Welcome to the August issue of FOCUS Magazine! We have lots of happiness with zero social distancing at FOCUS this month!
We have two very talented featured artists this issue. First is Alsatian Kidd, a long time group member and owner of Green Acres scenic sim. He shares with us a few tricks of his artistic trade and a bit about the “Old Dog” himself. Also, we have Jamee Sandalwood-Thomson, — newly wed to our “Rant” writer, Matt (who, incidentally, is still honeymooning so he took the month off!). Jamee has her hands full with events this time of year, so we are proud to shine the bright FOCUS light on someone who does so much good for our community! Next, Patrick debuts a new article this month called “Ireland of Dreams.” He plans to choose a photo once per month, and give it a critical analysis. I totally volunteered him for this and I’m finally putting his doctorate to good use for us!
Lastly, we have a slew of very cool events coming up. We have Basilique on the 15th, White Mask on the 16th, our next photo contest AND [drumroll] Cesar and I have birthdays coming up! Every year for the past 4 years, I have asked friends to share with me a picture of something simple that they see on an average day that makes them happy. Every year we get more and more pics, and I set up a “happiness walk” to showcase everyone’s pics on easels. And BELIEVE me, it’s overwhelming to see all of the things that make our friends happy. And this year, we are adding Cesar to the party! His b-day is right around September 1st too!So, if you would like to participate, please send your happy pics to Angelathespian (me). And if your b-day is anywhere near 9/1… PLEASE let me know so we can celebrate YOU TOO! See you in September!
Psst…. if you wnat to read the Magazine with out logging in to SL…click the Magazine
I remember the first time I saw a Feed a Smile donation box. I was wandering SL with Marque Shergood (our copy editor) and we ended up sitting at a coffee shop. There, stretched to fill an entire wall, a sign read “Every 100L$ pays for a warm meal for a child.” How can anyone pass a sign like that and not leave 100 lindens? So I did. Immediately, the reality of that hit me: each time I donated 100L$ – which isn’t even enough to buy hair in SL – I was filling the belly of a child all the way in Nakuru Kenya! The incredible feeling that, with my few lindens, I was actually positively affecting a child’s life across the globe was addictive. So I kept clicking the board.
But then, after I donated a few thousand lindens to this random sign, I began to regret it. I became skeptical and thought “feed kids in Kenya from SL? Yea right.” Annoyed that I might have been duped, I started to research “Feed a Smile.” What I found is an incredibly effective, vetted and verified charity that really does turn 100 lindens into a meal for a hungry child. I also discovered an ingenious, generous woman and role model named Brique Topaz who realized the opportunities in SL and is changing the world.
Last October, FOCUS had a fundraiser for Feed a Smile. We managed raise about 30k lindens – enough to buy lunch on October 30th for the school’s 400 or so children. Then a few weeks later, Brique sent me a photo of all the kids standing beside a chalkboard with words thanking us for our efforts. I broke down into tears. The feeling was indescribable, and it was such a positive community-building event for our group.
So this year, for our 2nd-annual fundraiser, our goal is 50,000 lindens. Brique said that L$44,500 will feed all of the children for one day and the remainder will go toward fresh fruit. October is a special month to become aware of many health and social issues including World Food Day. And as we know, malnutrition is a root cause of many other issues. So I invite you to enjoy this special awareness issue of FOCUS, to learn more about this charity, and help us reach our goal!
A Dutch charmer, a talented photographer and a TSFTG group member, Rachel Magic (Larisalyn) sat down with her long time friend, Jos Loll, and asked him a few fun questions to help FOCUS readers get to know him a bit better.
Rachel: We usually start interviews with an icebreaker question so here it goes: If you could be a famous singer in a band which band would it be and why?
Jos: I would like to be Max Verstappen the Dutch formula one driver because he shook up formula one driving and takes risks. And when he sees a gap. he jumps right in, much like my myself.
Rachel: How long have you been taking Flicker pics and what inspired you to start?
Jos: I started in 2015. My friend, Iris Okiddo, kept saying I should start photography and I always refused. Then I decided to just start and I liked it, so I kept doing it.
Rachel: Can you tell us the process and ideas you have to taking your pictures?
Jos: When I started, my photos were not planned. When I saw something I liked, I took a picture and it was just a standard upload to flicker. But then, I started to replicate pictures from sites like Tumblr and Pinterest. Due to the fact that my current computer cannot handle laggy sims and high graphics, my focus is more on human forms. Of course, it is much more interesting to have interaction with people than with static landscapes anyway. What I always try to do is raise the eyebrow and, when people scroll through their Flicker, make them stop for a moment to figure out what they are seeing. For instance, images like the close-up of the kiss on the forehead I did with you can express more than a photo of the whole body.
Rachel: My next question is a bit cheeky but as we have known each other a few years, I feel I can go there. Do you find it hard to find clothing to wear in your pictures? Is that why the majority of them are naked or is it more about expression of the human form?
Jos: Actually, my most faved pictures I have are when I am wearing suits, but I do like variety.
The images that inspire me from Tumblr, and couples pictures are generally naked and erotic. Plus, I am a dirty bastard.
Rachel: I know you have assisted and worked collaboratively with myself and other photographers with using the anypose posing system. What are your top three tricks in SL photography?
Jos: First, I would say try, try, try and don’t give up. You will face difficulties but that will help you learn for the next time. Also, when I create a pose, I sometimes stand in front of the mirror and look at my RL body to test the pose and see if it feels natural. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust your avatar’s shape and appearance to make a pose work. Make sure to keep a copy of your original shape though!
Rachel: Great tips, Jos. Lastly, what does TSFTG mean to you?
Jos: I use the group mostly as an excuse to meet women! But also I like to be a member of this group with good photographers and I’m proud to be in this group.
Rachel: Thank you so much for this interview, Jos! Jos’ photography can also be seen in the FAIR gallery this month. Please stop by!
“I ‘m a realist. I am indecisive at times, I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle but I’m genuine and honest to a fault sometimes. I don’t give up easily, when I do then I’m done for good. I am stubborn, sarcastic, outspoken, very, very blunt.” – Doc Romano
Angela: Thank you for joining me for this interview, Doc! Jumping right in, what is the most important thing you’ve learned in SL so far? It can be philosophical or technical. Anything you wish.
Doc: That is quite easy, actually. The most important thing to me is to keep in mind that every avatar has a RL persona attached to it with RL views and talents, and all influenced by each individual’s experience. While SL is a game to some it can be – and is – a RL to others.
Angela: You have been taking photos in SL for many years. What has inspired you in the past and what inspires you now?
Doc: In the past when I first started taking photos, my inspiration came from my own land designing, making it look as real as possible and capturing it through my eyes, so to speak. Now, still much of the same but music and my thoughts at the time play a much bigger roll. Things going on in my RL sometimes or simply a much needed excursion to a destination sim will spark a thought or idea. I don’t have time to do my own landscaping anymore so that inspiration is gone! LOL
Angela: Do you have a routine you follow when you take pics?
Doc: Sometimes a song will prompt an idea but more times than not I will think of a song to join after the picture. And let me tell you, that has led to many photos not being posted. If I cannot match a song or a thought or quote with the feel of the picture, it may come back at a later date but often it is in a lifetime abyss folder! LOL! My favorite windlights are Jay Battlescars but I most always tweak them. As most people probably are, I am very picky in my lighting choices. I do use an editing program called Paint Shop Pro. I dislike Photo Shop.
Angela: If a new photographer were to ask you what is your secret for taking the photos you take, what are the top three things you would advise them to do?
Doc: First thing I would advise is create your own style first and foremost. Your style is what will set you apart from others. Secondly, have patience because without it you won’t have inspiration. And lastly, never be afraid to ask for help! A photographer should always be willing to share tips and tricks. No one can steal your style once you establish one of your own. Always remember where you came from – your beginnings and the ones who helped you along the way. Pay it forward.
Angela: Awww! Great answer!
Doc: One more thing I would advise is to join photo contests. They will improve your skills. Completions sometimes will challenge you but a lot of them are fun and have themes which, in turn, will feed thoughts and breed inspiration.
Angela: Great advice! Back tracking just a bit, what led you to begin taking photos in the first place? You joined SL in 2009 but didn’t open your Flickr until 2015. Did something happen to cause you to start sharing pics with others?
Doc: I just saw others taking pictures and started asking questions. Most things in the beginning were trial and error and youtube videos. I had an old Flickr in the past and an older Facebook too, so I had tinkered with them some before I actually established my permanent Flickr.
Angela: Do you recall any of the youtube videos? Did you have a favorite channel?
Doc: I never really watched one certain channel on youtube. Mainly, I would search for things related to SL photos, and then the editing which, at first, was quite overwelming!
Angela: So, Candlewood is a destination sim you began with your partner, Addy. Can you tell us how it got started and is there significance of the name Candlewood?
Doc: When I first met Addy, I quickly realized she had a talent for designing sims and always would encourage her to do it. In order for that to happen, we purchased a sim and she created a destination sim under a different name. Things changed in RL due to some health issues with my mother and we had to give that up for a while. Once I was able to come back more often, I promised to once again open a destination sim and Candlewood was born.
The name was inspired by a truly funny private joke about Motel 6. I dont recall the exact wording but it all boiled down to the saying “We’ll leave the light on for you.” So I was looking for something like “We’ll leave a candle burning for you.” It was quite funny and you hadda be there, I suppose. But… true story!
Angela: It’s a beautiful name! So the last question I ask everyone… what has the TSFTG group meant to you? Has this group “Too Sexy for This Group” affected you in any way? I know you haven’t really been around much lately to be a part of it but do you have any thoughts?
Doc: While I am not around much to partake in events, etc. I do follow what is going on in the group, participate whenever I can and read the magazine. I am impressed with how much the group has grown to much, much more than it was just a year ago. I’m also impressed with the help it provides for new photographers and experienced alike. For that, I certainly give huge props to you and all your staff that make all these super things possible. And if there is a reader out there who is a new photographer – or even an Oldie like myself – and not part of the group, then what the heck ya waiting for? Go hit that JOIN button!!
Angela: Aww! Thank you so much for your continued support, Doc! It’s been a pleasure to interview you. You are awesome!
This issue is one of my favorites so far. There are a lot of fun things going on this month. The month began with my birthday and – while I’m glad I was born – the date is most significant as the start date to my third annual “Happiness Walk.” Sound corny? I suppose it is a bit. But it’s also great fun! For the past three years, I have asked most everyone I know (usually at the last minute!) to gift me a picture of something that makes them happy in their everyday life. The result is truly overwhelming each year. I set out about 50 photos of adorable dogs, lover’s bright smiles, cheeky coffee cups, shiny motorcycles, funny-shaped trees and fancy cars that cause a smile every day on route to work. It’s hard to browse around the photos and not find a reason to smile – but the trick is that it isn’t just a smile for ourselves, but a smile shared with our friends. Still sound corny? Just trust me! Make a visit to the sim and you’ll get it.
This is also a terrific issue because of our good friends Doc Romano and Jos Loll. They are both fun guys with silly (sometimes naughty) senses of humor, as well being talented artists. My long-time friend, Tyler Cross, also chimes in this issue with a “travel” feature. I know his dry wit well, so his article had me giggling. I’m sure you will enjoy it too.
Lastly, there is a live music section that features our own advice columnist and TSFTG friend Mahogany Soulstar. She made her singing debut recently, so Susan Aloix snatched her up for a quick interview.
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