Keeping Perspective With Gratitude

Today I am grateful for those who made sacrifices for our country and our freedom and I pray for the families they leave behind. When my husband was on the road all the time the military families were what kept things in perspective for me. Spouses, sons and daughters...not knowing when or if they will come home. At least I knew when John was coming home. I knew he was not in immediate danger, and that I could say goodnight to him on the phone most nights.

Learning From the Children: Innocence Out of the Darkness: Blogs for photographers

Learning From the Children: Innocence Out of the Darkness

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how much we can learn from children. As I watch my daughter grow and change every day, and watch her experience so many things in life for the very first time, I learn more and more about life and about myself. I believe we all have innocence inside us. There is that child like part of us that is always there. As life gets harder, and experiences in our lives and throughout our story hurt us, we built up walls and defenses around it. We put it away in the dark part of ourselves, making sure it does not see the light and is not seen by others.

 

We all have our different ways of protecting it. Some do it with defensiveness, snapping back when there is even a hint of pain. With others, it is comedy, making people laugh and always keeping things light. For some people it is anger or hatred, even violence. The idea is that I will hurt you before you hurt me. Others, like myself, it is control. I tend to always think that if I can control enough of my life I can protect myself.

 

Children on the other hand, their innocence is right out there for all to see. If they are feeling weak or sad, frustrated or lonely, they will show it for all to see, even if that means all of Costco on a Saturday morning! I think we as adults can learn a lot from this. I am not saying we should all have melt downs in Costco ;) But if you are like me, maybe you could stand to open up a bit more. Maybe showing that innocence to some the people in your life would bring those relationships to another level. When we show that part of ourselves, it lets others see us for who we really are. Which in turn, allows them to really love us well. This might seem scary, it is for me, yet at the same time I long for it, for that connection, for real community. These connections help us to learn more about ourselves, and to grow from what we learn.

This weeks image is about this, the child like part of ourselves, that innocence and vulnerability, being brought to light for the sake of growing and being loved. It shows how we are used to hiding it in the dark and the fog, and when we shine a light on it, we sometimes cover our eyes. We remember our defenses we have built around it and the walls we have put up. But we peek through, hoping to see someone that will come through for us, someone that will show us it was not a mistake to reveal our vulnerability, someone that will love us really well.

 

EDITED WITH ACTIONS AND TEXTURES FROM THE SHOPPE

 

xoxo Meghan Aileen

Courage & Gentleness: For Art's Sake Project, Professional Photographers Challenge

Courage & Gentleness: For Art's Sake Project, Professional Photographers Challenge Week 16

There are many things in life that seem too big, too scary, and too dangerous for us to face. This could mean different things to different people. Maybe it is a risk with your business or career. Maybe it is a personal risk, leaving a situation that you know is not good but are so used to, that the change would just be too intimidating. Maybe it is a feeling that you are not good enough for the things you long for, they are too big, out of your reach. There could be a person in your life who's personality is too powerful for you to stand up to, even though you don't like how they treat you.
This image is about those things. It is about standing and facing the things that seem too big, too scary or too unpredictable. It is about facing them with gentle but confident energy, looking at them head on. Standing up for yourself even if you feel small and afraid. I have things in my own life that I struggle to face every day, do you? What do you want the courage to face? What needs to change but seems to scary to stand up and look it in the eyes?
Edited with BBQ from the NEW Americana Lightroom Presets
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Week 6 For Art's Sake Professional Photographer's Challenge. Inspiration for Photographers. Imaginative Photography

Week 6 For Art's Sake ~ Professional Photographer's Challenge

After my flea market adventures this month I was inspired by vintage toys and props. I found these old wooden race car toys. Fiona's new preschool  has mostly wooden toys, no plastic. There is something about the feel and texture of wood that I think makes awesome kids toys. And they obviously last!

The landscape is a shot of the desert I took driving cross country and I love the texture of the cracked ground and the drama of the sky as the race is about to begin! Fiona is always coming up with these elaborate situations for games we play, characters, locations and props, and she is not even 3 years old. Yes most of them are pretend which makes it all the more fun for me to try and translate her imagination into an image. I can't wait to see what she becomes, the type of teen, young lady and woman and probably artist she grows into. Although if you ask my husband he will say lets do whatever we can to keep her from growing up and meeting boys! :)

Here, she enthusiastically starts a car race in the desert with her homemade newspaper flag. Use what you have. I spend a total of $15 on this shoot. The rest is props and environments I already had. When creating imaginative images is important to put ourselves back in a child like state, what do they love, what do they dream of, how do they play… I humbly hope my jaded mind has portrayed her amazing world of wonder in the slightest bit. :)

Edited with Magic Mushrooms Photoshop Action from the Fairytale Action Set

Edited with Butternut Photoshop Action from the Memento Set

Want to buy the mini set of these two actions together? CLICK HERE

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Angel of the Forgotten: Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake

Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake

Angels of the Forgotten 

by Meghan Aileen

Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake ~Angels of the Forgotten

This project has sparked a lot in me so far and we are only on week 5. I am rethinking the focus of my time. It has already showed me how much I miss making images, reminding me I can speak through them. It has also showed me I need to make some changes so that creating becomes more of the priority again. This is scary and exciting so stay tuned for some changes coming soon and more about that!

This week I was inspired by the dilapidated buildings all around me here in Middle Tennessee, by their history and their value to us. I love that there are so many homes, barns, and even city buildings that maybe somewhere else would have torn down and replaced with a shiny new building, but not here. We seem to cherish our rust, our rough wood, and our broken bricks. We hunt for it and value it. It is just awesome. I drive by this house almost every day. When I was shooting this image the old man who owns the land came out to see what I was doing. We stood in the heat and talked awhile. He grew up on this land. His family had been there for almost 200 years. We talked about how the road used to be dirt, and what it was like before the mall in town was put in. He lives up on the hill in a newer house now, but kept all the older buildings on the property as they are and have always been.

I am calling this image: "Angel of the Forgotten". Sometimes it seems to me  like there are Angels protecting these places. These buildings don't seem like they should still be standing but they are. The world around them moves on, becoming what the consumers of today dictate that it should become. These buildings seem to stand still in time, representing something long gone, reminding us that our time is not the only time, that here were generations before us and will be many after. They remind me that I need to treat the world around me accordingly, to preserve it for those to come; to make things that last and to reuse what we already have. The front porch of this home is held up with stacks of precarious bricks. The wood is rotted and boards falling off, but it stands. It houses our history, generations of family life, of community and homesteading. I can document it for those of tomorrow in my own way, with my own vision, and I am grateful for that.

 

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Week 5 Professional Photographer's Challenge: For Art's Sake

Angels of the Forgotten 

What do you cherish around your local area? What is your favorite thing that you drive by regularly? I think it is part of our responsibility as photographers to document our local areas in the time we are living. It is important for the generations to come to see what it was like now. I hope you find something that inspires you this week in your town and make some art...for art's sake. :)

Hope to see you next week!

xoxo

Meghan Aileen

 

Edited with:

Vintage Natural from the Memento Photoshop Action Set

1600 Film from the Nostalgia Textures Set

Light Leak Overlay Set

 

For Art’s Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey ~ Week 3 In A Professional Photographer’s Challenge - Steampunk Surreal Image

For Art’s Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey

Week 3 In A Professional Photographer’s Challenge

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Week 3 In A Professional Photographer’s Challenge

So this week I had some fun at a costume shop! I never knew how inspiring and fun those places could be. After searching through rows and rows of interesting outfits, gowns, and costumes, I found a steampunk outfit. I have always loved Steampunk. The textures, the mix of vintage style and industrial machinery.

I also decided that I would start to do some self portraits. I need to shoot something other than my child and arranging models is not the easiest thing when you live in the country and run 2 businesses full time. It just takes a lot longer to shoot yourself! I actually found it quite amusing, running back and forth from the camera. The background I used here is an old clock I bought at the flea market. I added the apple because I wanted a hint of something organic in the shot to balance out the industrial feel, and for the color of course. There is also a bit of the Adam and Eve symbolism with the apple as well.

I think what I love about the surreal is the lack of limits. I am not bound by reality. I have always liked to push the boundaries of what is possible and this allows me to do so. I love environments and landscapes. This allows me to create any environment I want and to put anything I want into it. After so many years of creating what other people wanted, it is no surprise to me that I am landing on the surreal when doing art just for me.

The magic in these surreal images really happens in the final editing. Running an action over all the layers really brings them together. Adding a texture really adds a more illustrative feel to the image which I love. My background is in illustration and painting so I have always tried to blur the lines with my photography a bit. I plan to work on blurring them even more, so stay tuned as I experiment with that some more this week.

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Edited with: Vintage Natural from the Memento Actions Set

Edited with: Old Painting Texture from the Nostalgia Textures Set

I hope you are creating with me. If you are finding yourself stuck please let me know and I will help however I can :) Sometimes we get stuck in life, but we have to just keep moving. Life is movement. Art is the same way I am finding. My inspiration is constantly in motion and I need to just keep creating if I want to keep up with it. If I stop, it seems I fall out of sync with it even more.

 

Keep up with me on Facebook and like my page HERE to follow my journey...

 

See you next week!

xoxoxo

Meghan Aileen

 

 

For Art’s Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey ~ Week 2 In A Professional Photographer’s Challenge

 For Art’s Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey

Week 2 In A Professional Photographer’s Challenge

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Week 2 In A Professional Photographer’s Challenge

During week 2 in my professional photographer's challenge, I think I have found a medium and a process I feel inspired by and I think that is helping a lot to create the right environment in my head to find some inspiration. There is so much freedom in not having to have this art have a purpose, or a marketing plan. There is no client that needs to approve of it.  It doesn't have to mean anything if I don't want it to. It seems to be turning out that it does anyway, without intention. This one I feel has the kind of contrast that I have always loved. I used to do this in my wedding work. I would shoot a bride in a dark or even burnt landscape. It has a moodiness and a darkness along with a bit of lightness and innocence. If you look closely you can see a face in the rock.  He has a sadness to him and seems alone in the flat landscape. The little girl that stands on top of him represents youth, innocence and freedom with her umbrella she seems she could just float anywhere she pleases off into the clouds. They are facing away from each other, though they are touching, they do not seem to be really connected. A common problem in our society these days, even in our families.
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 For Art’s Sake Project: A 52 Week Journey

Week 2 In A Professional Photographer’s Challenge

I think that work has a great deal to do with this disconnection. The cost of living has skyrocketed and the average salaries have not. We don't rest enough, at least here in American culture. We don't value rest, in fact, we tend to look down on it as lazy and unproductive. But if we don't rest, we eventually end up even more unproductive. We become unhealthy and unhappy, and as creatives, we end up uninspired and bitter. I know it is hard to do for some of us. It took me having a child to force me to learn to slow down a bit. Sitting and doing something simple with her made me crazy at first. And yes it still does a bit sometimes :) But I am learning to enjoy life's simple pleasures, that spending time with people and resting is also productive, or at least it is purposeful. This project is only one step in this journey for me. Maybe by the time she is in college I will have this whole work, life, art balance on lock down. I have some time, she is only two years old. ;) I am sure I will need it!
If you are doing this along with me but struggling to find inspiration, it might be the lack of boundaries I talked about last week. This week if you are having trouble, maybe create something that, to you, represents how you feel about your work/life balance. Are you frustrated? How can you show frustration? Do you feel like you are on a journey? Make something that represents your journey, or any journey if that is too specific. We are all on many journeys….
Hope to see you next week for week 3 in a professional photographer's challenge.
xoxo
Meghan Aileen