zero-to-hero-Janean-Ray Zero to Hero Story from Janean Ray
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Janean Ray

 19th Nov 2018

I binge watched the beginner courses and have watched various other courses that were relevant to me.  I found Mike on Youtube just searching for tutorials/lessons etc.  One viewing of his video that day and I was hooked.  Mike explains in a way I can understand having Adult ADD and he breaks it down in visuals (before and after) and most importantly WHY it happens that way, so those of us with that learning dificulty can relate to it.  We can't just read and retain what we've read, we need visuals.

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I have taken pictures all my life, as long as I can remember even at 10 yrs old visiting Washington D.C. I had a camera in my hands (boy I wish I still had those to see now).  But it wasn't until Facebook and encouragment from friends did I get serious.  I thought if I can dedicate 10 years before I retire and my body gives out, to photograph as much asd possible and put together inventory, I can make my efforts work for ME in my retirement and supplement my income.  4 years into it I had an external hard drive melt down and lost about 30 % of my NEW Nikon photos (I had been using very inexpensive camera's up till then).   I had too much on my mind and plate and forgotten to transfer them off the external drive onto the computer or a safe alternative.  I was dealing with the care of my 95 year old mother, a son struggling with heroin addiction and a daughter dealing with divorce living 900 miles away from me with no family there and very few friends to lean on and a husband who was only making matters worse because my son was living with us and money was very tight and bills were in danger of shut off etc.

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But, I kept on, photography was my solace.  Since 2015 we've had 6 immediate family deaths (5) in just two years and (1) this year.  Brother, Brother-in-law, Step-father, Mother, Daughter-in-law (OD) and most recently my cousin from a motorcycle accident.  The day after my step-father's funeral my nephew was getting married and I was to be 2nd I was getting dressed my son OD in his room and I was holding his head in my arms trying to keep him breathing, screaming into the 911 call "Dear God someone help me!".......After they took him to the hospital I knew he was safe and alive and I continued on to the wedding like nothing happened because I didn't want a cloud over a wonderful day. (when dealing with heroin addiction and multiple ODs you get numb to it all after awhile and become unfazed by it all.)  Things began getting better over time...and today I can say my son is strong and healthy and working 6 days a week and his addiction has now turned to food because he desperately needs to lose some weight but this is an addiction I can deal with.  

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I decided since things were calming down that 2018 was now MY TIME.  I started entering Facebook digital photo contests in which I've won many nods, cover pages, and several 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and Honorable mention ribbons to add to my portfolio.  So far this year I've been in 4 juried shows  (one as we speak) and have sold 2 of my pieces from those shows (hoping for another sale with this show).  I have sold a digital image to my building management for use on their tenant brochure, sold one print to a friend and had one commissioned piece sale.  I'm currently preparing for my own show in the lobby of our 23 story office building and hoping for more sales before Christmas.  2019 I hope will bring even more opportunities as I'm going to hit up Car Dealerships and Welcome Centers along our Metro parks towpaths and start trying to get more sales moving.  I love photographing old cars and motorcyles but my knees aren't going to hold up much longer at car shows. 

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I have minimal COPD/Asthma so hiking isn't what it once was.  I'm 61 in a couple weeks and hope to continue photographing for many more years.  I recently looked and held a couple newer Nikon models as I wish to upgrade from my D3200 which is now about 4 years old and has 10's of thousand of clicks on it with a refurb 55-300 lens.  I'm hoping the sales of this show might go towards a new camera.... they were nice!  Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of my life with you.  You two are the only photographers I follow.  I've provided a snip-it of what I shoot but it's so wide and varied it's hard to choose just what to show as examples. I shoot what my eye sees.  I try to capture "moments" to hopefully inspire people after viewing my work to stop and take a second look at the beauty around them in a way they've never seen it before.  I hope my story inspires someone to not give up..... One of my sayings I made up and put on a photo of the sun setting on the ocean says...... "When it's dark enough you can see the stars, just close your eyes, because the sun will rise, and you never know what the tide will bring".    I have included that photo as well.  Thank you for your time and interest in US. 

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