All posts in Clients

Working with the impossible, finding what is

© Ann-Marie Stillion, 2010

Yesterday was a difficult day. I learned that a long time client is taking a different direction and no longer needs my services. It was an organization which really meant a lot to me at one time, but time and personnel changes made it difficult to continue being excited about helping them, and they felt that. Recently, I have gone through several situations which weren’t quite right for me in terms of business and the direction I am heading. Like shaking off sleep or rain on my shoulders, I feel that I must become more honest with myself and my clients about what I need, and the process has not always been easy.

When I woke up this morning I realized that I was at that place of no choice. There is no choice except to evaluate, sort and make decisions on next steps both in my projects for others and the projects I am working on for myself.

I want to become more transparent in my business dealings and in my life, but I also need to keep other people’s feelings in the foreground. I don’t want to piss people off, even if sometimes telling the truth about a direction just might accomplish that. Being silent is not an option but I don’t want to become a sharing machine either.

I also began the serious steps towards possibly building my own studio space. It has become increasingly clear that here in Seattle at least, finding adequate studio space which meets even the minimum requirement is almost like asking for the moon. It is shocking to me something as simple as a big room and some basic needs like a decent light and walls could be so hard to find. And yet, it is.

First thing in the morning I met with the creator of 57 Biscayne and heard in much detail how that space was created. Excited, I began to realize that what I think I am creating is going to take me to places I have never been before and I felt nervous, lashing out at the smallest problem and forgetting the details of the day.

So it goes. I intend to try to balance out the impossible with what is and see what happens.

Farewell in the night at Longshot

Lisa Ahlberg Capitol Hill Longshot

Friend, Longshot aficionado, and photographer Lisa Ahlberg and I prowled the streets of Capitol Hill on the Solstice playing the lights and shadows of the night. (photo by Ann-Marie Stillion, 2013)

Every year in June Photo Center NW holds its crowdsourced fundraiser and photo fest, Longshot. This year photographer Dan Hawkins took a small crowd of night shooters out for a spin and showed us everything from how to use a laser pointer to utilize autofocus at low light to having fun with your camera’s self timer. He pointed out how to use the bulb setting to reproduce the effect of double images just like they used to BEFORE Photoshop, only in the digital world. Out of his bag of tricks came tumbling all kinds of light sources and I was bemoaning leaving behind my new Larry Lights and an old speedlight, which will have to wait for another day to come out to play. We walked and shot for three hours straight.

We dawdled at the Egyptian Theater which is rumored to close soon after its 98 year run on Capitol Hill. I thought of all the magical moments in those sagging seats like watching Richard Harris (known to millions as Albus Dumbledore in early Harry Potter films) sprawled across the stage at SIFF as he discussed the 1999 film “To Walk with Lions,” where he played the legendary lion preservationist George Adamson. I have watched so many great movies there I can hardly remember them all. Standing in movie lines always seemed like an honor more than a chore. I will miss it. Like a once lovely aging beauty, the Egyptian seems to be disappearing into history, and I wish Capitol Hill weren’t becoming just another anywhere USA. It’s a little hard to take. –ams

Holy Holly by painter Gary Aagaard

GaryAagaardHolyHolly2Just posted this news to my client Gary Aagaard‘s site: Holy Holly was a winner in the 2013 Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards juried competition (Portrait Category).

Gary was shocked that his painting won. But I wasn’t. He’s an incredible genius of character and painterly storytelling. Last year, he wrote about the  paintings development for his web site.

“My most recent commission, Holy Holly (my working title), was a collaborative effort. Harry Nasse, the owner of Ward-Nasse Gallery in NYC, was contacted by a collector who had seen my work several years ago while strolling through Soho. Shortly after speaking with Harry, the collector, James, contacted me and shared his vision, apparently something he had been fantasizing about for over a decade. James, a huge Buddy Holly fan, imagined Buddy crucified on the instrument of his untimely demise, a 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza 35 (V-tail). As a backdrop, James wanted the background of the Mona Lisa, one of his favorite paintings.”



Trudy James Heartwork

"Looking toward the farmhouse on Whidbey Island" Photo by Harriet Platts


Trudy James brought her process for deep listening to a small group of women a few weeks ago. I was invited to attend. Snuggling up in the historic farmhouse at night and exploring dreams in the daytime seemed a perfect spring passage. I have started working on Trudy’s web site, trying to shape it to her changing needs. Not always an easy task to shape a web site to such things as finding love, living and dying.