So last week I delved into the depths of my mind and shared the turbulence of my thoughts on where I am headed, the crossroad I feel is eminent though in what ways I am not sure. I essentially shared my humanity, my very lack of business essence trying to find my footing in this passion of mine.
I of course mentioned, teased, perhaps barely touched on how I came to be a photographer, how Exposure One Studios came to be and that is something I decided to rectify this evening.
As a childly earliest memory is laying on my grandparents living room floor with orange shag carpet, is to late evening the tv plays cartoons as my parents and grandparents sit around the shiny wood dining room table cards in their hands, drinks to the side and the smell of my paps cigar smoke in the air.
I am stretched out a coloring book open before me, the golden and sought after 64 pack of crayons open beside me, as I furiously scribble the colors to the page I mumble a story to myself bring the characters on the page to life in my own eyes. I recall my grandmother saying that one day I would be an author or artist and that very idea warmed my soul in a way I can’t quite describe.
Her words helped light a passion in me, a need to create and be something I wasn’t even sure of at the time and still find myself wondering in the dark recesses of my mind as I lay awake at night if I have achieved. From that night on I went from coloring the characters already thoughtfully drawn on a page in a coloring book to holding blank pieces of paper trying to bring to life my own characters. Drawing became a passion, a hard, unforgiving challenge that was probably the closest I have come in commitment and patience in my many years.
See what many do not know is you do not have to have a talent for drawing, while it helps in more ways that I can articulate I came to learn that drawing is very much a skill you can learn. And learn I did.
I started with of all things Mickey Mouse, at the time Disney ran these short little commercials about drawing the mousing, involving lines and circles. Essentially, I came to learn that everything was a connection of lines and shapes, learning to piece those together made an images and from there came shading and tones.
I spent every part of a decade plus learning fine art, drawing, painting and taking the most advanced art courses I could get in my public school. Yes, I come from the sport focused kind of high school where the arts are under funded, and not regarded as meaningful so it was most definitely not one of these schools that now focus on the arts and preparing students for a career in them at the high school level. This is of course no fault to my art teachers, they went above and beyond and tried to support us students to the best of their abilities.
The things I knew, I was pushed to consider going to college for a “normal” career path and that a degree in the arts could be a mistake at the undergraduate level as paying that much money to do something I knew how already would be a problem. I opted to enroll in college on the psychology track because I found the study of the mind intriguing and as a foundation degree it would be potential valuable in seeking a career.
College came and with it came roommates and a dorm and living without my family for the first time ever. I made great friends of my roommates and did not have the horror stories that seemed so prevalent of many people I spoke with. That is something I will always be grateful for as well because my roommates and friends helped steer me to photography.
I had of course a dslr camera, having purchased one my junior year of high school to better serve in my art classes at the teachers instruction (ok, he stipulated a point and shoot but semantics). My college roommates at the time were aspiring actresses so I did headshots for them around to college and then choosing their favorites they uploaded them to a site to be searched for chances to be in films. It came as a surprise when not long after my roommate was contacted by someone with Perks of Being a Wallflower and asked to be an extra for the film specifically because of the photograph, she had the look they wanted for the scenes.
Needless to say, she accepted, encouraged my photography even more and new clients came. I enrolled in a very advanced photography course my second semester that I honestly was no prepared for at all. I mean if you have ever been in the room of professionals who made a career out of photography, had high end gear, and edit software when you had a dslr you could afford no idea how to use adobe photoshop and had never even heard of RAW.
I was intimidated, I knew I had no idea how to produce work like these other photographers but I went out I took pictures, I came in for critique day with them loaded on a thumb drive, straight out of camera in all their rawness because I did not own software to make edits. I was nervous but in that art mind where it was art and I had no idea about the specifics of settings to achieve better images I just knew what looked good on my camera.
That critique went far better than I expected in all truthfulness, yes they brought up edits and ideas for change in angles but the images were well received, the instructor was impressed it seemed from what was produced in JPEG with absolutely no editing. That class became a point of change for me, I purchased photoshop and I devoted myself to learning it. I changed my image save function to RAW and learned how to use those files. In those 15 weeks I learned as much as I could in a class for advanced and intermediate photographers in which I worked hard to fit in. I couldn’t match them for stories but I could try to keep up with the camera.
I ended the semester with a B+ a low grade for me but a cherished grade when I look back at my skill level, lack of knowledge, and being in a course that was seriously above my level. As grades went I did as well as I did because of the years I spend making art. I knew visually compelling, I knew composition, I struggled with the digital know how and use of my camera but that too I have learned in time.
From that class I bounced back home and transferred to a commuter school because of academic costs. I devote myself to photographing many things, peoples, and events to learn and grow as a photographer. I took an entry level photography course and soared higher than expected by the instructor in no small part because of that first advanced course. His words inspired me to continue with the passion and helped secure me an opportunity of a lifetime…
Find out more about that opportunity and what lead to to where I am today next week!