Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Reinventing My Photography

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I've been going through a slow, methodical, process of reinventing my photography. Much of that reinvention is going on in my head, more so than with cameras in my hands. (At least at this point.) Please note I didn't say that I'm reinventing photography. I'm simply saying that I'm reinventing *MY* photography, i.e.,  I'm reinventing myself as a photographer.

What does that mean?

For me, it means I work a lot less as a photographer these days -- paid work, that is -- but since I love photography (and I certainly don't want to give it up simply because it's become more of an avocation than a vocation) it means I'm steering myself towards different sorts of photography to satisfy my  photo-lust.

I'm not much interested in making a living from shooting these days. If I were, I'd reinvent myself as a wedding or event shooter, a seniors photographer, or something like that. Sure, those genres make more than a few people a few bucks. Some of them, quite a few bucks. Me? Not interested.  Not even a little bit.

I still get occasionally hired to shoot pretty girls. And I do like earning money well enough because, you know, I can then buy stuff with it. But my life isn't guided by money. It never has been. Leastwise, much beyond making enough to take somewhat comfortable care of myself and my family. So, since it's mostly just me I need to take care of these days -- my children being adults plus I'm unmarried and unattached -- I don't really pursue scoring much in the way of paid work. (If/when opportunities present themselves I'll take advantage of them, but I'm not really looking for those opportunities.  Color me lazy I guess.)

I'm far from being independently wealthy. In fact, I'm not too far into the plus side of the plus side of independently surviving. (Financially, that is.) But I am surviving. (Thanks to paying into Social Security for all those years, a private pension annuity from working 15 years for a large corporation, sales of my ebooks as well as other ebooks and photography training programs I occasionally promote, plus not having much debt.)

None of this reinventing stuff means I've forgotten what I know how to do. I can still shoot a decent pretty girl pic. I can also shoot some pretty good portraiture of various kinds. But that's the sort of stuff I've shot for a lot of years. That was work. Now, for me, photography is about play, not work. I was going to say it's about art but whether or not what I will produce represents "art" remains to be seen. Art is the goal. I'm just not overly confident it will be the result.

In terms of what I want to do now,  my reinvention as a photographer does not include continuing to shoot what I've been shooting for a long time. (No art nudes for me.) Besides, why would I do that? Been there, done that is the best answer I can give. I'm more interested in moving forward, not sideways or staying where I've been.

What I plan to shoot will certainly call upon the skills and knowledge I already have, but it's also going to mean developing new skills and knowledge that I didn't need when nearly 100% of my photography was shooting models of one sort or another, mostly of the "pretty girl" sort.

I'm excited! I love new challenges. Especially creative challenges. And I do plan to creatively challenge myself. Whether I'm up to the task... well, time will tell.

Anyway, sorry for the self-focused update. I'll try to get back to writing stuff that's more about helping this blog's readers elevate their skills and knowledge when next I blog.

The pretty girl at the top is Jennifer, snapped in a location house in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.  The Silver Lake district is built around a reservoir in that part of L.A. The area was also home to Walt Disney's very first studio. It's something of a "hipster" neighborhood. I lit Jennifer with a 5' Photoflex Octo for my main, plus another strobe (modified with a small umbrella) camera left and behind her. (Actually, in front of her in the particular image I decided to post with this update.) The ambient in the room, courtesy of indirect sunlight from the window, provided some soft and gentle fill. I was shooting in fairly tight quarters in that small room. But hey! You do what you gotta do, right?

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