Inspiration Days

Work is good. Play is better. Well they’re both good, as long as one doesn’t overshadow the other.

Happily, after a long winter of work work work, there have been a few moments in the last couple of weeks where I’ve been able to come up for air and experience the art of others.

On Friday evening, my brilliant painter friend Ken Keirns had another outstanding opening of his new work at Rotofugi. Ken’s work continues to amaze me. It’s not only the breathtaking craft of his painting, but his wickedly humorous storytelling ability.

On the surface one might casually gaze upon the “cranially gifted” women that populate his work and say, “Oh, the big headed women guy.” But it’s so much more than that.

His women (and monkeys for that matter), are strong, beautiful and not to be trifled with. Some have been wounded, but always have the last laugh. To look into their eyes you wonder what has brought them to this place. And you breathe a sigh of relief that it was not you who did. Or you might spend the next few years looking over your shoulder.

It was great to see Ken receiving well deserved congratulations as sold after sold sticker was place beneath each piece. The one thing about Ken’s art: You must move quickly, or you’ll miss out.

A wonderful evening.

Inspiration is also about learning. The day I feel I know it all is the day I’ll just chuck it all and go live out my days in a cave. Learning is incredibly inspiring to me.

I recently discovered the generous people of creativeLIVE. A group of humans who have made it their mission to take the travel and expense out of learning from a number of gifted artists.

This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Vincent Laforet gave a seminar in Seattle of his experience transitioning from a still photographer to an expert in HDSLR cinema photography to a roomful of photographers…. and because of creativeLIVE, about 1,800 of us watching from all over the world at the same time.

Like Vincent, I’ve spent the past year shooting with my own Canon 5D Mark II and a lot of the information he was providing wasn’t exactly new to me, but it did confirm that what I had discovered in my own motion journey was spot on.

It’s always good to find that reaffirming nod as you continue on your own adventure. Because my background has involved being involved in hundreds of productions from a film editing standpoint, that and my own still photography work, I find myself in a unique position as I go forward.

It is the democratization of film production as we know it. But as Vincent pointed out, it’s not all the new toys that will create the most exciting new stories, it’s still.. well… the story. The point of view remains king.

A very inspiring three days to spend with a very talented artist.

And finally tonight, I was fortunate to be sitting in a room with another talented cinematographer called Nancy Schreiber (ASC). Nancy was the guest speaker at this month’s Women in Film discussion held at Fletcher Camera Chicago.

Yes, men can be members of Women in Film. I, am also a happy dues paying member of this important organization.

Nancy discussed her background growing up surrounded by art and her time spent in museums and galleries before taking an unexpected turn to get her psychology degree (which turned out to serve her well in the personality diverse world of filmmaking), before discovering that she had an aptitude for the technological side of film on her way to becoming an award winning Director of Photography.

Nancy discussed the creative challenges of her work, both from a budget shrinking and ever changing technology standpoint. She shoots on 35mm film, RED camera, even miniDV and everything in between, learning that the only way to survive in the industry was to embrace all of the new cameras and techniques in her visual journey to tell the stories she loves to tell.

Another great evening of inspiration and knowledge sharing.

After the discussion, my good friend Jim Hoffman, of both Hoffman Sound and Jira Productions, headed off to J. Alexander’s to wind the night down with great food and to talk about what we had just heard from Nancy.

A great way to review four inspiring days in the delicate balance between work and play.

All the photos you see in this blog were taken tonight with my iPhone throughout the evening.

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