In my long career as a professional image maker, I’ve been to countless conferences, workshops, and seminars. One of my favorites is Imaging USA, put on annually by Professional Photographers of America(PPA), and it’s always a grand affair. For the past 6 years I haven’t missed one. It’s always good to connect with old friends while making new ones, in addition to attending the workshops and presentations.
This time I went with a different purpose–to interview photographers who had started their photography career after the age of 50. What an interesting variety of people and stories! We interviewed a retired pediatric surgeon, anesthetist, radio engineer and school teacher,to name a few. We had a total of nine individuals passionately pursuing their second dream career of photography. Their specialities ran the gamut: pet photography , children and families, photojournalism, and even weddings! ( Weddings, which I personally stopped when I got closer to 50 because I just didn’t want that particular hectic pace any longer).
They inspired me!
Never too old, Never too late..
You will meet them in an upcoming episode of Silver Sage, and we know their stories will inspire you!
In the meanwhile, check out this article I wrote for the online community Sixty and me and get some ideas on how to pursue the hidden gifts and talents in you!
One of my favorite TV shows as a child growing up in the 60’s was Lost in Space–the adventures of an astronaut (space pioneer )family named Robinson whose mission was to colonize different planets in outer space. However, their spaceship got off course and they traversed around the universe discovering strange, new, and sometimes hostile territories.
Though I enjoyed all the characters, my favorite was the robot who I remember as a constant companion to the youngest Robinson, Will, who was about 12 years old. Whenever something was amiss, that robot would start waving his arms, flashing his lights, and shouting something like “Warning! Warning!” And my favorite “Danger! Will Robinson, Danger! ”
We could have used that Robot on our latest journey.
We were on a road trip to the Old Woman Mountains wilderness area do some hiking and filming for a project I’m working on, and the area we were in was quite/very desolate. Saw nary a soul and the only signs of wildlife I saw was a lizard and a big green bug scurrying across the dirt road. I was surprised to see NO ONE. No campers, no hikers, NOBODY.
And as it generally is in these remote areas… there is NO cell phone service.
About 20 miles into the wilderness (i.e. 20 miles away from a real road that would take us away from there) the unthinkable happened.. we had a flat tire!
And there we were… lost in space.
Fortunately we were able to get that taken care of which made for a happy ending. However,I realized there were a few other things we could have done/had that would have made us better equipped. We’re going to be making a short info-film giving some safety tips for road travel, and will also cover the things we didn’t think about before that would have made us better prepared. Coming soon, in a future Silver Sage episode!
An artist stranded in Death Valley stayed
To paint and dance her way on starry skies
And brought new life peaks through her art and dance
By sharing wellsprings deep within her soul
We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Marta Becket, the woman who created a wellspring in the desert of Death Valley Junction and called it the Amaragosa Opera House.
Marta’s story is an inspirational one– As a traveling dancer from New York, in 1967 she and her husband were camping in Death Valley National Park when their trailer got a flat tire. To get it repaired, they were directed to Death Valley Junction, a tiny desert community just outside the park. The town was once a Borax mining station and though not considered a ghost town, it was sparsely populated. While waiting for the tire to get fixed, Marta explored the old adobe buildings there and discovered an old abandoned theater.
“Peering through the tiny hole, I had the distinct feeling that I was looking at the other half of myself. The building seemed to be saying…..Take me…..do something with me…I offer you life” To Dance on Sands: The Life and Art of Death Valley’s Marta Becket
She and her husband stayed and restored the building to hold her performances there. She painted an audience on the walls inside the theater, and other beautiful artwork on the ceiling. The opera house became famous and people from all over the world came to see the opera house and her performances.
We recently visited there! — the eve of this past New Year’s Eve– to film inside the opera house and around Death Valley Junction. We’re producing a piece on the Amaragosa Opera House for our Finding Beauty in Dry Places segment– coming soon! We’ll be sharing beautiful imagery and an amazing story encompassing the history of this remote, desert area!
(Inside the Amaragosa Opera House)
I’m a volunteer photographer for the Heart Galley of Los Angeles. The Heart Gallery LA is an online photo gallery as well as a traveling photographic exhibit created to find forever families for children in the Los Angeles county foster care system.
Recently, the photo shoots were done at the LA Arboretum. These two sisters were my first ones for the day. They were 10 and 7 and they were a hoot. Not afraid to speak up and tell me what kind of photos THEY wanted to take. That’s what was going on in this clip. “can we take pictures looking at the water?’. ‘can we take pictures looking at the sky?’ can we take pictures ‘like this’ (striking a pose). I told them once I got the pictures I needed, yes.. they could give me some direction as to what they wanted. and we spent about an hour checking out different locations in the garden.
When photographing the children, requirements include getting standing full-body shots, smiling and personality images, and siblings must be photographed together… no individual shots.
You can find out more information about the Heart Gallery, and the children looking for Forever Families, here
Many boomers know all to well about childhood passions of pursing artistic-type careers being discouraged by well-meaning elders for more stable professions or ‘real’ jobs. And hey, can’t blame our parents for wanting us to have stability and not live the ‘starving artist’ life.
At 18, Roxy Gantes did get accepted to the Art Center of Pasadena–but her dad said ‘no’,– and she went on to study for, and have, a fulfilling career as a psycho-therapist.
But when three of her cousins died in one month, Roxy decided it was time for her take that leap of faith and pursue her ingrained passion of being an artist. So she left her 25-year career as a psycho-therapist and began painting a new canvas for her life.
Join us for the personal interview in her studio, and we also take you to one of her popular paint parties where you can witness the magic that happens as she encourages and instructs her students– and they discover a deeper dimension to themselves as they bring out their own artists within.
A trip to the nearest zoo just wasn’t enough!
Christine Pence just had to fulfill the passion burning within to photograph gorillas in the wild–in Uganda. And when she couldn’t find any one to go with her, she decided to just do it alone. So what that she’s 66!
In our interview, she gives fascinating details of what it takes to spend an hour with a gorilla family in the jungles of Uganda. They are in the wild, but are used to humans being around. Caution is never tossed to the wind because these are still wild beasts. She was, however, able to get within 4 feet of one of the creatures– and the little ones would run around and get even closer, unhindered and unmoved by the humans in their midst.
Her travel tale includes additional adventures she experience–using her international entrepreneur skills and experiences: she was able to give business know-how assistance to the ‘aunties’ of a children’s orphanage, a bird guide who could greatly benefit from being able to produce a photographic book of birds, and a cultural tribe of basket weavers.
In the closing of the episode, we’re treated to beautiful imagery of photographs she took while there.
i had the pleasure of interviewing two women I know personally, who became first-time authors after the age of 50.
We filmed this episode at the Antique Mall in Hesperia which was a great backdrop for this segment. Nesherrill Foster published a work of fiction, while Diane Gardner published her memoirs. Both are currently working on new books.
They shared their challenges and gave good advice and inspiration for others who aspire to write…mainly showing that it’s never too late!
And if you’re a vintage lover like me, the Antique Mall is a great place to check out!
Just returned from New York City, where I went to interview Mary Jones, the founder of Just Do It Crew. Mary started this group 3 years ago to serve as an avenue to help people pursue and achieve their dreams The interview was very informative and I was there to attend one of their meetings and get testimonials from the participants, telling how being a part of Just Do It Crew has helped them moved forward with their goals and dreams. Talking with Mary Jones