I had a simple but oddly ponder-worthy question posed to me recently: Where did you come from? That probably sounds a lot more abrupt than it seems, but it was, in fact a very excellent question that probably requires a little bit of context. I was shooting photos at an event, getting back into the summer social scene again with fellow food and wine enthusiasts, writers, movers-and-shakers, etc. As the event wound down, you finally have time to just talk to the folks who you always see at events because it's impossible to really talk during the madness of a crowded room or in my case, I was taking photos, crawling all over the place and otherwise too distracted to chat.
Where did you come from? They just wanted to get a read on my background, and that's a fair question because I think in this very odd business of creative-marketing-social media-whatever-ville, people literally materialize from nowhere. You dive into the pool headfirst and hope your head pops back up again for people to notice you've joined the party. And with any luck, the fellow swimmers think you just might have the moxy to stay a bit, and you get to tread water with everyone else. People literally appear, like myself, from backgrounds unknown, and you literally reinvent yourself. In my case, it's the freelance writer/photographer/blogger/graphic designer/illustrator, and oh, BTW, Hire Me. This isn't too far from whence I came -- I not only went to university for a fine arts degree, I actually get to use it every day! (Gasp) That's more of a comfort to the Jaunty Parents, who, while baffled/worried/concerned at my choice to major in fine arts, are comforted that the high cost of education is being actively used.
I've jumped around from corporate setting to boutique design firm, but the last couple of years have been the first On My Own time. I'm my own boss and it's been an interesting road, figuring out what the real priorities of life are. The hours are long and unpredictable. You never know when the next project will come in, which leads to all kinds of bouts of insomnia. I suck at business and strategy, so it's always a blessing from heaven that clients find me. When I was asked the big question of where I came from, I had one thing that popped in my head: the photo you see above. It's a weird, blown-out/faded photo I took when I was in my first photography class in college. I took the class because I knew I needed to get basic photo skills to shoot my own slides for my work. See, I'm showing my age -- my focus was on commercial graphic design, not sculpture or painting. I still have the old Pentax K-1000 camera that uses ye olde filme. I never wanted to pursue photography as a profession, it was just a hobby that really stuck once I learned to use the camera. The expense of film processing shelved the hobby for a few years, but now with a digital camera, I've fallen back in love with being a shutterbug that gets the odd professional gig now and then.
This funky Dia de Los Muertos-themed image was captured during a day wandering through downtown Tucscon (I went to the University of Arizona) and I decided to just photograph things that caught my eye, objects that maybe no one bothered to notice. There's a distracting glare of the window, the negative was probably too blown-up so the grain is really strong, but it's still one of my most favorite photos. It hangs in our home, along with several other framed black and white prints from that same walk through the city. Maybe I keep them because I don't want to bother framing anything else. Maybe I keep them because they're a reminder of what brought me to this place in life.
So the answer to Where I Came From? Wandering about, striving to live a creative life. No fame, no fortune, just taking whatever jobs I can to maintain the journey of someone who likes to write/draw/photograph the way the world can inspire.
Jaunty Fine Print: photo by Denise Sakaki