THE BEST IMAGES OF 2017 | DEAR PHOTOGRAPHER BLOG + COMMUNITY

Words by Adri De La Cruz

Oh what a year it’s been. If you’re like me than 2017 hit you like a ton of bricks. My only hope is that you grew from every experience, as a human and as an artist. I am so tremendously proud of the community we are building over at our Facebook group so I wanted to end the year with an amazing giveaway. To thank you all for the continued support and inspiration The Dear Photographer blog partnered up with The It Bags. If you are looking for something beautiful for on the go, check out these bags. They will be selecting a winner from this collection of images and gifting them a camera bag. Thank you to everyone that submitted images. I hope 2018 brings you so much light, grace +  growth.

 

 I N S T A G R A M | F A C E B O O K

JESSICA LOUISE BEST2017 4

LAURA WOOD BESTOF2017 2

SUE SONNENBERG BESTOF2017 3

ELISE MEADER BO2017 1EMMY LOU CANEDO BWATOF2017 5APRIL KRAUS BESTOF 2017 4

KIMBERLI FREDERICKS 

BO20`7 2

LEANNA AZZOLINI 26169546_10156243894314665_8735772491465874919_n.jpg

ASHLEY MARSTON BO2017 1

GINA SANTELLANO BO2017 3

KRISTY BURRELL ROUSELL BO2017 4ANGIE RETHWISCHBO2017 1CARRINE POWERS BO2017 2DANIELLE DOBSON BO2017 4KEZIAH KELSEY BOF2017 3

‎JYOTSNA BHAMIDIPATI BO2017 1BECS VIVEASH BO2017 2MANDI JOHNSON BO2017 3APRIL CHRISTOPHER BO2017 5

ALLIE WILSON BO2017 1

ANGELA DORAN BO2017 3CASSANDRA CASLEY  BO2017 5

JONI BURTT 

BO2017 2

MELISSA WALKUP 

BO2015 6AMBER WALDER BO2017 1MINDY TINGSON BO2017 2

SARAH GUPTA BO2017 3JANINE HARRIS 1LINDSAY SAUNDERS 2KAYLA LUNDE 3CYNTHIA DAWSON 4NICKI BERGESON 6OLIVIA GATTI 7

DANIELLE NAVARATIL 7.jpg

SARAH BOCCOLUCCI 24176844_10215273638057708_3419825419570748074_n.jpg

LOURDES CAMARILLO8

DESRA RAMEY 24232651_1071990006301064_8492409547890501219_n

JANEL PEYTON 9

REBECCA WANG 10

KAREN OSDIEK 11

MIN MOHD 1

KERLYN VAN GELDER 2

JUSTYNA BUTLER 3

BETHANY SAMS3

CLARE BAKER WELLS 4

TATYANA NAGAEVA 5

LAUREN MCKEOWN6

KATIE METKA bo2017katie metke

LESLIE D’ HAESELEER

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SUSAN BROOKSBY bo2017sb

LIZ DEGROFF bof2017

DAPHNE LAPUT bof2017d

FIONA YATES BOF2017FY

MEGAN OWEN BOF2017MO

MARISSA ROSELLIER bof2017mr

STEPHANIE POITER bof2017steph

JODI LYNN BUCKLES bofjb

LYRA LEE0002

HILLARY WHEAT 0111

MELISSA HELMICK 24852520_10156074660667474_6641688474361021616_n (1)

SUSANNAH BOTHE BOT2017BRIANNA WALTMAN 33

AMBER TALBERT 332

BETH CAGNONI BOF2017 EEMIKAELA SHANNON BOF2017 MMM

SARAH LANDA BOF2017 SARAH LANDA

CHARLOTTE GREEN BOF2018 CHARLOTE GREENCASEY MCCAULEY 24068419_10212678217364996_8952705497702930600_o

PAM TEH24173168_10159624945670203_8095302570140773051_o

NATALIE THOMAS 24852524_10155929067456804_1875439345652966751_n

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.

KFredericksLensbaby-2KFredericksLensbaby-14KFredericksLensbaby-16KFredericksLensbaby-18KFredericksLensbaby-19KFredericksLensbaby-20KeiraFredericksRelease2017.jpgKeiraFredericksRelease2017.jpgKeiraFredericksRelease2017.jpgKeiraFredericksRelease2017.jpgKeiraFredericksRelease2017.jpgKFredericksLensbaby-30KeiraFredericksRelease2017.jpg

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 

Gold for September | Pediatric Cancer awareness through beautiful imagery

Gold for September | Pediatric Cancer awareness through beautiful imagery

Each day, 42 families in the United States will receive the devastating news that their child or teen has cancer.

This month we teamed up with Cynthia Dawson of the Gold Hope project and many other Instagram communities who are sharing from the hashtag #teamup4goldkids Originally we wanted to feature just images from the hashtag but it felt a bit empty without bringing attention and sharing the beautiful souls and faces of those who have fought, and are currently fighting this monster.

Cynthia’s Words ;

“When I hear about a family struggling with an ill child, as a mom I know all too well what they may be thinking, feeling, and experiencing; and as a photographer, I know all too well how important pictures mean to them. As both a mom and a photographer, I know how important my own photos of my children are since suffering the loss of a beautiful child, my first born, Ava. As we try to figure out life without her, one thing always brings me comfort . . . The photographs I have of her. Because of the way photographs bring our family a dose of comfort, we brought together like-minded photographers from around the country to help us provide that gift for other families who sadly have a child with cancer. The Gold Hope Project was inspired by my Ava and is a special place where her memory can live on. Many families with ill children are emotional, physically and financially strapped; it is the heart of The Gold Hope Project to take at least one worry off their shoulders and gift them something magical – the smiles of their children frozen in time. The Gold Hope Project’s goal is to make sure that these already over-burdened families have an everlasting documentation of the joy and whimsy of their children while simultaneously raising awareness of and funds for pediatric oncology research and treatment.” 

Photography has great power. Join The Gold Hope project in this amazing cause.

GIVE THE GIFT OF HOPE  

Micah; photographed by Joy of Life Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Julia Crim
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Mitchell-photographed by Molly O. Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Fiona + Alexandra _DSC0434-01

Camila; photographed by Karyn Olsson -Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Whitney Chardoulias

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Noel; photographed by The Gold Hope Project 04.jpg

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Parker ; photographed by Karyn Olsson Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Mickie Devries 1DSC_5351-Edit

Maddy; photographed by Crystal Hardin Photography  for The Gold Hope Project.

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Daisy Seilern FullSizeRender

Daniel; photographed by Photo Works  for The Gold Hope ProjectThe Gold Hope Project 07.jpg

 Marilou Cote
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Carlie; photographed by Charlie Little Photography for The Gold Hope Project.The Gold Hope Project 08.jpg

Megan Loeks 235A1211-Edit.jpg

Lily; photographed by Kelley Deal Photography for The Gold Hope ProjectThe Gold Hope Project 09.jpg

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Charlotte; photographed by Jessie Hearn Photography for The Gold Hope Project.The Gold Hope Project 10.jpg

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Ariana; photographed by Lindsey Rabon Photography for The Gold Hope Project.

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Kevin Jakeman image1

Dear Nikon, #Womencan

Yes, We know! 

This is not just a Nikon issue. Across the board, with many of the other big photography companies, women are not being represented. Yes, we know. Basically, in most professional fields, women don’t have a position that warrants their voice to be heard.

This matters, we matter.

Nikon is currently celebrating 100 years of innovation, and you can be certain that women helped pave the way to that celebration. It can seem unfair to those not really understanding the issue that we would single out one company, but It has really been a catalyst to pay attention to this industry as a whole and demand more.

But why the post? 

Nikon Asia recently released a team of men, pictured below. To test their incredible new series of cameras, the Nikon D850. They were unable, however, to find one capable and talented woman to add to their roster. But why should we care when here in the USA they are surpassing by percentage of women inclusivity, between all of the other companies with 29%. We see that,  and it is still valid to want things to be more even at 50-50, because why not. Or perhaps, let women have the majority. Would that be so crazy?  and blow peoples minds. Perhaps.

Nikon MEA, if you happen to stumble upon this, let me share some amazing talent in your region MIDDLE EAST | ASIA 

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image via nikon-asia.com 

 

More stats :

Sony – http://imagingambassadors.sony.net/ambassadors/
50 Men
8 Women
14% Women, 86% Men

Canon – http://learn.usa.canon.com/dlc/contributors/explorers.spr
32 Men
8 Women
20% Women, 80% Men

Nikon – http://www.nikonusa.com/…/nikon-ambassadors/index.page
17 Men
7 Women
29% Women, 71% Men

Olympus – http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/visionaries
10 Men
2 Women
20% Women, 80% Men

Hopefully, these numbers will change across the board.

We asked women of our Official Dear Photographer group to share their thoughts, and the gear they use to create their art.  Below are some of their images! Enjoy.

 

 

Danielle Hatcher | Nikon D750  “I shoot families, newborns, and children with my Nikon because #womencan. ” Ndaniellehatcher

Christina Davenport | The industry of landscape photography is much more male-saturated than the portraiture industry.  #womencan & #womendo

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Eboni Rivera | Nikon D750  ” As a woman photographer, this cuts to the bone. To feel like a brand that you’ve supported throughout the years with your heard earned money doesn’t reciprocate the support- well that’s disheartening. “NeboniRivera

Jessica DeMers | Nikon D750 #womencan020nikon

Kristy Burell | Nikon D800 “Nikon I am a mama, wife, and a photographer. I can raise babies and run a successful business. #screwnikon #WOMANCAN 09nikonLori Pickens  | Nikon D5  #womencan nloripickens

Monika Colichio |Nikon D750  “Did I mention i switched from Canon? I kick ass with my persistence and passion. You will tell me I can’t I will prove you wrong!

n

Erin Peck |Nikon  D800 + D750 “all the way. I’ve supported Nikons for years, the least you could do is support women back. #WOMENCAN “0

Jenni Hecht |Nikon D3 “I don’t think they are as involved in the industry as they should be. To them photography is making cameras to make money. They don’t care about us. They care about their product and themselves. They grossly underestimated how this would effect (sp)our community and women in general.” n3.jpg

Brooke Mora | Nikon D3000 “embarrassed by my crop sensor” 07 nikonMeg Dowd | Nikon D600 #womencan 18nikon

Erika Vianey Avila Hernandez | Nikon D750  “#womencan, Literally.”21728802_10159367155765230_2994410864953445063_oKatie Simon | Nikon D90 “Yeah, I still shoot with my D90, almost ten years later…I love her…” nikon888Yaffa Koff | Nikon D750 #womencan 21728681_1483950948338394_2184879549184043451_oNicole Speer | I’m a woman who bought my Nikon D700, D800, and D810 ALL ON MY OWN! Crazy. I know!!!!! #screwnikon #womencannNicole speer

Lindsey Porter | Nikon D610  #womencan NlindseyPorter

Lynzi Berg |Nikon D750  ” And we multi task. Self-portrait of the birth of my fourth son. #womencan do freaking anything .”
nlindzibergMagda Cichoka | D5100

“Sometimes I think that men are scared of our strength. We can go through the deepest and hardest sh*t with a smile on a face and a child on a shoulder. Taking photos on a way..”023nikon

Anna Deacon | D750 ” Shame on you Nikon.”nikon3

Mandi Johnson | Nikon D610 ” I manage to be a stay-at-home working mom of 3 littles – 5, 3.5, & 2,  a wife to a hubby who travels for work, a double business owner. 1 of which is my photography business where I manage to squeeze in photo sessions in between the cracks of running a busy household. And because I know how to use this camera, I manage to capture newborns, families, children, park adventures, free-lensing at sunset at much much more all while being mom, wife, & business owner! #womencanNmandijohnsonJess Buttermore | Nikon D750 #womencan 024nikon

Alica Keiser | Nikon D750  “picked and not one women, shame on you Nikon Lets show Nikon just how bad ass women are! #womenCAN nAliciaKeiser

Leah Moore | Niko D750  “Sunrise with a warrior of five open heart surgeries.”nLeah Moore

Thais Mapstone | D750 -D810  “I’m so heartbroken over so many things, and then Nikon had to top it off and shit on my pie with their D850 misogyny. #WOMENCAN, Nikon.”

14nikon

Margaret Albaugh | Nikon D750 021nikonTraci El | Nikon D300 #WomenCan ” we capture all the love” 034nikonJess Buttermore | Nikon D750  #womencan 08nikon

Christina Marie | Nikon D750 #womencan 008nikon

Lindsay Saunders | Nikon D750  “Discouraged, overlooked and tired of not being taken seriously. ” NlindseySaunders

Stormy Solis | Nikon 4s- 750 #womencan nStormysolis

Alicia Moss |Nikon  D750  #womencan 04nikonHeather Koepp | D750 #womencan nikon

Desra Ramey | Nikon D7000 #womencan 11nikon

Jasmine Pickens |Nikon D800 “Who rules the world ?! ….. women.”NJasminPickens

Joy Faith | Nikon D750 “empower our daughters to be bold, take risks, chase dreams, and have a voice.”02nikon

Justyna Nina |Nikon  D610 “Wouldn’t the world be a different place, if there wasn’t women to grow life, raise your children, teach you compassion and strength, grow your garden, hold your hand, and help you chase your dreams.”  #womencan 1nikon

Lauren Grayson | D750 21740932_2017661915135036_4965491088155973931_o.jpgJulie Godbolt |Nikon D750     #WomenCan “Shot by a woman (me) of another amazing woman photographer as a part of The Traveling Dress Collective project  ALSO the dress was handmade by another kickass woman photographer!”Njulieg

Eve Rashid | Nikon D750 “Last I checked I was fully capable… disappointing Nikon…  #womencan women shoot real emotions, connections, and memories, details of life… not just gorgeous landscapes but whatever “neve rashid

Alpana Aras | Nikon D700 Double exposure, still rocking the old beast and ready for an upgrade!n.jpg

Twyla Jones |Nikon D750 “We are better than this!”

01111.jpgDana Whitley | Nikon D7200 “Good thing I have some knowledge of what all those switches and buttons do…. #WOMENCAN” 21nikonClare Elizabeth |Nikon D600 ” As for me, I’ll raise my daughter to believe she breathes fire.” 01 nikonPetra Tomicova |Nikon D800 “Photos from recent family session “20nikon

Liz Degroff |Nikon D750- D7100   ” A handful of self-portraits I took with either  because I can be a mom, a wife, a homemaker, AND a badass photographer.” NlizdegroffSarah Kelley | Nikon D7100 #womencan nSarahKellyAlicia Thwaites | Nikon D610 #womencan 004nikonOlga Levien |Nikon D750  #womencan 06nikon

Karen Dyck |Nikon D750 #ofcoursewecan 00.jpg

Caroline Over | Nikon D750 “Here’s to strong women. May we know them, we may be them, may we raise them.”n4

Becky Maini| Nikon D750 #womencan ” I ‘ve used Nikon since the year I graduated as a dental surgeon 12 years ago. Currently, on my 3rd, a D750 as I launch my photography from a hobby to a business alongside saving teeth, raising twin toddlers and all the other stuff working mothers do. Hell yeah #womencan.”n025nikonKatie Rickard | Nikon D800E 7

Mindy Tingson | Nikon D5100 “Shortly after I started to take my photography more seriously, a friend posted a status on his Facebook begging “housewives of America” to “put the camera down”. And at first I took it personally. Then I realized it was just an invitation to not only show him but also show my daughters that #WOMENCAN take a beautiful, rad photo and cook a mean casserole at the same time if she wanted to. nMindyTingson

Elizabeth Blank | D700 I made this photograph while holding my breath in 8 feet of water as I metered through foggy goggles and changed my settings manually. #womencan D700 (through non-Nikon underwater housing).

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Kristen Ryan |Nikon D810 ” #womencan capture the world around us” n.jpgKaren Osdieck | Nikon D750  #womencan nkaren osdieckAnita Perminova | Nikon D750  “I have always shot with a Nikon,”  #whatashocknaniteperminova

Niki Durcan | Nikon  D750 #Womencan

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Sarah Wilson | Nikon D4 #womencan d4Alyssa Hollis | Nikon D800 #womencand800

Rachel Mcgowan | Nikon D800 #womencannRchel mcwogan

Melissa Post |Nikon D810 ” I spent 3 years of my life being put down in many ways by men. Not having a single woman is a HUGE put-down, Nikon. ”  #getyourshittogether#womenCAN002nikon

Jennifer Hammer | Nikon D610 #womencan 5

Bridget Palmer | Nikon D90 – D600 “I am a capable shooter with a D90 and a D600. I’m certain I can handle the newest model from those morons at Nikon.”  #screwnikon #WOMENCAN

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Natalie Thomas | Nikon D610  “My face as that one article circulates. Nikon. Come on. ”
nnataliethomas

Katherine Mcpherson |Nikon D7000 “Nikon, Our girls deserve so much better than this! ”  #womencan
n Jennifer Haley | Nikon D610  “Full Frame with a woman behind the viewfinder. ”

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Kimberley Kroupa | Nikon D610 “Been shooting Nikon since ’98 as a hobbyist.”

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Erin Kay | Nikon D800 ” proud MOMtographer here. It is my responsibility and pleasure, as this capable young lady’s mother, to teach her that #WOMENCAN. But I, and every other mother, need help from the rest of the world too. We need change. Our youth is depending on us for a better future.” nikon999

Leilani Rodgers | Nikon D4 “I have been shooting Nikon exclusively for 10 years.”n.jpg

Alys Davidson | Nikon D810 “a mother of two incredible humans, and full-time photographer and photographic artist, gallery owner, and a trustee, multitasking machine busting my lady parts to live sustainable while doing what I love .. while your over there busy being a son of peach with your shitty attempt to make women seem less than capable. ” #wOMANCAN #screwyounikon07nikonRebecca Waldock  | Nikon D810

“Dear Nikon,

I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

Sincerely,
Women

And I was in the market for a D5 or an 850.

4 strong, confident young ladies. Shot with a d810.”
#womencan

nikon1Sandy Fales | Nikon 750 #womencan nsansyfales.jpgErin Mufford |Nikon D750  I don’t own lip gloss, I barely require a bra, and my cooking is passable at best. Good thing my worth is not defined by what a woman is “supposed” to be.  #WOMENCAN nerinmufford

Chris Tine | Nikon D750  “And of course I just bought a new Nikon body…..” 19nikon

Dandra Budd | Nikon D810 “Screw that Nikon! by a woman who embraces badass.”01112.jpg

Ashli Moon |Nikon D750 #womencan 12nikon

Amanda Patrick | D750 “Shame on you Nikon”08.jpgBeth Farnsworth | Nikon D600 #womencan nBeth fasworth

Sarah Moroce | Nikon D750  #womencan 038nikon

Cheri Dempkowski | Nikon D750 #womencan 027nikon

Jenn Russell | Nikon D750  “My husband even lets me drive sometimes to places where I can press buttons .” 003nikon

Elise Meader | D750  01

Sarah Gupta |NikonD750  ” A self-portrait of a wife, mother, scientist, artist, business owner, and badass photographer!”

#womencan

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Angie Klaus | Nikon D750 “I tell stories of powerful women. ”  #womencan DSC_0881.jpg

Jen Bilodeau | Nikon D750 “One of the amazing things about women is the way we come together in the face of adversity…..we each bring our voice and our passion, collectively creating a force that is unstoppable. #womencan

21682386_10213807247006129_1272845636_o.jpgLaure Aziz |Nikon  D600 “Oh these? Just some photos I managed to take while also having boobs and a vagina!” 15nikon

Mallory Gorham | Nikon 7200 “my passion is showing this male-centric world
just how much and how well #womencan. because, uh..life. ”

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Lee Harrison Pettigrew | Nikon D7100 #womencan 13nikonAbby Kenan | Nikon D750, Self Portraitn2.jpg

Sarah Whiting | Nikon D750  “My kind, caring, strong, independent little girl. I’m working hard to teach her that women can.

NIKON99999Amy Rushbrook | Nikon D810 I pushed a button on my friend’s Nikon for this personal project like the badass AF woman I am. #womencanNAmyrushbrook

Chloe Ramirez |  Nikon D800            “self-portrait” NChloeRamirez

Jenny Diaz |NikonD750  “I managed to photograph this session all while having a baby attached to me as I do with many of my sessions because #womencan.”n.jpg

Brianna Waltman  | Nikon D750 “I am baffled by this low blow made by Nikon.” nikon0111111

Nicole Caradonna  | Nikon D750 Wait, #womencan grow and sustain human life AND work a camera?! Who knew.nnicolecaradonna

Kris Kelley | Nikon D750 #womencan nkriskelly

Brittany Blake | Nikon D750 “see the world in beautiful ways. And women can hold big cameras in their tiny hands.”

d750Deanna Mccasland | Nikon D700-D750 #womenCan nDeanna Mcastland

Brianna Nichole | I see you Nikon…not cool. I ❤️ the crap out of my d750. It’s my 4th baby after the 3 that call me mom. I’ve been so fortunate to learn from some bad ass women in this industry. I would not be the photographer I am with out their influence. #WOMENCAN

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Sarah Begbie | Nikon D700 #womencan 015nikom

Shaina Sullivan | Nikon D90 “It’s incredible of all the talent out there they didn’t choose a single female for Nikons campaign #screwnikon. I wish I could afford a bad boy camera but I’ve been stuck with what I started off with.” 013nikonJess Worrall | Nikon D750 012nikon

Karen Dell |Nikon D750  ” Of course we can.” 007nikon

Camille Camacho | Nikon D810 “My first ever self-portrait & it took all the guts… all the courage… all the bravery… to not only take this but share it.”nikon01Stacey Ebstyne | Nikon D750 “Just photographed this woman yesterday! I use a Nikon d750 and use all Nikon lenses. I have never posted here before but this made me want to be brave and support all woman photogs! #womencan”011nikonAlana Atkins | Nikon d750 “I’m not sure if there are too many women in this post for Nikon? D750” 010nikon

Amy Shaw | Nikon D750. “I’m a mother, a daughter, a wife and a nurse. I balance many things in my life. I raise children and run a business. I have a unique perspective on the world. I am strong and I am capable. #womencann.jpg

Rebecca Tompkins | Nikon D810  But I am also a survivor. I survived 13 years of domestic abuse. Physical, mental, emotional, and sexual. I survived 2 years of stalking and threats and months without my children when I left. I fought. I stood. I persevered. I piece by piece put myself back together. I put my family back together. Put my life back together. Every time I pick up that camera now, I am managing to heal another piece of something that needs to be loved. Every image that is featured, liked, praised and most importantly is pleasing to my eye I feel pride because I did that. I taught myself one button at a time. I am a woman and I can!
#womencannRebeccatompkin

Amber Getsinger | Nikon D750  “Proudly raising boys to know that #womencan2

REDEFINE | Project – 100 black dads by Lucy Baber Photography

REDEFINE  | Project – 100 black dads by Lucy Baber Photography
Why are you passionate about this project?

There has been a lot of media attention on police violence, especially against black men and boys over the past few years. Black men are typically portrayed as “violent”, “dangerous”, and “criminals” in the media, which continues to perpetuate racial bias and a culture of fear within our society. These are not the black men I know. The black men I know are loving, nurturing, hard working, and like any other parent, they just want to raise their children in peace. As an artist, I felt a responsibility to fight back against those negative media messages by using my art. By taking photos of dads with their kids, I wanted to change the narrative about black men so that people can start to see them for the amazing men that they really are.

 Tell me about your intro to photography and what connections can it be traced back to your project?

I bought my first camera in 2010, and I’ve been in business as a family photographer since 2012. I considered several different approaches to this particular project, but in the end I knew the most sustainable option would be to focus on what I know best: lifestyle family photography. Especially when working with dads, I find that I’m able to get the most joyful and authentic expressions when I ask them to interact with their kids for family photos.

How important do you feel projects like these are in the photography world?

Social justice issues are extremely important to me. So important, in fact, that I started a private Facebook group for other photographers to collaborate and support each other as we take on social justice photo projects. I believe our current political climate makes these projects even more urgent right now. In this current culture of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, I believe that photography and art are absolutely crucial to anyone who wants to rediscover the Truth. It can be really overwhelming and confusing when there are so many mixed messages put out by the media, but a simple photo can speak volumes. This project has been really centering for me, in my ongoing pursuit of Truth.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning with the project ?

As a white woman wanting to engage in a photo project about black men, I wanted to be very careful not to do or say the wrong thing. I took two years to really flesh out the goals and specifics of the project before I made a public announcement about it, and during that time I also spoke with several trusted friends and mentors in the black community. I spent a lot of time on educating myself on the Black Lives Matter movement as well. I did a lot of reading about social justice issues and I attended local events to learn from leaders in the black community. I paid special attention to criticisms from the black community about the potential for harm from “white allies”. I really wanted to develop a project that would not only emphasize a positive narrative about these men, but would also be welcomed and embraced by the black community. I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries in any way.

Also, on a much smaller scale, scheduling has been another challenge. As a work from home mom and small business owner, it can be difficult to tackle personal projects in a timely manner. This is not a paid project, and even the process of applying for art grants takes time that, frankly, my three year old doesn’t always let me have. Nevertheless, I keep chugging away! I know that in our fast-paced social media culture, projects can lose public interest if they don’t happen quickly. But at the same time, I want to let this project develop at its own pace. It is changing me as much as it giving back to others, and I don’t want to rush that process.

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ABOUT THE ARTIST: 

Lucy Baber is a lifestyle newborn and family photographer in the Philadelphia area. Her work can be followed at the following links:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST

 

The traveling LENSBABY project | feature by Jessica Mielke Photography

The traveling LENSBABY project | feature by Jessica Mielke Photography
What is one thing about your photos that says the most about you as a person. Dig deep!

Wow this is a tough question. I feel I am an authentic person and I try to be open and vulnerable with my life. I try to document in a way that shows the real, raw, vulnerable parts of life.

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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 picked up my first DSLR in 2008 and I have never looked back. I have bounced around genres and styles a lot actually and it wasn’t until very recently that I have found a style that I love. I struggled with what my heart was telling me to photograph over what made my family some money. For years I photographed everything, I booked whatever I could to make money but I was emotionally and artistically drained. It wasn’t until I decided that I needed to shoot 100% for me that I really began to define my style. I started editing the way I wanted to edit vs what my clients were used to.

Lensbaby-48What Lensbaby lenses have you shot with before? How have they transformed your work?

I have never shot with a lensbaby before. Eep I was so excited to get this one in the mail for the week. It was definitely tough to nail the focus for me but I still loved it and I have one in my Amazon cart right now.
I have never used a lensbaby, but I have done a lot of freelensing and I feel that helped transform my work a lot. I learned that some images are best out of focus because life isn’t always in focus.

Lensbaby-51 (1)Why is it important that photographers not get too fixed in their ways? What makes experimentation so crucial to an artist’s growth?

Experimenting is SOOOO crucial. I bounced around a lot when I was beginning and I think that really helped me figure out what I loved to photograph! You can’t grow as an artist if you’re not constantly evolving, learning, experimenting. I don’t want to be the same artist in a year. I want to be better, I want my images to speak to someone and if I don’t occasionally experiment with what I am doing that is never going to happen, change and growth will never happen.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST :

I am Jessica.  I am a seeker of light and love. I live in Aurora Colorado with my husband, two crazy kids, three crazy dogs and 5 even crazier chickens..  I photograph in the Denver Metro Area and select dates in Tucson Arizona. I am a storyteller and lifestyle photographer. I document Maternity, Births and Families. I believe that life should be documented as it is, messy and crazy, sometimes dark and grainy.

The traveling Lensbaby project|featuring Christina McLauchlin

The traveling Lensbaby project|featuring Christina McLauchlin

Questions by Lensbaby Inc 

The project is set around trying and experimenting with a Lensbaby lens, the Twist 60 is traveling through the U.S.A + Canada currently. Each artist has one week of play time.  All of the artist are attending out Out of the box collective in June in Denver CO. 

SHP_0349 copyWhat is one thing about your photos that says the most about you as a person. Dig deep!

I always try to convey the essence of the human spirit within nature. When you look at my photographs, I want you to see something beyond them. I want to strip away all the superficial to take you somewhere deep and dark and to the core of who we really are as human beings. I rarely make it to that level, but that is what I’m consistently striving for in my work. That’s what drives me to improve.

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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’m trying so hard to get my skills up to the level of my vision. I can see what I want to do in my head, but I can’t always translate it to my work. There is a gap there. However, I’ve noticed that when I get close to closing that gap, my vision for what I want gets more involved. I may never close that gap and maybe I never want to! I wouldn’t like photography if it didn’t challenge me. One of my favorite quotes is “Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself.” – Gandhi.

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

The Twist 60 is the only Lensbaby I’ve ever tried. I love how it gives my images an ethereal, dreamy quality. That definitely makes an image more dynamic. I love the depth it gives!

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

There’s no such thing as standing still. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. Trying new tools and new ways of doing things keeps you engaged, happy, and satisfied as an artist.

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ABOUT THE ARTIST 
I’m a photographer located in Northern California. I put my whole heart and soul into capturing the beauty of people as they really are. I feel a strong connection to nature. My main goal with my art is to convey the essence of the human spirit against the backdrop of this beautiful earth. My children are my preferred muses.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | PORTRAIT COLLECTIVE 
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