Santa Fe Recap

I've been putting off writing about my workshop for a long time. The workshop was such a big event that's it's been hard to think of how I could write about it.  There was a lot of information. It meant so much to me. Then when I was in New York last week, it started to feel far away so I can't put off getting some thoughts down any longer.  After spending three full days taking pictures for someone else, I'm really yearning to work on my personal photography.

Be forewarned, I don't think there is any way to organize my thought to make this read well.  Sorry.

I went to the workshop with several questions on my mind.

The first question I had on my mind was, is fine art photography for me?  The short answer is yes, but to what extent I won't know for a while.  Will I get really involved with submitting work to contests and trying to get into portfolio reviews, etc?  I'm not sure.  At this point my first move is to make more work.  I don't even really have one strong body of work yet, so I need to start making work and luckily I came away from this workshop with a lot of ideas.

Do I need my own printer?  Should I work on my dark room printing skills?  Yes, I need my own printer.  I'm already saving for it and I think it will happen.  Aline said that having your printer not only helps you totally control your prints, but you also don't need to be bound by a printers pricing and timeline.  This is really ringing true as I am going on about a month waiting for some cards to be printed for me.  Aline said that sometimes an opportunity comes up and she has to make a print and get it out the next morning.  Since she has her own printer she has total control over getting it out.  As for darkroom skills, she thinks I should work on making great silver gelatin prints because they will continue to be more valuable as they get more rare.

How can I work on a cohesive body of work?  I walked away knowing how to do this.  Starting with an idea or statement of work first, then building a project around it will help hold it all together.  Purpose is what I've been missing.  I've been shooting what I love and getting results that I love but now I need to move into more deliberate work that will hold together in different bodies.

Besides working out these questions, this workshop opened up a whole new world for me.  We spent a lot of time looking at work from current fine art photographers.  Some of it really inspired me.  Some if it made me think, "I wish I thought of that."  I didn't get some of it but I enjoyed looking at it anyway.  It was great to see so many different kinds of photography.  Sometimes I get tired of looking at the usual wedding and portrait photography that is prominent on blogs and Facebook. It was refreshing to see photography about all different kinds of things.

Something that made this workshop so meaningful to me was my teacher, Aline.  She is such a warm and genuine person.  She is also funny and her photography is delightful.  I loved what she shared with us. She set a tone for this workshop that made me feel safe and encouraged.  The other students in the class were so kind and supportive.  We all bonded quickly. I can't think of a better learning environment.

On the last day we talked about our fears as they relate to photography.  I was very emotional and had a hard time articulating my feelings.  I said that I was afraid I didn't have anything unique to say as an artist.  As I thought about it on my drive home I realized I was also afraid that I can't find a unique way to say what i want to say.  Will I find a way to say things so that they are meaningful to other people?  I think I can.  I won't know for sure until I try.

I've been so busy since i've been home that I've really only had the chance to think about work I want to make. Just thinking about it is fun, though I have to make time to actually do it.  I've written about four statements of work of things I want to work on.  I need to be less busy.  I have started a self portrait series that I've been posting on facebook. It's been fun for me.  You can see it here.

Since I've been home, I sold my Contax 645, my most valuable and least used camera.  I bought a Hasselblad 500cm with some of the money and I already love it dearly.  I saved the leftover money to get me closer to buying a printer.  I submitted four images to a gallery in town calling for birth art.  I bought four frames and got four prints made and will continue to collect frames and submit images wherever anyone will take them.  I entered two contests. Once thing that is so satisfying is seeing my images printed well and matted and framed.  What a beautiful site.  It makes me happy.


  1. YMM Positive Outcomes said...
    Lovely, Sally. You've captured your thoughts and feelings well, although I think you underestimate yourself. Your photos of children with unique compositions are a wonderful body of work - as are your self-portraits and you've just begun! Yvette
    Ginger said...
    Sally your photographs are beautiful, I am so glad you have found what sounds like it is really a passion for you.
    Justin Hackworth said...
    I love your thoughtful approach to photography and pursuing those things that make you happiest working on your craft. It's inspiring, really.
    Leah said...
    Very inspiring Sally. I need to set aside some time to really focus on why I do what I do and where do I want to me. The problem is finding the time! I think I'm ready to just make the time.

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