Updates, 7-20-2018

Hey everyone! I’ve had some exciting things going on in my professional life recently, I thought I’d give you all a quick update on some of the things that I’ve been working on.

Drone!

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Okay, first, just indulge me in reading my thoughts on something that everyone has already been hip to for a few years now. My friend Will makes fun of me constantly for getting excited about something like I’m the first person to discover it months to years after everyone has been on it for a while, but here we are. I bought a drone a couple weeks ago and it’s been quite an experience.

First, I’ll say that photography is necessarily an activity that is tied to the technology that allows it. A person can draw or sculpt in the most simple form by separating out dirt with their bare hands, but photography has always been a product of these machines, chemicals, and digital processes which allow us to see and record our experiences in new ways. Which makes it very exciting when I realize that new technology I’e got my hands on allows a whole new way of seeing.

The above photo of Richmond, for me, is equivalent to the experience Niépce must have had taking the “first” photograph out his laboratory window.

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No frills, no thought beyond “What can we do right now with this new thing?” I flew my drone straight up and pointed it at Richmond, and in that act, took a bad and pretty boring photo (the horizon is in the center, who do I think I am??) But I can’t stop looking at that photo and think about the possibilities it represents. I’ll say no more than it’s a daunting and already saturated field to enter, but I am very excited to try to grow and learn new techniques and make new things!

Video work

Most of my attention recently has been turned towards video, prompted primarily by my employer and my freelance work as well. Video is a much more direct means of storytelling, which is in many ways the urgent focus of much commercial advertising right now. This is super exciting for me, because I feel positioned well not only with the technical skills to produce outstanding images and videos, but I’ve also been thinking about what it means to tell a story through writing and images for, well, a while now.

I’m extremely fortunate that my current employer is pushing me to make more videos and giving me a lot of room to try new stuff and cut my teeth on a weekly basis. Here’s something I made recently which I’m pretty excited about:

 

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View on YouTube

That said, I think video presents many challenges over and above photography, including being inherently durational, way more equipment-centric, more time intensive in the editing process, and also being an emerging field which everyone is trying to make work in. Without looking around at what others are doing, I felt like I was ready to change the world with a GoPro, a drone, and a camera slider. But there are tons of other people doing it better than me, and that’s okay for right now. I’m excited to be able to grow in this area of my professional skills.

Quiet time (and a special announcement!) 

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A couple summers ago, I produced several posts in a row called “daybooks” after one of my first heroes of photography Edward Weston. I am wanting to take up this practice again, because I realized I have not taken many photos for simple enjoyment recently. Everything I learned at the end of college about optimizing my time and getting my life to move in one direction basically stuck in my mind as “never waste a bit of effort”. That’s an oversimplification, because it was held in tension against the other maxim of art school: “show up and do the work even when (maybe, especially when) you’re not sure what’s going to come of it.”

Going out and photographing became this very utilitarian practice for me. Go out, photograph, get something I can put on Instagram, receive validation, repeat. This is such a different mentality from how I first experienced and fell in love with photography, which was a simple enjoyment of discovering new things and making photos of it.

I’m going to try to be a little more amazed at things, and a little more willing to spend time photographing without being sure what it’s going to turn into. I’m not sure what the photos will look like, but I’m trying to make a lot of stuff I don’t like in pursuit of making some things I do like. I think it’s important to maintain this practice of… practicing. Not only to hopefully further my career and hone my skills, but also in being able to retain some sense of wonder and gratefulness for the beauty of God’s creation.

I also think this is important to retain this sense of wonder and excitement, because starting in the fall I’ll be teaching digital photography to beginners! That’s all I’m going to say now until all the details are worked out, but I will have a steady teaching gig to students that have relatively unprejudiced minds about what photography is and what it could be. I’m really excited for it already, and can’t wait to write more about it as I learn and grow into the role.

That’s all for now!

 

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