Propaganda Day


    Every year I find myself in a very precarious spot with my American friends.  What I am about to express will get some people fueled by hatred that Iʻll be called “un-american”, “un-patriotic”, and my personal favorite, ” a traitor”.  Today is Veterans Day and Iʻm wondering how it is that the American people have become so blinded by pro-war propaganda. 

   I woke up this morning to see my Facebook newsfeed flooded with Veterans Day memeʻs and “thank youʻs”.  Immediately I started to wonder how informed the American people really are when it comes to our military.  Weʻre lead to believe that our military is “protecting us” from the evil and injustice in this world.  Weʻre lead to believe that killing millions of people to “protect” our rights is ok with God because well, HE would forgive them because of their duty to country.  And the American people buy into this just like they think that the murder of women and children are justified in our eye.  We focus on “heros” and turn a blind eye from women and children murdered around the world.

   Scholars would tell us that in order to have peace there must be war.  However, they also need to state that there will always be another war, another Hitler, another Pol Pot in this crazy messed up world.  By continuously policing the world, we have tarnished our reputation as being an arrogant, uneducated society.  Travel outside of the Americaʻs sometime to experience the full brunt of what it means to be an American.

   So while my friends, family, and my friends who have served this country (Iʻm antiwar, not antitroop) are not going to understand this, I willl say anyway: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Sun-tzu.  And with that I will be taking today to remember the millions of lives lost because of our military and governement involvement.  Due to special interest groups who fueled the media to brainwash the American people into submissive and passive feelings of wartime.  Iʻm taking today to remember the thousands of troops that commit suicide because of PTSD.  Whom everyone (especially military commanders) turn yet another blind eye to.  With so many blind eyes, itʻs a wonder we can see anything at all.




Passed By Peers

    There’s a challenge to starting from scratch at mid-life.  That feeling that you’ve been surpassed by your friends, colleagues, peers and family members.  I remember being in my twenty’s and thinking about my future.  At the time, I was working for a map company as a purchasing agent.  I loved my job, and only saw a bright future growing within.  Little did I know that the company would eventually fold to the advent of digital cartography.  Luckily, I had decided to leave my job before the fold.  I would have been devastated to learn the demise of this family run company.  Then when I moved to Hawai`i, I was immediately submersed into the crazy world of escrow.  I had lofty dreams and ambitions until my untimely layoff’s.  I have however, been limited by my education.  While I attended some college, I never received my AA, while my friends graduated from top ten colleges.  Some even pursuing their masters or PHD’s.

    I’m really not the type who sits around and feels sorry for myself.  But lately, I’ve been noticing an uncomfortable trend.  My friends have been surpassing me in their fields.  One friend in particular has shattered my ego (although she is my undying cheerleader), my ego shattered because of our close friendship throughout the years.  She’s more like a sister, and while I’m happy for her and her amazing accomplishments, there’s a sense of feeling left behind.  When she speaks, I hear how important she is becoming.  She’s developing a reputation not only with her peers but within her community.  She’s a modern woman.  She wants it all, and I’m so happy for her.  And while that happiness is there for her, a sense of forbidding looms over my head.  Starting over is never easy, at any age.  Here in my late 30’s though, I feel that I’m supposed to have all of this figured out.  I’m a smart, intelligent, funny, beautiful, woman who deservingly would like to feel that she too is on her way to a better career for herself.

    When you are starting over these little voices of self-doubt sneak into your head from time to time.  All that I can do, is to slowly push them aside and sweep them away.  Stay focused.  Strong.  Resilient.  In time my career will relaunch, and I must be patient for that day.  Until then though, what does a girl have to do to feel empowered in a time of uncertainty? It’s not like there isn’t enough pressure on women already.  We are raised to be perfect.  Perfect hair, clothes, boyfriend, attitude, education, family, children, looking great in a bikini, and on and on.  So while, I’m far from “perfect”, I’d like to know why it is that I feel that I need to be, and why I can’t be happy to be where I am now.  After all, if “everything happens for a reason”, then I shouldn’t be too concerned about how things turn out.  Should I?

    In the meantime, I’m plugging away at my dismembered career.  I have to order business cards, flyers, buy more supplies, paint more, design more, put together a website, market myself, and have dinner ready by 6:00PM.  Actually, that’s not too bad is it? Maybe I am on the right track, and patience (while not one of my strong suites) is the right attitude that I have to adjust to.



New Found Love

Disclaimer: This is in NO WAY an insult to ANY photographer or would-be photographers out there.  It is simply a little vent from yours truly, going through an identity crisis.  Keep on shooting, and never give up your dreams.


Valerie Joseph Boutique

With that said…..

After feeling not especially “driven” anymore to pursue photography on a full-time basis, I found renewed energy today.  We live in the digital age, and with that comes affordable digital media at everyone’s disposal.  Also, with that, comes competition.  I’m not adverse to competition.  I find it a driving force in myself to be a better photographer and sales person.

I’ve been a photographer my whole life, I have a certificate in media productions with emphasis on black and white film photography.  Does that make me more gifted than other photographers? Absolutely not.  What it does mean though is that when I learned how to work with camera’s, it was on an old body, without an LCD screen.  I developed film in a dark room.  I loaded film in the dark.  It means that there was a certain discipline to becoming a photographer.  Now anyone can be a photographer if they have a good eye.  Heck, you don’t even need a fancy camera anymore.  So I find it frustrating when I have friends that are now my competitors.  I know, I sound really arrogant.  I don’t mean to be, especially since I know how wonderful a feeling it is to be good at a creative art.  But as an old school photographer, I started getting a bit jaded with wedding photography, engagement shoots, family etc., not because I don’t enjoy it (I really love people so these are great events), but because it’s been so overdone that there is no more joy in it.  There’s nothing “unique” about it anymore.  Getting married? Aunt Patty has a camera and loves photography, go ask her, she’ll do it for free.  Don’t want to pay for your prints, or the time that your photographer has to take out of her/ his day to edit all of the acne off of your face? Download the latest version of Picasa and do it yourself.

By reading that little rant, I have a sneaking suspicion that even if you think I’m being arrogant, you can see the frustration of how difficult it is to make a living now as a photographer.  I was about to give up yesterday.  That is until I went to a fall fashion show today and had my love of art and inspiration rekindled with a long lost soulmate, my camera.

Fashion photography is a difficult business to get into.  That’s the beauty of the challenge to me.  Not anyone can do it.  Today, I took the initiative to head over to the mall where the fall fashion show was proceeding over the weekend, and shot a few hundred photos of models walking the runways.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there, or if I’d be any good.  Actually, the jury is still out on that.  I knew that there were hired photographers there for the event.  However, I wanted to dabble in something that I never experienced before.

You have to understand something about me.  I LOVE fashion! Not only do I love it, but I design and create fashion.  I tried my hand at modeling a few times, and while I never was photogenic, I loved the way the models looked in all of those fun, swanky clothes.  Their hair is always neatly done up, and the make-up painted on a fine ivory canvas.  Fashion Photography is perfect combination.  The subject is the model, who is already in hair and make-up.  You just need to have the creative eye to capture something that is unique to the style.

While I probably can’t jump in right away to the fashion world, I can continue to practice.  With my own clothing designs I can have models wear my line, and build my portfolio.  It’s a perfect marriage of two passions of mine.

I just hope that I don’t trip on my own runway.

With all of that said and laid out on the table; go ahead I say.  Go shoot weddings, engagements, or whatever it is that you want to do.  I’m behind you! Actually, I’m the one pulling you.  Because there is a new drive in my career, one that I feel is synchronized with my purpose.  I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.  Namaste.


Valerie Joseph Boutique


Starving Artist For Hire

Whew! So it turns out that I’m a starving artist.  I’m literally living off of rice and soy sauce until my first unemployment check comes in.  Realizing that my previous life was void of creativity, I’m now immersed with the artist flow as I’m searching for jobs.  These past 48 hours of been a whirl wind of creative flowing thoughts.  I’ve been putting ideas together of building up my photography business, and yesterday I started my other passion of creating one of a kind artist painting.  I’m calling it Omväg, which means Detour in Swedish.  My slogan is “Detour From Ordinary”.  Which it really is.  Each item that I started painting on has turned into works of art.  Take for example these jeans that I just finished yesterday:



And today, I worked on yet another pair of jeans:


So with so much time on my hands I’ve been trying to do more things with photography, fashion, and writing.  I love this new creative Sarah.  She’s hip and refreshed.  Ready to take on the world.  

Now only if I got paid for it.  



Coping With A New Life

The hardest thing about being ADHD is learning to focus on one item and following it through.  At least, for me it is.  I tend to feel “driven” to complete tasks, and often I move onto something else before that task is complete.  It’s frustrating.  What’s even more frustrating is trying to fall asleep when your brain won’t shut off.  I’ll fall asleep for a few minutes, then wake up with this urgency that I have to do something.  What, is never clear.  I just know that there is something to be done.

Here I am now, going on midnight and I’m sitting in the dark penning my frustrations about insomnia.  There are still birds chirping in the palms in our yard, sirens are screeching down the road, dogs are barking.  This really is an ADHD nightmare.  With so many distractions it’s a wonder why I can’t ever get a good nights sleep.

Luckily, I have my art to distract my mind and make it work.  I love my art because it gives me the opportunity to turn on music and daydream.  I don’t have to think about deadlines, or mounds of paperwork.  I just sit there, painting my clothing line, or photographing a wedding, or writing my blog.  It comes so naturally, I’m not sure why I didn’t recognize all of this before.  Probably because I wanted so bad to be “successful” in the terms deemed by society.  Good job, good pay, nice car, good living expenses.  Now those luxuries are taken away and I’m left to sit here wondering why I never really realized before that I don’t belong in that environment.  I don’t think many of us do actually.  Sitting in a cubicle, pushing paperwork all day? With no sunlight, and frigid air conditioning? It’s no wonder why people snap two, three times a day.

What’s even better than having this self realization is that I’ve come to the conclusion that my work is good.  I mean that humbly.  Just like any artist, I would sit and berate my skills, constantly comparing myself to other artists and photographers.  But beauty is truely in the eye of the beholder.  And with every purchaser, there’s always someone who will find your work interesting and special.  Which makes this ADHD girl very happy.

Check out my new design:


My new “thing”, painting clothing.


Welcome to the New

ImageWhen I decide to reinvent myself, it’s not a subtle change.  In the past it’s always been choosing a different hair color.  It would range from all spectrums of the rainbow.  I’ve been purple, red, brown, blonde, and black.  Now as an adult, finally coming to terms with her age, I’m ready to reinvent my career.  At my age now, it would be classified as a mid-life crisis.  Luckily for me I have an understanding husband who supports me in all of endeavors.  I also have undiagnosed ADHD (which will be diagnosed by the end of the month I hope).  This causes me to seem like a flake at times.  “Today I’ll be a photographer.”  The next day, “Nope, I’m entering law school.”  It’s a constant battle that I have within myself and quite honestly, it’s exhausting.  Like most ADHD people, I love to learn new things, love a challenge, love the feeling of starting something new.  Then I get bored, easily lose my drive, and finally lose my job.  As someone with ADHD is perfectly understandable then that having a career in the creative arts would fit me best.  The problem is this: which one?

I’m a photographer first and foremost.  I have been since I was a child.  If there was ever one passion that I’ve had my whole life, it was capturing the beautiful moments in life.  I photograph everything from nature, weddings, engagements, maternity, newborn, family.  I love it all.  It’s the most gratifying “job” that I’ve ever had.  I’m also very blessed to have a personality that lets me blend and mix very well with others.  A lot of my clients have become friends of mine.

I’ve also been a writer my whole life.  Which is ironic because I’m not very certain most of the time if I’m spelling words right, or if my punctuation is correct.  However, I can write because it’s another way of expressing the mood of a situation, or my feelings.  So it seems quite natural that I would blend these two art forms together to create a multimedia company.

So here I am, unemployed (again), and starting fresh (again).  I’ve always been grateful to my friends and family over the years for supporting all of my endeavors, and I hope that you will too.  It’s not an easy life sometimes being ADHD, but it’s a life worth living and one that gives me such great joy in what I do: multimedia.


Cambodia 2009



Peruvian Adventures Part I

Photo by Sarah Corell Photography/ Pisac Ruins, Peru

Photo by Sarah Corell Photography/ Pisac Ruins, Peru

Just under five months ago, my husband Sky and I, set off for yet another world adventure.  I gave my notice to my company that I was going to be gone for four weeks.  Surprisingly they agreed to my request, not without a few eyebrow raises however.  My husband happens to work in the film industry and is also an eco tour guide.  This makes him taking off time much more easier than it is for me.  I worked in an office and I have to tell you that they don’t take kindly to large amounts of time off.

We set off on our adventure from Hawai`i to Phoenix, Arizona.  There we spent three days picking up last minute provisions for our trip, along with our traveling partners.  This would include my brother-in-law and his friend who would be joining us on the full four week journey.  This was also the first time that my husband and I traveled with others outside of ourselves.

We landed in Cusco on May 14, 2013 after 24 hours of traveling.  Even with three days rest in Phoenix, it still felt like we never stepped off of the airplane.  Upon our arrival in Cusco, we had a taxi waiting for us arranged by our hosts in Urubamba.  We were off for yet another hour and a half taxi ride through the Andes Mountains to reach our goal in Sacred Valley.  I slept most of the car ride to the cottage, yet missing the vista views of the snow capped mountains.  The only thing on my mind was to take a hot shower and crawl into a nice warm bed.

Upon our arrival we were met by the manager Dew.  She gave us a warm welcome and escorted us into our lodge.  We had a three bedroom home, with living room, fireplace, kitchen, and two bathrooms.  I don’t think it was above 50 degrees, and considering how thin our blood has gotten from living at tropical sea level, Dew prepared us a nice cup of coca leaf tea.  Perfect for acclimatizing.

The next morning I awoke early and heard a knock on the window.  It seems that we had made a friend with a sparrow who would come know on our window every morning.  It was bound to be a beautiful day in Peru.  The sun was out, the snow capped mountains glistened in the sun, and it was our anniversary.  Happy anniversary from Urubamba!

We spent most of that first week acclimatizing to the altitude and planning our our trip.  We made it Machu Pichu the first week that we were there (more on that later).  We also went to a few other lesser known ruins in the Sacred Valley area.  Pisac Ruins was really quite stunning.  We traveled from our cottage to the ruins for 50 s/.  We were shown terraces that are still in use today.  Maize, potato’s, quinoa are all harvested on the terrace tops.  There were also holes in the walls that were burial grounds for the Incans.  The Spaniards graved robbed them and stole all of the silver and gold.  Surprise, right? We spent about an hour and a half walking through the ruins.  We visited Temple of the Sun & Moon.  We hired an Incan guide to take us around the ruins for about 50 s/.  After our little tour we had our taxi take us to the Blue Llama for lunch.  A vegetarian friendly restaurant also serving the ever famous Cuy (guinea pig).  I stuck with quinoa soup.

Next stop: Machupicchu