Yeah, I take a lot of pictures. I've been told (and sometimes I'll agree) that I'm pretty good at it. Often I'm more lucky than good and these two shots are about the best that I can do with luck, skill, Photoshop and timing all on my side.
(Photogenic reporters Lisa Sigell and Christina McLarty willing to let me take their pictures also helped. Thanks.)
I've reached a level of experience with my still photography where it's become to much of a passion to be just called a hobby. If nobody has already said it, this is a new quote:
I care about it to the point where I desperately want to be better at it.
Outside of taking pictures every day, I'm constantly reading a huge amount of material that relates to photography. If there were room in my schedule, I'd probably take a class, maybe even consider the road less travelled and look towards another degree. Timing is everything and that particular decisive moment isn't likely to happen.
My work in broadcast news is still just as important to me and it has the added benefit of actually paying the bills.
The introspective nature of the thoughts churning in my head come from taking a closer look at the work of a still photographer that I was familiar with, but hadn't really known.
Deborah Willis isn't simply a still photographer. She's a recipient of the MacArthur "genius" fellowship and a former curator of photography for the Smithsonian. I don't mean to shortchange her in listing her credits. She's got a resume that could fill a couple of blog posts by itself.
A friend loaned me a short stack of her books and I was simply blown away.
There were two things that struck me about the works in her books. The quality and care that went into the restoration of older photographs included in these collections and the overall layout design of her work put a lot of what I've ever seen or done with still photography into a new perspective.
She raised the bar for what I consider to be good photography.
She raised it very, very high.
It's taken a couple of days for that to sink in. I had a small level of frustration when I first started going through her books. It's not a negative thing. I'm honest with myself and I have an accurate sense of where I am as a photographer. I'm skilled enough to recognize the differences in quality between a "good" photograph and one that is "oh-my-gosh-that's-freaking-amazing!"
I can see the difference, I'm just not at a point where I can make that difference. I really want to be better. Experience and knowledge will get me there, but that's just going to have to come in time.
Taking pictures makes me happy. I'm going to keep taking them.