I read a lot of blogs by other photographers. Sometimes it’s purely for entertainment but often I’m looking for inspiration. Reading about where other shooters are working, seeing where they’ve been, even learning how a specific image was created. All of these serve to inspire me to create more and better images. Once in a while, though, a blog will start the thought process and get my mind churning.
My friend, Bret Edge, recently wrote a blog entry http://blog.bretedge.com/ about camping, hiking, and shooting images with his young son, Jackson. Bret talked about seeing Nature through the new eyes of a child and how it refreshes your own vision. A little over a year ago I wrote a blog about why we, as photographers, put up with blistering heat, bitter cold, and massive sleep deprivation to create the images we’re so proud of. You can read it here http://wcbeanphoto.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-do-they-shoot-for-short-pay.html But reading Bret’s post I started thinking about what got me started in Photography and more importantly, why have I stuck with it for nearly 4 decades. Recent blogs by other friends deal with what purpose you have in mind for your images. I can’t answer for other photographers but here’s a bit of my story.
It all started in 1972 when I moved from Everett, WA to Colorado. I got out of school for the summer and couldn’t find a summer job. Boeing had just lost the contract to build the SST and there were billboards all over the Seattle area saying “Will the last person to leave Seattle please turn out the lights?” My parents had moved from Washington to Colorado the year before and one of their neighbors in Aurora said he would put me to work if I moved there so I packed my stuff and headed southeast. I won’t bore you with the details but a succession of jobs later I made friends with a couple of guys who were really “into” (that’s 70’s lingo folks) photography. Without knowing very much I saved some money and bought my first real camera, a Mamiya Sekor 1000 DTL and a couple of lenses. We took a lot of fishing and camping trips and my camera was always with me and before long I started thinking that some of my pictures were better than those of the guys I was hanging out with. Family and other friends encouraged me and I started trying to learn more about the craft. Eventually I got married, moved to California for a year to attend Photography School, and the rest is history.
As far as what I have in mind for my images, well, that’s a little more complicated. In the beginning of my photography career I had dreams of travelling the world creating stunning images which I would sell for vast sums of money and become rich. Ah, the dreams of the young. For whatever reasons, that hasn’t yet come to pass though I still hold out hope. It’s possible that I could start aggressively marketing the images I have in my files and as I near retirement that may be an option to supplement my income. Mostly, though, what I have in mind for my images is to look at them over and over again and remind myself how I felt at that place and that time. And I want to share them with people I care about to hopefully instill in them the emotion of the images. Yes, I’d love to be able to sell enough photography to finance travel and retirement but if I never make a penny I’m okay with that. I can pop an image up on the monitor and be taken back to that place and that time and that’s enough for me.
Got a story about how you got into photography? Share a comment and let’s swap stories.