Girlie Paintings by Kelly Rae & Hope Artwork by Jen Lemen ~ Sister extraordinaire!
Today is a very special day because the amazing Shutter Sisters were just announced as the winners of the Dream Assignment. Congratulations Sisters! And huge hugs to the amazing Stephanie Roberts and to my pals Jen Lemen and Tracey Clark, who dreamed big and made this happen. I love you, sisters :)
My Gypsy heart is filled with joy, as these lovely sisters of mine will go on a journey across 5 continents to create a visual catalog of hope.
In their own words:
“Our photo assignment takes a community of dreamers on a journey around the world where we consider the essence of hope–that elusive quality that makes it possible to believe this is not the end of your story no matter how simple your stress or profound your tragedy.
On this worldwide adventure, we’ll use our lens like a window to see beyond circumstances and context into the heart of what it means to truly be human. We’ll search for hope in the lives of the very people who have had every reason to abandon hope as nothing more than wishful thinking, and we’ll travel to the places where they first learned hope is a viable way of life.
The inspiration for our travel destinations will be women who are dear friends to us here in the United States–former modern day slaves, genocide survivors, young activists, old visionaries and new immigrants. We’ll begin in northeastern Rwanda in a quiet village where two young girls wait to be reunited with a mother they’ve been missing for over three years. Our journey ends in the hills of Nepal where an American teenager became the mother of twenty orphans when she decided to follow her heart. (ps: She on my sidebar: Maggie from Nepal)
At each new destination, we will introduce you to a person who has become for us a living icon of hope. We’ll then invite you to respond with geo-tagged finds from your own lens as together we excavate hope wherever we live, wherever we go. This body of images and video will become a visual catalog for our hopeful world. This online gallery will be our collective resource for the creation of literacy tools and print resources to make a real world difference in the lives of the hopeful people we’ve met on our dream assignment.”
What could be a better dream?
I’m sure most of you lovely readers of Gypsy Girls Guide knew about this project and voted. But if you are new here and new in our community, you can still participate by picturing hope from wherever you are and contributing with hope images via their flickr group. You can read more here.
I contributed with some, including the one above. And get this!!! These images that we donate, will be printed out in tiny cards called “hope notes” and the sisters will carry them wherever they travel to tell the world we’re listening and holding onto to hope as well.
This is an amazing chance to be part of something beautiful and meaningful. It is also a call for you to believe. Believe in your dreams. Believe that anything is possible if your heart is open and if you embrace the shining star that you are! Believe that together we can make our world a better place ~
* ps: Thanks for your comments on my last post and all the sweet emails with feedback. I will continue/ start the “Studio Life” column as of next week on Wednesdays. More on the new blog schedule in my next post!
Archive for April, 2009
Hello from my favorite place in the house: the kitchen nook! :D
It’s Earth day, and although the sun is shining bright outside, I’m in the vibrancy of my very own kitchen nook, planting seeds for a blooming and healthy business. What is new, right?
True. I’m consumed by the idea of businesses that start in the kitchen table and achieve world domination! Too much for you? I say, why not? Everything always gets toned down a notch when you apply ‘reality’ to it anyway. We might as well enjoy thinking extravagantly then.
This week I found myself working once again with the SEED handbook, by Lynne Franks. It’s been very helpful to go back to it, now that I am actually doing the work, rather than just fantasizing about it. Lynne’s book also has great meditation ideas and affirmations that are great “pick me ups”.
With all that in mind, I thought I’d share a few lessons learned in my first 4 months of self employment (It’s been already 4 months as of last Sunday!).
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best is now.”
Time flies! That is exactly right! This is a cliche, but still, the most important lesson learned. Don’t waste anytime. Just begin. Even if you are not pursuing your dream full time just yet, practice a new way of living by taking a step closer today. When I was still working a 8am-8pm job, I began to claim my lunchtime as a sacred personal time. I carried it as my most precious intention: Make time for you and you only. It was worthwhile to skip the office social interaction, to actually find a patch of grass to write on my journal or to go for a walk with my camera. You must find that time… Begin.
The dreaming part matters! If you haven’t taken the plunge just yet, you might be feeling frustrated with yourself for just thinking, planning, wanting, reading about everyone else’s experience, etc. As my friend Mc would say, be gentle and kind to yourself. This is also “doing” in a way and it is an invaluable part of the process. You are in a journey already. Just keep going and the time will come for when you will be ready to bloom. I don’t regret the 5+ years I went through preparing myself. You are collecting seeds and grounding yourself for the future!
I love how Lynne named chapter 3, Soul to Soil. One of the best things about this very unique time in my life is that I am giving myself the time and space to really get to know who I am. I must admit that in all the travel I’ve done (in which I thought I had learned it all about myself…) I was only scratching the surface. The fact that in this journey, I am not moving physically through new places, makes me focus hard on what really matters to me. What do you do when you actually have time for yourself? This is a good question to hold and observe. I find myself not exercising as much as I thought I would, for example. When you create space, you really learn what your true motives versus your excuses are, when it comes to doing or not doing, what you once had in mind…
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” Ecclesiastes
Find a routine that fits you. But a must: Wake up early! I’ve been getting up at 7:30am everyday, and still, with all I want to do, it feels late to me. I am a person of discipline. I complain about structure all the time. However, the truth is I need discipline and like it very much. So I’ve put myself on a schedule (cuz that is what producers do afterall :)). It really works. It helps me feel proud and accomplished. I never feel like I’m wasting this opportunity to ‘kick some butt’ and finally make things happen.
One of the things that has worked really well for me is fostering diversity in my project list. Part of it is my personality. I have many interests and I love juggling multiple projects. Staying busy gives me an edge in which I thrive and produce my best work. But I swear by this concept. You must work in several things at a time and bring them all to fruition gradually and simoutaneously. If you focus on only one project, you could possibly get discouraged very fast. Whereas if you have other things going on, a delay and a rejection will quickly be on the let go, as other ideas continue to set forward. Lately, this has also proven to be spot on, especially in terms of coming up with creative ways to generate an income.
I can keep going here, but I am afraid this post would turn into a huge blob. On the other hand, following the advice from Holly Becker in her blogging your way e-course (which I am loving btw), I’d like to ask you:
Would you be interested in a new column/ series here, with tips from my Studio Life? Have you ever wondered what a ‘day in the life’ of Gypsy Girl is like?
Please do let me know. I’d love to share my process with you and I am very keen on expanding this space into a colorful garden of creative, practical and honest information, if this sounds exciting and interesting to you too.
*update: I forgot this bit: If you can do one thing to honor “Earth day” this week, watch the film “Flow” about the world water crisis. I nearly cried, but wanted to preserve the tears, you know? Also check this page on how to take action.
Wallpaper Projects, Chronicle Books. Photography by Erin Kunkel.
Today I’m inspired by my dear photography mentor, Erin Kunkel.
I met Erin… hmmm… via very non-standard ways. So I wanted to tell the story in case it might inspire you in your own life.
During the very first month in my transition onto Photography full time, one of the things I identified was that I wanted to apply for a mentorship with a top notch photographer I admired and that did work I aspire to do myself.
A quick parentheses here:
I am a firm believer that no matter how good you are at something and despite how much talent you have in a particular field, learning from someone more experienced and participating in the community is the proper way to go, in order to earn your credentials. It’s just ethics and common sense, you know? You can still develop your own work on the side, like I am doing, but it is good manners to get involved, support someone that is further along and expand your horizons that way as well.
After some research, I ran into Erin Kunkel’s work and decided to send her an e-mail, to see if she would be interested in a lovely eager intern: Moi! Just like that. And it worked!
Another small parentheses here:
Pleeease. This was a suggestion I got from a friend, that truly worked for her and then for me. But I’m not encouraging anyone to be obnoxious and send numerous blind e-mails, because if you all do that relentlessly and without an honest motive and focus, this tactic will no longer work for others that have a true purpose and intention. I’m encouraging you to believe in magic, to trust your gut, to be polite, to be considerate to others in the field, to recognize experience, to be open, to connect, to engage in a community, and mostly, to find your own way to follow your heart.
photograph by Erin Kunkel
Back to Erin ~
This is by no means a long story… But to cut it short anyway (Cuz it’s Monday and we are all busy and all)… In a matter of a few days, Erin and I exchanged emails, met for coffee and started working together because it seemed like a good fit.
Seriously. I couldn’t be happier I found her. And I couldn’t be more inspired. I’m so flattered and grateful that she took me under her wing.
Erin is incredibly organized, professional, technical, artistic… She shares my love for travel, beach and sunshine, we both even have surfer husbands and her blog is called Wanderlust, for gods’ sake! Who could be a better mentor for me? And of course, on top of it all she is incredibly beautiful and kind. Oh so kind. It is such a pleasure to work with her. I will literally carry as many cases of equipment, I’ll work as many hours it takes, holding a chair, a ladder, a reflector, a light-stand… And I’ll certainly do anything else she might need me to do, because she just rocks so much, for giving this opportunity. She makes this passion and dream of mine look more real everyday and I will forever hold her a special place in my heart for doing so.
As you can see. I am as mushy as they come and this is just an excuse to publicly acknowledge how great you’ve been, dear Erin. Thank you for the constant inspiration and mentoring, chica! Hope you are having a blast in Costa Rica and I can’t wait for our next big assignment together! I am ready ;-)
photograph by Erin Kunkel
For a closer view on Erin’s stunning work, check out her portifolio and her profile, at her fabulous rep agency, Wonderful Machine.
Last, but not least, the images on this post are part of the book that Erin worked on last year, with the creative DIY folks, Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith, of The Curiosity Shoppe, a very unique gallery and store here in SF. The book is finally out this month and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! I sure hope to work with Erin and these guys on their next project. Would be such a dream! (But we dream big around here, right?)
And just one more related note: blogger and trend-setter, Victoria, of sfgirlbybay, is having the opening of her first ever Photography show at the Curiosity Shop this Thursday. She will feature photos of her ‘Sunday in the City’ column, that we all love so much. I’m excited and will be there for sure. You should come too, if you are in the area!
Have a great week, everyone. More from me on Wednesday ~
And you? What is inspiring you this week? Let’s kick off the week with some hot stuff to keep us going… Shall we?