I decided since I am revisiting where I put my blog, I will make my first post about revisiting my first photo book. I know, that sounds like a mouthful. Don’t worry, though, it’s not all as painful as it sounds.
I have been thinking for awhile about redoing my blog, but honestly, finishing up my book was kinda stopping me. Well today I finished my book, barring the print copy being good. I had previously built my website in a program by a company that is doing the blog hosting. The website builder is great, but outdated and the blog stuff on there, never really been too good. It still runs on internet explorer, so you can imagine the errors I’m getting. I don’t think I’ve gone near internet explorer in years and years. Low and behold something happened yesterday that gave me a kick in the britches, so here I sit today with a finished book on order, and updated blog format, and next I might update my actual website. So, that’s kind of the run down on how I got from point A to point B, or from point B to point A. Heck now I’m even a little confused. Let’s just move on to the revisiting of my book…
I had many dreams as a kid. I wanted to be a photographer, I wanted to own a piano, and I know I wanted a spiral staircase pretty bad. Believe it or not, I ended up getting all 3. The only other thing I can remember really wanting was to write. It varied from year to year what type of writing I wanted to do, but it was always there in my heart.
My first attempt at writing was when I self-published a poetic series titled Photographic Memories which included In the Beginning and Meet Me in the Middle. Although I was ecstatic to finally see my work in print I knew it wasn’t enough. My passion for writing was only matched by my obsession with photography so I knew my next logical step had to be my first photo book. I had a plethora of ideas and many different directions I could go so I was a bit lost. That’s when my good friend Judy told me how she had been following my recent rash of skyscape photos that I had been posting online and suggested I put together a collection of them in print. I had never seen someone talk about my photos with such love and enthusiasm for not just the images, but the magnificence of nature. I couldn’t turn away from Judy’s luminescent enthusiasm. She was right. Combining my photography and writing was like heaven to me, so it was only natural to lift my head up into the clouds. I eagerly began compiling skyscape photos and writing tidbits to include alongside.
When I initially began the journey of my photo book I gave myself a deadline. Come hell or high water I was going to get this book on the shelf before Christmas 2014, and I managed to make it happen, but at what cost? I guess the cost would be the same price that I always pay. I pay with my quality. There have been so many times in my life that I have half-assed things to get them done quickly. I suppose you should never rush art, or doing your taxes for that matter. Anyway, I rushed it, and as a few of you know, I haven’t been handling the criticism very well. One day while I was brutally defending my book to yet another onslaught of critiques from a local artist it hit me that I was being way over sensitive. Why? I think that it was dawning on me that although I usually handle art critique well, this project was more important than usual art. This was my baby. I had always wanted to write, and I always wanted to be a photographer so the marriage of the two for me was a little piece of heaven. I knew I had rushed the project, and I now was suffering the fate of breaking one of the most important rules repeated over and over again if you do any amount of research on self-publishing… never publish too soon. I realized that I had jumped the gun and I would never be able to handle the judgment from others until I made it right and I could finally stop judging myself. That is when I decided it was passed time that I raise the white flag and called for help. I called my favorite professor and master photographer, the great Darryl Jones.
Darryl was very gracious as always and met with me as soon as he was available. I planned and plotted nervously trying to make sure all of my ducks were in a neat little row so that I didn’t waste a second of his time. Even though I already had an entire book, I put together a book proposal just like I would for a publisher. I brainstormed ideas and questions and tried to Jenga them as best as I could to fit them all into the shortest amount of time. Then, extremely nervously, I went to my meeting and realized within a second of getting there I had been nervous for nothing. Not only is Darryl Jones one of the best photographers of all time, he is one of the best people of all time. He’s a man that could talk a troubled soul from a ledge by teaching him to fly. I knew that I had taken my time at school for granted. Don’t get me wrong, I put my heart and soul into it, but when a girl is young sometimes they don’t take the time to realize how much more important the small things are until it’s too late. Very rarely are we given a second chance like I had been given that day. I finally got a chance to go back and learn with every part of my being so when I stepped through those doors at Ivy Tech that day I left all my selfish bullshit in the car, and learn I truly did.
I won’t sit here and rehash every single detail of every word that day although I kinda really want to. I’ll try to sum it up as best I can. Darryl looked through my book of course, talked with me about the publishing market, and even gave me tips on my monstrous Nikon D800E which I have to admit was kind of freaking me out. I went in just hoping I would walk out in the right direction, but I didn’t just leave headed the right way. I left feeling more confident and whole than what I have felt in a long time. I didn’t just know which way to go. I saw the destination, and it is beautiful! I knew what I had to do.
I will always offer the original hard cover version of Hoosier Heavens as it is my first ever photo book and no matter what I did wrong I’m proud that I did it. There is so much more I have to add, though. I even unearthed some beautiful skyscapes I shot as a child! I’m going to add all of it. I’m going to explain more. I’m going to edit, edit, and edit again. I have set a goal for myself, but I’m not going to rush it this time. Next time I see Darryl Jones I want to make sure it’s not to ask him what I did wrong, but to show him what I finally did right.
Merriam-Webster.com defines skyscape as a part of the sky with outlined terrestrial objects that can be comprehended in a single view or, a picture that includes an extensive view of the sky. I define skyscape as heaven.
The preview videos for the release of the original Hoosier Heavens are still posted on my YouTube channel. A few photos have been added or taken away, but the overall videos still speak volumes about the beautiful skyscapes in Indiana.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed my first WordPress blog, and here’s hoping you will get to enjoy your own copy of Hoosier Heavens super soon. My copy is on the way, and the plan is too have it ready for all you beautiful people online April 19. Signed physical copies will be available in person at my Hoosier Heavens art show in November at A Perfect Day Cafe. I can’t wait to see you all there! Until then feel free to browse some photographic melodies from the comfort of your own home at www.photographicmelodie.com/skyscapes.