Walt Disney Concert Hall - Frank Gehry - Angie McMonigal Photography-9948-Edit-Edit
A couple weeks ago a good friend, former neighbor (whom I greatly miss), mother of two adorable kiddos and exceptionally talented artist, Bridgette Guerzon Mills, invited me to be a part of a blog hop.
What’s a blog hop? Well, I was wondering the same thing. Below I answer some questions about my creative process and share with you more info on Bridgette along with two other creatives I greatly admire. I’m sharing a diverse pool of individuals that offer much inspiration. Bridgette–a mixed media and book artist, Christine–an inspirational writer and Chris–the photographer and mastermind behind Out of Chicago.
1) What am I working on/writing?
I’m currently preparing for the biggest photo shoot I’ve been commissioned to do, which makes me both giddy with excitement and a wee bit nervous. I’ll be heading to Paris soon to create artwork for a major hotel brand, so I’m in the midst of itinerary planning and scheduling everything on the home front. I’m also getting an image ready for a September exhibition titled “Transportation” through the New York Center for Photographic Art.
I’m continuously working on a few of my photo series, most notably my Architecture, Architectural Street and Nature & Man series. I somewhat recently added an iPhone portfolio of images that I’m always adding to. But what I’d really like to spend more time focusing on is finishing up my Hometown series and work more extensively on a new series titled Urban Quilt.
This has also been an exciting year of firsts for me, so I’m still wrapping my head around everything that’s happened and what is still in the works for this year. From teaching my first workshop, doing my first commercial photo shoot and working on a couple of commissioned projects. I haven’t had quite as much time as I’d like to photograph…maybe with fall approaching things will get back to a more regular schedule.
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
I find this a bit difficult to answer. As viewing my own work entirely objectively and in comparison to others is quite challenging to do. I just know the way I see and believe we each have our own unique view of things. So, in that regard we all differ from one another. For me, I tend to see things from a more detailed perspective and am inclined to notice what is quite often overlooked.
3) Why do I write/work what I do?
Simple answer, because it makes me happy, it’s fun, rewarding and keeps me sane. I’m mostly a stay-at-home mom, which is both rewarding and challenging, I guess much like anything. But I really need something that is for me and allows me to express myself in a different way than I do being a mother. There’s a catharsis that comes with my photography.
4) How does my writing/working process work?
As I mentioned I’m a stay-at-home mom so my process is both chaotic and organized. Chaotic in the sense that I don’t have a strictly set time to work on photography, I squeeze it in when I can…when the older one is doing homework or the littler one naps or they’re both in bed at night or in that rare moment they’re actually playing well together and I’m not breaking up fights. Organized in the sense that I do schedule one day a week to go out to create photographs. However, sometimes that one day ends up being consumed with errands and appointments that I just can’t do with little kids. So as of late, I’ve been losing my photography days. I guess that makes even the organized days chaotic!
But when I am actually able to spend the day photographing my process is generally about consuming myself with the subject matter, architecture and the urban landscape, I’m photographing. Spending the time observing it, studying it, trying to see it from as many different perspectives as I can, noticing the details and intricacies that are easy to miss if one doesn’t take the time. I tend to focus on one main building or area of the city each time I go out to shoot as opposed to covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Sometimes I research what I’m going to photograph ahead of time to have a better understanding of the building.
Obviously, with photography this is only part of the process. The second half of this is the editing and that’s where the more chaotic structure comes into play, fitting it in when I can. But if I do this later at night or when I know I’ll have a block of time alone, I usually turn on some music and begin the editing process. First in Lightroom for initial adjustments and then Photoshop for further work and back to Lightroom to add the finishing touches. Each image has its own peculiarities so the way in which I process each one, the settings I use, are always different. I’d say this depends on the subject matter, lighting when the image was made and my mood while editing.
And now let me introduce the amazing artist, Bridgette Guerzon Mills, who invited me to the blog hop:

Bridgette Guerzon Mills is a an award winning mixed media artist and book artist. Her work incorporates a variety of materials including photography, oil paint, acrylic paint and encaustic. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. Her paintings, artist books, and journals have been published in magazines and books and her work has been collected in the United States and abroad. She currently makes her home in Towson, MD with her family.
“My mixed media paintings incorporate moments captured by my photographs with the richness of paint, creating a bridge between two worlds – the real and the reconstructed. I lay down layers of paint and pieces of photo transfers, papers or fibers to create depth in both form and meaning. The canvas becomes a multilayered surface that speaks to both the visual and tactile senses. This integration of diverse layers creates an intimate connection that invites exploration.”

And now for the two creatives that continuously inspire me, they’ll be publishing their blog posts within the next week, so be sure to visit their sites.
1465198_444988385601542_1879019271_nChristine Organ is an author, blogger, and freelance writer. Her first book – a collection personal essays that celebrates grace, wonder, and everyday miracles – will be published late 2014 or early 2015. She writes on her website about faith, hope, love, and the human condition. In her previous life, she was a practicing attorney and she continues to resurrect parts of that past life as a freelance writer within the legal industry. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and their two young sons, a lizard, a fish, and a couple of naughty-but-lovable dogs. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.
image(1)Chris Smith
I run www.OutofChicago.com for photographers in and out of Chicago. I wrote The Photographer’s Guide to Chicago and run the Out of Chicago Photography Podcast. During the day, I teach high school physics. I am a proud husband and father of two amazing kids. I love photographing the city of Chicago, improving my photography, and sharing my knowledge.
@outofchicago on twitter
The Photographer’s Guide to Chicago http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F08993Q



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