So Long 2012..... LETS DO THIS 2013 !!!

The Good, The Bad and Fabulousness of 2012 via my Instagram

My goodness, this year was fun (of course), but boy o boy was it STRANGE LOL.  Dont get me wrong its always a blessing to see another year and 2012 of course is no exception. But my good grief!! Politically, Personally, Professionally , WORDLY its just been off the chain. Its been a while since I was able to really reflect back over all the good, bad and fabulousness that has taken place in a year. I usually just feel like okay a good year and try to make the next one better but not 2012 no way, I'm completely aware of all that has taken place this year and I'm hoping to bring that self awareness into 2013. Who knows maybe its because I turned 30, I mean thats a change in itself. A Change I'm looking forward to since everyone says that 30 is when things get poppin! Haha.  I do though, believe that this self awareness is really due to me constantly being in tune with the goals and plan to carry out those goals. So if you havent set up a strategic plan for yourself DO THAT ISH FOR 2013. Seriously using your plan as a living document that you refer to all the time.. Its super helpful! Okay I'm off my goal setting soap box, but would this be a New Year's blog if I didn't say something about setting goals? I mean come on..

So anyway, with all the changes that took place in 2012 I'm expecting BIG things for 2013 and I hope the same for you!

Cheers to 2013!! I'm so ready!!
Thanks for reading :)

T is for Transition

This past October I decided to step down from my position as the Midwest Regional Chapter Director with American Photographic Artists. I worked with them as the Chapter Director for two years.  Shortly after that I decided to also leave my board position with the Midwest Chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers too I was a board member with ASMP for four years. 

This wasn't an easy decision for me. In fact I didn't want to do it, I was having fun, I enjoyed planning events, engaging members  sharing information and being a resource to the memberships and helping out in the photographic community. I met a bunch of amazing people that I know I will remain in contact with for what I hope to be forever. I credit ASMP for helping be build alot of the leadership skills that I have now, and if it wasn't for ASMP I would not have been offered teh Chapter Director postion with APA or my advising postion with Harrington College of Design.

So then why did I stop? My own work was startting to suffer. *GASP* I know right!! How could I let me own work slip! It was messed up. My days were long with working at the college, then I would come home to work on things for the APA, then after a good workout, I would get some edits done for myself but not as much as I planned in my head and then its time for bed.  You know how the saying goes "If you dont love yourself, how can you love anyone else". Well, same thing here, I cant  help anyone with their business while mine is just sits and my list of to-dos just keeps piling up.  You have to take care of home. 
*Side note*- I was also turned 30 in October, a lot of restructuring priorities and the like was going on and what can I say, some things had to be given the chop.

                                                       THEN I WAS GIVEN THE CHOP!!!

After almost four years of  working as a career advisor at Harrington College of Design. I was laid off. Damn. I have never been in a lay off situation before. Harrington was my first "real" job. I had pretty much been freelancing ever since I graduated college so this whole lay off thing was totally new to me but more about that later.  This is oh so bittersweet. My finances are interrupted, no more students, no more faculty and staff and no more need to buy "The Editor Pant" from Express.  The whole experience was well worth it, and I wouldn't change a thing.

So back to the blank canvas.. The world is completely my oyster right now and I can literally do whatever I want. That is exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. I've never been in such a huge transition like this before.  However I am expecting great things. I'm ready just to get back to focusing 100% on my own work and sharing it with you.

So with 2013 right around the corner you might want to check in with yourself and think about what you might need to give the big chop to and what your going to focus on. 2013 is getting ready to kick butt!! I for one can not wait!! 

Thanks for reading

Now I'm 30

@my birthday party with friends Chance and Lindsey :)
I recently turned 30 and I made big deal about it, I had several events.  I had a family party, a sequins in the daytime brunch, and a big bash. Alot of planning and alot of fun, but guess who will not be doing all that planning next year *puts hand in the air*. LOL It's all good though after all you only turn 30 once. 

On my Facebook page, everyone shared with me how my 30s are going to be soo aweome, so I'm expecting a MONUMENTAL SHIFT! It's exciting and overwhelming and I have goals and wishes for my 30s.

I'm incredibly thankful to all my friends and family for making my 30s soo freaking awesome!

So here we go!! Of course I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading :)

How to a Beauty Queen (and not an asshole)

1984, Vanessa Willams crowned as Miss America
The other week, my girl Juli hosted a networking function. It was a chill event with good looking smart people. Discussion flowed on politics, and pop culture(Real Housewives YES!!) and their was even some dancing.  With all the fun and conversation going on I was surprised that a few of her guests some of these people I even knew decided to leave early because they didn’t think the crowd was “their crowd” or “their scene”. Tacky, right? I mean this was our friend and we should have been there supporting her! WTH?! Yeah, that didn't sit to well with me. I thought about all the different events they had in the past where Juli showed up excited to be there and support them. So I was pretty annoyed when they showed with attitudes, claiming to have “headaches” and not really putting any effort into having a good time, I mean we had a conga line for crying out loud, who sits out on a conga line?! Really? 

I pulled my dear friend Christina aside to share in this annoyance and that’s when she said the realist ish of 2012… "Stephanie, not everyone is going to be a beauty queen, what can you do?" YESS!!!!!! I screamed! She didn’t even have to explain,I already knew what she meant and she was right!! It was a quick reminder to me that everyone does not have the ability to go with the flow. Beauty Queens show up with a smile, and a positive attitude. Some people can roll with the punches and some simply cannot. It’s out of my control and it’s not my problem.

I would like to encourage you to "Always Be a Beauty Queen"

This is the reality. Sometimes you might have to do things you don’t want to do, sometimes friends, family, colleagues, whomever will host an event that might not be something you would do on your own and you will have to go with the flow if you choose to attend. However, always know that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Don’t show up anywhere with a bad attitude, unless your going to a girlfriends house to vent.

If you want to be able to grow and expand yourself personally, professionally, romantically, whatever!! You have to be a beauty queen. So what does that mean?

How does one become a beauty queen, well here are a few tips, and you must follow these tips regardless if you are in the hood all the way to the Black Caucus Dinner it doest matter here we go:

Keep your energy up & your attitude positive- No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer, If you dont feel up to hanging out, CALL (not text) the host/hostess of the event or whomever invited you and apologize. You might feel bad for canceling, but get over it. Its much better this way, and you can always thank them afterwards

Look your best- No matter what your personal style is, look as good as you can. Clean your body, smell good, throw a few curls in your hair, whatever. When you look good, you feel good and thats just the honest truth. 

Be Respectful- This is sort of like just being cool. Dont go into an event showing your arse because you aren't having a good time. It's not a good look! if you begin a conversation and at some point you tune out, be nice and excuse yourself. Say to them "this conversation is really interesting, but I am not feeling well, here is my card, email me and lets get together" you know followup .ALL MOGULS MAKE SURE THEY FOLLOW UP!

Smile - Say Cheese!! 

Be Engaging- Make Light Conversation, the weather is a classic go to for a reason. In the event you begin a conversation and at some point you tune out, be nice and excuse yourself. Say to them "this conversation is really interesting, but I am not feeling well, here is my card, email me and lets get together" you know followup .ALL MOGULS MAKE SURE THEY FOLLOW UP!

Move & Groove- you might not want to be in the conga line, but cheer the others on, and keep a drink in your hand and just lightly move to the music. It shows that you are down to have a good time.

What would you add to the list?

Midwest SPE Members Exhibition

Last night I attended the Midwest Society for Photographic Education’s Members Exhibition. The exhibition was curated by Catherine Evans, Curator of Photography, Columbus Museum of Art. I was happy that three of my images from my "So This One Guy" series was selected to be featured in the show YAY!! I so I decided to make a mini trip to check out the show at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center.

It's been a long time since I've shown my work, and let me tell you it felt awesome! The work was well received too. As an artist you must remember that after you make the work, you need to show the work DUH! *hits forehead* I was in the middle of a conversation when I noticed a group of young ladies stop at the work and actually have their own conversation around my work. They were laughing and joking with one another, and that made me super happy, even though I was enjoying the conversation I wish I would have quickly excused myself and taken a quick snapshot. Its all good, I hope to have many more of those situations in the near future.

The  exhibition is a part of FOTOFOCUS and is up until the end of October, If you are in or around Cincinnati or Covington, KY please stop by and check it out. More details here

I'd Rather Be in the Studio!

This year I have made it a priority to work on personal projects. Ever since the Creative Capital workshop I went to a few months back I've really been rocking and rolling kicking my work into high gear. 

Per the suggestion of my twitter friend and artist consultant Kesha Bruce. I picked up a copy of Alyson Stanfield's book I’d Rather Be in the Studio, and HONEY! LET ME TELL YOU HOW GREAT THIS BOOK IS!

It's really easy to set goals for yourself, but then you have to have a plan to actually make that goal happen right?! This book is that plan. It's a straight how to resource guide, where I found myself rolling up my sleeves and getting right down to business. Its clear, actionable and to the point. Its exactly what I needed. I reference this book often. If your an artist finding yourself in a situation where you are stuck and need to move forward I would suggest you pick this one up.

Well, I beg your pardon, first of all dont you speak to me like that... (ok even if you dont laugh I just made myself chuckle) 

If you don't want to make the jump yet, you should check out Alyson's Blog  (I own the book, and I still read check out the blog often) There is a lot of great information there! It's actually because of a post I read on Alyson's blog (many years ago) where I acted on a suggestion Alyson made. Alyson's suggestion was that an artist should get involved in her community. It was that suggestion that lead me to find (an eventually serve on the board) of organizations such as ASMP and APA . In essence I owe a thank you to Alyson for my involvement with them, which has been an invaluable experience.  THANKS ALYSON GIRL!!! WOOT!

BTW,  I'm telling you about this book because I thought it was great and wanted to tell others I thought it was great. No one asked me or paid me to write this, besides I live in Illinois and Amazon doesn't support affiliate links for us Illinois folks so now you know I'm telling the truth. It really is a great book, check it out! 

Thanks for reading

Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series!!!!- YOUR SUPPORT IS REQUESTED

I recently entered the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, a competition for visual artists to have the opportunity to exhibit their work at the ever so awesome Miami Basel. I found out about the contest last year through fellow artist Keisha Jordan and decided to participate this year. I was skeptical at first about the contest only because of the voting structure, but I have to say it has been really fun and interesting to include my family, and friends in this process, and they really want to support! It’s been really cool to see. I am not sure what the outcome will be but for now, I am just excited to have a few pieces of my new work out there and getting feedback about it.

So now, here is my pitch (aw come on you knew it was coming)

I could use YOUR  support on my new body of work, 3 of my pieces are
3 of my pieces are running in a contest with the winner being chosen to exhibit in the 2012 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series!!!!
Check them out, vote for one, vote for
them all, just make sure you VOTE EVERYDAY

Thank you and of course pass along to all of your friends

Deirdre is in New American Paintings!!

Okay, Okay, OKAY!  I have to just take a moment to brag on my  friend/fellow artist/accountability partner Deirdre Fox who has been featured in " New American Paintings" Midwest #101 Issue! This is pretty big deal since New American Paintings, is a very large and important competition. YAY! So excited for her!

You can order a copy and check out more about New American Paintings here or next time your in the local bookstore take a peek at pages 54-57.

I love when my friends work gets recognized, I'm like a proud mom!!

Check out more work from Deirdre Fox here



While hanging in Vegas the other week documenting my trip wit the usual, general snaps one would snap as they enjoyed vacation , and then...well what can I say the drinks were flowing, music was pumping and I became INSPIRED!!! At that moment "#randomblackkidcamera" was born.

Fun project filled with randomness as I ran up and down the strip, in and out of clubs, having the time of my life, striking up randoms convos, dancing with random people I just started asking people to pose with me..  and there you have it "#randomblackkidcamera" !!

At this point I honestly dont know what is to become of this project, I would like to keep it going but you know as of lately my iPhone hasnt been holding a great charge and its been dying on me during some really great times a #random____camera project could get started which is really annoying but I will figure it out. Until then I had a great time just playing around :)

Have you ever had a spontaneous project kick off when you least expect it?Tell me all about it in the comments?

Clarion Call for Fun! I Went to Vegas Baby!

Work Hard, Play Hard, that’s the way the saying goes right? We’ve said it, all have lived it attempted to live it, but let me tell you something!! It's so true! I suggest you make this your  life’s’ motto. Its definitely one of mine!

I'm making the following a mandate, a clarion call, a affirmation, ready, repeat after me:

Listen, I don’t want to tell you what to do and don’t get me wrong ,I love what I do, as I am sure you love what you do. However, I equally love hitting the dance floor, throwing back a brewski or two and having fun (fun meaning involving myself and whomever else in my party in pure foolishness)! It’s so important to take time for YOURSELF, in fact I consider it VITAL to ensure that you have a sustainable creative practice and business.

For the past few days I have been doing just that, celebrating one my best friends Danielle’s 30th birthday in no other than…Las Vegas!!!
This was my second time visiting the “Sin City” (the first time was a lot more mild than this time) and I love this city!
The locals are happy and us tourists are there to kick back, drink, eat, and spend our money! BAM!  If you have never been to Vegas I would suggest you add it on your list of places to go, its just that fun! Especially if you like to party as much as I do!  I really had a blast, and I could go on and on with the foolishness, my girlfriends Lee and Danielle got into but you know how it goes… what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

So the moral of this post if you haven’t scheduled a vacation for yourself do so right away. You deserve it!

Hey, I would love to hear about ways that you recharge, where do you vacation? How do you renew your energy? Share with me! I want to know!

Thanks for reading

top left to right: Rain night club, Gallery night club, my besties Lee and Danielle
bottom left to right: plane ride, me w/Lee, and me w/Danielle

APA Resolve to Connect Tonight!

Tonight is the night! Along with the other 9 chapter of  the APA , APA Midwest will be hosting our “Resolve to Connect” event at Diversey River Bowl from 6:30-9:30 p.m. This is a rare national APA event, when all over the country, networking events will be taking place. Our goal tonight, is to bring together everyone in the industry for a chance to meet and renew old acquaintances while recharging those creative batteries. Tonight if you are in the area stop by and meet photographers, assistants, producers, stylists, digital techs, retouchers, actors, models and casting agents!

Anyone who has participated in a photo shoot with a team of people knows there can be a creative synergy that develops when everyone is collaborating and on the same page. Its a fantastic feeling, working together as a team to create something new and different. This event should help you build a bigger network of fellow collaborators, and get you ready for your next gig!

Its going to be fun, so if you are in the area please consider stopping by!

See you tonight and as always thanks for reading :)


Creative Capital Core Weekend Workshop

I recently attended a Creative Capital Core Weekend Workshop organized by Chicago Artists' Coalition. For two and a half days I focused on self-management, strategic planning, fundraising and promotion within my art practice in an hotel conference room in Champaign IL. It's important that I stress MY ART PRACTICE, because I spend alot of time working with students, and working commercial photographers producing events and programs that will help them with their businesses, and as much work as that takes, its easy to forget to take care of myself first. This weekend was exactly what I needed.  There were twenty-six artists in all and I am not exaggerating when I say that these were some of the most talented, exciting, diverse and funny group of artists that i have ever met! I left the weekend not only overwhelmed (in a good way) of information but inspired. The best part of the weekend though, is I have 25 new artist friends that not only support me in my art practice but I support them in theirs YAY!!

Oh yeah! Another thing was that this workshop was smack dead in the middle of my fathers birthday weekend, so I brought my folks along with me to Champaign, and we celebrated at Red Lobster, I rarely travel with an entourage but you know what the heck! Oprah has a entourage, so why not me? Right? 
Happy Birthday Dad xoxo

Here are some pictures, I grabbed with my iPhone.


Thanks for reading.

Fast Company Made Me Loose My Morning!

I spent most of my morning reading articles from the awesome people at Fast Company. I have LinkedIn to thank for turning me on to Fast Company because even though I had seen there magazines plenty on the newsstands I never paid attention to what the magazine might offer. I still haven't picked up an actual copy of the magazine but after my morning with Fast Company I might stop and check it out when I go grocery shopping this weekend (which is way overdue!).

At any rate, I promised my followers on Twitter that I would post some of the articles I read this morning that I really helpful and hopefully you will too.Out of all the articles I have here the article on procrastination I found to be super thoughtful and helpful, I am a SUPER PERFECTIONIST so much that I over think the projects I am trying to complete so much that I scare myself out of doing it at all. A lot of what I was reading today discussed how to break through that and how to get moving. Overcoming this idea of perfectionism is a work in progress but I did feel a little bit better after reading this article.. so if you deal with procrastination check out "Get to work by meeting procrastination head on"

Here were some other awesome articles that you should check out: 

So in conclusion the whole point of this post is to basically say that I think Fast Company is the shit!
If you have articles you love please pass them on to me and if you check any of these out let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading.

Stephanie Graham, Studio Blog. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.