Maid in England | Reflections

I’ve been back in my home country of England for ten days now, and we have hit our half way mark already. We make it over from Seattle only about once every two years and then 2-3 weeks go by in a flash. Half way means that my man has just gone back to Seattle (so he can get back to work), and it means that the rest of my time will evaporate way too fast…
I’ve been living in the States for just about 19 years now, from exchange student, to college student, to movie-maker, and now mama and photog. That’s a long time, a long history. But I’m always homesick for England, as much as I love my adopted city of Seattle. So when I come back here, I start wondering what my life would’ve been like had I stayed, how it could be if we moved back, and I appreciate the little things so much more.
I love how so much stays the same, how the countryside is still pristine, how London still speeds ahead in the midst of all that culture and with its historical landmarks all intact, how I can feel at home as soon as I land.
They say you don’t appreciate something (somewhere?) until it’s gone; I suppose my absence from the UK has made my love for it grow. I can hear now the echoes of those who say ‘well, why don’t you just move back then?’. That’s a big move and it’s not easy. There’s a lot to consider when you make a huge move, and this time I have a family to consider, animals who would have to sit in quarantine, belongings to ship, new immigration dealios to contend with…the list is long.
I don’t travel much anymore, alas, and while these may be akin to someone’s vacation/holiday photos, they hold more sentimentality for me. They aren’t just travel photos or a documentation of ‘been there, done that’; they are pieces of me, things that I hold in my heart.
When you adopt a new country as your home, you still hold pieces of other places you have lived close to you. Born in England, but raised chiefly in Hong Kong, those countries are a part of me. And I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest for close to 20 years now, longer than anywhere, so then I wonder how I might feel should we move back across the pond at some point.
This is the first trip back here to the UK where I have been struggling with emotions that are saying I wish I could stay, if only it weren’t for some friends back in the States, my beloved animals and a slice of the amazing Seattle. I see the excitement in my 5 year old of being surrounded by family here (family on both sides are in the South East of the States and in England, so all of them are far).
I had far less fear when I made the move over here when I was 20…I have different fears for myself and my child today. I’m impressed by those who can take the leap of a big move; my parents did that with us when we moved from England to Hong Kong, when I was just 4, and my brother was 2. My life would be very different today if my parents hadn’t been so bold, and I feel so fortunate that they did what they did.
Great changes happen when you make bold decisions and take risks (calculated or otherwise!).
What I must do at the least when I return to Seattle, is have us at least move house, amongst other things. Being away gives me perspective on the things that are to be put on my
‘action’ list, so while a big move back here may not happen just yet, I do now at least have renewed energy for quite a few things…and I plan to go home with a fair amount of English chocolate and sweeties to tide me over…until next time.
Some iPhone moments from me to you…
Cheers from England! Xo ~ K

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Rolling into 2013 | Reflections

It’s already a week into 2013 and I have yet to add my two cents to the blogosphere about the passing of the old year to the new…so, Happy New Year!!

I always look forward to the new year, far more than the holidays preceding it. It signifies a new beginning, a fresh start, a chance to move forward on existing goals, and to create new ones. If I didn’t do something right in the previous year as I had wanted to, it’s time to take a look at what I can do better from here on out. I achieved some of my goals for last year and even superseded my own expectations with some things.

But then there are more personal challenges, some that I have to wrestle with others for control of, where I feel I am failing. I have already taken steps to try to pull me/us up out of the proverbial quicksand; it’s just not good to feel as though you are sinking! I’m trying to hold on to my inner strength that has served me well in the past, to get beyond some of the current hurdles. Quite aptly, I came across a picture today with the quote “The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you’re okay”…

As far as my photography goes, I look forward to every day that I can learn more, try new things and challenge myselfhelp more rescue animals, and add new creative avenues to my work and endeavors. Already this year, I’m moving forward with all sorts of new projects and sessions and it’s exciting (if not exhausting!). I’m grateful to those who have lifted me up so far and inspired me to do more.

When I made a resolution at the start of 2011 to get back to volunteering, and so began my photography venture with Animal Talk Rescue (where I had previously spent hours volunteering cleaning out crates and so forth), it got me back to not just a creative pursuit  that ballooned into so much more, but it also filled me up in terms of my spirit. If there’s anything I can suggest to anyone else who has yet to make a resolution for the new year, it’s to give back. Give back and volunteer your time and your energy to something or someone other than yourself. When you look outside of yourself, however fortunate or unfortunate you think you are, it truly does your spirit good. When it comes to animals in particular, there’s always a rescue that could use your help, your donations, a home to foster animals in…something.

I’ll start the New Year as I mean to go on, by posting a photo of a beautiful rescue kitty by the name of Sally, who needs a new home, and also with the same eternal wish for peace, strength and good health. And not just for me either!

xo ~ K

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. ~ Helen Keller

Sally HS web

 

 

Perfect Imperfection | Seattle Film Photography 

Hooray for analog! I finally got around to the long (although not quite arduous) process of getting my medium format film prints into their new square photo album this afternoon. Having the prints in a square format (some 5 inch square, some 4) makes them automatically special, but it’s the getting them there and into a real live, not-on-the-computer, album that makes it all so extra special.

Taking photos on film, in any format, involves you in such a different process from that of digital photography, and until I got my Diana F+ a few Christmases ago, I’d mostly left film photography behind for some time. Back when I was working on feature films, I had basically become a film snob, and would abhor anything that would be shot on anything but 35mm celluloid, for the process and production values at the time when working with film, just magnified a project to further greatness. Everyone has now gone digital in the lands of both professional photography and film-making but there are signs everywhere of nostalgia for those mediums; there has been a resurgence in what is called the ‘analog lifestyle’; go see http://www.lomography.com/ if you want to see how the Lomo movement has taken off with and grab every cool camera to do so with. And funnily enough, every camera app on your iPhone wants to replicate film, to get the look and feel of its simplicity, its unsuspecting colors and its element of surprise. I love using the phone apps but they don’t truly represent the process of taking photos on film, getting them developed and into your hot little hands, where they were highly anticipated for so long (usually the next day, actually). You had to make sure every shot counted and there were always some good, and disappointing surprises with the returned prints.Then finally getting those beautifully imperfect prints into an album – not even into separate plastic dividers inside, just with actually photo mounts straight onto the page – feels like the most wonderful thing. For if photos aren’t meant to be gazed over (other than on a phone display or on you laptop), what are they for? There’s a major satisfaction of holding that imperfect surprise of a print in your hot little hands…and there you go, that is your art.

As photographers now, with all the new technology and post-processing available, you find yourself expecting nothing less than perfection. Perfect composition, lighting, exposure, posing, editing, all of it; some aspects of the medium have allowed us to get close to perfect, particularly with the new ability to take countless shots without worrying about wasting frames/money. But we may spend too much time trying to get that ‘perfect shot’ these days…

I think I will set myself a personal cat project with film because I think this would be a lot harder challenge against digital. I would expect most pet photographers to agree that they can take a lot of shots of cats and dogs at a session but most will be throw-aways, due to the activity and often non-compliance (or if you’d like to say, they had a different agenda that day). I don’t think I’d be able to do the same pet portraits on film, but I’d go in with hope that the less-than-perfect shots held their character as I imagined but still showed me some great surprises. I will have to research some pet photographers of the past who shot on film…

On to a week of organizing photos, possibly a cat session and a model session, as well as prepping for school portraits! It’s keeping me busy but it also keeps me sane; it all serves as therapy!

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.’ – Proverb

Bye for now. xo ~ K

Sharing Memories, Sunsets | Reflections

I spent – well, my computer spent – half the evening doing registry cleanup and optimization on my computer, with the plan to get some time in to go through some photos from back in December. I still have yet to go through all the photos I took for my son Roman’s birthday party and for some reason, Photoshop Elements has decided this evening to not cooperate with me, so maybe tonight isn’t the night. The photos from his superhero-bonanza of a birthday will just have to wait; I just particularly want to share all the color and fun with family (in England); I hate that they miss our family celebrations here but I’m grateful that I can record it all with my camera and that the web makes it so easy to share memories.The face says it all

I think many of us have forgotten what it was like back when we printed out photos and actually mailed them to family and friends. We share ourselves in such a different way these days…but I still love to actually feel real photographs in my hands. All that picture-taking with the infinite possibilities of digital photography make the process so different from analog; I float between digital and analog formats because the satisfaction that comes with each process is so different. My mum is requesting I catch up with sending ‘real’ photos to her from last year…isn’t that what makes the photo-taking so worthwhile? Isn’t it more satisfying to actually have a real copy of the photograph in your hands? There is something so special about getting a roll of film developed and not being completely sure what it is you will see once you get your prints back.

I am very behind on printing out photos for my own albums and I am vowing to myself that those memories get printed very soon. Kids especially love to look at themselves in photos; it was seeing my father’s constant photo-taking and the many albums he filled with photos from our childhood in Hong Kong that likely first inspired me to explore the medium myself. I also worry that should my memory fail one day, that if I don’t have real photos, those moments in time will fade too. Photos play a central role in our memory-keeping…the connection fascinates me.

I also didn’t get cat photos done today because of one thing or another; tomorrow I have every intention of getting photos at the Lunar New Year festivities and hopefully some of my feline friends. Hoping for less dashed plans this week; I have lots I want to get done!

Leaving you with a sunset photo from the other day; I enjoy getting the view of the Space Needle from a moving car on the freeway…as a passenger…

We do not remember days; we remember moments.  ~Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand

xo ~ K