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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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Best Photo of 2015

 

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The best photo I took of 2015 had to be the photo of daughter Savannah and all her many activities. I call Savannah ““Multipotentialite.” She has this wonderful imagination about life. She often finds the adventure in everything and has this appetite to try everything. I wanted to create a fun photo showing all that emotion and really capture her identity. We set up the backdrop in my home in San Diego, Calif. We used different types of lighting kits, but I loved using the soft boxes. Savannah helped set up the shot on what she should wear and how she should place the books on her head and her soccer ball. She wanted to make sure we got all her activities just right…. a clear sense of balance into her life. I think I just enjoyed how my daugher and I collaborated, it was special moment.

I often find it hard to print my photos for the best quality. So this year I googled and found Social Print Studio. I love their Giant Photostrips and the metal prints! I found these to be the best print for our home and easy to hang up. I also like the different parts you can write on them. I plan to  use Social Print Studio  for part of my thesis project  for graudate school, that I am currently working on with Savannah. The series is called “Are you okay?” and comes from a project that Savannah and I started about two years ago.  Savannah has her own instagram called @Sids_world_  and it captures the everyday life of a kids world, it’s called #comeplaywithme. The series was inspired by Murad Osmann‘s photographic series called #followmeto. The reason I love Social prints Giant Photostrips, because it allows Savannah to write on the photos as well. They look great on our walls and are inviting for a fun perspective on things.

We often struggle these days with raising our kids to be the best and strive to introduce them to so much. Always college prepping and over booking every single detail in their day. We have become the generation of  “helicopter parents.” We forget that they are kids, and they need to have FUN! 

But this year Savannah wanted to choose every activity in this photo. (except swim.. she wants a swim team that swims in the ocean and be FREE!!) She wants to try everything and I respect and admire that about her. She is a resilient and tenacious kid and I know that she will find her niche and love what she does, but for now, I just want her to enjoy being a kid. 🙂

Yes, she is in Soccer, swim, piano, violin, Continuing Catholic Development, paints and draws and not to mention she is a pretty awesome Fourth Grader. She is amazing and often inspire me. She is the definition of what you call a “Multipotentialite.” This photo captures that and much more. It truly captured our year of 2015!

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Walnut Grove Park with my Students

The rain cleared up just in time to get my students some great experience shooting on location. The sky turned into some beautiful colors from blue to pink to purple.  I brough my camera out and took some shots for fun too! Here they are!

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We Out Here Like, Whoah

The past several years as a photographer, I have always focused on pure documentary. I love the idea of telling peoples lives and stories. Even as a trained Combat Cameraman, I tend to always reveal the truths of what goes on around me, behind my camera.

However, I always love the idea of how to push myself and how to really change my perception of the things around me. One of my weakest areas is night photography. I have always struggled with it and as I grow older, my night vision isn’t that great anymore.

Last night a friend named Arthur Marqueez and I, pushed out creativeness and went on a night shoot. He has this great idea to work with long exposure and reflections of the water ponds by the beach. Instead of using lights and flashlights to write with the light, he brought in the concept of using steel wool to fire to light up the night sky. When we tried our first image, I was instantly high. We began to try different angles and different settings. With the ocean as the backdrop and the water reflection from the rocks, the images captured so much more. The steel wool, when lite, sheds light embers that just flick off into the air. It was amazing!!! I finally loved this new found idea of night photographer!!!! I am still in amazement and can not wait to do this again!

WARNING: Please do not do this alone. This can be dangerous and if not handled properly, can set fires. Make sure to have an extinguisher and water around incase of emergency. Make sure to use a tripod when trying this as well. Gloves are also a key and eye protection!

Enjoy the images!!! This will not be the last post!

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Getting real in LA

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Over the holiday weekend, I was able to have some new adventures with my kiddo and friends. I brought along my two friends from the Navy, Tony Coffield and Arthur Marquez, along with my two graduating students, Esteban Robinson and Adriana Guidino. They are all super creative and insightful in all that they do. I love to work off of other people and see what they come up with when we are all in the same location. They came up with some creative and insightful compositions and I was amazed!!! We ventured off to the Abandoned LA Zoo, which had some colorful boundaries. Then headed to Hollywood for lunch and the LACMA. It was free because of the holiday, which was great! But I mainly wanted to run through the Urban Lights with Savannah. We had a great time and it was great feeling to be amongst people who motivate you and help you to get out of your funk! Enjoy the fun shots!!!

 

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Princess Problems

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As most of you know, in our home, we don’t do the standard annual sit and pose photos, we create our own! Enjoy a sneak peak of Savannah dress up themed photos!!!

Savannah has been my little muse since the day she was born. She opened up my world into seeing the innocence of her world. Always a good sport about having fun with photos and always posing so naturally. She allows me to enter her world of imagination as she continues to grow and let me play into her world of so much love!!! Enjoy these!!!

Please pass along! Facebook it, pin it, tweet it!! ( inspiration came from Cloud Dust Art and Imagery Thanks for the cute idea!! ) #sidaroo #sandiegophotographer #sandiegophotography #princessproblems #secondgradepictures #dibenedettophotography #nancycdibenedetto #disneyphotos #disneyfun