This Photographer's Journey

October 21, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

     Nearly two years into the adventure seems like a good point to stop and assess how it's going.

     First a little background: the journey actually began in 1960, when I was handed my first Brownie camera. OK, let's bump that up to 1968, when I studied Radio,TV and Film at Northwestern University. That course of study included still photography work, and I thoroughly immersed myself. A few years after college I spent some time as a freelance writer, accumulating a portfolio of more than a thousand articles published in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. Many of them were illustrated with photographs shot with a Nikon I still own today.

     Then there was a hiatus of about 30 years, until one day in 2010, going through clutter in the garage, I came across a box of images I created in 1970. And I was hooked all over again.

     But the world has changed a lot since then, and I have had - and still have - much to learn. Looking back over the past two years I can see, with much relief, that there has been progress.

     I started with classes at the local recreation center to learn how to use the Nikon D5000 my husband gave me as a hint that I should retire from the business I had worked in for decades and spend my time following my own desires. I've also taken numerous classes from Sacramento's outstanding Viewpoint Photographic Gallery, which attracts outstanding instructors.

     For two years, I've attended the California Photo Festival, an absolute cornucopia of photographic learning. All of these experiences have taught me that there are specific instructors I admire, and whose workshops and seminars I will specifically seek out going forward. They include Hal Schmitt, Reed Hoffman, Terry Nathan and Rick Sammon, among others. Each of these is not only an outstanding photographer, but a passionate instructor. As I learn more, it is ever more important to me to think carefully about who my teachers are.

     I've also been active with the Sierra Camera Club, submitting images to their monthly competitions in nature, travel and general categories, which are all critiqued by an ongoing series of invited judges. I don't always agree with their comments, but I do always gain some new level of insight.

     I believe that these activities, along with participation in a variety of photographic meetup groups, have all been immensely helpful. The problem, as with any serious endeavor, is that the more I learn the more there is to learn.

     So, at this point, where am I?

     I am growing. Two years ago, my photographic journey had no clear direction. Today I can say that I am interested in editorial photography for publications, in stock photography and in fine art. Those are three broad areas, but they give me more focus than when I began.

     I am entrepreneurial by nature, so making photography at least a small enterprise is part of the journey. To that end, I launched a website and a Facebook artist page. I have done some portrait work, had images appear on business websites, a calendar, a university periodical and a city magazine. I have signed a RM contract with age fotostock - that last being a significant milestone for me.

     So there is a slow liftoff. But there is much more to come.

     Overall, what is most wonderful and amazing is the incredibly talented company I have on this journey. It is humbling. One of my resolutions going forward is to spend much more time examining and appreciating the work, not only of the greats - from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Annie Liebowitz - but of the people I meet in classes and on outings. I am continually awed by the images they make.

     Going forward, of course, I will continue to share experiences through this blog, and images through my website. Thank you for taking the time to take a look.

     And for a last look backward, the image below is from my college portfolio, war protest, spring of 1970.Smoker


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