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All Things Artsy and Photographicsy!

What I Love Doing and How Long I've Been Doing It!

August 21, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I love putting the images I have taken up on the big screen to convert them from RAW files to jpegs.  I love looking at them carefully, seeing what I like about them, or, sometimes what I don't like, and making mental notes about how to improve.  I love doing a little bit of editing or none at all.  And then I love the reactions of family, friends, and clients, who get to see the images for the first time. Their happiness makes me happy!

Best. Job. On. The. Planet!

I know I am a little bit pricey.  But I honestly do try to keep my prices down, taking into consideration my expenses of doing business.  I also add into the equation that I have been doing this since 1973.  Even longer if you count all of the photography I did that was not paid for in dollars.  But 1973 was when I was open for business.

I've been doing this for 42 years.  And so much has happened during that time!  I have done photography for books, magazines, newspapers, stock agencies, modeling agencies, websites, families, and businesses. 

When I first began in this field, my style was very photojournalistic.  This was partly due to devouring the copies of LIFE, LOOK, and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC that came to our home on a regular basis while I was growing up.  It's also because my first paid job was with a magazine, and soon after that, I did a lot of work for magazines and newspapers and other print media.

Nevertheless, I also did a great deal of child photography, and that was my great love aside from the photojournalism.  In any case, the photojournalistic style produces wonderful, natural images of childhood and family life.  I have been returning to my roots in this style of photography more and more and loving it even more than I did in the 70s and 80s.

Summer is starting to wind down, and I have been super busy with many projects and a lot of travel.  I am seeing that I can work in one or two more sessions pretty soon, so I am opening that up.  It's not always easy to find the time, but it's looking like I can get in a couple of sessions between now and 09-15.  I may be able to get in one or two more in October and November.  If I am sounding tentative at all, it is because, as I write this, I see that possibility, but it may close up quickly.

I am wondering what adventures lie ahead with a few repeating or new clients.  Hmmmm. 








Limited Sale for Fine Art Portraiture

March 25, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I have a BFA in Fine Arts from BYU.  Since my departure from the university, I have had a wonderful time being passionate about photography, writing, working as an early childhood specialist, etc.  I have been "enjoying" a return to my roots as an artist.  I say it in quotes because the best part is when I finish a painting and like it!  It can take weeks to create one of these, mostly because I do a lot of rough drafts that use up paper and paints and end up in the trash.  There comes a point where it clicks, and I have, in some mystical manner, managed to put the puzzle pieces of shapes, colors, lines, and lights and shadows, into the right places. It can be an exhausting and agonizing process, but the end result is a work of art that is unique and that I hope will be treasured for lifetimes.

I begin by using photos as references, and I study the photo.  I analyze it.  And then, I break it into its parts and begin to create sketches.  Once I have some sketches that I like, I begin with shading for highlights and shadows within the shapes that have been arranged.  Then, there is a kind of craziness that begins to take place.  I start to render with color in the form of paint, pencil, etc.  I find myself grabbing whatever materials seem appropriate for which ever part of the image I am working on, so there may be wet watercolor pencils being applied over already painted areas (actually a common method), or there may be dabs of dry brush paint being applied to other areas.  I often use cotton swabs, in addition to paint brushes and pencils, and even my fingers to rub in a subtle shading, for example.

Once I have a painting that I don't want to throw away, I let it dry, and spray it with fixative.  And then, you may wish to matte and frame your portrait as you wish, unless you have asked me to do it.  I mostly do the work at around 8x10 or 8.5x11-ish.  This has been a convenient size for me, as I am limited in space.  However, I have done larger works and would be willing to discuss a larger work.  

My prices begin at 300.00 for one subject, one painting.  Let me know if you would like one of these at an unheard of discount for a limited time.  If you missed out on the 50% off offer, but would still like a portrait, let me know and we can start talking about yours.




Confection Perfectionist

December 07, 2014  •  2 Comments

I wrote this probably about thirty years ago.  My children are all grown now with their own little cherubs.  I searched for this online, and found it, since it has been published, a long time ago.  At this busy time of the year, I wanted to get back in touch with the things that matter, amidst the hurrying and scurrying and our expectations.  I share this with anyone who might find some inspiration therein:

Confection Perfectionist
I must have been daydreaming.  I saw myself in a gingham apron surrounded by worshipful, apple-cheeked children and the aroma of bread and cinnamon.
It’s those women’s magazines.  The Christmas issues get to me every time!  All those lavish gingerbread houses, and the Christmas decorations painstakingly fashioned from discarded milk jugs and juice cans that have been saved, supposedly, all year long just for Christmas.
I succumb to their lure only once a year when Christmas baking, decorations, parties, and even clever gift wrapping become equated with love (in my mind or the magazines,’ I’m not sure which but I have my suspicions).
So I pore over those Christmas issues like a college freshman opening brand-new geology and sociology text books, with a mixture of dread and excitement.
Oh no.  They won’t get me to stay up till midnight finishing a Victorian gingerbread house just because I love my kids.  One of them would probably sit on it, anyway.
And I am not interested in putting together that wreath with 28,300 gum wrappers folded into intricate patterns and spray-painted gold, even though I could surely come up with the correct number of gum wrappers by cleaning the boys’ room.  That’s not love, that’s obsession.
But the daydream persists.  It is, after all, Christmas; and these are, after all, little children.  I am responsible for their memories!  Do I want them to tell my grandchildren about how I stopped off at the bakery on Christmas Eve?  Are you kidding?  I want them to wax poetic as they reminisce about the smells of evergreen and cloves and the taste of homemade goodies.  These are warm manifestations of their mother’s love, right?
The daydream returns.  I see a patient, sweet mother in the kitchen with her children.  They are making Christmas cookies together.  One apple-cheeked boy has a smudge of flour on his button nose.  Dad comes home and the scene before him fills his heart with joy.  Now isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
In an attempt to play the daydream out in real life I announce, “We’re going to make Christmas cookies!”
My number one son says, “Aw, Mom, I want to go to Roger’s; he’s got video games.”
The rest of the children shout, “Goodie!” with so much glee that I wonder if they shouldn’t be locked out of the kitchen.
I get out the flour.  I get Christopher out of the flour.  I get the flour out of Christopher’s hands.  I ask Michael to get the flour off the floor.
I get out the cookie cutters.  I wash the playdough off the cookie cutters.  Jason gets the rolling pin from the sandbox.
Finally we have the dough mixed.  Half of it, however, has “mysteriously” disappeared.
Christopher holds up a gob of dough, “Can I eat this?”
I sigh, “You may as well.”
He says, “Why?”
Jason rolls the dough.  I answer the phone.
Christopher asks, “Why do I have to eat this?”
Michael says, “Mom, he’s not letting me have a turn!”
The baby cries.  I go to change her.
In the kitchen, I hear the kind of commotion that makes mothers want to slip out of the back door.
I take a deep breath and go back.
I see raw cookies everywhere.  Some are even on the cookie sheet, a few even cut with cookie cutters.  Apparently that wasn’t creative enough—the remainder have been formed my hand into oddly shaped monstrosities.
“This is a snake!”
“This is a monster!”
“This is Jabba the Hut!”
And I was going to wrap these gifts from our kitchen in gold foil and merrily deliver them to the neighbors.
I abandon all plans except for making it through the evening.
Frosting time has arrived and I’m gone again, putting the baby to bed.  My three-year-old is following me around with that original piece of dough,  “Is it good for me if I eat this?”
I decide that if I take out my contact lenses it will soften the shock of what I’ll see when I return to the kitchen.  I take another deep breath and plunge back in.  When I left we had mixed several colors of frosting.  Now all of the cookies were being frosted with one color—a grayish green—which is, I am informed, “what you get when they’re all mixed together.”
I am weary of well-doing.  I rush the kids off to their beds and clean up.
Oh well, I can always stay up until midnight making banana bread for the neighbors.
Finally it’s quiet.  I look at those magazines again.  Obviously their test kitchens don’t include children.  That would be a real test kitchen.
Three-year-old Christopher calls from the darkness.  He wants a drink.  I bring him into the kitchen.  He puts his arms around my neck and asks, “Did you see my cookies?”
I tiredly nod, “Yes.”
He says, “My Mary?”
“Your what?”
I look at the grayish blobs where he points.
“I made Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus.”
I look again and begin to see the forms shaped by his pudgy hands.
“Yes, I see, Christopher…they’re wonderful.”
We give each other a goodnight hug.
I put him to bed and come back out and throw out those magazines.
© 1987 Kathleen “Casey” Null (Petersen) Bookcraft, Inc.





Evolving Back to My Origins

August 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 Last Week, I had the opportunity to attend a three-day workshop

     hosted by Kirsten Lewis, an amazing photojournalist. It was intense, passionate, and validating to my soul. I have been observant and passionate about photography since I was a child, and always wanted to portray the people and the world around me in a natural, real, and contextual manner, complete with the emotions present in those moments.  I was highly influenced by the LOOK, LIFE, and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazines I found around the house while I was growing up.

    When I wrapped up my college years with studies and degrees in Fine Arts and Child Psychology, I went to work as an early childhood specialist for Orange County, and on the side, I was photo-documenting my family, and working for magazines and newspapers in the field of photojournalism.

     I still photo-document my family and do occasional work for publications, but somehow, with the need to make a living and compete, I became sucked into the world of "traditional photography," or in other words, "line-'em-up-and shoot-'em," and then process-the-heck-out-of-them kinds of photography, with completely matching outfits, freshly scrubbed faces, combed hair, and rigid posing.

     I will admit that I often did sneak in the photojournalistic moments in pretty much any session that I did.  And sometimes, crazily enough, felt guilty for doing so.  At Kirsten's seminar, though, I lost all of that guilt as I realized that this is my style of photography. 

    Actually, it is more than a style.  It is a passion, it is innate, it is how I think, it is how I observe. It is my visual poetry of the real world which includes dirty faces, hilarious laughter, temper tantrums, and spontaneous hugs.

    Those who know me well, and those who have been my clients have seen that I have been evolving over the past year or two to come back to this place.  For those who may be confused, I will elaborate on what this means.

    It means:

While I am still willing to devote a portion of a family session to a traditional gathering of the bodies for some images of everyone looking at the camera and smiling, it will only be a portion, and only if you request it.  The rest of the time, I will be observing you as you interact, do your thing, and I will document you in a Family Documentary Session.  If you only want a traditional group family image, I can refer you to those who do these.

I will still make some clothing suggestions, and you are welcome to dress in a color coordinated manner, but I will recommend that people just dress comfortably.

After we do some traditional images, as per your request, we will then just have fun. If in your home,  go ahead and do what you ordinarily do, or do some baking together, or take a walk, or go to the beach to fly a kite, or to collect shells, or visit grandparents, or whatever.  We can talk about some ideas.

I will direct you to not pay any attention to me so that I can become invisible like a good photojournalist should. I will mostly be taking images of your interactions with each other, or your moments that are to be memorialized.  If there is an occasional face looking at my camera, I will take that, too, if I like the expression and the lighting. At first, you may feel like you are too aware that a photographer is pointing a camera in your direction, but eventually, you will start to forget and that is when I will start to capture what will be meaningful to you.

I will also ask you to not try to control  your children's behavior so much.  I don't want you to say to them, "smile," except for the traditional portion, or to "hold still," and I don't want you to apologize if anyone has a tantrum or a melt-down. Life goes on and we want to document it for your family history and the memories that will be missing some of these details if the only thing you ever get are traditional images. (I have been known to wander off, down the beach, with a young family member who is weary of being told to hold still and smile.)

Also, I will not ask you to clean up your house and redecorate it if I come into your home to take images. 

    This should do for now. I know that you may have questions, so feel free to ask away. When you ask to book a session, we will, for sure, talk about it still, and come up with a plan that works for your situation.  If you want something that I am no longer doing, I have many, good photographer friends to whom I can refer you.

    My primary goal for making these changes is to provide you with the kinds of photography that is not being done that much these days. I want you to have the kinds of images that I want for my own family.  This is the kind of photography that is the most memorable and most treasured for generations to come. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with traditional images and there is a place for that.  I am just offering something in addition to that, something with a richness and texture that is missing in traditional images.

    I would just like to conclude this blog by saying that one of the most intense parts of the seminar was as we shared instances wherein we had done photos for families and then, a week later, or six months later, the family experienced the death of one of their members.  In these cases the families were most grateful for the documentary kind of images that they had. These stories made me realize how important it is to document our families and loved ones as much as we can.

    With my experience in photojournalism, I have the talent, ability and the gear to get the kinds of images that you will want of your families to treasure for many generations.

    As I do more of the kind of photography that I was born to do, I will only get better and better! 





Isn't it like this for all of us?

July 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment