Meet My Tambourine

This is my new tambourine. This is me with my tambourine. Have you seen my recent post about the Cazenovia College Fashion show? (If not, it can be found here: ) In that post I mentioned how it is good to get out of your photographic routine. Now, lets talk about getting way out of the routine. Last time I said that it was a good way to refresh and have some creative fun. For a photojournalist turned wedding photographer, going back to photojournalism for a day is not much of a leap. In fact, wedding photography is very photojournalistic. I was looking at some amazing artistic photography today; not wedding photography or documentary images, but photography for the sake of art. Now, I am not calling these images art, but I did do a small 15 minute photo shoot to have some fun and take photos for the sake of taking pictures -not for weddings, not for photojournalism, and not for my family albums.
I just moved to Bel Air, Maryland so the apartment is an absolute mess. I made some room in a small corner and set up a lamp and my tripod. I took some ridiculous photos, I acted silly, I laughed. And I found a little bit of creativity in the process. Some of which I feel I have been missing lately when I fell into the routine of photojournalism then wedding photogrpahy.
Today I decided to make myself a summer project: take more creative photographs just because. Now, I’m not going to set something up every day, but the goal is to have fun outside of my photography business every week. Of course, I absolutely love what I do and it is fun, however, to be better at what I do I need to reach out to the art world that drew me in. To the idea of photography as life documentation that thrilled me when I got my first camera at 5 years old. This summer I plan on taking fun photos (They don’t have to be good!), film photographs, artistic images, and maybe even dabble in a little bit of Photoshop fun as well. So here is my challenge for you: grab your camera and photograph yourself with something new or something that you love. In my case it was my exciting new tambourine. Then this summer make it a point to photograph life for the love of it. Have fun, realize that there are no photography rules (if I followed all the rules these photos wouldn’t be so flat. Once you know the photography rules, break them!), and be creative! 


Wedding photographers branch out too -Cazenovia College Fashion Show 2012

Photographers tend to get stuck in the niche they create for themselves. When I was a photojournalist my thoughts revolved around the next story and now that I am a wedding photographer, I find myself doing the same thing. However, I have so many different interests and so many exciting things are always going on around me. The Cazenovia College Fashion Show is one of them.

My friend Lily had her senior collection last Saturday, which I had the honor of being one of her models. Between the two shows I pulled out my camera and took a few snap shots. To me, they were not anything special at the time, just some quick pics for the girls. Afterwards as I was browsing them, I realized something amazing had happened. I kind of fell into my old role as a photojournalist, capturing moments as I saw them through my lens. What I first thought were some quick snap shots, turned out to be some pretty fun photographs.

The entire experience was exciting and inspiring because it was different. It took me out of the mold I unknowingly placed myself into. So my advice for photographers: step out of your garden and experience the rest of the world around you. You might surprise yourself in the process. The next time you’re on the job you may even recall the experience and look at your present subject in new light. Motivate and refresh yourself by mixing up the routine. You might just surprise yourself. Nichole took this photograph of me after I fixed my make up. We were all waiting for the next show. My mother took this photograph of all of us after the show. My mother is pictured below with her boyfriend. 

Maryland Wedding Photographer – Gallery Opening

My year long senior project finally came to a close last week so I am happy to say that I will be back to doing what I love (lots of photo shoots and photography!) this week as I finish my finals (for the final time).

My gallery opening was on Monday, April 16th and what a day! I had so many wonderful and amazing volunteers who assisted me while I installed the exhibition. And on Wednesday, the 18th I had my oral defense, which was against a panel of four judges and open to the public. A lot of my wonderful fellow classmates joined me for my presentation and it lasted over an hour (all video taped for my mom at home. She said to me a few days before the defense, “I brought your video camera up from home. You don’t have to video tape your defense, but if you think you would like to that would be nice.” Now, in mom code that means: “video tape the defense or else.” The presentation filled the entire tape). I waited 20 minutes while the judges deliberated and was so surprised to discover that not only did I pass, I received a high pass!

Here is my artist Statement:

Anachronism, the BFA thesis exhibition by Courtney L. Murray, consists of nearly 2,000 photographs from the artist’s family collection from 1902-2012, some which will be viewable as stereographs.

The exhibit examines the use of vernacular photography including the changes technological advances such as roll film and digital photography has had on the family album. In the days of film, family photographs frequently consisted of milestone moments such as graduations, weddings, and portraits. Contemporary albums include everyday photographs, including snapshots from mobile phones. The exhibit illustrates the uses of personal photography, how and why we take photographs, as well as how photography is used to document biographical experience.

Similar to movie stills, the installed photographs document changes: visually piecing together the artist’s family history as well as her own insertion into the visual narrative. “Anachronism” is an archived timeline of 110 years of the artist’s family, demonstrating the art of life.

So many of my classmates and friends were kind enough to volunteer to help me. Brian, pictured here, my mom, and my friend Chris from home stayed with me until security asked us to leave at 1 in the morning! I returned at 7 am to finish the rest. Thank you mom, Chris, Brian, Tom, Lindsey, Brittany, Kari, Judith, Ashley, and Sasha for your help! Could not have done it with out you! Battle wounds. I think we all had blisters by the end of the day.The installation was completed 30 minutes before the opening at 4! Time for gallery set up for our guests.My table was all set and looking pretty. In the box below are the 3d stereographs I made for the opening. (Everyone said I had to have a 3d camera. I’m very proud of my -18 degree method to fool the 3d viewers. If you’re wondering how I did it I will be more than happy to tell you all about it!)The flowers on the right were sent by my cousins Ginger and Jessie They arrived 10 minutes before the opening! How sweet!The grapes and sparkling juice I brought in for the opening. Both my mom and my dad made it in for the opening!I put the flowers from Ginger and Jessie by my tambourines in my living room.Sunflowers! My father brought these up for me. Sunflowers are my absolute favorite (if you can’t tell).Matthew could not make it to the opening because he is living in Maryland (and I will be joining him soon!) so he had his sister Crystal bring these for me. She said to me, “He does realize that his sister is the one writing this note for him, right? I had no idea he was such a romantic!”My mother gave me this lovely notebook. I love the saying on the cover!These photos are from the day of my defense. I brought in more yummy snacks and drinks. Ashley Deyo took these photos of me after I got my high pass.Last Friday Matthew’s work was cancelled so he drove all the way up from Maryland (and arrived at 4 in the morning) to see my installation before I had to take it down.
He signed my guest book. How sweet is he?!My personalized 3d image viewer and a small shadow box I made with my grandfather’s combat V and korean war photos.He enjoyed viewing my installation. Me right before I had to take it all down. All that work and it is down already. Matthew took these photos. He was getting creative with my lens.

WISE Symposium 2012

On Tuesday I had the amazing honor of attending the 10th annual WISE Symposium in Syracuse. Professor Varisco and a fellow classmate, Kristina, and I ventured out at 7:30 that morning and arrived to an exciting array. We collected our name tags and made out way into the exhibition hall. I was simply impressed.

I have never seen so many business women in one place. All the women were dressed up and looking fabulously chic; I knew that I was some place special. Lined up by the entrance of the hall were bagels and muffins as well as some great Tazo tea. I did not take many photos because I was so busy taking notes and absorbing the amazing and inspirational speeches given through out the day. Here is a small collection from the photos that I took. I have also shared some incredible quotes form the inspiring women that spoke. I have learned so many wonderful things. Here are some of the WISE words that I collected:

“Coming here is the best thing you have done for yourself today.” Nell Merlino

“Embrace the thriving artist routine” -Tara Gentile

“Your business does not run you. You run your business.” -Nell Merlino
“When you love yourself, you don’t let anybody do anything to hurt you.”-Juanita Bass“Fun is the key to creativity and creativity is the key to innovation.” -Barbara Corcoran

“Once you get the courage to jump and take that risk, you find the answers on the way down.” -Barbara Corcoran 

“You tell me I can’t do something, I do it twice as good.” -Juanita Bass

“The people you serve, the work that you do. . . It is an art form.” -Tara Gentile


Great Great Uncle Bernard

Archiving all of my family photographs has been a tough task and it is still in progress. It has also been fun too. I found a photograph today that I have not seen in almost 8 years and it brought me to tears. And then I found this one from way way back. This one made me laugh. Family photographs are wonderful so I’m trying to save them for my future descendants. 

This is a photograph of my Great Great Uncle Bernard Bressett. He was a race car driver. Who knew? A photograph’s ability to tell a story is astounding (and they also evoke the stories behind the memories as well.) So I had to share this one today because it gave me great joy. I hope that it made you all giggle too. Look at that car and how he is dressed! 

Ancestry Archives

    Lately I have been honored with the task of collecting, organizing, and preserving my family’s ancestral photographs. The journey so far has been amazing. I have been working very hard on my senior capstone paper, so I have not had much time to spare. Yet I have somehow found the time to scan many of the old family photographs I have in my collection. There are so many amazing pictures I just had to share.

The photo above is of my Great Grandmother Dorothy, my Great Great Grandmother Delina, and my 3-times Great Grandmother (whose name I do not yet know) with my Great Aunt Alice as a baby. This photograph was hidden away in a briefcase in my father’s closet. I could not believe it. I never thought I would see a photograph of my Great Great Great Grandmother. The date of the photo is unknown, however, I am assuming it is between 1930-1940 because of my Great Aunt Alice.
    This photograph above is of my Great Grandmother, Minnie Lashway, with her dog in 1923. Old photographs can tell you many things. For example, my Great Grandmother has tons of photographs of her dogs and her life on the farm. I can tell that the animals and her home meant a lot to her.

The best way to store old photographs is by putting them in archival safe albums and boxes. Keep them out of the light and never place them in attics or basements. Perhaps my father was on to something when he hid that briefcase in the closet because it kept them in such good condition in the dark and temperature controlled environment.

Never laminate your photos or old documents because the laminate is full of chemicals that will cause irreparable damage.

Now this special photograph is of my Grandfather, Ronald Murray, who I never had the opportunity to meet. This photo was taken of him when he was 19 or 20 serving in the Korean War. Some of his photographs are the most fascinating. I have countless pictures that I plan on putting in an album with all of his war paper work and newspaper clippings. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Before seeing his collection and reading the letters and papers with all of the photos I never really missed him in my life. Of course, I have always wished I could have met him, but after learning more about him I feel the loss of his presence for the first time. He was a really great man and I hope that I memorialize him well by preserving the pictures and papers he left behind.

In the future I will be sharing more photographs like these as well as tips for organizing and preserving your own family photographs. Photographs are such a wonderful thing to properly keep track of and keep for future generations. So many of us, including myself, keep photos hidden away in boxes or worse: leaving them on a computer or CD (never printed) that will go obsolete in just a few years. Those unprinted images are at risk for being lost forever. So this year I am going to break the cycle and take care of my precious family pictures.

Hope that you all enjoyed this look into the past. I cannot wait to share more photographs like these.

Had to try out my new watermark

I could not help myself; I just had to try out my watermark right away. I picked this image because it is one of my favorites of Matthew and I. This was taken right before our first Valentine’s Day together at Pratt’s Falls, where his sister Crystal was actually married a little over two years later. I thought that the purple watermark was best for this black and white image. 

It is stellar that the watermark actually works! Thank you to Brian from my large format photography class for helping me figure out how to save my watermark with out a white back ground in a PNG format and download it to use as my watermark. Could not have done it with out you!

To see the image in full view (and to get a better look at the watermark, click on the image and it will open in a larger size. 

Found: Some pics from Sophomore Year

At the end of my sophomore year I took some pictures with my beautiful friend Jamie at the local park as we were hula hooping. The pictures were these fun little snap shots of the two of us. It was such a fun time though. I haven’t seen these pictures in a while (couldn’t find them after I moved them to my new hard drive), but I came across them the other day. Just some fun memories from two years ago that I wanted to share. I need to get hula hooping again! 
Jamie’s hooping skills are really incredible! She can even hoop with her feet. No lie; here is the proof: Jamie, the pro, taught me this fun little spin. I’m still catching on…Me trying to make it look easy: Friends are flowers in the garden of life

Love what you do

I am going to tell you a little story about last weekend. It all started when I was extremely stressed out with my senior thesis exhibition project. My wonderful boyfriend, Matthew, drove me out of his way to go to an arts supply store to find supplies. However, when we got there I could not find what I needed. I was in a time constraint and very freaked out on stress.

Everyone that knows me very well knows that I absolutely love wooden stamps. They’re often pricey so I always find mine in clearance bins or dollar stores. At the moment when I was in the art store and at my highest level of panic I stumbled upon a $1 clearance shelf of stamps as I was looking for blender markers. I pulled out numerous cute ones like “sparkle & shine” and then I came across a stamp that said “Do what you love, Love what you do.” Now, I have heard that quote before, but it came at such a perfect time. I found it at a moment when I was feeling my worst and doubtful about myself. And then it hit me (or stamped me if you want to get specific): I should do my project on what I love most and not worry about what any one else thinks about it.

Since then I have recreated my entire thesis project and I think I am really onto something. I know its silly, but I have been carrying this stamp in my pocket all week long to keep me motivated and thinking positively. This is not all about the grade or pleasing other people, this thesis project is about me and what I love to do. And that makes me happy.

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