Photography & Counseling (but mostly photography!)

I’ve been quite prolific with the photography lately! I’m not sure why, but it’s good to be making art again after a hiatus of nearly a year. I feel all sorts of ideas bubbling up and so my technique should drastically improve. I don’t feel my skills have slipped at all, but there’s still so much more I can learn and do. I’m considering a lens purchase…Someday. Right now, I’m trying to live a bit frugally and build my savings again, but I’d like to have a fisheye lens to play with! I have some neat ideas for city photography that would really benefit from this. But for now I will use what I have and make good use of them!

I went on photo safari with two of my coteachers a few days ago in the Ximending district of Taipei. I didn’t get all that much as far as photos I love, but there were  a few keepers. Tomorrow after class, I might (finally) get up to Xiangshan for the iconic Taipei photograph; it was raining on and off and my battery died mid-shoot before, so that wasn’t happening last time. Also I have a new tripod and have been ploying Flickr, getting advice from photographers with more experience on how to make it work. Should be quite interesting! I need to do another photo safari soon; the tea culture of Taipei is vibrant and I really enjoy shots of all of the beautiful teapots, jade art and lacquered sculptures many shops have. Work is unfortunately really, really busy lately, working 6 days a week. Unsure how much I enjoy 29 teaching hours a week, plus lesson prep, grading and homework, but for now I continue. It’s been a great practice for me, being mindful, seeing where I lapse and honestly, surprising myself at stretching myself a little more all the time.

I saw a counselor for the first time last Thursday. It was raining on and off, I had a 4 hr break in between my next classes, and the Community Center of Taipei wasn’t too far from my school. I’m actually doing a lot better than I have been in a very long time, but I figured it might be a good idea. A supplement in relearning how to love myself. I walked in a bit unsure if this was even a good idea. Here I was paying someone to listen to me blab and who would then ask reflective questions to help me figure things out on my own. But honestly, it was really nice to just talk about myself for an hour and not feel guilty about it, nor have the other person make it about them. I launched into everything I’ve done over the past two years, which I’ve omitted from this blog because I can’t find a way to make it less than depressing. My overall impression of Joyleen was good, though I was a bit off-put she seemed a good deal younger than me. I don’t know why it matters; I guess I felt like “I know more than a 20-something year old,” but then that sort of attitude is probably part of the problem. “I know too much to listen to anyone else’s input.” I felt really good afterwards. Just more “open,” somehow. Like I’d aired out an old sheet that needed a good dusting. Striking, the power of words in the company of another human.

I see her again in just over a week. By then, I should have my skyline photo of Taipei, some new tea and jade art (thinking I’ll go to the jade and flower market Tuesday afternoon!) and some B&W macro art I have in mind; I want to revive my Skinpressions series I started in Alaska, but have since lost. Skinpressions was basically macro photos of me holding things. Human hands are quite neat, with all their lines and dextrous poses you can pull off. And holding an object puts the viewer in my shoes a bit better than the object by itself. I really like the context of the images I’d created for that series. In case you haven’t heard my rant about that one in person…I spent a few weeks in AK in 2013 working at a seafood factory and doing photography. I came out with some stunning imagery of forests, beaches, eagles and seashells, and then lost it all when I switched to both a new computer and new image hosting service. All of the images I’d thought were backed up were, in fact, not. And what’s left on Facebook is so deteriorated in quality because Facebook massively degrades images to save space, they’re mostly unusable for my Flickr page. Also I’d avoided uploading the best ones because I was starting a money-making site at the time.

So yeah, that was a big fat fail. Skinpressions II! Be looking out for it sometime soon!

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