FINALIST | THE FIRST ANNUAL SHOWCASE GALLERY

Every Friday until February we are going to be sharing one of our ten finalists for the First Annual Gallery Showcase, sponsored by WHCC Co. These images will be on display at our annual Dear Photographer Workshop – Elevate + Grow, This year the Gallery will be hosted at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon,  June 8-10.

To enter continue sharing your images to our hashtag #DPMAGFAVES for a chance to be printed on our spring issue and be displayed in Portland.

ELEVATE + GROW WORKSHOP  REGISTRATION 

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Image by Teresa Vick 

HOLD MY BODY . HOLD MY BREATH

 

Sit for a moment and think. The thought isn’t all quite clear, the thought isn’t all quite formed, it’s evolving. That thought turns into an emotion and that emotion turns into a shape. That’s what I see when I look at Teresa Vick’s work. Her images make me move, they make me wind my eyes through the entire image – left to right, up and down and I’m taken on a nostalgic ride through the image. I don’t understand the image fully, but I feel like that’s the point. It’s supposed to leave you feeling unfinished, still pondering, still wondering what the image represents. And that mastery of mystery is exactly what makes Teresa Vick’s art something worthy of being selected as a finalist for our #dpmagfaves Showcase Gallery.

Commentary by Janel Peyton DP magazine Editor.

 

LEARN ABOUT THE FINALIST: 

IMG_8895TeresaVickTeresa Vick is a graphic designer and award-winning photographer, producing creative and underwater portraits with a fine art feel, located in Vancouver, WA, USA.

W E B S I T E | I G | F B

FINALIST | The First Annual SHOWCASE GALLERY

Every Friday until February we are going to be sharing one of our ten finalists for the First Annual Gallery Showcase, sponsored by WHCC Co. These images will be on display at our annual Dear Photographer Workshop – Elevate + Grow, This year the Gallery will be hosted at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon,  June 8-10.

To enter continue sharing your images to our hashtag #DPMAGFAVES for a chance to be printed on our spring issue and be displayed in Portland.

ELEVATE + GROW WORKSHOP  REGISTRATION 

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CATCHING LIGHT

Image by Lindsay Saunders | Forest + Field Photography

The best part of this incredible image is the way our eyes immediately go to the subtle of the hand motion, to say that the lighting is marvelous would be an understatement. There is a grand exhilarating cinematic feel that this image evokes. The tonal contrast, texture, and form are superb and Lindsey always allows us to get all of those bits of whimsy each of her images creates. Her love for light and attention to details never ceases to amaze us.

 

LEARN ABOUT THE FINALIST:  

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I am Lindsay Saunders, the lady behind Forest + Field Photography! I was born and raised in Alaska. I have three amazingly great kids that I constantly spy on with my camera (I swear they will appreciate it someday). I am an artist/illustrator and history teacher and I blame both of these passions for my obsession with crafting a story through my lens. I love the outdoors and traveling, and I try to incorporate the outdoors into my photos as much as possible. The weather up here in the north is HARSH, so sometimes I have to get extra creative and push myself a little bit harder to get those images I want. I love and adore natural light, sun flare, and candid moments in photos.Some of my biggest influences for photography and storytelling comes from films, artists, and authors. My biggest influences are Charles Dickens, Kazuo Ishiguro, DonnaTartt, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Wes Anderson, Baz Luhrmann, Andrew Wyeth, EdwardHopper, Sally Mann, Dorothea Lange, and Buster Keaton. I am obsessed with capturing the intricacies of human life, and it has become a daily ritual to connect those moments through my lens. My best piece of advice, that someone once told me, is to “stay weird” and just keep your eyes and heart open to the world.

W E B S I T E | I N S T A G R A M 

REDEFINE | DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE BY KATIE WALLS

REDEFINE | DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE BY KATIE WALLS

“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “

 What makes a strong Documentary photograph in your opinion?

Such a good question! Magnum photographer Eve Arnold said, “If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.” So, what makes a strong documentary photograph, in my opinion, is a strong documentary photographer. Obviously, we all have access to the same super talented teachers and mentors – and social media gives photographers access to one another, for learning, growing, and friendships. Because of this wide access, I think we all know the elements: light, composition, moment. We know that a strong photo tells us more than the facts recorded in the image: it reveals the connections and relationships between people (or things) in the photo, it reveals the emotions related to those connections and relationships. I’ve really loved what Kirsten Lewis Bethmann has had to say lately about photos showing us how something feels. To come close to doing that, we as photographers have to also FEEL a way about the things we’re photographing. It’s so easy as working photographers (and here I really mean working moms because SO many of us in this family documentary genre ARE working moms) to focus on business, on delivering a quality product, on providing our clients with excellent experiences, all while maintaining the elusive work-life balance. But all that stuff crowds into the space that we need to BE and to FEEL. I’m awed by how many of the great artists, photographers included, had really messy personal lives. I say that not to imply that we working mom artist/photographers should throw our lovely lives on the trash pile and rush into Diane Arbus level craziness for the sake of our art, but I DO think we might need to embrace a little bit of selfishness in order to let our feelings surface more, and work from that place – the place of having an emotional perspective. If, as Eve Arnold suggests, the photographer, not the camera, is the instrument, then we should give our inner lives as much attention as we do to the gear and we choose for our work. We should spend as much time knowing ourselves as we do watch live critiques and taking classes and commenting on each other’s photos. Because a strong documentary photograph makes you FEEL something.

Tell us about your documentary work, how did you get started?

I was always drawn more to candid images than posed ones, but for a long time thought I needed to shoot what people want, in order to have a business. That’s not a bad way start out, because it’s good to learn to deliver, and it’s good to learn to build a business. And you need some money coming in. So my family and children’s work was “lifestyle” and “candid”, but it was still really mainstream. At the same time, I got good, I built a solid business, I made a comfortable living doing work I enjoyed. Then, (again, like many of us!)  I noticed a Creative Live course on natural family photography with Kirsten Lewis… and realized there was this whole approach that was sort of the opposite of what I’d worked really hard to get good at. And I WANTED IT! I say “sort of opposite”, because it wasn’t entirely opposite: all the great lifestyle work I’d learned to shoot, all the great natural light skill I’d developed, all the ability to make clients comfortable was VITAL to making a successful switch to a documentary approach without hamstringing my business in the process. I definitely started with my son – he was around 3 at the time I started looking at Kirsten’s work and learning more about documentary family photography. The summer that he was 4 years old, I did a summer-long photo-a-day project with him, and that really supercharged my passion for the approach. I made a LOT of photos and a few of them were good. I started giving my clients more and more freedom in our sessions in order to capture authentic moments. And I started suggesting to them different types of sessions that would give me more chances to shoot documentary images, even while still delivering the more directed images they were used to. Little by little I’ve invested in mentoring both in how to SHOOT documentary work, and how to MARKET effectively, and I’m so happy to say that I’m gaining more and more documentary clients, and bringing past clients along helping them love it too.

And then in fall of 2016, I also started shooting street photography. At first it was just as an outlet to counterbalance all the “cute” and “ideal” images I took for families. I wanted some grit, some weird, some hard, some ugly. Turned out, what I also wanted was some REAL and some CHALLENGING. Not only has my street photography work become a fully developed aspect of my art, it has become a pretty amazing training ground for family documentary work! And at this point, which you’ll see in the images I’m sharing with this feature, is now actually informing and influencing the way I shoot families! I’m working right now to develop a particular approach to family documentary photography that is informed by street photography – even to the point of actually getting out in the city with families.  

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

 

Oh Lord. Everything. I wasn’t that good. I mean, I wasn’t awful, but all that stuff I said about what makes a good documentary photograph – yeah, I had none of that. And obviously I was also trying to cultivate a desire for documentary photos in my clients – all while producing really mediocre images. I’ll never forget a particularly hard critique at the end of a group mentoring class I took. Of the 50 or so images I submitted, most were completely ignored – the only comment being just, “No.” The ones that got feedback got mostly, “There’s no moment here,” and “Close but not really right,” and “If you had only just…”  I think maybe there was some positive feedback but it was lost in the painful truth that my best images were mostly just so-so. But – ugh – I NEED to hear stuff like that. It pushes me. I’m the kind of person who cleans my house when I get pissed off. I’m the kind of person who needs to get pissed off to push past my own comfort zones. So I was motivated, but I also felt lost as to how to improve. Fortunately, a fellow photographer offered her first workshop a few weeks later and it was JUST what I needed to push past some of my blockages. She excelled at pinpointing ways for me to expand, and she’s the one who helped me realize that my path lay in integrating my street and family photography approach.

The other challenge is one I think we all know well: connecting with the people who want this kind of work. I’m more convinced than ever that real connection happens when you start shooting from your gut and sharing that gut-level work. Some people will always just want a pretty picture that shows an ideal version of their family they can feel happy to see. But there ARE people who want something more. They want to see their families through the eyes of someone who really gives a fuck. …I’m working hard to make sure that not only do I truly give a fuck, but I also can make someone else give a fuck when they look at my picture.

 

Why are you passionate about your work being strictly documentary?

 

Full disclosure: I’m in the middle of the fall season shooting golden hour mini-sessions in parks for families in coordinated outfits. I’m not yet “strictly documentary”. But, I hope next year I’m not shooting these because I can feel it when I’m shooting: I don’t love them. On the other hand, every opportunity to put a willing human being in front of my camera is an opportunity to practice something, and right now that means practicing how to create images that have the feel of my street work, even when I’ve just got nicely dressed siblings in ideal light being a little too posed for my taste. Recently, a dad emailed me upon receiving his mini-session gallery and told me, “That black and white photo of my sons in the tree made me stop in my tracks. I like a lot of the other pictures of them, but that one is art. It reminded me of photographs I’ve seen in museums. You made something really special and I can’t stop looking at it.”  I learned that a documentary approach isn’t always limited to documentary sessions. When you shoot and process from your gut, that comes out whether you’re getting a kid taking a clandestine pee in their backyard, or a couple of nicely dressed boys in a tree in the park. And when you shoot from your gut, it gets noticed.

But as to why I’m passionate about shooting documentary work, I was about to say all that stuff about keeping it real, and capturing life honestly, and giving my clients beautiful images of their actual lives… and that’s all true. I DO love seeing the real, the raw, the true – kids are just fascinating and beautiful and crazy and parenting is a big messy, emotional, gorgeous process. Photographing that is AWESOME. But deep down, I’m passionate about shooting the way I want to shoot. About being free to grow and develop as an artist, about doing what makes ME happy. About pushing myself. About creating something that only I can create in this world.

I can’t say I’ll always shoot this way – I think I might, but the day may come that I want to create elaborately controlled images like Annie Leibowitz does or studio portraits like Irving Penn’s tradesmen series. I want to always be able to shoot what I want, the way I want.

 

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to start shooting documentary? 

 

  1. Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” He said that while working with an 8×10 field camera on individual sheets of film. So I guess probably multiply that number by 10 for the digital age… So: shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot and when you’re sick of it, take a nap, and get up and shoot some more. You’ve got to get those first hundred thousand worst images done.
  2. Invest in yourself, but be picky as hell. There’s literally endless content and classes and mentorships available now. Selling stuff to photographers is a bigger business than photography will ever be. You need to learn/study/practice, but you don’t need it all. Be super picky and do the BEST classes – save up and put the money into one or two very high-value learning opportunities rather than every $30 breakout and $50 download. As much as possible, find the opportunities that put you face to face and one on one with people who inspire you, and who get good reviews from other people who inspire you. If you have a hero you’d like to learn from, skip a step and find out who THEY learn from, then go there.
  3. Learn about photography in general – that is, get past the big names in “family documentary photography” and learn more about the masters of photojournalism and the men and women who shaped the early years of photography. Look at contemporary photography. Don’t limit your education to the genre you shoot. I’ll never forget when Beyonce released her “maternity photos”. Family photographers all over the place were losing their shit over how “tacky” they were, I included. Until a photographer with more exposure to the modern photography world shared more about the artist who created those images – and I realized my mockery came from a place of ignorance. The more I learned about the artist the more I understood the meaning of the photos he had created – and the more I learned about Beyonce as a human being – AND the more I learned about my own cultural awareness and feelings about race and power. My point here is this: don’t be a dummy like I was. Expand your mind!
  4. Shake things up and try something new. For me, it was street photography. This is where I learned what it feels like to be completely “in the zone” as an artist. It helped me overcome fears about boundaries, and hone the ability to make lightning-quick decisions about light, composition, and moment. As well as teaching me patience and pushing my own work ethic. It also opened up a whole new sense of understanding myself and being bold enough to make work look the way I want it to look. All these things stretched me and brought me new insight. That makes me a better photographer of families too.
  5. I just read this quote from photojournalist/documentary photographer Abbie Trayler-Smith: “Think about what you want to say. Think about what you care about. And then photograph that.” Which reminded me of another quote from David DuChemin (I think – he might have been quoting someone else), “If you want to be a better photographer, read a book.” These are reminders to me that what I shoot comes from my perspective on the world. The more I develop a perspective, the more I know myself, the better I can convey something in my photos. And we all want to see photos that convey something – no one wants photos that leave us feeling nothing. So take a walk, meditate, tap into your views, get a great therapist, talk with people, get sure-footed about what you really think. Give a fuck.
  6. Be kind to yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you. Have buddies you can troubleshoot with. Give as much as you can, and take everything you need.

 

Has there been any education that you have done to further your work? 

 

Definitely!
Marie Masse’s 12-week Moment Seekers course on business/marketing and group mentoring.
Kirsten Lewis’s CreativeLive courses and group mentorships.

Stacey Ilyse Craft’s workshop and group mentoring.
Eric Kim’s extensive free content and in-person street photography workshop in NYC

Lots and Lots of great photography books and museum exhibits and gallery talks

Michelle Morris’s material on school photography which led to me shooting AND writing an ebook on DOCUMENTARY school photography which just released!!

 

On my bucket list:

a David Allen Harvey workshop, some kind of overseas street photography experience

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ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Katie Jett Walls is a documentary photographer, specializing in family photography, and street photography in the Washington DC area. With over 12 years of professional experience in the family and children’s photography field, her photojournalistic approach is supported by technical expertise and an easy rapport with adults and kids alike. She is the author of a book for photographers on shooting documentary school portrait photography. Her street photography work is a personal passion, and has been included in group shows throughout Washington DC, and was recently selected for the annual Best of IGDC Exhibition. Buy her new guide: Shooting + Selling documentary school portraits 

W E B S I T E | F A C E B O O K | I N S T A G R A M / S T R E E T

 

 

DEAR PHOTOGRAPHER | FEATURE BY ACE FANNING

DEAR PHOTOGRAPHER | FEATURE BY ACE FANNING
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One of Ace’s first images

Dear Ace at 14,

I know right now, life sucks. I know you are tired. I know that right now, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I see the hurt in your eyes and the fresh scars on your arms. I hear your cries when you’re alone and I hear your prayers begging God to just get you through this. You think you are weak, but you are the strongest person I know. You crave to be just like everybody else but I love that you aren’t. You desperately just want to disappear into the shadows, but that’s not you… you were meant to stand out. In fact, one day… you will be loved for the things they hate about you. You will find your place and you will find your people– you will be successful, you will make an impact on others lives, and best of all, you will be happy. You haven’t been happy for so long that “happy” doesn’t even seem plausible… but I promise you, it comes. It comes every morning when you wake up next to the woman of your dreams, it comes in fetch every morning with a dog you treat like a real-life baby, it comes in the form of acceptance of who you are, it comes from that feeling everytime you help someone struggling, it comes from the burning passion you have for your craft, it comes from self-discovery and growth, it comes every night when your head hits the pillow knowing you gave that day all you had… it comes every single day, in the tiniest of moments, in the most monumental ones, and every moment in between. You are strong and you will get through this– in a few months, when everything goes dark, don’t ever stop looking for the light, don’t ever quit swimming for the shore, don’t you ever give up, because I promise you, one day… happiness will come. I am so incredibly proud of you.
Love always,

Ace at 27

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ABOUT THE ARTIST 

I am a portrait photographer who dabbles in the occasional wedding based out of Phoenix, AZ. I have a serious heart-on for teaching and mentoring– they have become a huge part of who I am and where I am going in the past year. My wife is my best friend in the entire world and is just as much a part of my business as I am. I enjoy being a hermit and getting overly invested in the lives of the Real Housewives. I am pretty overweight but dance like a stripper who’s got some serious bills to pay. I stick my foot in my mouth constantly and I can be a bit too honest, but life is too short to beat around the bush.

W E B S I T E  | I N S T A G R A M 

 

Monthly self-portrait inspiration #p52radness

Monthly self-portrait inspiration  #p52radness

Words by Adri De La Cruz

Here to hit you with another blog post full of inspiration. It’s mind-boggling that the year is almost over. As always the images keep on getting better and better. In the group, we never really have a theme or challenges or much direction. It just is what it is, kinda like oneself. I know that I’m constantly gushing about this group, and I don’t care. Making yourself seen can be so difficult, but many in the group have found this to be incredibly rewarding.Even if you are not extroverted,  Self-expression does wonders to the heart and the mind, seeing yourself reflected in the images can slowly build so much love and devotion to oneself.

Be inspired by these, take a few, join our group. Or keep them private for yourself, it doesn’t matter what you do, at the end of the day the images belong to you. They are for you.

If you notice something good, you must make it grow – whether it is within you or around you.”
― Sadghuru

 

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KAYLA LUNDE 49 (7 of 11)MEREDITH MINOR Meredith Minor Sept

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Dear photographer | Feature by Chloe Ramirez

Dear photographer | Feature by Chloe Ramirez

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Dear Past Chloe,

Slow down. Close your eyes. Cover your ears. Limit all your senses and take the deepest breaths. Smell the earth. Feel your feet firmly on the ground. Feel your goosebumps raise on your skin as the wind blows delicately on you. Limit each sense until you have learned to appreciate which each one brings to the table. Now uncover your ears. Hear the birds singing, children laughing, and the wind blowing through the trees. Do you hear how lovely the earth sounds? Now slowly open your eyes and take in your life. It’s going to move fast so really drink in all the loveliness in front of you. See the beauty in the smallest of moments.

Live each day as if it’s the most precious day.

See the good and beauty in everyone.

Hear music where there is none.

Feel every moment.

Now go photograph the feeling.

-Chloe

 

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ABOUT THE ARTIST: 

Chloe Ramirez is a lifestyle photographer who loves to photograph deep and meaningful relationships.  Real human connection makes her heart sing and she strives to have love oozing out of every pore of her work.

Chloe resides in Sacramento California and there is nowhere she would rather be than spending time with her husband, 3 girls, and silly Bernese Mountain dog. When not photographing families she enjoys cold brew coffee, good music, adventures with her family and her Madewell leather tote. She has been featured in both print and magazine her most recent being: Capture the Moment, Popular Photography Magazine, Click Magazine, The Village Magazine etc. In 2017 she received an honorable mention for her self-portrait in the VOICE Image Collection.

W E B S I T E | F A C E B O O K | I N S T A G R A M 

 

 

The traveling Lensbaby project | Kimberli Fredericks

The traveling Lensbaby project | Kimberli Fredericks
What is one thing about your photos that says the most about you as a person. Dig deep!

I think my photos say I’m a mess, and that’s okay!! Really, aren’t we all? I’m a bit whimsical in nature, and I want my images to portray life as it is- but also the amazing magic that is always a part of life, but we don’t always feel or pay attention to. I’m not sure I always accomplish this, but it’s my hope that sometimes I do.

Can you tell us a little bit about the process you’ve gone through (or that you are going through) to find your photographic style? How has it evolved over the years?

I started with my DSLR almost 6 years ago, and it took me until last year to settle into a style that felt like me. I remember being obsessed with needing a long lens and only wanting creamy bokeh and completely out-of-focus backgrounds. Now I shoot most of the time at 24mm or 35mm, and that’s my love! I never shoot longer than 75mm. I’m always transforming though, and I feel that if we aren’t, we aren’t growing. Trying new things and FAILING at them is a huge part of the journey. My editing style is always changing, and sometimes it feels like I fall flat on my face with it. I LOVE trying new creative techniques and tools, and seeing what I get. My favorite thing is to imagine a feeling I want in an image, and to combine techniques, tools, and lighting styles together in a random mix to see what I get. This is FUN and it is so freeing to shoot and see what you end up with, no pressure involved.

What Lensbaby lenses have you shot with before? How have they transformed your work?

I used to own a Composer Pro and Sweet 35, in my early days as a photographer. I didn’t use them a whole lot because at that place in my journey, I wasn’t sure where they fit in. But what they did do was allow me the courage to try different things and to learn to sit back and see what happened! They opened up a desire to experiment, and that permeates everything I do. This Twist 60 was so fun, and the creative aspect is awesome!!! I took what is probably my favorite shot ever with it! I also definitely need to get my hands on an Edge 80 to try out that awesomeness.

Why is it important that photographers not get too fixed in their ways? What makes experimentation so crucial to an artist’s growth?

This is why I said above, if we aren’t failing, we aren’t growing. Being fixed means we’re missing out on the opportunity for growth, and for our path to go places we didn’t expect. When we experiment, we learn what works for us, and also what doesn’t. And that’s okay! Not everything has to be our cup of tea. But experimenting unlocks new doors to be awesome in ways we never expected to be.

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ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Kim is a lifestyle photographer living in the midwest- way too far away from any ocean or mountains for comfort. She spends her days searching out sources of caffeine while attempting to survive her three wild kids and trying to keep up with her very busy husband and his never-ending projects. You’ll find her chasing kids and light, reheating coffee, and praying for a little bit of quiet and a whole lot of sleep!

I N S T A G R A M