Day 6: Sunday Evening Musings

Ten years ago today was a day that none of us would ever forget.  I still remember at 7am that morning on the way into work in Tysons Corner, Virginia, that I told myself, “This will be a day you will never forget.”  Ironically, a decade later “Never Forget” is still the slogan for 9/11. 

A month after 9/11, I moved out of Washington, DC and into Northern Virginia.  Not even a year had passed that I decided to change my life.  I realized on 9/11 that I had dreams…dreams that needed to happen.  If I had died that day, what in the world would go on my epitaph?  What have I accomplished?  What have I done?

That day set the change in my life to do something with it.

A decade later, I’m living in New York City.  I can only remember dreaming with my roommate about living in the Big Apple.  Carrie Bradshaw made us dream and dream big about living in the big city, wearing designer clothing…and LIVING each and every single day to its fullest.

It’s funny that these days, in my group of friends, I’m the Carrie Bradshaw…the writer of the group…I just write about hockey most of the time.

There are always some sort of silver lining in the most horrific of events.  We grow to love the ones we’ve taken for granted like our local police departments and firemen.  I’m reminded every day as I walk by the fire department on 48th and 8th Avenue, just how many men lost their lives on 9/11. 

The guys that work there now have become a tourist attraction.  I’ll admit…like in Sex and the City…every woman in New York City is looking out the side of their sunglasses as they see a fire truck driving by.  After all, some of the sexiest bachelors in New York City ride around on that big red fire engine. 

9/11 taught us to stop taking things for granted in life.  Tell the people you love that you love them, just in case you never get to.  Live every moment as if it is your last.  Live like there’s no tomorrow.  Cherish freedom.

I can imagine back during the emancipation of the United States from England, what it must have been like when America became free.  Today, we fight to protect that right…a right many of us took for granted until 9/11/01.

As I move into the new chapter of my life, I’ve started to fall into the things in life that I love.  Music is one of them.

When I first got my hockey column, my editor told me that I needed to start taking photographs.  Of course, I thought she had to be insane.  Me, take photographs?  Oh, was she in for some bad photography.

It took one step at a time.  One camera at a time.  One passion to take over in order for me to realize…you could find love behind the lens of a camera.

Friday night’s photography experiment has actually been much better than I thought it would be.  Would you believe that photographing some rockstar would net me more unique hits to this site than I’ve had since I began covering hockey?  The number of hits have gone up 6x the normal hit count for the busiest traffic day to this site.

Constantine Maroulis is actually using one of my photos as his avatar on his Facebook fan page.  Surprised?  Yes, I am surprised.

As I go through each photo that I plan to hang in my home and in my office during the makeover that will happen when I return from my three week vacation, I realize…hmm…I could make a living off of this. 

There really is no money in hockey unless you play for a team.  I’ve been forbidden from selling my work (because we get into that royalty thing because of the emblems and the logos).  Even if I were to turn it into artwork and claim First Amendment rights as an artist, would it be worth the pain of going to court over it?  No, not really.

There are countless photos from the hockey realm that never get published.  NEVER.  Because I don’t write that much.  I have thousands to choose from.

But take a little thing like a rockstar…fans want what you can offer to them.  I mean think about it…Constantine Maroulis is 6x more popular than hockey.  Do the math.

I’ve been talking to my friends about photographing more and selling the work.  Their response is to go for it.  They all say I’m talented enough and take great pictures.  My friend that asked me to photograph her wedding…you want to know what she was more excited about?  The fact that she knew that I would turn her wedding pictures into artwork.  I wouldn’t be handing her a bunch of photos…I would be designing artwork with it too.

I think the reason for the excitement lies in the fact that I love to do it.  I learned from the model Marti Vodrazkova that there’s no such thing as a bad photograph.  You can always change any photograph into something better.  You can edit it…just like you can edit a story.

After all, every magazine in the world edits their photographs, right?

I’ve been looking at various sites to sell my work.  I think back during my rookie year when Zach Parise told me I shouldn’t be giving these photos/artwork away, I should be selling them…and I remember telling him, “Not now…maybe later.”  Well, it’s later and I’m ready. 

I’ve noticed that several record labels have been checking out the photos from Friday night.  Could it mean more work in the future?  Guess we’ll see, because I’m scheduled to photograph two talented ladies this week.  We’ll see what I see on the other side of that lens.

There are books I’ve been contemplating putting together from my vacations.  I feel like it’s time.  I usually stand in Barnes & Noble looking at photography books of places I’ve been…and all of the photos look exactly like mine.  I’m standing there thinking, “I could do this.”

My friend laughed at me when she went through my Prague guide book and noticed some of the photos in the book.  She told me that it looked like I took every single picture in the book, but the ones I took were better, because I followed Czechs around and took photos of them…lovers, children with their parents, guys sleeping on a park bench, the beggars, fishermen…I took pictures of life in Prague…and everything else in the guidebook (but better, as she says).

I used to be a horrible photographer.  I mean HORRIBLE.  But now…I’m okay.  As an editor…well, I’m better than okay.

You see, when I go through photos I’m looking for a moment.  I’m trying to capture a moment in life.  It may mean nothing to the person at the time, but actually I’m looking for the beauty in that moment.

I’ll never forget following a mother and her daughter for a couple blocks in Prague, just trying to photograph the innocence of the moment.  When I found two middle aged people making out on the castle wall in Vysehrad, all I wanted to do was sneak a couple of photos of them…because it was beautiful.  They were so passionate!

There was one guy begging for money outside of St. Nicholas’ church…I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had seen in Prague. 

There are things in life we take for granted.  Sometimes just taking a moment and capturing the things that are beautiful in some strange way…that is what fills us with love, joy and happiness.  At least for a photographer it does.

When I picture myself, I picture myself selling my photos and being really good at it.  That is the way I envisioned myself at the start of my ‘hockey writing career.’  Crazy, right?  No, I’m not switching to being a photographer photographing the Devils.  I’m just expanding my work into a new realm.

Going back to the Constantine is 6x more popular than the NHL work…just imagine if it were a more popular celebrity.  Maybe, just maybe my return to music will be about photographing those rockstars.  Guess we’ll see where this all leads.  All I can say now is that I’m going to be selling my work. 

Like I said…the NHL work is not for sale.  But the other stuff I’ve photographed…get your credit cards and checkbooks ready.  I feel like stretching out on canvas.

About Michelle Kenneth

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