The Little Whiles
Sunlight through the clouds and the last moments of day and dancing on crunchy Earth. Her sisters tutu.
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Tucked Away Under // GeneralSay Something Sweet
Today, like many a Spring day, the sun did shine. And today, I got up from being inside and I went outside and sat in the warmth. I chose the sunniest spot and I watched her brothers and sister play in the pool and I listened to them squeal while I inhaled the scent of freshly cut grass. Today I thought of how she should be here and I thought of the days she was here and all the missing things I normally think. And also, today, for a few brief moments I felt it. Just a little excitement that Summer is around the corner and then I felt that funny mix of happiness and relief and a sadness that life does in fact go on.
I always was a warm weather girl. As a child, I loved everything the sunnier months brought – bbq’s by the creek with family, hours spent on the slip n slide, ice-cream. At 18, when I moved to the Gold Coast (Australia’s answer to Miami), the warm weather meant the beach every day and parties at night. I married beside the ocean in beautiful sunlight and as a mother, I loved watching my own babies play outside in Summer, soaking up the sunshine and goodness. As Winter rolled around each year, I’d miserably shiver my way through an unbearable three months, all the while searching for an alternative to Havianas. The cold, it’s just not me.
And then came the Summer of 2007, beginning like every other Australian Summer and ending like nothing we’d ever known. The loss of our darling Ava. Instantly and dramatically, my love of warmer weather was no more. It became the other 9 months of the year that I found unbearable. Grief just brings such incredible sensitivity to the most normal of things and when the sun shone brightly, I struggled to even step outside.
To sit out in the sunshine today..a simple nothing that felt like a simple everything. Like so many other moments in a strange journey. When it’s hard, it feels impossible but sometimes easy feels impossible too. Along the way, I want to share my days and my photos and my thoughts with you..and I want to tell you how the ordinary is still anything but ordinary but then I hesitate. The truth is, I sometimes struggle to know how to include Ava. Not in our day to day life..there she nestles comfortably in our conversations and memories. It’s here, I wonder. Where I once wrote pages through the tears and shared without thinking, I now sit in hesitation wondering what even makes sense. It’s hard when I share only random snippets of life. I’m not sure if it seems disjointed. Do my stories of life with grief seem out of place in the every day?
The thing is, I can’t do smalltalk. If you know me in real life, I much prefer real conversation. I can’t make stuff up. It’s the same here. I want to keep it real but still share the everyday and then I’m back to the bit where my every day still looks different to most. My every day is not like it was before Summer 2007 and it’s not like it was for a long while after. It’s something different again..and yes, it’s largely about the balance of sorrow and gratitude but it’s also about raising children and wanting more children and dreaming with my love and taking photos and time with friends. It’s about everything that I knew with Ava and everything I’ve learned without her and trying to move forward but never wanting to forget. If it seems disjointed, it’s probably because it is. When your days and your relationships and all your waking thoughts are filtered with a different and sometimes complex perspective, it takes work to turn that into everyday words. I can’t take the filter off and I wouldn’t want to but still, sometimes it’s kind of hard to see out.
Thanks for waiting on the other side.
Say Something Sweet
Lately I’ve been struggling to keep time aside for my own creative pursuits and it’s been ever so frustrating. Amidst a business that completely surrounds all things creative, I still end up with so little opportunity to explore the things that really inspire and motivate me. Probably because when I’m not running the creative business, I’m buried underneath other business.. family business or school business or renovation business. Oh, and did I ever mention we also have a childcare center? That we do.
And another not so small something..you know when I said I was thinking of moving on from making babies? Or trying to make babies? Well I didn’t. I haven’t. In a four year long moment of insanity, it seems I’m not yet able to let go of that particular wish and each babyless month continues to roll around while I continue to visit the doctor or the clinic or the acupuncturist, lugging along a confusing jumble of hope and resignation and frustration..all wrapped up in a heavy layer of meh. If I ponder it too long I feel 1000 degrees of unstable so lets not.
My point is that much of my week is spent juggling a lot of balls, all of which I have a great deal of passion, good help and only just enough time for. Generally, I manage okay. I wouldn’t say I’m the most structured person on the Planet and every day is just about crossing off the things that absolutely have to be done but I seem to get from A to B with my sanity in tact most of the time. Do I think there is a better way? Hell yes. Am I going to pull that off any time soon? Twice over, Hell no. So I just accept the crazy that seems to be our lives and appreciate the good things that come out of the madness. The trouble with this is that in the midst of trying to being efficient and organized and positive there are many days where I find I barely resemble myself anymore. Where a ponytail is essential and somehow a balanced meal is not.
So, I’ve gone and done something that feels awfully indulgent, but so very right. I’ve taken back Thursdays. Yes yes, I’m putting aside one day a week that belongs to me. Not the busy, stretched, distracted, whats-next-on-the-list-me but the other one. The girl who used to lie under the sprinkler outside, listening to The Doors. Her. I leave all of the grown up things back at Wednesday night and for just one day, I hang out. I have hot chocolate with my sister. We order nachos. We reminisce and dream and sometimes we laugh so hard nothing comes out. We swap Canon and Nikon. We play with film. Or Instagram. It doesn’t matter. We talk to strangers and we ask to take their photos and no one’s ever said no. We’ve had massages and we’ve explored the dollar stores and we’ve tracked down the house we lived in as toddlers. We drive with no set destination and no schedule and eventually, someone has to ring us to say come home.
It took me so very long to justify this time in my week..years actually..and now I can’t imagine it not being there. So you, all of you frazzled working mothers, sahm mothers, self employed business owners, dedicated employees, stressed out students..I think we should all take back a day in our week. If it feels hard to do, it isn’t. Really, it isn’t. It’s actually much harder to get by without it. No matter how important your role in whatever realm, I’m inviting you to set aside something for yourself. Your self will pay you back ten fold. What say you?
Say Something Sweet
In June this year, we excitedly launched our latest Eye Candy Workshop – Enhance. This is an intensive three week online workshop designed for the beginner to intermediate photographer wanting to explore digital processing using Photoshop. We’re running it again this November and registrations are now open!
Some of the topics covered will include:.
Setting up your Workspace
Menus and Tools
Creating a logical workflow
Layers, Masking and Blend Modes
Identifying and resolving image issues
Working with skin-tones
Easy image enhancement
Working with Photoshop Actions
Developing a consistent editing style
Correct cropping and resizing
Creatively displaying your images online
The workshop is designed to run at your own pace with comprehensive videos and written tutorials uploaded daily. You will also have access to an interactive forum to share images, ask questions and receive peer feedback. Co-facilitated by Fran Mackenzie, Enhance explores a variety of Photoshop methods, tips and tricks based in a logical workflow to give you the best possible editing outcomes with your images. The Enhance workshop will run in November 2011 and is $345 AUD per person. We are able to offer payment plans for those interested. Places are limited. If you would like to register your place, you may do so here. Previous Eye Candy students do not need to register and may go directly to the purchase page here. If you have further questions, please email Fran at email@example.com.
Testimonials from Enhance Participants, June 2011:
I feel like this has been one of the most important photography workshops I have taken to date. I am amazed at how much I learned and how “unlocked” photoshop feels to me. I had so many “aha! THAT’S how you do it!” moments I can’t even count. I was extremely impressed with the amount of information shared with us, the way it was presented, and how absolutely thorough it felt (to me). Once again, everyone was very friendly and helpful. :) I really enjoyed the videos, they really brought the material in the modules together and helped with the practice. Thank you, Fran and Sheye for another wonderful and meaningful workshop! Catherine Runyan
I actually feel comfortable using Photoshop now. I don’t quake with fear when I open it any more…! The videos made HEAPS of difference to me. Early on I had the videos on the laptop and I had PS open on my desktop and I followed along. It was perfect. It was so nice to put voices to the words and faces too! Jane Dando
The modules and the videos were very informative and presented in a way that made it fun to learn. Sheye & Fran, you are both superstars at photography and Photoshop and i am extremely happy that i was able to participate in this workshop and learn from you both. Thank you so much! Carissa Campbell
I liked that the learning was multi-faceted, with reading material, videos and tasks. This meant that applying the knowledge was much easier than just reading and assuming you understood what was meant to happen… Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge and allowing others to share in your thoughts and workflows. I am so much more efficient, skillful and knowledgeable on PS and know that doing the workshop will enhance my life in so many ways – better photos, less stress, more free time… and the list goes on. xx Jodie Vass
I found everything about the workshop to be relevant and useful. All Eye Candy workshops have a great feel to them and a wonderful supportive atmosphere. It is great that we can all learn from each others questions and the fact that responses from the two of you were so prompt, there was a real sense of momentum. I am thrilled with what I have learned and to have a fantastic printed resource sitting in my bookcase beside the computer is brilliant. Having seen the videos as well, I feel much more confident. Thanks so much for all you have taught me. I love growing as a person and the three Eye Candy Workshops I have done this year really have helped me grow as both a photographer and a woman. The friendships I have made are an added bonus to this wonderful experience. Mish Mackay
Enhance has been nothing but inspiring and I cannot believe that you are both so helpful and willing to share. I love that about you!! I am happy to say since Evolve I have made some wonderful friendships and I am so proud to say that you are both set in stone in my photography journey x Cassie Van Baak
The Enhance experience was just like other Eye Candy Workshops, where Sheye and Fran not only share so much new knowledge, but also provide such a kind and supporting environment to learn in. And as they say, like attracts like, and Eye Candy Workshops always seem to be filled with participants as lovely as the facilitators, and this truly makes it special : ) Sharlene Britton
We do hope you can join us!
Sheye & Fran xx
ps: Just a quick reminder that the Evolve Workshop begins on October 3rd. We will be emailing all participants in the next couple of days so please keep an eye out!Say Something Sweet