kokopelle: (Cat - Bunny Love)
An ecstatic photo of a friend inspired me to write the poem “Shine of the Stars”. She was the expression of the universe in the moments that my camera witnessed her life.

Shine of the Stars

I’ll hold the camera
you’ll set the mood
together we’ll find
heart of the moon
held by the lens
shown in your smile.

The shutter will click
there’s no turning back
commitment has been made
soul of the sun
burns with your self
swept from here and now.

The picture is set
the moment is stilled
in time’s arms
shine of the stars
travels to future place
memories for evermore.

The world sees you there
beauty in pure repose
then to now, not to dim
breadth of galaxy
your are the peak
with me the muse as conduit.

2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20161020.
kokopelle: (Red Guy)
Sometimes people tell me that a picture of them wasn't good... and I look at it and say WHAT. For the record I toss all the really horrid pics. Only the beautiful ones are left. The poem "The Perfect Imperfect" ponders the perfection of the seen imperfect.

The Perfect Imperfect

The moment was of nearly grace
perfection on the edge of space
yet there was something there
that marred the ideal place.

That little thing most could not see
manifest large in the eyes of thee
your ire was felt inside
others do not grasp the why.

Know my friend, dear subject
of this photo not meant to hurt
instead the intent was to praise
the beauty you may not claim.

The smile may be absent
or the attention distressed
neither of these matter
when the soul is revered.

The imaged captured the slice of time
only present in eternal's blink
never to arrive this way again
such is the magic an image brings.

The veil of the future will hold this dear
the blemishes not seen after all the years.
An echo of past lost to that present
will warm the heart in photo's presence.

© 2016, Sean Green. All Rights Reserved, 20160524.
kokopelle: (Cat - Bunny Love)
A friend told me something shocking. They said that they don't photograph well. I was taken aback, not able to express my denial of a blatant untruth. The song / poem “Don't Say it Baby” is my rebuttal to my friend's words.

Don't Say it Baby
Bonus Poem for Day 157 – 20150606

Don't say it baby,
denying that you photograph well.
You are my focus,
as I seek beauty's measure in this life.
Taking a photo,
the camera loves you and so do I.

Baby baby, don't say it
baby baby, you are it.

The hair might fall down
across a face that the lens longs to capture.
The small blemishes
are part of the whole of magnificence.
I'll photograph you
and then we'll dance so I can see you up close.

Baby baby, don't say it
baby baby, you are it.

Quick to lovely smile,
steal my breadth as you dance with me tonight.
Could I be so lucky
that you will spend some precious time with me.
Elegant lady,
please see the enchantress you've become.

Baby baby, don't say it
baby baby, you are it.

Don't say it baby,
just know that you are a lovely as they come.
I'll snap your photo,
to prove your elegance to the world as a whole.
And then we'll dance
the greatest treat a guy can wish for tonight.

Baby baby, don't say it
baby baby, you are it.
You are beautiful.

© 2015. Sean Green. All Rights Reserved
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
Sometimes I almost feel like a stalker when I am photographing dancers. On top of that I'm not above having favorites. The poem “I See Your Beauty” attempts to explain my relationship with the beauty of others, my desire to have the rest of the world to see it, and the boundaries of this interplay. The poem reflects the result: a purposeful battle of desire and discretion.

I See Your Beauty
Poem for Day 116 – 20150426

I see your beauty,
and raise you again,
that a more fair visage
could not grace
my vision, my world,
here on this night.

I desire no indulgences
beyond life's stations
assigned to us now.

I see your beauty,
seek to capture it,
to take nothing from you,
and give the world,
everything it needs
to know God's grace
bestowed upon us.

I desire nothing beyond
what I can capture
from photo or poem oblique.

I see your beauty,
Your dress, your hair,
your smile, your poise,
all of this and more
speaks to my love,
my longing to see
life's true splendour.

I desire only that,
the ability to remember
the image of another.

I see your beauty,
nothing more I can say.
I show your beauty,
male or female,
it matters not,
when heaven's rapture
visits here this night.

© 2015. Sean Green. All Rights Reserved
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
I wanted to write a poem about dance and the relationship of the photographer to the dancer. Photography captures those dance moments that have an inner beauty appreciated long after the dance is over.

Forever Dance
Poem for Day 070 – 20141202

You danced for yourself.
The world was entranced.
The moment seemed far to brief,
with time stealing you like a thief.

I struggled to be your witness.
I sought to be your scribe.
To see you in dance ageless,
to preserve your essence expired.

My camera turned its lens to you,
seeking to witness all your beauty.
Its eyes seized on the moment
as it focused on that soon to be stolen.

A picture was captured,
the moment had passed.
Time moved forward ever more,
while you now forever dance for yourself.

© 2014. Sean Green. All Rights Reserved
kokopelle: (I Want to Believe)

Social dancing teaches me a lot about life. I've had joyful moments and painful lessons. Often the two, the moments and the lessons, have had a common denominator. The thing I want to talk about today, the denominator at hand, is how to be assertive. This topic of being assertive comes to mind because I experience it every week at dance events. I also had a joyful and painful encounter with it at MonsterCon, a local comic book / toy / cosplay convention.

I attended MonsterCon and took lots of photos. Friday and Saturday were mostly about taking photos of the attendees in their creative cosplay costumes. Sunday I focused on the celebrities, film & media, writers, artists, & press, cosplay & modeling, and fan groups. My method for taking these photos was pretty simple. I went to a group's booth and told them that I was taking pictures of the guests, and could I please take their picture. Nobody said no. Before or after the photos I had the pleasure of some interesting conversations with a number of the guests. All and all the guest photography was a really neat exercise in being assertive.

There was a downside to my assertion exercise. I couldn't bring myself to ask the top guests, the really famous ones, for the chance to document their being at the convention. I just wanted to share that they were at the convention and honor their participation. It didn't happen in a handful of cases because I was not assertive enough. I was freaking out about the relative importance of these guests. Heavy sigh. I asked my lovely wife about today and she said that none of these guests would have said no. Besides, I was asking before taking their pictures, so they did have the option to say no. Maybe I'll do better next year.

I want to bring the conversation back around to social dancing. Be the dancing contra or swing, the social part begins when somebody asks another person to dance. The lucky ones are asked to dance, but this is not always a sure thing. Too many times I've some phenomenal dancers sitting out a dance because nobody asked them to participate. A more sure fire way to dance is to ask somebody. Listen... this can take a pile of guts. Going up to a stranger, or somebody you know who is too awesome for words, and then asking them to dance, can be freaking intimidating. The unfun part of social dancing happens when nobody asks you to dance and you're not up to asking other people.

Is asking a person to dance just a number game? I mean, isn't being assertive easy when the odds are in your favor? I was at a swing dance recently and spoke to an incredibly dynamic experienced dancer about asking people to dance. They had written about an inexperienced dancer asking my experienced friend for a dance. We looked around and saw several guys just standing on the sidelines. Here's the scoop on swing dancing and contra dancing: the gals outnumber the guys. The gals really want to dance, and here were two guys not doing their part! My friend was kinda peeved about the situation, and I don't blame them. These guys had the odds in their favor, but they still had problems being assertive.

A bit of personal sharing and then I'll wrap up this article! I usually don't mind asking the lovely ladies to dance. This comes from years of practice. I have to say that I've been rarely turned down when I ask somebody to dance. That's why they are there! I have been turned down because my timing was off, and they already had a partner, but the overwhelming responses to my dance requests have been positive. Does this keep doubt from sabotaging me? Nope. There are some incredible ladies that I still am reluctant to ask for a dance because I don't feel I'm good enough. Sigh. Would they say yes? Of course! Darn you doubt.

What is doubt doing? How can we overcome it and become assertive? The key is to remember that doubt is 99% us. Doubt is you speaking to yourself. There have been times when I've been ready to leave a dance because I did not feel good enough. Doubt had a stranglehold on me, but guess what, that was me screwing with myself. I asked myself to stand aside. I was there to dance and so where other people. The trick was to step around that doubting side of myself and seek the other side of the social equation, my fellow dancers.

Let's wrap this up. Social dancing works when somebody asks somebody else to dance. Taking photos of everyone at a convention works when I am brave enough to ask EVERYONE. People at a dance, and at a convention, are there for a reason. Dancers want to dance. Star guests at a convention want to interact with attendees. The thing that gets in the way are our doubts. Am I good enough? Will they say yes? The answer is yes and yes (probably!). Does a person say no because they aren't ready to dance at all? Well, that is another issue. That's their doubt. Move on and find somebody else. Would you like to dance with me? Ask me! I don't say no. The easiest way to learn assertiveness is to practice it over and over again. The good news is that social dancing will give you lots of opportunities. The painful lessons may be there, but they will surely transform into many joyful moments.

kokopelle: (Cat - Felix Face)
A FB friend made the observation, “You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it”. They then asked, of the things that are possible, what do you want to do? And how do you know what’s possible until you give it your best shot?

I looked through quotations that referenced the impossible and found one that fits to my experience,

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ― Karl Lagerfel

I was once a regular on an IRC (internet relay chat) channel run by a very competent intuitive. She was asked a lot of questions, but the most common were of the theme, “what is my purpose in life, what am I here to do?” These were younger people who wanted to know what they could or should do. Was there an issue with them asking what they should do? Of course not, but my talented intuitive friend could only provide guesses based on the moment. The questioners could have looked to what they wanted to do. There was a certain magic in the moment, a magic similar to that of the photograph, and the questioners were missing their opportunity.

The seekers were open to possibilities, and their minds were ready to move forward into the unknown. My intuitive friend may have had some of the right answers, but there were no guarantees. The seekers, those asking the questions about their futures, had an opportunity to put their minds to their futures. The seekers had the power of their beliefs.

Back to Karl's quote. Photoshopping aside, photography captures the fleeting moment. The moment that seems so permanent, with all of its possibilities, is as fleeting as wisps of steam. Photography does capture the moment, but time moves on. Life moves on. What we can do, what we put our mind to, is fleeting as well. We can do anything, but the scope of that is defined within this moment. Life is anything but static. Our minds tap the morphing moment, the changing possibilities, and from this anything is possible, but not all of the time. Photography follows these rules as well. Any moment may be captured, but if it is not captured, it is gone forever. Every moment is unique in some way and I love that about photography. Your mind, and its beliefs, can take advantage of every moment, with an infinite number of possibilities overall, but there are a changing finite number now.

A last series of quotes about beliefs, the impossible, and timing...

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Lewis Carroll
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)

I used to think that other photographers were very fortunate to have access to glamorous models. These photographers are very talented, ambitious, and because of this, draw in very attractive, very cooperative, models. Amazing stuff, and I felt small when I looked at my abandoned location and animal photos.

I’ve not walked the path of studio model photography. I’ve instead focused on dance photography. It has been quite a journey, and has not been easy. Dance photography is almost always in motion, with natural lighting that is often incredibly challenging. I had to work out techniques and tricks to overcome the inherent challenges of dance photography. The typical focus of a dance photo isn’t posing for me. The best shots are of dancers doing their own thing. The dancers are quite properly enjoying themselves in the moment. My taking pictures is secondary to the dance. The dancers would keep on dancing if I weren’t there. I am capturing a moment in time that stands alone by itself, and perhaps this is the biggest difference between studio model photography and what I do. My path celebrates life as it really is.

I don’t feel small now. I am still a minor player in the pecking order of photographers. I have no portfolio of boudoir photos or wedding albums to my credit. This bothers me less now. I’ve worked on my style of dance photography and now my photographed dancers are as lovely and sexy as any studio model. I take incredible pleasure in revealing your inherent beauty. You guys and gals are incredible. There are no professionals involved, be they photographers or models , but we’ve done some work that is amazing.

kokopelle: (Monty Python - Lumberjack)

I saw the X-Men movie “X-Men: Days of Future Past” today. It was an awesome movie. Check it out if you an X-Men, Marvel, or just a super-hero movie fan. The credits were rolling, all the technical people were being given credit, and I was struck by the amazing amount of creative expression that went into the creation of the movie.

Creative Expression comes in lots of forms. Four broad categories are Writing, Graphic Arts, Music, and Movement and Dance. I indulge in all of them, though my music pursuits are more private than the rest. Why do I pursue creative expression? Ask.com says that creative expression is “the showing or revealing of a persons emotion and feelings through works of art. These include paintings, writings, theater and music “. Wow, it is about revealing emotions and feelings. Very cool.

I find this cool, that creative expression is about revealing the self, because many years ago I was very against revealing myself. I dreamt of passing away, and nobody attending my funeral. That was something I actually wanted. Now, thank fully, it would be very difficult to pull that off. I've touched a lot of people, largely through my artistic expression. Most come from my artistic expression in photography. Perhaps some were attracted by my weird humor, but most came from the photography.

How do I know that artistic expression has allowed me to reach others? It has not been because of my gift of gab. X-Box friends tend to be accumulated through outright socialization. My lovely wife is the master of this. I suck, with only five or so X-Box friends. Facebook is another deal all together. I have nearly 800 friends on Facebook. There are people who have a lot more, some people have less, but 800 is a bunch bigger number than 5! Most of the 800 come from my artistic expression in photography. Perhaps some were attracted by my weird humor, but most came from the photography.

Today's lesson is that creative expression goes a long way towards meeting new and interesting people. Your creative expression becomes a doorway through which they can enter your life. Pretty neat stuff. The next challenge is to see what you can do with those connections, but those are thoughts for another time.


kokopelle: (BRA - Dangerous)

Many of us live in closets of a various types. A recent experience on Facebook pointed this out.   I recently photographed at a swing dance event. Today I found out that a girl got in trouble because of my pictures. The story is a sad example of why closets exist. A mother saw a picture and thought her daughter had attended the event.

The girl's parents are heavy Baptist and have told her many things, including threatened to end her job because they thought she was there in the photos even though she was not. The girl's car was taken, she is not allowed to see anyone, and she has been banned from going to her first ball, Her mother told her outright she is no longer a Christian as well.

Swing dance is good clean fun with a minimum of sexual innuendo when compared to most dancing. Still, dancing is evil to the girl's parents. They must have suspected that he girl was capable of doing it if a misidentification was possible. Was she really not there? I don't know, but I do suspect that a closet was opened because of the pictures.

kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
I spent the evening doing event photography at the closing night of swing dancing at the Handle Bar in Greenville.  I've never taken that posed pictures at one event.  Wow.  Now onto the processing and posting!
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
I'm having a good time converting my color pics to black and white. Black and white becomes a study in contrasts. Distracting colors are stripped away and form takes the front stage. I think the appeal of this is that life is about shades of gray. Black and white allows us to consider another world.
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
The final South Park episode the year, "The Hobbit", was pretty funny and profound as it took aim at the narcissism of online photos of the advertising and selfie types. Wendy tried to telling her fellow students that Photoshop merely concealed the student body's imperfections. Wendy ended up being the only girl without a Photoshopped image. She ultimately gave into the pressure and created her own replacement image.

This caused me to think. Matt and Trey have an excellent point. Their point was about the distorting power of photography. The results are held up as fantasy images that cannot be obtained. Striving for them causes more harm than good. The distortion of the image becomes a distortion of the person's life. Where am I held responsible to not cross that line?

I do strive to make people look good as they enjoy dancing. I purposely put aside the shots that are not "good". These are the shots in which people are making weird faces or finding themselves in awkward positions. These are natural yes? Perhaps, but choosing to go with more graceful pictures is something I strive for. To not do so can make people the object of ridicule or jesting by their friends. Ok... is this what Matt and Trey are talking about? I don't think so. I'm not distorting the photos in a way that creates a fake reality that is unattainable. I present a flattering version of reality. It is still reality, one in which the grace and beauty of dance is presented. Beauty is what I want to show as I watch beautiful people in a beautiful pursuit.
kokopelle: (Cat Viking Kitty One)
Today I installed the Christmas presents that my lovely wife got me: Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 and Adobe Photoshop LIghtroom 5.  I try to update my elements every year.  I don't see big changes from 12 to 11, but it is good to be current.  LIghtroom is a new application for me and I am trying it out for processing catalogs.  She also got me a game, but that's just for fun!
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
I've recently had two occasions that demonstrated the magic of photography. This both gave me a smile and made me think about the irony of the magical shot. The occasional photographer can get the magical shot, but the ongoing photographer is more likely to do so. Why? Is it talent or equipment or training? These help a lot, but the answer is elsewhere. It is about learning to be in the right place and being there on a repeated basis. I suspect life is life this for lots of pursuits, so this is worth thinking about in connection to anything you may do.

I have two examples. The first is my series of photos the now demolished Bethel A.M.E. church in Laurens SC. I took photos of it back in 2009. This set was one of a dozen and a half "abandoned and historical" locations. The church was demolished in 2011 because of structural reasons. Now my photos are being featured in a historical overview of the location. Why? I love historical and largely forgotten locations and pursue them with my camera. The church has become magical to somebody other than myself and this is delightful. Second example, I have taken literally tens of thousands of contra photos, maybe over one hundred thousand at this point. A dear contradancing friend of mine is now is a special relationship. She recently found a photo of mine that shared one of the first times that she and her guy were together on the dance floor.

What are the lessons here? Perseverance is one. Creating magic is about the frequency of an act, honing the skill and learning the craft. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers, has the 10,000 theory. He says that one must spend 10,000 hours at something before claiming success in any field. The other lesson is that sharing is a key ingredient to magic. Don't keep your light under a pot. Share your stuff and allow others to find their magic amongst the big pile. We are connected and magic is a community event. Cool stuff!
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
I saw a documentary on Eddie Adams. He was an incredibly talented photographer who was also depressed. He created incredible images that others appreciated but he struggled to create the perfect photo that would make him happy, for a time. A friend of his commented that the work involved in creating a commercial photo bled them of creativity. The round and round of picking the photo, tweaking it, approving it, rinse and repeat, had its toil.

I can relate, though I don’t sell my photos. Instead I can relate that over working or analysis of a photo can remove the magic. I hope to avoid this to some degree. I take many photos, sometimes over thousand. I then review them and chuck out the ones that just don’t work at all. I then go through them and look at the one by one. I look for something special in their composition or look for a series of photos that express a wonderful move. These are kept and the thousand is cut in half. These have some magic by my estimation, and it is these that I share with others. I hope I choose well!
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
It is my experience that photography, both still and video, is often underestimated in regards to freezing time. In the present moment the photography of individuals does not seem terribly special. They are there aren't they? Even a short time afterwards, say days, weeks or even months, the photographs seem to be an unnecessary redundancy to actual reality. Why have a picture when the individuals are present, easily contacted or seen in person?

This illusion of timelessness vanishes as the moment continues on. People move away, pass away, or just generally change. It becomes more apparent that the photography has captured something that cannot be reproduced in the present moment. The magic has begun.

I believe this is important to remember. I takes LOTS of photos and capture lots of people in moments of togetherness and joy. Like I said, this seems mundane or redundant in this moment. I have to wonder if the magic has happened yet for those who have been touched by the timelessness of my photography. What do you think?
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
I picked up another 4TB drive to accommodate all the pictures I've taken since December of 2007. Hard to believe that was only six years. The past two years probably account for most of the space. The high res pics can take up to five gig of raw pics. I keep these and tweak copies, eventually ending up with the stuff I post on Facebook. All my pics are now on an older 4TB drive with only 300 GB to spare. So... I'm going to back up all this to the new drive and then start on some new 3 TB drives. Fun fun fun...
kokopelle: Battling Deities (battling deities)
A blog about kissing and photography. How fun! And there is a moral to the story!

Read more... )
Find oneself in behavior that used to bother you can be a learning experience. We have met the enemy and he is us! There may be some good reasons, but for sure, there are some great lessons in the offering!
kokopelle: Sony A77 (a77)
A wonderfully attractive (on so many levels!) friend of mine got me thinking about sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and gender. I engage in the art of photography. Principally I photograph people events, animals and (abandoned mostly) landscapes. I don't do much modeling type photography, though this will happen also! While I do enjoy writing, and sometimes even do it well, I am really a visual type guy. The visual is a big hook for me when it comes to whom I am attracted to. It kick starts the process, but then other stuff goes from there. I am attracted to smart people who have a wicked and diverse sense of humor. Still, the visual goes a long way.

More thoughts on this! )

IMO life is like photography. Sexual and romantic attraction are influencers of where we put our attention. Gender is an influencer, but honestly, it is more of a distraction than an enabler. Yeah, it sets up scripts that are easily played out, but this is window dressing to the stuff going on both shallow and deep levels. Peel back the onion and attraction has less and less to do with the sexual and romantic things. Engagement is really the goal.


kokopelle: Horse Totem (Default)

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