Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vivian Maier

I was talking to someone today and for possibly the first time, I was asked why I love photography. Maybe it wasn't the first time but it was the first time I really thought about it. I responded, "I love photography because I get to control the outcome of something. I love that if I were given a camera and the person beside me were given the same camera and we were shooting the same thing, we would end up with two different images. Photography allows me to show people a piece of what I see, because it's always been hard for me to explain myself. I love photography because in the moment I'm taking a photo, I focus solely on what I want to capture and how I want to capture it. Nothing else matters. And looking at the end result? That's just a feeling you can't explain."

I was looking at Vivan Maier's work yesterday and since then, I've been drawn back to her photos numerous times. I can't stop viewing them. If you don't know the story of Vivan, please watch this video. It's absolutely incredible and I don't think there's any other story that I love more. Your first impression of Vivian will probably be that she was a little strange but clearly, her mind worked differently. She was so eager to photograph life -- real life -- and she did just that. Maybe it was that life was simply more exciting back then and that New York/Chicago had a lot going on but I like to believe there was more to it than that. I like to believe she saw moments that not everyone else was seeing. She didn't walk the streets to get to her next destination; she walked the streets, searching for art -- two people holding hands, a man sleeping in his car, a little boy with his face smashed against a window. Being able to capture those things and capture them in such a way that is artistic, is no easy task. Vivian captured expression, emotion, and I doubt she ever posed one person. She just knew where to find it and when to capture it. She had a gift for seeing life and knowing what was worth a slide on her roll of film. Photography was absolutely her way of expressing herself.

I'm no Vivian Maier but after really mulling over her work and story, I'm determined to see things differently. I want to have at least a handful of images (preferably black and white film) that someone can look at in fifty years and be excited about. Art is constantly changing, style is constantly changing, scenery is constantly changing, people are constantly changing. Many years from now, life is going to look different and I want to capture it so that someone can see the change.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Scenes

This summer has been so healing. There was a time in my life where I felt distant from a lot of people which I blame myself fully for but I've been so lucky to have met new people, to have spent many hours with my wonderful friends, and to have even more adventures to come this summer. It's definitely been the best one yet. While I'm still growing my photography business and I hope to have more opportunities this coming year, I'm in that stage where I have time and I want to spend it enjoying life. I definitely haven't been one to save my money this summer; I've jumped at every chance to see concerts, to go shopping, to visit friends, and I haven't regretted it one bit. I spent too many years watching opportunities pass me by and I was determined not to let that happen this summer. I also challenged myself this summer to take way more photos on my iPhone and VSCO made that incredibly fun and easy so I wanted to share some shots from my grid that you probably haven't seen. :) Sometimes it's easier to capture moments with my iPhone because I don't have to worry about exposure, ISO, aperture, having the right lens, etc. With my phone, it becomes more about who I'm with or what I'm photographing because it's so easy to take a photo spur of the moment and that's what I love. So here are some shots from the summer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Learning to Love My 35mm

I rarely go out in my yard anymore to just take photos because I want to. It's not because I don't want to but I feel like I've photographed everything there is out there. Haha. My yard, our flowers, the trees, the grass.... Photographing nature is how I learned about my camera. I would go out every day and take pictures. Unfortunately, I still have those photos and unfortunately, you could probably find some really embarrassing, silly blog posts featuring fifty flower photos but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I will credit my yard for a lot of what I know now. Haha. 

But anyway, I came home from the gym on Friday and looked at my camera just sitting lonesome on my shelf and I realized I needed to go out and play. I needed to go out and play with my 35mm 1.4L. I've had that lens for about three months now and I don't love it. I know, I'm crazy. The focus on mine is tricky and since I'm such a huge fan of background blur, it's not as easily accomplished with the 35, because it's a wider focal length. So I've kind of disowned the lens a little bit lately and I knew I needed to go spend some time making myself like it. Granted, these photos are just from my yard, but it was nice to find beauty on a cloudy, Friday evening in a very green backyard. And I will say, I like the lens a little more. :) When I pulled these photos into Lightroom, I felt like doing something dramatic with the editing to spice it up so I used a VSCO preset that I barely ever use but love. It's a fun one. Brownie points for anyone who can tell which preset it is. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nicole | Staunton, Virginia Senior Portrait Photographer

I love that I've had two senior sessions so far in the summer!! Most people around here tend to want pictures done in the fall but I love the change of scenery that shooting in summer or even spring brings! Nicole and I went out to the Frontier Culture Museum on Monday and just wandered around the area near the octagonal barn. We had planned to pay to get in but photographers tend to get a little distracted and we ended up finding so many great spots before even entering the museum. I have shot a wedding at the barn so when Nicole mentioned doing her senior pictures there, I knew it would be perfect! Despite the 100 degree weather, Nicole and I had a great day shooting! Thank goodness for the giant fan we found and made great use out of on the property! :)

Nicole, it was so fun to finally get to photograph you again after four years!! I'd like to think I've learned a little since then! :) You're stunning and I'm honored you asked me to do your pictures! I wish you the best senior year and I hope you love these photos! Here are some of my favorites!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Madelin | Raphine, Virginia Senior Portrait Photographer

Every time I get asked to do senior portraits, I jump up and down. There's nothing I love more. There's just something about spending time with one person who is excited to document this special time in their lives. It's a year of many lasts but it's also only the beginning of many firsts.

When Madelin asked me to do her senior portraits, I couldn't wait because not only is Madelin one of the most creative, artistic people I know, she's gorgeous, fashionable, tall, and could easily take up modeling! I always tell my seniors that the location is up to them unless they want me to choose and before I knew it, Madelin had found a beautiful location with fields of flowers, cute little buildings, and everything in between. She found the location, she brought adorable props, and she didn't complain one bit that it was misting most of the day. We spent two whole hours shooting all around this gorgeous property and I only stopped because it started pouring. Haha! I could have photographed Madelin for two more hours so that was probably for the best. :) 

I'm so excited to see where Madelin ends up going to school next fall! She'll most likely be attending Washington & Lee or William & Mary to pursue Business and play volleyball!! With all her talents, it's going to be fun to see where life leads her. :) And without further ado, I am so honored to share her senior portraits with you all! :)