MandyLeigh Sweetwater

I, honestly, wasn’t sure what I was going to write as my entry.  Do I write about my friends in Second Life?  Should I talk about the people I’ve gotten to work with?  Maybe I could mention the things I’ve done?  Or I could always talk about how I found Second Life and what I think about it?

They’re all pretty solid and standard things to talk about on this blog.  I mean, I have so many great friends that have stuck by me through the years and so many awesome people I have had the opportunity to work with in-world.  The things I’ve done have been countless and there aren’t enough words to describe how I feel about SL.  So, I figured I would stick with what has made the biggest impact on my life – Second Life photography.

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Now, I know some are going to get onto me for using the term “photography” because it’s really just taking a screenshot and editing it.  Still, I feel that there are so many people out there who create works of art from those “simple screenshots.”  Have you looked at Flickr lately?  Anyway, this is what has had the most influence on both my Second Life and my real life.  Back when I started playing, almost five years ago, the snapshot button was one of the first things I learned to play with.  And ever since that time, the journey has just evolved.

As I began to take more pictures, I wanted to edit them and make them look fancy.  So, I started playing with Photoshop and over time my skills grew.  I was lucky enough to meet some awesome people, along the way, who would give me tips or show me tutorials.  Which is probably why when anyone asks me for help, I always do what I can.  My idea of paying it forward, I suppose.

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Soon, my skills were growing and I began to do photos for various SL magazines.  I even had my own photo studio at one point.  Though I still do photos when people ask, I found that I enjoy doing my own concepts and blog photos more.  For most part, it allows me to get what I’m feeling out and I can express myself without having to rely on words.  Plus, there’s nothing better than slapping on a pair of headphones and getting lost in editing.

Through learning how to take photos and edit them, I also found my real life passion.  Graphic design.  In fact, just a few months ago, I decided to make it my career.  I, now, work in a job that I absolutely love.  Yet, I know I’m really fortunate because they give me free reign over my projects and allow me to use every ounce of my creativity.

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If I had never found Second Life all those years ago, I don’t know if I would have ever found what I really want to do as a career.  It’s funny how a virtual world filled with endless possibilities led me to where I am today.  Without the people I’ve met, cared for, loved in this crazy place. . . I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do it either.  I can only hope that others find their inspiration in this wonderful place.  It can be filled with drama, hate, and ugliness.  But if you’re lucky and you don’t stop looking then I think you’ll find your happiness too.

Mandy’s Blog: http://sweetmandyleigh.wordpress.com

Mandy’s Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mandyleighsweetwater

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