Photos from my Opening Reception – I Did It!

Firstly, a BIG thank you to everyone who stopped by the Opening Reception!!! And a second BIG thank you to Michelle and Shawn of Moniker Gallery who helped make the night a success!

I won’t lie – I was quite nervous leading up to the 7pm start, but having my family and my best friend there completely calmed me. As a steady flow of visitors entered the gallery – former and current colleagues, friends and friends of friends/family, people who’d walked by and those who’d come because of the listing in CONTACT , my main goal was for everyone – including me – to have fun.

Second truth of the post: it was great to see many faces I hadn’t seen in months and, in some cases, years, and to meet a number of new and wonderfully friendly people, but I spent so much energy worrying about whether people were having a good time that by the end of the night, I was exhausted! I’m sure the mental and emotional lead-up, organizing, and then actually bringing off the night also played a part, but for anyone who’s hosted an event, been a bride (as my best friend pointed out), or been in a similar role, as much as you want to enjoy the evening, you also want to be sure everyone else is enjoying it too! In far too many cases, I only managed to have a few minutes conversation before excusing myself to welcome a new guest or checking that another was enjoying him/herself.

Happily, I think everyone had a good time and liked the images! Any tiredness I felt was well worth it!

For more photos from the evening, please click here.

My guide through all this, a Toronto photographer (and teacher) named Rob Davidson who has more than 30 years of experience, had told me that having this exhibition and seeing the reactions of others would change the way I saw my own work. He was completely right.

The moment I hung the final image and stepped back to take it all in – that these were my images, my work on display – I felt… well, overwhelmed. There’s been such doubt in my mind and, far more often than I’d like, in my heart, about whether I was good enough to continue down this road, to call myself a photographer. I’ve always known that the biggest hurdle for me would be to get over the fear of rejection and to show my work publicly, come what may. Whatever the reaction would be, I’ve always known that putting my photography out into the world would wipe away that fear: once you take a step forward, the fear disappears.

There are other fears and there always will be because I’m continually in search of the next challenge, the next opportunity for growth. I’m still searching for the right fit and, in my case, that can involve multiple facets, but I won’t give up. Sometimes it takes (way) longer than I’d like to get over the self doubt, but with experience (and, undeniably, age) comes the knowledge that I’ll get there eventually; something deep down will slowly but surely nudge, prod and, finally, drive me forward.

I’ve learned so much during these months and there’s still a ways to go, but I can proudly say that I’ve accomplished what I set out to do and, in the process, come to see that I am a photographer.

Next post… Peru!

P.S. If you’re in the Toronto area, please drop by the Moniker Gallery this Wednesday, May the 14th at 7pm for the show’s Closing Reception. Spread the word!

P.P.S. Images from the show will be uploaded to my website after the 14th. If you’re interested in receiving this link, please contact me with your email address. 

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An April blog post! And… My First Solo Exhibit!

Much like February and March – sadly – April has also been a very bad month for this blog.

March was the last month of my ‘day job’ contract and as the days, then weeks, went flying by, I realized that I had a big ‘to do’ item to focus on for the end of the month: selecting and editing the images for my first solo photography exhibit (more on this later). After a brief conversation with a far more experienced photographer – my adviser – I quickly realized that I would have a tight schedule for the last couple of weeks of March and the month of April:

  • The last 10 days of March: complete editing for no more than 25 selected images
  • The first 10 days of April: create test prints of the images, cull, tweak, reprint and repeat as necessary
  • The middle 10 days of April: take part in the G Adventures Inca Trail tour in Peru – yay!
  • The last 10 days of April: create final prints of the images selected for the show, mount, hang and prepare/organize all other items needed – e.g. promotion, food, music, transportation, etc.
  • May 1st: Opening Reception! 

Needless to say, this has been one BUSY month, but I’m determined to make this a positive experience, rookie mistakes and all.

The Show
Back in November, I applied and was accepted for my first group photography exhibit – click here for the blog entry.

I got to talking with the gallery director, Michelle, and loved her friendly personality and energy. I mentioned that I was thinking of having my first solo show and asked if she was amenable to having it at her gallery, Moniker Gallery. She agreed on the spot and suggested I do the show as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, a month-long event where photographers from Canada and around the world exhibit their work at more than 175 venues around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Fast forward 6 months and here we are, on the eve of my first show: A Place – A Space – A Time… Learning to See the Light.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the images that will be part of the show:

If you’re in Toronto between May 1st and May 14th, please drop by and check it out… and do let me know so that I can meet you in person! Opening reception on May 1st, closing reception on May 14th, both from 7pm to 11pm – music, munchies and a cash bar!

A Brief Word or Two on Peru….
I promise there will be more to come – including pictures! – on Peru in the next entry, but I did want to include a quick description of the trip: it was, quite simply, an amazing experience.

The main reason for the trip was to walk the Inca Trail. We covered 45 km and 7000+ steps (up only) from the starting point, kilometer 82, to Machu Picchu, over 3 and a bit days. I won’t lie: it was harder than I expected. Catching my breath at the altitude levels we were reaching was a struggle, but I never thought about stopping or turning back – I always knew I’d reach the end goal, just with a lot more breaks. 🙂  And it was well worth it!

Making your way along the trail, you find yourself high up in the mountains – far closer to the peaks than a city girl like me could have pictured herself being – and with views of hidden waterfalls and sunlit valleys that really do take your breath away.

When we completed the trail, it felt like a HUGE achievement. It was the most physically challenging activity I’ve ever undertaken and I felt, and still do feel, quite proud about finishing it. And, most importantly, knowing everything that’s involved – the good and the bad – I’d recommend it to others and I’d do it all over again myself.

Thanks for hanging in with me and with this blog despite the dearth of posts.

In closing, my apologies to those of you who haven’t heard from me or seen me in a while…. I’ll be back and in touch soon!

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Balance… or Lack Thereof

February was not a successful month for this blog. In fact, it was (clearly) non-existent. 

At first, it was an easy choice as to whether or not to post: my day job had me engaged in some very long hours over the first two weeks of the month. There were more than a few 10 – 15 hour days and I have to admit, I no longer recover from those, now that I’m in my mid-30s, as quickly as I used to. 

When I wasn’t at work, I was sleeping (hopefully) or trying – not very successfully – to tick off the check boxes belonging to my second life: that of travel agent, blogger and photographer.

And let’s not forget the “regular” requirements of life: banking, eating, cleaning, etc…. Oh, and spending time with friends and family whenever possible.

By the time the third week of the month arrived, I was barely treading water as far as my “to do list” was concerned. As each day passed, I felt more and more the weight of the not done, the to-be done, the ‘you really should’ve had this done already’.

And then it was the last week of February. I tried to ignore the guilt. Finally, by about Wednesday, I had to admit to myself that not a single blog entry for the month was going to be completed. 

Which brings me to this post and my plea for advice from all the other aspiring photographers and writers or any others who are trying to make a go of a second career. How do you do it? How do you find a balance between the things you have to do and the things you want to do? Yes, there are weeknights and weekends, but eventually, I burn out – do you? How do you meet the demands of the every day while also trying to grow your business, improve your abilities, increase industry knowledge and maintain a strong relationship with colleagues, clients and fellow enthusiasts? Do you ever feel like you haven’t done enough?

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