The Ever Changing Artist
I fell in love with photography nearly 12 years ago. I was 16 years old as I sat in photo 101 in high school, and I was so excited to learn about how to use my new Pentax K1000 35 mm that my dad had just purchased for me. I honestly wasn’t a fan of being in the dark room. There was a wild story around school that an old lady had died in the dark room, and so I refused to go in by myself to develop film. Most of us ended up having “dark room buddies” who accompanied us, and that made the whole process even more interest. I would take that camera with me everywhere. We took annual trips to North Carolina and Tennessee and I had it hanging around my neck constantly, ready for the moment when I would have my Ansel Adams revelation.
Needless to say photography has been in my life for a long time. It was an extra bonus when I married into the Lucia’s. The Lucia’s owned their own wedding photography/videoagraphy business and were fairly influential in the world of video in Orlando, Florida. Watching and learning from my father in law ultimately led me back to a passion I thought I had moved on from, and thrusted me into a full time career as a lifestyle photographer. I spent time learning not only from him, but from other photographers in the area who inspired me. I also spent a great deal of time learning the craft on my own by reading every book and tutorial I could find. I found myself obsessed with photography, in part due to the fact that I could now take quality images of my son, and eventually opened up my business once I felt confident in my craft.
Despite all of that, I would never say that I am done learning, or that I don’t need guidance with my work on occasion. There are so many things about photography that I don’t know and don’t feel comfortable with. I lack a great deal of knowledge when it comes to studio lighting. Sure I helped my father in law with metering a few times, but most of what he said went in one ear and out the other, mainly because I was only interested in learning about natural light photography. Looking back I feel this was a mistake. There have been countless times I could have used that knowledge during my sessions, and where natural light has been inadequate. One of my goals for 2012 is to learn more about this very important aspect of photography so that I can broaden my skill set and become an even more diversified photographer. I would also love to delve more into wedding photography, which is an aspect of photography I am unfamiliar with. I absolutely LOVE shooting couples and feel that this could be the direction my business is heading.
I was prompted to write this blog post after I encountered a photographer on a forum who stated that she was becoming increasingly upset at seeing supposed professional photographers asking for advice on their images. She stated that as a professional one should just know when a photo is good, and that it shows a lack of talent when someone seeks out the opinions of others. I had honestly never heard anyone say something like this, and it struck me that there may be others out there who feel the same way.
My perspective on this subject is vastly different from the photographer I encountered on the forum. It’s so immensely important to always view yourself as someone who is still capable of growing and learning from others. The photographer who has been studying for one year, and the photographer who has been practicing for twenty years are not entirely different. One may know a great deal more than the other, but they must both still have moments where they have to step back from their work, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and seek an additional perspective from those they trust as to the quality and dimension of their work. Any photographer or professional of any field who refuses to do this is only hurting themselves and forfeiting the opportunity for immense growth and change.
I recently saw a documentary about Annie Leibowitz who said that she is taking her photography into a new direction after some much needed reflection. She’s dabbling in forms of photography that she’s never touched before, working with artists of other genres she calls her mentors, and has said that she is learning how much depth photography has, and how many layers she had never peeled away until now. If Annie Leibowitz can say that she is still learning and growing, then there should be no photographer on this earth who says that they have all the answers or ridicule those who admit that they don’t. And so, my dear friends, don’t be afraid to jump on that forum or e-mail your friend and ask for some advice on your work, no matter how advanced you feel you are. You may just learn something new, or you may gain a new prospective that leads you down a whole new career path or mind set. Just remember, photography is a field with an insurmountable depth, and as passionate players in this art, it’s our job to continuously strip away the layers.
~ Jenn Lucia