Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the park, just the two of us, playing, and laughing, and exploring Mother earth. We took a long walk around our neighborhood, stopping to say hi to the squirrels, and dogs, or as Chloe likes to call them " Ozzeees ". It started to thunder and rain as soon as we got home from our adventure outside. I changed us both into some warmer clothes and nursed Chloe to sleep in our bed. Everything felt so quite and peaceful as I closed my eyes and listed to the sound of the rain. It's been so difficult being cooped up inside with a little one all winter long, but getting the chance to play outside yesterday was just what we needed!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
It is with great joy and honor that I introduce to you today my Great Uncle, Marvin Seiger. My uncle Marvin is a wonderful man, full of life, and love, and wisdom. He is an incredible photographer and a true inspiration to me. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know him better this past week through his stories and pictures. Here are the questions I asked him.
Tell us a little bit about yourself - where are you from?
I'm from Philly and spent my first 28 years there. I briefly attended Temple university at night and I also was on the original American Bandstand. I started out in retailing in the shoe department of Gimbels department store, the shoe part led me to the leather tanning end of the business. I became a leather marketer and have been in the style, marketing and management end since. I have made fashion and style presentations in 12 different countries, as well as appeared in dozens of tv talk shows. I have been a guest speaker in over 300 hundred sales meetings for companies like Doc Martens, Timberland, Tony Lama Boots, as well as spoke at various colleges. I am a past chairman of the INTNL leather show. One of my most cherished satellite positions was as an adjunct professor of marketing and style development at Pratt Institute, working with creative, young people was quite inspiring for me.
What kind of artist are you?
My " artistry " as such is mostly in conceptualizing and assessing a story within a situation, even in my professional business life. As an example in my photograph of the homeless " park friend ", we spoke for about 10 minutes and got acquainted before I took his photo, which in my opinion provided a sense of ease that I believe shows in his image, at least to me. It's just great when the photographer becomes part of the scenes environment. I also believe that the composition itself whether of a photo or of my marketing plans can trump technical aspects at times, of course those technical aspects are required to complete the picture in these times of digital!
When and how did you decide to become a photographer?
In 1953 my sister, your Grandma Janice gave me an Argus 75 camera for my Bar Mitzvah and the idea just " clicked ", and because we were so poor I was only allowed to take $12 of the money I received to buy a darkroom set. I set up the darkroom under the stairs leading to the basement. From that beginning I have never stopped in my quest to get the next prize winning image!
How long have you been a photographer?
Well now, that makes it exactly 60 years to the day and I'll keep doing it till I get it right! Up until two years ago I was still working in my own darkroom while simultaneously moving into digital, which I have now switched over to entirely.
Did you go to school to study photography or are you self taught?
Not any formal schooling but I have taken various workshops which were all helpful. In addition to some of the most reputable, professional instructors I've had, just being among others with the same goals provides very thoughtful, intermixed feedback that's the catalyst in becoming a " thinking " photographer as opposed to simply being a picture taker.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
Oh boy, I've had all the good ones. Contax, Hasselblad and FUJI Medium Format. Currently I use a Cannon T31 and a Sony Nex6, a wonderful camera. Over time the most important thing I've learned is not necessarily the camera itself, it's the " glass ", the lens. When buying a camera that comes with a " kit " lens is not the very best quality it's because the are offering special pricing. They are of course capable for most people but its better to add individual high grade lenses that cost more, but if real sharp with the attendant contrast is your goal then these are the lenses that will take you there. My Nex 6 and it's kit lens is quite good but my extra lens A 1.8 50MM is sharper and allows additional contrast framing possibilities.
How would you describe your style?
Originally I was mostly interested in landscapes and such but eventually it morphed into cityscapes, then people, flowers, trees, desert growth, and then objects as mundane as old worn items such as rusted silver dinner wear, tools, slinky's, old shoes, ect. I also value the way the light addresses the object and especially portraiture's. It's the lighting and its tonalities that is the most important factor to dramatize pretty much every image.
What is the one photo you are most proud of and why?
There are at least 3, but lets say if I had to choose just one it would be " Now Where'd My Elephant Go " or sometimes also known as " Follow That Elephant ". It took place in the Serengeti of Tanzania during a safari. It was at the bottom of the collapsed floor of the Ngorongoro crater, now inhabited with many wild animals. We were following a family of cheetahs though this dried lake bed when I noticed these deep elephant tracks. This image has been published and had also won some awards. It is the framing and composition that make it so special, especially as it winds away in an asymmetrical pattern and seeming to vanish gradually to the top right corner. The driftwood almost seems to have been placed there purposely, but it was not, at least not by anything on this earth. Stopping our Landcruiser I cautiously hopped out, keeping in mind of the wild lions, cheetahs and elephants in the area to compose and take the picture. Knowing what I was standing in the midst of and what we had been following and then imagining what it must have looked like as the elephant trudged through was the thing that made me part of the image I took. It was that kind of ethereal feeling that was actually more exciting as I was seeing the actual animals first hand that made it a more personal situation beyond the actual photograph for me.
What inspires you when you are shooting?
I mostly think of the composition and or the framing and how best to utilize the existing available light. Those are the 2 key elements for me.
Who are a few of your favorite photographers?
Only a few years ago did I start including color, doing black and white almost exclusively. Black and white is the best way of using the light tonally and so my influences are Brett Weston for people, things that are natural in razor sharp tonals, Ralph Gibson for his dramatizing people and portions of an object with his use of light contrast. Michael Kenna for his softened, blended and harmonized tones on landscapes and cityscapes. Then there is Nick Brandt for his closeups of wild animals getting stark in-focus contrast without the use of telephoto lenses!
Are there any new projects you're working on at the moment?
My current project is organizing a collection of softened, toned images, using mostly black and white for a competition that I have been invited to participate in, at the North Valley Art League Gallery For International Juried Photography. The invite originated from photo's they saw from the Black and White Photography Magazine's online gallery which has a group of my work.
Do you have any advice you'd like to give to an aspiring photographer?
It's the art of seeing that will create the best work. Think of framing that can focus on a central part of the story that's not necessarily in the center of the frame and focalize on the lighting that dramatizes the main subject. Some of that of course can be done today in Photoshop but the stronger image will always come from the original composition that comes out of the camera.
*Photo credit: Marvin Seiger
Saturday, January 26, 2013
" A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013 "
Chloe, a moment of pure sweetest while waiting for our food to arrive, this little girl loves her Daddy!
On another note, this was the first time in quite awhile that we decided to go out to dinner at a restaurant. Chloe normally has always done really well at restaurants but this time she was not having it. She had no interest in sitting down and eating her food, instead she wanted to run around and explore. Life with a toddler can be pretty hectic at times I'm not going to lie!
Linking up with the lovely Jodi for the 52 project.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I absolutely love this little video of Chloe taken when she was only one month old. I could watch it over and over again. That big gummy smile, her little coo's, the sound of us laughing and playing together as a family, and then of course the ginormous fart Chloe makes at the end that gets Mike and I cracking up hysterically even to this day. I truly cherish these memories with my whole heart, and I love that each and every day we are given the gift to make more memories together as a family. I never want to take that for granted, life is to precious and short not greet each morning with a smile and a hopeful heart.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
" A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013. "
Chloe, this little girl of mine is such a lover of the water. She splashes, and swims, and blows bubbles, and is just simply as happy as can be! I cant wait for those long summer days spent at the beach together, Chloe is going to have so much fun swimming in the cool water.
Linking up with the lovely Jodi for the 52 project.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I am currently....
Missing: Nature. I miss the fresh air, and the sense of exhilaration and freedom that comes with discovering something magnificent out in the wild. That picture above.... I want that in my life, I need it, to walk, and hike, and go camping, and to take in the simple beauty of nature. It's so important to me.
Growing: Tired. It has been such battle getting Chloe to bed each night and then on top of that, she's waking up all through out the night in tears and wanting to nurse. I feel awful for her, she's definitely going through something right now and it's been a rough week for all of us.
Worrying: That life is going to be this stressful forever. Money is tight and it honestly feels like we're never going to get out of this situation.
Dancing: Yes! Chloe loves to dance and listen to music, so we have been doing lots of that these days.
Laughing: Yesterday evening Mike put on some heavy music to listen too and Chloe started dancing to it! She had us both cracking up!
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
My Grandma has and always will be such an inspiration to me. She has the most beautiful, kind heart, always putting her family and others before her. She is so loving, giving, wise, and an incredible artist. I could not think of a more wonderful person to interview to start off my new series on the blog - Inspiring People. It was such a pleasure getting to know my Grandma a bit better through this project, here are the questions I asked her.
Tell me a little bit about yourself - where are you from?
I was born in Chicago; Illinois, so was my Father and two sisters. My Mother was born in Russia and came to the US at 10 years of age. For 14 years we lived on the west side (15th and Crawford). When I was 15 we moved to the north side (Budlong Woods) Foster and Lincoln. I went to William Pen Grammar School, Farragut High School, Von Steuben High School. Started college at William Wright Jr., College in Chicago, McHenry County College, WM Harper College, School of Interior Design, insurance classes, Art Institute, Indiana University, Real Estate School. I went to a lot of different colleges. When I was little I took dance and piano classes, when I was about 10 years old I became interested in art.
When I was in school I only worked part time jobs. I also went to Patricia Stevens for 6 years (where models were taught and given jobs.) I loved it, and when I worked for Albert Inc., I did all the work for Sears throughout the world, and was one of there models. I met your Grandfather when he got out of the army (Korean war). He was going to school to be a teacher and worked at a hot dog stand and at a shoe shoe. When I introduced him to my Father's business he fell in love with it and because I knew the business I worked with him. We opened the first Dollar Store in Joliet.
When your Mom was born we moved to Glenview, I got a job at The Stars of Glenview and also helped your Grandfather get a job there too. I worked at Robert Hall Village as their display manager for their 7 stores in Illinois. When we moved to Indiana I started to paint more and I also hooked several rugs. When I moved to Woodstock, Illinois I took stained glass classes at the local college. Over the years I have done several other projects. A man that your uncle Dean knew asked me to do a stained glass piece for him that he wanted to give as a present ( which I did). He gave me a picture that he took of 3 horses that I copied in glass: and I was paid for that.
What kind of artist are you?
I have no idea what kind of artist that I am. I just do what I like when I want to.
Are you self taught or have you taken any art classes?
I had special art classes in high school, for all four years, I also went to the Art Institute for awhile and McHenry County College for classes in stained glass. and there is more than one way to do stained glass and I only do it the way I was taught, ( I like that way better ). I also learned how to crochet from a book.
What sort of things inspire you when you're working on a new project?
For a painting I get inspired by something I see and think I can do something with it. For stained glass it's either something I would like to try, something new or sometimes someone will ask me to make something for them.
Are there any new projects you're working on at the moment?
I just finished a painting and have started another. Also there are small stained glass items that I have started and have not finished yet.
Who are a few of your favorite artists?
I have always liked Henri De Toulouse, Latrec, and Georgia O' Keefe. Maybe it's because the way they can paint what they see in a bright vibrant way.
Do you have a favorite piece of art that you've created? If so why is it your favorite?
Everything I do is my favorite, because when it's finished I usually feel it's always better than I thought.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
After you take a few classes you should do and feel what you like; I use oil paint, but there are other mediums, but if you want to sell your art, have a good agent.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Monday, January 14, 2013
It's funny how the littlest things in life can create the most fondest memories, like washing a few dishes with you. You are such a wonderful helper too, always wanting to help me empty the dishwasher, or put away your toys, and you love to help Grandma feed Ozzy. The amazing thing is, is we didn't even teach you how to do these things, your just so observant and eager to learn and explore and help those around you. Your love and kindness is an inspiration my little one. Thank you for filling my life with so much beauty and happiness.
You are my greatest treasure.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
" A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013. "
Chloe, my almost 19 month old toddler taking a break from playing to lay in my arms and nurse. I truly cherish these sweet moments with her, as I know one day they will come to an end.
* Linking up with the lovely Jodi for The 52 Project.
Friday, January 11, 2013
I think it is just the sweetest thing when Chloe wants to sleep with her baby doll, that little girl sure knows how to melt my heart.
Loving: My new contacts! This is the first time I have worn contacts in over two years and it feels so good not to have to wear my glasses all the time now. I love it!
Watching: Catfish the tv show, Teen Mom, The King of Queens, and I cant believe I'm admitting this but I watched the first episode of the new season of The Bachelor.... and I kinda really liked it!
Listening to: Lots of Led Zeppelin, Beach House and Lana Del Rey these days.
Thinking about: Money, jobs, our future, finding a place of our own, weaning, making some big changes to my diet. As you can see I have a lot on my mind lately. I think the biggest things on my mind though are money, finding a place of our own to live, and starting the process of weaning Chloe, which I will write more about in a separate post.
Looking forward to: Taking Chloe to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. It's been too long since we've had an adventurous day as a family.
Making me happy: My little family!
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Here are a few links I found recently around the web that I wanted to share. Oh, and isn't that picture just beautiful? I found it on Pinterest!
-- This recipe for vanilla pear jam sounds so delicious.
-- I am so excited to be a part of project 52, I just love the idea of taking a portrait of Chloe, one a week, every week for an entire year. If you're interested in joining the link up go visit Jodi's blog for more details and to see my second picture in the series be sure to stop by my blog on Sunday.
-- Lately I've been on a big Led Zeppelin kick, and this song is my very, very favorite.
-- I can not say enough good things about this line of skincare products. Everything I have used so far of theirs has worked so well on my skin!
-- I love this article about practicing positive discipline, it's been a powerful reminder for me lately.
-- We're planning a trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago very soon. I cant wait to see how much fun Chloe is going to have there.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
" A portrait of my little one, once a week, every week, in 2013 "
Chloe, my adventurous girl playing outside with her Daddy and I in the cool winter air. Everyday she is blossoming more and more into a beautiful little girl, I just cant believe how fast she's grown!
Excited to be linking up with Jodi and lots of other lovely blogs today for the 52 project.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Thursday, January 3, 2013
When I started writing this post I wasn't exactly sure how I wanted to display a whole year's worth of photo's, but then as I was reading one of my favorite blogs - Diapers and Skinny Jeans I become so inspired by Kate's year in review post that I finally settled on making a collage of some of my favorite pictures and fondest memories of the year. I cant help but smile while looking through our year in pictures, I feel so incredibly blessed for all these wonderful memories me and my little family have made together. It's so easy to get lost in the stress and shuffle of everyday life, to forget the pleasure and beauty in simplicity. This was a powerful reminder for me, that my life is filled with so much beauty and fullness, so much more then I even let myself see. I want to really work on spending less time complaining and more time pouring my whole heart and soul into the people and passions I cherish most in this life.
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Happy New Years!
I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe New Years Eve filled with lots of love and laughter. Our's was wonderful and spent at home this year. Chloe went to sleep around 9 pm so Mike and I welcomed the New Year together cuddled up on the couch with a warm blanket and a glass of champagne, it was truly perfect!
With the new year among us I have been reflecting a lot about what this past year has meant for my little family. 2012 was a really big year for us, filled with growth and change and an abundance of blessings and struggles. We watched our little baby blossom into a toddler, Mike got laid off from his job, we took a leap of faith and moved back home to Chicago, Mike got a new job, and for the first time in over five years we have gotten to spend the holidays and birthdays with my side of the family. We have laughed, cried, yelled, fought, loved more times then I can even count, and though there are many things I do regret and care not to remember from this past year I am forever grateful for all the wonderful memories my family and I have made together.
My hope and wish for 2013 is that together as a family we would grow in love, follow our hearts, and chase after some big dreams.
Once again a very happy New Year dear friends, I truly hope this year is your best one yet!