I spent a good part of the last half of 2011 traveling. It was amazing for all the reasons that wandering is always so, but I sadly returned into a world so hectic that I’ve barely had the chance to process it all. In the coming weeks I intend to sort through the photos, journals and video I shot while galavanting around the country (and even, for a brief time, outside it). I’ll likely condense it into a few posts, but consider this a teaser and a proof of concept. It’s coming.
For a few months last year I rented studio space downtown. It didn’t end up being cost-effective for me, being that I’m a sort of anti-commercial photographer*, but it did give me the chance to coerce more of my favorite people in front of the camera.
I swear, these people make my job way too easy.
I have beautiful friends. Pictured: Katie Cunningham and Jillian Summar at Loose Leaf Co. Fall 2011, Grace Grothaus in her Tulsa studio, Summer 2011.
*not entirely true. I just tend to offset the paid photography I do with expensive stuff like “still shooting film” and “buying more old cameras”.
From the beginnings of my aspirations to be a “photographer”, I always considered low-light and night photography to be sort of my go-to genre. The very first photograph I took that I really felt was “good”, the first one that made me feel like maybe I was getting a hang of what I was doing, was a long-exposure shot I took in Arkansas outside my tent in the middle of the night (it’s on flickr here, if you’re interested). Though I’ve branched out a lot since then, available-light photography is still very near and dear to my heart. So recently as I’ve been thinking a lot about the “professional” or “commercial” work I do it starts to occur to me that I do very little photography these days just for the sheer enjoyment of it, which is a real shame. So I decided to get back to my roots and head out after dark with my friend Matt, a camera and a tripod. Here are some of the results.
Abandoned drive-in movie theater on old Route 66 west of Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
Abandoned building, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
That last one came out looking like something from a horror movie or something, which was totally unintentional, but I like it.
I was inspired to write one blog entry every day in February by my friend Erin — you should check out her blog (and amazing photography) here.
Brides are quite possibly the portraitist’s dream.
When you shoot a wedding, it’s all about capturing moments in time: memories, details, cross-sections of day where a million tiny (and some not-so-tiny) things happen almost all at once. As a photographer you’ve got to be on top of the situation; you’ve got to get good shots, and you only get one chance. This is the rush of wedding photography: you’re part portrait photographer, part event coordinator and part photojournalist. It’s great fun, but there’s also something to be said for taking things a bit more…slowly.
There was a time in my life when I didn’t enjoy shooting weddings. I thought there was too much pressure, that they were too hectic, stressful. Now? I find them really enjoyable. I enjoy each one more than the last.
People make a big to-do about making sure everything is just right and goes according to plan, but what a wedding ends up being about is the moments shared between people. Parents and children, life-long friends, people very much in love. The beautiful things about weddings are almost always the ones you could never plan for.
Photographing a wedding isn’t just about knowing which events need to be captured. Sure, there’s a “list”: the kiss, the first dance, the cake. But it’s also about finding those little moments, the ones often happening when nobody knows you’re watching.
For me every wedding has an overarching theme: people in love, people being happy. Photographing a wedding is all about capturing those happy moments.
Congratulations to Josh and Natalie, and thanks for letting me be a part of your big day.