufffff!!) and have decided to take the plunge and follow my passion for photography, printmaking and creating art in a more serious way. My world has always been a visual one and the arts have always been a big part of my teaching. I taught primary school for 25 years (and who knows, might still continue in the future) in the international school ‘system’; living and working in such diverse locales as Poland, Denmark, the (former) Soviet Union, Germany, England, Canada and Switzerland. I am married to a fellow photo enthusiast and Professor of Education, and have two gown-up sons who are also pursuing their artistic visions; one via carpentry and the other through illustration.

Where I’ve come from: I actually started this blog three years ago when I was teaching Kindergarten. We were learning how to create and use classroom blogs to highlight children’s learning  and to communicate with parents. I loved it. Later, I started to pick up my camera more often to help get through a tough period of being bullied. Through my blog, I found a great feeling of accomplishment and calm by taking, selecting and then sharing my developing photo skills. This year, I returned to blogging with a passion – using this medium to really explore the kind of photography I believe I am capable of creating, as well as using the blog as a forum to exhibit my work and receive views and feedback from photographers around the world. Their interest has really boosted my confidence and I am truly grateful to all who have shared their opinions and ideas with me this year!!

Where I want to go: As the year goes on, my blogging skills have grown and I have come across a new way to use blogging to help people. A friend I was helping with her art blog, mentioned that I had a knack for explaining blogging clearly to older people. This got me thinking of how I could use my skills to help older people and seniors (and others) learn to blog so they could share their personal memoirs and family histories with their grand-children. Most people have fascinating and exciting stories to tell!

Here are my blogging goals for 2016;

-create a way to teach seniors, refugees or anyone with a story to tell, how create their own personal blogs

-include more about printmaking and my prints (new skills)

-learn how to create a wider following for my blog and generate more feedback on my work

-learn how to create those darn widgets and have them show on my blog (I am thinking I might need to change my blog theme to a more visual one – but how to do this without losing content, comments or ‘likes’?)

-how to add outside resources such as Photobox to start selling my photographs

-develop stronger skill in the graphic aspect of blogging – some of the blogs I admire are so beautiful! How can I customize my blog more creatively?

I would love feedback from you about what works with my blog, what doesn’t, how it can be improved, and what you like to see more of. In the spirit of FairPlay and creative collaboration, I appreciate fair, constructive and useful comments. Thank you so much for all of your visits this year – it has really helped me to grow and thank you to Blogging U 101 organizers; @samjhamdy@bruceallen@rootjosh@sonyca and @2020hinessight for all of their help and guidance.

Here’s to a fun, creative and learning-full 2016 – Cheers!!

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(P.S. ….why the photo of a hammer? This past summer, the windows in our 1880’s apartment were replaced. One in particular needed to have the original frame replaced and as they took it out, you could see the different layers of colored paint from the last 135 years. When the workers went for a coffee, they left the hammer on the window-sill and it made a great photo opportunity. Learning is like the layers of paint – we don’t know what is there until we start uncovering them, changing our thinking and ideas in the process of discovery, and learning how to “open” up ourselves to new opportunities that come our way unexpectedly. A big idea from a little coffee break!!)

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