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Mountain Landscape Composites

Creating composite images is a favorite process of mine. It’s time consuming and I have only worked on a small fraction of the images I’ve captured, but seeing a panorama come together from several images is an inspirational joy. Usually editing is required to even out lines in the landscape, but when it works, it works beautifully.

Below are some composites from my time in Arizona. I’ve been mining my cache for possible prints and NFTs to offer for purchase. Are there any you can see on your wall?

Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Chiricahua National Monument, Willcox, AZ
Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ
Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ
Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ
Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
Sabino Canyon, Tucson, AZ
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Fantasies Wide Awake: Reprint + NFT Collection

In 2005, I self-published my first book, Fantasies: A Metamorphosis of Sexual Attraction. Over the last few months, I’ve been re-editing the text and images for a reprint. The new version comes with an updated title as well, Fantasies Wide Awake.

From out of print to reprint

The process of reviewing and re-editing my first literary and photographic venture became a journey of photo editing that evolved into creating a NFT collection of the final images.

Fantasies was photographed in Milwaukee, WI by two local photographers as work for hire. Lisa Richelle was the project photographer and took most of the images. Shalina Ali took the cover photo series. Shalina’s work was for a calendar I produced in 2004, VoLux Full-Figured Calendar. Some of her images did double duty in Fantasies as well, which was my first book and poetry collection. The cover for Fantasies was designed by Jon Polito later in New York City when I moved there; he also designed the covers. I used a vanity printer and ordered about 200 copies of the book, most of which were sold on 125th Street in Harlem. Quite the beginning!

For the 2022 reprint, I didn’t take any new photos, but I did pull in some images from other photo projects. This version also includes images by Jason Lam (NY), Qiana Reed (OK) and Willis Roberts (NY).

Re-visioning vintage

Shalina Ali and Lisa Richelle photographed on 35mm film. The book images were in black and white as the interior of the book was black and white.

My first edit for the reprint was focused on removing the background, smoothing out the lines and bright spots. Then tinted to a sepia tone. After sitting on that for a while, I came across a photo of flowers. From that point I began experimenting with making the images look more fantastical – like a bed of roses dipped in fairy dust.

Evolution of cover design for Fantasies. Photographed by Shalina Ali, 2004. Model: LaShawnda Jones.
Original black and white to current colorful composite. Photographed by Lisa Richelle, 2005. Models: Phil Griffin and LaShawnda Jones.
Black and white to sepia to color collage. Photographed by Lisa Richelle, 2005. Models: Jennifer Olsen and Phil Griffin.
Scans of original 35mm prints by Lisa Richelle and Shalina Ali. Models: Phil Griffin and LaShawnda Jones.

Buy your copy of Fantasies Wide Awake here, on Amazon.com or BN.com.

Dipping into the NFT pool

The idea to blend the bouquet of flowers with the sepia images came from a brainstorm of creating images that would present as solid NFT offerings. With each blending attempt, I loved the look more and more. By the time I finished layering and compositing the images for the NFT collection, I realized printing the 2022 version of Fantasies in full color with this collection would indeed be an actual refreshing of an old work.

As I explore the NFT photography spaces, please fill free to view my collections on OpenSea (HarvestLifer: https://opensea.io/harvestlifer). The Fantasies Wide Awake NFT Collection is viewable at https://opensea.io/collection/fantasies-wide-awake-2022.

Please be patient with me as I am new to crypto, digital art and monetizing virtual assets. Uploading images to the collection is a learning exercise on its own. With practice comes understanding. I recently realized that uploading and listing for sale are different functions. Important to this process is understanding crypto wallets, transferring crypto between platforms as well as the associated costs. Transfer fees and gas fees eat account balances extremely fast. Essentially, nothing is listed for sale yet because I’m still moving crypto around and testing the site for the best gas prices and times (lower fees). Eventually, I will list the images one by one for sale.

If you have any NFT pointers, please share!

#nft #digitalart #photography #phlog #indiepublishing #publisher #photoediting

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2022 Calendar Planning: Starting the year off with an outline (Recording)

Listen to my 2022 planning outline suggestions for #indie #creatives, #solopreneuers, and #SmallBusiness owners. There are no hard and fast rules, only simple techniques for staying on track with your overall 2022 goals.

Note: The first couple of minutes are dead air, mic was off. 🙃 (Start after minute 3:00).

Please share your techniques and suggestions in the comments.

https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1ynJOZmroMXGR

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I AM Woman: A Celebration of Being

I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America is a showcase of the indomitable Spirit of Black Womanhood weaving through generations as cord of strength and wisdom.

Forget the world.

I AM WOMAN is a declaration of existence – without permission. 

Everyone is aware of their outward image. Many people spend their lives enhancing their shadow while neglecting their substance. The narratives within I AM WOMAN span five centuries of a powerfully consistent perspective. Despite habitual abuse, neglect, sexual violence, human trafficking, and a stifling minimum of economic opportunities, Black Women have continuously elevated themselves and grown in excellence.

Who Do you say you are?

I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America is a triumphant response to centuries of oppression, neglect, and abuse. It’s a tribute to the women in America who are not seen, heard, honored, or appreciated, yet are always relied upon to support every layer of society. This collection of images and words is an expression of how Black Women in America see themselves. Who they believe they are as individuals in private, in public, as a community, and as givers and receivers of ancestral grace.

Comprised of portraits, poetry, essays, and speeches, I AM WOMAN reaches back to Isabel de Olvera who swore an affidavit in 1600 declaring her freedom from marriage and slavery to the deeply inspiring inauguration of Kamala Harris as the first Afro-Asian and Woman Vice President of the United States of America 2021.

Photographed, compiled, and edited by LaShawnda Jones, I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America weaves together contributions from Women across the United States throughout the country’s history.

With contributions from dozens of women

One book, several formats

Play Video

Behind the Scenes

We are who we are.

About LaShawnda Jones

LaShawnda Jones is an independent author, photographer and publisher for Harvest Life. Her work focuses on women, spiritual growth, and social justice. She has published several books exploring the impact of childhood sexual trauma in adulthood as well as the challenges and joys of applying principles of faith in all her interactions. She has a B.A in Political Science and French and a M.A. in International Affairs. She has studied in France and Poland in addition to missionary training in New York City and Israel.

LaShawnda Is a member of the RAINN Speaker’s Bureau and is available for speaking engagements nationally. She is also available for photography assignments. Her creative work can be viewed at Harvest-Life.org.

Please email Shawnda@Harvest-Life.org with inquiries, requests and bulk orders.

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I AM WOMAN Covers

I have a release date for the I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America! It will be available for purchase on June19, 2021 via Amazon. YAY!

The low pre-order price is available until the release date. All pre-orders will be shipped from me so they can be signed copies if you wish.

I’m pretty psyched finally seeing this project come together! The photography and design are my work. Stay tuned for more posts throughout the week.

What do you think of the covers? Any critique on the back cover blurb?

Click to purchase your copy of I AM WOMAN: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America. 

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A Prayer for Sojourner Truth

Thoughts from the Road.

Today I honor my ancestors. I honor all the women who stood and spoke in their power. May they rest well. May we live well as we continue moving forward in the footsteps of giants.

For a few years now, I’ve wanted to do a road trip focusing on historic African American Women. The pillars for me are Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. I’ve been mapping out sites they lived and worked for a while.

Throughout March and April this year, I finally got on the road for an extended trip. This one wasn’t focused on African American Women exclusively, but it was deeply saturated in African American history and culture. However, because I AM Woman is named for one of Sojourner Truth’s speeches, I truly wanted to make sure she was part of this road trip. So Battle Creek, MI was added to my route. I visited a monument dedicated to her and her grave site at Oak Hill Cemetery.

We think of history as being so distant, but standing at Mother Sojourner’s grave site made me very aware that her time was not so long ago.

#sojournertruth #africanamerican #women #woman #womenrights #abolistionist #activist #roadtrip #crosscountry #battlecreek #michigan #oakcreekcemetery #ancestors #prayer #photography #journey #america #americanhistory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sojourner Truth Monument

Oak Hill Cemetery

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Nnamdi Okonkwo

In 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting Nnamdi Okonkwo at an art show in Manhattan.

Pictured: Nnamdi Okonkwo, Sculptor, with Resolution

A couple of years ago I started following him on IG and told him I was looking forward to the day I could purchase my first piece of art from him.

Have you thought about what your first real art purchase would be? I’ve long suspected mine would be sculpture. Something three-dimensional.

When I moved to New York City in 2005, I began visiting art galleries. My favorite one is on Central Park South. There’s some beautiful work in that gallery. But even if I could swing the exorbitant price tags, the pieces I liked best didn’t really reflect me.

When I met Nnamdi with his lady Resolution, I wanted to lean in, take a seat and speak with them both. Not only did he speak to me but so did his work.

Last month while on a cross country road trip, I asked if he was available for a studio visit. He was. I visited and it was the highlight of my trip and a true joy I will remember throughout my life. I placed an order for two small sculptures, “Joy” and “They are Waiting.” I wanted to select art that not only reflected some of my physicality, but also expressed where I am spiritually and emotionally. My whole life is long waits dotted with bursts of joy.

The below video shares some of my exploration of Nnamdi’s studio as well as his graciousness in opening his space and answering my questions. I’ve also added pictures of him from the art show in Manhattan and of me sitting with his “Friends” monument installation in Harlem in 2012. I refer to this statue as “Sisters,” in the video but please note “Sisters” has three more figures than “Friends.”

When we sat to talk in his studio last month, Nnamdi started off by saying he remembered meeting me all those years ago. My first inclination was to dismiss his comment. Then I had to reject my dismissal. He and his work had made such an impression on me I’ve literally remembered one of his pieces with me as a figure in it (see video). ☺

We live in a superficial world where people change their interests with the shifting winds seeking instant gratification. I’ve never been one for the quick fix. I’m purposeful and methodical. I come through on the follow-through eventually.

For those of you who may be beating yourself up for taking too long to do something or acquire a wishlist item, remind yourself it’s your life to live at your pace. When you’re in a comfortable enough space to do that unnecessary, but pleasurable thing, your satisfaction will have no limits.

Check out Nnamdi Okonkwo’s work at http://www.nnamdiart.com. Yo can find him on IG (@nnamdiart) and Facebook (@nnamdi.okonkwo.96).

“In my indigenous culture, womanhood is venerated. In my sculpture I want to express the noble virtues of humanity such as empathy, love, humility and inner strength which women possess. The voluminous shapes are aesthetically pleasing and intoxicating to me, but why also serve to emphasize the largeness of the soul of womanhood.”

 

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Pyramids: Uxmal, Chichen Itzá, Teotihuacán, Giza

Click to listen to podcast of post.

All my travels are planned with the intention of conducting myself as a cultural photo-journalist of sorts. However, without fail, I return home, transfer my travel photos to my hard drive and essentially forget about all the good intentions I had for my images and travel notes.

This week, I’ve been focused on creating an attractive online portfolio to better promote and share my work. While reviewing example portfolios, I came across a lovely minimalist style with simple headings: People and Objects. I have a lot of work to do before I can trim down to that level of simplicity, but I can work with the spirit of the concept and have begun organizing my work under People, Places, Things, Ideas, Change and Books.

Pyramids at Giza

While sorting through years of images to select portfolio samples to represent my work, pyramid shots from my 2019/2020 trip to Egypt stood out. Giza was the third pyramid site I’ve been to, which led to a search for pictures from prior visits to other pyramid sites.

Pyramids at Chichen Itzá and Uxmal

My first flight and international trip was to the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico for my high school senior trip. We spent a morning at the ancient Maya city-state Chichen Itzá site and honestly, that was the day I fell in love with Mexico. Fourteen years later, I visited a friend in Mexico City and we took a day trip to Teotihuacán, an ancient Aztec city.

“The Maya originated around 3,000 years ago in present-day Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and Mexico.”

Chichenitza.com

Correction: My photo albums are in storage but I took pictures of my high school scrap book on my phone. Another Maya site, Uxmal, was also visited. The below images were taken on 35mm film, possibly on a been a Fuji in 1993.

“[Uxmal] is the largest, most elegant, and most important ruin site in the Puuc area. The Pyramid of the Magician is a truly magnificent structure….The majority of the structures seen today date from 600-900 A.D..”

The Mayan Ruins Website

Pyramids at Teotihuacán

By the time I got to Mexico City in 2007, I had been living in New York City for two years and I didn’t think there was another city that could blow my socks off. I’ve been happily mistaken several times on that score. Americans talk about being the best and biggest at everything and I never realize how indoctrinated I am with such rhetoric until I explore other environments. Mexico City secured Mexico as one of my favorite countries. The architecture, colors, style, sounds, history is so present and available every where you look – and it’s a short flight from anywhere in the United State! During my visit I got to see an excavation site in the center of town where the ancient city Mexico City was built on was discovered. Amazing!

“Teotihuacan was founded as early as 400 B.C., though the largest structures of the city weren’t completed until about 300 A.D.”

History.com

The below images were taken with my Olympus digital camera that held a whopping 1mb memory card at the time (2007). I had never edited any images from this trip until now, they were all hazy, flat, and mostly uninteresting. I certainly didn’t capture the awe of the place. I didn’t do much editing, but removing most of the haze was enough to make them look good. Lightroom does wonders! I stitched some together in Microsoft ICE, adjusted color and sharpness on all and did some final touch-ups in Photoshop. Fourteen years after they were taken with a digital point and shoot. I’m so glad I don’t delete images! 🙂

#phototographer #photography #travelphotography #pyramids #ancientcities #citystates #giza #teotihuacan #chichenitza #uxmal #mexico #egypt #culture #photoediting #archives #revisiting #oldwork #portfolio