It's been a little bit quiet around here the last few weeks but let me assure you that behind the scenes big things are cooking. Steady work organizing this year's Help-Portrait events in Saskatoon has been a daily thing. Prompt responses to e-mails and phone calls can mean the difference between supplies being ordered on time or donations being deposited in time. There were a few things that we had to set a deadline for and, unfortunately, there were a few requests beyond the deadline that we could not meet. The last of which is hoping the T-shirts we ordered today will be ready in time for the event. That's still 2 1/2 weeks away, and if we are lucky they will be ready in time for our first event which is one and a half weeks away.
I'm glad to do what I can to help organize the events in the city but it definitely is not where my passion lays. It reminds me of the often tedious-feeling work of processing photos as opposed to shooting them. But, a shot photo seldom looks as good as it should without some appropriate processing and an event as huge as Help-Portrait does not occur without oodles of planning. Honestly, when you get your lists made and find the people you can reliably delegate work to it's not that bad. I've always been told that I make a good leader, but I still never enjoyed it.
Perhaps in a role of a manager or someone with authority I would not mind it, though I'm sure I still would not like the job of delivering consequences for failures or inadequate work when they came. In the past when I have been the leader of a group it has always been in label only. In school, if a group member did not complete their work, it fell to the other group members. If we did not get the one member's work completed we all suffered. It might as well be individual projects. The one time that it was a group assignment where we distributed marks based on each individual's performance it was miserable because it was while in a group with my best friend. He was unable to complete his portion of the work on time because of some unfortunate circumstances out of his control (there may have been a little bit of procrastination in there but it was not the primary reason) and we could not complete our portion of the assignment without his preliminary work. It was for a final grade in marketing. I guess that was a better taste of the real world than anything I had had to that point.
That said, I am looking forward to the events this year, the enjoyment that will come out of all of this planning and all of these meetings to make something awesome happen. What at one point had the phrase "pull the plug" being tossed around turned into something excellent as volunteers began coming out in droves. Our co-organizer was correct, people don't come out until much closer to the event. Stresses a guy like me right out. :-) But it will be a pair of good days providing portraits for those who receive few luxuries in life and I will be absolutely ready to scale back after that. Oh, wait. Christmas will be in a few weeks and I have shopping to do that won't get done until then. Once January hits I can hibernate and catch up on much that needs doing. Hopefully our furnace will continue to decide to function properly during those coldest months and our water heater, installed in January, won't need any more warranty work. I dislike those inconveniences at the best of times but especially when my attention could be focused somewhere so much more positive.
You may remember this photo from a few years ago when I made the author portraits for Nicole and Lynne for their book, "Erpill the Caterpillar". It can be found in major retailers such as McNally Robinson and online at Amazon.
I know that I'm always my own worst critic but I am aware of some of the things I would've done differently for their portraits. I won't go into that detail, I can only look back and say that I am aware that I have become a much better photographer since then and I hope I continue to grow in my ability. I know they are happy with the portraits and if they ever need new ones I will be ready to make them.
It's cliché but the Internet has opened up publishing to anyone. You don't have to go through major magazine, newspaper or other publication in order to be seen. Of course, getting publications with them meant a much larger audience but, if you can find the right mix between quality content and community building, you can become a voice in your area of expertise or passion.
Erpill is a self published book. In their available time, Lynne and Nicole have steadily gained ground with their children's story written many years ago. Just today Nicole can be seen below giving a copy of the book to Prince William and Kate. How cool is that!? One of my photos is sitting in Kensington Palace!
As neat is that is I feel more connection with the hard work we have put into Help-Portrait this year. An opportunity to connect with people, give them something special, maybe even make a new friend or two. Spreading the word of Challenging Reality at the first event at the Canadian Paraplegic Association to possibly help others with disabilities is more valuable, in my opinion.
If you should feel inclined to donate to Help-Portrait Saskatoon we would welcome the money. We are looking better now, but there are a few things we would like to be able to provide in the areas of food and small gifts as well as having a bit more left over at the end to donate to other worthy causes. If you feel this is something you'd like to give a little bit to we would appreciate it and I invite you to contact me.
Thanks for reading and I will have more here once life slows down a little bit. Until then, there will still be new material at least once per week on Challenging Reality.