January 25, 2022
Home as a place within myself

Our next challenge at Home Photo Salon Home. The first thought that comes to mind, as corny as it sounds, is 'home is not a place, is a feeling'.

Later, watching Laura Valenti's free e-course Sight + Insight I saw in her studio tour video I saw a framed mantra I have arrived, I am home. Reflecting on these words and searching for answers, I realized that the kind of images I want to create is about Home as a place within myself.
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I can take beautiful photos of beautiful things & people, but I am struggling to create images that reflect the feeling that Home is a place within us, it is not somewhere outside ourselves to be found. 
I've been feeling overwhelmed by the thought that maybe this struggle is just a reflection of where I am right now as a photographer.

When I read these words from Sean Tucker, they soften my heart, they reminded me that instead of feeling frustrated I should focus more on the joy of taking pictures.
...by focussing on the only thing that was ever in your hands in the first place: doing the very best work you can for the sheer joy of it.​​​​​​​
January 17, 2022
Love After Love by Derek Walcott
   The time will come when, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving at your own door,
    in your own mirror, and each will smile at the
    other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat

   You will love again the stranger who was your self.
   Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
   to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all
   your life, whom you ignored for another,
   who knows you by heart.

   Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
   the photographs, the desperate notes,
   peel your own image from the mirror.
   Sit. Feast on your Life.
January 09, 2022
Since I'm inarticulate, I express myself with images. — Helen Levitt

December 25, 2021
Wishing you a Christmas that's merry and bright, and a healthy and relaxing holiday season.
December 18, 2021
(It will be up for a month only)
Like James suggested, put on some music, grab some wine, view in full screen,  and enjoy some of the best work from the Close to Home Photo Salon in 2021. He created this virtual gallery with photos from all the members, it is incredibly diverse in style and subject matter, and it works so well!!!  
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The Meaning in the Making
Inspired by this gallery, I felt like going through my Lightroom catalog to review photos I took a year or so and just stashed away, completely forgetting about them. I wanted to look at them with fresh eyes. 
It is interesting how time can change your relationship with an image when you look at it with fresh eyes. When you let go of perfection, when you let go of the idea you need validation in the likes of others for your photography to have value and meaning; only then you start to get a sense of absolute joy and fulfillment in making photography.
I have been reading The Meaning in the Making by Sean Tucker. I have been reading it slowly, mainly in the mornings, like a prayerful way to start my day. Like being part of the C2H Photo Salon, this book has taken me on a path to live a fulfilling creative life rather than worry about success and likes. 
"We make. And we hope that those who experience what we’ve made will feel the truth of what we’ve shared resonate and hum within them as well. We might not even be able to put clearly into neat, descriptive prose what we’ve shared, but that’s the beauty of art; it’s not a medium that requires certainty. " (page 10)
November 26, 2021
Challenge # 7 - LOT Zine

I had mixed feelings when I first read about our next challenge at the C2H Salon. I liked the idea of creating a printed zine for the Salon but I didn't feel too excited about the theme - LOT - featuring photos of parking lots and gas stations, nothing something that I ever thought of shooting.
James' idea was to use a specific boundary to motivate and help us search and take interesting photos.
I caught myself walking in parking lots and gas stations seeking interesting scenes, talking to people, and taking some portraits.
Since I've joined this group of photographers, I've learned that just because I am not noticing anything interesting to photograph, it does not necessarily mean there isn't something interesting to photograph.

Thinking creatively. 
Photographing with intention.
Not every photo is going to be a winner, and that is ok.

October 15, 2021
When you have the perfect setting to create an eye-catching Halloween decoration.
October 09, 2021
Not every day I carry my camera with me.  Somedays I don't want to see through lenses, although my mind keeps making pictures everywhere, composing a frame, looking for interesting light, paying attention to all details in front of me, however, I'm glad I brought it with me when we went on a road trip yesterday.
Looking back at my Fall photos always helps me get through the winter.
October 01, 2021
A Short Story of a Close Encounter
September 04, 2021
Challenge # 6 - A Portrait and a Story
I was driving on Main Street looking for a place to park my car when I noticed a lady wearing a hat crossing the street. People wearing hats always catch my attention.
I parked the car and started wandering the streets. At the strip of green that divides much of Main Street, I saw the lady with a hat talking to somebody. She was sitting on a bench, he was standing with a cup of coffee in his hand. He looked more like a passerby who just stopped for small talk rather than a friend. That made me think that the lady wearing a hat is open to talking to strangers.  
I kept walking but keeping an eye on them. When he left I turned around, walked towards her, introduced myself, and asked if I could take make some photos of her.
Stephanie is an interesting, smart & witty woman. We talked for about 45 minutes and she told me some interesting stories, including one about the hat she was wearing.
Earlier that day, while walking on a street by the church, she saw a hawk coming down for a chicken. Waving her arms and yelling to the hawk, she tried to save the distraught chicken, but she couldn't stop the inevitable. The hawk got most of the chicken, leaving only parts of it in the middle of the street.
To pay her respects to the dead chicken she got the biggest feather she could find, went back home, washed it, and now the dead chicken feather adorners her hat. 
Hearing that made me think that she was a cuckoo, or she was mocking me.
I said goodbye promising to send her some pictures and off I went.
On my way to my car, I noticed a dead-end street by the church and decided to check it out. Some children were loudly talking to each other at the end of the road, when I was approaching them they left in a hurry, and that's when I noticed a dead bird in the middle of the road. It was a much bigger bird than the ones that visit my backyard, and that's when I saw one chicken leg by the remaining feathers!!!
July, 05 2021
"To me, photography is an art of observation. 
It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place...
I've found it has little to do with the things you see 
and everything to do with the way you see them."  — Elliott Erwitt
June 27, 2021
Challenge # 5 - Capturing the Mundane and Everyday
Our 5th Challenge at the Close to Home Photo Salon was very stimulating - finding beauty in the Mundane as a photographer, to pull beauty or interest out of a traditionally mundane moment or object.
Looking for inspiration from my own everyday world has taught me to see in a deeper way, I feel I am becoming more attentive, more intentional when I photograph. To me, the key to making interesting photos of things that easily can be overlooked is to bring up some kind of emotion, atmosphere, or mood to them, otherwise, something is missing, it's just a boring, banal photo.
This simple shift in how to look at a scene before shooting has opened up a new and beautiful way of seeing and making photographs.
May 24, 2021
For so many years, I'd had so much joy taking pictures of my garden, especially in the spring, but not this year. I've been feeling so restlessly, out of place, like something is missing and I can't make much sense of it. 
Thinking about it I wonder if these feelings are a late reaction to the global lockdowns and financial and emotional strain of the pandemic, both in general and within the bubble of our family. 
I think I managed the pandemic mayhem well up to a couple of months ago. I've accepted what I could not change, I've been doing the right things to help reduce the spread of this virus without feeling my freedoms have been curtailed, but lately, I've been caving into these feelings and it's not being easy to cope with these emotions.​​​​​​​
April 24, 2021
Challenge # 4 Showing Emotion in the Inanimate

Exercise to open our eyes to bring sensibility 
into our photographs. ​​​​​​​

Look for Lines & Shapes - Lightning 
Tones, Color, and Texture 
Find interesting things 
Experiment and try different angles.

April 18, 2021
Happy Birthday!!!
April 14, 2021
Signs of Spring - So colorful!​​​​​​​
March 28, 2021
Challenge # 3 - Portraits​​​​​​​

Despite feeling a lot of discomfort it was very rewarding to get out of my comfort zone and ask strangers to take their portraits.
This is a photography skill that I want to practice more -  make people feel natural and real in front of a camera. 
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March 19, 2021
For a person like me who struggles with perfectionism, who thought that making pictures implied making perfect and pretty, it's been a  very eye-opening experience being part of this incredible community - Close to Home Photo Salon. James is a very kind and generous teacher and he has created a wonderfully inspiring community - so much education, so much inspiration, so much fun.
Embracing imperfections  -  Refine my ability to observe  -  Find beauty in the mundane
Shifting my focus from simply photographing things to start photographing feelings, emotions.​​​​​​​
February 21, 2021
"An ordinary life isn't ordinary when you put a frame around a moment." Joel Meyerowitz​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
February 09, 2021​​​​​​​
For a couple of years, I had tried to join Roxanne Bryant class Editing for Artists, and every time I was too late to sign up. Finally, this year I was able to register for it and I didn't get disappointed. It was a worthwhile investment.
Her teaching style is both gentle and kind. She's a talented artist who does not hold back in sharing her knowledge and expertise. Her color theory/editing class was more than I could have hoped for.
  
January 15, 2021
Pockets full of Light
January 08, 2021​​​​​​​
Flowers always help me beat the winter blues.
December 25, 2020
Merry Christmas!
December 12, 2020
Challenge # 1 - Dreamlike
Every 5-6 weeks, members of the Close to Home Photo Salon will get a theme for a challenge to motivate and help photographers create something beautiful, interesting. It's a way to help us focus and get inspired to keep shooting, practicing, and experimenting. 
The more we take photographs, the more we will learn and grow as a photographer​​​​​.
The first challenge was called Dreamlike. The idea was to create new work that had a dreamlike feeling keeping it within the Close to Home theme. It was not an easy challenge, mainly because it was the first time I participated in a photo challenge, and I wasn't sure which direction to go.
I was driving on a misty & foggy afternoon when I drove by this cemetery. The quiet and soft mood of the fog and mist evoked an ethereal and wonderful atmosphere. I felt compelled to pull over and get inside and stroll around, breathing in the fresh air.
December 04, 2020
5 Blocks from Home
There is serendipity at work in our lives. It has happened to me a few times throughout my life, and serendipity is how I explain why a few years ago I signed up to receive the newsletter from NYC photographer James Maher
Last summer, he came up with a  contest to stimulate photographers to start shooting more during the pandemic. The contest - 5 Blocks from Home - was to send him a series of five photographs taken anywhere within a five-block distance from home, or in our home. Gladly, I got 3rd place in the contest - Hooray!
Inspired by the response to the contest, James came up with an incredible concept to create an online group and invited me to be part of it - Close to Home Photo Salon - a community of people passionate about photography, an anti-Instagram place. Being part of this group has inspired me to shoot more and has pushed me out of my comfort zone when shooting,  plus it has lots of education.  
James Maher is most known for his street photography and this is the genre I had the least experience and interest in my photography journey, so there was no rational reason for me to sign up to his newsletter but serendipity had its way and it couldn't have brought me to a better place.          
October 09, 2020
Let's Talk Cape Light
I am beyond grateful to my friends Lucia and Mark who offered us their beach house in Cape Cod so my husband and I and my niece Fabiana could be together.
Not being able to see my family on the other side of the continent, and hugging friends, I feel fortunate to have a nice home to feel sheltered and safe during quarantine, but having a chance to travel close to home to a beautiful seaside town helped us relax and recharge, and most importantly, be together.
We returned restored, our minds at peace and our souls content.
Every time I am in Cape Cod, Joel Meyerowitz's Cape Light - a serene and contemplative photography book of everyday scenes transformed by the stunning natural light of Cape Cod is in my mind. It is a captivating book, one that inspires me to pick up my camera every day, especially when in the Cape.
August 14, 2020
I wonder if the collective feeling of gratitude we've seen all around the world will become part of our daily lives or will it vanish with the pandemic...
July 02, 2020​​​​​​​
Blogging was my first experience with Social Media and it was a very fulfilling experience. It was a place of creativity and friendship. I had the joy to meet some of these new friends personally, and to these days we are still in contact. It was at that time I discovered a new way to express my creativity and I found a new passion - photography.
I don't think Social Media is bad, at least it was not in the beginning, and the concept is great - it enables us to stay in contact with family and friends around the world; to find new friends and like-minded communities; to find an outlet for creativity and self-expression. On the other hand, it has become a place that exacerbates feelings that others are having more fun or living better lives than we are, triggering feelings of anxiety and inadequacy about our lives or appearance; plus cyberbullying, self-absorption, and so on.
I feel I am losing the joy and pleasure I have when shooting, I am becoming entangled in getting more engagement and likes from an audience of strangers that could care less about my photography.
It's been a long process to stop worrying about who will or won't see my work, to stop worrying about who will or will not like my work. 
May 25, 2020
Memorial Day
I watched a Memorial Day Parade in 2019 on a beautiful sunny day for the first time, and I was almost as excited as the children in these photos.
May 05, 2020
A morning walk at Harrybrooke Park
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