Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Olympic moment

Click on images to see them in a larger format

On Monday I received three copies of the August 1st issue of the magazine, Newsweek Japan. In it was a 4-page feature with seven of my self portraits with captions and introductory text from my project, Falling Into Place. I share these images of the article in hopes that I am not violating the publication rights of Newsweek Japan.

There is something so different about seeing your photographs published in print from seeing them on a computer monitor. I have been fortunate over the past three years to see Falling Into Place featured on a good number of superb online blogs and magazines, but only once before has the essay appeared in a print magazine. At that time (Spring 2009) I was too inexperienced to realize that photos print much darker than they look on the computer. I remember being terribly disappointed when I saw my photos in print and it wasn't the magazine's fault; it was my own.

This time I knew what to expect and prepared my digital files accordingly, even making a test copy of each of the seven images on my printer before I uploaded the files onto Newsweek Japan's FTP server. But I was still a bit uneasy until I actually held the magazine in my hands and could see each image for myself. Happily, they turned out just as I had hoped. Better than I had hoped, in fact, because the magazine has very high quality printing, with true colors and sharp resolution. It is Japanese after all, and the Japanese are known for the beauty of their printed papers, whether origami, notecards, books or magazines. Another surprise was to see the lead photo of me looking in my grandmother's mirror printed HUGE! It actually takes up one and two-thirds pages in the magazine.

While all this was going on with the Newsweek Japan magazine, I have been spending hours every day watching the London Olympics on TV. I love seeing these young athletes whose excitement is contagious. I love to celebrate their successes, whatever country they are representing. And I feel deeply for them when their performances do not meet their dreams and expectations. I love seeing the stories of how they have come to be where they are today, and am touched to see their families watching with their hearts in their mouths. I think of all that these young athletes and their parents have sacrificed to prepare them for this moment.

Tonight when I was writing in my journal, I realized that in some way, having my self portrait project featured in Newsweek Japan is MY Olympic moment. It is certainly the result of years of work and dedication to an activity that fills me with passion. It is an opportunity to share my life with persons a world away. Now maybe the Olympians have always had this moment as their goal, but I could never have dreamed this big. It has all come as a most unexpected gift.

I only hope that what I am calling my Olympic moment will become a significant moment for others, that seeing my self portraits and reading my story will open minds and touch the hearts of Japanese-speaking persons around the world. Creating Falling Into Place has certainly done that for me.