Are you doggy paddling or doing the crawl?
So what’s the deal? What do you do?
An average day will always start with coffee. Caffeine is followed by checking the weather, city maps, my emails and deadlines. I like to plan my days around the sun and when it will be in the right position for my shoots. I am usually working from a list of several shoots so I need to make the most of the light.My job is a hybrid of marketing and photography, this allows me to work closely with my company’s marketing coordinator to create and produce our marketing material. I spend most days popping in and out of the office to and from shoots. A large portion of my day is also dedicated to image processing and discussing with colleagues and clients what they are looking for. In my evenings, weekends and ‘lunch times’ I fit in freelance shoots, which keeps me on my toes.
How did you get into photography?
Initially, I actually had little interest in photography. My older brother was taking a photo class and I wanted to have a course with him before he left school, so I enrolled.
One day my professor informed me that I had won an art contest that she had entered my work in (unbeknownst to me). From there individuals who had seen (and liked) my work, began commissioning me. I then worked for a local studio for a few years. Here I learned lots of the basics and got to have a taste of several aspects of photography.
How do you feel about art school?
I have mixed feelings about art school. I tend to tell people to pursue and study what interests them but I also think that technique can only take someone so far; you either have the talent or you don’t.
Also, art school does not always ensure a career (or even a paycheck for that matter) in art. I feel that it can be a large financial commitment with little return. I personally tend to encourage taking art courses at community colleges (or the like) to gain the basics and talent can take you from there.
Are there any drawbacks to working in photography?
Of course. Depending on your genre of photography, the hours can be random and equipment is expensive. There are often Saturday mornings when I would love to sleep in or evenings when I would much rather go out but perfect weather conditions drag me out of bed or away from a beverage to shoot. To keep up with the competition, one must be willing to invest in the newest technology which is rarely in the budget.
What are the highlights?
I have been dangled from helicopters, tip-toed the rooftops of tall buildings, allowed into places I have no business being, met some unforgettable people, seen some of the most amazing scenery and have been paid to do it!
What are the misconceptions about photography?
While photography can be a pricey hobby/occupation you don’t have to use the most expensive gear to get a great result. I once met an editor of a photography magazine that shot an entire show worth of images on a cheap toy camera with a broken back. The photos came out with these stunning ethereal rays of light. This affect was created from light that had managed to seep through the cracks in the camera’s body: an unexpected yet striking result that would not have occurred if he had used a properly functioning camera. So a bit of creativity and ingenuity can take someone a long way. It is the craftsman not the tool.
Also, photographers, just like singers or IT-ers, have specialties. It is important to learn what your strengths are and to play to them. Whilst, it is tempting to take on any assignment it is wise to learn your limits. This keeps you out of trouble.
What suggestions would you give to people interested in becoming a photographer?
Take some classes, learn about the craft. If possible work for another reputable photographer to learn not only the technical side but also the social etiquette of the occupation. Read to keep up with the any changes or trends etc.
Know that there are so many opportunities in photography; you don’t have to just shoot weddings or senior portraits. Every image you see, in magazines, adverts, pamphlets and cereal boxes had to be taken by someone.
Any photography hopefuls out there? Jess is eager to answer your questions!
6 Smart, Somewhat Fun Things To Do With Your Tax Return
But you knew that already, right? Riiiiight?! It´s not a particularly sexy way to spend your money, but super important and, in the long run, you´ll be really, really glad you did. If the siren song of Visa often overwhelms you, stick those credit cards in a bowl of water in the freezer.
How are you going to spend your tax return?
photo by Dmitri Popov // cc
Now, packing for a 6-month riverboat journey down the Amazon and packing for a three-week sojourn in Paris are going to be different experiences, obviously. But there are some basic rules you can keep in mind as you’re chucking shoes and undies into your rolly bag, no matter where your journey might take you!
How to Pack to Travel like a Fashionista
- Choose a single color palette: If all of your items are interchangeable, you’ll be able to pull together outfits quickly and easily no matter what’s already dirty. Going with black, white, gray, and a single bright color works fantastically. I usually choose fire engine red, because it’s my favorite shade of all time, and one of the best colors for my complexion … but teal, yellow, purple, and hot pink work beautifully, too. Pick a truly vibrant hue, and be sure to bring accessories and shoes in your accent color in addition to tops and bottoms.
- Select breathable, natural fabrics: Silk will keep you cool during a long stroll in the Grecian sun, then keep you warm once that sun sets and a chilling breeze moves in off the Aegean. Cotton can be snuggly and warm when you’re hiking in the morning mist, but also allows your skin to breathe if you have to make a break for a fast-moving bus. Sure, polyester washes well and is wrinkleproof, but it keeps you neither warm nor cool and amplifies your personal bodystink. Stick to the naturals, right down to socks and undies as much as possible. (Wool is a possible exception: As it requires hand-washing and takes forever to dry, pack wool sparingly unless you’ll be wearing washable layers beneath.)
- Avoid wrinkles … or embrace them: Bring lots of jersey, wrinkle-resistant fabrics (such as twill with a hit of spandex), and knitted items, all of which will bounce back quickly from being crammed into a suitcase. Or, if you love the world-wise and happily-rumpled look, pack your linen tunics and rayon dresses, boho scarves and chunky bracelets. Just make a decision ahead of time: Are you going to pack crumple-proof items and avoid ironing, or go with a laid-back look that includes some purposeful wrinkle-age?
- Bring only one pair of heels: Unless you’re going on a journey that involves charitable works, long hikes, and rural travels exclusively, you should be sure to include a single pair of dressy heels. BUT limit yourself to that single pair, and bring only flat shoes besides. Flat boots, Mary Janes, sneaks, ballet flats … if you’re a shoe person, need options, and don’t mind some heavy duty schlepping, pack ’em all. Just make sure they’re FLATS! Travel = walking unless you’re on a cruise. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can make heeled shoes work for anything other than a fun night out.
- Invest in disposable jeans: Jeans are a travel must regardless of destination, but I recommend against bringing your best pair. Your favorite jeans likely fit into at least one of these two categories: They set you back a pretty penny, or they took you a hillion jillion years to find. What happens when you spill borscht on them, or snag them on an ornery bramble, or lose them at the laundromat? You CRY BITTER TEARS, that’s what! I prefer to pick up a comfy, slightly beat-up pair at a thrift store for trip usage: I feel free and easy in them, and don’t give a flying rat’s ankle what happens to them once I’m safely back home.
- Pack mostly separates, but at least one dress: If you follow rule number one, you’re throwing a lot of black, white, and gray into your duffle, as well as items in your personal favorite bright, cheerful accent color. Generally speaking, you’ll want to pack tops and bottoms: Tees, sweaters, wrinkle-resistant blouses, and tanks as well as skirts, capris, and pants. But make a practice of toting at least one dress. A flattering dress can be paired with your single pair of heels for nights on the town, but if it’s jersey or cotton it can easily transition to day with a pair of flats. Even if you have no fancy events on the docket, you just never know when a dress will come in handy.
I’ve learned most of these guidelines the hard way, and am fairly certain I’ll never violate them again. What
do YOU keep in mind as you pull from the closet and tuck into the suitcase? Ever found yourself stranded in a foreign land, wishing desperately you’d packed differently? Do tell!
* Start the day with a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice, then go out for breakfast. Have pain au chocolat at a posh cafe, a fry-up at a diner or local hotel, or a takeaway if you like – you are on holiday after all!* Give yourself a facial whilst listening to your favourite music, relaxing with a glass of wine.* Decide that for the week, cost doesn’t matter. You’re saving money by not going away so you can eat all your favourite foods, no matter how decadent!
* Visit your town or city’s tourist traps – you may be surprised how many great things there are to do in your town that you’d never have thought to try! See this article for some brilliant ideas!
* Go swimming at your local pool when there’s a “free swim” time and take a beach ball!
* Wear your favourite clothes and take time to look your best every day, even if you’re just staying in the house.
* Read “trashy” books and magazines, the sort of thing you’d only usually read on the beach or by the pool.
* Write postcards and mail them to your friends and family.
* Forget diets and nutrition, ice cream is a viable lunch option!
* Go clubbing or cocktail-drinking mid-week, it’s cheaper than at the weekends anyway!
* Fresh fruit however, strawberries, pineapple and big wedges of fresh juicy orange can be the perfect snack to make you feel like you’re on a tropical island somewhere!
* Pick a country and gather together all the movies you can about or from that area.
* Photograph all of it and put together an album of your fabulous holiday so that you can remember it for years to come!
How do you holiday at home?
I teach, perform, and choreograph modern dance. What is modern dance? I don’t know.Tell us about an average day in life of your job.
Well, in order to make a living in the arts I piece together multiple dance-related jobs. This makes each day different from the next. Right now I teach adult advanced-level modern classes and teen modern classes at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, as well as serve in the capacity of “Office Manager” fifteen hours per week.
I also teach Dance Appreciation to non-dance majors at the University of San Francisco twice a week. One night a week I have rehearsal for a piece I am choreographing, and work on ideas for that at various times. I perform for two amazing choreographers, Nina Haft and Katie Faulkner, and rehearse with them off and on for upcoming projects. A “typical” day involves some kind of teaching, a little office work, and most likely a rehearsal. I also spend a lot of time preparing for all of these things outside of the actual classroom or studio time.
Did you go to school for this? Or get any special training?
When I was an undergrad I was a dance minor, with no thought of making a career out of it. After four years dancing everyday and performing I was completely hooked, so after a short break from school I decided to go back to graduate school for dance. I spent three years at The University of Iowa getting a Master of Fine Arts in Dance Performance.
How did you get into this line of work?
When I was younger I was a gymnast and the coach suggested I take dance classes to help with grace and rhythm in the floor routine. I took lessons from the only dance teacher in town who taught in the basement of an old masonic building. The ceiling was low, the floors were concrete and covered your shoes in some strange grey powder, and I loved every tap, jazz, and ballet class I took. I never thought that I would make a living dancing or be in a professional dance company or teach dance. It’s something I can’t stop doing, and at some point it became more than just a hobby.
Are there any drawbacks to working in dance?
The biggest drawback for me is the lack of financial stability. Jobs in dance come and go and there are no sick days, vacation days, disability pay, retirement funds, or health insurance. I am constantly trying to piece together enough work to pay the rent and am always juggling different projects and commitments. Another drawback is that people don’t really know what I do because it isn’t very mainstream. It’s difficult to describe and people usually end up saying “that must be fun.” And yes, it is, but it’s a lot of work (both physical and intellectual) as well.
What are the highlights?
There are so many…I love the moment waiting backstage right before performing. The people that I work with are strong and intelligent and creative and caring. Activity and creativity are part of my job. I don’t have a desk. I get to share my love of the art of dance with other people. It’s amazing to stand at the front of a class and watch a sea of people moving together. My schedule is fluid and can be flexible. I get to dance in beautiful works of art!
What are the misconceptions about working in dance?
The most common misconception in my world is what I call the “Center Stage” misconception. I feel that the movies about dance portray it as a world of ego and eating disorders and competition. I think that does exist (more in the world of professional ballet), but there are whole other worlds of dance that aren’t as mainstream that value community, creative collaboration, social engagement, and healthy living. I keep telling my friends that I want Ira Glass to do a This American Life show on modern dance…I think he’d get it right.
Another misconception is that dance is not a valid academic field of study. There are historians and scholars who engage with concepts of movement on a deeper level and apply philosophy and critical thinking to the art of dance. Dance has more layers and can have more significance that people commonly realize.
What suggestions would you give to people interested in becoming a professional dancer?
Here I must refer to my dad’s favorite quote: “Do what you love and do it so well that someone will pay you for it.”
Is anybody a dancer wanna-be? Any questions for Mo?