Group Shoots

I frequently shoot with several other photographers. We share the cost of the models and studio or travel. I like shooting that way. Means I can work with the model for a few minutes and then let someone else take over while I think about my next set-up or what I want to shoot before the time is up. Less pressure.

I know others who hate working this way. They don’t like having other photographers around. They find it distracting or worry that they will get photos that look like everyone else’s photos. That last one has never been a problem for me. I can shoot shoulder to shoulder with someone and never get the same shot. A slight difference in angle, equipment and eye can make a huge difference in what is actually captured.

This photo of a group shoot in South Dakota is fun because part of the group is off working with hay bales while myself and the photographer in the foreground are setting up a different shot. I took the picture because it was one of those “you have to be there” moments. If I tried to describe that scene . . .

Better to just grab a photo of it.

Show Opening in Fort Collins @ Center for Fine Art Photography

I’m excited to have a piece in the PORTRAITS show opening this Friday at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Center has a national reputation. I’ve tried several times to get into one of their shows. This time I’m in the show AND I get to have a portfolio review with Hamidah Glasgow–The Center’s director. Yay!

Show will be up through February. If you’re in Fort Collins, check it out at 400 N. College Ave 80524.

As part of the show, I was asked to write a description of this photo. Here’s what I said:

Marlene lives in Minnesota but loves the South Dakota Prairie. She particularly enjoys visiting an abandoned homestead there. In this photo, she is sitting in front of one of the homestead windows dressed in her petticoat because she wanted to imagine herself living there in a previous life. Her expression is almost distant enough to make that believable.

I like to let my subjects find their own sense of self and place. My challenge is to go to that place with them.

As a published novelist, I like to think I bring a writer’s sensibility to my photography. I believe a good image should stay with the viewer the way a good story does.

However, in a novel, I can slowly build a character and rewrite until it’s right. Not so with photography. That moment when Marlene let herself drift into another time was fleeting. No rewrites, I got it or I didn’t.

I love being challenged to see and think behind the camera. It keeps me fresh and sharp and observant. I came to photography later in life, after writing and teaching, but it has become my first love.

Mother Nature Sings to Her Flowers–Mythic Storytelling Photos

There are photographers who picture reality–gritty street scenes is one example.

There are other photographers who go to great lengths to set up scenes often with disorienting, out of place aspects that jar the viewer’s sense of reality.

Somewhere between those two extremes are photos that add elements–like the veil here–that create a mythic/storytelling quality. Sometimes I like to introduce an element like this veil and see what happens. In this case, I’m pretty sure I actually photographed Mother Nature Singing to her Wild Flowers. It is a photograph that is larger–more mythic–that what I thought I was setting up. Magic is everywhere. Just wait for it.

Doug Beasley Workshop in South Dakota

Just returned from a Doug Beasley workshop in South Dakota.

We took back roads through washouts and gumbo (mud that looks dry but will sink car up to floorboards). We stopped at sites sacred to local Lakota. We ate prime rib at a gas station—it’s the special on Saturday night in a place where the other dinner choice is awful pizza in a bar. Oh, and we also took photos of nudes in the environment. All of it was fun. Even the awful pizza had it’s charm. Boulder Colorado, where I live, is a foodie town. Sometimes I need to be reminded that not all food is “fresh and organic and uptight.”

I’m including a photo by Doug Beasley to show what I was aspiring to produce. My own efforts will follow. Check out Doug Beasley’s website. Check out Circle View Guest Ranch–where we stayed.

Learned a lot. Came home dirty. Had fun.

If you can take the class–offered once a year–do it. Doug Beasley is deep. He’ll inspire with poetry and presence. After taking a class that was mostly about critiques of my work, this one was pleasantly pleasant and just as helpful.

Here’s an example of Doug Beasley’s work:

Doug_Scans001