What an awesome summer it's been. As it draws to a close, and the weather gets a little colder, I find myself reflecting on things past, and things that will be. When I decided to start doing photography full time, and all together, leave behin the things that made me feel bad about myself behing me, I had no idea what it would help me discover about myself. Having this time, to do something I'm passionate about for a living, has really been a healing process. I don't think I'm all the way there, but every day, I feel like I'm a bit closer. In the last few months, I've had a lot to ponder. There's been up's and downs, and lots of questions in terms of life itself. I've been shooting all kinds of different subject matter, and learning more with each shoot and about the wonderful people that I have the honor to work with. This Saturday, I will be 33 years old. I think I've finally come to the point of not caring, besides - 3 and 11 are my favorite and lucky numbers - so it being a multiple should mean that this will be my favorite year ever! My last shoot involved taking pictures of a beautiful baby boy named Jack. His parents, are a same sex couple, and some of the nicest people you would ever meet anywhere in life. They are successful, and kind, and decided they want to be parents. When they asked me to take pictures for them, I was excited since they are both good friends, and that I was able to capture memories and moments for them. Having breakfast with a friend the morning after, who is also a photographer, I was shocked and appalled to learn that some photographer's - even in modern 2012 society and culture, REFUSE to take pictures of same sex couples..... I know. Seriously. It hurts to think there are such ignorant jack wagon's in this world. I'm not here to debate anything, simply to state that no matter how old I get, I guess the world never surprises me that much. And that's the sad part. I also recently took photos at a couple’s 50th Anniversary party. What amazing people and an amazing family! We live in a day and age where people are un-committed to everything. From brands of cereal to the outfit they are going to wear to work in the morning. We've become so impatient and have an overwhelming need for immediacy that we forget that true commitment lies in perseverance, understanding and compassion. You just don't hear enough about that anymore. The last thing I want to discuss is death. Recently, a friend lost his mother to her battle with cancer. The pain of loss, of losing someone so close to you - is a pain and emptiness most people would never want to feel. There's such finality to it. Life has that predictable and disappointing ending. And the most annoying part of all is that while someone close to us passes, like my father did in 2006, outside of your world, and existence - the world keeps on going. People don't stop. Some dick in L.A., the moment I heard my dad died, was making a toaster waffle, and upset the setting wasn't dark enough. As much as we want the world to stop for us in our grief, in our troubles, it doesn't. Kind of humbles you a bit. Hold the ones you love reach out, don't be too proud, and don’t be hateful and angry… life, in the grand scheme of things - lasts but a blink of an eye.
Oh the simpler days. Remember going to friend’s birthday parties when you were little? Games, music, cake, and smiles filled the afternoon, and you went home to play and live your young and eventful life full of learning and amazement. With the Olympics on this past week, I’ve been reminded of those times a lot. Sitting and watching athletes compete for greatness, and wondering what the world had in store for me. Although I chose music and art over the sports and games, I knew I couldn’t wait to grow up and see what the world had in store for me. I don’t think any adult is lying to any child when they say, “Stay young as long as you can, and the world is much easier that way.” In reality, growing up is just a trap. I’ve written about it before in my blog, but have around so many little ones with my photography lately, that I am too often reminded of it. Whether its kids at the beach, or little girls dressed as fairies for a birthday party getting their faces painted, or boys being boys throwing water balloons at each other, it’s part of‘growing -up’. They don’t know what bad mortgages are, pollution, the cruelty of people’s selfish motives, the daily grind, cubicles, school loans, debt. All they do is play, and dream about what the world has in store for them. I think we should take a note from the books of kids, and remember that awe that we use to see in the world. Remember how simple it was to say no or get away from things that we didn’t like, or enjoy. As adults, we constantly abuse ourselves with the wrong people, the wrong situations, and the wrong motives. It’s like we grow up and make things that much more complicated as if a part of growing up meant sacrificing our inner joy and awe, to be a part of a world that can sometimes be very cruel. I say, that’s enough. And to anyone that will listen, I say take the garbage out of your life. Remove yourself from the things and people that make you doubt yourself. Stop killing the spirit of wonder in your soul before it’s all gone. Sometimes, we realize that much too late. It can at first be hard to do, but in the end, surrounding yourself with the support and love of family and friends that want the best for you, is all that you need to get that spark back.
I have to say, I'm so excited about the way business has been going these last few months. A big thank you to all of my friends and family for the referrals, and to all my client's that put their trust in my services. I'm having an amazing time with my work, and finding myself even back logged with it at times. From unique portraits of kids, families, and live band shoots - I have defiinetly found what I can happily do the rest of my life for a living. If business keeps growing, I aim to do that This isn't an artsy blog or a meaningful one as those of months past, but I just wanted to send a thank you note out to everyone, and remind you of the specials for this month. For July - 2012, Babies, Toddlers and Kids candid pictures are 25% off. Famly portraits are 50% off with a set fee for all images .I would also like to offer a free session and images for family portraits to returning vets of the Military. If you know anyone that would be interested, please forward them my info. I will be doing two of these a month, so let's book it up for the rest of the year. Thanks again everyone, for your continued support! The new business, the new band, and life in general are on the right track! Hugs and smooches from Photography by Petra Sith!
Life has definitely been a whirlwind in months past, more over -
this past year. Because of all of the changes I have implemented in my life over
six months, I realized something really cool the other day. While driving down
the road with my husband, I had remarked that the clouds looked more beautiful
this year, than I have ever seen them look and I wondered if there was some sort
of new phenomenon happening. He laughed at me and told me that I was finally
able to sit back, not clouded by worry or stress - and actually appreciate and
take in the beauty of the small things around me. I have an amazing group of
family and friends, and the support for my new career choice as well as other
new adventures that I am pursuing has been overwhelming. This past weekend, I
had the pleasure of hanging out in Milwaukee with one of the people I have been
lucky enough to meet and consider an amazing friend who has helped me through so
much in recent past. There was no particular destination planned, or an idea or
concept of when we needed to leave. We just walked around the lakefront, I took
pictures, and we laughed and talked. The fountain in front of the Milwaukee Art
Museum seemed inviting enough, and we took off our shoes and proceeded to enjoy
the cool water. In that moment, I smiled and I was thankful……...
Waukegan, IL, is one of those cities that have a bad reputation. If you've grown up in northern Illinois, then you know that most people would say that Waukegan is known for crime and for being a rundown city, the poor second cousin to Chicago. It is however, a photographic wonderland. The city has rebuilt its downtown area, and re-opened the famous Genesse Theater, but most of it still remains its historical self. Although the houses along the lake in Waukegan, on Sheridan road are spectacular, I wanted to capture the other side of the city. I finally got to do just that a few weeks ago. The architecture in certain parts of the city is true and original to the city’s historic beginnings. Graffiti, layers of paint over paint, shops and even hospitals that are closed, still hold the city’s history and memories. From an empty parking garage of what is now only an ER run out of St. Therese Hospital, to the architecture of a beautiful church, I truly only captured 1% of the story the city has to tell in images. I hope to shoot there again soon!
Do you remember when you were a kid, and life was so much simpler? All that mattered was fun and friends and learning. Time dragged on, summer vacations felt like years, and the worst part of your day may have been doing chores, or getting in trouble for something you may have done. I've taken a lot of pictures in my past few shoots that involved kids and teens. During the last "I Have something to Say" shoot, two sisters, and then a group of kids from a birthday party wanted to take part. The project in itself, has an overall more serious tone, with a few adults writing something funny - but to see these kids write or draw something that was so innocent, and pure - was a relief. They have no animosity towards the world. They aren't wound up in bad mortgage loans, tough decisions, and political agendas. They want to climb trees, get hugs from their parents, and worry about an occasional loose tooth. The quote I posted the other day in "Words of the Day" was - "Sometimes I wish I were a little kid again, skinned knees are much easier to fix than broken hearts", Author Unknown. Sometimes I wish it was still like that. We cloud our minds with so much worry, anger, desperation, and sadness. Life isn't that innocent anymore. That's why it’s important to surround ourselves with good friends, and family. It's important to realize what makes us happy, follow our hearts, keep strong, and try to remember that innocent spirit of our childhood.
When I first started this website, and before my subsequent venture into the world of professional photography - my first and only web page stated - "My name is Petra Sith, and I feel like I have something to say." These were very simple yet meaningful words that have started this year much different than any others in my past. As I go through the motions of finding myself, doing work that is fulfilling and artistic, still pursuing my musical passion, and sorting through the muck that was at one point my life that I am now re-defining - I came up with the idea for a project called "I Have Something to Say". I think the simple and plain use of a piece of poster board and a marker can be such a powerful tool. Most people would associate this with a protest or a tool to use at a rally - but to be able to give this to everyday people to use it as a tool to share how they feel was something that meant a lot to me. Funny, angry, serious, or informational - we all have something to say, and what better way than to capture it through images. I hope you enjoy the additions to the project, and I hope to have the final art piece done before the end of the year. If you are interested in participating and you have 'something to say', please contact me for info about the next date and session time for the project!
One of the things I feel very strongly about is the adoption of animals from animal shelters. There's no sugar coating the fact that there are millions of dogs and cats in America's shelters that need homes. Paco, the dog in this picture, is one of those dogs. Sure, he's got a bit of an attitude problem, and at times, can be quite the handful, but he finally found an owner that loves him for who he is. You see, Paco was abandoned, and subsequently returned to the shelter four times before he found his permanent home at the age of 6. There were those that brought him home, and then quickly brought him back because of his finicky attitude. Then he met the owner that changed his life. Sure, it took almost a year, but now - he finally trusts someone and loves them enough to be held, to be loved, and to know that he is safe in her arms. I snapped this candid shot when I was least expecting to take a photo, but I think that love and respect between owner and pet was captured.
If you've never been to Galena, it’s a quaint little town on the border of northwestern Illinois, nestled in between Iowa and Wisconsin. The architecture, shops, and the beautiful landscape add to its charm. In the spring, summer and fall months, there is always a guitar player, or some sort of performance group in the middle of town, with their tip jars out, eager for the change or bills of tourists visiting the various shops on the main downtown strip. I didn't get this gentleman's name; I simply threw in a few dollars into his coffee can, sitting in his guitar case, surrounded by some funny pictures. I asked him if I could take pictures of him, and he obliged. We talked briefly about photography and music, but not nearly enough to get to know each other. He just went on to the next song in his song book. When he began to play and sing "What a Wonderful World", I nearly teared up. It was surreal. Nice sunny day, trees of green, people saying how do you do.... all of that. A crowd gathered around him, and I snapped off this picture which I chose to turn into a art piece. I wanted to bring him and his guitar to the forefront, sitting under the American flag. I don't know his story; maybe he's a war veteran, maybe just a wanderer, or even a resident of Galena that makes extra cash entertaining the crowds. As he sang, with the food in his beard, and his hat blocking the sun from his eyes - there was a special charm to him, and to how he was making the crowd feel with such a beautiful song. Galena is a photographic playground, and I'm glad I got to spend my day there capturing some images. The second one I'm featuring in this blog, is actually the highest point in Illinois, near a town called Scales Mound. How very countryesque. God fearing people, in the country expressing their religious freedom. I thought the picture looked so fake, but I assure you, the cows, and the rock are as they were when I snapped the pic. Check out the other Galena pictures in all different catergories!
Taking pictures for a living, the smart thing to do is to always have your camera on hand. While visiting my good friend earlier this week, we were just hanging out and as I went up the stairs in her house, I came upon her rain boots sitting next to the door. The story that goes with this photo and subsequent art piece isn’t a fun one. Her basement was flooding during a storm, so she had to throw these on to make sure all of her stuff and her kid’s toys weren't destroyed by the backup of the drain in the laundry room. What a comparison to anything in life. Whatever personal tragedies we suffer, on any scale - always lead to an opportunity, or in this case, a chance for me to take a picture and create something out of it. All events that happen to us always leave some door or opportunity either for ourselves, or for someone else. I know she laughed at me as I stood on the staircase trying to capture the picture, but if that basement hadn't flooded, and then I wouldn't have had the chance to create this piece of work for my portfolio and website. It's been a weird week, working for myself - but I'm so excited, happy and proud to have taken that step, and to have friends and family that are supporting me through my journey. Love you Karli!