On my Mind

Hi WP audience!

Happy Thursday! The week is already on the way down the mountain. August is coming to a close. The month of September is still somewhat emotional here is the U.S. because of 9/11. Thirteen years later. Unbelievable. I’ve been wondering if I can make a memorial photo scene for the anniversary, but my mind has gone blank on ideas so far.

On a much lighter note, the response to the downloadable desktop images here and on my other social media outlets has been encouraging. You all have really cheered me up! The past few weeks for me have been plagued with doubt and uncertainty. Some things did not turn out like I thought they would. And the normal questions that artists ask crossed my mind, ‘is my work good enough?’ etc.

But I’m learning that when I feel like I’m in a lull, I have to keep going like everything’s great. My mentality, my attitude, my demeanor…it all has to stay positive. Which is easy when times are good, but difficult (and more necessary) when times aren’t so good. I’m focusing less on the obstacles and more on the solutions. Tough situations are designed to teach us and help us grow in certain areas of our lives. I am not the exception to the rule. 🙂

Yesterday, I got one of my first submission responses back from Classic Motorsports Magazine. The good news is, they like my work. The not-so-good news is they are inundated with photographers. No surprise there. However, I do think my work stands out from what I’ve seen in their issues.

When I graduated in June 2011, I didn’t know where my style of photography fit. It’s not fine art, meaning traditional galleries rarely accepted my submissions. They wanted paintings. But it’s not commercial enough (I was told), meaning advertising agencies didn’t want to use my photos to sell products. Fashion magazines felt I didn’t have a passion for their market. Which I don’t…because it’s like too often women are treated like objects to sell clothes, shoes, etc. And I’m not big on following celebrities. A speaker at our Photo Club told me my work needs to include more boudoir, risque…NO. Not doing that. Other people said, “Eric, you’re too quiet to be in this type of industry.” As well, I couldn’t afford to go to school another year to strictly learn more about product photography in a studio, which I’m actually pretty good at.

Today, I know my work is a hybrid, between fine art and commercial. Too stylized to be editorial or documentary. I began to look at contemporary art along with photography by Ansel Adams, Tim Flach, and Ken Duncan. I stopped trying to edit my work like others and just create the type of lighting that I want to see in a certain scene. Some of my photos are edgy, some are soft, it just depends on which style fits the mood of the scene best.

After I get some sleep, I plan to finish editing the website…hopefully. 🙂 If not, by Friday evening. I’ve been reading articles from Manta to the American Express Business Forum to LinkedIn Business to Forbes. They all help me understand what I have to do to establish a business. The first impression is key. So, I really want this new version of the website to blow people away. Not that it’ll have a bunch of bells and whistles, but when people come to the site, I want them to think…’okay, he knows what he’s doing.’ That’s success for me.

It’s not finished yet, but you guys can that a look at ericchristopherjackson.com. If you have any feedback, advice, etc. you are welcome to leave me a message. I’d rather someone catch an error or suggest how it can be improved now than when it’s completed.

Plus, from everything I’ve read over, I have to create a website specifically for my writing. An Author page. I selected a template a few days ago and my mind just went blank. I don’t know how I want to design it! Hmm. Hey! I’m going to look at webpages for authors I like to see how they approach this. Why didn’t I think of this before?! Without question, Ted Dekker is my favorite author. I remember reading his book, “Adam.” Gee…that book can give you nightmares…but I was glued to it. Rarely happens to me because I don’t like to read. All the time…I have to make myself read. I’m a painfully slow reader, so it doesn’t help.

Quick family story. Some years back, I was reading through a book series, feeling pretty good about myself. (I’m reading, YAY.) I make the mistake of calling my sister, Stephanie, to tell her about it. “Steph, I’m in the middle of a 12-book series. These books are great, you gotta read ’em.” I kid you not…not two weeks go by, I make a follow-up call. “Steph, did you get a chance to grab the first book of the series yet?” Man…she not only read through the 12-book series I was still in the middle of reading…she was in the middle of reading a completely different series of books. I was like…how in the world do you keep doing that? You make me sick lol! But…we’ve learned not to compete against each other so much. We have different strengths. When she needs something designed…business cards, brochures, t-shirts, logos, etc…she texts me. Now…I understand we’re supposed to complement each other, so our differences make us both stronger when we put our strengths together. The End. hehe.

Last note for one of the longest blog post ever. I found another social media outlet. (NNNOOOOOoooo Eric, you didn’t!) Yeah. I know. I did. And I love how I talk to myself in my blogs from time to time. lol. This is not for readers…I’m just venting now. 🙂 Anyway. It’s called Godinterest. I’m not kidding. The logo itself  is almost exactly like the Pinterest logo…with God exchanged for P. I can’t stand it. It justs…lemme explain.

Years ago, I would go into Christian bookstores looking for t-shirts to buy. I’m a huge t-shirt and jeans guy. However, I noticed that a lot of the Christian t-shirt designs were copied from other people’s ideas. You had one t-shirt design that reminded me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon logo. You had another that was like FUBU Jeans. Another was from the Modern Warfare video game. Another…oh my gosh, it was orange…exactly like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup logo. It drives me nuts! Come up with something original. Please. Wait…yes, they did. Some of the stuff written on the t-shirts, I can’t tell you what they read because it was either rude, corny, or surprisingly crude! I have to mention, there are quite a few cool original shirts around now, but still.

(breathe) I understand that there are few to no original ideas left…but let’s not make it so obvious. Take more pride in what you do. Have your own identity.

I remember my semester at APU in Screenwriting class. It’s a Christian University. But whenever a person brought up the validity of Christian movies, people started to snicker and make jokes. The story, the dialogue is bad. The lighting, cinematography is bad. The acting is bad…they went on and on. Which led to my professor looking at me funny when I told her I want to write Christian screenplays. My first test was proving that I could write a non-Christian themed short script. My final test was proving I could write a good feature-length Christian-themed script…with no cursing, no nudity/sex scenes, no crude humor. The scripts weren’t perfect, no…but I got an “A” in the class and my professor wanted me to write more like that. I’ve told this story before, haven’t I? 😦

My point is…as Christians, if we are representing the Creator of the Universe, whatever we do, do it well. If we have movies with bad acting, writing, lighting; if we have shirts with dumb messages or styles ripped from something else; if we have businesses ridiculously copied from other businesses, people…in general…will not respect what we do. And if they don’t respect what we do, how can they respect what we say?

Oh my gosh. I’d better go to sleep. After 6am. All I’m saying is, I am a human being first. Yes, I believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, but I’m not so spiritual that I’m detached from Earth. If you design something, try to make it so good AIGA wants to give you an award. If you make a movie, make it so awesome the Academy nominates it for an Oscar. Do the best you can, put the best out there. When you fail or come up short, get up and get better.

Because what God created is awesome. Everything is awesome. Sky, sun, clouds, wind, birds, moon, stars, oceans, mountains. The entire world has its own sprinkler system because it rains. The grass isn’t blue and the sky green and the trees aren’t pink, the oceans aren’t yellow. (Eye…sore) Everything matches, all the rules of Color Theory perfectly at work. Not to mention how complex the human body is and how weird it would be if gravity was erratic. So, when we, as people, create something, do something, make it good. Do your best to make it good. Your name is on it.

Eric Christopher Jackson

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