A student from BYU came to my office yesterday to ask me questions about my profession. She’s taking a class with an assignment to interview someone in a job they might like to have some day. I remember my dad once asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I told him I just wanted a job where you had to wear a suit. I was 27. Just kidding. I was about 7.
Interviews are fun. I’ve done these before and I’m always happy to do so because I love to talk about myself . Well, that, and of course, I remember back in 1996 and 1997 when I started taking the craft of photography and the business of photography more seriously that I was always so grateful to find successful photographers that were willing to talk.
One of the things these interviews always do is remind me is that I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my business. But I’ve learned a lot, too. I’ve learned that no matter how many questions you ask photographers that have gone before you, you’re still going to need to make a few mistakes on your own so those lessons will stick.
Another thing I’ve learned is that no matter what kind of images I produce for clients, I still need to shoot pictures on my own. Pictures that are just for fun, just for me, and that don’t have any other purpose, except, I love photography and that process of exploration. One of my favorite photographers, Gary Winnogrand, said “I photograph to see what things look like photographed“. It’s a matter of poking around and trying new things and just working through the process of taking pictures.
So the other day I called Diana Palmer from Yan Photography, an amazing photographer and a good friend, asked if she’d come to the studio and let me photograph her. I was really happy she was available. I’m lucky that she was. Her time is in high demand and she’s doing a lot of traveling, currently.
I loved talking to Yan about our approach to photography. She does things different that I do and we do a few things the same, and it’s always helpful to hear other people’s approach. Trevor and I used to have these kinds of conversations, but now he lives in St. George. It’s nice, these conversations, with people that can relate to how I spend my days and weekends at weddings.
Fun fact: Diana and I do one thing similar, as it turns out. When we want to get our subjects to laugh, we’ll laugh, first. Here’s the difference, though. Mine is sort of a high pitched, silly laugh, and hers is like and elephant coughing up an old sneaker. It’s both frightening and hilarious and I seriously couldn’t stop laughing. I think hers is more effective than mine. I told her my laugh only works about 40% of the time.
Next week it’ll be mine turn to be on the other side of the camera. My family is going to be photographed by this guy.
Also: If you haven’t had a chance to see the 30 Strangers exhibit, you’ve got about a week and a half left. It stays up until October 27. It’s at the BYU library on the first floor. Enjoy!