I first started on my photographic journey (wow, that sounds pretentious right off the bat!) when my father gave me his old Pentax P30t film SLR and a couple of lenses for Christmas in 2001, I took a lot of pictures of plants and fountains and mountains. I’ve always been an introvert, the nerd and the geek in class in school, never been comfortable with “new” people, and subjects like cats, trees, and landscapes seemed far less… scary to point a camera at than a person.
I got more serious with photography in 2004 with the purchase of my first D-SLR camera. My hard drive filled up with more pictures of clouds, cookies, and kittens. Of course there were pictures of people in there too of course, they they were incidental, with not a lot of care and attention taken with them. Snapshots at best, with the occasional good one in there as well.
No way in hell I’d do that. People scare me.
I mean, I hear people say to do what scares you most, but still, no way I’m going to do that.
That thought was an ear worm though. It kept on coming back and growing inside my brain telling me that maybe, just maybe I could take pictures of people. Not just friends or strangers with a 300mm lens from across the street, but really be a “person photographer”.
So in 2011 or so I went to a meet up with a group called Metro Vancouver Photography Workshops which basically put me, with a camera in my hand, in front of a professional model, lit with studio lights.
It was a bit terrifying.
I had no clue what to do, what to ask for, or how to turn this model in front of me into a photograph. Luckily they were amazing models (as Chris knows a lot of awesome models).
Of the several hundred pictures I took, I found 5 or so great ones. Something clicked then. Maybe I could do this.
I kept working. Attending workshops. Reading. Practicing. Participating in meetup groups. Over the course of 2011 I put a lot of miles on my camera and my car, practicing, practicing, practicing.
I started realizing that the pictures that moved me, the ones that I wanted to make, all had people in them. Don’t get me wrong, I love landscapes, and macros, and bugs, but looking at the work of such artists as Nigel Parry or Gregory Heisler gives me such a feeling of connection and love of looking at the images.
I wanted to do that.
So I think, somewhere in there, I decided to become a people photographer. I started my Portrait-52 project. Is started concentrating on the art of connecting. I realized that I could light, and make a pretty girl look good in a picture, and I wanted to make a pretty girl look beautiful. A normal, average, run of the mill Joe look as absolutely beautiful as Robert De Niro, or Bill’s picture of Seth Godin, Sue’s before and afters or David’s beautiful images of tribesmen in Kenya. I wanted to create that connection, to have the viewer look at one of my images and sit back and say “whoa”. Not “nice capture” or “great pic” but an honest “Whoah“.
So that’s what I’m trying to do. Every time. I’m still learning and I’m still trying.