Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chapter thirteen

February 21, 2010

I like to think of myself as an artistic individual…that I lead an artistic life. By this point you all know that I dance for a living or rather am attempting to do so (artist point #1) and that I take pride in being a music snob (artist point #2). What you may not know is that I also like to dabble in the fine art of photography.

I don’t remember when I started taking photos but I do remember when I started thinking of it as an art form. It was my sophomore year of high school when I took my first photography class. It was such a cool class! Learning how to load the film into the camera; reading the light meter; developing and washing the film hoping to God you didn’t accidentally expose it to light; spending countless hours in the darkroom playing with exposure times. Ahh! SO COOL! Point and shoot cameras became a thing of the past, my new love became the single lens reflex. Even now, in the digital age, there will never be anything more intimate than working with a fully manual film camera.

But I digress.

My infatuation with photography was born. I asked for my own SLR for my birthday/Christmas present that year. Santa brought it to me. It was a happy day. However, after my photography class ended and I no longer had to turn prints in I ended up using the camera less and less…it’s the unfortunate side of being a busy teen.

A few years later I enrolled in a digital photography class. It was my senior year of high school and wanted to take one more “for fun” class. DSLRs (digital single lens reflexes) were still pretty new and very expensive and were therefore unavailable to us at school so most of us in the class used our own point and shoot digital cameras. Not only did we further explore the art of photography but we also learned how to use Photoshop. To this very day, I believe that this was one of those most useful things I learned in all of my schooling.

During the class I mainly focused on outdoor photography and grew to have a preference for it – as opposed to portrait or commercial photography. I still prefer landscape photography but now, with the purchase of my very own Canon Rebel XT, I’ve begun to explore other styles.

I’ve now arrived at one of my two points.

During the past two months I’ve begun to try my hand at concert photography, and I really like it. My first few outings were a little rusty due to having a slow lens (you want to have a fast lens in order to keep your subject in focus while also allowing enough light to expose the image). After learning this, I shopped around for a faster lens and am now producing clearer, more interesting photographs.

I still don’t shoot too often – limited funds play a huge part in that – but this weekend I decided to go to a show, have fun and take some pics. And I’m proud to say I took some great ones! The venue lighting had a lot to do with the awesomeness of the photos but I’d also like to think that I’m becoming more skilled at seeing the photograph before I take it. I don’t know.

I also took some photos for my friend Molly’s Etsy page ( which got me thinking about maybe trying my hand at headshots. Not because I purposefully took headshots for her but some of them could work for that.

Now, to my second point.

I think I want to create a new website for myself. It would be an all-encompassing site featuring me as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, arts administrator, writer, and photographer. It would be a site dedicated to Lauren Baker, the artist.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chapter Twelve

February 14, 2010

“You are the key to your own success.”

I got this fortune cookie fortune en route to the Quad Cities – where the first leg of the 2010 TDC tour took place. Versions of this saying have no doubt been told to each and every one of us over the years. And if you’re anything like me, you shrug your shoulders and give a disdainful roll of the eyes to whoever had the galls to give you such advice.

However, I must acknowledge the accomplished feeling I’ve been experiencing lately. I put my foot down and put myself first. No more waiting around for others to figure their lives out; no more silently wishing I could work with certain people; no more being afraid to fall on my face as I run after what I want – be it an aspect of my career, a romantic interest, etc. I know I’m pretty darn special so why would I wait and wait and wait or others to recognize that, too? It’s not worth my time. Just keep pushing forward to the next great thing without compromising who you are and what you believe.

I recently went home for a very short visit. The impetus for said trip changed drastically a few weeks ago but it was without a doubt for the best – and in all honesty was probably more fun this way. Won’t dish details of it here for this is not the forum for such secrets…but I will say I had a blast being deviant with an unexpected but nevertheless very good friend.

Each time I go home for a visit I fall further in love with Minneapolis. I like Chicago and am glad I live here but nothing compares to the city you’ve called home for 22 years. It’s filled with people who know my history and want the best for me. It’s filled with a kind of security that I can’t help but feel thankful for: family, friends and hopefully I won’t sound too conceited for this but there’s a bit of career security there for me, too. (For the record, one doesn’t grow staying in a place of comfort so while I feel secure in Minneapolis it’s a good thing that I’m not living there for the time being).

Because MPLS means so much to me, I believe I am ready to get a MPLS/MN tattoo…I just need an artist. I don’t know if I want the outline of the state (it seems a little overdone) or something else but I do know I want it to be something simple. Subtlety is key. If any of you have come across a cool MN/MPLS image or have a good artist, let me know. I’m thinking of getting it on my side near my ribs (I’m aware it’s going to hurt like a b#@ch but I want it to be in a place where I can easily hide it…and where the skin isn’t likely to stretch out). And it shouldn’t be any larger than the palm of my tiny hand. Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?

That’s it for now. Much love to you all on this cheesy Hallmark holiday.