What Drives Me | International Aperture Awards

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I'm incredibly honored that the International Aperture Awards selected me to be a judge for their 2010 photography competition! It is one of the world's most prestigious online photography competitions and awards handsome cash prizes to the winners. In order to introduce their panel of international judges to the photography community, they have been conducting a series of interviews. It was my pleasure to chat with their fabulous team, and I thought you might enjoy reading our Q&A, entitled Tenacity, Passion, & Self Belief. We discuss entry submissions, judging criteria, novice photographers, and more! Enjoy! How long have you been picking up a camera? I enrolled in my first photography class, a course offered by my high school arts department, when I was sixteen-years-old. The first image I ever shot and developed was a close-up of a horse's marble-black eye, with several green farm flies buzzing within the frame in soft focus. At the time, I thought I was a renegade! Looking back, I blush at my naiveté. Once, for an open house event, my instructor offered me the opportunity to curate a small exhibition of my own work--my first-ever solo show! At the event that night, I overheard a parent ask my instructor what he thought of my photography. "She's gifted, but she'll never make it as a professional," he said. My reaction? I'll show you, I thought. And, ultimately, I did. Did you always know that you wanted to be a photographer? As a teenager, I always had an inkling that I might become a professional photographer. I didn't realize it was possible, though, until I dove headlong intro transforming my passion into a commercially-viable undertaking. Negotiating that first commission requires courage--you have to believe in your gifts enough to place a worth value on them. At the end of the day, photography is a labor of love for me. I've heard people say that they could never transform their passion into their business, as it would ruin their joy for the art form. I don't find that to be true. I only fall more and more in love with every day that I spend honing my craft and growing my business. I wake up every morning excited to do what I love. What is your specialty as a photographer? I'm attracted to complex, diverse imagery. My editorial work exhibits an inclination towards a dark beauty. My professional wedding photography allows me to find psychological and aesthetic balance in sensual, wrapping light and the female form. It allows me to document the extreme fantasies of beauty. When you're not shooting for clients, what kind of images do you like to shoot? To date, my photography has taken me to over 30 countries. Photography gives me the impetus--indeed, the license--that I need to immerse myself in another culture, learn through experience, and forge relationships I wouldn't otherwise be able to. Dear Blog Readers, there's much, much more! For the full, in-depth interview, please visit International Aperture Award's blog to finish reading Tenacity, Passion, & Self Belief.

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