While I was perusing the interwebs today, I came across a blog post that left me yearning. One of the photographers I follow is hosting a workshop in March. The opportunity to attend this workshop is almost unfathomable. It’s overwhelming. Katelyn James’ blog has been my guilty pleasure for some time and I say “guilty” because I cannot go a day without typing her name into my browser. Not only is she a talented photographer but she knows how to run a business. It would be unbelievably beneficial to my [potentially awesome] business to pick her brain at said workshop. As fate would have it, she’s created a contest for just such an opportunity. So enjoy a somewhat sentimental trip down memory lane and a little glimpse into the way my mind works.
When I was a freshman in high school, I took a trip to Arizona with three of my best friends. At the time I was indifferent towards photography. It wasn’t until I had developed my disposable camera and saw a picture of one of my friends with the Grand Canyon in the background. Telling this story now doesn’t seem so profound but at the time, I thought, “This is a really good picture. I should be a photographer.” Fourteen year old me was so impressed with the composition of that photo. What’s composition? “Don’t know, but I nailed it.” Although, that photo really only sparked an interest.
On a trip to Key West with my dad, I fiddled around with his Canon 35mm, focusing on everything in the car (most memorably, the “safety hazard” label on the sun visor). I was already working in a restaurant and as soon as I had saved $300, I marched myself over to Walmart and purchased the same exact camera my dad had let me use on our trip. It was my first big purchase, and it pretty much validated my interest in photography. This was the beginning.
Fast forward to January, 2011. I moved to New York to pursue a career in fashion photography. At the time, I was watching a lot of America’s Next Top Model. It was only natural that the next step, the step immediately after Top Model, was to become a fashion photographer. Inevitably, this did not happen. While I was interested in the field, it wasn’t “my thing.” It didn’t come naturally. It didn’t feel right. I didn’t have it in me to set up elaborate scenes and collaborate on makeup and wardrobe. The one thing that has been constant in my photography is my interest in capturing something real, something people can feel. Feelings other than, “Ooh, I want those shoes.”
So how could Katelyn’s workshop help me, specifically? I’ve studied photography in an educational setting. Like in most careers, it does not compare to hands on experience. I’ve learned more communicating and shooting with other photographers this past year than I have in my
five and a half four years of college. Exhibit A: I shot my first wedding in April, 2008. This is the final edited image I gave to the bride:
I was not familiar with the equipment, having rented the flash and lens the day before. The venue was dark and unappealing. I was drawn to vibrant images with high contrast. And finally, I added that “cute little border” so my photos would “really pop.” Four years later, I was not satisfied with this photo. Sure, it was a great first attempt but I couldn’t use it in my portfolio, it just didn’t represent my current style. My photos should speak for themselves. I don’t need to frame them. I had struggled with this concept for a while but something just clicked. I needed to be confident that my work could stand alone. It was at this time that I decided to re-edit some old photos to reflect who I am as a photographer. For the first time, I feel sure about the way I want my photos to look.
The post production of my photos, I feel, is improving everyday but I want every aspect of my skill fine-tuned. Katelyn’s use of light and color makes her subject’s poses seem effortless. I want my photos to have that same quality. I want them to be beautiful in the same way that life is beautiful.
I can feel the potential that I have bubbling inside of me, waiting for something to release it. This workshop would push me so far in the right direction. I can only thank Katelyn James for sharing her passion and hope that she sees the something in me that I know is there, bubbling away.