I’ve been asked before–how I learned to be a photographer….you may know my story. Fitting that I start with ‘my story’ in a post all about storytelling.
I didn’t go to college to be a photographer. I’ve always loved documenting loved ones and friends, but it didn’t occur to be to use anything other than the auto mode on every camera I’d ever owned until my children were born. And then I realized I was missing their special moments because I just couldn’t capture them fast enough. Or they’d be playing in front of the bedroom window and I’d take a picture only to find that their face was completely black, but I could see the car driving by outside, or I’d see a beautiful sky and try to capture it only to find it completely white on my camera screen. I had to figure it out! So I took a class at a local camera store to learn how to shoot in manual mode. Since then, I’ve taken online classes through a few online forums. Some of my favorites have been at Click Photo School. They have full classes that usually last around four weeks, but they also have ‘breakout’ classes that are short courses in a specific topic.
I took a breakout class recently called “The Stories That Make Us”. I feel like ‘story’ and ‘storytelling’ are buzz words in photography, business, marketing, and probably society in general, right now. But I get the draw. I love the idea of capturing ‘story’. Telling a story. Reading a story. Being part of a story.
And so, for the class assignment, I had to gather my favorite personal images. I began to see the story I’ve been telling for my own family. Though I know my photographic style will be ever-evolving, it will always probably involve bright color, bold light, movement. Those are the first things I notice when I study this set of images.
The next assignment was my favorite part. It’s the jumping off point for my next big personal project. The assignment was to choose a few images and tell about the image. Why you took it. Why you pushed the shutter when you did. What it means to you. And then to determine themes for the image and for your work overall. The following images are the ones that I turned in. I wrote my thoughts directly on the images. And for my larger project, I’ll print these for a photography journal that I’d like to start to document my family but also look over my progress and growth over the years.
I love a good creative project, and I’m still working through the details, but I know it’ll be more about writing down the stories (and intentionally photographing them) for my children. I know they will look at my photographs and appreciate them, they already do, but I want to have more of my voice in this project. More story for them to remember and appreciate.
I write this partly to hold myself accountable for updating you on some of my personal projects over the next few months. But also to inspire you to give a bit more thought to how and why you photograph whatever it is that you love. How will you intentionally tell your story?