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Aftermath of the MFA

 

diBenedetto_MFA_2015_42Not to sure how or where to start…. I finished my MFA in August and a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Literally and figuratively. All I wanted was a break from school and I felt the day would never come. But now it has… and now I am like “well what do I do now.” I think the hardest part of graduating with a terminal degree is that school is officially over. Done. Fin!…..Right… I could start my PhD in Visual Art, but is that what I really want right now. Not a 100% sure. The thought has crossed my mind over and over again, but for now, I think it’s best to just continue to the practice. Which right now, for me is the hardest part… finding the time to create again. At least when I was in graduate school, I was pushed to make art all the time, be in the studio all the time and create create create.

Now that I have completed my program, I find it more difficult to make time… mainly because there simply are not enough hours in the day. Now with new job opportunities flourishing and doors are opening, (WHICH IS GREAT!!!!- WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN THEIR WOULD BE 4 JOBS OPEN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!)

BUT applying to exhibitions and applying for grants…. is like…. applying grad school every week… like every week… LITERALLY! I FEEL LIKE I AM APPLYING TO SCHOOL AGAIN ALL THE TIME. But just like one of my favorite art videos on Ted talk… Just do it. So how does one find time to create, research and write and then create more. Well here goes…..

I am learning that the push comes from within. It is now more than ever, more important to push myself. Nobody is here to check in on me. I am also learning maintaining the relationships I made in school are more important, more than ever right now at this moment. I valued my cohorts voices and opinions when it came to my work. So keeping that connection is very important right now. I also find it’s important to continuing reading and keeping up to date with whats going on in the contemporary art world. Joining mail list, artist talks, and even seeing more and more exhibitions has become so much more important than when I was in graduate school. More important… taking the time to rest. There is no need for those sleepless nights and endless writing and reading sessions. Of course I try not to procrastinate, but I work two adjunct positions full time and have my daughter, I can’t help but wait to the last minute at times. I have realized that I just need to be okay with that. And I am okay. I also realize, that it’s not worth the last minute push if I can’t sleep and get my mind right. I also find it very important to keep believing that my work is amazing because I am amazing. Confidence. That confidence I built in critiques and during my thesis…. that confidence that my daughter looks up too. Confidence. I didn’t just get a degree, I got a terminal degree. So I am going to keep moving forward… like always.

 

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US Navy QuickShot/TFTT Training

U.S. military combat cameramen train in combat tactics

I often get asked, what I do for the U.S. Navy Reserves… I just reply with ” I take pictures.” However, after going through this training for the second time, I realize that there is more to my job. I initially started off as an active duty member training as a Naval Aircrewman and Search and Rescue swimmer. That training was cut short when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Savannah. I wasn’t allowed to finish SAR school, but still became an Aircrewman. This left me to rethink what I really wanted out of Navy career. I had initially joined to become a photographer, but was picked up for Aircrew at bootcamp. Now, pregnant, I had the opportunity to really focus on that skill. I started taking Advance Photography during my pregnancy at the local community college. I really began having an interest in documentary photography and it was then I decided that I wanted to be a combat photographer for the Navy. My journey getting there is a whole different story, but the short version was that, I started my OJT (on the job training) with Fleet Combat Camera Pacific. I took a year off after I had my daughter and went back as a reserve as a Mass Communication Specialist. I felt at home. Going back to my initial statement, “I take pictures,” I realize that yes, I take pictures, but I am a trained Combat cameraman, trained by the best of the best photographers I know.

The last two weeks I was able to experience for the second time around, this amazing training. I was able to build on my skills as a Mass Communication Specialist (Video and Photography) and my tactical firearms training. I had an amazing team leader and part of the best team anyone could ask for. Fleet Combat Camera Pacific’s Winter Quick Shot 2015 is a joint field training exercise in the Angeles National Forest near Azusa, Calif. Quick Shot is a semi-annual exercise that improves combat camera Service members’ abilities to operate in a tactical environment. West Coast COMCAM hosts two Quick Shot exercises a year. Combat photographers come from all over the military to learn small arms combat tactics from Max Joseph and his Tactical Firearms Training Team.  with my grumpy, bitchy and lack of sleep, I was able to build on team skills and amazing training. I was blessed with new friends, build on old friendships and most importantly walk away with some battlescars! Below I have included some photographs that I took over the last two weeks.

Here is a video from Brett Cote, a very talented and amazing videographer. Check out his blog, he has great tutorials on video editing as well as some amazing videos. You can check out the link below to see some great photographs from the training from all of the Photographers. https://www.dvidshub.net/tags/image/fleet-combat-camera-pacific/page/1#.VPX5ryjy_HM

Thanks again everyone for all your help and the great learning experience. I even had a few images released and it was all because of the best team I had. Go team bravo!

#teamfour #teambravo aka #teambrown #tftt #quickshot #comcam #fccp #winterquickshot #nancycdibenedetto #dibenedettophotography