Why Your Camera Needs a Showercap

Why Your Camera Needs a Showercap

I’m in beautiful, soggy Alaska for a much needed vacation. I wanted to share my totally free, ultra-lightweight tip for photography while traveling, or any other time, in a rainy environment.

Here it is: swipe those shower-caps from the hotel! Throw them over your camera while you walk about, to cover the lens. When shooting, move the cap so it covers the body and the opening encircle the lens opening. This will keep your lens and camera body dry.

Most cameras can endure a few sprinkles – but it’s really the lens you don’t want to get too wet.

Fold up your happy cap when it’s dry, stick it in a teensy ziploc, and throw it back in your camera bag.  Takes up no room, weighs nothing, and it might save your noodle one day. 

Best. Thing. Ever.

Happy travels!

Anjani

Glass Book of Otis

Glass Book of Otis

Glass, copper, and handmade paper?  What could be better?  Adding ‘book’ and ‘photography’ into that mix. I LOVE this book. A beautiful, handmade book, with glass covers, hand-hewn copper binding, with my photographs printed on beautiful fine art rag pages.

This set was commissioned by my client and the shoot, book, and photos are a package or available individually – book only (blank), book with your photos, book with my photos, or a commissioned shoot just for you.  Prices vary.

Available now on my Etsy store, WonderAndQuirk

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Ten Ways to Show Yourself You Care

Ten Ways to Show Yourself You Care

Tess and Janilaal Flower Crown

Janilaal Celebration Crown and Sneaky Fork Moment. ©2011 Anjani Millet

We work hard. We give well. We love deeply. But do we remember to appreciate our own open heart and generous spirit?  Take a moment to love and notice what you did, thought, felt, said, or gave last year that is a testament to the excellence of your spirit.  Take a few minutes to appreciate the person you have become. Here are a 10 ways to show yourself you care, and to mark the achievement of becoming the person you have become.

Ten Ways to Show Yourself You Care

1. Flowers. Buy yourself some!

2. Take yourself out on a date. But before you do, dress nicely, buy yourself flowers (see number 1), and consciously note why you are doing this: because you are wonderful. 

3. Write down private thank you notes to you from you, and stick them in pockets – coats, pants, shirts. Offer little thoughts like, Thank you so much. I love how loving you are. I love your generous nature. You have made me laugh.  You took such good care of the family this year. Thank you!

4. Send yourself a gift. Log on to Amazon or other gifting sites and send yourself a token of your appreciation. Get it wrapped!

5. Mail yourself a lovely card, signed by hand. We all love getting things in the mail, especially hand-written notes. Who does that for you anymore?  You do.

6. Foster a relationship with your future self by hiding money you’ll find later. My favorite gift for myself was a $50 bill I hid in a book I knew I would get to, but not for awhile. A year later, when I finally got around to reading it, I had completely forgotten about it when the money fell out onto my lap. It was an amazing feeling of gratitude for my former self and a connection across time, from that moment to the one in which I first placed the money. It made me cry.

7. Make a backward-in-time chart to note the things about this moment that are because of something wonderful you once did or decided. For instance, earlier this year I looked around my family and realized my daughter, and her family now, all came from that moment in high school in which I took a dare and talked to her future dad.  I appreciate the young woman I was!

8. Share with a friend the 5 best things about you, and ask them to do the same about themselves. Then, make a toast to the hard work you’ve both put into being a great person, and how well you’ve succeeded.

9. Lipstick and mirrors. Write a note in lipstick on your bathroom mirror about how charming, lovely, or hilarious you are. Love the love notes. They are fun to wake up to.

10. Be kind in thought and deed. You know you are kind to others, so do unto yourself as you would do unto others – practice kindness toward your own mind and soul. Guard your thoughts, and remember what your mother taught you: if you can’t say something nice to yourself, don’t say anything at all.

Congratulations on being you!

-Anjani

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Feet, Meet Bra

Feet, Meet Bra

Bra Meet feet at curbside

Feet and Bra Meet on the Street, Downtown Seattle. ©Copyright 2014 Anjani MIlle

Feet, Meet Bra

Feet meet bra on a lovely summer afternoon. My friend Gina and I headed downtown for a happy hour party at a local co-working space.  Gina’s lovely feet
in her lovely shoes landed squarely in front of what was once a lovely black bra, now taking an afternoon bath in the watery gutter before us. She called me over to take the shot, and Feet and Bra were born.  I felt a little sad for the poor bra, which could have been just as glamorous as Gina’s sexy toes n’ sandals but it’s hey-day had passed. Or maybe it was just a clothing kiddy-pool.  It wasn’t talking, and I didn’t ask.
©2014 AnjaniMillet.com #feet #bra #webstapick #summer #seattle #photography #travelphotography #portraits #quirkyphotoaday #quirky

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Within the Secret Family: Self-Portait in White

Within the Secret Family: Self-Portait in White

 

Inside the Secret Family

Inside the Secret Family: Self-Portrait in White. ©Copyright 2014 Anjani Millet

Our family, like so many, seems fraught with mystery and intrigue.  On a sunny afternoon last week, I decided to capture as best I could the feeling of being a member of my sometimes strange and secretive family.  I shot this series of self-portraits using mixed light – natural daylight and two speedlites (flash units), one on camera, and one behind the door without a modifier (softbox, umbrella, etc.)  Here is the first of the series.

 

 

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Twig Prayers, a Photographic Novel

Twig Prayers, a Photographic Novel

Praying woman, with twigs

She prayed. ©2014 Anjani Millet

Twig Prayers, a Photographic Novel, began as an afternoon shoot at an abandoned mental hospital. Expecting only to shoot landscapes that day, the shoot instead whispered to me the surprising story to me called Twig Prayers.  I went home and began writing the next day, and found an amazing story of a young woman, a warden, a boy named Hank, and prayers to Silence, a living being akin to God.  If you’d like to stay tuned as this story goes along, and eventually is published, you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

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Another Summery Seattle Arts Moment

Another Summery Seattle Arts Moment

Tryptych, Street Fair by Anjani Millet

Another Summery Seattle Arts Moment. Photography by Anjani Millet ©2104 Anjani Millet

A summery arts moment at the TK Arts Loft arts fair in Seattle.  How lovely!
#seattle #artist #childhood #summer #streetfair #tklofts #webstagram Copyright 2014 Anjani Millet

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I Give In: I Can Only Offer Me

I Give In: I Can Only Offer Me

I Give In. Self-Portrait on Glass Table by Anjani Millet

Self-Portrait on Glass Table by Anjani Millet

I Give In: Self-Portrait on Glass Table. Copyright 2014 Anjani Millet

I am writing here because I am exhausted and maybe at an important moment. This is the truth, this is me, and this is what I have to offer.

I am up to my eyeballs, two states away from home again, taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s and my grandfather, 102, who is on his way out. I have been sleeping in my grandfather’s hospital room at night and caring for my mom during the day, switching shifts with my two siblings. Today we meet with the family to discuss whether to put him on a feeding tube or let him go, as he directed years ago. This is a terrible decision for any family to have to make.

Yesterday I took my mother to a neurosurgeon to discuss the mass in her brain, on top of Alzheimer’s. It appears to be non-threatening for now. At 9pm we rushed her to the ER in terrible pain and vomiting. Oh, my friends, I can never unsee my tiny, 100 lb., 4’8″, 83 year old mother on her little hands and knees vomiting in the kitchen.

Love offers a thousand ways for a heart to break.

There is no “aside from this.” I can’t begin to describe how squared into a corner I feel. It is taking a whole team to care for both of them. Our lives, all of them, are simply waiting in the distance.

Trying to find time or even a quiet space to work, or just putter…oh… Oh dear. I know this won’t last forever but exhaustion is right now.

Here is the merciful peace Into which I am dissolving in the question about how to find time or space to do “my own work:” I have no choice but to be the eyes and hands I am, and to be in the life in which I find myself. I have fought my own vision for decades now, but I am too tired to fight it anymore or even search for what it is. I give in. I can only be me. My own life is all I have to offer as an artist, and now, perhaps, I can and must let this be enough.

I went into business as a photographer and writer in the 80’s for over a decade, and then left for 12 years. Since I returned to my work as an artist 18 months ago, I find I still operate under the tired and old idea that the personal should be entirely separated from the artistic and business. That rule has constipated my creativity and soul, and stopped me from posting and sharing 90% of my work with you.

I give in. I can only be me. I can only offer me. I don’t have time to focus on the “right” work, the right subjects, the rules I believed were the right way to be and work as an photographer, a writer, a business person.

Those are the rules that are slowly killing me, my throat in a stranglehold by my own hands for too long. I am forced now to integrate my own actual life with my work. Yes. I give in. I am only this.

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
– Rumi

The personal is political, yes. And, the personal is the artistic. The personal is the business.

In great tiredness I release the old noose of my own making and say yes, I suppose I will have to be just me. I don’t have the time not to.

I write this from my hands and eyes, and extend this to you from my loving, supportive heart. I hope my own vulnerable moment might help you. If, like me, you placed your own best self aside in deference to the “correct” way to live, or the “best” way to do business, in whatever that may look in your mind, I extend my hand, and I invite you to let life wear down your walls a little bit. I hope for us both when we hear ourselves knocking at the door, we open it up and invite our own selves in for tea.

-Anjani

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Two Simple Steps to Wake Up Happier

Two Simple Steps to Wake Up Happier

Morning Chandelier.jpg

What is the first thing you see when you wake up each morning? Is it the tired beige curtains you got in the divorce? Or perhaps it’s the flapping spiderweb fob hanging from the ceiling above your bed?

And what is the first thing you hear? Is it the death screams of the crappy, black and silver Radio Shack alarm clock? It is alarming alright, like an angry fuse box being stabbed to death on the nightstand.

Waking up to crappy sights or wretched, soul-destroying sounds is no way to start the day. I want to share one simple step you can easily take today to make the first moment of your day better, every single day. It is what I call Morning View.

Place one thing you truly love directly in your line of vision when you open your eyes first thing in the morning.

I call this Morning View.

Here is my Morning View. The beautiful, amber glass leaves of this antique chandelier sparkle and clink happily in morning sunlight, just above and left of my bed. This is one of my favorite possessions, and my eyes land upon it first thing every morning. I sleep on my left side, on the left side of the bed, so it hangs on the left side of the room just above the bed. No lights are connected – I let morning sunlight do the delighting.

The clinking leaves are the first thing I hear, as well. I do my best to get enough sleep that I awaken naturally, without an alarm. If I do need help waking up, I use an app on my phone called Ambiance, which I set to awaken me with the sounds of morning bird call in a meadow, or a babbling brook.

It is an act of sweet kindness to protect and nourish our eyes and ears in the first moments re-emerging from rest. Small details add up when we care about ourselves enough to make life a little more pleasant to start out the day.

Do you have something beautiful you see or hear first thing in the morning?

Only the best to you.
-Anjani

Copyright 2014 Anjani Millet

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Pretty Blue Bowls Make Everything Rosy

Pretty Blue Bowls Make Everything Rosy

Blue Dishes

The holy grail of grownup life is figuring out what to do with our lives.  I heard once that finding work doing what you do every day for free anyway is the best way to have a happy work life.  For me, shopping for interesting, often used but beautiful objects is so much fun. This week, to prepare for some upcoming food shoots, I found some gorgeous new things, like antique spoons and new but old looking blue dishes.  I can’t wait to shoot these!

-Anjani

The Deliberate Freedom of Imperfection

The Deliberate Freedom of Imperfection

Praying woman, with twigs

And She prayed. ©2014 Anjani Millet

Twig Prayers

Many years ago, after twelve years of owning my own photographic business,  I lamented that I’d never done the one thing I was told all Good Photographers once did: Assist another photographer to learn the ropes.  So, with my business at a stalemate, I decided it was me that was the problem.  I found another photographer, asked if I could meet with her, showed her my portfolio, asked if I could be her assistant.

She laughed and responded with, “What the hell?  You’ve been a working photographer for twelve years?  Why are you here?  Oh, I know what it is.  You have what I have, which is the crippling Expert Syndrome.  You think you have to be perfect, and an expert, and if you aren’t perfect or an expert in EVERYTHING, you freeze and nothing you do is good enough or even good at all.  Listen: you are already a working photographer.  And my competition. This is silly!  Go out and be my competition!”

Eventually crippled by my own doe-in-the-headlights self-doubt and perfectionism, I left my career behind, sold all my equipment, and entered a completely different field. I turned my back on what I’d spent years building.

Well, I’ve returned full circle to photography, and writing, but that perfectionism had amazing staying power and never left, though I did. I face that dragon again now.  Zoom forward to a month ago and another interesting reflection from a friend.  He noticed my crippling perfectionism too, and gave me an assignment.

He told me of a student who was so crippled with perfectionism that her professor assigned her the task of writing – and turning in to him – the very first draft of a paper.  If he found she’d edited it, he would fail her from the class.  Wow!  My friend said, “You are just like that. Here’s my assignment for you: you must make a plan that is deliberately imperfect and do that plan.”

So, this week, with my first presentation at a museum, I chose to present knowing full well that what I was about to do was imperfect, and do it anyway. I discovered that I didn’t die, and no one else in the room did either.  My one suffered renal failure as a result of my imperfect introduction in this talk, and the slightly unsure wrap up of the story.  It was imperfect, but I did it. Despite that, one man in the room told me my writing had answered a question for him that he never been able to articulate. He said this: “I want you to know that what you wrote really meant something to me, personally.  You helped me understand something about my place in this world. Thank you.”

If that is the result of humble but shared imperfection, with its wobbly, nervous introduction and a not-perfect wrap up, I’ll take it.

-Anjani

Click here to visit the full Twig Prayers Gallery

 

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