It was a chilly Spring day in March of 2k14 when I ventured into the Bronx to meet up with a friend for the Annual Orchid Show at the Bronx Botanical Garden. We had made it an annual trek for the past few years to take our cameras out for a “floral adventure”. For me, it marked the beginning of the Spring photography season.
This year, my friend decided to bring another photographer along for the ride. At first thought, I was a little “annoyed” by the additional presence. I had become accustomed to this event being our private outing, but today there was an “intruder”.
At first glance I saw a petite woman with a camera slung around her neck. “What is that? A Nikon? Ok. She can’t be half bad. It could be worse,” I thought. For years, I’ve chastised my friend, “Jon” over his Pentax camera and often told him he was the only one on earth that shot with one. For years I’ve taunted him to “come to the ‘dark side’” and pointed to my Canon camera to annoy him.
As I got closer I look at the woman with her perfect brunette hair, that probably took her 5 minutes to dry, a pearl white complexion, and deep brown soulful eyes, I noticed she had a very colorful “hoodie”. Upon closer inspection, I realized she was wearing a Tim Burton Nightmare Before Christmas hoodie. The hoodie made the “intruder” a tad more likable and that changed the situation dramatically. In my mind, she was now “twisted” and “abnormal” for wearing it and thought I could spend a day with this person.
We spent the day photographing various flowers and got to know one another a bit more over good Cuban food after the show. It was interesting to see three different photographers with three very different styles. Jon was a classic studio portrait photographer, “Cecelia” was a self-taught creative & accomplished photographer and I was a Private Wealth portrait and event photographer who took a hiatus for a while and woke up in a “digital world”.
Cecelia was eager to get to know me, and soon we began to speak on a regular basis. She is a mother of two, a health care practitioner and I fell in love with her family immediately. Portraits of her children grace the pages of my website. I began to “tag along” on her shooting assignments and accompanied her to several gallery openings that she was affiliated with.
One day, she asked a very simple question, “What is it that you really like to shoot?"
“Huh? What?,” I replied.
I was dumbfounded. Still trying to find an answer, I defaulted to the classic “shoulder shrug and I dunno” reply. I walked away feeling stupid.
My career as a photographer began when I assisted my former husband on his photo shoots throughout college. I was a professional figure skater at the time and my work was noticed when I photographed a student whose mother fell in love with a portrait of her daughter. She introduced me to other families in New York and before you know it I had an even more creative career.
Cecelia and I share the love of being creative souls. I would talk of the days of film and how everything was composed “in the camera”, and she would talk about Photoshops’ “liquefy button” with a huge smile on her face.
I confided that I had things “in my head” that I would love to get out, but had no idea how. I often frowned upon people who used Photoshop and dismissed them as photographers who relied on computers. In my mind, they had limited talent and patience behind the lens. Cecelia immediately balked and defended the use of Photoshop and how it can be used to add a different dimension to photography. Admittedly so, the smell of developer still excites me, but I digress.
She challenged me to get out of my “box” and create. However, there was a huge obstacle I had to contend with. I didn’t own Photoshop and had zero interest in it. I asked a another friend for a program called, “Gimp” and learned via the “Phd Methodology”. Essentially, “Push Here Dummy”.
It took me about two weeks to learn minor basics in Gimp and I created my first piece called, “Ghost in the Water” featuring none other than Cecelia's daughter which appears in Xposure Artisan.
After working with Gimp for two months, I decided to try out Photoshop. I'm not going to say it was "love at first download," in fact, far from it. I'm sure there were days where even Edvard Munch hated his canvas at times. Perhaps that is was why "The Scream" was created on board. Who knows? In any event, I continue to create for the love of photography and art and Photoshop has become a part of my arsenal of tools to create.
As for Cecelia, we adore each other like family and I'm grateful for my friend Jon who brought the "intruder" with him that chilly Spring day. She is well aware of what she has created and takes full responsibility for her actions with pride. She has grown to be a true friend and I wouldn't want to live my life without her. She is my personal Jedi Knight, my Doctor Frankenstein.
And that's how, A monster was born.
When I am not behind a camera, I am writing poetry, creating mixed media pieces with photography and paint on canvas. (Take that Edvard Munch!) I also continue to ice skate in the genre of Ice Dance and work as a Crisis Management Consultant.