Catherine reflects on life, current affairs and photography.
On Thanksgiving I made my way from Turkey to an amazing adventure in Salvador, Brazil. I have been told that Salvador is the cultural mecca of Brazil, with music and dance constantly spilling out into the streets, but nothing could have prepared me for this. The culture here is incredibly rich, and Brazilians are incredibly kind people (sometimes too kind).
I came to Brazil for two reasons. First, to work on a photo project, and second to learn Samba. The dancing was just as important to me as the photography. I find that expressing myself in artistic ways beyond photography (especially dancing!) helps me grow as a photographer. How? It’s simple; dancing makes me put my guard down, try new things, be creative, and move out of my comfort zone. Photography is the same thing; as is all art, and the more we practice it (regardless of the genre) the better artists we become.
Dancing also helps me understand cultures better. Just as you can learn a lot about a culture by what people eat, you can learn by how they move. Dance is a way to immerse yourself in other people’s self expression that no other experience can give you. And when you’re all out there having fun, everyone feels more at ease and more connected than if there was no music and movement.
I love interacting with people on this level and pushing myself to join in, even when I think I look silly or mess up the steps! And while I am enjoying dancing here in Brazil, I must remember that it’s not the only thing that attracted me to this magical place. As always, my journey began with a desire to photograph people and experience cultures through the eyes of my camera lens. I already have many great images that I’m excited to share, so though the book project has not been formally announced, I will be posting some images from the trip on my blog. Please stay tuned for image updates.
Deanna at Age 9, Virginia
After three weeks of wandering around the mountains without cell phone and computer I have to say…what an amazing experience. This trip was just as challenging as any of my international third world country adventures.
When photographing weddings and events everyone looks good, knows why I am there, and is prepared to be photographed. It is an extremely different experience to photograph strangers that don’t know you, your background or why you want to take their picture in the first place. The photographer is faced with the challenge of making their subject at ease despite these extenuating circumstances.
These last few weeks have reminded me how much a photographers energy and disposition effects the subjects willingness to let you into their world. To create honest imagery your subject has to let his or her guard down and truly trust your intentions even thought they don’t know who you are as a person or a photographer.
I am very pleased with the interactions I shared with the people of the Appalachian Mountains and the resulting images we created. Please stay posted to see upcoming imagery from the trip.