Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Ice Festival Fires up my Creativity
This past Sunday was the Frankfort Ice Festival. I grabbed my camera, put on about three layers of clothes, and roamed around. About 30 sculptures are displayed around the town and in the afternoon the ice sculptor man does a demo creation for the crowd. Lots of families, little tykes all bundled up, and many, many dogs of all shapes and sizes set the stage. Hot chocolate was available to warm the crowd-goer up and a wood-burning fire (artificial, unforunately) provided some heat on this cold, crisp day. Photo-shoot opportunities beckoned to me, so I put on my new fingerless gloves (which a photographer so embraces) and started clicking away.
Sometimes I get so in the zone that I almost bowl people over trying to get closer to the subject of interest. My husband, the voice of reason, usually talks to whoever is nearby, explaining that I am a picture nut, and love to take pictures of anything and everything. One lady nearby said, "That's so great that you love it so much". Yes, I do, and if I appear rude as I jostle for position, that's just my creative spirit fighting to make its presence known. My camera seems to have a mind of its own, pulling me along on its quest, like a dog pulling his master while on a walk.
Children and babies always make such wonderful subjects, in their colorful snow attire that jumps out against the white snowy background. I love to take photos of these cherubs, who do not hold back their joy and enthusiasm. Past experience, though, has made me more cautious and I pick and choose my subject. Parents can be a bit skeptical of my actions, and will ask what I am going to do with the photo. I say it's for my own personal use and a way to hone in on my photographic skills. Sometimes, I promise them a photo, which seems to lighten them up a bit. Still, these remarks dampen my enthusiastic free spirit that just wants to capture everything and when I am in that zone, look out. It's like a wild demon takes over and shoots energy through me head to toe.
Now, pets, pets are a different story entirely. The owners proudly strutted their dogs around, allowing strangers to pet them and get in closer for a cuddly warm embrace. One woman had her german shepherd perform tricks for me, taking snowballs andtossing them in the air for the dog to catch. There was a dog sled demo going on as well, so several of these beautiful creatures were participating in that. Never once, though, have I had a pet owner ask me "What are you going to do with that photo"? This eases my tension and allows me free rein, and I don't have to feel like a stalker with them. Maybe pet photography is the route to go. I've seen owners treat their pets like children, if not better, so something to think about.
The ice sculptor man was a great photo subject, intent on creating a seal holding a ball on his nose, yet willing to chat with the audience around him. He said he used to be a chef for ten years. (Apparently, many chefs become ice sculptors and vise versa). He has various clients he works for, including chefs. He says he does ice sculptures for them all the time and the chef, if I remember this right, gets the credit. The sculptor seems okay with that, as he gets money for his services. . I am familiar with the "rights" lingo, as this terminology is found in photography too. I have found that photo contests sometimes want exclusive rights to a photo you've created if it becomes a winner. I had a neat image I took of a gorilla family at Brookfield Zoo and the terms were that they'd get exclusive rights to the image if it won. I still wanted to keep and share that image in my own way so I deterred from participating. Perhaps I'm being too clingy with my photos ( I hold onto my art a little too tightly as well) but maybe in time I'll be more willing to let it, and all rights attached, go. Getting it out there into public domain is a good thing.
I think this might be one of the incentives of the man who ice sculpts. His various ice images are found scattered throughout town, with a specific theme for each business that chooses to let him sculpt something for them. This ice clock shown to the left had a moving pendulum, which I thought was just awesome. Sculptor man said he did something via computer technology to get that to happen. Wow, I thought. This guy was so creative with ice. And now the computer age is embracing Mother Nature's ice forms. Technology is certainly here to stay. Such a beautiful artform, nevertheless, and when the sun glints off the ice, striking abstract formations result. It's all a win-win situation. The business or store gets advertising, the iceman gets recognition and allows his creative spirit free rein, and the public comes in for the Fest and other charms that Frankfort offers.
I've often said I have a journalist heart, so if I feel curious enough, I'll ask questions of whoever I am photographing. As the ice sculptor man finished his seal creation on stage, and I noticed the crowds had really dwindled down, I decided to strike up a conversation. I asked him whether he misses his ice sculptures as they melt down, eventually into a puddle of water. He said "No, I can always create more". I loved that statement, so light, so carefree and it resonated with me personally. I think its important to interact with others, because there is always a piece of gold you can take into your own heart. I, too, can let go of my creations without fear to the world, knowing that there is always something new within me to tap into and share.
All in all, it was an interesting day. I got to see a sculptor express his creative spirit in a unique way. Like minds like this stoke my own creative juices, which was evident in my owe picture-taking urges. Wandering around, looking for interesting subject matter to capture, and just striking up conversations here and there, satisfied my restless winter spirit. I continue to find that being creative and pushing that part of me is a learning process that never gets boring. Though I seem to be dreaming more often of sunny beaches and rose gardens, staying in the now and embracing what I can do at present, like the Ice Festival, helped ease those longings.