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Archive for July, 2012

A conversation with author Christina Jeter

Christina Jeter, the author of the e-book “Celebrate Being You,” discusses her work with Creative Dreamers.

This book is a celebration of the diversity of the world and how it helps us thrive, in doing so, it should always be celebrated and never depreciated!!

Cover image of “Celebrate Being You” from Amazon.com.

CD: What made you decide to write this book?

Christina: Overcoming the troubles of my childhood and adolescents made me write this book. I wanted to show the greatness in a child and how it should be nurtured not demolished by an adult!

CD: How long did it take you to write it, from idea to completed project?

Christina: It took me about 3 years to put the idea together. The reason being is because I just came into being informed about the history of the people I used in it.

CD: So it took a lot of research?

Christina: Yes, I read the books about them (people in the book), talked to the authors, visited museums and other historical land marks. I prayed and felt I talked to them spiritually.

CD: What was the most challenging thing about writing it?

Christina: Making sure it focused on shaming the attacker (bully) instead of shaming the victim of bullying! I wanted to show how you can overcome with words and knowledge, but also be able to physically protect yourself from injustice.

CD: How about the most rewarding part?

Christina: The most rewarding part was bringing it to life and completing it. I sent it out to people before I published it and got great reviews. I hope to one day do some readings and signings at various Barnes and Noble stores and maybe even make it into a picture book, cartoon, TV series, etc!!!

CD: If there was one thing you would hope your readers take away for reading it, what would that be?

Christina: Never be ashamed about who you are! GOD doesn’t make mistakes. We all contribute to the beauty of the world. We are all super heroes. Everyone – please keep inspiring inspiration.

More info:

Christina hopes to get her book into various underprivileged schools. “Celebrate Being You” can be purchased through Amazon.com. She can be contacted my media pr fans or with any questions via e-mail at jeter@cjeter.com.

When art and science collide

With the possible exception of images you might see in publications like “National Geographic” or the fact that we know music is intrinsically linked to mathematics, we probably don’t usually thing of mixing art and science. However, some really fine works of art are often inspired by science. The photos below are a perfect example.

These amazing shots are actually magnified images of activities occurring at the cellular level of our human anatomy. Very cool.

A human cell infected by a virus:

Human neural stem cells:

Human egg fertilization:

Art instruction in a digital world

In an age when nearly everybody uses the Internet, and in times when arts programs in schools and all across society are being threatened by financial uncertainty, there are some new options out there to both learn about the arts and correspond with others who enjoy them as well.

And the best part is, such options are often global and can be utilized from the comfort of your own home.

One example is the website Art Safari 101.

art instruction

Do your artistic interests fall into any of the following categories?:

Drawing 

Painting

Music and other performing arts

Video and video editing

Photography and photo editing

Creative writing

If so, this might just be a good fit for you.

The artistry of athletics

Perhaps it’s because of my Pittsburgh roots (it’s a huge sports town), or maybe it’s the “guys’ guy” side of my personality, or then again maybe it’s something completely different. Whatever the case may be, I am a definite sports fan.

So, being one who enjoys such things as well as my obvious love for the arts, I asked myself, “can sports be artistic?”  And the answer I came up with is YES.

Let’s take for example the upcoming Olympic Games in London, England. Surely the opening and closing ceremonies are always filled with artistry. However, one can easily (and rightfully) argue that these specific events are not sports, even if they are related to the concept.

But once the games get underway, we merely have to point to the competitions that rely on judging to prove that athletics can indeed be artsy.

Some such examples include:

Gymnastics (Especially rhythmic)

Diving

Synchronized swimming

All of these, and many more events, rely heavily on technique, style and originality, all very common elements in the arts.

In fact, even the games that are probably rarely associated with artistry such as basketball and boxing for example, always praise participants for technique and grace.

It’s interesting it you think about it, huh.

Reminiscing about monster ballads

I’m a fairly young guy (although I consider myself a child of the 80’s). But from time to I get a bit nostalgic. The other day I was riding as the passenger in a short drive and listening to the radio. On came the classic Poison track “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” and it got me thinking about the great so-called monster ballads of the 1980s.

In that decade, “hair bands”  ruled the charts with their often hard rock style but every once in a while they took the risk to show their tender side. Here are just a few examples of some of the ones that really rocked.

The aforementioned “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison

“I’ll Be There For You” by Bon Jovi

“Faithfully” by Journey

“Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses

 

Well, hopefully you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me.

Stepping out to acknowledge a tragedy

A few days back, I had posted a blog article on the “Batman” series of films. Now, just a short time later, I feel compelled to step away for a moment from the standard topics of this blog to honor those who lost their lives to the senseless violence that took place in Aurora, Colorado in the early morning hours today.

May those personally victimized in this horrific event, as well as all of their loved ones and the Aurora community as a whole, be comforted by the love, kindness and prayers of all of us.

 

When shadows in photos aren’t a bad thing

It is nearly impossible to eliminate all shadowing in a photograph.

As a general rule of thumb, especially when shooting portrait photos, soft shadows are acceptable and can enhance an image while harder shadows tend to have a negative effect. This is typically the case, but not always.

Take for example the images below:

The first is a sample of a photo with harsh shadows and the second is one with a softer shadowing effect.

image shaodws

soft shadows

However, in some cases a unique use of dark shadows can add for a wonderful aesthetic fell.

See the following images for as examples:

The first is an amazing shot by a talented photography names Hannah Wessman. The second is a shot I took which is published in my second or two poetry books along with one of my poems.

beautiful shadows

model in the shadows

What lesson can we take from this? While there are rules in photography as in any art form, sometimes they can be bent or even broken and produce an amazing finished product.

“The Dark Knight Rises” and its place in the Batman series of films

To date, since the 1989 “Batman” film starring Michael Keaton and the legendary Jack Nicholson, there can be said to have been seven follow-ups including the upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises.”

While many may argue that the Dark Knight Trilogy if you will, can be considered a separate series of films than its several predecessors,  for this purpose I’m going to classify them in the same grouping.

Clearly the aforementioned 1989 film set the standard. The 1992 sequel “Batman Returns” was a decent follow-up but as is typical, sequels rarely live up to the original.

Then we get into what I personally consider the disposable Batman films, 1995’s “Batman Forever” and 1997’s “Batman and Robin.” Both featured a notable lineup of Hollywood big names but as we all know, that’s no guarantee of a quality film. To the contrary, these movies seemed to feature second-rate acting, less structured plots and somewhat laughable villains. Val Kilmer was OK in the lead role but as has been typical of his film career, George Clooney bombed.

At that point, it looked like the franchise had sunk into a death spiral from which there would be no return. That was until Christopher Nolan decided to resurrect the series with the film “Batman Begins” in 2005. The new lead actor Christian Bale restored the series to its original glory and possibly even more. And Heath Ledger’s amazing portrayal of the Joker in 2007’s “The Dark Knight,” kept the top-notch productions going.

So here we are, just days away from the release of “The Dark Knight Rises,” partially filmed in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.  While of course I haven’t seen it yet, I have to presume it will keep with the trend of the Nolan versions and be another masterpiece. But of course, only time will tell.

Creative ideas for model photo shoots

Creative model photography

OK, so sometimes I feel like my brain is like the pistons in a car – constantly moving except well I’m shut down and asleep (or the car is turned off). That being the case, I’ve always got some new ideas popping into my head about any number of things including ideas for shoots with models.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer a few of the ideas I’ve used in the past. Granted some aren’t all the original but that doesn’t mean that people might not have overlooked them. As for the ones that I haven’t actually followed through on yet, well for now those will remain a mystery.

Please know that all of these may be able to be modified for either sex but I generally work with female models and that’s why I make the following statements.

school girl outfit model photography

Ideas:

1. Cowgirl -

Pretty simple to do. Just some cowboy boots and a hat and some jeans and an appropriate shirt and you’re all set.

2. Silhouettes and bodyscapes -

It’s all about lighting and maximizing the form of the body itself.

3. The model as captive (cuffs, bindfolds…) -

No, nothing perverse here. That wouldn’t be very artistic. Just sort of a horror-inspired approach.

4. Halloween themes -

This one is relatively self explanatory and can be done in either an intense of cutesy sort of way.

5. Patriotic attire and props – 

Just think of the whole “Rosie the Riveter” image or anything in which you can incorporate a flag or your country’s colors.

6. Slumber party -

Combine this youthful concept with lingerie and BAM – instant art.

7. School girl -

Very cliche but it never seems to go out of fashion.

8. Gothic rocker schoolgirl -

A variation on the above with a little more edge. Great fit for alternative models.

9. Motorcycles -

Attractive women and motorcycles go together like peanut butter and jelly.

10. Office setting -

Again sort of an old concept but spicing up a boring setting like an office makes for a fun shoot.

11. Warehouse or industrial setting -

The gritty, rough atmosphere can work either as a contrast to a model’s look or to compliment it.

12. Ultra contrast -

One suck example would be a model wearing a wedding dress in a graffiti -covered slum alleyway.

13. Femme Fatale -

Tough girls with a hot look make for awesome photos.

14. Character shoot -

I once did a Lady Gaga themed shoot. This is also good for people who like cosplay and fictional characters.

What exactly makes something artistic?

What is art?

On the surface, it is a simple question. However, this simple question often receives a number of complex answers.

Sure, you can go to any dictionary for some sort of answer. However, even there you are likely to come up with several different definitions.

Does the amount of time put in or effort involved determine whether something is or is not art? A few other questions we can ask ourselves include:

Is it art if it involves creativity or imagination?

Does how it make you feel determine whether or not it is art?

Is the idea of self-expression essential to qualify something as art?

All in all, the questions and answers are seemingly endless. Perhaps it is much like the concept of beauty. As it has been said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it’s just that simple – what is art is up to the individual and can be just as unique as each and every person.

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