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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Risk Authenticity

I have been mulling over how to write my own version of the election results here.  I am one of many who are disappointed in the results, however, what I really want to express came after some reading I did from Buddhist leaders, and today I watched a Ted Talk from Brene Brown about Vulnerability.

Risk authenticity and just express how you feel.  I find it best to do this within my own tribe first, to get my feet wet, then branching out from there.  But be informed and be kind.

Personally, I don't vote for anyone who supports racism, but I also didn't think it wise to let someone run the country who had never been a politician.  We don't usually hire managers off the street, so that was just bad business.
I let my gut tell me how to feel about a person, I always have.  I have good instincts and high intuition.  I knew he wasn't right for the job.

Aside from all the obvious stuff that has already been aired, I really see this as a Shift, an opportunity for Big change.  OK, it's out, and the country is split. everyone is mad as hell, and at each other.  This is not where we should start.

For me personally, it became apparent just a few days after the results were out and I was on a day trip with a friend who happens to be a conservative republican.  I was hoping to not talk politics at all, and we almost got through the whole day, but somehow it came up and I feel I was ambushed into a corner.  Not really her fault.  My lesson there was how apparent it was to me that I was uninformed and couldn't even defend myself!  My fault.  Knowledge is power, that is correct, and I have seen the light!

After a recent meditation I came away feeling compassion for all of us.  I also felt hope and acceptance.  But it will take some time to sort things out before others calm down, some just won't, but that's in their nature.

So risking authenticity is to be vulnerable, and vulnerable is a state of openness.  The risk of course is not knowing the outcome, but that's just life. 

I think this Shift will be different for all of us, it will be very personal and many will grow because of it.  I know I have already.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Benefits of Handwriting

I heard something today that reminded me that there is a difference between handwriting and using a keyboard as far as how your brain works.
An article I read said “When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Coll├Ęge de France in Paris.
In another article it said that  "because putting ink to paper stimulates a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating Center, or the RAS."

I found more information about this as an educational issue for young children but I also know that I myself feel a distinct difference between writing something out by hand vs typing.  I can still relay my feelings and ideas, but handwriting seems to flow easier.

I journal daily.  It's my therapy, my friend, my companion.  My think tank for ideas.  As I write, I get even more information about my subject, often I get answers!  I can almost always figure out a dream if I write it down.

Dr. Wayne W Dyer mentioned many times in his writings and speeches that he always wrote out his books by hand, and that he always felt somehow guided as he wrote.
I have to agree that there is an ethereal element to this kind of process.  My daily journal writing has been very therapeutic.  I actually prefer this over long hours spent with someone who hardly knows me, not to mention the cost.

I also write out my to do lists, my project lists and I still send hand written cards.
So I imagine I am engaging a different part of my brain in this way, and hopefully stimulating it with new cells to keep me mentally fit for many years to come,  as this article states:  "According to The Wall Street Journal, some physicians claim that the act of writing — which engages your motor-skills, memory, and more — is good cognitive exercise for baby boomers who want to keep their minds sharp as they age."


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Age VS Maturity

I was thinking recently about the differences between people's chronological age and their maturity level (not that that can really be measured).  But let's say we're having a conversation with a 65 year old who comes across more like a 40 year old.  Or a 35 year old person who seems more like a 70 year old.

These are rash generalizations, but you get my point.  I just wonder if we are putting too much emphasis on our chronological ages, pigeon-holing people into categories that they may not fit into just by virtue of some statistics.

I have a wide range of friends in all age groups, they are all different!  My friends in the same age groups are not all the same.  Some are healthier, some seem "older".

Anyway, maybe someday we'll have to give driver's licenses to a deserving class, or alcohol to a smaller group and voting rights to more people.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Peace Deprivation

I live in a small recreational community in the forest.  Most of the time it's pretty quiet and I enjoy the peace of silence and wildlife around me.

There are several "camp" lots where people from the city come to enjoy the outdoors - I think anyway.  Mostly they bring their loud radios, barking dogs and screaming children.

I try to ignore this, rationalizing that they just don't know any better.  However some of the full time residents are just as ignorant of the quality of peace that is available to them, if they would only just shut up long enough to hear it.
Blaring TV's, radios, video games and music numb their senses.  This is Peace Deprivation I think.  And not just peace and quiet - but real peace, the kind that comes when you're at peace.

So I too suffer from Peace Deprivation because I can't turn them off.  I can however go inside my own house and have peace.

The truly blissful days are when they are all gone, and I have the neighborhood to myself.  This is true bliss.

The wildlife don't seem to mind either way, I wish I could be more like them.

I wish I could tell them it's really OK to hear what's inside your head, but you will have to come to terms with it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Real Health Insurance

There is no miracle cure for health.
No short cuts to losing weight, eating better, feeling better.
You've got to do the work.  Like most things worth achieving, it's work, it takes time, but mostly it takes attitude.

Attitude, as it turns out, is our key to success at anything.  You may not understand this till a later time in life, like me, I have only been at this (diligently) for the last ten years or so.
At 60 I can brag that I am not over weight, do not take any medications and am genuinely happy!

I know, you may hate me, but that's because deep down you want it too.

Make a decision today to be your own best health insurance - for yourself - for your future - for your family's future.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Licensing Photography



Licensing Photography  (Edited and updated version from Nov 2014 post)

I have been researching this mysterious medium of licensing lately.  Ever since I took my trip out to the coast and was inspired to shoot all of those images of cairns (stacking rocks) I could see a use for them in media production.

The best book I read on the subject is "Licensing Photography" by Richard Weisgrau and Victor S. Perlman.  Although published in 2006, it seems up to date with current trends.

I am no expert on this vast subject, but I feel I have come to a better understanding of where I am heading in regard to licensing my images.

I am also fortunate to be back on Fine Art America  where they now offer licensing, although one can easily get lost in a sea of doubt and questions in spite of their detailed explanations.  You still have to research the going prices.  At least they, like the book, have listed Getty Images and others as guides.

So far I have followed the books advice and registered on Getty for my research.  You have to do this to see the actual prices.  I had to learn the difference between Royalty Free (RF) and Rights Managed (RM) licensing.  I am choosing RM for now as it seems to give me more control of how the images will be used.

Unfortunately, when I went to apply the books' guidelines to my Fine Art America's format I hit a snag.  It's different, but with a little intelligent reasoning I think I have at least created a beginning format for myself.

Their actual licensing site is http://licensing.pixels.com  , but the site layout looks just like Fine Art America, which is the mothership behind it.  Their layout is terrific and user friendly for both the listing artist and the buyer - the latter being the important entity here.

The ground work you have to do is decide how you want to license your images and what to charge.  The breakdowns are detailed and I have only scratched the surface so far.  I basically just listed what I understood.
The time consuming work is researching images on Getty that are similar to your own and noting the prices there, as that seems to be the industry standard.

Why not just list on Getty?  Because I understand the artist is only paid about 20% of the fee.  Fine Art America is letting artists set the fee and they are marking up their percentage, just like they do with their print sales.

Licensed images are useful for a variety of products such as brochures, business cards, note cards, letterhead, you name it.  Artists could collaborate in many ways.

Update:  As of late 2015 I created my own licensing agreement based on a template.

I will keep updating this article as I learn more.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Simple Steps to Copyright

Simple Steps to Copyright  (Edited, repost from Dec. 2014)

You're an artist and you're ready to copyright images of your work because you take your art seriously and are in business as an artist.  In this post I have outlined a few simple steps to get you started, as well as a few tips and additional information at the end of the post.

You can find out almost anything you want to know on the www.copyright.gov/eco/ page, from acceptable file types to what can be copyrighted.  I highly recommend visiting the site and reading over the FAQ's for more information than what I cover here.

My experience with copyright registration is as a fine art photographer, copyrighting collections of works, however, these steps can be useful to anyone who will photograph their finished work for copyright.

I highly recommend registering a collection for a one time fee of $55 (as of 2014) as opposed to registering individual works of art at $55 each.  That's kind of no-brainer, but there are stipulations to registering a collection which can be found on the FAQ page.
You can also find out more about the difference between published and unpublished works there.

OK, so we'll assume you've done all your final editing and now have a collection of final images. You have numbered them, backed up the files and created a folder for them.

 I like to keep it easy and simple.  I number the images chronologically, and if I have converted any to black and white or am keeping additional cropped images, I just add a letter to the number.  In other words, if the original file is number 100, the cropped file is 100C and the black and white file is 100A.
I name the folder (collection) with a date;  Coastal Trip 2014, which will also be the name I give the collection when registering my copyright.

Now you'll create a zip file.  If you have never done this before, download something free like WinZip and it will walk you through the process.  This is the recommended file type that the copyright site prefers for a collection.  It compresses the images and takes less time to upload.

As an added note about backing up your data, I back up all of my images this way;  I keep the RAW originals on the SD card,  save a copy of the TIFF's on a CD and a flash drive, as well as my external hard drive.  I try to keep at least two of these some place other than my home, like a safety deposit box.

I prefer to register my collection before I ever publish one image.  Publishing basically means going public;  uploading to the internet, on a blog, offering an image for sale, etc.  I heard a lawyer say that it could be more difficult to win a suite of infringement on an image that was copyrighted after it was published.

Now you are ready to copyright your unpublished work. Go to www.copyright.gov and click on the box that says Register a Copyright.
You will need to create an account.  Once you have an account you can sign in at any time and check the process of your registration or register new works.
I highly recommend downloading or printing out the eCO Tutorial PDF, it will give you great guidance through the process.

Back on the eCO site, follow the instructions and carefully read all of the choices you have.  You can go back and make changes, or save your work and finish later (note however, that your work is not registered until you have completed the process).  The whole process could take up to a half hour or more, so plan on it.

You will pay for your registration before you upload your work, this is explained in the Tutorial.  Just follow the instructions and you'll be fine.  Be sure and print out a copy of your receipt (this expense is a tax deduction by the way).  Also be sure and wait for the upload to complete, this could take up to 15 minutes. 

Application processing times are lengthy, up to 8 months, but your copyright is effective as of the date of online registration.  So, you do not need to wait for your certificate before publishing your work.  For mail in processing I believe it is when they receive your completed submission. 

Congratulations!  Your collection is now copyrighted!
  
Always use caution when putting your images online.  Most of the time you can watermark your images (by adding text such as copyright 2014 Jeni Gray Photography).

Copyright is just good business.  It's not that we're all paranoid about having our images stolen, but it happens and registering for copyright is like getting insurance. 

Now you can go on about your creativity.  However, if you have had a bad experience, or just want to take it a step further, there is a wonderful new site called www.pixsy.com where you can ask to be invited for their Beta program.  I am registered there and find it fairly easy to use.  
After you are a member and they have your information, their search engines seek out your images online - globally.  You can run through the findings and search for unauthorized users.
The great thing about Pixsy is that they work for us, if we need to file a suite they only charge "a fair success fee for all revenue" they collect on our behalf.

I've added a few more sections here from the Copyright site that answer some common questions.  I have quoted the Copyright Office and italicized the sections. 

Often asked:  There is a statement that your art is automatically copyrighted when it is created.  This can lead to the misconception that you are also protected.  The following paragraph from the copyright site should help you understand why it is important to register.

Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38bHighlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works."

Also:

The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration."

And for the international conundrum:
The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other's citizens' copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38aInternational Copyright Relations of the United States."

So there is an easy outline to get you started on your way to copyrighting your art!  Please feel free to leave any additional questions in the comments that you haven't found on their site, or don't completely understand.  

Best of luck in your Art Business!