Wednesday Webs: Things I’m Learning in January

The books I'm reading right now

I just came home from a morning yoga class. Ah, there’s nothing like an hour of sun salutations with friends to chase away the winter blahs. I’m energized. I’m motivated. I’m itching to do something constructive with January instead of watching it blow by from under my quilt.

In yoga we’re reminded to ground our feet deeply before rising our arms toward the sky. As my teacher Sunshine says, we must set our roots before we can grow. How applicable that is, especially while our New Year’s sense of renewal still lingers. Even if nothing’s growing outside, I’m using this month for personal growth, as in learning new things. And I’m using online education as roots for that growth.

Here’s what I’ve been clicking into this month for some great coaching and tutorials. They’re free. I listen to them while I work. There are no excuses!


Wednesday Webs: Invigorating the Creative Mind


So, four months ago I started swimming laps at the local Park & Rec. At 6:30 in the morning. In the middle of winter. With my 50+ year-old, not-so-in-shape body exposed in a lap-appropriate Speedo swimming suit.


To top it off, I really can’t swim so I enrolled in adult lessons, which happen to be at the same time all the young parents bring their 5-year-olds to learn the same things I’m learning. In terms of giving up on all manner of dignity and looking cool, this rates right up there with attending college in my 40s (maybe even higher).

Nonetheless, I’ve gotta say the swimming is grrrrreat! I love coming back to my office feeling strong, healthy and excited to start the day!

Here are a few more things to invigorate a creative mind:

  • Yes, exercise does increase creativity—an interesting article about shutting out the chatter and moving into a creative state of mind.
  • Does Facebook make us miserable? Time to put it away and get moving!
  • Your desk is making you stupid! (I’ve posted this before, but the picture makes me laugh.)
  • A great TED Talk: Our minds shape our body. Our body shapes our minds.
  • And then there’s always the diver in a red speedo, thanks to the talented James Lancett and his skilled collaborator Sean Weston


Wednesday Webs 8-31-11

Minds are like parachutes -  they only function when open. - Thomas Dewar


“Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open.”
—Thomas Dewar

“Creativity is like a muscle. You have to exercise it to develop it,
and you have to flex it to maintain it.”
—Common Knowledge 

I agree with both of the above. That’s why I’m curious how creatives stretch their thinking? How do they stay motivated and inspired?

Some establish a daily regiment that evolves into highly acclaimed art forms, as did Jessica Hische with her Daily Drop Cap. Others quietly step away from their normal working medium and pick up another, like, say, photography.

I’m interested in the quiet photography. I’d like to improve my skills so I’ve been contemplating a 365 Photo Challenge for 2012. Not only is this an opportunity for practice, but also an exercise in discipline—something many creatives are often lacking (especially me).

Here are some interesting links on Photo Challenges:

  • Photojojo: I remember reading this years ago when 365 Challenges first became popular. I thought people’s projects were fascinating then. Still do now.
  • Digital Photography School: I subscribe to this e-newsletter and always learn something new. Here, they’re offering weekly themes, which maybe they’ll update soon for 2012.
  • FLICKR Group—100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories: This one will force you away from the computer and back in touch with real people!
  • ITunes 365 Remember Your Year: This is actually an app for your iPhone. Makes for easy posting and, goodness, we always have our phones with us, don’t we?
  • The Arrow of Time: This one isn’t a 365 Challenge, but a photographer’s site I’ve been fascinated with for the past 6-7 years. Simply beautiful.

So what do you think?

Projects like this are more fun (and motivational) when done together with someone else. Anyone care to join me? Go ahead, get that camera or phone out. Plan now for 2012!

And if you’re already doing a photo challenge, please share. We’d love to see!

Wednesday Webs 6-29-11

adunate self portrait

Self-portraits. They’re a bit self-absorbed, aren’t they?

Nonetheless, here I am a taking picture of myself and showcasing it online. I had to take about ten of these shots just to get something half-way presentable. But in my defense, this seeming self-absorbtion is partly inspired emulation.

Last week, as a subscriber to the Vivian Maier newsletter, I received an email that her collectors recently added new photographs to her Self-Portrait portfolio. They’re an amazing revelation of artistry and history.

What’s fascinating about Maier’s self-portraits is her creative use of reflective surfaces to capture her own image. Check out this one where she used an automobile mirror.

Her portraits also convey the timespan of her work—not only did she herself change, but so did her cameras and photography. She went from shooting black and white with a Rolleiflex camera in this 1955 self-portrait, to shooting in color in this 1970s portrait, possibly with her Exakta camera.

I wonder if Maier were alive today, what she’d think of us obsessively shooting pictures of ourselves and posting them online—she, who was so intensely private? Would she be boggled that I used an iPhone for my self-portrait?

And what about discoveries?

Maier’s 40-year stash of photography was discovered in a storage box. Someday will someone discover an unknown stash of artistry on the internet? Will it be yours or mine?


Wednesday Webs 4-13-11

Chilean Street Scene

Last month I spent an awesome eight days in Temuco, Chile. The streets were alive with so many interesting people and activities, including this ambitious street vendor.

  • Treasures are found in the most unlikely places, including this goldmine of photography by Vivian Maier. An amateur photographer throughout the 1950-1990s, Maier shot thousands of Chicago street scenes that now receive critical acclaim.