is being who you are

A warm day ...

Because its so cold, I feel like reminding myself and all of you that sometimes, it is warm. Not often in this crazy state, but sometimes. Le sigh ...



Winner of 2013 Contest

I held a contest. Batman picked the winner. (Here he is picking the winner. And here are their photos. :)

... Yeh? Batman and I are tight like that.

Aaaand some of mom and dad too. :)


Rainy days don't have to be blue.

Mimi was great to work with, and this was one of those awesome days where it rains, but it rains just light enough that we can still shoot with no cover.

Hurray for overcast days, as they are beautimonious!


Waxing poetic ...

I found an artist today. He brought me to tears, and I was struck speechless and immovable. His sense of timing and his soft but pointed aim went straight to my heart. Oh, btw, he's a conductor and his medium is music. Surprised I wouldn't be talking about a sculptor or another photographer? Don't be. 

Music is the key to the lock that is on our hearts. It is the brush that enables us to paint a canvas. Music is one of the most inspiring things to any visual artist. What I write here will be mostly what people already know, I'm sure, but I still feel like saying it. 

What would life be without music? What would the world be without sound? It would be a girl with no lover to meet her, or a child with no smile. It would be happiness with no one to share it with. In other words, it would be life but somewhat dull.

I feel things when I see a picture, but I YEARN for things when I listen to music. I am transformed. I am gone into the other world that exists in only my head. 

Music is like being led down a trail ... you don't know where it will take you and you don't know the sadness, anger, or the happiness you will undergo ... you are carried down that trail through a gentle compulsion: a fairy queen's lovely crooked finger beckoning you into the fairy ring ...

I know, I know, I'm being very melodramatic. Very 'non-modern' ... I can't help it. I live in the middle of worlds. I am divided between who I must be for this world, and the part that is a romantic and a dreamer. 

It matters not, since very few actually read this blog, I think. 

My point is that music is the soul of all art. Photographs and painting and sculpture is the body, and music is what makes us live ... I live in fear of being mediocre, and one thing that music brings to fore to me is that feeling that I CAN be interesting. That I CAN create work that isn't average. Perhaps I don't always achieve this goal, but it makes me feel that I can, someday.

These are some of my images that show a little of what the artist Ennio Morricone makes me feel ... 


Wheezing is exercise too

Just a quick post of images from a shoot. Alisha was totally cool about my making her run up and down on a 100 degree day just so I could get these shots. She did it like a pro, and I was impressed. Well, mostly I was impressed because I was wheezing just standing there. ;)


Its OK to be a Tourist

I went on a trip recently, and instead of highlighting client work this week, I feel like showing pics from my trip.

I decided to be as campy as possible with the shots. In other words, I chose to be a tourist, instead of a professional photographer. You kind of have to do that, every now and then, or you can easily go kooky in this business. :)

So, here are my 'tourist' pics. They're not 'omg' great or amazing, they're as normal as I ken make em. :) 

Art + Family = Ok

I love it when clients come to me with exact ideas of what they would like, and those ideas fall strictly within what I already love to shoot for. :)

Jessie came to me wanting something 'different'. She wanted some art pieces of her children that would fit into the 'vibe' of her house and family. She didn't want them smiling. She didn't want them normal or cute ... she wanted surreal. She wanted moody. She wanted, in a nutshell, art. 

I am always happy to oblige a request like this, especially when surreal and moody is what I LOVE to do in the first place. :)

Here are the fruits of that labor. And what adorable fruits these kids were to work with too. Look models, these kids put you to shame. I hardly needed to direct them at all!!!!!

It was a fun evening. Especially with Jessie sprinting back and forth from the baby to behind me to try to get her attention. :D What you don't know is that 90% of my images were of the children cracking up because of the antics of their mom. :D :D :D 

Overall, I'm so very glad to get the chance to shoot something different, and I thank Jessie and her family for allowing me to do that. :)

Here is the link for purchase, if any family members would like to have these images as well. :)




Jude, Jake, and Miguel's Grand Adventure

A tale whereupon Jude sets out to photograph Jake, and Miguel at the last minute comes along to also photograph and videotape the process. Many dragons were slain and maidens rescued and animals not harmed in the making of this video.

any thanks to Jake Dials for modeling for me for this shoot, and for Miguel for coming along and both shooting stills and shooting the behind the scene videos as well.

You can find Jake at and Miguel at

Jake is a really Great model from my area, and I recommend working with him if you have chance, if you want a professional, fun, and laid-back dude to photograph.

Thanks again guys!!!

Goodbye, sabbatical ...

You may have noticed that I've been in hiding this spring. I had some setbacks in the last few months, and I'd like to publicly apologize to anyone I've kept waiting. I've been struggling with some hard issues in the last few months since February ... have had to restructure my life a little bit, make some tough decisions, and in general sit back and let my inner self point me towards the direction that I needed to go.
That being said, I'm back, and I'm back feeling better for the decision I've made. I feel like a load has been let off my shoulders, and I finally feel as if I can get 'down to business'. I'm sorry for the 'sabbatical' of sorts, but it was a necessary one. Now that I am here, I WILL slowly trickle towards getting everything done I need to. I have a list ... and I'm going through it checking it off. YOU are on this list. :) 
June is the beginning of a new business for me, and for you. Beware. :)

Cake, Language, and Art: Nothing New Under The Sun

Artists, ladies and gents, are like makers of Cake.
Cakes are made every day and so is art, yet cooks do not feel fake because they make a cake, but somehow some artists feel fake for making art. We should be MORE like a cook! A cake is a cake, and a new cook thinks "I will make a cake!" and it's new to him. He enjoys mixing the ingredients, pouring the batter, spreading the frosting, and feasting on the finished product. Cooks borrow recipes ... and ARTISTS borrow recipes.

But, we are also like the cake being prepared. We are instruments of what ingredients came before us, and also a little bit of ourselves in the mix as well. Our Artistic Vision? It is made from borrowed materials: we do not create...and THIS is what many artists are stuck on.

In reality, the universe thrives on borrowing. Rain? Borrowed water. The life cycle itself? Borrowed energy, to return to an energy form when we're gone. Heck, even the words you are reading in Modern Day English are written in a language that is a staple of a 'borrowed' language ... as in, it's a mixture of so many different languages, that there can really be no definitive 'one original language' that it came from in the last 2000 years. Have you ever thought of that?

I've often thought of this in my life, and its always kept me a little humble ... when going through classes that were determined to bring the creativity out ... there was always some part of me that held back and said "I've seen this, in some other what's the use?" 
Like the 'cliche' ... "What has been is what will be, and there is nothing new under the sun". Even that saying, No! That IDEA ... came from a book thousands of years old ... while we feel smart saying it, it's already been said over and over by each generation. You see? Even the concept of 'nothing being new' .. isn't new!
I have been shooting for almost two decades now, with the last 5 being more intensive. You know what I'm finding? That FINALLY this year, I'm allowing myself to copy. I'm allowing myself to say "Its ok that its been done before. The difference is that YOU have never done it before." I'm letting myself lean in a direction I've never been able to before now, due to time, other constraints, and my own self-imposed lectures against 'its already been done'. But you know what? The doing, no matter if its just a new person making old hash ... it's making me happy. It's making me feel more like 'me'. Yes, you read me correctly: me doing stuff that's been done before, over and over, finally feels like 'me'. And I could never have become 'me' without 'them'.
But? Sometimes, the people we owe our thought processes to will never know how much they've done for us. And sometimes, I feel that newer photographers are hesitant to say who they look up to, as if there's something wrong or as if they are somehow wrong for creating things that have 'already been done' ... I used to feel that way. I'm don't any longer. I'd be nowhere without the inspiration some of these people have provided to me. The same as the people I look up to would be nowhere without their own personal influences, and role models, and experiences. You know what though? I'm through trying to "Be my own person" so desperately that I refuse to do things because another person did them first: From now on, I'm simply going to BE my own person and do what is new to me and what I like.

The truth is that while there may be nothing new, everything IS new. EACH EXPERIENCE IS NEW BECAUSE IT IS BEING EXPERIENCED OR DONE FOR THE FIRST TIME BY SOMEONE TO WHOM IS IT NEW. Do we belittle a child for drawing stick figures with crayons, simply because 'that's already been done.' Do we scoff at a bride and groom's excitement in each other on their wedding day? No. We don't. Because it is understood that they have a true RIGHT to believe those things they are doing, experiencing, feeling, are new. How dare anyone tell a child he has no right to feel as if an experience is new! We don't, because we understand how tragic it would be to ruin someone's experience of life and the joy it is to feel 'newness'. But, somehow, the minute a person becomes an artist, the minute they begin to feel the beauty around them and see how that beauty could be made ... we slash them down with words of 'There's nothing new'. Or, we become jaded and we say 'sure, its good, but that is better and this looks exactly like it.' Why? When did the act of creating something 'first' become so important in humanity? For what purpose? For power? Prestige? In reality, what good are those? We do not last, and we will be forgotten ... why not let those who enjoy creating old hash ... simply enjoy creating old hash? :)

Artists, of all kinds, are immensely hard on themselves. And they are hard on each other. We are hard on each other, ladies and gentlemen. Probably much more than the general public is. We see our flaws; we see each others insecurities; and sometimes, we do not do much to help, but much to hinder each other. For what reason? Who knows. Perhaps misery loves company? It's an unanswered question.

Regardless of the answer, I'm sure glad people still create, regardless of whether they feel they're creating groundbreaking work or not. I am glad that there are artists who sit and paint the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It has been painted so many times, from so many angles, but there are still artists who STILL paint it ... and they rightly enjoy doing so.

I think as artists, we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. We need to stop being so hard on each other and realize that it is not "Doing it first" that makes it significant, but rather, that WE are doing it for the first time. :) Because, if you think about it, if there was noone to copy, noone to study the master's works ... who would remember those works? :) Through the act of copying, we are keeping those who've gone before alive, because their influence lives ONLY through humanity.

That being said, I'd like to highlight some of the people who have been my idols over the years. This is not a full list, by any means, but these amazing artists are some I've been studying for years, and who have influenced me very much. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I have ... and I hope you someday see some similarities to their styles in my own work. If I could be as talented as any one of them, I will be satisfied. 

Enjoy! They ARE amazing! :D

Saying No To Free

Freebies Anonymous: I am here today because I shot for free for YEARS. And sometimes? I STILL occasionally shoot for free. And SOMETIMES … it gets me things that I never would have gotten otherwise, like my photos published on

"What?!!" Professionals gasp in horror. "That is unheard of! You’re going to ruin your career! You’re going to ruin the photography market! You’re going to be known as that photographer who shoots for free! Aliens will attack you and steal your camera equipment!!! THE SKY IS GOING TO FALL!!!!"
This is the general hysteria Professional photographers who’ve been in the business longer than 10 years begin to rant about when the subject of ‘free vs. paid’ work comes up. (I mentally call these people ‘Dragons’ just for fun, so I’m going to call them that here. I might get some flak, but I like being somewhat disrespectful in a playful way. Its fun. :D It shortens the copy too. No actual dissing here. Dragons is a loving term in my mind.) There’s usually a lot of huff and puff (Get it? Dragon? Puff? <:D  â€¦ Ok, moving on…) about the newbie person destroying the market (I'm not going to get into this one...way too complicated) and then they go on to say that the Newb photog’s future business career is going to be ‘ruined’ because of low expectations (ie. Thereafter people will expect them to work for free). You know what is going to ruin my business more? High expectations from clients that I can’t meet because I haven’t practiced my craft enough to be able to constantly recreate the same quality. And the Dragons never seem to cede that even while newbie photographers are committing the sin of saying yes to free work, they still have the capacity to say … wait for it … ‘No.’
There is an aspect which professional photographers who are screaming at newbies sort of ignore: educating the newbie who needs to shoot for free on when to say No to free. Usually, their tactic is to say "You should never shoot for free! Say No all the time!" Well, that's not realistic. Because everyone has do something for free to learn.  Unfortunately, the digital market has created a mass tidal wave of crazyified monster newbie photographers who are all over the place swinging their cameras at everything that moves. What the Dragons don’t seem to recognize is that they need to direct the flow of the flood rather than lament about the mess its made. IOW, teach the flow how to NOT make a mess.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t done work for free. (Granted, I’m nowhere, but that statement sounds good. :D) By all accounts, I should never have shot weddings for free, events for free, models for free, but I did. And I gained some amazing experiences, access, and portfolio pieces. But HOLD ON! Before you get your celebration panties on and prepare to write "Jude loves free work!" in the sky, I'm getting to my actual point. There are degrees to free work, and while I believe there are reasons you should do it, There are also definite reasons you shouldn’t. This topic has kindof been blogged to death, by some very good photographers, none-the-less, but one thing I haven’t seen them mention is this: If you are a photographer shooting TF work (Time For), what should the thought process be behind why you should say ‘No’ to free?
Here’s the easy part (ie. I don't have to write it!) that HAS been talked about: Why you should say yes.
1. For portfolio, as was said here very well.
2. For exposure/contacts. No, no grand spiel here. This one is simple: if people don’t know who you are and what you can do, you’re invisible. Truth.
3. For experience. Well said, here, by Don Gianati
4. Because you darned well WANT to. Don again. I love this guy.
Free truly is freeing. You get to do what you want and many times what you need. Sounds easy, right? Sure. Now, on to the hard part. After the work has met the initial criteria of something you need or want to shoot for free, how to make the individual decisions on when to say NO.
I trust humanity, but sometimes, there are those who would take what they can get and screw you in the process. I’ve learned that the hard way. In fact, early this year, I had someone ask me to drive 6 ½ hours, work for 8 hours shooting designs that wouldn’t benefit my portfolio , for all images shot on a disk, and all for zero pay. The payment? Exposure. In a market that I’d never ever be getting into. Then, when I said no and gave a price, I was badgered for around 30 minutes. No, bullied, is more like, since my sentences saying “Well, that’s my price. Man, I’ve really got to get off the phone now…” were completely ignored. Though I eventually did end the conversation, I let the person sit there and badger me. Why? Because I wasn’t confident enough at the time to just say “Look, this is my price. You’ve already heard me say no to your ‘offer’ 3 times now. Get ahold of me if you want to hire me. Click.”
I’m an idealist, but I have to admit that unfortunately, you will get bad eggs. The good from this is that 'bad egg' gave me the motivation I needed to never again let a situation progress to where I feel bullied. Its too annoying for my friends. I end up hating the world and for a solid month ranting about climate change, politics, pizza and space monkeys. It's a scary scary thing. 
So, for you, to avoid space monkeys. The Hard Part: Figuring out when to say ‘NO’
1. You know the person has a budget and they COULD pay you.
This is simple. Only a complete dirtbag doesn’t pay someone when they could easily do so. Hit the ‘delete’ button. They’ll probably be terrible to work with even if they DID pay you.
2. You feel like the mental trauma is not going to be worth the job.
Free work should be free from stress. If you want to stress me out, pay me to stress me out. Otherwise? NO.
3. They ask for too much or don’t offer the equal value in exchange.
This is an actual 1+1=2 situation. In other words, if the shoot is 1+7=1, its probably a bad deal.
4. They stand to gain much more than you.
This is only a half of the time rule and its just from my own experience. Its directly proportional to exactly what sort of thing you’ll gain, be it exposure/portfolio piece/makeup. In general, the more a person needs a shoot desperately, I’ve found that the less appreciative they’ll be later on when its time for them to give me a shout-out or whatever. I know, this one is weird, isn't it? It really seems like it would be the opposite way around with the people being extremely grateful, but from my experience, it hasn't been. I do say choose this one on a case by case basis, though.
5. You know the person isn’t going to give you a shout-out.
A shoutout that is genuine is huge. It’s the equivalent of paid advertising but better. This one is also a case by case thing. Normally, I reserve these ‘no’s’ for those people I’ve worked with who haven’t given me shout-outs before, or if their shout-out doesn’t match my work-put-in. If this is the case, there’s no way I’ll ever work with them again unless I have to. Even then, I’ll harbor ill will. Grr.
6. You know the person isn’t going to appreciate you.
This one is so important. I feel it’s the most important. Number 5 is a byproduct of this one. The people who don’t appreciate you or your work are slime under your foot. That’s all I have to say about it.

7. The person has asked other people that you know, was quoted a price, and then instead came to you asking for free. 
NO. Just, NO. If you take this job for free, you are degrading the craft of photography. You are acting as second-hand goods, and you're not representing the craft of photography very well at all. You're teaching the person asking you that if they don't want to pay, all they have to do is try and find someone either less principled, more desperate or less talented in photography. This is harsh. But its the truth. Its a truth I had to realize about myself when I used to completely suck (as apposed to partially suck). Its wrong, its wrong, its wrong. There is no gray area with this one. Don't be lame. Just say no if you know they're doing this. THEY are being lame. Don't be a part of their lameness. I will say lame more unless you listen to this. Lame.
The overall feeling you should say No to? You feel the person is trying to or going to use you.
If you get this feeling, before, after, during shooting for someone for free: run away. I promise you, you will regret staying. You will hate that you said yes. It’ll pretty much feel like the person has asked you to pull your heart out of your chest but keep on moving. Let me tell you: if the person asks you to pull your heart out of your chest, odds are it’s not going to go well for you. That and you might feel somewhat used as you stare at it your heart beating in the dirt, pouring your lifeblood on the ground.
JUST. SAY. NO. Photographer’s need a t-shirt of our own about this one. ;)

What is 'want'?

The question came up a month ago and I was surprised at my answer. "What would you be doing if you could do anything in the world or if money was no object?" .... Do you know why I was surprised? Because my answer was that I'm already doing it.

Then today, when snooping around the internet, I found this video featuring the voice of Alan Watts. And, he is correct. I believe this, always have and it influences everything I do more than anything.

People may not know what my life has been like; Or, people may not care, but I think it warrants addressing. I grew up impoverished. No, not 'I couldn't afford the cereal with marshmallows  dang' impoverished ... No. I grew up in a 200 year old cabin that had no running water (and all that entails). We had no electricity but 2 outlets, which powered a small fridge and a lamp. We heated with a wood stove and at times I woke up with snow on my blanket because my window was broken. There was no such thing as air conditioning. If we were hot, we jumped in the pond. I had some toys, but mainly made my own fun running around outside with my brother.

Life was hard: it was never getting what anyone else had, it was sometimes being hungry, it was knowing that the only way you'd be warm was if you got your boots on and got firewood, it was watching 'rich' people not even appreciate a glass of water! (Because believe me, when the only water you have is in a 10 gallon bucket, its empty, and you know there will be no water until your parents can afford to drive to the local water faucet in town, you have NO IDEA what it is to appreciate water. I'd imagine those people in third world countries who have to carry their water in a bucket feel the same)

My point? I still had things that noone else had and to this day have something that many others will never have: Fortitude. The realization that I need to MAKE my life, the way I want it to be, not follow the structured path laid out for me by society or other people.

My mother and I once were talking about me as a teen, and, since I have extremely bad long term memory loss, I was surprised when she made the comment "Jude, you don't really know, do you? You were absolutely OBSESSED with photography since the time you picked up the camera at 12. You were completely determined to be good at it, at all costs ..." 

I've always known there was nothing for me but photography, in any form. And that is why when the question came, I could answer, I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Do I only get around 4 hours of sleep most nights? Yes. Does my money go only on bills and photography, the very seldom meal with friends ONLY? Yes. When I had no money but tuition, did I spend an entire year of school, 4 nights a week in fall and winter weather (-15 degree temperatures for one month...) sleeping in my car that had holes in the floor, just so I'd be able to attend classes? Yes. But? It's my road, it's my choice, it's exactly what I needed to do to be proud of where I am today. And I am proud. I'm proud that even while I'm as of yet scrounging, I don't let the pursuit of things or society influence my decisions on what I need to be doing for this career. 

I love my life, as wanting as it is, and I love that I have nothing but my own motivation and DEtermination to thank. 

What are YOU waiting for? Go out and do what you need to do to do what you WANT to do. Don't be afraid of letting society or even your own fears hold you back ... Just DO.

Who are you?


So, I've been trying to work on progressing myself and my work, since I believe that to stay where one is to become stagnent. Part of this is browsing blogs that are specifically for the cultivating the business side of creative people, and during that process, I came across this inspiring blog post ( that seemed to speak directly to me. In the final words of the article, she asks some questions of whomever may be reading. And, I realized that I'm thankfully sort of on the right track. For now at least. Here are the questions that were asked, and here are my answers.


1. Who are you and what passion do you offer to the world?

I'm strong. I may bend and spit and waver and sometimes strip myself of my own preconceived notions because I need to, but I will never break. That is me. Because no matter what happens to me and has happened to me in life, there is always this inner thing that says "THIS is who you are, right now, without all of the trappings and voices of other people who give their opinion about you. I am what you are and nothing else is." I believe in myself, I believe in what I can do, and I believe I CAN do what I choose to make for myself. 

The passion I offer is being truly joyful and appreciative of life. Life isn't always pretty, or cute, or fun, or nice. Life sometimes sucks. Sometimes its cold, rainy, hungry, depressed, and many others ... my passion? I love even the bad parts of life, because without those parts we will never truly be alive. I like to think that I transfer that passion into everything I do, including photography. No, ESPECIALLY photography ...


2. How willing are you to take risks and test things with your business?

I push myself to be different, or at least my own person. Why am I mentioning being different when I should be talking about risks? Because ... being different IS a risk. Being different is hard. Being different gets you sneered at, laughed at, bullied, smacked down and abused ... and if you're very patient, it can also get you that thing that noone else has: Success. 


3. How married are you to your processes and how willing are you to blow those processes up in favor for generating a better experience?

That's the beauty of this one: I am not and have never been tied down to one process. I abhor rules, though admit their necessity  But, I find it very easy to forego one process for another that is better. How? Easy ... evaluate the process, its risks, its profitability, its possible failures and the percentage that you CARE about it being a failure. Whatever process wins the battle is the one I choose. I HAVE no process that I am married to. Basically, I'm a process hippie. ;)

My baby brother and his girl, soon to be wife.

Just a little bit of end of the summer romance ... more to come at a time when I'm feeling 'writer-like' ... and not snuffling. One has to make sure one is not snuffling at the thought of one's baby brother getting married before one writes about it. <:D

Copyrighted to Judith Strieby-Raska of Jude S-R Photography


What about Bob?

I read a book as a child that I'll never forget. The main story was happening, but throughout the entire book there was a man behind the main characters with a sign reading "What About Bob?" I've always loved the fact that he was there, loved that he was making no sense whatsoever to the main jist of the story. He was never explained, nor really even mentioned by the main character, but he was always just there.Why was he there? Simple. His job was to pull your attention away from the main story and question "Who's Bob? Why is he being mentioned? Exactly what ABOUT Bob? What does Bob have to do with this story?"

So, why was Bob not explained in the story? Simple. Because he probably had nothing to do with the main story; he was only there to teach a more subtle lesson...

As an adult, I realize that book (which I have never been able to find ever again, sad day) has impacted me quite a bit. It's rather interesting the things that we hold onto as a child: We keep them mentally, never quite understanding WHY they're important until later when we can understand the bigger picture. We just know that they are vastly crucial and that they are our life lessons. For me, the lesson behind this book is this. There are always people with signs, hijacking you on your way to getting things done. Sometimes they take the form of a friend who is always distracting you. Sometimes it's the friend who is silently undermining you. Sometimes, its the people on facebook you KNOW distract you more than they help you. Sometimes, its outright enemies who really ARE out to get you, as paranoid as that sounds. And sometimes, it's YOU distracting yourself, which is actually worse than all of these.

But then, other times, we're so caught up with the main story that we NEED a guy in the background with a sign shouting "What about Bob?" Sometimes, we need wakeup calls. Sometimes we need a different angle and perhaps, just perhaps, we need to know Bob's side of the story. It is always a give and take, according to where we’re at in the path. Striving for the middle of the path, where Bob is neither a distraction or completely ignored is a little easier on one’s sanity.



This entire thought process was brought on by some mainstream photography of 'Kitschy' crafts I just saw, coupled with some housecleaning I've been going through the last couple of months. The type of photography I know you've seen before: a coffee house offering you the chance to 'decorate a charm for your mug' or a shop giving you a 'cute shopping bag as part of the experience' ... this may be a little cynical, but why do I need the charm and the bag to truly experience the coffee or the shop? What do they add, really? Aesthetically beautiful is nice, yes, but I believe this society is going overboard anymore with the 'experience' of things.

So, I've been getting rid of stuff. Now let me tell you, it's harder than it seems like it would be. Because, the difference between what is 'my things' vs. 'stuff' is pretty hard to tell sometimes. I've been at it unmercifully. You see, I realized that there are many times we hold onto things as being part of our story, when those things are nothing but shackles that we have to move around. Sometimes, the charm given on a coffee cup, though beautiful, is nothing more than something you have to either keep or throw out. And, why keep something that doesn't mean anything to you? Why keep stuff? And the real questions is: why am I ranting about stuff?

Picture this with me, if you would: Picture your house or where you live. Bring an image of the things you own to your mind. Now, for everything you own, picture it as a little man with a sign reading "What about Bob?" If you have one or two of those little men, you could tolerate it. But, my stuff? I would have thousands upon thousands of little men with signs, all vying for attention and importance. Isn't it easier to make 'Bob' no longer part of the equation?


It's easier for me if Bob isn't in control of my life. Granted, my room still looks like crap. But for this day, there are fewer signs. There are fewer distractions. There is more room for me to just ... look. Room to see instead of space filled with stuff. I'm happier without Bob; you would be too. Look around you ... how many little men with signs do you see, distracting you subconsciously?

.... now, if I could only do that to my internet feed. ;)


Ps. This blog posting was completely given life by nothing except Bob, waving a sign frantically at me saying "WHAT ABOUT ME?!!!". I chose to pay attention to him for once, and viola! We have a blog posting! ... Sometimes, Bob is good. Sometimes ...


Me ken do art ...


I used to shoot nothing but trees, flowers, and my cats when I was a kid. Now, since I've moved to portrait photography, I'm finding it hard to keep up interest for 'artsy' photography. Inspiration is an odd thing, I think. It ebbs and flows, completely dependant upon life stages. 






Question. Fave photo. June 17th, 2012

Question: What's the coolest image you ever took? 

Well, that depends on your meaning of cool. There’s the images that to date that I think are the best I’ve done, then there are images that I feel are cool, just because. I’d have to say that I believe the best I’ve ever done are the photos I just uploaded of Cary in the last entry I made. But, then, to me the coolest images I’ve ever made are of the people I adore the most. So, for me, the photos I've took that I love more than any others are those I take of my mama. She’s an amazing woman, who would literally give her shirt to someone. She can't say no to telemarketers, and always ends up sending them a dollar through the mail if we let her talk to them. She talks constantly, be it to herself or others and its cute. She's so stubborn that I know exactly where I got my own stubborness from. What am I saying? Just that I adore her more than anyone else in the entire universe. :} She's my momma and to me she's the coolest person in the world, and therefore her pictures are.


Carrissa. June 15th, 2012

Cary is Geeeorgeous. And a pleasure to work with. :) a nice accomplishment. June 6th, 2012

This is my year. Its mine. :) Noone elses. Oh, did you think it was your year? Ha. You are SO wrong, its mine. Its my year to be laaaaazy, and then just as quickly jump into action for next year. So, beware world. Here’s one photographer who’s being lazy then not. :D

By the way, I've been working this last month on exactly what I should have been doing all this time: FINISHING MY WEBSITE AND WORKING ON MY BRAND!!! Finally! It's getting done!!! Now, if only this pesky room would clean itself, I'd be perfect right now. 

Nostalgia. May 24th, 2012

I’ve been going through Old, old stuff. And, I quite like that sometimes you find some photos that have stood the test of time well. :} At the same time, it’s making me a little bit melancholy… <:(



Question. About Life. March 9th, 2012

What is the most profound realization you've ever had in your life?

Man, this is a tough one because there are so many moments in life that are intertwined with other realizations … I’ll answer with several realizations, because there have been several that I believe are equally important. And I’ll list my thoughts on those below them.

1. The moment I realized that life isn’t going to last.
 My mother has had heart problems her entire life, and when I was younger she would have spells where her atrial Fibulation would really effect her. At these times, I didn’t really understand anything about what was happening, but I understood that it was serious. Because of that, I’ve always felt that life shouldn’t be wasted. We ARE going to die. While this seems kinda like a “Duh!” moment, I think that the majority of people don’t really truly think about death. They know it will happen, but don’t really think about it. I’ve lived with the understanding of death from an early age, and I’m thankful because it’s allowed me to enjoy this time, this moment for itself. Not just as a stepping stone to a time where I’ll be happy. If you think about death every day, you realize that tomorrow May never come, and you then realize that if you Do die, the moment here and now is all you’ll ever have. Technically, we don’t even have yesterday, because memories are really only fictional records that our minds have put their own spin upon. Today is all we have, and I live every day enjoying what I’m doing. Even if its being lazy or cleaning or doing work or even if I’m having a terrible day, I do all of that with the realization that its life. Laziness, work, pain, anger … they are all moments that are true to our life. And they ARE our life, we’ll get nothing else. So, I don’t live with some grand goal to get to in the future: I instead realize that my life is now.

2. That noone can have my story.
We live in a time where there are stories everywhere. Humanity has a beautiful talent: imagination. Everywhere we look there are tempting stories and personas and people living lives that advertising is telling us that we can attain. But, advertising is wrong. Even were we to buy this diamond or this car or THIS beer, even if we were to be billionaires, we’d never live the life that people are telling us about. Why? Because WE would be the ones in the life. Those advertisements? Those are someone else, living their life. They’re someone’s imagined life, they can never truly be OUR lives.
This is why I find advertising annoying, simply because we all have baggage that’s connected to us, and we’d bring that baggage with us, whereever we go. Regardless of whether we’re rich or poor, unknown or famous, we will still be us. 
Because of this, NOONE can ever have my story, and I can never have another’s story.

I think of it this way: In every book there is a cast. There’s the hero, the heroine, the sidekick, the random person that you know has been put in there specifically to serve as a certain purpose. Well, our lives are the same. We’re living our own stories. We’re the hero of our story, but we might also be the sidekick of someone else’s story. And they might be the sidekick to another person’s story. You see? We’re all intertwined, but NOONE can take away our story. Our story is OURS, no matter what happens. 

The reason this realization affected me so much was that I used to be hurt if people didn’t want to be friends or whatever. Then I realized, there’s only a set amount of people who can be in one story. If someone already has their main characters and their side characters in their story, they literally don’t have room for another person. This isn’t in any way a negative against me, but rather just that I got to the casting call late. <:)

 3. Nothing we do matters.
This is pretty simple. In the long run, our work and our lives and our thoughts aren’t going to matter. “But, you can affect history!” Yes, we can, and what is that going to matter when this world is burned to a crisp somewhere in the future? Nothing we do will ever truly last. This is the nature of living. Some may be depressed at this thought, and wildly cast about for reasons that what we do is important. But nothing you say can stand against that fact that in the future, what we do will not matter. 

Because of this, I find it very important to personally be satisfied with my life, and not ever live for things that others believe, but only live for things that I believe. In the end, I’m the only one to whom my life will matter…why would I ever live it in a way that others tell me to?
I was recently watching an online seminar with some friends, and the woman lecturing was talking about $100,000 being the average price that photographers give her as what they hope to make at photography. I’d be happy to make 50,000. One of my friends looked at me and said, “Really? you could live on $50,000?” I replied, “I’m living on less than $15,000 now…” He cocked his head, and looked a little astounded, “So, basically you have no retirement, or life?” 
The thing is, I’m not interested in other people’s versions of life. I don’t have to make a ton of money to be happy. I don’t need a crazy fancy car, I don’t need even to own a house, I’m happy with renting, I don’t need hardly anything that my friends feel they need to ‘live’. I just don’t need it. The only thing I have that I feel is worth owning is my camera.

Why do I feel this way? Well, first of all because when you grow up living in a house with no running water, in a room that in the winter you’d wake up with snow on your bed: you tend to appreciate central heating and running water for the amazing things they are, rather than taking them for granted, which MOST people do.

But, mostly, this attitude comes from knowing that it doesn’t matter. In the end, when we die, none of this will matter. The only thing that will matter will be this: Are YOU satisfied wit YOUR life? Not your past, that’s not your life, remember? Your life is now! So, again I ask, are you satisfied with your life?

Vegas-A well-crafted lie (18+!!!!!! Beware Kiddies!) March 1st, 2012


As said in the previous entries, I'm in Vegas for a photography seminar. I found it interesting that a path that I regularly took was completely different than Vegas is advertised to be ... In fact, I had to actually LOOK for things that looked good.

Now, if I was in a normal mood today, I'd make a grand statement about humanity's need to always package things in a way to where they seem bigger/better/awesomer ... but I've been awake all night. Perhaps I'll save that rant for another day ... for now, here's my point of view of Vegas ... basically, it is a city that shows the unfortunate side affects of focusing ONLY on the baser side of humanity. Namely that noone cares about their own city, or so it seems. There's glamour and glitter and perfectly cultured scenes all around you in Vegas ... and its all enmeshed/immersed/surrounded by filth. :( The Vegas I saw is the story of a child unleashed, stomping and throwing his toys across the room ... I'm not saying this is the way ALL of vegas is, but it just seemed such a contradiction that I needed to photograph it.



Vegas isn’t just lights and people aren’t what they seem. February 22nd, 2012

I rode the entire line of the 201 bus on Tropicana yesterday. I wanted to see the REAL Vegas, not the pretty lights hotels put out there to make you think this valley is greater than it is. 

As I stepped up the stairs, everyone on the bus looked at me. Rows of tired, dead-looking eyes, cold and impersonal. I almost backed off the bus, but didn’t. Sitting down, I had the view of people sitting across from me. The gentleman in front of me was dark. No, he wasn’t black, he was a white guy that hadn’t bathed in who knows how long. Under his grime, he was a white as me. I watched as people loaded onto the bus, all with strained and unfriendly personas. By the way, it was 5pm when everyone was getting off of work.

It was dirty, at some point people smelled, clothing was ruffled and not the best looking. But, as I sat there, I noticed something startling. Every other time the bus stopped, several people would chime “Thank you driver!” before they got off. This was something I’ve never even heard of, but it kept happening, over and over. At one point, an older woman in a wheelchair rolled on, and her bag broke. The dirty man across from me in a no-nonsense way picked up her stuff and fixed her bag so she could hold it again. A Mexican man stood up to let an older woman sit in his place. 

Now, I’m on assignment here: My charge to myself was to find the real Vegas while I was here and after this hour bus ride, I think I did. All around me, these dirty, cold, tired and impersonal people were being warm, genuine, and personal to each other. To strangers, nonetheless. This is something that I couldn’t photograph, but wish I could have. On the other hand, it was something I was experiencing and that’s documentation in and of itself. I recently heard an interview with George Clooney on NPR and in it he said, “We’ve lost our sense of actually experiencing things, we’re just constantly recording things … I think that’s too bad, because people are experiencing less and recording more.” Perhaps my experiencing this was just as important as photographing every moment of my life and posting it to facebook. 

Tomorrow, I’m going to ride the OTHER bus line, up and down the strip. I wonder what sense of reality I’ll lose or gain on THAT trip?

Friend’s feats should be recognized and re-blogged. February 21st, 2012

In all seriousness, its awesome if you happen to find a few good people to be in your life with you. I have such a friend, and for me she is the perfect amount of sarcastic ‘screw you don’t tell ME that society is a joke…I figured that out for myself!’. We get along rather well, go figure. 

Now, she’s a writer; or, in her words which show the sentiment that any artists feels about their work, she ‘just writes’. (My words? “Darned TOOTIN you write. And write very well, thank you!”) Well, she shared a story with me a while back that I loved. I forgot about it for a while but today, I just happened to come across it again. After I blew the snot from my nose because I was crying from laughing so hard after reading it, I’ve decided that there’s nothing to do but share it. 

Its a true story, or she wouldn’t have laughed so hard the first time she told me the story… Really, she almost fell over backwards she was laughing so hard, as did I, now that I think about it. Picture us, two 28 year olds, hanging on to each other for balance as we laugh til we can’t see. Just forget that that pretty much constitutes our hanging out time, 80% of the time. Snorting, crying, oh its not pretty, nor lady like. But, generally the best of times AREN’T ladylike, so there you have it. Anyway, I digress…Here’s how she made up her own religion…ENJOY! 

Prufeshunalism? What’s THAT? February 20th, 2012

So, I’m really nothing special. At the time I'm writing this, I’m just a student. I don’t have a full-blown professional studio with x amount of employees. I don’t have a huge client base. I don’t really have much of anything when it comes to photography. But, one thing I apparently DO have that some people do not? A sense of professionalism towards photographers who are trying to speak to an audience and to my fellow photogs who are trying to listen to those speakers.

I’m at the WPPI Photography conference in Las Vegas right now. Tonight was their Photographer’s Ignite portion of the week, where some really great people had the opportunity to speak to us. Every photographer was given 5 minutes to speak, and there were some amazing messages, as well as some humorous and informative ones. But, because of the extremely RUDE behavior of around a third of the people who were in the auditorium, I could not pay as much attention to the speakers as I should have been able to. Why? BECAUSE APPARENTLY THERE ARE SOME FREAKING MORONS WHO CONSIDER IT FINE TO TALK, LAUGH, AND EVEN YELL DURING A PRESENTATION. 

Who am I talking about? EVERY single person who was standing/sitting around the sidelines of the ‘Photographers Ignite’ audience tonight. I’m talking to you. SHAME ON YOU. I’m beyond words to even describe how incredibly rude it is to stand around and talk and laugh and sometimes even yell WHEN SOMEONE IS TRYING TO GIVE A PRESENTATION. What the F. Are you 5 years old? Why do you think having the manners of a baboon is either cool or ok?

Now, you may say, “Lighten UP Jude! You’re always going off on a tangent! You need to drink a little or something…” Except I don’t think so. I’m here to learn. I’m not here to chat it up or party. Who gives a rats ass if we’re in Vegas? REALLY? Do you even know how bad you people made this presentation for the people who actually CARE about learning something from this conference? … What’s that you say? I shouldn’t assume that you don’t care about learning? Oh, I’M sorry, I was only judging you by your actions, which is that you displayed behavior that SAID “I don’t care about learning, I’m only here to party.” Pardon me, I obviously have you all wrong…

Not only did you make those who were trying to listen miserable, you also affected the speakers themselves. What you may not realize is that a blatant disregard for the speakers (which you displayed) can actually cause them to feel less confident about themselves as speakers. There was an absolute change in the way people approached speaking near the end of the night than in the beginning. I blame it on you, completely. Nobody wants to speak to a crowd that they have to speak OVER. And, frankly, NOBODY SHOULD HAVE TO SPEAK OVER A CROWD WHEN THEY’RE GIVING A PRESENTATION. I am astounded, and actually outraged, specifically for the speakers.

Then, of course, there’s the icing on the cake. The very last speaker had a very inspirational message about something that is very dear to my heart: The rape survivors in Africa, the Orphans of Uganda. But you all TALKED AND LAUGHED THROUGH HIS PRESENTATION. … REALLY? How pathetic. Who do you think you are? Do you think their lives and pain are a joke? Do you think their plight and the terrible things that have happened to them are a joke? If you don’t, you sure as hell have a funny way of showing it. Are you so caught up in your life here in America that you don’t feel the need to be quiet when something so terrible is being spoken about? I think this is what I’m most upset about, that you would talk through this one particular message…

I’m ashamed of you. I’m ashamed of your actions. And even though your actions made me and every person there who WAS being polite look good in comparison, I somehow can’t even be glad of this. Because YOU are what’s wrong with both America and photography today. 

I can’t be light-hearted about this. I can’t NOT take it seriously because its something that SHOULD be taken seriously. If you aren’t taking it seriously, you need to take a good long look at yourself. Re-evaluate who you are. I’ve made mistakes in my life in regards to professionalism; I’ve been very stupid before, and I’m sure I will again. But, I would NEVER ever do what you all did tonight. 

I have no grand point except to say that I was feeling inadequate at this conference until this night. Then, I realized that a full third of you ‘professionals’ that are here just don’t get it. You don’t get that photography isn’t just about making money and partying it up. You don’t understand that photography is more than just a job. What you don’t understand is that photography is a force that can and has changed the world. Does that sound naive? If it does, I’d rather be naive than a rude jackass who ruins another person’s night.

Laugh it up. Drink it up. Party til you can’t stand. Guess what? All that’s going to get you is lack of respect. Oh, not to mention a newbie photographer’s disdain. Because, yeh, I do disdain you. I despise your lack of ethics. Am I being too harsh? I don’t think so. When a person can laugh through a speech about the rape victims in Africa, I don’t think I’m being harsh at all.

What this night has really done is cement in my head, yet again, the kind of person and photographer that I don’t want to be. So, thanks all you jerks, for showing what not to do. 

Peace out from Vegas.  
Edit: Also, kudos to the girl who stood up and yelled to the crowd behind her “Can you guys PLEASE keep it down? We’re TRYING TO HEAR THE SPEAKERS!” It wouldn’t have been my route, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t clap for you when you did it.

Edit #2: For all of you who read this when I first posted it … Yes, I did edit out some of the ‘I am Steeeamed and my panties are OBVIOUSLY 3 sizes to small’ language that came out of me the night of this presentation. Apparently, blogging while you’re out of your gourd with irritation isn’t a good idea. Who knew? <:D But, I was hoping you’d just think my crazy was hanging out again. (That super fabulously original term was from my friend Jay-Dee, stolen from a time he was responding to a wacked post I’d made. I can’t in all honesty take the credit for his awesome terms without giving credit.)

I'm Graduating!!! Whoo! February 17th, 2012

Well well well …. it seems I’ll be graduating soon. I will in a very calm and collected and completely grownup voice say …. FINNNNNAAAALLLLYYYY!!!! DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN FINALLY. OH MY OH MY OH MY, I will FINALLY BE FREE!!!!!!!!! … … … Ahem. Yes, now that I’m an adult, I’ll be saying things in an adult manner. Beware.

ANYway … this is the poster I made for my senior show. Come on out if you want to see the rest of the work. April 13th, Friday the 13th. >:) Bwahaha! Friday the 13th.

Well well well &#8230;. it seems I&#8217;ll be graduating soon. I will in a very calm and collected and completely grownup voice say &#8230;. FINNNNNAAAALLLLYYYY!!!! DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN FINALLY. OH MY OH MY OH MY, I will FINALLY BE FREE!!!!!!!!! &#8230; &#8230; &#8230; Ahem. Yes, now that I&#8217;m an adult, I&#8217;ll be saying things in an adult manner. Beware.ANYway &#8230; this is the poster I made for my senior show. Come on out if you want to see the rest of the work. April 13th, Friday the 13th. &gt;:) Bwahaha! Friday the 13th.

Can't you clone me, Dammit? February 15th, 2012

Where have all the clone scientists gone? Cloning sheep, every one … Oh when will they ever learn?

I’ve been looking at wedding photographer websites, and I have to say that I am So jealous of married couples that go into the wedding photography business together, that I could just eat my hat … and its a VERY large hat … woolie and yarnie and not at all fun to chew … Why am I ranting about this? Because as of yet, I shoot alone, unless I have weddings where I need to hire a second shooter. (Note the word ‘Hire’, not ‘Married to so I don’t have to pay them’)

Let me tell you the truth: At weddings, it is literally impossible to get the same amount of angles of the action if one is the only photographer. Since I feel that as a freelance photographer its always a little smarmy to take and use your assistant’s photos on your website to advertise you, the individual … I truly feel its just incredibly unfair that I can’t have multiple clones everywhere at weddings, getting opposite angles from where I’m shooting. <:(

WHY ARE THEIR NO CLONE MACHINES!!! Photography techies who are inventing new camera stuff have it ALL WRONG! Who needs the camera that can focus after you shoot?! If you had a dang clone, all you’d have to do is have them stand in a place where they can get that part of the picture in focus FOR you, in another picture!

I mean, come ON! Doesn’t it make more sense to spend time on developing helper clones for photographers than developing new camera’s? Sheesh, the priorities of the market these days… ::Shakes head::

Question. Random. February 10th, 2012

Someone asked me: What makes you feel better when you're in a bad mood?

Sleep. Wait, Also, sex. Wait, And chocolate. Wait! A new D800, paid in full. Oh wow, what a camera…the sleek lines, the contours!!! … What were we talking about again?

An oldie but a goodie. February 10th, 2012

As I revisited some old wedding stuff, I was startled to find this picture of the Bride’s grandparents dancing together. As I recall, they were enjoying themselves so much and this was only a small moment where they were quiet in the dance. I think its lovely…


Photography Apocalypse. February 2nd, 2012


I’ve been reading some ‘death of photography’ blogs lately, and frankly I find all of the gnashing of teeth about the market dying to be pretty lame.

If you have to sit there and tell other people how much they’re ruining the market and how they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing because it isn’t being done the way YOU had to do it when you were getting in the market â€¦ I’m pretty sure that just means you’re out of date. Jus sayin’ … Quit trash talking newbies and get out of the way. Seriously.

And then, Don Gianatti says it better than I EVER could. :] Love this guy…

I take pictures of kittens. January 21st, 2012


Kittens are cute, but are they trustworthy? Just to show you how serious I am, this is a friend of mine. We’re on rather close terms, and I can assure you he hates humanity.

Hmm, now that I think about it, Giraffes aren’t that trustworthy either. I 'overheard' this conversation at the zoo the other day.


Jude, the life and times. December 27th, 2011


So, sometimes it’s very easy to get so engrossed with what you’re doing that you don’t even notice things piling around you. Today, I sat back, smiling looking at the finished product of a photo I’d edited…then startled, looked around. Mounds and MOUNDS of notes to myself, Everywhere! The specifics of a person’s photos here, an assignment due a month ago there, a phone number on that wall. And I realized that I was very suddenly claustrophobic. It never seems bad until I stand back and look.

Isn’t life that way sometimes? It never seems like we’re overwhelmed until we stand back and rest. Then, looking down at all we’re doing in life sometimes makes ya not even want to get back in the drivers seat. But, without the drivers seat, we’d never go anywhere.

So, the quandary always has the same answer for me… Buck up, little chap. Get your driving gloves on, goggles arranged and jump back in the fray. Because the surest sign of being alive is struggle and hardship. :) … From where I’m standing, I have a VERY alive life. :D 

By the way, the picture of the post card in the middle of the photo is by one of my favorite modern artists, James Jean. He’s … I’m almost at a loss other than to say absolutely BRILLIANT. 

Here’s a link to his facebook page. The guy is just … nuts. Amazing. I’d love to be able to see his brain in action.



The beginning is always onto a blank page... December 20th, 2011

So, because I was using a tumblr page for the last few months, I'm going to copy and paste the entries there, to here. I didn't post much, so it shouldn't be too bad. :)

Ha. So, we shall see where this goes. Will I be a good blogger? Only time will tell… :D Will I completely overuse emoticons in every entry? Why, yes, I believe so. :D :P <:) But, that’s who I am. :)

A new blog home...

So, I've been playing at this blogging thing. To tell ya the truth, I don't really know what I'm doing at it. To me, blog means 'diary', but one person's diary might just be another person's garbage. I dunno. So, I'm playing, but I suppose I'll play nice, for now. Now, in normal life, I like to think of myself as a rebel and someone who doesn't give a care about anyone, but I've been looking at reality lately and I don't think my version of myself is adding up. You see, I don't care if I offend people if I'm telling the truth; frankly, your reality isn't mine, and why would you chose to tell me that mine is wrong when we both have equal rights to insisting we are individually right? But ... I do care if I hurt people. Always have and while its annoying to have a conscience, I suppose it does keep me in line. So, I'll try to keep it real, but not as real as the streets, or not as real as my 'really' real is, cus noone wants to see that bumbled mess nor the idiocy that comes from it. My point? (I do ramble, don't I?) I shall en-devour to make a go of this thing called blogging without shocking you too badly. I promise. Note I didn't say I'd never shock you. :) Just that I'd try...

Ps...THAT'S ME AND I HARDLY HAD TO WORK ON MY SKIN AT ALL THAT DAY!!! wHOO FOR ME! ... Its always exciting when you look decent with hardly any work. Of course, its then extremely frustrating to spend hours working at it and then you look terrible. The universe is cruel, what ken I say?

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