2019 = time to come out of my shell
2019, and a new me!
We all do it every January, make resolutions, that is. One of my resolutions is to be more active on this blog and social media. Though I am in my 30's, I have always been more interested in being outside, hanging with / advocating for animals, exploring the world, and creating things with my hands than exploring and participating in the digital world.
So, here is my attempt to live in the digital age rather than fight it.
For my first blog entry I wanted to talk a bit about me, my experiences, and how I got into art and photography.
First, lets address the elephant in the room. Yes, my birth given last name is Denver. Yes, my fathers name is John Denver, no, not that one. However, he was a jazz musician and played with the likes of Frank Zappa. As I child growing up in Colorado I begged my mom to change my last name, she always denied my pleas; now as a professional photographer I am grateful she did.
My brother and I grew up in a single parent household, so, during the summer and winter breaks we would often stay a few weeks with family. When we stayed with my paternal grandmother our days were structured in the most creative way possible. Our daily routine was as follows: wake up, have breakfast, learn origami, explore the forest (my grandmothers multi acre backyard filled with trees, a natural stream, ivy, wild flowers, and dozens of little critters), then back inside for piano lessons, wreath making, painting, and sewing time. Before bed she would regale us with a story, some passed down from generations, and many of her own devise. I must give her, Grandma Denver, credit for my creative and curious nature. At the time I didn't think much of it, now as an adult in my 30's, I miss her guidance, her tales, and think of her daily.
As a child we would play with "sun print kits," in college I learned we were essentially creating cyanotypes (a type of photo process). After much begging I received my first camera in 8th grade. That was it, game over, I wanted to be a photographer. Once in high school I took as many art classes as I could, and lettered in art. Yes, I know, most people don't know that is even a possibility. Between AP photo, AP computer programing, tutoring other students in math, lettering in art, and graduating early, I was a proud mega nerd.
After graduating high school I was offered a scholarship to Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design for my ceramic work, I politely turned it down. I wanted to be a photographer, at the time they did not have a photo program. I looked into Brook's institute of Photography and Savannah School of Art and Design, among many others. Ultimately, I decided to stay in Denver and attend Metro State, majoring in Fine Art with an emphasis in photography with a minor in ceramics and printmaking.
Before pursuing my degree I took off and spent time in London, headed north and ended up in Edinburgh. When I came back to the states I began my college education, settled into a new home, and two, almost, full time jobs. I worked at a coffee shop early in the mornings, head to classes for the day, then to work at a bar in the evenings. Many days I had only two to four hours to do homework, errands (very difficult in the middle of the night), laundry, shower, etc. Needless to say I was burning the candle at both ends.
Between the crazy hours, lack of sleep, eating disorders (another story for another day... or blog post), a very abusive relationship, and a young woman's hormones, I became very sick. Thus began my almost weekly doctor and hospital visits. I was first diagnosed with CIN III (severe dysplasia) which is one step away from cervical cancer.
[Worst voicemail I have ever received, the doctors office told me the
diagnosis over voicemail!]
After many biopsies and treatment I have been clear for about six years now.
Shortly after the CIN III diagnosis I was also diagnosed with epilepsy, a condition I still live with today.
[After several years of pharmaceuticals, and frustration of their side effects, I
decided I would rather have seizures than the side effects. After having a few
more seizures I decided to try treating the epilepsy with high dosages of CBD,
it has been life changing!]
With all the craziness happening in my life I failed a bunch of classes, mostly due to absences while I was at doctor appointments and enduring medical testing. Stubborn me did not let this discourage me, I was determined to be successful and finish college. The amount of time I spent in undergrad I could have gotten my masters and started a PhD program.
I got rid of the abusive relationship, worked on my eating disorders, started therapy, quit one job, and got back on track. I was doing well, had an amazing internship with photographer, Mark Sink, got to assist in planning the events for Month of Photography, learned to hang art work, plan portfolio reviews, made connections with many people in the art world, and began volunteering at RedLine Gallery.
As I, finally, neared the end of my program (literally only had the thesis class to complete) I decided I did not like the work I was producing, my heart wasn't in it and I felt like a fraud. I couldn't stand the thought of showing the work I was half heartedly making as my entrance into the art world. I uprooted once again and moved to San Diego (SD). While in SD I worked at the bar inside the Hard Rock Hotel and then landed a position as a photographer for a studio. Shortly after I became the manager of the studio.
Everyone kept telling me I was never going to finish college because I moved out of state with only one class left. What these nay sayers did not take into account was the focus and stubbornness I have when there is a goal I am determined to achieve. I just needed some time to reset, in this case two years. If I had to do it again I wouldn't change a thing. When it was time to come back there was no inner dialog or discussions, I just knew. I got on line registered for class and made plans to move back.
[Plus, lets be honest, I am Kim Denver not Kim San Diego]
Once I had that degree I was struck with a fear, I had a BFA with an emphasis in photography and two minors in ceramics and printmaking. What was I going to do? I had to make it work. I began assisting and second shooting for other photographers around town, growing my network and connections. I started working closely with Anne James, once again I started as an assistant and am now co-owner of a boutique school photography company with her.
I launched Kim Denver Photography February 4, 2014, and haven't looked back sense. Now I am blessed to use my degree every day and have expand, last year, into videography as well. I love my clients, and would love to meet all of you! Thanks to everyone that has been a cheerleader, support system, clients, friends, anyone that refers me, puts their trust in me I am eternally grateful. It feels surreal that I support myself, Jonsi + Ruby (my pups... you will meet them + Jef soon!), on doing the thing that brings me joy and never feels like "work."
What are your new year resolutions?