Monday, March 8, 2010

The Artist As Art

As artists we are always scanning the environment, analyzing what we see for compostion, perspective, hue, value, texture. We use our critical eye to help us translate our world into art. But what happens when that critical eye is turned on us?

Last year I decided to focus on taking my self seriously as an artist. All reliable sources strongly indicate a need for using professional photography as a prerequisite when preparing images for publication, websites, show entrys, etc. So I booked an appointment with a professional photographer my son recommended, Rob Colgan in Columbus, Ohio. He specializes in photographing other artist's work and has a beautiful studio with great lighting, surround sound and a stocked refrigerator of cold libations. What an ego boost to watch your work getting such attention. When we were almost done he suggested taking my portrait. Well, I knew that having a professional portrait done was also on my professional "to do"
list, but whoaaa there. I stammered something like, "great idea, but I don't think today would be a great day." I was certain this was going to take a lot of preparation on my part, and let's face it, I was already sweating profusely.

A few months later, I gathered up my courage and freshly returned from the hair salon and in the possesion of a new jacket I made the appointment. I should mention that Rob is an artist in his own right and the black and white portraits on his studio walls are something to behold, so I was certain I was in good hands. After all isn't this every girl's dream to be treated like a fashion model? Well, he set up all his equipment, lighting and backdrops to match the color of my hair and we're ready to go, then... Holy Crap!! I froze solid, like an old rusty engine, like a cigar store indian, like a deer in the headlights. Flashbacks to childhood Christmases and my uncle taking home movies with a bank of high beam lights in my eyes with orders to look natural while tears run down my face. Flashbacks to that third grade school photo with the pixie haircut, cowlick and ugly plaid dress. Rob was the consumate professional but even he had to resort to telling naughty jokes to get me to crack even a hint of a smile (new insight into the relationship between Mona Lisa and DaVinci). Then a little miracle...

We went outside and he took some photos in his peaceful Asian-inspired garden and at last I was able to breathe. Next to art, gardening is something I truly love. I am now in possession of some lovely photographs that I am proud to give to friends and family and to publish. Rob, you are a wizard! My artist friend Peggy gave me the highest compliment, she wants to use my photo on her Facebook page. I wouldn't mind, but a few people, like perhaps her husband might notice.

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