Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sandpipers in Santa Cruz, California

Took this photo of sandpipers doing what they do in the sea foam of the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz, California.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Model Mayhem or Flake City?

First and foremost, there is really nothing at all wrong with Model Mayhem. In fact it's a really easy to use website, quite seamless to do the standard things you'd want to do like upload or arrange photos or send messages. The website exists to put models in touch with photographers mostly, but also make up artists, clothing designers, hair stylists, etc. It's a very good site and I'm not knocking it at all. In fact, here's a link if you want to check it out modelmayhem.

So far the only problems I'm having are with the people. I've asked several models so far if they've been interested in doing a shoot, they've all responded positively to that. So I go "Great, here's my contact info lets meet over coffee and plan it. Do you mind if I bring my partner, Sheryl?"  And that's about as far as it ever gets. Some of them say, "I'm coming to your area this week" or that they come around here all the time. Some of them contacted me in the first place, and then flaked. True, I've only had contact with 5 or 6 so far, but I'm getting the sense that it's a trend.

I doubt it has anything to do with Chico, or Chico State, which is known to be a party school. It might have something to do with the general age of these models--- most are around age 20 or so. Maybe the idea, the concept of being a model is "I'm good looking, so maybe somebody will pay me to stand there and be pretty." When I'm pretty sure, speaking as a photographer and also as an all around older- -than-20-years-old guy, that there is a lot more to it than that. It's not the hardest work around, but it is work, and some people can play to the camera well and some can't.

When it comes to getting paid to model-- you might have to know something about that. You might need an agent or an agency, because paid modeling work is serious business, not a fairy tale. You've got a crew of professionals working collaboratively to produce a very fine product on a schedule, not "bang bang, shoot shoot, here's a wad of cash, now go home." But you've got to get started somewhere, and so Model Mayhem could be a good start. It could also be a place to just fart around and play fantasy games, without every having to pony up and actually do something, like follow through and show up, or at least follow through with making a plan which actually involves showing up.

Lest you think I'm naive, I didn't expect everyone on this site to be a professional, not even close. Most who do anything do TFCD at least for awhile until a decent portfolio is established. TFCD is a trade wherein all those involved are trading their time and effort for the end product: the photos themselves. It used to be called TFP which is "trade for prints" back in film days. I just didn't expect the first half dozen contacts to come up zilch, especially when they are expressing interest, have seen my portfolio and presumably my website and then. . .  nothing. They did put themselves up on the site. They do state that they want to improve or add to their portfolio, that they are willing to do TFCD. Many have really woefully inadequate portfolios: a handful of fuzzy, grainy, red eye snapshots and could really use my help. I may not be the #1 fashion or even portrait photographer in the region, but I can do much better than what many of them have right now, and my portfolio shows that. If they don't like what I've got, they're under no obligation to respond or to contact me in the first place. So what's with the flake factor?

Either I get it or I don't. In a vacuum  I'm going to have to make my own assumptions. The first, and pretty much undeniable one is that the vast majority in this venue aren't even the least bit serious, and that it is just a fantasy or a game to them. Maybe we should blame the mass media for this one too-- that's not my favorite thing to do, however. Have our younger generation gotten the idea that being and young and pretty is your entire one-way ticket to Moneyville? That all you have to do is hang out a snapshot or two and the mavens of fashion will swoop down upon you, raining dollars like manna from heaven because you are the one in a million who is in possession of the perfect pout? Wow. I hope that's not it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Strange days in Chico, or OM is a dirty word

Having a few issues here and there, probably have little to do with Chico but it is where I happen to be. I left here back in about 2004, partly because it's too damn hot in the summertime, partly because I've always found Chico to be an "affable" place, which does not distinguish itself in any way other than it's overall "pleasantness". And I was a little bored, so I left.

My partner interviewed for a minimum wage job, and that's not so philosophically central to Chico either, just fallout from our "great recession" when somebody so highly qualified and educated as she has to do that. However it may be considered a little more "acceptable" here, in that it's a fairly small town with a lot of recent college graduates: many if whom stay here because they like it here and will accept pretty much any wages offered. But again, that might be true across the country right now, I  just don't know.

Still working at generating some "buzz" for my photography business here in Chico, whereas I was getting better results back in the bay area previously with a portfolio less developed than what I have now. Strikes me as a little odd, since we were in Santa Cruz which has about the same population as Chico.

In the meantime I sometimes put fun or inspiring messages on T-shirts and bumper-stickers and such, and for some reason lately the print company has rejected some of my latest designs; like the symbol for "OM" or "AUM". Is somehow considered offensive. . . on what, a post-card? A sticker or a keychain? Why? yes I wrote them about it, because they also once rejected my "Ganesha Loves You" design as well, and there have been others. Bear in mind that a simple search of their website reveals such gems as "F---K You!" and "My God can beat up your God, so s---k my d---k." Except without my censorship of dashes where the real letters go. Imagine what I'd find if I really looked.

One thing I've had to learn about email, even though I rely upon it heavily, is that not everyone gets their email in a timely manner. Sometimes they aren't received at all. So you can't really judge people based on the stuff they don't answer. Like, maybe they forgot. But when you're newly arrived back in a small town, you want some connection, and anything can feel like a rejection. Same goes for facebook friending; not everyone has the same criteria. Some folks only want family on the list, or just people from work, or whatever. We're all different.

Now, for some reason i was able to put some stuff on black t-shirts but not other things, and I may never know why, so here goes. If the image below disappears, you'll know that the PC police have deleted it. I didn't

AUM OM shirt
AUM OM by paulnsheryl
Be a t-shirt affiliate with Zazzle.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It Takes A Village To Sell A Self-Published Book

 We live in Chico now, and I have been primarily focusing on my role as a photographer, but I have a whole other life as a writer. Sheryl and I spent two years in eastern Arizona, living in the high desert, off the grid about 20 miles from the nearest town. This came immediately on the heels of living in ultra liberal Santa Cruz, California and making our way as spiritual counselors. We decided to write a book about the experience-- this book is mostly Sheryl's doing and she's written and published several other excellent books, but I had a part in it. So, I'm "guesting" something from Sheryl here in order to get the word out and around Chico, Oroville, Paradise and in general around Butte county or anyplace else that this blog may reach.


It Takes A Village To Sell A Self-Published Book

by Sheryl Karas on Thursday, August 4, 2011 
We could use help getting the word out. Whether this is a book you want for yourself or not, surely there are people in your lives who would be interested... if they knew it existed.,_Book_by_Sheryl_Karas_with_Paul_Hood.html

What book?
Waking Up In the Great Recession Mormon Desert 
Written by Sheryl with additions and editing by Paul. Read all about it at the link above.

Who might be interested?
  • Memoir lovers, and lovers of true-life adventures.
  • People curious about us.
  • People who love storytelling mixed with humor and philosophy.
  • Self-employed people.
  • Artists and writers.
  • Alternative health practitioners.
  • Gays and lesbians, their allies, people who support gay rights.
  • Santa Cruz folks, Californians, people from Arizona.
  • People making community online, marketing their goods and services online, or those attempting it.
  • People who care about community, love, peace, and social justice.
  • People concerned about the currently, horribly polarized political scene, and what might shift things.
  • People living through their own Great Recession sagas.
  • Spiritual but not religious folks, New Age thinkers, meditators, Hindus, Pagans, Buddhists, progressive Christians, Jews, Mormons and anyone who cares about freedom of religion (or freedom not to have one).
  • People who still care about life purpose and wanting to contribute to the highest good of all concerned.
Please send them to this link where they can see the book cover, find out more about it, and read excerpts and the fantastic reviews it has gotten. They can buy it as an inexpensive pdf ebook instant download with full color photos and art or as a conventional text-only physical book with a color cover, autographed by us, of course!,_Book_by_Sheryl_Karas_with_Paul_Hood.html