My Mother, My Friend (A Berry Meme Response)

Hello Readers!

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter B…as in it is a Berry Meme response!  (Yes I know technically it should be an S, but roll with me on this one.) I will warn you this is a rather wordy post!  So I will put the photo up first for any who are all about the pictures.

Mother & Daughter 2k

|CREDITS| hair (on both) > [LeLutka]-ALVINA | Lark’s dress > *On A Lark* Ainsley NEW | crown (on both) > *On A Lark* Melody Crown | Silly’s Dress > *On A Lark* Hannah ~ Snow NEW | Silly’s Sandals > *On A Lark* Walker Sandal Female | Bench > *On A Lark* Twig Bench Cuddles Version | Table > *On A Lark* Twig Table | Silly’s Skin > Deesses by Natalie Wells

I have been VERY overdue in visiting my SL mom and my Mother’s Day post reminded me of that very clearly.  As soon as I posted it, I linked her and asked her if we could get together, then Berry’s meme came out and I thought perhaps my Mom might play along.  After showing me a few tricks in PhotoShop to create the above photo, we got right to the meme and I was happy to see that Lark was not only intrigued, but amused by it.

So here is me cutting to the chase with the meme questions:
[18:21] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro): What is the number of contacts on your Second Life Friends List?
[18:21] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro): 143

And here is my sweet mother Lark reminding me how she prefers role play:
[18:22] Lark (discovering.destiny): Looked to her daughter, the furrows on her brow showing. ‘Really? I am not sure I can count that high. Let me look.’ She sighed, not even aware what the number was. ‘One thousand and sixty two.’

[18:24] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) laughs as she realizes they are now in rp mode and stared at her wide eyed, her mouth falling open some “One thousand and sixty two??” The surprise was very evident in her expression as well as her tone. She swallowed hard and looked sheepish. She refrained from cursing in her mother’s presence and finally replied “That is quite the number Mother, you are clearly much more popular than I ever imagined and that really is not surprising at all.”

[18:25] Lark (discovering.destiny): Shook her head. ‘Not popular, just I am . . . . well . .. old.’

[18:26] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) chuckled and cleared her throat as she asked the next question. She was certain this meme was WAY more interesting than she thought it would be with her mother. “Are you picky about who you add to your list or do you usually add most people? As for me, I add any who want to be my friend and not try to fan girl others with my friend requests.”

[18:29] Lark (discovering.destiny): Eyes drifted up to the sky for a few moments. ‘You know, alot of these are from the groups I have been a part of. Then there are those who are my children . . . and no, do NOT ask me to count that.’ She winked at her daughter for she loved each and every one of her children. ‘Then there are customers, wonderful and supportive they are, many of whom have friended me over time. So they come from all walks. Now, as for do I accept all who ask? The way I see it is if someone has thought enough of me to ask, then of course I will add them to my list.’

[18:33] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) smiled at her mother’s sweet reply. “That sounds just like you Mother.” She chuckled at the children comment. She was quite aware she had more siblings than she could count and that was just a testament to the loving heart of her mother. She asked the next question “Who is your oldest contact?” She paused to check her own and share the answer “Mine is my original avatar who shall remain nameless. If we don’t count her then it is my real life dad’s avatar who shall also remain nameless.” She chuckled then added “The oldest contact I have who isn’t me or my dad is Rhyobo Moger.”

[18:35] Lark (discovering.destiny): Did not even bother to look for she remembered it well. ‘It was years ago, at a Harvard Business School event where I met someone, a Broadway producer. I was in consulting and he asked me if I knew of Second Life. He wanted me to help him explore business opportunities in this forum. Anyway, his name is Trip and he was the original owner of the Broadway sims. Sadly, I believe he has left Second Life.’

[18:40] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) nodded sincerely as she listened intently to her mother’s replies. She enjoyed each one, for she spent far too little time with her mother lately given her work in SL fashion. “I never knew that Mother, how very impressive!” She paused then added “It is always sad when someone chooses to leave SL, but I do respect the person’s choice to do so.” She then looked to Berry’s list of questions and continued “Who is your newest contact?” She grinned as she looked back at her mother and shared hers “AnneMarit Jarvinen. She is the owner of KaTink, a pose and more store. I have admired her work and recently begun blogging for her. She is a lovely person.”

[18:43] Lark (discovering.destiny): Her eyes lit up. ‘Just today, I was helping a customer. He was at the We Love RP event and had a question. So I wandered over and we chatted. He seemed pleased with someone taking time with him and offered me friendship. Kenneth was his name.’ She recalled the meeting and offered her daughter a thoughtful look. ‘But daughter of mine, be careful where you meet people these days. You never know.’

[18:44] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) chuckled and nodded “Yes of course Mother…be wary of strangers…” she winked and referred to her list “Do you know every single person on your list? As for me, with as tiny as a list that I have, I do know who each person is and why they are there. I only ever turn down blind friend requests as it is a prerequisite of mine that anyone I add is because we have talked or worked together before.”

[18:46] Lark (discovering.destiny): Leaned closer to her daughter, her hand resting on her thigh. ‘You know, at one point or another I knew them for like you, I do not take blind requests. But it seems that so many change names. So it’s difficult to keep up. Or,’ she paused here, reflecting on the notion, ‘or is it just my age catching up to me?’

[18:50] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) grinned and nodded, resting a hand over her mother’s at her thigh. “Age?” She chuckled “No, you are as lovely and youthful as always. I would agree that as time marches on however, and people change, and friends lists grow to one thousand sixty-two…” She smirked “I imagine it gets hard to keep track of everyone.” She looked to the questions again “How many do you speak to on a daily and weekly basis? As for me, that is hard to say. I speak to many on a weekly basis, if I had to guess it might be around 10 or so.” She smiled as she looked to her mother and wondered what her reply might be.
[18:51] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) added “On a daily basis it is probably more like 3-5.”

[18:53] Lark (discovering.destiny): Thoughtfully nodded and started to count on her fingers. ‘Hmmmm. Daily? I would hazard a guess of about fifteen or twenty, plus or minus on a given day. Some are friends or family, some are other designers, and some customers. One thing is for sure, that even on a quiet day, there will always be pings in my ear.’ Then she leaned in again. ‘Just remember, friends and family come first.’

[18:56] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) chuckled softly as she listened and nodded as that sounded just like her mother. She squeezed her hand as she leaned in “I have never doubted that Mother. You have always been there for me when I need you, and I hope you know that is true for you as well.” She smiled lovingly at her then asked the next question “How many do you see/get together with in-world on a daily/weekly basis? I usually see about 3 of friends on a daily basis. Weekly? That varies, depends on if there is a fashion event or not!” she laughed.

[18:58] Lark (discovering.destiny): ‘Well, the in person visits are fewer. So many are interested in having a question answered or asking about something they wish to order. But visits like these, well, they are special and happen two are three times a week. And then, let me not forget my daughter and building partner. The amazing Bella Domela. We talk for hours daily while we build.’ Leaning close again and with a whisper, ‘You know, she is uber talented.’

[19:03] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) nodded once more “I figured that might be the case for you. I know you are creating and that takes a lot of time, but I have also admired your commitment to role play, family, and friends.” she chuckled at her mother’s whisper about Bella. “Yes, I do recall her work well and I have no doubt in her talents.” She then asked the next question “Who on your list do you have the closest relationship with? For me this is hard to answer as I am very blessed to have so many who are very close to me…” She leaned in this time “Including you of course. If I had to name the others they would be Collin, Liat, Geths, and Nariko.”

[19:07] Lark (discovering.destiny): Reached for her hand, her fingers wrapping around hers. ‘You are asking hard questions now. This is somewhat like asking a parent to choose between children. So, to begin with, my children and theirs are all dear to me. And of course my mother as well. Then there are some who are like family. For instance, Marley, Lupus, Selo, Colton, Xan, Amun, and Isis.’ She paused here. ‘I think this is a good place to stop, for I am quite confident I am missing someone in this.’

[19:10] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) chuckled and squeezed her hand in response “Yes Berry dives deep with these final questions. Even as I ponder the next, I don’t really have a reply.” She would then read it aloud “Who do you wish you knew better?” She paused and looked at her mother as if she might find the answer in her eyes, then sighed. “There are many on my list I would like to know better, I want to know all my friends a bit better.” She smiled in a cheesy way as if she had said ‘World Peace’ was her answer and resisted doing a pageant wave.

[19:14] Lark (discovering.destiny): Had to laugh at her reply, for it was sooooo, her. ‘You said that well. And I would have to echo the same sentiment. But if I were to name names, it would be those who I have lost in this world, and in the real world as well. Three who are important to me have departed. Bythos, who was my mate, Brently, who was my granddaughter, and Midnight Loon, who was an amazing musician in both worlds. If I were permitted, I would wish more time with each of these amazing individuals.’ She sat back, pausing in deep thought.

[19:20] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) just stared at her mother as her words hung in the air, the gentle breeze catching a wisp of her blonde hair. That answer was soooo her and soooo heartfelt. “What a truly lovely reply Mother. The depth of your feeling for those close to you is truly inspiring.” She took a deep breath then asked the next “How did you meet most of the people on your list? Now this is an easy one. Most of the friends on my list are from my work in SL fashion. I do have some who have known me since well before then when I was a grid explorer, role player, and meeroo breeder. Which brings me to the next question, Do you ever clean out your list? No, I don’t unless I have put an avatar away, and it’s friends are no longer active. That happened with this avatar as it has with others of mine. However, when I am active on one avatar in particular I never ‘clean’ the list and I admit it always stings a little when I see someone has ‘cleaned’ me off theirs. I am the type who doesn’t speak until spoken to when it comes to messaging
[19:20] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro):  others. My silence doesn’t mean I don’t care, it is more that I don’t want to bother a friend unless I absolutely have to. And whenever any of my friends message me I always reply. I think most of my friends understand that about me.” She grinned at took a breath at her rather long winded response.
[19:20] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro): POST WALL! WOOT!

[19:25] Lark (discovering.destiny): ‘Hmmm. Well, aside for those I was in groups with, my family, and customers . . . actually, I think that about covers it. Then her eyes widened some. ‘Oh, and then there were those early fashion shows.’ She winked to Silly, reminded of fond memories indeed. ‘As for cleaning out?’ She only shook her head. ‘Who has the time for that? I have at this point surrendered to an out of control list.’ she shrugged some, then found herself watching the butterflies flitting about.

[19:31] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) grinned at the fond memory of role player fashion shows, and laughs softly as her mother’s attention drifted to the butterflies flitting lazily about. She had to pause and enjoy the ambiance of her mother’s home, it was such a reflection of the lady of the land, so peaceful and welcoming. She knew they had been at this for quite a bit of time now and her mother was certainly tired or had other things to see to “Last two questions” she announced softly, a bit sad to see the time spent with her mother coming to an end “Do you have a crush on someone in your list? No, I don’t.” She replied matter of factly. She shot her mother a knowing look then asked the last “Is there anyone on your list that you would trust with your password? Yes there are and I have given my password to some of those closest to me. If anything were to happen to me in RL, heaven forbid, I would want my SL family and friends to know and not be left wondering what happened to me.”

[19:36] Lark (discovering.destiny): A finger held up to her lips as she thought about how to answer. ‘A crush? Me? I am far far too old for such things.’ Then leaning in, she whispered. ‘And if there were such a person, I would not speak of it. And as for sharing my password? I would trust a few here to have it, but have not handed it out. I think of it much like mapping rights. there are a few I have shared those with over time, but not many. Some things are best kept to yourself.’ Lark scooted closer and gave Silly a kiss on her cheek.

[19:39] Ƥrisilla (silly.avro) laughed gently at her mother’s reply, then kissed her cheek in reply. She rose and extended a hand to her with an adoring smile. “Thank you so much for spending this time with me Mother, I have missed moments like these with you. I should not let my work get so much in the way with those I love and care about.”

[19:42] Lark (discovering.destiny): ‘You are welcome any time, my Silly.’ She smiled and rose, her back creaking some as she did. ‘Good night, my dear.’

Thank you SO much for reading all this!  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.  I have read some great replies.  Thanks to Berry as always for such a fun and creative way of getting all of us to share and get to know one another a bit better!

Prisillax0020Sx_LDCursiveFlo

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
~ Mother Teresa

Education in Second Life

Hello Readers!

I have been wanting to write this post for some time. I came to Second Life in 2007 as an educator being taught about a new way to use technology to enhance education.  At the time businesses and educational organizations and institutions were being brought into SL at a rapid pace.  I remember the experience as if it were yesterday.  July 2007 was when I first heard of SL.  I was one who quirked a brow, tipped my head, and wrote it off as not something for me.  Fall 2007, I had a bit of downtime and was looking through my conference notes, visiting sites I had been told about back in July and came across the SL information again.  I paused, quirked a brow, tipped my head and this time figured, why not?  So my original avatar was born and I haven’t logged out for any significant amount of time since.

I think I can pinpoint the length of time it took me to realize that SL didn’t have any real value to me as an educator of elementary children based on when my “alts” were born. I had created an avatar for my husband, and then Silly because I thought I had made a mistake in avatar creation the first two times (I hadn’t, but now I had a spare avatar, yay me!).  Then after these three avatars I created others for role play once I learned what role play was (thanks to SL).  So based on the rez dates of these other avatars I figure it was only after about 7 months.  I was disappointed to see the initial excitement of SL die in my colleagues, but I wasn’t about to dwell on it.  I recognized the creative potential of SL and immersed myself in it.  During my 7 months on the educational side of SL I presented to other educators on Web 2.0 tools and participated in networking, as well as attending talks on a variety of educational subjects.  Eventually all that dwindled to hardly anything at all and I was left to my own devices, so off I went to explore the other facets of SL.

So why do I bring this up now?  I am working on a second Masters in Educational Technology.  This is a degree I have wanted for many years and this year the opportunity to achieve it finally arrived and I had to act.  In my class last week our project was “The Future Classroom” and what technologies we foresaw being of use.  Virtual environments had been a subject of discussion, so naturally my mind went back to my original avatar and initial experiences with SL.  I know many educational organizations gave up on SL for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest being changes in pricing for sims for educational use.

For my graduate project I dusted off my original avi, gave her a much needed make over, and began exploring the present educational landscape of the grid.  I was saddened to find so many dead groups and sims that no longer existed.  Discovery Education is the organization who introduced me to SL and now has no obvious presence on the grid.  For a time I thought ISTE was gone as well (International Society for Technology in Education) but as I worked on my project I found it in fact still remains, which I found very exciting and encouraging.  I read many an educator profile and joined all sorts of educational groups in the hopes that there are still active educators out there.  I was pleased to find over the days since resurrecting my original avi, that I have gotten many notices from several different educational groups.  The majority of them have to do with building/creating content in SL, but ISTE sends their notices as well about educational discussions or excursions in SL.  One of these days I will join them.  The summer is coming up and I will have a lot more time soon.  I plan on carving out some of that to explore what brought me to SL in the first place…education.

I follow the The Drax Files by Draxtor Despres on YouTube as well as The Drax Files Radio Hour with Jo Yardley, both are my favorites when keeping abreast of the latest news in SL.  I think Drax does a lovely job of capturing the allure of SL in a very positive way for a great deal of people, not only educators.  It was through him that I learned of the new CEO of Linden Labs Ebbe Altberg’s desire to reconnect with educators, which I found very promising as well as intriguing.

So here I am donning my explorer hat again as I revive my educational avatar and observe SL from an educator’s standpoint with nearly 7 years of SL experiences behind me.  I still believe there isn’t much an elementary educator can do with SL, but that SL does have something to offer those who educate students in high school and beyond.

Ms. FourouxThe original me: Ms. Fouroux.  Of course I had to infuse a bit of fashion into this post so here it is!

|CREDITS|
skin & shape > Erin by League
hair > TRUTH HAIR Gretchen
eyes > IKON Eternal Eyes – Hazel
jewelry > Cae :: Entangled :: Ensemble
dress > Baiastice_Ory Combination-shirt & floral skirt-butter (Current round of FaMESHed)
pose > Manifeste

ClassroomBoth photos in this post were done by my dear friend Gethsemane Idler and used in my project for class.  I adore his work and had to share them with you as well!

If there are any other educators out there who might like to chat sometime, drop me a line!  I will say for the record I am in no way leaving the world of SL fashion, I enjoy it and the people there WAY too much.  The point of this rather wordy post was to share a bit of my RL passion and interest with you.

Oh and one more thing…I just read my professor’s marks on my Second Life presentation for class…he loved it and gave me full marks.

Thank you for reading!
Prisillax0020Sx_LDCursiveFlo
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

~ Oscar Wilde

My Blogging Journey (A Berry Meme Response)

DD April 30_editedCREDITS | Dress >.::Dead Dollz::. Blakey – Achromatism – Mini Dress |Headdress > ** DIRAM ** SCARLET Mask |Boots > r2 A/D/E enbi boots[black] | skin > Deesses by Natalie Wells

Hello Readers!

Today I am indulging in responding to Berry’s latest meme: “My Blogging Journey.

  1. Which electronic devices do you use to blog with? I mainly use my desktop pc.  I have blogged from my iPad before and didn’t care for it too much.  I don’t mind the WordPress app though, I just prefer blogging from the comfort of home.
  2. Do you have a mission statement for your blog, if so, what is it? A mission statement?  I had never considered an official mission statement.  Being a business major in college I find the notion of a mission statement rather formal.  I started this blog as a rather public online journal of my adventures in SL.  Since becoming active in the SL fashion community I have refined the intentions of my blog with more of a fashion slant, but ultimately it is still a place for me to be who I am and share my thoughts on things with any who care to read.  I have really enjoyed becoming a part of the virtual blogging community and seeing all the ways we as individuals express ourselves in writing, photography, styling, and design.
  3. How do you feel about blogs that use their platforms to spread negativity? I always cringe when I see negative posts and I certainly don’t seek them out.  I think those whose sole purpose for blogging is to publicly shame or attack another are wrong.  I understand there are instances where a blogger may blog in a negative way on account of some incident in which there was a wrong done, but that is still a very gray area for me that I generally try to avoid.  I consider myself a positive person and I like for my blog to reflect that.  Do I have moments where someone or something has irritated me?  I certainly do.  I however don’t see the benefit of taking to my blog to air out everything that irritates me.
  4. Are you a grammar junkie? Do you thoroughly check your blog for errors before posting and/or do you judge other people’s posts if they contain errors? I am an educator and teach children how to write, so YES I am a grammar junkie and read my post several times before clicking publish and then read it a few more times after that! As for the posts of others, a few mistakes here and there happen, a post full of them is a huge turn off for me.  I won’t be able to continue reading a badly worded post because the errors will become overwhelmingly distracting for me.
  5. If you could switch blogs with another blogger who would it be? There are many blogs out there I am certainly envious of, but as for switching with someone?  Not so much.  I do my best and I aspire to be as good as several out there and only time and practice can get me there so I keep plugging on!
  6. Has your blog/blogging style evolved over the year(s)? How? I feel as though my blog has improved with time and can only continue to get better.  My photos are worlds better thanks to Nariko Okawa, WrenNoir Cerise and VISIONAIRE.  My styling has improved as I continue to explore and refine my fashion voice as a model. There is always something to learn and always ways to improve.
  7. What is the most extraordinary thing that has happened to you because of blogging? Due to my blogging here I have been able to transfer the skills and competencies I have learned here to my RL blogging.  I still blog much more here than I do on the RL side of things, but that I primarily a time issue.  I can only blog so much!
  8. When it comes to Second Life blogs, there are different styles: Fashion bloggers, Lifestyle & Travel bloggers, Informative bloggers, and more. Which style do you prefer and where do you feel your blog fits in? Since becoming a more regular blogger the majority of my posts have to do with fashion so that would make me a fashion blogger by default. I do write about other things from time to time so perhaps that allows me into the Lifestyle Blogger category on occasion.  I have been in SL long enough to be informative, but so many out there do that much better than I could so I mainly stick to fashion blogging and sharing my thoughts on whatever strikes my fancy.
  9. What has blogging taught you? Blogging has taught me a new way to express myself.  It has given me an outlet that I have long sought as a writer and aspiring photographer.  It is a way for me to be creative that I enjoy very much.
  10. Share your top 3 tips for new bloggers. Read lots of blogs.  Decide on your style and be original. Always be open to new experiences and information.

Thank you for reading!
Prisillax0020Sx_LDCursiveFlo
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
 ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The Visionaires of VISIONAIRE

Hello Readers!

In case you missed it, the latest Style Kingdom was released on January 29th and my writing appeared in it!  Soon my model self will too, but I wanted to share my Style Kingdom writing debut with you all!

Thank you for reading,

Prisillax0020Sx_LDCursiveFlo

~

VISIONAIRE

~

The Visionaries of VISIONAIRE
by Prisilla S. Avro

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
– C.G. Jung

The new year often brings new adventures and new projects.  2014 in Second Life® is no different.  Nariko Okawa and WrenNoir Cerise, both well known and talented photographers in SL, have joined forces to create VISIONAIRE and the VISIONAIRE Institute.

When asked what inspired them to create VISIONAIRE Cerise replied “It all stemmed from a discussion with Nariko where we expressed how we felt rather ‘alone’ as professional photographers. There was no method that we knew of where professional photographers could come together and inspire one another, maybe share tips and information, and generally support one another.  Artists have always worked with other artists in RL (think of painters and writers and musicians who all frequent each other to keep their art fresh and exciting).  Artists and their art thrives on such connections.  It is not to duplicate, but rather to improve oneself and one’s vision.”

Okawa elaborated on Cerise’s thoughts. “We first came up with the idea of VISIONAIRE being a learning hub for and ran by photographers to give seminars and exchange photographic techniques with one another. We wanted an enriching creative environment and for photographers to gather and converse with one another, instead of working individually behind their computer screens and silently clicking on ‘Follow’ on Flickrs. Instead, we envision an active community where photographers learn new techniques and better processes to improve their work flow and interacting with people from different industries to keep their creative flow constantly overflowing with new ideas.”

Her comments naturally turned to VISIONAIRE Institute where she explained the difference in the two entities. “VISIONAIRE Institute was only born after the creation of the VISIONAIRE community. It is where new budding SL photographers can attend a certification course which spans about 3 months that is conducted by myself, WrenNoir Cerise and Melusina Parkin.”

Cerise continued, “VISIONAIRE Institute is what we want to give back to the community at large.  So many people want desperately to know to to take better photos in SL.  They may need them for contests, blogs, personal use, or maybe they want to be more creative or possibly start their own photography business.  They can gain this knowledge from watching YouTube videos or other tutorials.  But some people don’t learn best that way.  They need a person to guide them a little while, a group within which to ask questions, or need the push of a homework assignment to really stretch their wings.  In a group setting, you also get feedback which cannot be found in YouTube videos.  The feedback, of course, would be supportive and constructive.  Artists are pretty bad at thriving in an environment that is too tough or critical.”

Both Okawa and Cerise have interesting stories as to what brought them to SL and what keeps them here. Okawa remarked “I wanted to play God. I wanted to be in control of an avatar. And in turn, I was taught that the meaning of life and purpose has to be sought after both in SL and RL. I love the community it brings along with it that is always supportive.”  Cerise shared, “I was inspired by the limitless possibilities to explore artistic creativity.  Honestly.  I mean, make your own skin, shape, furniture, clothes, and crazy body parts?! That is totally awesome!  Sign me up!  I wanted to see what imagination, an artistic bent, and the exuberance of a meerkat pup could conjure up.  What keeps me here is the very same thing.  Every day I see the jaw-dropping creativity and talent that people have and I am constantly in awe.  Everyone here inspires me to push myself to be my very best.”

Their starts in SL photography are just as unique as they are.  Cerise shared her accidental beginning. “One day I managed to put together my avatar in a way that really pleased me (I think I might have had 2 hairs and 3 hats on, or something like that).  This was in the days before we had ‘Outfits’ that could be saved, so I wanted to remember what I had done and took a few photos trying to get one that would help me recreate the outfit later. The photo stirred something in me, but it didn’t fully take hold until I went shopping.  Yup, that’s right, shopping.  I went to Enzo Champagne’s Champagne! Sparkling Couture as I totally love impressive costumes.  He had a notice for his monthly photography contest and I thought:  “Well, I’m artistic and I just figured out how to take a photo.  I love his outfits and don’t have much money.  Winning his contest would get me a few of his things for free!”  So, I styled an outfit and submitted my photo.  You have no idea how shocked and surprised I was at winning that contest.  My first ever!  Enzo Champagne has no idea what he did for me and my confidence.  I was a nobody, yet he saw something in my photo.  I am forever grateful to him and I bet after all this time he probably does not remember me.  I don’t care.  He will always be the biggest initial push toward all my future photography endeavors and I am thankful to him every single day.”

Okawa’s beginning in SL photography was also centered around events inworld. “I think everyone from my era basically played with photography by taking snapshots of ourselves in our inventory – P.S. those images are horrendous! The turning point has got to be the creation of my Flickr account and putting my work out there for everyone to see and comment on. The involvement with two big events – Relay for Life in 2013 and the AVENUE A/W Fashion Week in 2013 gained a lot of support from both of the organizing parties and then I started my SL photography work professionally – eventually leaving my RL lecturing job to concentrate on other areas that needed attention in my life – eg. ENJOYMENT!”

Both women have had many accomplishments over their SL careers.  When asked to share some highlights, Cerise commented that being able to make an SL living off of her work was a thrill.  She went on to share that certain kinds of photo work really bring out the best in her, “… Magazine editorials, I was truly thrilled to be asked to be a photographer for several magazines … store ads … and photography contests that either I win or help others win.  All these things reinforce that what I produce has value and that alone makes me feel good!”

When responding to the same question, Okawa corrected it. “I have never seen my achievements as accomplishments, I saw them as milestones. There are many milestones in my career as an SL photographer – employed by some of the best magazines and featured in them is considered one; having my clients appear in my IMs telling me they want to be photographed by me because they appreciate my work is another; having designers come into my email and asking me to apply as their blogger is yet another, but the greatest milestone of all has got to be a certain RL publication recognizing my SL photography works as being works of art. There are too many milestones and I can only thank those who had been appreciative of the work I put out there in SL, and eventually in RL – thanks to Flickr! I am grateful for those who stood by my Flickr and waited for my next post on my blog and those who waited so patiently for their items to be photographed. I thank you all.”

As with all things there is always two sides to a coin.  When asked about the things they enjoy and dislike about SL photography Cerise honestly replied, “I like being able to express my creative side the absolute most!  What I like least is .. ugh!… asking for money for my work.  But I know I must do it or I will end up resenting the requests and then probably quit altogether. Then nobody wins. So, the business end is sucky for me.  I hope that the professional group of photographers in VISIONAIRE can help me with that!”  Okawa shared something she most enjoys about SL photography, “The ability to bring my ideas in RL to life. It takes a lot of organizing and coordination from many different departments of people in RL to bring a shoot to life. But in SL, I can sit and search for the exact make-up I want, the exact pose, the exact location and bring that imagery in my mind to life – without having to tell my RL make-up artist that her work sucked so bad because red-lips aren’t nude make-up.”  She goes on to share what she dislikes “There remains a lot to be discussed in how SL photography can improve because I am a SL photographer that depends heavily on the capabilities of my SL viewer, there are improvements that the SL viewer can definitely bring about – such as accurate algorithms to reflect and refract light from light sources and bounce light from objects.”

In closing both Okawa and Cerise have words of wisdom to those just commencing their journey as SL photographers.

“Practice, Practice, Practice,” Okawa begins, “There is no other way out, just like Math. The more you practice the better you get. Keep abreast with the capabilities of your SL viewer and also always stimulate your creativity by imagining ‘what could it have been’, instead of copying ‘what had already been done’. We innovate, we don’t copy. We move forward, we don’t dwell in history. We learn from mistakes, we improve. We create the future. If Einstein hadn’t imagined a lot of things impossible, there won’t even be Quantum Physics. So your imagination is key.”

Cerise’s words echo those of her counterpart. “Keep practicing your art.  Look at the work of other photographers and artists.  Don’t copy as that is not genuine, but do search out inspiration in the work of others. Watch or read tutorials if you want to improve in a certain area.  Do it because you love it.  Art should not be a process like putting car parts together.  Good art requires thought, an open soul, and sometimes even a wee bit of luck at being in the right place at the right time.  Keep your eyes open!”

Both of these gifted photographers have much to share with those who wish to collaborate as well as learn and are very excited about the positive reactions VISIONAIRE has received thus far.   The first batch of Institute students have already been selected and classes have begun.  Applications for the next round of VISIONAIRE Institute classes will open in March.

Visit VISIONAIRE inword for notecards and to place yourself on the mailing list for future announcements: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Yorokobi/77/171/2021

Contact VISIONAIRE via email: visionairesl@gmail.com