Guest blogger today on f/4 Studio!

I am delighted to share with you my post for f/4 Studio. I speak about the one thing that inhibits us in so many ways, especially in our creative endeavors: fear. Have a look…make a comment….and while you are there, explore the other work. I know that much of it will resonate. https://f4-studio.com/2016/07/31/loss-and-beauty-creating-solace-in-a-land-of-infinite-sorrow/

I share the news in the f/4 Studio blog about the latest location for Loss and Beauty: The Jewish Museum of Maryland. Loss and Beauty will be part of a tremendous exhibit collectively titled Remembering Auschwitz. Have a look here to read all about it:  http://jewishmuseummd.org/single/remembering-auschwitz/

The official press release is being created that includes Loss and Beauty. I will share it next week. What I want to share now is my gratitude for all of you who made it possible for my work to reach a larger audience. Today is the anniversary of Loss and Beauty going ‘on press’. Thank you to Donald W. for his expertise and care, and thank you to Skip Klein for  first offering Loss and Beauty to JMM and for never giving up on the possibility!

Here’s on last tip. Read the book Art and Fear. Then go create. The world needs your vision and voice.

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Sam Abell speaks about Ireland

I’m sharing with you the tales Sam Abell tells about Ireland, along with his evocative imagery. A day after the ‘wearin’ o’ the green’, I’m still longing for a visit to this storied island. And look! There is a horse in this post, as well as Fungie the dolphin.

http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/17/how-determination-led-to-this-photographer-finding-the-luck-o-the-irish/

©Sam Abell

©Sam Abell

You can see more of his images here: http://www.samabellphotography.com

what a year, what a month! November in Portugal

It’s been far too long since I posted here. I’ve been deeply focused on the promotion for Loss and Beauty. But I want to share with my readers and fellow horse enthusiasts some images from Portugal in November.

In November, I had the very good fortune to take two groups of clients to visit the country I love so much. Each time I visit Tomar, Alcobaça, Batahla, or any other of my favorite places in Portugal, I learn something new! And of course, each time the light is different.

We were blessed this year with marvelous weather for the Lusitano festival in Golegã. And there were special events nearly every day. The highlight for me was seeing Mestre Luis Valença on horseback again after many years. Parabens, Mestre!

I hope you enjoy the images. Have a look in the galleries for Equus as well as Portugal for additional images. And, as always, I’d be delighted if you shared my site with friends!

Please contact me for very special private tour opportunities in 2016. Dates are filling quickly! ( keron @ keronpsillas.com )

“You are the finest tour guide a person could ever have! Every moment has been perfect…each place interesting and unexpected, all logistics were seamless. Thank you! We can’t wait for our next trip with you.” ~ a comment from a client in November of 2016.

 

 

 

My week with Sam Abell, 9 years of learning and teaching

Ebey's Landing

Balance and subtlety.

I think the photo caption is an apt description for my experience of assisting and teaching with Sam over these last nine years. The contemplation of balance and subtlety, along with justness, dimensionality, micro-composition, and an appreciation for how things are without amendment or enhancement, has been the basis for how I’ve aspired to see for all these years.

It’s true that I will underscore intent at various times with alternative lenses and formats. But the underlying structure of the photograph must ring true. The seeing must have authenticity.

The level of work produced this past week was unusually high. That is gratifying for teachers. But it also spread a congeniality and high sense of purpose throughout the class. Students recognized the rare opportunity to reach and they supported one another in this. That is even more gratifying. The Pacific Northwest Art School supplies the foundation for this kind of stretching with their warmth and welcoming attitude. Sam and I seek to underscore this by offering compassionate criticism along with discussions that illuminate new concepts.

I was unusually quiet this week. Normally it’s a much more collaborative effort. But I recognized the student’s desire to hear as much as possible from the Master. They were all leaning forward! So I took this opportunity to listen intently myself. One morning, late in the week, we had a fog bank rise up from the Sound and slip over the bluff and onto the prairie. I stopped for just a minute, made three exposures, and then continued to class.

I think the image speaks not only to the themes of the class, but is also a guidepost for going forward. Greater subtlety, balance, and a certain quietude. Those are the images I’ll be seeking.

Kickstarter Launch!

I’m simply overjoyed to share this news! I have launched my Kickstarter initiative for Loss and Beauty!  Here’s the link….and please please share with others. Thank you.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/keronpsillas/loss-and-beauty-creating-solace-in-a-land-of-infin

And what’s even better? RFoto Folio is previewing my work. Life is so sweet just now. Here’s the link:

http://rfotofolio.org

RFoto Folio is such a resource for photographers and collectors. The entire photographic community benefits as well as the fine art world. So I’ll be supporting them as well. The world needs more beauty. And love. And peace. And compassion.

Cuba, part three of three

I’ve been back from Cuba for a little over a week though I am still living in a bit of a reverie. Time there had a different dimension. Spending 8 days completely unplugged from the cell phone and internet was a wonderful way to decompress. I was able to give myself the luxury of being taken over by pure photography. And yet, I am left with a feeling of sadness and frustration from what I witnessed. It is not for me to speak about the situation in Cuba from a political standpoint. I must leave that to others. But I can speak about what I saw as a woman and a mother.

Before I left for Cuba, I had many friends who had visited speak forcefully about the beauty and spirit of the Cuban people. While I did see this fully expressed I also saw sadness, resignation, frustration, suffering, and even boredom. I saw children trying to learn in schools open to all the noise and confusion of the streets. I saw elderly citizens in a daycare with no medicines and people everywhere surviving on their wits and little else. I searched for stores to purchase food and basic necessities. There are none. I was told about the monthly ration stores and even visited one. But there was nothing to ‘purchase’. Deliveries are unpredictable. I have no knowledge of the quality of health care. But I do know that you can not drink the water or brush your teeth with it. Here as in other developing nations, waterborne illnesses are prevalent and serious. Even walking on the streets becomes an exercise in self-preservation. Gaping holes, broken pipe, garbage and sewage, unearthed cobblestones and refuse from crumbling buildings make navigation an art form.

But there was progress to be seen as well. Crews worked nearly around the clock to build a new hotel beside the Parque Centrale, one of the main tourist hotels. Streets that had been unearthed were re-paved with all new piping installed for water, sewer, gas, and electricity. But these things are works in progress. One morning, while visiting an elderly woman living alone in Vedado, the electricity was off. I asked “is this normal”? (As it was 9:30 in the morning and not a particularly ‘high demand’ day.) The reply: “Everything is normal in Cuba.”

So, ten days later, I am reliving my journey, searching for a deeper understanding of all I experienced. It is true that music and laughter were prevalent and beautifully expressed. But sadness and lack and a certain heaviness of spirit were just as prevalent. The Cuban people survive by their wits and generosity with each other. But to thrive, they will need access to clean water, educational and economic opportunity. There is hope for the coming years, but also a resignation to wait and see. I will be watching, and waiting to return. There is hope and deep beauty there amongst the decay and ruin. Walker Evans saw and photographed it 80 years ago. I will be forever grateful for my experience but will be wondering ‘how long will it survive?’

I hope you’ll take a moment to click through the slide show. There is more information to accompany the captions. As always, with gratitude for your time and interest. (Please share!).

 

 

 

 

Cuba, part two of three

When faced with all new sights, sounds, and scents, it is easy to be overwhelmed and lose our way creating images. During my time in Cuba I had the immense good fortune to be traveling with world class photographers including my friend and mentor, Sam Abell. Perhaps the living, breathing presence of the words I hear when I’m out photographing (find your setting, your backdrop, and let the life unfold, come into it), allowed me to be more settled than I normally would be in such an exciting situation. Perhaps I was afraid that I would create just mediocre images? But in nearly each moment, I was composed….and waiting. Cuba unfolded before me offering color and gesture, movement and stillness, and in the best moments, metaphors for the fullness and poignancy of life.

My stated goal at the beginning of the trip was to make one meaningful image. I did that…for myself. It’s up to the audience to decide if my vision translates into something of value. Was I walking in the footsteps of Walker Evans? I think so. He found value in the everyday, in the mundane, in the quiet moments of life.

 

Cuba and community

I’ve been writing about community now for the last several posts. This past 10 days I have seen community in action on a grand scale. I’ve just returned from a photo odyssey in Cuba, where I was part of an amazing group of photographers participating in a marvelous project: In the Footsteps of Walker Evans. We were commemorating his trip there in 1933 to create images for the book The Crime of Cuba. This project is the brainchild of my friend, and  a great friend to photography, Skip Klein. Once again, Skip…hats off to you!

We had wonderful Cuban guides for our time there. By the second day, Grency and others were happy to talk to us about what life was really like in Havana and in the countryside. For example, most transport for medium and long distance happens by hitchhiking. It is completely safe and everybody does it. Everybody. Havana is a study in circumvention and ingenuity. If you need a different house or apartment (say you switched jobs and locations in the city), well you go to the Swap meet for apartments. Everyone knows it is on Friday morning on a corner beside the Prado. Ownership is unusual in Cuba…but there is no rent, either. Perhaps you need to call the US? Well, it’s illegal, but you can call Toronto and have the operator transfer you.

Windows and doors are apparently optional in Havana. It seems that all life takes place on the street, or inches from the street in the living room that is open to all passersby. I suppose this helps to support the idea of community…and the “we’re all in this together” attitude.

One last example: traveling back to Havana from Vinales in an early morning cab ride, we had a flat tire. The driver simply hailed a horse and cart passing by (on a 4 lane highway) and asked the driver and his companion to take the tire to their house. He indicated that he would pick it up on the return trip. We asked ‘did you know that man?’ He replied ‘no, but it’s no problem, he told me where he lives, I’ll just stop by on the way back to Vinales and pick it up.’

Community. Everybody helps everybody at seemingly every turn. It’s true that it’s a survival mechanism in Cuba. But how nice is it? It was an eye-opening experience.

Here’s the first set of images…there will be several. As always, comments are most welcome and sharing with your friends (in the spirit of community) is a great thing to do!

Crafting our lives, part 2

This is a continuation of my blog from last week about creating community. Thanks for checking back.

As I have aged over these last 10 or so years, the idea of crafting my life became and has remained sharply focused. Perhaps it is perspective that is the gift of aging. This has allowed me to consider moves, changes both planned for and unexpected, with a bit of detachment. I don’t take things so personally and I hope that I offer compassion more easily than frustration or anger.

What has this to do with photography? I think that the same gift of perspective and a willingness to feel and express compassion are present in good photography. Perspective allows us to consider the whole scene as well as the details, angles, and different points of view. How then will we craft what is in front of us from what is presented to us? Life/photography is full of possibility! We see this when we detach from what is immediately presented and allow the scene or image to  sink into us. How will we greet it then? With anger, with frustration, or with compassion (even if just for ourselves) and allow the scene or situation to rest more easily as we observe, sense, and craft our response/photo?

This is a philosophical post. But it needn’t be heavy or plodding. I’ll leave you to ponder on these thoughts and just present you with some images from the late summer. Each of these was taken during a class I was teaching at the Pacific Northwest Art School or during a class that I assist each year with Arthur Meyerson. My time there each August is one of my favorite things that has been crafted into my life. (And here is the link for one of my classes there next year: The Photography of Intent) (And here is the other: The Fine Art Book)

The images are varied in subject matter, but looking at them now, with several months of detachment, allows me to see what value there is in them without emotional attachment…and yet, happily, it recalls for me the time that I spent crafting each of them. A warning: there will be a part 3 to this post! Until then, I hope you enjoy the images.

How we craft our lives, part 1

I have a few excuses for not blogging for such a long time. (Teaching, leading tours, working, writing, too much time on airplanes, LIFE.) None of them is sufficient. But I’ve also been at a loss for a meaningful subject. It hit me three days ago at the end of an equine photography workshop that I taught in California: community.

I have a mentoring client that has shaped her whole life around the idea of community. That has always seemed perfect to me for her photo work and projects….but I hadn’t thought about the concept in relationship to what I’ve been building. What else am I doing but that when we are gathered together to learn, to create and explore? And then that idea is compounded when I hear my students say “well let’s get together in Seattle and….” and “I’ve created a Facebook page to post images each month and you’re all invited”.

When a class comes together and builds on the friendships and community created during the workshop and extends that into their everyday lives, for a teacher, it is the most gratifying thing to behold.

It happened as well with a group that was traveling with me (and my co-leader, the indefatigable Arthur Meyerson!) in Portugal. They enjoyed each other’s company during the trip and have continued their dialogue after their long journeys back to real life.

I have my own community too, well, communities. My mentoring students keep me in touch with other work and other inspirations. They push me as much as I encourage them! And my own mentors are generous with their time and conversations. But this summer I’ve seen that I need to nurture my communities a little more. My students (they are always teaching me!) have shown me the value and I am grateful for the strong reminder.

So though photography is a solitary pursuit, demanding quiet, thoughtful intention, we can be part of a raucous, joyful bunch! I’m going to craft more time in my life for these days of joyful sharing.

Here are some images from Portugal, from California, and from Whidbey Island. All created this summer, in a community of friendship, photography, and inquiry. More to come in part two.

And for those thinking of returning or coming to the next equine workshop at Barbier Farms in June….OR on a trip to Portugal with me in 2015….here is some food for thought. My thanks to John Paul Caponigro for writing about his experience in a most elegant way.

http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/12327/return-to-the-same-well/