Photography has never left me.
I’ve been photographing the world around me for as long as I can remember. from the days of my first point and shoot cameras back in middle and high school, to my first iPhone, to what I use now.
The ability to take a picture, look back on it, and see and feel all that happened in the moment, and also what we might’ve missed, or seen and since forgotten is so powerful.
As a realtor in my early 20’s, I took my first dive into something more profound. I saw an opportunity in a market where houses were shot with smartphones, to embark on a journey, develop a new skill, and offer a distinct marketing advantage to my clients. Over time I acquired quite a collection of gear, much of which I still use today. After moving to Nashville and exploring the city, I was inspired to start capturing what I was seeing and experiencing and share it with others. You can read about so much online and in print, but until you get out and explore, you have no idea what the world truly holds. It’s my goal to share that, and inspire people to get out and experience it themselves.
When I think about what there is to say about who I am, my vision, and what I do, i’m drawn to contemplate the similarities between myself and others, and experience that profound feeling of connection that surfaces when you realize, as different as each of us are from one another, how similar we all are at the end of the day. I believe that the way a person approaches their work and the sometimes unheard, hidden principles at work in the midst of it all say a lot – not just about their work, but about who they are as a person.
While it’s not known who first said it, the idiom that “taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is” is a very concise way to explain the magic of photography. Even when we are truly present in the moment, there are still things we miss. Photographs have the potential to tell stories about things that happened to people that weren’t there to see it, in a way that nothing short of having been there ever could.
The irony of photography is that, as powerful as cameras are, they really are just tools. Eve Arnold is quoted as having said that “If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it’s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.” The job of the photographer is to tell a story, and the camera really is nothing much more than the pencil and paper. To me, telling a story through photography is a two-step creative process.
It’s all rooted in discovery. Steve McCurry says that:
“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.”
That driving urge really resonates with me, as someone whose work is directed toward urban / street / architecture. Much as people collect stamps in their passport, all symbols of where they’ve been and what they’ve seen, with countless memories tied in tow, I do the same with my camera out of that desire to share the world with people.
Ever since a young age, I have always been drawn to the city; all the action, commotion, creativity, and energy. I seek out uncommon perspectives in an effort to see the world more fully, and to share this variety with the world. In a world where we are increasingly glued to distractions, I want to inspire people to get out and explore, and show them really how much they still have yet to experience. if I can do that, and possibly make something worthy of being called “art”, I have succeeded in my eyes.
Getting out, seeing the world, and capturing it is the first part of this process. The second part is the realization of the potential of what you’ve captured. I take a lot of inspiration from my peers in Nashville who, all in different ways, helped me hone my vision and creative style. Erin Pennington once posted an Instagram story – a picture with a caption – that I immediately screenshotted, because of how it resonated with me. He said that:
This is why I love photo editing. The camera can’t see perfectly how I see it. I want to tell a story with my pictures. Editing allows that.
I realized for all of us, the camera gives us really nothing more than an idea; the raw materials, or the words for a story, if you will. it’s what we do with that idea, and how we develop it with our visual vocabulary, that is, our ability to develop the image, bring balance and harmony to all the colors and elements within, and perfectly reproduce what we felt in that moment when we first saw it and decided it was worth sharing and remembering.
We see with our eyes, but we capture with the camera, and so really, it’s essential that we develop a sense of our instrument so that we can pick it up, and without much thought or work, snap a photo with the right settings to recreate. Taking great photographs really involves learning about light, composition, and developing a strong intuition. Dorothea Lange said that:
The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
One could know everything about composition, depth, and dimension and literally nothing about anything else, and still shoot some pretty decent work. Doing all this looking is intense work, and causes you to become extremely introspective and conscious of the moment.
The camera makes you forget you’re there. it’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much.
…said Annie Leibovitz. And I couldn’t agree more.
What I’ve learned...
Being a photographer has and continues to teach me so much about life, what’s in front of me, and consciously choosing which perspective to hold. Elliott Erwitt said that:
To me, photography is an art of observation. it’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
The power is in the perspective, and you have to ask yourself “what’s really important here?” Just as with any photo we take, what we focus within a moment can make or break a situation.
As I mentioned previously, I primarily shoot everyday real-life photography; urban / street / architecture, and the like, with a little work in portraits from time to time. I enjoy showing people new things, capturing profound moments, and sharing uncommon perspectives. as I mentioned above, in a world where we are increasingly glued to distractions, I want to inspire people to get out and explore, and show them really how much they still have yet to experience. I find a subtle but intense level of satisfaction and purpose in doing what I can to inspire people to live better, fuller, more present lives.