|Left to Right: Jim Veneman, Bob Carey, Morris Abernathy, Louis Deluca, Ron London, & [Me] Stanley Leary|
I apologize for the rambling below. It is a stream of consciousness of some of what I experienced this past weekend at the conference.
|Jim & Carol Veneman are having facetime with their grand children|
|A CBU student with Garrett Hubbard reviewing her environmental portrait.|
I want to talk here about my journey through the years. When we started the SWPJC I had not really come to terms with my Autism. When I was in third grade I was tested and fell on the spectrum, but back then they didn't give me the label.
I would slowly understand through many different events that I fit the Aspergers Syndrome perspective on the Autism Spectrum. Through the years I have been taking steps like speech therapy and studying social work which all helped me greatly improve in my deficiencies.
This past weekend when I was teaching I was reminded of my Autism.
I asked everyone in the class I was leading to take a picture. When asked what they took a picture of I had people talk about taking a picture of me with a scowl on my face. Then a couple minutes later someone talked again about my body language as being negative.
|This is me with my dad and sister.|
Autism is a developmental disorder involving qualitative impairments in social interaction. One source of those impairments are difficulties creating facial expressions of emotion. Difficulties with facial expressions may arise from deficits in a motivation to express positive emotions with others. The difficulties may also stem from physiological problems in physically creating expressions that are due to damage to areas of the brain that control the facial nerve (which produces those expressions).I know my family has really given me a hard time through the years when they take photos of me. I just don't look happy. I guess there are moments when a glimpse of my enthusiasm does come through, but I cannot consciously bring the emotions I feel to my face.
I can tell you that I am always thinking and observing others. I do not take lightly those around me. I am always trying to figure out how to be of service. Can I help them or what is their problem they might need help with. I am often trying to connect people with a need with a person I know that could be the solution. So my face expressions are I guess some what accurate. I am thinking which can produce a scowl or tense brow.
I want to be Helpful and Not Hurtful ...
So that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. – Hebrews 6:12I can tell you that God isn't finished with me yet. I have a lot of work to do with my face expressions. The good news is I kind of know what I need to work on going forward.
... LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. – Psalm 4:6
|Morris Abernathy my good friend for more than 30 years|
Morris' vision was to expand the conference and make it an event that more people would feel welcomed. Morris has one of the biggest hearts for people that I know. He is also the one person who has had me doubled over in laughter where tears are flowing so many times. My wife and I think of the times we both have enjoyed his humor.
What a joy Morris has been not just to me, but to all who come into contact with him. We were blessed that he invested so much of his life into the conference.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. – Proverbs 27:17
|Akili Ramsess with Jim Veneman|
While this was the purpose of the original group I can tell you that through the years it hasn't gone well every time. You see I know from personal experience that there are many other people out their like me. Their face expressions and body language doesn't always match their hearts.
I believe those who started the conference want to return to our core values and put into place some changes that will make this conference more like Morris Abernathy had envisioned.
|Brad Smith having a great time with Brien Aho during the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference|
|Twenty five years ago Ron London was the first speaker. He was our last speaker on Sunday and revisited his talking points from 1992.|
An amateur (French amateur "lover of", from Old French and ultimately from Latin amatorem nom. amator, "lover") is generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science in a non-professional or unpaid manner. Amateurs often have little or no formal training in their pursuits, and many are autodidacts (self-taught).
|Garrett Hubbard started the conference with asking us to examine our identity|
Garrett also talked about how we often limit our identity to what our job title is and encouraged us to see our whole selves.
|Akili Ramsess reviews a students photos|
|Patrick Murphy-Racey was wanting to help equip photographers with the gear they need to help their work to connect more effectively with audiences.|
If there is one photographer I am extremely jealous of it would be Pat. I am jealous of how he exudes excitement to others.
While I am thinking and really looking for ways to serve even more than I do now, Pat is buzzing by me like a Energizer Bunny in the commercial. He is beating his drum and pulling as many as he can behind him in his parade. Pat is the pied piper of photojournalism.
Before you know it Pat has a group of students and teaching them all about lighting.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." – John 13:35The cornerstone of the conference is Jesus Christ. The thing that we try to do each year is very similar to what a mason call the "Holding Bond" – maintaining a plumb-aligned bond or brick pattern. To do this a mason creates the "Hanging the line" – attaching a mason’s line to the leads at opposite ends of a wall.
The committee that produces the conference each year is taking the time to meet soon to retool the conference. We will be "Hanging the Line" so that we can be "Holding Bond" so that when people look at our conference they will see the love we have for one another.
Stay tuned through our website SWPJC.org.
|Brad Smith and Brien Aho with the Chick-fil-A Cow.|
|Brad Smith shared his tips on how to make connections and showing your portfolio. Besides having strong and unique images Brad pointed out how important it is to be a likable person.|
|Brien Aho is helping one of the students with his Nikon 5300. The student was asking me, but I knew Brien was more familiar with the camera as a Nikon representative. Every time I turned around I saw Brien helping people with their cameras.|
|Brien was a Navy combat photographer, which you wouldn't know right away in his role as a Nikon representative. Once everyone realized his background he quickly had people lining up to show him their portfolio and ask for his critique.|
|Thought I would end this on a sunrise photo of student taking a photo at the Fort Worth Mounted Police horse stables.|