Because of the weird way my schedule worked out this week, I had the opportunity to sit through most of Jasmine Star’s creativeLIVE class. Some of the class was listened to in transit, via my iPhone, but I did watch or listen to almost all of the five days of training.

Rather that review the class, which was my first inclination (darn you left brain), I thought I would write how it made me feel. Boy were there a bunch of feelings in this class. I laughed a lot. I teared up, more than once. I was terrible nervous when the creativeLIVE 5 were put on the spot and reveled for the world, some of their photos. I think I even grew a bit.

The Wonderful World of Me

I am not a wedding photographer, or a professional photographer (I actually don’t have any desire to become one). As Jasmine put it at one point in the 5 days we spent together, I am a guy with an expensive hobby. I have for years have a distinct love for photography and design. I buy expensive equipment, I use it for a few photographs, get frustrated with what I produce and put the camera back in its bag. I spend quite a bit of time book learning, but I rarely ever learn or grow by shooting.

Since a very early age I have been this strange mix of technical and creative. I started playing the piano at age 4, I was singing before I was two and even as a small boy I remember dismantling things that were broken, only to find them working again when I put them back together.

By day I am a network engineer a distinctly technical but uncreative job. My day is filled thinking logically about problems, and dismantling why a particular action is occurring and how that problem can be fixed.

Recently my wife and I started our own business. The venture has been terrible exciting and my role is both technical and creative as I take care of web design, advertising, graphic design, photography, video editing, etc for Thrive Personal Fitness.

Though I don’t have our branding anywhere near where I would like it to be, every day I learn more about creating images and advertisements that can help build our business. I have been terribly thankful this creative outlet came about because it in many ways removes the excuses I have used in the past when I failed to create.

When we need a head shot of Pamela for a publication, I make it happen. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have the lighting setup that most head shot photographers use (a common past excuse…I don’t have X piece of equipment). I find a way; I create something out of nothing.

One Hot Mess

Jasmine Star is, by her own description, a hot mess. She describes herself and her photography as fun, fresh and fabulous. I was thinking about the one word I would use to describe her and I settled on effervescent. She seems to radiate both energy and emotion.

I think what I appreciate most about creativeLIVE is getting a REAL sense of the artists. These are some of the top people in their fields, but they feel self-doubt and worry. They second guess themselves and they don’t have answers to everything. The final edit of Jasmine’s photos revealed lens flare, harsh back lit conditions, washed out photos, tilted shots that needed straightening, did she really say auto white balance…seriously? I use AWB!

These less than perfect images are the same kind that has kept me from creating all these years. She seems to thrive while I make excuses. Of course everything isn’t perfect. Of course not every photo stops you in your tracks, but many do. Those that do work propel her forward while I let my less than perfect images foster stagnation. Why have I missed this for so long?

I think I have come to realize recently that I have to stop being afraid of failure. I have to stop giving so much credence to the things that don’t work in my photography; I simply need to learn from them. I NEED to fail in order to grow as an artist (it’s really hard for me to refer to myself as an artist). I don’t have anywhere near the grasp of the art and craft of photography that I would like to and I will never learn that while my camera sits safely in its bag.

Don’t take any of this the wrong way. Jasmine Star is a strong woman, she is proud and confident and a shrewd businesswoman. She knows where she wants to go and I don’t think anyone can stop her. She is a fantastic photographer, she takes incredible photographs, but she is also a real person. She takes real pictures. She is not perfect and she is not afraid to show it live on the internet. I love that.

I am so happy to have shared this time online with Jasmine, her husband JD and the creativeLIVE 5. Thank you all so much for sharing your time and being so brave with your talent and so open to let us all share this little slice of your lives.