Archive for May, 2011
The first time I talked to Scott, we were on the phone for 2 hours. I remember thinking, I really like this guy. Before that, he was this guy in a cowboy hat I see on my Twitter feed or heard about from someone or another. I’ll just be straight – Scott Bourne-style. What you hear about him isn’t always positive. Which is why I’m so glad I got to know him a little better – and I have tremendous respect for him. With Scott, what you see is what you get. He is passionate about photography – actually, let me correct myself – he’s passionate about people and animals and appreciates photographers who capture life authentically. Like anyone with a great fervor, Scott is not afraid to say what he thinks in order to push the industry forward. An invaluable resource for business and photography, Scott has been an important mentor to me and this article resonates deeply with me. If you love photography, you’ll know what I mean.
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Post + Photo By Scott Bourne
I was working with one of my long-time students yesterday. He is becoming a great photographer. He’s only been at it about four years, but he’s getting there. He was reminding me that what he liked about my work was that he could still see the fire in my eyes. He noticed that as I approach my fourth decade as a photographer, I still have the passion for it.
It got me thinking about how somebody becomes a great photographer. While I am sure there are plenty of other factors, I think the primary forces behind greatness in photography, or any pursuit for that matter, are patience, perseverance and passion. Let’s break these down and talk about what they really mean. Patience is the habit of being patient.
1. Bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2. Manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3. Not being hasty or impetuous
4. Steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity
If you want to be a great photographer, it’s nearly impossible without patience. Waiting for the right moment, going to the right place, looking for the right background, finding the right light, moving in on the right subject and learning your equipment well enough that it’s second nature to use it properly, all take amazing amounts of patience. Without patience, you have the opportunity for great shots through luck. But you have little opportunity for true greatness in general.
Closely related to patience is perseverance.
1. Persisting in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement
Wow this one is tough. Photography, when practiced at the highest levels, is a pursuit that is full of amazing highs and terrible lows. There’s so much that can go wrong in a photograph that I am usually stunned when it works out. If you’re just happily shooting snapshots and documenting life around you, there’s little chance you’ve encountered these wild highs and lows. But if you pursue photographic greatness, then they are no stranger to you.
The “counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement” we face in today’s world are many. There’s the war on photography, a global recession, huge competition, bad light, bad backgrounds, crowds, cops, gear failure, bad weather, etc. I could go on but you get the point. There are many forces working against making the truly great image, and only those who stick it out despite those forces massing against them, can be great.
Lastly, but in my opinion most importantly, is passion.
1. Intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
2. Ardent affection
3. Love or a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
4. An object of desire or deep interest
These are strong words. Note that they might describe how you felt about your first serious boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s the kind of intensity you need to feel about photography to be a great photographer.
When you go to bed, does a certain photo you wanted to get but missed haunt you?
Do you daydream about your next big photo expedition?
Are you willing to give up dinner and a movie three out of four times in order to save money for that new camera?
Will you work to get the shot no matter what?
That is the sort of passion I see in great photographers. When you hear someone describing photography who really loves it, you’ll know what I mean.
While you can argue for many other factors to be considered when discussing great photography (and I am sure you all will :)), I’m convinced that the big three are patience, perseverance and passion.
Not everyone wants to or needs to be great at photography. But if you pour a little more patience, perseverance and passion into your next image, you might not achieve greatness, but I’ll bet your pictures get better.
Saying “I do” might be a traditional rite of passage, but Tara and Travis’s wedding was anything but. Held amid the vast nothingness of sandscapes at Burning Man, my fellow photographer Tara Arrowood said an emphatic “I do” to her cowboy, Travis Pynn. And I was there to capture it all – their joining of hands under the 40-feet-tall Bliss Dance, a 7,000-pound translucent steel sculpture of a meshed-skin female dancer; the colorful guests clad in a mix of bohemian, hippy and cowboy chic outfits. Jonathan and Linnae Asiel’s inventive artistry created an edgy yet consummate reception crafted with blossoming succulents of dark and pale colors, old-world snuff bottles, ragged ropes with an air of European sensuality meshed with cowboy punk.
As a Burning Man veteran and a photographer, I had a great time documenting the desert celebration. Every shot was bursting with eclectic details and a depth of emotions enhanced by the vintage/retro theme. Burning Man is all about living life the way you want to and affirming your identity through art, expression and authenticity, and I couldn’t think of a better way for two dynamic spirits such as Tara and Travis to begin their lifelong journey together than on the playa with the citizens of Black Rock City as their witnesses. Tara and Travis, thank you for inviting me to be a crucial part of your love. I am honored to share my images of their extraordinary celebration here and in the pages of Today’s Bride.
New blog, new contests! I am giving away some of my favorite things twice a month. For our first giveaway, I have a Datacolor SpyderCube 3 up for grabs. The compact Datacolor SpyderCube 3 is a staple in my camera bag and I use it religiously as my RAW calibration tool. The SpyderCube is an indispensable tool for calculating color balance and saving you numerous hours in post-production.
Post the tweet exactly as it appears below.
Enter to win a @Datacolor SpyderCube 3 from @catherine_hall. Please RT. More info at http://www.catherinehall.net/blog/.
- You must be 18 years or older to enter.
- You must follow Catherine Hall and Datacolor on Twitter.
- The winner will be notified on May 16, 2011, on Twitter, Facebook and http://www.catherinehall.net/blog.
CHS is excited to be working with Datacolor to give this prize away. Look out for the results and a new contest on May 16, 2011. Thanks for supporting Catherine Hall Studios!
Tallulah Novogratz, 12, and her best friend, Starsi Marie Howell drenched in paint in the Novogratz family home tub. I wanted to depict the strong bond and playful intimacy between best girlfriends during those vulnerable teen years – where you’re not quite a child, but not yet an adult. Tallulah was the art director of this shoot and came up with the idea to use paint. I should have known that the Novogratz’s 12-year-old would be a better art director than me.