Posted by: Susan Hendrich | March 1, 2019

How resilient are you?

Cast light every day…

Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  – Victor E. Frankl

re·sil·ience

noun \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\

  1. the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
  2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Throughout my adult life, for various reasons, I have been told that I am resilient. But my story isn’t relevant today. Oh, believe me, I’d like for you to know all the joys and challenges, triumphs and struggles I’ve experienced. But when I’m practicing resilience, sometimes that means casting aside wounds, wonders, worries and woes in order to allow the simplicity of a message to shine through. So in the spirit of simplicity, all I will say right now about my discovery of the power of resilience is that I believe it is important to cast light, every day.

Cast your light

By shining our inner light outward toward the world, we brighten all that we see. So if you are reading this, it is because you were willing to let this light be cast upon you for a moment.

 

Posted by: Susan Hendrich | February 12, 2019

Four things to say to the people who matter most

Tree Birds
Nostalgia is following me lately, partly because some important and precious things are changing (more on that next time).
Not knowing what the future holds, we humans tend to turn backwards to review those memories and moments and people that have made our lives meaningful.
I’ve always been close to my family. During the past several years, more than ever, I’m aware of our mortality. Given a heightened awareness of the clicking of life’s clock, I’m in the throes of this retrospective reflection on my family, friends and others who have impacted me.
Tonight I came across the notion of “four things” we should be sure to say to the people important to us, while we still can. This simple list pulled together loose ends that have been dangling in my heart for some time. I thought I’d share the list with you.

Four things to say to the people who matter in your life before it’s too late

  1. I love you
  2. Thank you
  3. Please forgive me
  4. I forgive you
~ From the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono, a cleansing ritual of reconciliation and forgiveness.

What is Ho’oponopono?

“Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as:

(a) “To put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up make orderly or neat, administer, superintend, supervise, manage, edit, work carefully or neatly; to make ready, as canoemen preparing to catch a wave.”

(b) “Mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right (hoʻoponopono) through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.”

Literally, hoʻo is a particle used to make an actualizing verb from the following noun, as would “to” before a noun in English. Here, it creates a verb from the noun pono, which is defined as: “…goodness, uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, well-being, prosperity, welfare, benefit, true condition or nature, duty; moral, fitting, proper, righteous, right, upright, just, virtuous, fair, beneficial, successful, in perfect order, accurate, correct, eased, relieved; should, ought, must, necessary.”

Ponopono is defined as “to put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.”

 Ira Byock discusses those Four Things to say to people in your life who matter in his book, “The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living

COMING SOON:

  • The Last Time
  • The Terrible Secret
  • Story Corps: StoryCorps changed my life. If you haven’t heard of StoryCorps, it’s time.
  • Necessary Losses
  • Biily Joel – Captain Jack
Posted by: Susan Hendrich | February 23, 2018

Be your own Olympic champion with the Workplace Workout

Posted by: Susan Hendrich | October 25, 2017

Sell Your Art: The Business of Photography

So You Want to Sell Your Art?

Do family and friends tell you that your photography is amazing and that you should sell your photos? Are you wanting to give it a try but not too sure how to get started?

Maybe it’s time to start selling your art. But how?

There are countless ways to “be a photographer.”

There’s commercial and artistic and documentary and travel and wedding photography. Within each of these pursuits, there are endless opportunities to sell photos. Think about magazines, books, calendars, greeting cards, private collections, museums, stock photo agencies, art galleries, advertising agencies, art fairs, and more.

There’s never been a better time to show your work to a wide audience, and there are specific ways that you can maximize the opportunity for others to see your work.

AlapocasRun

Alapocas Run, Wilmington, Delaware by Susan E. Hendrich

 

Opportunities for free exposure are boundless with the advent of social media. But, the market is saturated with photographers who want to sell their work for that same reason. The fine art market has always been tough to break into. It’s harder than ever to make money at it, as art is a luxury and not an easy sale in a tough economy. But, if you’re good, there is probably a market for you at the local level. Here are things to consider to test your market and see if your work will sell:

1. Create a few professional marketing tools.

A. Your Bio

To start, you should create a short biography telling who you are and what you’ve done. You’ll need an up-to-date resume. An artist’s statement is imperative in order to connect the viewer to the work – your pictures don’t always speak for themselves.

B. Your Portfolio

Build a portfolio of your work both online and offline. This portfolio should be curated carefully. Don’t pour a lifetime’s worth of photographs in front of someone. Instead, take your viewer on a journey. Think through the experience of your viewer from their perspective. Your photographic story should make sense. Leave them wanting more, not less.

Online Artwork

Start by posting (only) your best work online in a gallery with an online shopping option.

  • Fine Art America is free
  • Smugmug is reasonably priced and more professional looking
  • Etsy has a nice photography section and touts itself as being the place where you can shop for “anything from creative people everywhere”
  • Many other options exist – ask your friends where they find and buy their art

Printed Artwork

  • Print a few of your very best images in a large format, then matte and frame them.
  • You can also order good quality canvas prints so you don’t have to worry about framing.

C. Your Calling Card

Design and print some business cards with your contact info, gallery and/or website links, etc. If you want to include a logo mark, go for it. This simple act and small investment can do wonders for your sense of being an established photographer with real art to sell.

MarketStreetReflections

Market Street Reflections, Wilmington, Delaware by Susan E. Hendrich

2. Start Selling.

Now that you have created your online presence and a printed small inventory, it’s time to out there and sell.

  • Go local. Unless you have amazing images from your last trip to India that would be a great fit in your local Indian restaurant, think locally. People like to buy images of places they know. This is especially true if you photograph those familiar places with a unique vision that make them even more interesting. They also make great gift items for visiting guests.
  • Visit your neighborhood coffee shops and restaurants and ask if they would display your work for a few weeks (keep it under a month, no one will notice it after two or three weeks anyway). Most coffee shops welcome the free wall decoration and will not ask for a commission. If they do, figure it out in your price. You can also offer them a print of their choice to keep as a thank you. Make sure you leave plenty of business cards near your work so people can contact you if they are not ready to buy on the spot.
  • Ask at local businesses with blank walls if they might be interested in displaying your artwork. Think about the places you go…your doctor’s office, dentist, community library, and even your local grocery store. Ask for the office manager and present a few of your images of local scenes to see if they might be interested in showing your photography.

 

OneLastRide

Wilmington Flower Market, Wilmington, Delaware by Susan E. Hendrich

Shoot in your own community to create images that will sell in your hometown. These Delaware photos, shot last year, are more likely to sell here in Delaware than my images of Amsterdam. Why? They appeal to a larger audience locally.

3. Share the love.

A. Donate

Donate a framed print to a silent auction to benefit a good cause. You will help them with your contribution, get some exposure and feel really good about yourself for your donation.

B. Host a Show

Host your own show at your house or local spot! Team up with two or three other artists (jewelry artists, painters, etc.) for a fun evening. Share the cost of the beverages and snacks, combine your contact lists and have your own art show. Make sure to have a lot of ‘cash and carry’ items to sell, display some of your large prints as well. Those shows are great because the competition is minimal and people are here to shop and have a good time. Your guests will enjoy visiting with the artists and meet new friends. You can potentially make hundreds of dollars in a short period of time while having fun!

C. Join a Fair

Considering selling your photos at art fairs? Think carefully. These are often expensive to join and photography is not usually a best seller. If you go for it, make sure you have plenty of inexpensive items such as greeting cards, small matted prints, etc.  Be prepared for a long day or weekend sitting around and not selling much (when you could be out there taking more pictures).

D. Pick a Card

Greeting cards sell! As paper becomes more and more a thing of the past, a beautiful greeting card becomes even more special. Create cards for different occasions. You can go on ‘greeting card photo walks’ where you capture specific subjects for different occasions (balloons for birthdays, flowers for Mother’s Day, lighted trees for Christmas, or even find heart shapes in nature for love and Valentine’s Day cards).

 

HomelessVeteransFlags_2016_web

Flags for Homeless Veterans, Wilmington, Delaware by Susan E. Hendrich

 

4. Keep Learning and Growing.

You will have unique challenges to face with your art, which will be influenced by your potential market, your own personal challenges, and your audience. If you’ve been making photographs as a hobby and want to begin selling, check out a good book or website or blog to see how others have made the journey. Here are a few to consider:

  • Selling Fine Art Photography: How To Market Your Fine Art Photography Online To Create A Consistent Flow Of Excited Art Buyers Who Love What You Do, by Nigel Merrick
  • Sell & Re-Sell Your Photos: Learn How to Sell Your Photographs Worldwide 6th Edition, by Rohn Engh and‎ Mikael Karlsson
  • Marketing Fine Art Photography 1st Edition, by Alain Briot Central

After making the decision to sell your photography—full-time or part-time or just once a year with a holiday calendar—be a professional photographer. Carry your business cards. Update your website. Seize the right opportunities when they present themselves. And for goodness sake, carry your camera with you. Only share work that you are truly proud of. Organize your materials and be ready to share them at a moment’s notice. Opportunity windows can be tiny.

Speak with confidence about your work. Know what you stand for and what makes your work different.

Join a creative community. Fellow artists can be your best resource and your most knowledgeable support, and most will share what works for them. Connect.

NeverTooLate

5. Repeat this line: “I can do this.”

Being a photographer is not a simple journey. When choosing this path, many do so because they have something to say, it’s a mode of expression. But fear often drives a photographer to steer their work toward the market and away from their heart. A form of success may come from this veering, but you may fulfill your need to grow and evolve as an artist. It is important to continuously pay attention to your authentic self.

What do you want your work to say? Decide what you want to capture. What do you hope to explore? Even when shooting commercial photography, you must still have your own voice. This authentically-you perspective separate you from the pack. And don’t worry if you stray for a while, if you discipline yourself to keep asking, “Where do I really want to go with this?” Your inner guide will help you get there.

Start small on a local scale and keep your initial expectations modest. You may not make a million, but there is something special about making a few sales of your art. You’ll find your niche and soon you’ll be sharing your own tips on a blog like this.
Now, say it with me…”I can do this.” Say it again.
Onward!
Special thanks to Delaware Photographic Society President, Fred Cullis for inspiring this post. Credit also goes to Canon Explorer of Light Michele Celentano, for her amazing Portrait Photography workshop.

 

LoungeReflections2

Lounge Reflections, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Susan E. Hendrich

 

Posted by: Susan Hendrich | June 23, 2017

Kintsugi: The art of embracing damage.

Is it possible to be more beautiful in the broken places?

Recently, I sent a message to my friend who was struggling, in hopes of lifting her spirits.

My friend had been feeling down. Defeated. Convinced that she wasn’t capable or deserving of success. I knew better, of course. I’ve known her more than half my life. I’ve watched her rise from an aspiring writer to international best selling author. Countless reasons, I could offer, as to why she’s more than capable and perfectly deserving of success.  With indignance, I wanted to shout at her, “You’re already successful! Do you know how many people would dream to live your life for even just one day?”

I had really good intentions that day. It was a thrill, in fact, to think that I could be of help to a hero. Here was little old regular me, being asked to Help…Fix…Repair…Heal…this amazing role model of mine, who happened to be struggling. Being able to nurture and support this person who has served as a model of excellence for me for decades. Here was my chance to make a difference!

And the way I chose to help this supersuccessful person to feel better? I denied her feelings. Not a good thing, turns out.

I countered every single negative thought she was having with a reason why she was wrong and “should feel great” or “ought to forgive” herself or “was being too hard” on herself.

Thinking I was helping, actually I was making it worse. I took away her right to suffer. In fact, I teetered on the cusp of shaming her for feeling down.

With all the best intentions, I missed the whole point. She was feeling broken and needed to let the pieces fall on the floor in front of her.

Realizing that I was making things worse by only focusing on the sunny side and by denying her need to feel broken and fall apart, I suddenly remembered a concept I once heard about the importance of being able to “fall into” pain rather than simply denying it. This concept, I was now remembering, was about honoring and highlighting the broken parts. Drawing attention to the damage, even!

So, what is this radical-acceptance-like process of honoring and even highlighting our failures and broken parts?

It’s called Kintsugi, and it’s a beautiful way of turning damage into beauty.

The Japanese practice of “kintsugi” is the art of embracing damage. Check out this Kintsugi video:

“Now you shall transform to a new level, my friend. Think wabi-sabi and kintsugi: the art of embracing damage!”

Now remembering this concept of being stronger in the broken places, I stopped my barrage of “happy thoughts” and apologized mid-conversation to my friend. I acknowledged that I’d been trying to deny the fact that she felt broken. I was trying to pretend the cracks weren’t there. I told her that I’d suddenly remembered this Japanese art of Kintsugi, and that I would send her a video to illustrate the concept right away. We ended the conversation awkardly, and I seriously questioned whether I knew how to be a good friend.

Pushing past my disappointment in myself, I sent her the Kintsugi video, hoping that she was still open to my support, even after I’d botched and Pollyanna’d my way through our earlier conversation. After I sent the note and video link, I started to question myself.

“Who am I to tell this highly successful and internationally recognized thought leader how to live?”

“Why do I always appoint myself as the ambassador of all that is positive?”

“What if she resents my message and sees it as patronizing?”

There I was, spiraling to all my places in my head where my own brokenness lurks.

Worrying about how my friend might feel after I’d missed the point with her suffering, I was spinning in my own broken parts, thinking…

I’ve spent my whole life embracing the broken, the not quite, and the almost…

  • Saving birds with broken wings
  • Fixing toys with broken parts
  • Cheering for the underdog
  • Coaching those who don’t yet believe in themselves
  • Coaxing sunshine from clouds

Just as my negative self-talk was reaching a fervent pitch in my head, the phone rang.

There was my friend, laugh-crying through the phone line, telling me how she finally felt understood. The video just spoke to her. Captured her. She told me how she felt connected to this concept of embracing damage. How she IS kintsugi. How this concept of mending the broken pieces with gold and proudly displaying them was exactly what she’d needed. It was a great moment, and not just because my friend was feeling better or because I’d been able to help her. It was a great moment because she and I were creating Kintsugi in real time. We were piecing back together a set of broken shards of a conversation and making the resulting product even better than when we’d started.

I knew on that day that I would never look at broken pottery in the same way again.

Now, whenever either of us faces a rough patch in life, or when things fall apart altogether, a single word helps us both begin to put the pieces back together and to anticipate an even more beautiful outcome than the original situation could have intended.

Kintsugi.

Embracing the damage. More beautiful in the broken places.

 

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