Pretending to be pro & the Easter set featuring cozy eggs, yummy Kinder, chirpy chicks and a rabbit called Strawberry

I am just going to come out and say it; I am not a person who is big on religion. I respect those who believe in whatever religion or belief system they hold onto, but it is something that has never really taken me by the hand. I have nothing against it, and will in no way want to belittle anyone of their beliefs.
I have my own simple beliefs of common sense, be nice to people, don’t steal, respect your elders, owning up to your mistakes, no killing stuff or people and just a whole bunch of other things that just make living wise. Christmas was big thing but as the years have gone by, and families have fallen apart, it wasn’t because of baby Jesus being born in an manger, it was the toys and the family fun and because of this, I feel it has lost its true meaning through pushing sales and almost bullying parents into providing the super awesome new toys your children will play with for 5 minuets, nothing to do about the “King” who saved your souls.
Easter on the other hand, is a strange one for me, I love it and yet again it is not necessary all due to religion but more of what it symbolises. It is the session of newness, there old winter can pack his bags while the children of spring return throwing blossoms of fruits and flowers turning a grey country into one of majestic colour. It is also a time of birth, where lambs and chicks scatter about in lush grass, a time of rebirth for the soul. To me, Easter is New Years day, it is a time to dust down all the regrets and hates and lost chances of the pass year and breath anew, to open the eyes a little wider and smile a little brighter as the earth yet again reawakens. It almost seems quite sad that the real year end in so cold and dark and as soon as the clock strikes twelve, bringing in this new year, it is still the same, cold and dark, and will remain so for months to come, why is this something to look forward to?
I rather that this magical clock struck twelve on a frosty eves night with the promise that the next morning, the sun will come out of the mist, the birds will sing in budded tree and the land will be vibrant and hopeful.
As for the chocolate, I do like it, but I don’t get Easter eggs or any other shaped chocolate figures because I do not eat them, there is something sad about having this cute bunny with huge eyes, with the thought that I have to break him or her with this smiling face still staring at me and it watches me eat him or her. I just can’t do it, this is why when I am lucky enough to get hold of Jelly Babies, the head is taken off first, same goes for ginger bread people. Seems funny that my Father actually bought me an egg this year, the first one in many years, because I have not been around, he knows I will not eat it, he know that will only take the wrapper off, take a picture of it, keep the wrapper safe and just watch the egg dry out. It is tradition.
Talking like this makes me feel so wasteful, I am so lucky to have a roof over my head, two parents who think the world of me and yet not even on the other side of this earth, there are children and adults with nothing but a hope of a meal or health, and here I am being awkward over not eating something with big eyes and a smile. It is so sad that no matter what we do, no matter how much money we throw at these countries, there is always the same problem, people are still starving, still have no medical help, still have no houses, no contraception, no rights and yet their government sit on thrones like kings buying weapons and turning a blind eye to their country in need. How could they live like that, knowing that right on their doorsteps are millions who need help?
We give money for mosquito nets, we hand it to the people, but what we don’t see is them selling them it to get money for food. I am not a mother but if I was given the only option of feeding my child or protecting it from a bug, I would 100% feed the child, I would sell the world just to know that my baby will not die in the next few hours.
I am no way saying do not donate, do it, do it and mean it, I am just more angry that we try and help these people when their own country does nothing, so sad.
On the other hand, back to our countries, we have the same problem, the cold has taken over this country but yet the energy providers think it wise to raise the costs, this has in turn left families in more financial struggles with the same problem of do I have a cold house or do let my child go to bed with no dinner. I have heard of some elderly people who do not put on their heating because even their government hand out will not cover it, these are war heroes, shivering in their own homes.
So with this Easter, have your fun, eat your eggs, enjoy the family you have and be blessed for those who are no longer with us, but also spare a thought for those who may not be lucky enough to go on their egg hunt, could you be the hero of their day, to give them a smile?
Happy Easter to all and happy rebirth of your soul.

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Pretending to be a pro and accidentally ruining the keys of a 1910 Sohmer Piano

Music is one of my best friends, it does not feel right without some type of rhythm in my life.   I love listening to many genres of music but my biggest pleasure is playing my piano.  I have been playing since I was knee high to a small grass hopper and I have always dreamed of owning a baby grand piano.  A big black shiny Yamaha beautiful piano,  I would spend all day playing everything from Mozart to Chopin to Lady Gaga and back, but that is what always was, a dream.  That was until a few years back when some how my fairy godmother flew by one day and showed me a old relic of a piano that needed a new home, YES was the answer and hence I have my dream, a sadly out of tune, bumped about scratched beauty whom I love to pieces.  It made me realise that I did not want a new one any more, I had one with history, one that had been passed down from parent to child, teacher to student, had heard and played many a good and bad tune.

Then one day a photography professor asked us to produce a few images on colour, so out I went and bough tissue paper, cut it into strips, sprayed some water on my old ivories and decorated the hell out of it.  It all looked very pretty.  Straight after the pictures where taken, the paper was removed and the keys where dried.  A week after that, the ivory started coming off the keys, noooooooo!!! I was gutted.  On the other hand, it actually gave me the boot  I needed to start on the restoration of my beauty, she now has new Ivorines, they called them, so no poor elephants are victims, it has been repainted and varnished, all it needs now it a bit of a retune and she will be as good as not new but a shabby well loved new.

Pretending to be a Pro while taking pictures of Chanel No5 Bottles

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I love product photography, there is something so soothing about it because it does not move.   I know I cannot hold a candle to the work of the real Chanel team as my pennies do not stretch to buying this far on products, plus I don’t use it any way.  On the other hand, I do appreciate the iconic simplicity of the product, it speaks class, sophistication, and has stood the test of time in this high demand fashion industry.   It is the smell that has lingered since my childhood, this is my Mums smell, this, and the fragrance of freshas and Matey bubble bath before they went and changed the smell and ruined it in my opinion.

It is so odd that simple odors can take you to other times and spaces and associate  them with some of the most wonderful memories to just the simpleness of how you smile with the smell of freshly mown grass, of the perfume of logs on a fire, the scent of clean sheet day and the richness of a full English rose in bloom.   I really hate the smell of cigarettes, they just smell so dirty and noxious and lingers, i just want to go home and wash my clothes after being with someone who smokes, just to get that awful odor away, but when ever I smell the richness of the smoke that comes from a Hamlet Cigar, there is just something so warming and homely about.  This was my Dad smell, he was a Hamlet man but he has quit altogether  I am proud of him.  He wasn’t a big smoker, he did it more out of an enjoyable habit, but a habit is a habit and it is hard to just stop, but he did, mind you he is stubborn like an ox, something that gets passed on to me too.   I just find it so remarkable and facinating that this  act of having a nose attached to your face not only holds up funky glasses but has the ability to create emotions, not only simple feelings but most importantly, personal memories.

Pretending to be a pro photographer and declaring it’s time for a picnic

PicnicWow this is a oldie, this was one of my early projects in my quest for the diploma, with the uninspiring task of taking pictures of white things.  Wasn’t my choice in categories  rather the suggestion of a uninspiring professor who disappeared from the college not long after that semester.  He was a great photographer, but sadly couldn’t handle the need of our class that I ended up teaching to the newbies of photography.

So you find me in my back garden in NJ with the contense of the “plastic fantastic” kitchen cupboard scattered on where the lawn should be.  Just for the record, non of that cutlery has every been used and is now neatly decorating the tree outside  the front door along with tin foil balls and Easter eggs, trust me, it looks pretty.

Since this was taken, there has been more snow you can shake a stick at, hurricane Irene that stole two of the older trees at the back, deer and bear and many other creatures walk across it eating my plants and I have so many ideas of it that i just do not know where to start apart from with the grand suggestions of the she goddess Pinterest herself.   I love my garden and I cannot wait to have a picnic there as soon as I get back to that side of the pond.

Pretending to be a professional.

I saw my first two butterfies today while walking the grumpy dog.  They looked so carefree in this busy world and it reminded me of a time when i was a little photographicly lost.  Camera to the rescue as usual.  I picked up my trust Canon and just drove through the woods to one of the spots where I just like to take a breather from it all.  That day, I was not alone, nature walked by my side and posed along the way, and these are some of the images that they pleased me with.

Day thirty – Myself 30 days later (more like 60 days)

A very, very happy afternoon friends in the void, what a fine sunny day it is today.  Ahhhh, it is so nice to feel the warmth of the sun on the back of my legs as I write to you today.   Oh and yes, the rhino has left the building, at last.

_MG_7448s copySo this is it, the last day, a full circle to where you found me all those 60 day ago, back to me, me and me again.   It seems so odd that this all turned out this way, I wasn’t going to do a blog, I wasn’t going to write anything, I was just going to put pictures on facebook and go tadah that is it, but I personally got so much out of this that I no way regret in any way I went about it.  In fact, in short, I am rather proud of myself for sticking at it.

I have been told by many people out there, I should get my name out in the world, but to be honest I am a lazy bones at wanting to be noticed because I fear drawing in the wrong people.  But here I am, I created my own little page in this world, I’m getting noticed by you kind people, and for the first time, I actually want to make something out of not only this, but me.

I will let you into a little secret, I told no one apart from my mother that I have been doing this exercise, and the reason why is, I want to make a whole new set of friends, that do not know me, or my work as yet.   Without bragging I have quiet a few photographic friends and model friends and friends of their and friends of their dogs and so on, and although I am extremely grateful for knowing them, and having them in my life, I just want to new crowd, people who know me for my work or words and not necessarily knowing me because they feel they have to out of friendship.  Of coarse you may think, oh they could just type my name in and find me, but as I said I have told no one about this, and they know may only know me by my photographic name not my real one, so few people actually know Roubey Hammond, she is not even on facebook as yet.

The other thing that I have got from this amazing personal adventure was that this was just going to be a personal thing, I would put pictures and say a few words and then sign off again, I didn’t really bother me if anyone looked at my page because this was just for me, my feelings, my memories, my ramblings, my way of seeing the world, but when people did find me, it actually felt REALLY good, it actually felt like I was doing what people wanted me to do and get notices, horray ME!!.  It didn’t make me feel self conscious either that people where now watching, because I do know you and you do not know me, this would be something that would normally bother me, but this time it was so much different, I love that there is someone across the other side of the globe saying “hello”.

The biggest thing that has really made me feel fantastic, is how this exercise has re kindled my love of the written word.  I have always loved it, but _MG_7457s copyI find myself so easily frustrated by writers block and terrible grammar.  I have always struggled with the words, ever since I was child, people thought I was slow and they would be right, but I was always a daydreamer and still am, but I do listen and take notice very well.  I could never read out load with other people aorund, the teachers made me read all the simple books, but when it came to going home and writing a report, I would come back with page upon page of details so deep that I had to be taken aside and asked, what does this word mean, and I would tell them, I would describe it and they would still give me the simple books.  I was in no way thick or stupid, I was just shy and unnoticed because of this.

I am a good reader, I love reading, I feel it sad that we are loosing so many libraries and book shops only to be replaced by electric books and computers, there is something charming about turning a real page and sitting there with your mother or father or who ever told you stories as a child, and being so interested in what was on the next page, or would stop just as the story got exciting, “wait till tomorrow to see what happens”.   My fiancé gave me one of these Nook books before I left the US and it took me a long while to get used to it, I still rather have a real book but it is nice not having to put on a night light to read, plus it is so might lighter for flying but I am scared still of breaking the screen, something I do not have to worry with a real book.  Plus I can store some of my pictures on it.

It seems that children no longer get that bed time story, or in some cases a story at all, because there is just not enough time any more.  Children rather relax before bed on a computer or with television instead of roaming a treasure island in a mysterious land of book imagination.  If I could have children, I would read to them ever night because words are powerful, “the pen is mightier than the sword” least I think that is how it goes, but it is true, unless you are in a sword fight.  Then to add insult to injury, we massacre words to text speech, one of my art professor told me that one of his students, a year ago gave in her final paper entirely in text speech, a whole three page concise major final paper at college reduced to nothing more than LOL and OMG.  I am not going to lie, I have LoLed many a time but I do not confuse it with proper language, like everything, there is a time and a place, and writing a final paper is certainly not a grown up thing to do, lets just say she was rather surprised that the professor failed her for that.

_MG_7462s copyThere is one thing I do have trouble with, and that you have already probably noticed, I love to write, and so because of this I write too much.    I know people phase out at a certain point and some only look at the pictures, which is fine with me because that is basically all I am trying to show, but in a business world, it may not be looked on as being proactive.  You see, I do have a very real dream to word in the photographic industry, the ultimate epitome of that dream would be working for the National Geographic, to be able to travel the world and see some of the most amazing sites and take pictures to show the world, oooohh I would quite happily sell my left side of my body to be even let inside their doors.  Who knows, maybe one day.  On the other hand, if Vogue or someone of that ilk came knocking on my door, I certainly would not refuse.  As usual it is about not only knowing people (something I am lucky enough to have a few strings and connections) but getting myself out there and putting effort.

I have so many images hidden on hard drives that never see the light of day, it is about time, they got their 15mins of fame.  Now I am not to be all big headed and say I am the best photographer since sliced bread, I do know a lot of tricks and what makes a picture look good, I am a perfectionist, I have been doing this for quiet a while and now I have a diploma so far to prove it, hoping for my masters one day. I take pictures because I want to take pictures, to enjoy taking pictures of the thing that make my life tick.  The ones you have seen here in this challenge, well they where all just for fun, I did not spend hours over them, I did not put the dedication I usually put into my proper images, it was for a personal thing to do for 30 days, an excuse to get the camera out and the brain working.   This is not the end though, I have caught the blogging bug and certainly will return with more words and more pictures, just you wait world, Roubey Hammond; RouPyks Muse is putting a name and a dirky face on you.

Thank you for the 60 days of adventure, heres to the rest of life.