Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Not the AMA, but 12 questions

Often in my blogs I'll mention another person. In no particular order after Linda, they include Michelle, Sean, Neil, Susi, Katie, Janice, Janet, and more that are not coming to mind just this second, no doubt due to the limitations of a failing metabolism or lack of coffee. 

Janice mentioned Sara Harley to me and I started to follow her blog. She is photographically several steps ahead of me in terms of showing her work. She recently had to submit 7 images and answers to these questions for a Rfotofolio award. Since I was thinking about a blog topic, I got all inspired. 

Would you please tell us about yourself?
Where to start? I don't think of myself as any one particular kind of photographer. I'll shoot almost any subject that I think of as interesting, or I can attempt to make an interesting shot of. From looking at Lightroom keywords, people, landscapes, night sky, macro, flowers, driftwood are some of my main subjects. If I'm out with a group of photographers on a trip, I'm sometimes more interested in them shooting the subject, than the subject itself. 

Where did you get your photographic training?
Neil Zeller workshops. Looking at what other photographers are doing and trying to figure it out. Reading lots of photography books. 

Who has had an influence on your creative process?
My favourite model is Michelle because she has helped me understand more about the relationship between a model and a photographer. Understanding the ideas she has for an image, and capturing them has taught me a lot about what works photographically. 

Please tell us about an image (not your own) that has stayed with you over time.
I was 10 years old when I saw Earthrise for the first time. The Apollo missions were new and I was rabidly interested in space flight. In history class we were learning about national borders and the related wars, and all I could think about was how inconsequential that was, how small, compared to the beautiful world hanging in the void. 

What image of yours would you say taught you an important lesson.
I had been asked to take photos of a friend during a triathlon. I saw another friend coming in, showed her the camera and asked for a dramatic pose. She obliged, and it's a completely satisfactory shot. A few minutes later I caught her coming into transition looking for her teammates. When I saw the image during the edit process I was tempted to delete it because it wasn't even slightly flattering. She and several other people were coming over to see all the photos to select the ones they wanted, so she would be seeing it. In the end I decided to show it to her and offer to delete it if she wanted. In fact, she loved it. LOVED IT! She bought a copy to print. She calls it her resting bitch face. I learned that what I think of a photo might not be what the subject or the client thinks.

Please tell us about the work you submitted to the Rfotofolio Call.
Not applicable.

What part of image-making do you find the most rewarding? 
Being out and actually taking the photos, working with the people on the other side of the camera. That might be a family photo shoot, a client wanting specific photos, candid shots at any of several kinds of events, informally posed shots at those events, or working with a model one on one to capture a desired image.

How do you work through times when nothing seems to work?
I have two responses. In my own work I take it as a sign I need to take a break and let my unconscious work on it. Then I'll come back to it, or pick up another photo project, and the creativity will be flowing again. If it's during a more formal shoot, I'll pause a moment and chat with the client or model to see how they're feeling about the way things are going. If they're happy I say 'resting bitch face' to myself and carry on. If something seems off to them, we can discuss what changes might need to be made.

What tools have you found essential in the making of your work?
Aside from camera, lenses, Lightroom (and rarely, Photoshop)? I tend to travel pretty light in terms of photographic equipment. The most essential thing is interesting subjects.

Is there something in photography that you would  like to try in the future?
I've got a list somewhere. Multiple exposures in camera is one of the next things. More abstracts. I've got a couple specific subject books in mind for printing.

How does your art affect the way you see the world?
Yes! I see the world differently now. I'm always thinking about what would be a good photo, or why a great scene might not make a good photo. I like to think about how to take an ordinary scene and shoot it so it's interesting. I see the patterns in the interplay of light and shadow. I look at the faces of the people around me, and think about how to shoot them. I've even approached some to ask if I can take their photo.

How has the pandemic influenced your work methods ? Or has it?
I love shooting events. Mainly this is community association events with adults and kids doing interesting stuff. I've also done several kinds of races, triathlon, various running distances, a swim run duathlon, and others. The key is to understand where to be to capture interesting photos. With races that's usually fairly easy, though the split-second timing is tricky. However, it's much more difficult to predict what kids will be doing at a family event, and where to be to capture the shot. People photographs are at least an order of magnitude less interesting when they're wearing masks. One event had people in masks, sunglasses, and hats; that was a really difficult shoot. I could feel how rusty I was at the first event shoot after a long pandemic pause.

My readers have the opportunity to supply me with questions during the annual now in progress Ask Me Anything. There are any number of ways of getting the question to me, a comment, an email, a text, passenger pigeon, whatever you like.

Here's Neil during a photo workshop, getting the obligatory photo of the participants.

And Michelle from a few years ago, setting up for a race.

Of the Day



1 comment:

  1. Very interesting to see your answers Keith! I hope I am as eloquent when I answer the questions :)


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