May I Introduce My Other Muse?

We each come into this world with a penchant, an inclination; a psychic nuance that gets under our skin, drives our goals and, simply put, makes us really happy. The list is long of those many things that inspire and clearly it’s a very personal thing. What incites creativity, passion and ambition in one can be a complete flatline for another. It’s as individual as a fingerprint. A snowflake. That dish my friend Lotta makes that no one’s ever been able to figure out.

For me it was the creative arts. Always. I don’t know why. I could point to the lack of TV in my youth and childhood – and the books, music and art that filled the gap – but, frankly, my younger sibs who did not do without are just as artistically inclined and they were definitely Children of the TV (similar to Children of the Corn only in that their eyes are a bit large). Perhaps our penchants are pre-programmed. A carry-over from a previous life (if you believe such things). Certainly they’re influenced by parents who, in my case, were passionate about the arts, injecting them at every turn, convinced that even rearranging the living room was an expression of the creative mind. It is, Mom; I agree. And thank you, both, for your fine contribution to my artistic journey.

So armed with my many Muses who kept me company throughout an eclectic life, I happily bandied in a bevy of mediums, even past the point when others tried to convince me to “pick one and stick with it.” Creative monogamy, so to speak. But I had arrived in LA pumped by youthful years of writing, acting and singing, poised to take it all on in this fine creative mecca, so I chafed at the notion of exclusivity. Seemed so…exclusive. Still, I was a naive and eager young lass, addicted to my ambition and ultimately easily swayed, so I threw aside my concerns and did just that; I chose acting, forsaking all others like a good, faithful spouse, convinced that by committing to only one Muse I would certainly conjure its success into being.

Yeah. That worked.

Don’t get me wrong, I had loads of fun as an actress but ultimately fell out of love, particularly after it was clear that a viable career was not to be had and, it turns out, I really didn’t care all that much. Mostly I missed the other Muses. I remember telling my manager at the time, after five years of acting fidelity, that I missed music and wanted to get back to it and he literally laughed in my face. Seriously, he laughed. His perspective of me was so narrow that rather than explore a new path and its many possibilities, he presumed I was a deluded little dilettante. Big fat tipping point, that laugh. I dumped him, quit my acting class, threw out all my vapid 8×10’s and spent the next decade or so deliriously happy as a singer in a rock n’ roll band. And a writer. And a taker of pictures. All of it. Even some damn acting. My creative harem. Welcome home.

As I see it, this business of artistic monogamy is foolishness. Fidelity is for marriage, not art. Do what you love, do everything you love, and if you do it well, all the better…share it. Yes, I know the world is now saturated with loads of purported artists in every genre who do not do it well, whatever it is in this age of immediate and ubiquitous shallow-stardom, but if they enjoy it, enjoy away. We don’t have to pay attention and perhaps over time they’ll weary of the exercise. One can hope.

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Anyway, this is a long, roundabout way of introducing you to a particular Muse I’ve been deeply involved with for many years but have kept close to the vest for various reasons. While I’ve done session for family, friends and artists; have prints hanging on a few office walls and on various websites, this has been a somewhat stealth pursuit. No particular reason other than, as I viewed the many talented professionals attempting to build their photography businesses in a unfathomably competitive market, sorting out how to monetize the craft as I performed it eluded me. So I just took pictures and learned some worthy skills in the meantime. But after years of shooting, more requests for prints, a growing number of calls for sessions, I decided it was time to come out of the creative closet and throw this, too, into the mix that is my creative life.

Friends, meet my other Muse; Photography, meet the gang.

mezquita-arches_smThough you’re just meeting, I’ve actually been shooting pictures for most of my life.  For whatever reason, the idea of visually chronicling the journey was as natural as blinking an eye….and this was before Smart Phones and Facebook! I had a crappy little camera I took everywhere and I have many of those pictures still. They’re amateur and silly and some are as crappy as the camera taking them, but the eye was there, the composition was good and, bottom line, they are responsible for inciting my interest. It’s only been in the last couple of decades, however, that the passion to do it well became a pull. In fact, there was some regret that I hadn’t actually taken it more seriously earlier on…damn if I didn’t find the whole darkroom ritual of lights and chemicals and magically appearing images a romantic one! In fact, if I hadn’t rushed headlong into the performing arts I’ve always said I would have either been a professional photographer or a zoologist. Seriously. Either one. Primates or pictures.

2-baby-in-a-flower-field_smBut given my lack of aptitude for the sciences, photography, albeit peripherally, was at least able to come along on the ride – as much as possible given the limits of time and money. And though that first crappy camera held me in good stead for many years, it was when my mother-in-law bought me my first good Canon 35mm about 20 years ago that my world changed. Suddenly the pictures in my mind’s eye translated to paper. I began viewing things from the perspective of frame and light. Even when I didn’t have the camera, I was like Pam in The Office wedding episode snapping invisible pictures of perfect moments. I learned that the excitement of capturing an image of true beauty or amazing candor was as exhilarating as belting a killer song or writing that brilliant paragraph. I was hooked. And when the digital revolution exploded with all its heady possibilities, I took a leap of faith, invested in a top line Canon DLSR, a couple of stellar professional lenses and have been in a solid relationship with the Muse ever since.

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I have great respect for technicians but I am not one. Perfection of skill and deep, expansive knowledge of the science of photography belong to those who made it their business to prioritize learning the technology from the ground up. For me, Multi-Muse Gal, learning the craft and technique of photography has been a slow, steady process of personal experimentation, research, book and hands-on learning. My education has been mostly instinctual, with excellent tutelage and guidance from renowned, respected photographers and teachers along the way. I studied printmaking with a master printmaker, learned camera basics from a Canon specialist and, particularly in the last three years, worked with a noted photographer and designer for whom I shot countless photos, did digital processing and printing, as well as extensive restoration and repair of older, damaged files. I learned a tremendous amount by the sheer action of doing it and what has evolved through all of this is the skill I have and my particular style of visual storytelling, examples of which have found their way onto my site (and some in this article!).

I chose the pictures I did for the site galleries because, simply…I love them. I have my favorites, certainly, but I love them all. Not to sound childish but they make me happy and represent amazing experiences in which I participated. Some depict historical places that took my breath away, some are those decisive moments in real life captured in a flash of serendipity; others are simple beauty or sweetness with no other explanation, and some are stories I wanted to tell or people who grabbed my eye. A few are even technically dubious but exude something unique or special in a way that won them a spot on the site despite their flaws. It’s a collection that speaks loudly to how I see the world and I happen to like what it has to say.

I truly hope you also enjoy the statement.  There are over 600 photos posted on the site so don’t attempt to view them all in one sitting. Take the time to enjoy them in incremental visits when you can freshly view each gallery. I promise it’s a more enjoyable experience that way and I’ll be adding new things from time to time anyway!

And beyond the sharing of creativity, I chose Fine Art America, the company hosting the site, because they have streamlined the process of printmaking and that, after all, is part of the goal here: to inspire you to order prints for yourself, your friends, your office; your gift giving. Because ultimately I realized the way I could best monetize my craft was simply to shoot what I love and then put it somewhere where others could access it and, hopefully, find a piece or two they’d like for their living room. Or the kitchen at Grandma’s. Or that space in the den that always looks so bare. Should you wish a print, a photographic Christmas or holiday gift, a box of cards or a canvas of any one of these photographs, I would be honored.  Fine Art America makes it easy to get the commerce done so click the link below and go commerce a little…my Muse and I will thank you.

But whatever you do, first and foremost, enjoy!

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LorraineDevonWilke: Fine Art Photography

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All photos courtesy of Lorraine Devon Wilke

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

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22 thoughts on “May I Introduce My Other Muse?

    1. LDW

      Thanks, Jennifer! It’s been a such a longtime goal to get this done and up that just that, alone, feels like the big accomplishment, forget the work! No, just kidding, DON’T forget the work, but I think you know what I mean. I appreciate your appreciation, as always. Thank you, my friend….LDW

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  1. Okay Lady, what exactly aren’t you good at? 🙂 Please tell me you can’t cook, drive very well or make a decent cup of coffee…because you’ve got some major über talent in soooo many other things, you can’t possibly be good at everything can you? 🙂 Your photo’s are fantastic! I just started perusing them this morning and even got an account so I could comment. I like the card purchasing option…I think I might be availing myself of a few of them for Christmas.

    D

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    1. LDW

      From a guy as über talented as you, that is high praise indeed.

      I love that you actually crossed the great divide into mentioning the commerce of the thing, a lovely addendum to visual admiration. THANK YOU for taking the time to look, sign up and threaten to make comment and, of course, maybe even buy some cards. Obviously that would thrill me no end, sort of like being the first guy out on the dance floor!

      And speaking of cards, I’m not sure if you know but your cards have been regularly posted all over Facebook by people who love the satire of them (people, check out this man’s cards, they’re effin’ hilarious: http://grumpydudes.com/loren-and-i-are-livin-the-dream-weve-become-greeting-card-writers/). You’re famous and you may not even know it! Whenever I see them I’m happy for you. You’re a clever lad, a great writer and a maker of my absolute favorite greeting cards.

      So I thank you for your kind support. Know that while I drive well and make a good cup of coffee, pretty much every flower I’ve ever planted has died an untimely death. There. Does that help? 🙂 LDW

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  2. fellow photographer

    Love your stuff. If my primary attention is limited only to portraits and landscapes, which camera should I purchase between Canon EOS 40d and Sony Alpha a350? Or is there any former better alternatives? Please likewise tell me which frameworks lenses are inexpensive?

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    1. LDW

      Laura: I’m a Canon girl myself so I’d always go with Canon, though if you can afford it, I’d suggest movie’ on up to the 7D. Lenses? Well, that’s whole other matter and so very subjective. You might get yourself to a really good camera store and take the time with an expert there to decide what works for you. Inexpensive is probably not the way to go with lenses; invest the money. They make all the difference. Thanks for your comment and best to you in your own photography! LDW

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  3. Art appreciator

    I always appreciate being guided to worthwhile art and I not only enjoyed your essay, I am enjoying your photographs. Wonderful on both counts. Thank you. B.T.

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  4. I have already checked out a few of your stories and i can really say i enjoy your stuff. I am going to definitely bookmark your website so i can come back and look more through these pictures. Really nice stuff.

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    1. LDW

      Do come back, Bowles, it’s a lot of photos to get through so repeated visits are advised! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment; really appreciate it! LDW

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