Just over a year ago I drafted a list of my 11 creative goals for 2011. I shared them online in hopes of making myself more accountable. In all honestly, I did review them a couple of times during 2011. However, reading them appears to be just about the only thing I accomplished [that’s not entirely true, but still]. The previous exercise was inspired by the endeavors of two photographer friends/colleagues. Well, one of them recently decided to publish a retrospect of sorts based on her goals and related accomplishments. Now, I feel compelled to do the same. Without further ado here are the results:

ONE  Practice patience. Stop trying to force images. Accomplished, partially. I now consider this one a life-long goal for image making and human existence in general. I will share that I often [but not always] found myself pausing during assignments, pausing to look, think and consider what kind of photograph I wanted to make. The photograph below was made while on assignment in Moorhead, Minn., for Minnesota Public Radio News as part of ongoing coverage of the lockout of union workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa.

Union worker lockout at Amercian Crystal Sugar Co.'s Moorhead, Minnesota plant

TWO  Exhibit my work. Accomplished! This goal was by far my most successful of the year. I had photographs exhibited in both “Woman As Photographer” and “Where In The World” at the Mpls Photo Center. A small selection of aerials of 2011 flooding were included in an interactive display as part of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s “The Raging Red and Mighty Mississippi” exhibit. And most importantly, I collaborated with the lovely and talented Britta Trystad [pictured on the left below] to create “Parallels: A Curious Pairing of Photographs“. Parallels was on display for the month of August at DK Custom Framing @ Gallery 14 in downtown Fargo. Thanks to Mr. Dave Arntson for the photograph below.

Parallels: A Curious Pairing of Photographs

THREE  Attend a documentary-based workshop. Fail. My intention was to attend the Mountain Workshops in Kentucky. However, cost, distance and time away from home just started to feel like too much. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. I haven’t given up on attending this – or another similar workshop – in 2012, but I need to do a better job of planning to make it happen. I did attend a one-day workshop for creative entrepreneurs in Minneapolis in early October. My attendance at Giant Steps was made possibly by a scholarship sponsored by Springboard for the Arts. The photograph below was created through a window at the Guthrie Theater, which hosted the workshop.

View from the Guthrie Theater

FOUR  Knit a scarf and a pair of socks. Fail. I got as far as partially knitting a scarf with the most beautiful purple yarn, but those efforts were short lived. While the scarf remains unfinished, the socks are a mere dream.

FIVE  Build a searchable image archive online. Fail. The only thing that needs to happen is for me to make the time to sort, caption and upload files to my PhotoShelter account. Every year I tell myself I need to do this, usually a few months before spring flooding arrives in the Red River Valley. Watch for this goal to return on my 2012 list.

SIX  Experiment with video and share the results. Fail. My poor 5D Mark II has never even had its video capabilities turned on. How sad is that!?

SEVEN  Pursue and publish a personal project. Fail. Of all my failed goals this one is the most troubling to me. I had a solid concept in The Bottom Line and did pursue it to a point, but then spring flooding [and an abundance of assignment work] hit. Shortly thereafter, I struggled to get caught up on work tasks that were ignored during the flood. Then, my family purchased a new house and moved across town. After that, I’m sure there was something else that came up and kept coming up. Clearly, I did not make this goal or project – which remains a concept only at this point – a priority.

EIGHT  Volunteer to photograph for NILMDTS. Fail. I did attend a training workshop and activate my status as a volunteer. However, I have not been able to take on any actual sessions for the organizations [primarily due to scheduling conflicts].

NINE  Contact photo editors at 11 national publications. Fail. I sent a couple of emails, but that’s about it. On the plus side, I did work with several new publications in 2011 [Midwest Living, High Country News and Indian Country Today Media Network] and organizations [The Humane Society of the United States, West Central Initiative and Leadership Education at Duke Divinity]. Another goal to repeat in 2012.

TEN  Design a set of postcards and thank you cards. Fail. I did create a postcard to serve as our family’s seasonal greeting card [see below]. We mailed it in an envelope because I wanted to use two photographs and not give up space to mailing information and a stamp. The printing and paper quality were excellent so this is another goal that might come back around. Thanks to Britta Trystad for photographing our little family.

Our family

ELEVEN  Create images that rely on emotion. Accomplished, sort of. I thought it was emotion I wanted to capture, but after looking at images from 2011 I realized it’s really more about reaction and interaction. This could be one person interacting to another or it could be how a person or object relates to a particular place or scene. Like goal No. 1, I think this endeavor is more of an ongoing effort. The photograph below was created in recent weeks for Minnesota Public Radio News during a Kurdish language class in Moorhead.

Kurdish Class

That’s the official [and rather lengthy] year-end report on my 11 creative goals for 2011. I’ll be back with a list of a dozen goals for 2012 next week.

Happy New Year. – Ann

Santa Claus

I recently spent a couple of hours [three to be exact] in the company of a Santa Claus. Fortunately, he was a kind man and quite genuine in his Santa duties. My official task was to photograph said Santa with anyone who wanted to have his or her picture taken with Jolly Old St. Nicholas. Fortunately, most of said people were over the age of 18. While editing a couple thousand images [2,030 to be exact], I considered the Santa experience and jotted down a couple of lessons [eight to be exact].

1] You are never too old to ask for a pony, puppy or peace on Earth.
2] Cover your knees. The importance of a good-fitting suit [or other attire] cannot be overstated.
3] Don’t be afraid to ask a friend [or friends] to come along. Life isn’t as scary with your BFF along for the ride.
4] Make wishes big and small.
5] If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, sit next to you or have a photograph taken with you, don’t take it personally.
6] Embrace new friends, but also remember to hug the old ones.
7] Be patient. Not everything can happen all at once.
8] Be goofy. If Santa can walk around in a funny red suit with fluffy white trim, well, you get the idea… .

I’m certain many more lessons could be added to this list, but Christmas is fast approaching and there is still work to be done.

Happy holidays to you and those you love. – Ann

Minneapolis, Minnesota

My intention with this online journal was to primarily provide a home to share photographs and other creative work. Yet, increasingly I find myself wanting to share observations, considerations and thoughts about photography, media and much more. That said, I’ve been too busy lately [both at work and at home]. I’m craving pause and time for not just reflection, but to craft a plan for the coming months. It seems I’ve cast my net too wide and far.

I’m headed back to Minneapolis this afternoon. I say “back” because this will be my third trip to the Twin Cities in less than two months. Appropriately, the photographs above and below were created in and around the Guthrie Theater in early October. More on that adventure another time.

Best, Ann

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Scotty & Princess in New Town, North Dakota

The folks at the Mpls Photo Center continue an impressive string of group shows with the “Where In The World” exhibition. This show features images by dozens of photographers from across the United States. The show juror was Toby Kamps of The Menil Collection in Houston.

I’m pleased to share that my photograph of “Scotty & Princess” [above] is among those in the exhibit. This photograph was made last March in New Town, N.D., while I was on assignment for an editorial client. This is the second time in recent months that I’ve exhibited in Minneapolis as part of a juried show. [More details are here.]

The opening reception for “Where In The World” is set for tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. I’ll be there and can’t wait to see the entire show. Best, Ann

P.S. If you don’t happen to be in Minneapolis tonight, feel free to stop by to check out “Where In The World” anytime before Nov. 27.

A Minnesota Lake, 2011

When illness [small or big] strikes it can serve as a reminder about how amazing life is when you are healthy. I know that’s how I’ve felt whenever a nasty sinus infection or other ailment has come and then [thankfully] gone.

The sister of a good friend of our family’s has been ill for awhile. I’m not familiar with the particulars, but know there is a benefit in the works for early November.

Sometimes we’re helpless to assist others. Sometimes we can make a small gesture to show kindness. In the interest of supporting our friend and his family, I’m donating a framed photograph of “Tiny Leaf”. This image was created in early September during an outing to Middle Cormorant Lake with our extended family. The print of this photograph is very striking and one I hope will fetch a nice price.

Good health to you and yours, Ann