a few weeks ago i got an email from my colleague and friend gina oh. she told me she and nichole van were spear-heading a fine art project which consisted of 15 photographers. she asked me if i wanted to join. essentially the task at hand was to create something, i felt, was fine art each month, post it to my blog with an explanation of how the art was created or why i, as the artist, feel it is art, and then link to the other members in the group. easy enough right?

i hesitated.

i was totally and completely honored to have even been a consideration to rub shoulders with such incredible creatives, but sometimes it is safer if i just work and create quietly behind the doors of my office or with my closest confidences on my own personal projects. it takes nerve to get your “art” out there next to other art that you feel is way better than your own art. i have a hunch you might understand how i feel. i am in the business of being inspired, not intimidated. i constantly seek elevation and flee from intimidation!! i know myself too well, too. i don’t like to put myself in situations where i question my abilities or vision. i told gina i needed to mull it over. i spoke with a few of my friends about it, and shared my feelings with jaren. everyone told me i was crazy if i didn’t take advantage of this opportunity for the sheer reason alone that it will provide a PUSH!!! a push outside of my boundaries. i emailed back to gina that i was in and have felt giddy excitement since!! since then my head and many of my conversations have been focused on the definition of art, it’s subjectivity, and how i see art personally. it has already made me think on a higher level and that’s the way i love to view and experience this world!!

nichole van wrote the following as an intro to our exploration:

“I love art. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I grew up thinking of myself as Anne of Green Gables where I had to turn the whole world into something romantic. I longed to be the Lady of Shalot floating to her doom down the river, pining in her unrequited love for Lancelot. I ached for rustling silk dresses with puffed sleeves and thick hair to my knees. I wanted a world that was removed from the mundane simplicity of everyday life.

But of course, life comes in and we grow up and move on. There isn’t enough time in the day to even shower, much less indulge in artistic flights of fancy. We have children, get a job and acquire debts. We cheer soccer games and kiss booboos and wash that same cup for the thousandth time. We forget the past and become “adults.”

And then one day, we pick up a camera. And take that first shot.

And all that youthful longing comes rushing back—it’s as if we have been drowning all these years and someone finally pulled us back to the surface. Color comes back to the world, color that we had never noticed was missing.

Coming up for that first gasp of air is exhilarating. For me, I couldn’t get enough of photography. It consumed me as I was suddenly able to express everything inside, all this longing that had been pushed aside for so many years. I would stay up nearly all night working on a new project or a fun idea. I would read everything and had a huge list of photographic concepts I wanted to try out.

But of course, again, life comes in. We want to share our newfound gift and now there are photography debts to be paid too. So we leave that list of concepts and turn our passion into our job. It’s fun and rewarding and exhilarating in a different way. But appointments and editing and deadlines leave little room for personal expression.

But I’m still that hopelessly romantic girl. And I still have a list of creative ideas a mile long that I would love to complete. Henri Matisse stated, “An artist is an explorer.” I often feel like that, though perhaps it’s just a journey of self-exploration, understanding myself a little more. So I decided to take a little time each month to explore photography as an art form, to elevate my understanding of both art and myself, and allow that deeply artistic side of myself a chance to spread her wings.

So I banded together with a handful of other photographers to create a blog project focused on exploring the fine art side of photography. Each month, we will post a photo or series of images focused on art and photography. There are no rules. Just post what comes from the heart and allow the inner artist a chance to explore and fly.

So welcome to “{elevate} a fine art photography exploration.”

the second monday of each month we will be posting our explorations in fine art. join us! we would love to have you follow us on the journey. there is a link at the bottom of each post, it will take you to 15 different blogs that have all been working on the same goal: elevating our minds and translating it to our craft.

the challange came to me during an ultra busy time. i have ideas, but want to execute them well. from the posts on our facebook page it was evident i wasn’t alone; many of us asked it if was appropriate to lead out with something we had previously shot that we felt was in the fine art arena.

in honor of the pending fall, and all things chilling i’m going to revisit one of my favorite shoots. ever.

my girlfriend katrina and i had a vision: we wanted to haunt a house; we wanted to make the living dead.

we brainstormed, studied ideas, and the more we talked the more scared we became by our own goal. it gave me chills just talking to her about it.

after the shoot i knew i was on to something really good when my son snuggled next to me while i was editing my ghosts and he told me he was “scared” of what he was seeing, that it was going to give him “bad dreams” and that i needed to “shut the lid of my ‘puter” so he wouldn’t be scared anymore. from then on he and i have had numerous discussion about spirits, hauntings, etc. no matter what he will not believe me when i try and explain that the images were of real people; i was not literally shooting ghosts. i made them up, conjured them! i knew i was really on to something when i sneak peeked the ghosts and the commentary i was receiving was that everyone was “freaked-out!”

fine art makes you feel something.

it’s not always the beautiful emotions of love, kindred, peace, or solitude.

sometimes fine art makes you feel fear, trepidation, worry, unease and in the case of the ghosts, an overwhelming sense of the heebie jeebies.

if you have seen these before, may they resend chills. if you are new to the ghost experience, be spooked, be very spooked!

the ghosts started with a strong base in hair, make up and wardrobing. we wanted it mystical yet errily intriguing. katrina had found a link previous for a mac make up line that had been discontinued. when she showed me, i knew it was the direction i wanted us to go. the magic with the ghosts really started there. they became true ghosts later with post processing. right after their initial posting along with the emails of how scared everyone was the follow-up question: how did i do it. :) i smiled at the scared part knowing i had achieved a goal: to make people feel something, and then shared that the images consist of two pictures. it’s the exact same image i just did certain things to one image and not to others. you could shoot the room empty then haunt it and shoot again, but i needed them to be dead on (ha!! pun not intended, but totally timely and perfect!! ;)) so i just used the same image, worked on one level and then pulled it through the other picture.

i hope they make you consider: what’s out there…

i do believe in ghosts. i think their world and ours, is, well, the same. mull that over for a bit. ;)

katrina and i are currently working on the 2nd annual ghost shoot. same location, totally new hauntings. mark oct 19th on the calendar if you would like to attend the ghost shoot sidekick! details to register will follow soon. ;)

in the meantime click on the following link to see more fine art. wendy vonsosen is such a beautiful talent; i know you will be inspired by her art!! the journey will take you through 15 different blogs, 15 different visions, and 15 different ways to elevate the mind!! enjoy the journey!

may you push yourself too, to consider the fine art in your life!!!