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Category Archives: Photographic Life

If you have ever read any Hunter S. Thompson then you will get this. If not, then read more….

Purpose in life. What is yours? Does life make you or do you make life? Do you make art or does art present itself for you to make? I’m not sure what happens but I know for me its something I don’t pursue, but happens. Life on the other hand I’m still not sure if I’m swimming upstream or floating. Read the article….

http://yourfriendshouse.com/uncategorised/hunter-s-thompson-on-finding-your-purpose/

All the worlds thoughts and wants and needs and pets and babies… are on social media. Pictures and photoshoots and on and on and on…. I don’t mind the connections, the ability to find family and don’t forget the images you have to see, (you won’t believe the 3rd one). But putting my works online has suddenly hit a skid. I think hitting the IP server with all the images over and over might create a desensitized following. Maybe seeing every shoot and every model might just make your following mondaine. I think a few here and there might intrigue, but a gluten of images just makes it not so special.

Again, just my opinion.
Now for a shameless plug..

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Style. What is it? Do you have it? Do I? Style in this sense is defined by Merriam-Webster as : a particular way in which something is done, created, or performed. So as I read it, it can be anything. It can be consistent, in the same “style” as others or it can be just a way to do a certain “thing”.

When I was in photo school, I took some black and white classic nudes on film, ( you remember that right?) I developed them at school as I was want to do, and left them hanging on the drying rack and went home. The next day my instructor approached me and asked me if they were mine. I said yes and smiled, then he said “I thought so, they look like your style.” MY STYLE”? I thought, I’m sure grinning from ear to ear! I have a style!?! I wanted to dance like Steve Martin in the movie “The Jerk” when the new phone books arrived. (Sorry kids, ask your parents). I. HAD. A. STYLE. I was so proud.

A few years have passed….. I still like my style, but I think now I have discovered that its not a certain, trait, or edit or lighting technique. It could be I guess, but it doesn’t have to be. I think you can have a style and still branch into different looks and genres. In my opinion, doing the same “style” over and over again is boring. But…. my style can be seen in any of my images I hope,  you just have to look for it.

Look at mine, and see if you can find it.

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When I go out and about, through my day, I see many things, I see many people, I see dead people (Not really). I am saturated with seeing. I see things most don’t due to the nature of HOW I see. I am a photographer, I do use my camera and eye to create. However…. I don’t seem to want to, or have to, take my camera with me everywhere. I used to do this. Having my camera at the ready to take a shot of something cool. That got old really fast. It seems that the image most people have of a photographer is that. Ready to jump in and take shots of people and things and pretty flowers. Not saying I don’t enjoy a pretty flower or a cute baby, but this simply is not what I do. I feel that if I did shoot everything I saw I would not retain the feeling I had when i saw it.

I use my eye and camera to express myself in a way that is unique to me. I have an idea, a feeling, a statement sometimes. I use these things that I see everyday, read in the news, learn from others, read on social media, to mix with what I am feeling or want to say in an image.

An idea is a fleeting thing for most. With me it stays in my brain’s memory card for a very long time. Sometime if festers and grows until I get it out. Sometimes it just sits in longterm parking until I am ready to drive it again. I am always working on something. I am always thinking of new ways and things to see, and how those things affect me.

So… I love your babies, I love your flowers, and I might take some shots if they really move me. I just see them differently than you.Image

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Great words said by a great American President. These word resonate in many minds of photographers, models or creatives. Fearing to take the shot or print the print, because we are afraid. Afraid that it is, or won’t be good enough, it might make someone mad or cause a uproar, or “I don’t know how to light it”, “I’m not sure I have the look.” So many things cross our mind,  fire in our synapses so fast, that we don’t even know its happening.

But fear is a big road block for so many that want to create or want to express. I  struggle still with it and it seems to overcome me at times. Not only fears of a shoot or the planning, but the fears of underlying concerns, like family pressures, finances, all have an impact on what we as artists do. It sometimes causes a block, or cause a shutdown all together, when what I really need to do is crerate more.

It sounds like an easy problem to over come, but to many, it is a concern that can leave your life unfulfilled.

My solution? Remember why you do what you do by doing it. Pick up the camera or brush, say yes to the shoot, even if you have a doubt about  its outcome. The worst that can happen is that you learn what not to do. The positives can be overwhelming.  A great result, a great new technique, meeting a great new person or finding something about yourself that you never knew.

Don’t hide who you are because you are afraid of what others will think. Be the person you know you are, and put it out there. Losing the fear of  having a fear is a truly freeing experience.

Take the demons that you face everyday, and show yourself that you can conquer them with strength that you now know you have.

Don’t fear the fear.

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This image is one of my favorites that I have taken. It was taken outside my studio in St. Paul about 3 years ago.

And I’m not talking lenses or gear…………

For those of you who live two lives instead of one, although you still need a photographic life, it’s often very hard to keep focus. Work, bills, kids, and many other distractions, as I call them, come to the forefront. Many of these ARE important but thy can take away from or photographic life, but  only if you let them.

I am too in this mix. Although I am moving towards a full time photographic life, there will always be things in “real”  life that I do and will always want to do, I try to find ways to involve them in my passion of photography. Going to the store the other day for a prescription of pain pills for my finger that I crushed at my “other job” I noticed a bird sitting on a light post in the parking lot, singing away. This guy was only about 4 or 5 inches long but he was making noise like he was the king of the air.  I thought “how would I capture that?”  Although I thought of the beauty of nature and the contrast of nature in the city, my lasting intent was how would I capture.

This is how I keep my focus. I am not a nature photographer in my career, but I do love it and shoot it occasionally, but my love for all things photographic keeps me thinking about it. I am always putting the two together. Life/Photography, inseparable to me.  My latest project is a art project inspired by the music of “Nine Inch Nails” which I was listening to at, you guessed it, my “other job”.

This is how I keep my focus.

If you have the desire and passion to live a photographic life, you can live with it within the life that we all have. Using the things that all of us see do and experience is just one way to keep your focus. Reading books and magazines, (that I usually fall asleep to) is a great way to keep the passion alive in times where life gets in the way. I listen to many podcasts, both related to photography and business and that not only keeps me thinking, but sometimes inspires me with new ideas and possible directions I want to go.

Looking at other photographers work. We all do it, we all think someones work is better than ours. Well, it might be more refined, more directed. but it is their work, not ours so it is different. I think of it that way. Not that the images I see are not spectacular, but I try to keep it in perspective. I do get ideas from others, but I don’t want to copy. It’s like a guitar player playing only one artist music. You become a copy of them and no one wants to hear or see that. Woody Guthrie once said, “some people steal from one person, I steal from everyone”.

Staying in focus is the true battle for many photographers, but it can be done.  As a wise photographer, teacher, pod caster and online friend told me,  make a plan and stick to it.

By keeping in focus with photography in either of your lives, you can become a better photographer, and a better person.