Key to Personal Projects

March 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Sometimes you don’t have to travel across the country to hear amazing speakers: they actually came to our home state during CTPPA’s 66th Annual Convention last weekend. 


“Between Light and Shadow” as the evocative title of the talk by Tony Corbell, a lighting guru I’ve often watched on webinars which is no substitute for hearing directly.  Tony shared his practical techniques, cinematic influences and personal projects such as “Lone Star Legacy” (his tribute to Texas) followed by a hands-on classic one-light portraiture workshop the next day.  


Canon “Explorer of Light” Tyler Stableford shared his stunning outdoor imagery of CO before seguing to “The Farmers”, a personal series that placed people in the context of their environments with great dignity.   Another original project “Into the Deep” (an imaginative sequence of a model swimming gracefully with whale sharks) was followed by a short climbing film about Stephen House “The Making of Shattered”.  “Donating with his camera” for pro bono projects in Ethiopia on behalf of “Little Baby Faces Foundation”.  It’s clear we can all continue to learn more.


Shalem Mathew and Mitch Kitter’s presentation “From Concept to Creation” proved original, sophisticated and quirky work can be created anywhere, even in Anchorage, AL.  From contemporary fashion to conceptual work such as “The Mother’s Earth”, their stand-out series “Love is Love” was beautiful and profoundly touching.  It was wonderful to talk with this couple after the convention and get to know them better.


John Stanmeyer’s impressive work from the last decade of National Geographic and Time Magazine were a thoughtful departure from the usual conference topics of weddings, portraits and newborns or business sessions (which were on offer too and well received).  I don’t have the courage to be an editorial photographer is some of those harsh conditions but he told their stories with such compassion and beauty.  It was fascinating to learn what research and resourcefulness underpins each photo-essay.


However the stellar session of the weekend was the final talk by Sandro (Miller) of Chicago which moved me to tears.  He wants people to be moved by art, just as he encouraged us to listen to our creative hearts and pursue personal projects without fear.  With a body of work spanning forty years, he covered publications such as “American Bikers”, “The Boxers”, “Human Faces”, “Reebok” campaign to the powerful “Finding Freedom”.  I was particularly drawn to the exquisitely beautiful new “Morroco” project and the precision of the “Malkevitch” project.  At a time when Sandro was questioning if he still had a deep idea within him as a legacy, he has won significant prestigious acclaim.  However his compelling motivator for new work is to reach out to do charitable work which dovetails neatly in to CT’s own charity gallery gala (details to follow soon)!


The learning point for all these insights is to trust your instincts and find a way to pursue passions that truly speak to you.  Although I have been photographing for years in a few countries, my sense of self and artistry is evolving.


In the spirit of continual learning I head up to NEIPP for an intensive hands-on high fashion class with Lou Freeman in 11 days.  I first saw Lou present in CT last year so this will be an exciting opportunity to delve into her distinctive approach to photographing woman in a very glamorous style.  


PS.  As an added bonus I was thrilled to receive a “Best in Show” award for an urban portrait “Pulse of a City” and was sworn onto the Board which is wonderful considering I only resumed photography less than 3 years ago.  Dreams ... chase them, create them.


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