Monthly Archives: November 2010

Just Another Thanksgivng Post (and giveaway results)

I’m a little ashamed to admit that thankfulness isn’t routinely part of my daily consciousness. While I have a general understanding of how much we have, somehow I manage to go about my daily life always wanting more. Unable to appreciate the simple luxury of a down comforter on a cold night I am still grouchy that our windows leak and we can’t afford to fix them. Instead of appreciating my closet full of sweaters I must have that one in the Anthropologie store window.

Last Thanksgiving as we sat around our overflowing table I distinctly remember thinking how thankful I was that my husband had a job. I also remember feeling a twinge of guilt at not being more grateful, in that moment, for my kids’ health and my family and all of the other most basic things I was blessed with. I wrote about feeling disappointed that I wasn’t doing a better job teaching my children that every day was an opportunity to be thankful for our bounty—that it took a holiday for us to celebrate our good fortune. This fundamental part of mothering has gotten even more challenging in recent months and somehow Thanksgiving takes on an even more heightened meaning for me. This year, with what feels like less to be thankful for, it seems even more important to take stock of what really matters.

Just a note before my list: please don’t read this as me disregarding the importance of job security. What we are going through—what hundreds of thousands of Americans are going through—is scary, frustrating, emotional and depressing. By focusing my energy on what we still have, please know that I’m not trying to remove any significance from that.

I am thankful for:

1. Sunrises. Every day we get another chance.

2. New friends. I love that my life keeps moving forward and I have room in my heart to make them. And that they’ll have me.

3. Old freinds. It’s comforting to be ‘known’.

4. My parents.

5. My community. I love living in a place where that word means something.

6. COBRA. (I’m being realistic. And yes, it’s very expensive. But at least we still have health insurance.)

7. My extended family. I’m really lucky in this department. Really.

8. Antidepressants. (If you had diabetes you’d take your insulin, right?)

9. Emotion. I’m thankful for the very thing that makes me feel scared and depressed and angry. Because it also means I can feel wonder and elation and delight. And I do. Every day. Even in the midst of this tough time.

10. Freedom. Cliché? Maybe. No doubt our system is imperfect. (I’ll spare you my politics here.) But the bottom line is that I grew up taking my freedom for granted and—without being so bold as to think I can speak for my entire generation—I think many of my peers did as well. We get angry and entitled when things don’t go our way but I’m certain that many of (most of?) the alternatives are worse. I value my freedom and today I’ll give thanks for it.

Thank you to all of you who entered the photo giveaway. Each of your thoughtful comments made me smile and for that I am also very grateful.

The print goes to:

JenB who said: ‘Happy Anniversary and congratulations on getting back to your photography roots. The photo in this post is amazing; makes me want to spread out on a blanket with my dogs and read a book.’

Congratulations Jen! Will you email me your address so I can send you your print?

Glorious Chores

I used to knit.

A lot.

Sweaters, socks, slippers, blankets — useful things that kept my family warm and my hands and creative energy sated. And I had this friend. And she had a friend. And together we decided that we would open a knitting shop. And, despite the whispers of an inner voice I heard telling me that something was wrong with the big picture, we did. And needless to say, it didn’t work out. Say what you will about partnerships of three being recipes for disaster or business ventures with friends being the beginning of the end, I was idealistic and I ignored the whispers and dove in with my heart (and my family’s life savings). Now, almost four years after leaving the business, and two years after the gag rule expired (yes, it was that bad) I still don’t care to talk about it, but suffice it to say I no longer knit. Not really, anyway.

So was I hesitant, even scared, to turn my love of photography into a job? Did I—do I—worry that the joy will disappear and by the sheer definition of the word ‘work’ remove the pleasure from the act picking up my camera? The simple answer is: yes. I do. But it was a calculated decision. A risk and choice. This time, I’m listening to the whispers. The voice inside that’s telling me ‘Don’t forget that you love this. Don’t forget to do this for you.’ So even when it takes extra effort, it’s my plan to build shooting time into my life.

Sounds easy, right? But I can hardly build time for a daily shower into my life right now. Sometimes it’s a chore. But life is full of glorious chores and I’m pretty convinced that you get out of it what you put into it.

So today I promise myself I’ll photograph something, anything, that isn’t for anyone else. And the results might suck.

Or they might be amazing. Either way, I’ll be okay with it.

The photo giveaway is still open until Wednesday – check it out if you’re interested.

A Photographic Anniversary (Giveaway)

After college I printed business cards that said: Amy Drucker – Photographer, got a job as an apprentice to a photographer and soaked in as much as I could. Aside from the time when I overexposed a roll of his film, what may have soaked in most deeply, however, was the time I visited his ‘apartment’. It was a fourth-floor walk-up in the East Village in New York City. (At the time, the East Village wasn’t cool yet.) The apartment was—maybe—three-hundred square feet with the bathtub in the kitchen and the kitchen in the middle of the apartment. There was one window which looked out over an air-shaft that was an arm’s reach from the building next door and only a few feet above the vent from the kitchen of the Indian restaurant downstairs.

I left there that day traumatized. Was this how I was going to spend my future if I followed my bliss? I had spent the last two years studying lighting and composition. I (thought I) knew everything about dodging and burning and specialized printing techniques.

I was an artist. Wasn’t I?

And then it hit me.

It didn’t matter.

I had to consider what I valued. If I wanted a house in the suburbs with a backyard and a picket fence—that probably wasn’t going to jive with the whole ‘wearing-black-never-compromising-your-vision-staying-true-to-the-art-thing’. Kids? A family? A golden retriever? Maybe I needed to reconsider my career choice. So I went back to school. Got a more ‘marketable skill’ so to speak. And designed graphics and printed materials and eventually websites and blogs. While living in the suburbs and making babies. So far there haven’t been any picket fences and we went Labrador over Golden but, whatever. Photography stayed mine—not work. No clients to answer to. No deadlines. No pressure.

Over the last two years though, my web-design business has taken on an undeniable niche designing portfolios and blogs for photographers and artists. And the more of them I designed, the more I became convinced that I needed to revisit my roots. Technological changes and market trends have created a business model that makes it so artists can sell their work without (necessarily) having an agent. Photographers don’t (necessarily) have to show at galleries to be respected and commercial work isn’t the only way to earn a living.

So here I am. Amy Drucker – Photographer.

In celebration of this, combined with my third blogging anniversary—which happens this month—I’d like to give away a print of the photo in this post. If you’d like to be entered to win the giveaway just leave a comment here. If you wish to be entered twice, click here to ‘like’ the Facebook page for my new business! (Don’t forget to mention that you did so in the comments.)

ETA – I’ll draw a winner on Wednesday November 24th at 8pm Eastern time Thursday November 25 early in the morning. Sorry to be late on this!