A New Project for 2017

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One of my goals this year was to join a weekly photography project so I could re-train my brain (and my heart) to shoot for myself again. And I jumped in feet first with a group on Clickin Moms. It was a nice way to get into the groove again and meet new people. But… it hasn’t been my favorite project.

While I’ve stayed on track and have kept up with the group, and have even pushed myself out of my comfort zone, it hasn’t been exactly what I was looking for. Several of the weekly themes were great… but then I’d be disappointed with a few in a row. And I really don’t like the Clickin Moms forum; I’m not a forum person, I struggle with posting in it, reading it… but Instagram has made it easier to share. But I did walk away with something from this experience: it was a great reminder that I really do love having a weekly photo project. Enough to host one myself.

This isn’t new to me. I actually hosted a weekly photo challenge in 2009-10 and again in 2011 – and in 2011 there was about 200 people following our group. I’m ready to take on the year, to take on the challenge and be part of a group of like-minded photographers who want to explore, push and encourage one another. Get ready for 2017 Project 52!

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Here’s how it’s going to go folks:

  • Project 52 is a weekly challenge where a new prompt is announced each week. These will be randomly selected each week to keep us on our toes!
  • We have a Flickr Group to post our images; I thought this would be the best way to house all of our images in one place and encourage each other through comments. You can find it here.
  • You can also share your images anywhere else you’d like to. On your personal blog, on your Instagram account, Facebook… I think the hashtag #2017project52 will be a great way to search and share our “likes.”
  • I like Hump Days. There’s less pressure with our “deadline” falling in the middle of the week. I’ll share my own submission on Wednesdays and announce next week’s prompt.
  • The first prompt will be announced on December 28 – Week One’s images is due Wednesday, January 4, 2017. And prompts will be announced on all channels (our Flickr Group, this blog and on Instagram).
  • There’s nothing fancy about this challenge, so remember ANY CAMERA WORKS – your phone, a point-and-shoot or a dSLR.
  • Have fun – push yourself to take a new photo every week. Try not use photos from your archive; it defeats the purpose of challenging yourself as a photographer.
  • This shouldn’t have to be said, but please make all images SFW – we have a “safe” rating in our Flickr Group and I will remove any images that don’t fit within that rating.
  • I encourage comments from all participants as we’re a community of photographers with a common goal. That said, please keep comments positive and encouraging; only offer critiques when explicitly asked for one.

So that’s the skinny. You can join Flickr for free and it’s a nice platform sharing images; you may meet some new people in the process. ;) The only other thing to do is invite friends or acquaintances you think would like to be a part of it. It’s a personal challenge so there’s no sweat if a week is missed and there’s no prize for finishing it through. I plan on reaching out to some friends and bloggy buddies who participated back in 2011 and I really look forward to connecting with new folks too.

Get your camera ready, sign up for Flickr and join the group, and check back later in the month to get started! Don’t forget: I’m posting our first prompt on Wednesday, December 28!

A New Look for A New Year

This year, 2016, has been a year of change for me. I decided to no longer offer professional services and refocused my energy on learning how to shoot for myself and blog again. It hasn’t been an easy transition and I still find myself masking thoughts and ideas, but the goal was to try my best.

I’ve had a couple of months when I haven’t blogged regularly. There’s been some other months where the content I posted felt more forced than natural. And I haven’t missed a week for my weekly photo project #2016CMP52. (Although I have complained about it.) Overall though, I would say that I’m meeting my goal – I’ve pushed myself to shoot weekly, took a documentary approach workshop, and began to find my voice again.

With almost a year behind me – and with new things in front of me – it’s been a good time to reflect and I started thinking about what Brooke Murphy Photo would look like in 2017. I had toyed with the idea of re-branding the blog again; with the business closed it makes sense to step away from the look and brand I’ve had since 2013. But for some reason it took me forever to decide to do it – I hate making decisions, I weigh the pros against the cons, make excuses for myself, blah blah blah. No more.

Next year is about self-discovery. I’m already telling myself that it’s going to be on my New Year recommendations list. Habits have been learned and now it’s time to push myself a little more. And part of that included getting more familiar with my blog. How do I want to present it and my work to the small world I’m a part of? So I’ve been doing some much needed cleaning, making some updates and moving on…

This is photog Brooke. This is “shoots for herself” Brooke. This is bloggy Brooke. This is 2017 Brooke.bmp_2017header_900

Wendipants - Photog Brooke. Shoots for herself Brooke. Bloggy Brooke. 2017 Brooke.

Call it what you want…they all look good on you.

When The Going Gets Tough…

It’s been pretty quiet around here and for good reason. While I haven’t had a lot on my dance card the last two weeks, the last two months have caught up with me… and the blog has been silent because of it.

I was asked to join a pilot cohort at work for a Six Sigma class. A great opportunity, so I accepted and began to panic after we received the syllabus and the first week approached in September. But then I was able to settle into a groove; class every Monday for three hours, supplemental reading assignments and group meetings to work toward a project presentation.

I’m happy to report I survived the all 10 weeks of this class. And my team was super, pulling together the last two weeks to fully define our scope and offer a recommendation for improving a process. Our class projects were real-life problems at work, not just case studies, and there were pros and cons to that… but I’m quite proud of presentation we created. I’m also quite elated that it’s over.

I literally felt the weight lift off my shoulders while we presented. That’s how much I carried this around with me.

In addition to that and other stress at work, I’ve been dealing with some health stuff. My stomach has been giving me issues since last fall, but in August it started acting different. Before you worry, I’ve been to the doctor, have some answers and am looking to solve the problem very soon. I don’t want to focus on it too much because it makes me a Nervous Nelly, but what it boils down to is:

My butt has been kicked.

No matter how much I sleep or what I put into my body, I am always tired. I leave the office most days, struggle on the drive home and just fall face first into the sofa. There have been days when I have energy and can focus on some photography or editing or blogging… but most of the time I just want pajamas and to not have to think. Even reading books have been hard. I’ve hated making decisions, making plans, being social… and that’s difficult to deal with because I love my tribe and spending time with them is the best. But it wears me out fast. And food doesn’t excite me as most of the things I love upsets my stomach – which is disheartening since most of my social time is focused around food.

I share this only to say: Bear with me. I will get over this hump of exhaustion. And I have big plans for this blog in 2017, so I will have to do it very soon. But don’t give up on me — this is temporary and I’ll be back to feeling like myself in no time. Pinky promise.

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PS – That wonky BDD ear above just makes me smile. Those damn useless ears at least bring joy. ♥

Rachel - Girl, I know you will come out the other side just fine. I’ve seen you twice in the past month and despite everything that weighs on you, you remain your awesome self. Love you and hope it all gets better soon!

Aim - Love you! You are a wonderful and strong person, you will get over this hump I promise :-)

Whatever the Weather | Impromptu Shoot

A couple of weeks back I had an a-ha moment when thinking about that weekly prompt of “whatever the weather” for Project 52. All I needed was someone to be model…

Enter David. He’s one of my teammates that is not only is great to work with, but happens to have the habit I was looking for. And he agreed without hesitation.

To say I was happy is an understatement — I was super pumped! It’s not too often I’m able to get faces in front of my camera these days, so the fact that he was up to the challenge of helping me photograph my weekly photo really made my day.

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The photo above is the photo I chose for the challenge. I really like how it’s an anonymous portrait, the focus is on the cigarette in his hand and there’s that swirl of smoke rising from it. It’s one of my favorites from this year’s Project 52 for sure. But we actually took some more photos – I was trying to figure out my approach, angle, focus, etcetera and this one came a little later. But the photos we got along the way?

They’re moodier than I expected, but I think that lends well to the idea of focusing on the habit of smoking. This is just a regular alley behind our office building, a place smokers usually gather to spend time together or alone. David is a very cheerful guy and fun to be around, but he definitely brought along some smooth operator – this is a more serious side to a man who usually wears a smile at the office.

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I really do appreciate David taking 15 minutes of his time (and two of cigarettes) to help me on a personal project. It goes to show you how nice of a guy he is — he’s clever, funny and apparently a very savvy dancer. We can add model to that list now because I had fun photographing someone new – don’t be surprised if see him again in the future. ;)

Shooting From the Hip | Documentary Photography

I’ve been trying to think of ways to keep my creative juices flowing, but it’s been getting more difficult. Without a workshop to encourage me or events to look forward to, and with daylight shrinking (I am so sad about this! Every year!), it can be hard to stay inspired. And while my Project 52 keeps my wheels turning, even lately it’s felt like the weekly themes are just… blah.

So I decided to try something new.

I’d heard of “shooting from the hip” a few years ago when a group of local photographers got together for a photo walk and all tried this approach. Shooting from the hip is a technique which is most often used for street photography, with the camera resting low on your hip. It creates a different point of view and allows the viewer to react differently than if shot from eye-level. And since as the photographer you aren’t able to square things up in camera or over think the scene, the end result is you photograph things you may have not seen from your own perspective.

I thought it was interesting, but never tried until recently. And I have to admit I like it.

Not all images are winners. And I do end up adjusting my images so they aren’t completely sideways. But the I like the final images and the overall approach of it. Definitely going to be trying this more – especially after it rains because I just love how the sidewalk is reflective in some of the images below.

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